The Left tries to reframe our expectations

Teacher affirmationIn September 2011, I wrote a post about the way teachers constantly present themselves as the hardest working, most underpaid people in America.  I have a great deal of respect for teachers and, to the extent I deliver my kids to their care, I want them to be decent, knowledgeable, skillful, hardworking people — and that’s not something that can be had for free.  Nevertheless, I don’t see them as the martyrs that they see looking back from their mirrors.

I touched upon that subject again just this past September, after I’d gotten deluged by Facebook posts from teacher friends, all of them reminding us in a cute way that no one works harder in America than a teacher or for less money compared to their work output.  Again, with all due respect for teachers, I think many people, including the troops, would quibble with this.  I contrasted the Democrats’ deification of teachers and compared it with their denigration of doctors, something expressed obliquely through Obamacare.  Doctors train for years in their profession, work heinous hours, and truly hold people’s lives in their hands — and Obamacare is intended to increase their work load and cut their compensation.  My conclusion was that socialism prefers propagandists, something that teachers are perfectly situated to do, over providers.

And speaking of socialists and the way they value different categories of workers, Daniel Hannan has written about the British deification of its National Health Service, a system that is above reproach.  It’s not above reproach because it’s so wonderful, mind you.  It’s above reproach because no one is allowed to reproach it.  Hannan notes that there are two classes that speak well of the system:  those who work in it or are ideological supporters of socialized medicine, and those who are loudly grateful to have received decent treatment from it.  Hannan makes two points about this second category.  First, they’re amiable followers of the more strident ideologues.  Second, their gratitude that the system works is itself an indictment of the system’s myriad failings:

What of the wider constituency? What of the undoctrinaire people who say, with conviction, “the NHS saved my grandmother’s life”? Well, to make a rather unpopular point, she was saved by the clinicians involved, not by Britain’s unique prohibition of private finance in healthcare provision. In a country as wealthy as ours, we should expect a certain level of service. We can be grateful to the people involved without treating the whole process as a miracle.

When else, after all, do we become so emotional? Do we get off planes saying “I owe my life to British Airways: they flew me all the way here in one piece”? Of course not: that’s what is meant to happen. Our assumption doesn’t insult the pilots any more than expecting a certain level of competence in healthcare “insults our hardworking doctors and nurses”. On the contrary, it compliments them.

The elision of the “hardworking doctors and nurses” with the state monopoly that employs them is what allows opponents of reform to shout down any criticism. People who complain are treated, not as wronged consumers, but as pests. People who argue that there might be a better way of organising the system are treated, not as proponents of a different view, but as enemies.

Naturally, the above passage made me think of the obeisance we’re expected to pay to America’s teachers.  The demand that we recognize what wonderful martyrs they are is a tacit acknowledgment that too many of them are government drones who are, quite rationally, milking a system that gives itself up for milking.  This doesn’t mean we should denigrate teachers or take them for granted, but there’s a strong element of a “methinks we all do protest too much” mindset when it comes to the ritual demand that we acknowledge that teachers are society’s new martyrs.  After all, as Hannan said, they have a job to do and they should be doing it.

Incidentally, while Hannan doesn’t address the issue of teachers, he does point out that our being bullied into expressing exaggerated surprise and appreciation when there’s competence in a public sector area isn’t limited to Britain’s NHS.  His other example is the UN, which you all know I believe is one of the most vile, evil, antisemitic, child exploitative, anti-American, money-wasting institutions on earth, as well as a few other institutions that, coincidentally, are also usually anti-American and antisemitic:

Any organisation that is spared criticism becomes, over time, inefficient, insensitive, intolerant. It has happened to the United Nations. It has happened to the mega-charities. It happened, for a long time, to the European Union (though not over the past five years). The more lofty the ideal, the more reluctant people are to look at the grubby reality.

Cheers to Hannan for stating that, while the Emperor isn’t precisely walking around naked, his clothes are scarcely the golden, bejeweled garments that his sycophants claim he’s wearing.

Out of the mouths of . . . interpreters? UN interpreter accidentally speaks the truth

Hillel Neuer writes in the Times of Israel about an accidental moment of moral clarity at the UN:

Thursday a United Nations interpreter, unaware that her microphone was on, uttered words of truth in reaction to the General Assembly’s adoption of nine politically-motivated resolutions condemning Israel, and zero resolutions on the rest of the world.

Under the mistaken impression that she was speaking only to a colleague, the interpreter uttered the following words into the headphones of every UN delegate, and before a live webcast audience worldwide:

“Isn’t it a little weird? There are nine or ten resolutions against Israel. And I know there’s a problem with the Palestinians. But there’s other bad shit going on and they’re spending so much time on this.”

Laughter erupted among the delegates. “The interpreter apologizes,” said the unfortunate truth-teller, moments later. I sincerely hope she won’t get fired.

Because the one who should really apologize today is the UN. Founded on noble ideals, the world body is turning the dream of liberal internationalists into a nightmare.

For by the end of its annual session next month, the General Assembly will have adopted a total of 22 resolutions condemning Israel—and only four on the rest of the world combined. The hypocrisy, selectivity, and politicization are staggering.

Read the rest here.

The UN’s ugly obsession with Israel

I don’t believe there is anyone in the world who knows more about the UN’s ugly obsession with Israel than Anne Bayefsky.  In this short video, she nicely sums it up.  Almost none of this is new to me, but I appreciate her calm, objective, organized approach to the information.  The only thing that I had sort of known, without ever thinking about it, is how radically different the UN’s make-up is now, as compared to its make-up in 1949.

Just as the Democrat party is no longer my Dad’s Democrat party, so too is the UN no longer my parents’ UN.  If you’ve washed your hands of this loathsome institution, it’s not because you’re betraying it, it’s because it has changed beyond recognition and is betraying you.

The truth about Palestinian refugees

Another powerful Danny Ayalon video.  Watch it, then, please, please, please share it with people.

(Or view it here if it doesn’t load on my webpage.)

Incidentally, will it make you feel better to know that Danny Ayalon, reciting just the facts set forth in the above video, is causing some embarrassment for the UN, which is incapable of addressing the charges?  It certainly made me feel better.

Question:  I just wanted to ask a question about comments that were made by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Daniel Ayalon, before the Human Rights High Commissioner for Refugees’ ministerial event in Geneva last week.  He basically said that the cause of the Palestinian refugee issue was not so much the dispossession of the majority of Palestinians from their homeland by Jewish militias during the 1948 war and refusal of Israel to enable their right to return under resolution 194.  He said rather that it was the establishment of UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] which has perpetuated the refugee status by applying unique criteria to it.  And I just wonder whether either the Secretary-General or UNRWA has made any response to this statement.

Associate Spokesperson:  No.  We don’t go into the lengthy history of how the refugee crisis started.  As you know, the historians may have differing interpretations of what brought on the refugee crisis.  UNRWA, it should be stressed, was established in response to the refugee crisis.  And, as you know, the presence of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency throughout the region is designed to deal with the number, the very large number of Palestinian refugees throughout the region.  If the situation can be resolved and the situation of the Palestinian refugees can be addressed fairly, then UNRWA’s work will have been done, but at this stage, we are not there.  It has a lot of work in a lot of countries with, as you know, tens of thousands of people.

Question:  Excuse me, is there no response to the statement by [Deputy] Foreign Minister Ayalon that UNRWA is perpetuating the status of the refugees?

Associate Spokesperson:  I wouldn’t react to specific comments.  Over the years people have disagreed and have had their own interpretations of…

Question:  This is not just a personal comment, this is on the Israeli Government official website, his statement is made.  And he is a minister in the Israeli Government.

Associate Spokesperson:  Like I said to you just a second ago, the creation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency was in response to the refugee crisis.  It is there to handle the situation, the very large situation of refugees across the region that had erupted.  And its existence over the decades is testament to the fact that, throughout this time, the situation of the Palestinian refugees remains to be resolved.  Yes?

Hat tip:  Sadie

Why Gingrich said something important when he talked about an “invented” people

Others have said it, but I like best the way Evelyn Gordon said it.  After confirming the historic accuracy of Newt’s claim (namely, that Arabs moved into the land at the end of the 19th century, rather than having lived there since time immemorial), Gordon goes on:

One might ask why this should matter: Regardless of when either Jews or Palestinians arrived, millions of both live east of the Jordan River​ today, and that’s the reality policymakers must deal with. But in truth, it matters greatly – because Western support for Palestinian negotiating positions stems largely from the widespread view that Palestinians are an indigenous people whose land was stolen by Western (Jewish) interlopers.

Current demographic realities would probably suffice to convince most Westerners that a Palestinian state should exist. But the same can’t be said of Western insistence that its border must be the 1967 lines, with adjustments possible only via one-to-one territorial swaps and only if the Palestinians consent. Indeed, just 44 years ago, UN Resolution 242 was carefully crafted to reflect a Western consensus that the 1967 lines shouldn’t be the permanent border. So what changed?

The answer lies in the phrase routinely used to describe the West Bank and Gaza today, but which almost nobody used back in 1967, when Israel captured these areas from Jordan and Egypt, respectively: “occupied Palestinian territory.” This phrase implies that the land belongs to the Palestinians and always has. And if so, why shouldn’t Israel be required to give back every last inch?

But if the land hasn’t belonged to the Palestinians “from time immemorial” – if instead, both Palestinians and Jews comprise small indigenous populations augmented by massive immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries, with the West Bank and Gaza becoming fully Judenrein only after Jordan and Egypt occupied them in 1948 – then there’s no inherent reason why the border must necessarily be in one place rather than another. To create two states, a border must be drawn somewhere, but that “somewhere” should depend only on the parties’ current needs – just as the drafters of Resolution 242 envisioned.

Read the rest here.

Israel needs to reframe the debate to win the battle

Over the years, I helped win at least two major cases because I re-framed the debate.  In one case, a will contest case, the opposing party claimed that our client, a housekeeper, had committed fraud and elder abuse in order to inveigle a little old lady into leaving the housekeeper a substantial chunk of the old lady’s estate.

In defending against the charges, we spent an inordinate amount of time trying to prove the negative proposition — namely, that our client hadn’t in the privacy of the lady’s house, bullied and manipulated the old lady into changing her will.  It was only as I was re-reading the case documents for the umpteenth time that I suddenly had an insight:  one of the contestants’ primary pieces of evidence, a letter the old lady wrote that they claimed showed she was under the housekeeper’s thumb, actually showed something quite different.  It showed that the little old lady really, truly hated those family members who were now suing.  More than that, if one took the letter at face value (“I hate you, because you tried to take me away from my beloved house”), instead of assuming that it might have been the product of the housekeeper’s behind the scenes manipulation, many previously disparate bits and pieces of evidence suddenly fell into place.  Suddenly, after a very difficult case during the pre-trial phase, at trial, we won, and we won big.

On another case, a construction law case, the opposing party accused our client of having installed a door so badly that the building lobby routinely flooded.  I spent forever analyzing and arguing about the construction agreement and the building plans in an effort to prove that our client had done precisely what the building owners asked.  It was only when I was reading the security guard’s logs, logs that recorded all these floods and that were a chief piece of evidence against us, that something jumped out at me:  the dates.  What the heck was the guard doing noting major flooding in July?  It never rains in San Francisco in July.  I managed to get hold of weather records for the relevant year, and proved that defective construction could not have been the cause of the flooding because there was no rain.  It turned out that the city’s street cleaning trucks were driving by and shooting high powered jets of water into the building, something that had nothing to do with construction defects.

I mention these cases because each involved taking existing facts and re-framing them so that we were in a strong offensive position, instead of a weak defensive position.  Caroline Glick makes the same suggestion with regard to Israel’s current defensive position at the UN.  Benjamin Netanyahu can make all the incredibly wonderful speeches he likes (and his speech before the UN was great), but that’s not going to change the game.  Glick says that Israel has to bypass the UN garbage entirely:

As for Israel’s allies in the US Congress, they have responded to the PLO’s UN statehood gambit with two important legislative initiatives. First Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced a bill calling for the US to end its financial support for the Palestinian Authority and drastically scale-back its financial support for the UN if the UN upgrades the PLO’s membership status in any way. Ros- Lehtinen’s bill shows Israel that there is powerful support for an Israeli offensive that will make the Palestinians pay a price for their diplomatic aggression.

Ros-Lehtinen’s bill is constructive for two reasons. First, it makes the Palestinians pay for their adversarial behavior. This will make them think twice before again escalating their diplomatic warfare against Israel. Second, it begins an overdue process of delegitimizing the Palestinian cause, which as is now clear is inseparable from the cause of Israel’s destruction.

Were Israel to follow Ros-Lehtinen’s lead and cut off its transfer of tax revenues to the PA, and indeed, stop collecting taxes on the PA’s behalf, it would be advancing Israel’s interests in several ways.

It would remind the Palestinians that they need Israel far more than Israel needs them.

Israel would make them pay a price for their diplomatic aggression.

Israel would end its counterproductive policy of giving the openly hostile PA an automatic seal of approval regardless of its treatment of Israel.

Israel would diminish the financial resources at the PA’s disposal for the advance of its war against Israel.

Finally, Israel would pave the way for the disbandment of the PA and its replacement by another authority in Judea and Samaria.

And this brings us to the second congressional initiative taken in anticipation of the PLO’s UN statehood gambit. Earlier this month, Rep. Joe Walsh and 30 co-sponsors issued a resolution supporting Israeli annexation of Judea and Samaria.

While annexation sounds like a radical formula, the fact is that Israel already implemented a similar move twice when it applied Israeli law to Jerusalem and to the Golan Heights. And the heavens didn’t fall in either case. Indeed, the situation on the ground was stabilized.

Moreover, just as Israel remains willing to consider ceding these territories in the framework of a real peace with its neighbors, so the application of Israeli law to Judea and Samaria would not prevent these areas from being ceded to another sovereign in the framework of a peace deal.

And while not eliminating the prospects of a future peace, by applying Israeli law to Judea and Samaria, Israel would reverse one of the most pernicious effects of the 18-year-old phony peace process: the continuous erosion of international recognition of Israel’s sovereign rights to these areas.

The above quotation is just a small part of a much longer article.  You would probably enjoy reading the whole thing.

Yes, there is an Obama doctrine

Ed Morrissey has put together a very useful post summarizing various liberal media attempts to understand the Obama doctrine.  Morrissey concludes at the end that, try as hard as one likes, “There really is no doctrine.”

Morrissey is correct that there is no doctrine if one is looking for a verbally articulated doctrine.  Obama says everything, and Obama says nothing, and Obama says it all as boringly as possible.

The mere fact that the greatest communicator since Abraham Lincoln (that’s sarcasm, by the way) is incapable of articulating a doctrine, though, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have one.  Indeed, if one buys for one minute into the whole greatest communicator shtick, it’s pretty clear that, as I said in my earlier post, that Obama intentionally obfuscates in his speeches because he doesn’t want people to know what the doctrine is.

Fortunately, because actions speak louder than words, we can arrive at the Obama Middle Eastern doctrine without any actual verbal help from Obama.  Here goes:

America can no longer selfishly engage in wars that directly affect (i.e., improve) her national interests.  To prevent her from doing so, she must always sublimate her sovereignty to the U.N.  A small number of U.N. players, most notably Europeans who are dependent on Libyan oil, have decided that Qaddafi must go.  Even though the number is smaller than the number that joined with Bush on Iraq, they’re the “in” crowd, so Obama must follow where they lead.  Hewing to the popular kid theory, these “cool” U.N. players matter more than the American Congress, which is made up of rubes and hicks, who lack that European savoir faire, even the useful idiots who hew to Obama’s political ideology.

A subset of this Obama doctrine is that, while America must never mine or drill her own energy resources, it is incumbent upon America to dig into her pockets to enable other countries to get to their energy resources, which America will then buy back at a premium.  This is American charity at its best.  If you want to feed a man for a day, buy him a fish.  If you want to feed him for a lifetime, teach him to fish, buy all his fishing equipment, stock the lake with trout, break all your fishing equipment, make it illegal to fish in your own lakes, and then buy that man’s fish back from him at the highest possible price.

And whatever else you do, make sure you kick Israel around . . . a lot.  That will make the cool kids (e.g., the Euro-trash and the Mullahs) happy.  It never pays to lose sight of your true constituency.

A link to spread around as much as possible, please *UPDATED*

This is the public outreach YouTube site for the Israel Defense Forces.  Bookmark it, send it to your friends, check it often.

Here is the latest IDF real time video from the ship boarding, showing the “peace” activists in full fury:

The West is being played — although perhaps that’s the wrong thing to say.  The West is joyously joining in the game.

Seraphic Secret understands what’s really going on, especially at the UN.

UPDATED:  The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has set up a website that explains Israel’s basic security needs.  The outlines won’t surprise you all, but the details, of course, are illuminating.  Everything would be a surprise, though, to the West’s credulous, useful idiots.  (h/t Bruce Kesler.)

A good friend of mine has suggested that Israel, before releasing the useful idiots, take them on a tour of Israel, showing both her freedoms and the horrors inflicted on people through rockets and bombs.

Cross-dressing jihadists, disillusioned Leftists, and judicial madness

Sadie sent me a great trio of stories today, and I want to pass them on to you:

The UN wants to make sure that the Western nation’s efforts to protect themselves against cross-dressing jihadists (you know, those guys who don burqas to hide bombs) don’t offend transgendered individuals (who may or may not be hiding bombs).   Here’s a quiz for you:  On a scale of one to five, with one being not serious at all and five being very serious, answer two questions.  First, how serious do you think the huge number of socialist and or Islamist tinpot dictatorships that hold sway in the UN are about protecting transgendered rights?  Second, how serious do you think the huge number of socialist and or Islamist tinpot dictatorships that hold sway in the UN are about ensuring that Western democracies are able to defend themselves against socialist and Islamist tinpot dictatorships?

In the too little too late category, one more sign that the bloom is wearing off the Leftist rose when it comes to Obama worship.  Leftist stalwart Richard Cohen, reviewing a hagiographic HBO “documentary” about Obama’s election, has this to say:  “What’s striking about this inside look at Obama is how being inside gets you nowhere. It is virtually the same as being outside. What’s also striking about this movie is its lack of arc.”  In other words, Cohen is starting to realize, as we have long known, that with Obama there’s no “there there,” a problem made worse by the habit his most rabid fans have of trying to prop this empty suit up high on a pedestal.

Have I mentioned how much I dislike judges?  In a long career, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve dealt with judges who let utterly insane, unprovable, legally impossible cases go forward because the plaintiffs’ claims messed perfectly with the judges’ activist biases.  We now have another example of judicial activism, in which a judge gave a pass to a case against oil companies alleging that they caused Hurricane Katrina by increasing global warming.  What!?  No lawsuits against cows, India or China?  And how about a more logical suit against the unholy cabal of corrupt government officials and environmentalists who ensured that the levies would break?  Nah.  That last one is impossible as being logical and politically incorrect.

Is Obama naive about the UN’s role or does he have a genuine affinity for bad actors?

When it comes to Obama’s speech before the UN, Brett Schaefer and Nile Gardiner are both kind enough to attribute to naivete what I’m increasingly sure is a malignant combination of anti-American feeling and antisemitism.

In the same vein, Paul, at PowerLine, a blogger who has tried to be level-headed about Obama, professes himself horrified by Obama’s “Sophomorically Utopian Oration,” and gives details and argument to prove his point that Obama has all the intellectual and political sophistication of a starry-eyed, ill-informed, Left leaning college student.

That’s the theme that seems to be emerging about Obama’s UN debut:  he’s Utopian, sophomoric, naive. Obama wasn’t shocked by the UN’s corruption and power seeking behavior.  Instead, he was scolding the world body for not getting its act together and creating a Garden of Eden, with the Palestinian lion lying peacefully beside the slaughtered Israeli lamb. In other words, rather than recognizing that this international body should exist as a forum to ensure some level of functionality between national entities that have different values and goals, he thinks it ought to be some giant mommy that gently smacks the nation-kids around until harmony is ensured. (As a slight aside, if you can ever see the Episode of the New Twilight Zone, from the 1980s, called “A Small Talent for War,” you must. The link I provided has a spoiler, but it’s still worth checking out given Obama’s speech.)

Maybe Obama wasn’t even naive.  Maybe, as my friend Don Quixote suggested, Obama appropriately wants nations to stand on their own two feet, without America as a prop, and truly believes that, allowing “good nations” more independence will achieve peace on earth and good will among men.  If that’s the case, Obama must be credited with a genuinely good faith belief that the world’s “good nations,” given sufficient moral support (but nothing more) will do the right thing. My reply to DQ was that this view assumes that Obama shares with ordinary Americans a sense of what constitutes a “good nation.”

In my book and, I know, in yours, a good nation is one that provides maximum liberty to its citizens without veering into destructive anarchy. Obama, however, seems to have a different definition.

In Iran, although both Ahmadinejad and Mousavi are equally repugnant, the uprisings weren’t about a specific leader, but were about the corruption of democracy. Obama sided with the totalitarian dictators, against the people.

In Honduras, the Obama administration has aggressively sided with a would-be dictator against the constitutional will of the people.  The only one who’s happy right now is Chavez, the buddy with whom Obama once shared a big grin and a political man hug.

Aside from liking the bad guys, Obama also seems to be unduly deferential to their desires.  As between North and South Korea, Obama promptly yielded to the Norks’ demands for single party talks, without getting anything in return.  And we all know about his recent abandonment of the Czech Republic, Poland and neighboring states, which basically saw him doing obeisance to the totalitarian KGB operative, Vladimir Putin.

Zip over to the Middle East, and Obama bows to totalitarian kings, and makes unreasonable (by any standards) demands on the only functional, free Democracy in the region — after repeatedly denigrating its right to exist by implying that Israel’s only justification for existence is the same Holocaust that the surrounding Muslim nations deny ever occurred.  And so it goes, with the added spice of insults to old friends such as the Brits, the French, and those “Austrian” speaking Austrians, all the while making kissy faces at some of the world’s most horrible, aggressive dictators.

So here’s the question:  If one assumes that Obama really is as naive as others assume about what the UN can and should do, should Obama be forgiven for this naivete because he is seeking a world of equal players, all working harmoniously under one UN roof?  Or alternatively, is there no forgiveness, naivete or not, because Obama is manifestly working to subordinate the United State, one of the last bastions (if not the last bastion) of true liberty in the world, in order that those he seems to characterize as “good nations” — nations with the least freedom and the most territorial aggression — can have a more level playing field and a greater opportunity to achieve their goals?

With regard to that last statement, Obama’s speech, aside from its reference for some halcyon UN future, made quite clear Obama’s desire to take America from being a world leader to a mere player.  Indeed, Peter Wehner sees the UN speech as a perfect example of Obama’s policies and personality insofar as his relationship to America is concerned:

There is more to be said about the Obama speech—including the president’s tiresome pretense that he and he alone will lead the world out of its cul-de-sac, where “we bicker about outdated grievances.” But I cannot escape a depressing thought, one I hope is proved to be wrong over time: that Barack Obama, even though he is the leader of America, is constantly placing himself above it. His criticisms of our country are now part of a troubling routine, so much so that Obama is now winning the applause of people who genuinely hate America (like Fidel Castro, who complimented Obama for his “brave gesture” and “courage” in criticizing the United States at the UN).

Obama not only fails to strongly defend the United States; he is actually adding brush strokes to a portrait of our country that diminishes its achievements and standing. He seems unable or unwilling to speak out—in a heartfelt and passionate way—on its behalf. He is, of course, clever never to say a word of praise for America; no, this sophisticated wordsmith and smooth politician, this cool customer ever in search of The Golden Mean, can speak in both text and subtext. He says just enough to deny the charge that he is not a strong defender of the country he leads. But by now we’re on to the game.

No one believes America’s history is pristine; we are all familiar with the catalogue of our own sins, beginning with slavery. Other presidents have recognized them, and a few have given voice to them. But it was done in the context of a reverence for America—for what it has been and stands for, for what it is and can be. Think of the words of George Washington, who said of America, “I was summoned by my Country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love.” That is a noble sentiment from a man whose love of country knew no bounds. They are also words that I cannot imagine President Obama saying, at least with conviction. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t like his country or admire things about it; it means that he has yet to really speak out for it. And it means that he has shown, so far at least, that he is more interested in advancing his interests than in speaking on behalf of the nation that elected him. There are enough critics of America in the world; we don’t need to add America’s president to that list.

John Bolton picks up on precisely the same thread, which is that Obama, the President of the US, is publicly throwing American into the dustbin — not to mention his by now routine willingness to sacrifice Israel whenever the opportunity comes along.

All told, I do not give Obama a pass for a charming 1960s style naivete about the UN’s role as a world peacemaker.  I think that his speech was a calculated effort to pave the way for his favored totalitarian nations to have a free hand  (along with America’s help) when it comes to despoiling the democratic nations around the world.

Giving the Medal of Freedom to a dictator-coddling antisemite *UPDATED*

You’ve already read that the Big O (an increasingly empty hole if there ever was one) is now set to give the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson, the Irish woman who has cheerfully led the UN into ever deeper antisemitic, anti-American depravity.  Jennifer Rubin sums up beautifully the only two possibilities that could have motivated Obama when he made this foul choice:

One is left with two options in assessing the Obama administration’s decision: either a colossal error in vetting or a deliberate effort – which meshes perfectly with his Cairo speech’s theme and his admonitions that “daylight” is required between the U.S. and Israel — in order to ingratiate himself with the Palestinian cause. What better way to flaunt his disdain for Israel’s sensibilities — and for American voters who support Israel — that [sic] to pick the villain of Durban? And while he is continuing his worldwide effort to denigrate American exceptionalism and give credence to the blame-America-first crowd, there could be no more fitting honoree than Robinson.

As to Obama, I have only this to say on his decision to recognize Robinson as a standard bearer of freedom:  Don’t watch what he says.  Watch what he does.

UPDATEDiana West has a nice rundown on just what a dreadful person Mary Robinson is.  So does Jake Tapper.  And still more on Robinson’s MO.

Obama versus Israel *UPDATED*

It will be interesting to see how Obama’s talks with Netanyahu go.  Netanyahu is light years ahead of Obama in terms of intelligence and experience.  Obama, however, has dense ideological filaments in his brain that may render him incapable of deviating from his biases.  In other words, I doubt that anything Netanyahu says will deter Obama from his Leftist belief that Israel is an evil imperialist force oppressing the poor 200 million Muslim nations surrounding her and destabilizing the entire world. What is possible, though, is that Netanyahu, given his smarts, might be able to use an intellectual flank attack to make Obama aware of the fact that his current stance, such as completely undermining Israel at the UN, thereby blackmailing her to yield to Obama’s demands, might be a mistake.

During the election, people who were paying attention warned that, for all that Obama (without any actual voting record to prove it) claimed to be Israel’s bestest friend evah, his record and his advisors clearly signaled the opposite.  In other words, he lied with his words, but his actions were always there, telling the truth.

Those American Jews who both support Israel and who voted for Obama were credulous fools.  The irony is that, having cast their votes, it’s Israel, not these fools, that will suffer.

UPDATEMax Boot provides today’s post explaining why Obama’s approach comes from la-la land.

How to avoid the stigma of being called an apartheid state

The head of the UN General Assembly just called Israel an “apartheid” state.  In other words, Israel is emblematic of evil in the world.  I’ve finally realized what the problem is:  Israel has a mixed population.

Think about it:  Iraq expelled her Jews and hounded her Christians into obscurity.  Saudi Arabia makes it illegal to be Jewish or Christian — so there are no Jews or Christians, making it a nice, homogenous population.  Iran also simply expelled or murdered different people.  The same holds true for Arab/Muslim state after Arab/Muslim state, all of whom are in good odor at the UN.

The secret, therefore, to avoid this insulting epithet isn’t to try to accommodate your hostile minority populations.  Instead, the secret is to destroy them entirely.  Once they’re good and gone, and once you’ve become a completely homogeneous racial or religious state by virtue of their (enforced) absence, nobody can tar you with the crime of being an “apartheid state.”

Orwell would be proud.

The profligate UN

Just yesterday, I harked back to and updated an old post that commented, in part, on the fact that the UN is saved from ultimate malevolence only by its gross inefficiency and internal corruption.  With perfect timing, this story appeared in today’s news:

The U.N. Human Rights Council, frequently accused of coddling some of the world’s most repressive governments, threw itself a party in Geneva Tuesday that featured the unveiling of a $23 million mural paid for in part with foreign aid funds.

In a ceremony attended by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Spanish artist Miquel Barcelo told the press that his 16,000-square-foot ceiling artwork reminded him of “an image of the world dripping toward the sky” — but it reminded critics of money slipping out of relief coffers.

“In Spain there’s a controversy because they took money out of the foreign aid budget — took money from starving children in Africa — and spent it on colorful stalactites,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch.

You can read the rest here, but nothing will come as a surprise:  the UN and its members are corrupt, self-indulgent and heartless.  For which we should all be grateful, because the UN would only be worse if it was putting all its efforts and the vast wealth it skims from other nations to its true goals:  the destruction of America and Israel.

Perpetually selfish anger and victimhood *UPDATED*

Ymarsakar brought to my attention a post I wrote over three years ago.  I’m reprinting a slightly edited version here, not just because I think it describes well the Arab psyche that drives so much of current international politics (and fears) today, but also because I think it does a good job of describing the Leftist psyche, which sees all politics as personal, and which wallows in victimization and anger:

***

Neo-Neocon got hold of an Atlantic Monthly from October 1961 with a Martha Gelhorn article about the Palestinian refugees, who were still a reasonably new phenomenon back then. Neo-Neocon’s whole post, which excerpts large parts of the article is sad reading, and Martha Gelhorn is amazingly prescient.  I wanted to focus on just one part of the article, in which Gelhorn describes the fact that, despite the rather pathetic situation of many of the Arabs (and Gelhorn is clearly sympathetic to their plight), she simply cannot feel sorry for them:

I had appreciated and admired individual refugees but realized I had felt no blanket empathy for the Palestinian refugees, and finally I knew why…It is hard to sorrow for those who only sorrow over themselves. It is difficult to pity the pitiless. To wring the heart past all doubt, those who cry aloud for justice must be innocent. They cannot have wished for a victorious rewarding war, blame everyone else for their defeat, and remain guiltless….

Arabs gorge on hate, they roll in it, they breathe it. Jews top the hate list, but any foreigners are hateful enough. Arabs also hate each other, separately and en masse. Their politicians change the direction of their hate as they would change their shirts. Their press is vulgarly base with hate-filled cartoons; their reporting describes whatever hate is now uppermost and convenient. Their radio is a long scream of hate, a call to hate. They teach their children hate in school. They must love the taste of hate; it is their daily bread. And what good has it done them?

There is no future in spending UN money to breed hate. There is no future in nagging or bullying Israel to commit suicide by the admission of a fatal locust swarm of enemies. There is no future in Nasser’s solution, the Holy War against Israel; and we had better make this very clear, very quickly.

There are a couple of interesting things about Gelhorn’s conclusion. First, I think it goes a long way to put to rest the Left’s drum beat about our being the logical victims of Arab hate because of the things we’ve done to them. America is not hated because she is the evil Imperialist boogey man of the world.  Instead, she is currently the most logical victim of Arab hate because hate is an integral part of Arab culture and we’re simply the biggest target — not to mention (at least to date) Israel’s staunchest friend.

Second, I found this 44 year old language made a nice bookend to a book review that the American Enterprise Institute did about a book written by a U.N. insider (hat tip: Power Line). The book being reviewed is The UN Gang: A Memoir of Incompetence, Corruption, Espionage, Anti-Semitism and Islamic Extremism at the UN Secretariat, by Pedro Sanjuan, an American who served on the staff of the secretary-general for more than a decade. The review is aptly entitled A Stagnant Cesspool in Turtle Bay.

You don’t need a lot of imagination or insight to realize that both the review and the book describe an organization that, since its post-WWII heyday (or maybe its post-Cold War heyday), is nothing but a money-wasting boondoggle for professional bureaucrats hostile to the U.S. (Nothing like biting the hand that feeds you.) What makes the review interesting for purposes of this post is the fact that the U.N. has gone from being a Western dominated institution to being one in the thrall of multiple Islamic countries who draw their U.N. salaries from the West (mostly America), but are irrevocably (and corruptly) hostile to its interest and to Israel.

In other words, they still are filled with hate, just as they were 44 years ago:

During the Cold War, the most serious problem posed by the organization was infiltration of the Secretariat by Soviet intelligence. Indeed, Mr. Sanjuan writes, “the Soviets actually controlled every important aspect of the U.N. Secretariat.” Some of his anecdotes are wildly funny–though they weren’t so funny at the time.

Since the end of the Cold War, Soviet hegemony at the Secretariat has been replaced by the growing influence of the Islamic bloc. Further, before 1989 the U.N. was basically a playground for representatives of irrelevant Third World states to pretend to be important (and enjoy shopping at Bloomingdale’s), while the U.S. and the Soviet Union confronted one another in more important places. Since the collapse of the latter, however, the Secretariat has refocused on undermining the United States–and the U.N.’s other bugaboo–Israel.

Indeed, the most shocking part of this book is the unwholesome obsession of the U.N. culture with Jews real or imagined, whether in Israel or the United States. Although Israel should have roughly 15 nominees working in the Secretariat, until recently there wasn’t a single one; even now, a disproportionate number are Palestianians with Israeli passports. As for the United States, it is alleged to be wholly under the thumb of Jews. When congressional critics like Senator Nancy Kassebaum or the late Senator John Heinz raise embarrassing questions that have nothing to do with Israel–say, about the U.N.’s finances–they are blithely dismissed as Jews themselves.

Apparently the first question put to Mr. Sanjuan himself when he joined the secretary-general’s staff (by his Soviet deputy) was “So your father was a Jew, yes?”) That such nonsense could take place during the tenure of a recycled Austrian Nazi like Kurt Waldheim can hardly surprise, but what are we to say when they continue under his successor, a low-rent Peruvian with the made-up name of Perez de Cuellar?

The only thing that saves the Jews from the malevolent obsession that the Islamic countries have brought to the U.N. is the organization’s gross inefficiency.  It burns up money, but does nothing (if you ignore school girl rapes and massive financial scandals, of course):

The principal characteristic of the organization, in Mr. Sanjuan’s telling, is its massive waste of resources. The Secretariat alone employs 6,000 people at annual budget of more than $2 billion. What do these people do? Nobody can actually say, and it is considered bad form to ask.  Its functionaries arrive at 10 a.m., take a three-hour lunch, and usually depart for their homes at 4 p.m. to avoid the evening traffic. Even during “working” hours many prefer to while away their time in a luxurious cafe-lounge on the top floor of the building.

It’s not clear, either, what useful tasks are performed by those who bother to remain on the floors below, since there is massive duplication of functions and no attempt whatever at rationalization or coordination. One example of expensive make-work is the U.N. publications department, which churns out thousands of documents that nobody reads in half a dozen languages, at a cost of $750 per page. Perhaps the most serious work being accomplished in the building takes place in the garage, where–during Mr. Sanjuan’s time at least–a very sophisticated drug-smuggling operation was under way.

Don’t rely on my summaries, though. Go to Neo-Neocon’s original post, and check out the American Enterprise Institute book review.

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The above is (more or less) what I wrote in 2005.  The seething, churning, self-pitying hate, though, should be familiar to all who have watched the “progressives” suffer through the last eight (and, especially, the last eight) years of the Bush administration. Progressives have never really had a plan other than to destroy Bush and everything he respresents absolutely and completely. In this, they differ profoundly from conservatives.

As all of you have noticed, the reaction to this most recent election amongst mainstream (and defeated) conservatives is to engage in rational thought aimed at rejiggering conservatism to help Americans recognize that true conservativism will give the greatest benefits to the greatest number of people.  We’re not shrieking about stolen elections or about the terrible new evil resident in the White House (although I think that Obama, if he fails to recognize the innate evil that lives in Iran or Syria or North Korea or Venezuela, or other like places, is a fool, and possibly a dangerous one). Instead, we’re engaged in self-analysis, a bit of self-pity, and a lot of re-messaging.

Given that those same very self-pitying, perpetually victimized Leftists now hold the reins of American power, I think one of the best things we can hope for is that, like a U.N. populated with Islamic Jew-haters, bureacratic inefficiency will outweigh the hatred.  The desire to change will be there — and the Democrats will undoubtedly effectuate a good many changes — but the sheer weight of their commitment to the governmental, bureaucratic process is going to slow them down.  And if Fred Barnes is right, they’ll manage to do just enough to create openings for thoughtful conservatives who have refined their messages and positioned themselves for a victory predicated, not on victimhood and hatred, but on optimism and a belief in American exceptionalism.

UPDATE:  One of the other things that occurred to me about a commonality between the Left and the Arabs is that they’re not only sore losers (with the most recent evidence amongst the Left being the savage response to the will of the people vis a vis Prop. 8), it’s also that they’re ungracious, vicious winners.  This should be a reminder to Israel (who seems to need this reminder on a perpetual basis) that, when the inevitable upcoming “peace” talks begin with the Obama presidency, she’s still in a no win situation:  win or lose, Arab rage and pity will continue unabated.

Make love, not war

The title of my post was a fatuous, smarmy expression during its heyday in the 1960s. With the UN “peacekeepers,” though, it’s taken on a whole, horrible new meaning:

Sexual abuse of children as young as six by aid workers and United Nations peacekeepers has continued unchecked despite repeated promises to stamp it out, according to a 12-month investigation.

More than half of the children interviewed in three countries, Ivory Coast, South Sudan and Haiti, knew of cases of forced sex with aid staff or peacekeepers.

The assaults were often in return for the very food or protection supposed to be provided to the vulnerable in a crisis.

Similar allegations have dogged UN missions since the organisation sent peacekeepers to Cambodia in the 1990s. However, today’s report, from Save The Children, is the first to point the finger at civilian aid staff, including those working for British charities, as well as soldiers.

[snip]

Elizabeth’s case [gang raped by 10 UN workers when she was 12] is not unique among the 341 children interviewed.

A third claimed that they knew of someone in their community who had been sexually attacked by a peacekeeper or an aid worker.

More than half claimed to know of cases where penniless children, some as young as six, were forced into sexual acts in return for money or food.

If you’re interested in more information about where UN dollars get spent, read the rest here.

UPDATE:  I’m glad you came to visit this blog.  The UN is, to my mind, an unsavory organization, and the more we know about it the better.  This is an old post, however, so if you’d like to see my more recent blog posts, which touch upon conservative political and social issues, please check out my home page.  And if you like what you see, come back again.

The disconnect between Islam and respect

I blogged here about the group that presented a report to the UN to point out what many of us have already realized: Muslims are using declarations of human rights as a way to shut down all religions and speech but theirs.

Patrick, my favorite Paragraph Farmer, took that dry report and drew the obvious and correct conclusions about the radical disconnect between Islam and respect for all of the faithful, regardless of their beliefs:

Another way to think of one of the few achievements to which the United Nations can actually point, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is that all believers deserve respect. It is important to remember, however, that not all beliefs do.

[snip]

I find it exceedingly odd that Islamic countries pressing the United Nations to issue resolutions against “defamation of religions” see no disconnect between that and, for example, making it a criminal offense to possess a Bible or be anything other than Muslim.

UPDATE: If you needed it, here’s an example of the “respect” Islamists accord other religions.  Is the Islamic version of making a desert and calling it peace.

Speaking actual truths to corrupt, and unlistening, power

Okay, maybe the UN will listen to the report from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) but, somehow, I doubt it:

Islamic states are bidding to use the United Nations to limit freedom of expression and belief around the world, the global humanist body IHEU told the U.N.’s Human Rights Council on Wednesday.

In a statement submitted to the 48-nation Council, the IHEU said the 57 members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) were also aiming to undermine the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“The Islamic states see human rights exclusively in Islamic terms, and by sheer weight of numbers this view is becoming dominant within the U.N. system. The implications for the universality of human rights are ominous,” it said.

The statement from the IHEU, the International Humanist and Ethical Union, was issued as the U.N.’s special investigator on freedom of opinion and expression argued in a report that religions had no special protection under human rights law.

Ambeyi Ligabo, a Kenyan jurist, said in a report to the Council limitations on freedom of expression in international rights pacts “are not designed to protect belief systems from external or internal criticism.”

But this argument is rejected by Islamic states, who say outright criticism — and especially lampooning — of religion violates the rights of believers to enjoy respect.

The IHEU statement and Ligabo’s report came against the background of mounting success by the OIC, currently holding a summit in Dakar, in achieving passage of U.N. resolutions against “defamation of religions.”

You can read the rest — which, surprisingly, emanates from al Reuters — here.

I’ll say again what I’ve said before: a religion that is frightened of the marketplace of ideas (that would be Islam) is a religion whose loudest adherents know that it has so many conceptual, theological and practical problems that it cannot compete in that marketplace. And if you can’t compete, and if you’re a totalitarian fanatic, you kill the marketplace.

Here’s a surprise

For a year, Gaza has rained over 2,000 rockets onto Israeli soil, aiming specifically for civilian communities.  There was, of course, nary a peep from the UN.  Now that Israel has struck back, targeting specifically militants who happen to hide amongst civilian populations, the UN Rights Council springs into action:

The U.N. Human Rights Council has condemned Israel’s offensive in Gaza and called on Palestinians to stop rocket fire into Israel. The resolution passed Thursday said Israeli incursions into the Palestinian territory inflicted collective punishment on the civilian population.

Israel launched the offensive last week in response to Palestinian militants barraging southern Israel with rockets. More than 120 Palestinians have been killed, Gaza officials say. Four Israeli have also been killed.

The 47-member rights body approved the resolution 33-1 after a debate on the situation in Gaza. Thirteen countries abstained. The resolution was sponsored by Pakistan and Muslim countries. Russia, China and India support it, European countries abstained, and Canada voted against it.  (Emphasis mine.)

It would be a recurring joke if it weren’t for the real world ramifications. My feeling, every time this joke repeats itself, is that Israel should just give the UN a middle fingered salute and get on with things in the real world.

Incidentally, my only disappointment was to see India’s name on that list.  Given India’s struggles with its own Muslim extremists, both inside and outside of its borders, one would think it would be a bit more sympathetic to Israel’s plight.