The radicals who rule 0

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are disciples of the left-revolutionary Saul Alinsky. Hillary Clinton encountered him personally and wrote an academic essay on his theories. Obama never met him but is his political child, faithfully following his intructions for changing the world. To what? An explicit answer cannot be found in the works of radical leftists, but what one gathers and gleans from them is this: an entirely different world in which human beings will not be as they are but transfigured, their nature so utterly changed that they will commit no crimes, never desire to have one thing that everybody else doesn’t have, and will have no aggression, envy, or hate in them. Or something along those lines. The picture of what will be is never apparently clear even in the revolutionary mind itself. A Marx, a Lenin, a Mao, an Alinsky can describe in any amount of detail what hell is – life as it’s lived now, especially in America; but they cannot describe their heaven (see our post Heaven and Hell, December 16, 2009). They require the utter destruction of this world so that the amorphous fantasy, the new world that they cannot visualize will arise on the ruins of the old. All they are sure of is the first step: destroy this world. This they can and will strive to do with fanatical passion. Anything may be done, however unjust, however cruel. Any number of the living may be sacrificed, for their suffering will buy the bliss of that far more worthy future human race.

Alinsky lays out practical steps for achieving the total destruction in his book Rules for Radicals. David Horowitz, the doughty fighter for freedom in general and especially for free speech in the academies, has written a booklet titled Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution: The Alinsky Model *, in which he explains fully what the Alinsky ethos is, and what tactics Alinskyites will use to create not heaven on earth but chaos.

Here are some quotations from the booklet:

Alinsky’s advice [to his followers] can be summed up in the following way. Even though you are at war with the system, don’t confront it as an opposing army; join it and undermine it as a fifth column from within. To achieve this infiltration you must work inside the system for the time being. Alinsky spells out exactly what this means: “Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people.” In other words, it is first necessary to sell the people on change itself, the “audacity of hope”, and “yes, we can”. You do this by proposing moderate changes which open the door to your radical agendas: “Remember: once you organize people around something as commonly agreed upon as pollution, then an organized people is on the move. From there it’s a short and natural step to political pollution, to Pentagon pollution.”

There is no real parallelism in the war which radicals have declared. One side is fighting with a no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners battle plan against the system, while the other is trying to enforce its rules of fairness and pluralism. This is the Achilles heel of democracies and all radical spears are aimed in its direction.

At first it might seem paradoxical that an American president who has been the beneficiary of an electoral process second to none in its openness and inclusion should have been a veteran advocate and functionary of an organization like ACORN, which has been convicted of the most extensive election fraud in American history. But this is perfectly intelligible once the Alinsky method is understood. ACORN activists have contempt for the election process because they don’t believe in the electoral system as it is constituted in a capitalist democracy.

The really serious revolutionaries, the ones prepared to burn down the system and put their opponents up against the wall, have never had a plan. What they had – and still have – is a vague idea of the kingdom of heaven they propose to create, in Marx’s case “the kingdom of Freedom”, in Alinsky’s case “the open society”, in the case of the current left, “social justice”. These ideas are sentimental and seductive enough to persuade their followers that it is all right to commit fraud, mayhem and murder – usually in epic doses – to enter the promised land. But otherwise, revolutionaries never spend two seconds thinking about how to make an actual society work. How to keep people from committing crimes against each other; how to get them to put their shoulder to the wheel; how to provide incentives that will motivate individuals to produce wealth.

On this passage two points should be noted: The radical left’s understanding of what “the open society” means is the opposite of what the philosopher Karl Popper meant by it in his great work The Open Society and Its Enemies. Popper meant a society in which individuals are free to strive for their own ends, a society in which Adam Smith’s “natural order of liberty” (or what Karl Marx called, with contempt, “capitalism”) prevails. George Soros, who has benefitted hugely from the real open society of America, spends part of the fortune he has made in it on promoting collectivism with Alinskyite strategems through his “Open Society Institute”. And it should always be remembered that “social justice” is the opposite of justice. “Social justice” means endowing those who have not earned anything with the hard-won gains of those who have.

It must seem simply incredible that the chief enemy of a country should be its own elected president; that the man entrusted to lead it should be waging war on it. Many conservatives cannot bring themselves to believe even in the possibility that Obama – even though he is universally acknowledged to have been an Alinskyite in the past – is still of a mind to wreck the America he’s been elected to lead.

“Chaos”? “Wreck”? – don’t these words vastly exaggerate what’s happening?  But look at what he’s done: set the people against Congress, the states against the federal government, former allies against America; let enemies become dangerously strong; and loaded such a burden of debt on the people as will crush generations to come. Isn’t wrecking and chaos well underway?

Today in Townhall, Michael Medved writes a plea to conservatives not to characterize Obama as a revolutionary, or a radical of any sort. While never actually saying that Obama is not a radical revolutionary, he pleads that it’s politically unwise to say that he is. Here’s how he ends his column (but it’s worth going to the source to read the arguments):

If conservatives persist in characterizing the President of the United States as vicious and radical, insanely bent on the destruction of the Republic, we may find reassurance from the already like-minded but we’ll lose nearly everyone in the persuadable middle. As a result, we could spend the next decade or more as an increasingly impotent, irrelevant and angry opposition, howling in the political wilderness.

We don’t agree in this instance with Michael Medved. Horowitz’s booklet explains at length why it is just such fears that Alinskyites take advantage of. We think it’s time to fight seriously (though not unscrupulously as the radicals fight), and nothing can be won if the enemy isn’t recognized and named.

*Order it from The Freedom Center, PO Box 55089, Sherman Oaks, Ca 91499 Tel: 800-752-6562.

To drill and not to drill 0

It looks like good news. At last offshore drilling is to be permitted. America is to be allowed access to its own oil and natural gas.

But there’s a catch, as Michelle Malkin says. She reveals the whole story:

The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.

The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.

If this were a sincere change of heart and an honest, stand-alone effort to wean America off foreign oil, it would be worth heralding.

But as always with this administration, there’s a catch, via the American Energy Alliance:

“One major flashpoint in the negotiations has been whether to share drilling revenue with states and to allow states to opt in or out of drilling along their coastlines. It was unclear late Tuesday whether Obama endorses revenue-sharing for states. ‘It appears the Northern Atlantic and entire Pacific Coast will now be under a de facto ban for drilling,’ said Patrick Creighton, a spokesman for the Institute for Energy Research. ‘Even if drilling is ultimately allowed in part of the Atlantic,’ Creighton said, ‘revenue sharing is an essential incentive for states.’ The administration’s plans could meet resistance from at least 10 Senate Democrats representing coastal and Great Lakes states who last week raised concerns about ‘unfettered access to oil and gas drilling’ that could jeopardize fishing, tourism and military exercises…”

GOP Rep. Mike Pence adds:

“As usual the devil is in the details. Only in Washington, D.C., can you ban more areas to oil and gas exploration than you open up, delay the date of your new leases and claim you’re going to increase production.

“The President’s announcement today is a smokescreen. It will almost certainly delay any new offshore exploration until at least 2012 and include only a fraction of the offshore resources that the previous Administration included in its plan.

“Unfortunately, this is yet another feeble attempt to gain votes for the President’s national energy tax bill that is languishing in the Senate. At the end of the day this Administration’s energy plan is simple: increase the cost of energy on every family in America and trade American jobs oversees at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work.

Too big to see 0

A shift of power from the United States to its enemies – chief among them China, Iran, and Russia – is being deliberately carried out by Obama and his gang.

China now wields economic power over America. Iran is being allowed to develop a nuclear arms capability. Obama has concluded a treaty with Russia whereby America will weaken itself while Russia will strengthen itself militarily.

What’s more, America will pay Russia to do it.

Why is there no protest, no outcry about this?

Is it too dreadful for most Americans to notice, so they turn their eyes away from it?

Is it too big to see?

Frank Gaffney at Canada Free press explains just how the new START treaty is to Russia’s advantage and America’s detriment:

President Obama announced last Thusday that he had concluded a follow-on to the 1989 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia. He characterized the cuts that it would make in the two nations’ nuclear arsenals as a major step towards his goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons. In practice, however, the so-called “New START” accord will contribute primarily to the denuclearization of the United States and to making the world a more dangerous place. Accordingly, it would be more accurate to call it “False START.”

The first thing to note about the Obama treaty is that it confers real advantages on the Russians. For starters, the Kremlin will have to make essentially no cuts in the numbers of its deployed strategic launchers, whereas the United States will have to destroy several hundred of ours.

It is unclear at this writing whether such reductions by the U.S. will, as a practical matter, make it difficult – if not impossible – for America to preserve its strategic “Triad” of land- and sea-based ballistic missiles and long-range bombers. If so, there could be serious implications for strategic stability as the confidence of friends and foes alike in the robustness of our deterrent declines markedly.

What is clear, though, is that we will be obliged to cut back our arsenal to match the lower levels that the Russians can afford to maintain at the moment. The advisability of such a step would be debatable even if it produced a genuine equality between the two parties.

Unfortunately, the seeming equality thus established is deceptive in at least three respects:

First, the Russians are aggressively modernizing their strategic forces with both new missiles and warheads. They claim that by 2015 roughly 80% of their long-range arsenal will have been upgraded – an activity we are subsidizing by paying to dismantle their old weapon systems, freeing up funds for Moscow’s modernization programs.

By contrast, the United States has not introduced a new nuclear weapon in over fifteen years. Its missiles, submarines and bombers are, by and large, even older, with some dating back to the 1950s and ’60s. Today, the Nation has no capability to produce new nuclear weapons and could not manufacture them in quantity for many years – the only nuclear power of whom that can be said.

Second, the Russians are reintroducing multiple, independently-targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) on their land-based ballistic missiles. This step could enable a break-out capacity that would allow Moscow rapidly to deploy far more weapons than its forces are allowed to have under the new START treaty. By contrast, the United States decided back in the 1980s that such a capability was “destabilizing”; it has systematically de-MIRVed its underground silo-launched intercontinental-range ballistic missiles ever since.

Third, the newly unveiled START accord fails to take into account or otherwise limit several thousand Russian “tactical” nuclear weapons. The Kremlin has focused for twenty years on such low-yield devices; some with the explosive power of the Hiroshima weapon and fitted on submarine-launched cruise missiles are deployed off our coasts today. While the administration says such armaments could be the subject of a future, bilateral treaty that makes still deeper reductions in U.S. and Russian nuclear stocks, don’t count on it. In any event, they will constitute a real, asymmetric advantage for Russia for many years to come. This is a particularly worrisome prospect to American allies in Europe who have long relied on America’s “extended deterrence” to counteract such threatening Kremlin capabilities.

Then, there is the matter of missile defense. The Obama administration tried to finesse Russian insistence on including in the new accord language that would capture American defenses against missile attack by confining to the preamble an acknowledgement of a “relationship” between such systems and offensive forces. The United States claims that, by its nature, such preambular language is not binding. Yet, a Kremlin spokesman has already served notice that Moscow will feel free to abrogate the START follow-on treaty if it believes that U.S. missile defenses in Europe are a threat to its deterrent.

The biggest problem of all with the New START treaty, however, is that it is a product of President Obama’s fixation with “devaluing nuclear weapons” and ridding the world of them. On these grounds, he refuses to take the steps necessary to modernize America’s deterrent. Even though he professes that a nuclear-free globe will not be realized any time soon, he is condemning the nation to unilateral disarmament by allowing the steady and unavoidable obsolescence of the U.S. stockpile, and the dissipation of the workforce and infrastructure needed to maintain it, to continue unabated.

The acuteness of this obsolescence has reached a point where the directors of the nation’s nuclear laboratories have felt compelled to express strong concerns about the continued reliability of the arsenal. …

These factors ensure that the New START treaty will contribute to U.S. nuclear disarmament alright, but do nothing to advance the ostensible purpose of the exercise – namely, enhancing the security of this country or the world.

F for a mess-up 0

Investors’ Business Daily deplores the strengthening American dictatorship and the manner in which it is spreading and tightening its control by means of an increasing and ever more privileged bureaucracy:

With the passage of health care reform and the ongoing boom in federal hiring, it’s becoming increasingly clear that America is now run by a new, privileged class of bureaucrats.

For those who remember the old Soviet Union, it was a grim place — at least for average citizens. But not so for those in government. Contrary to the official ideals of equality and a classless society that the ruling communist regime espoused, the USSR created a privileged class of party members inside government — the nomenklatura.

This semipermanent bureaucracy earned higher incomes, got better health care, ate better food and had greater job security than average Russians, the much-despised proletarians. Today, our bloated federal government seems, in significant ways, to be creating this same dynamic.

Take the just-passed health care bill that carefully excluded the White House, congressional leaders and their staffs from having to live under the reforms’ restrictions.

“President Obama will not have to live under the Obama health care reforms, and neither will the congressional staff who helped to write the overhaul,” said Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley. “The message to the people at the grass roots is that it’s good enough for you, but not for us.”

The hypocrisy of these officials and the contempt they show for average Americans is bad enough. But  Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public can also go to jail or be fined up to $250,000 for not buying insurance. And the government is spending $10 billion to hire 16,500 new IRS agents to make sure they don’t escape the new system. [But see below]

Under current budget plans, this won’t end soon. With $45 trillion in new government spending planned over the next decade, this new privileged governing class can only grow.

Today, as we witness a massive shift of resources from the private to the public sector, the only place adding jobs is government. Since the start of last year, the federal government has added 81,000 jobs. By contrast, private-sector payrolls have shed 4.71 million.

Big government is the place to be these days. Federal workers are some of the country’s best-paid, earning far in excess of their counterparts in the private sector. …

The average government worker gets a whopping $40,785 a year in health care, pension and other benefits compared to $9,882 for a private worker. The difference in total compensation widens to $38,548 a year — for the same job with the same duties.

Anyone who has visited the slow-moving Post Office, talked to the surly and often hostile IRS agent or even gone to the local DMV to spend time in waiting-room hell can tell you that pay gap doesn’t represent productivity, training or ability.

What it does represent is the new Nomenklatura — the privileged apparatchiks who now run our government and with it, sadly, much of our lives. This is very much a result of years of “progressive” thinking that has pushed the Democratic Party sharply leftward across the political spectrum.

Since the Civil War, the so-called Progressive Movement’s dream has been to exalt bureaucratic expertise and control over free-market efficiency. With the new administration, their dream has become our nightmare.

It’s true and very bad - but  one statement  needs qualification:

Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public can also go to jail or be fined up to $250,000 for not buying insurance. And the government is spending $10 billion to hire 16,500 new IRS agents to make sure they don’t escape the new system.

According to this report by Morgen Richmond at Big Government, there is no provision in the act for enforcing the individual mandate:

One of the more controversial elements of ObamaCare is the mandate for most individuals to purchase insurance beginning in 2014. There is really no precedent for a federal mandate of this scale requiring individuals to purchase a product or service. So not surprisingly a number of state Attorney Generals have indicated they will be filing suit questioning the constitutionality of this provision.

Of course the individual mandate is also very risky from a political standpoint, as the Democrats who orchestrated the passage of this bill are mandating not only that the young and healthy obtain insurance, but also that even their most fervent liberal constituents must purchase this coverage from the “evil”, private insurance industry.

Republicans for their part have focused on the fact that this mandate will be enforced via threat of a financial penalty (or tax), with the added assumption that it is the dreaded IRS which will be enforcing this. And sure enough, it’s already been reported that the IRS anticipates hiring possibly in excess of 15,000 additional personnel to deal with the collection of the individual mandate, and other tax related provisions within the bill.

However, it turns out that the Democrats who crafted this bill significantly – and I mean significantly – hamstrung the ability of the IRS or any other federal agency to enforce or collect on this mandate. Here is what the federal Joint Committee on Taxation had to say about this issue in a report released earlier this week:

The penalty applies to any period the individual does not maintain minimum essential coverage and is determined monthly. The penalty is assessed through the Code and accounted for as an additional amount of Federal tax owed. However, it is not subject to the enforcement provisions of subtitle F of the [Internal Revenue] Code. The use of liens and seizures otherwise authorized for collection of taxes does not apply to the collection of this penalty. Non-compliance with the personal responsibility requirement to have health coverage is not subject to criminal or civil penalties under the Code and interest does not accrue for failure to pay such assessments in a timely manner.

According to a footnote in the report, “subtitle F of the Code” is the portion of the tax code which grants the IRS the authority to assess and collect taxes. In other words, as the law is written the federal government has no legal authority to enforce this mandate, nor will it have any recourse to collect any penalties that go unpaid!

Without an effective mechanism of enforcing the individual mandate, the entire system is likely to collapse. (The individual mandate is the “third leg of the stool” as many a liberal has been pointing out for months.) Given that the bill also bans insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, WHY WOULD ANYONE OBTAIN INSURANCE COVERAGE PRIOR TO NEEDING IT? This was already going to be a problem with the relatively low cost of the penalty, but take away any meaningful enforcement of it and it is a complete and total joke.

The net result will be an ever increasing shift of healthcare costs on to those who remain in the insurance system (or to tax payers), and possibly even the bankruptcy of the insurance industry. Given all the double-talk the past year over the public option, and the demonizing of private insurers, it is hard not to wonder whether this was by design. But let’s give our Democratic friends the benefit of the doubt, in which case this represents an inexcusable level of incompetence from the people we have just entrusted with overseeing one-sixth of the economy. Nice job guys.

If it’s a mistake it could be a lucky break for the oppressed  But if the apparent mess-up is part of the plan, what fresh hell awaits us?

Muhammad’s command 24

… “Kill the infidel”.

(See our post Christians murdered by Muslims March 9, 2010)

Here are more pictures of the victims of Islamic savages at Jos, in Nigeria. (See still more if you can bear to here.)

THEY WERE MOSTLY WOMEN AND CHILDREN.
THEY WERE DEFENCELESS.
THEY WERE UNPROTECTED.
THEY DIED WITHOUT KNOWING WHY OR HOW.
SOME WHERE BUTCHERED ON THEIR BEDS WHILE MANY MORE WERE KILLED WHILE TRYING
TO FLEE FROM  THEIR ATTACKERS; MOSLEMS WHO FEEL THESE PEOPLE DO NOT DESERVE TO
LIVE AND DO NOT DESERVE THE LIVES THEY HAVE.
WOMEN WERE HACKED DOWN AS THEY TRIED TO COVER AND PROTECT THEIR CHILDREN WITH
THEIR BODIES. LITTLE BABIES WERE SNATCHED FROM THEIR MOTHERS AND THROWN INTO
THE BURNING FLAMES SET BY THE ATTACKERS.

CHRISTIANS IN THREE VILLAGES IN A COMMUNITY NEAR JOS WERE SHOT AND BUTCHERED IN
COLD BLOOD IN THE EARLY HOURS OF SUNDAY 7TH MARCH 2010
SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY WERE CHRISTIANS

Footnote: The Archbishop of Canterbury is zealously promoting Islamic “law” in Britain.

Posted under Africa, Islam, Muslims by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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Judaism and Atheism 0

Today is the festival of Passover when Jews celebrate a legendary exodus from Egypt of their Hebrew ancestors under the leadership of an Egyptian prince named Moses. According to the legend, the Hebrews were slaves, and the Egyptian prince was really a Hebrew himself who had been adopted soon after birth by an Egyptian princess. Well, he had to be “re-adopted” somehow by the Hebrews because he it was (so the legend goes) who gave them the laws which bound them together as a nation and founded the religion of Judaism. It is, as all the world knows, a monotheistic religion based on an idea attributed to one Abraham, a Hebrew ancestor who, it is believed, had conceived it hundreds or possibly thousands of years earlier.

It may have been the case that an historical Moses did indeed lead a host of Hebrews out of Egypt, making common cause with them because  - as Sigmund Freud theorizes in his book Moses and Monotheism – he too was a monotheist; a faithful follower of Pharaoh Akhnaton, who had worshiped the sun as the only god, and whose cult after his death had been all but wiped out of history by the priests of the old, revived, polytheistic religion.

One of our founders and editors, C.Gee, has been discussing Judaism and Atheism with one of our readers, Aeschines, as comments on our post On religion (March 25, 2010). We think the discussion is so interesting that we are re-posting it on our front page today:

C.Gee: I regard Judaism as extremely important in the history of rationality. Judaism was the first step to atheism. By making an abstract God, and making him a law-giver (never mind that some of the particular laws were practiced in the region generally), and elevating the principle of obedience to law not man, it constituted a major victory for rationality over superstition, and paved the way for the national, secular, polity. As science progresses, God the law-giver and creator, can have his remit broadened to become God the giver of the laws of nature. He becomes Spinoza’s God, identical with the universe, and thereafter may be ignored, leaving the universe to stand for Him, and then for itself. The two next Books of the [Jewish] Bible should be the Book of Spinoza and the Book of Einstein.

Aeschines: Just curious, but when do you think that Judaism started to influence thought towards atheism?

C.Gee: The idea of an abstract God began in Abrahamic times – 5000 or so years ago. That idea identified the Hebrew people. By the time Moses brought down the Law in God’s name, the Jews had accepted the authority of a God that was everywhere and nowhere (although with some idol-worship recidivism) and we had the beginning of a polity centered on responsibility to fellow men – righteousness to one’s people in God’s name – and an emphasis on how to live this law-abiding life. The Israelites were the first proto-secular, even humanist, society living under a nominal God. Christianity kept the idea of an abstract God, although its immediate object of worship was an idol of God-made-flesh, Jesus. That abstract, absentee God became useful to Christendom during the Enlightenment – precisely because he was absent. Deism was an accommodation with institutional religion for the growing number of people whose frame of mind was secular and scientific. Scientific inquiry could only be undertaken by those who had accepted that there were explanations for phenomena other than animating magic spirits. An abstract, one-time, singular animating spirit called God was a kind of systemic noise – an absent presence that did not interfere with the discovery of the mathematics of universal physical laws. That the Judaic God was a creator and a law-giver, could permit the discovery of His natural laws, in His creation. The Enlightenment was a time of proto-atheism. Further discoveries pushed the originating God further into scientific irrelevance, and secular politics has pushed the law-giving God into social irrelevance. With even the nominality of God now attenuated to vanishing, we are entering into the age of atheism.

Interestingly enough, a recent survey showed that 41% of Jews regard themselves as atheist.

Aeschines: Yes, but what do you think of the horrendous slaughters of native people by the Jews? I am of course referring to the Old Testament genocides and annihilations done in the name of God. The Jews in this regard don’t seem much different from many other religions of that time.

The Assyrians are regarded as “cruel,” but the Jews seem to escape this description, even though they tended to destroy EVERYTHING in their path (with the exception of virgin women, spared presumably for raping).

“The Israelites were the first proto-secular, even humanist, society living under a nominal God.”

Yes, but even a cursory examination of the Bible reveals Yahweh as a malicious, cruel, jealous, contradictory tyrant, much like many of the other gods of antiquity.

C.Gee: The ancient way of war was fierce – no matter in whose name the war was conducted. Even an abstract God can take on human characteristics in the retelling of legendary conquests boasting of the might and mettle of his people in establishing their national territory. (Who knows whether the early conquest by the Jews of those numerous peoples really happened? The Bible is often the only record of it.) But Yahweh had no statue, no location, no maw to feed with living human flesh – even though he was malicious, cruel, jealous, and contradictory. His abstract nature allowed him to be the God of War, of Law, of Creation, of the Hearth, of Everything. No doubt some of these personae conflicted with others, but then a nation must regulate itself in peace and conduct wars. It must sustain itself through Ecclesiastical exigencies. An abstract God is authority for all national endeavors, an unwritten “living” constitution. That constitution kept the nation together even when the territory of its homeland was lost. The idea of nationhood was coterminous with that of God. Belief in one could stand in for belief in the other. I think that many, many Jews now believe in the idea of their nationhood (even those among the diaspora ) and not God.

The Bible is not the constitution of the Jewish people. (It was not, in any case an original founding document, but written at various times ). It is a mythical and historical record and a statute book. Even if it is seen as the literal word of God, its interpreters do not take literally the passages where metaphorical or allegorical meanings must be sought to avoid nonsense. ( God was obviously a versatile speaker – could bark out directions, or hint enigmatically, as the occasion warranted.) Despite that, there is a whole sub-speciality of antisemitism claiming that the Bible is a “blueprint” for modern Israel’s cruel colonialist enterprise – what Joshua did at Jericho, the Zionists are doing to the Palestinians.

You seem to be implying, though, that atheists would not have conducted war, or conducted cruel wars. While no war has been fought in the name of atheism, there are rational justifications for war (conquest was – and still is, despite Geneva conventions – definitely one of them). There is nothing in atheism – the absence of a belief in God – that requires pacifism. There is nothing in atheism that precludes blood-thirstiness.

Posted under Atheism, Judaism by Jillian Becker on Monday, March 29, 2010

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Thomas Jefferson said … 4

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

(Thanks to Neil Reinhardt)

Posted under United States by Jillian Becker on Monday, March 29, 2010

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Yawning at Islamic terrorism 0

The values of the West are inverted among the ranks of the political left, the people who now rule Europe and (dreadful to say) America.

Many voices in the Western world continually insist that captured terrorists must be given a fair trial: they must have lawyers to defend them at tax-payers’ expense; all the safeguards that the rule of law requires, whether in civil or military courts, must be provided for those accused of indiscriminate and (usually) mass murder. Yet those same voices are silent .. or at least it is becoming hard to hear them .. they must be murmuring too softly .. or there are too few of them to make an audible chorus on the crime of terrorism itself.

We now know the name of the migrant worker from Thailand who was killed by a Palestinian rocket (see our post No, the name’s not Rachel Corrie, March 18, 2010). His death was little reported in the mainstream media. No government spokesman condemned the act of terrorism that killed him – or not that we heard. The international left whose putative heart bleeds for the moral poseur Rachel Corrie, and whose ideological sense of outrage is roused by the execution of the evil terrorist al-Mabhouh in Dubai – doesn’t apparently give a damn about the killing by terrorists of a Thai farm worker.

Human Rights Watch has usually conformed with the pattern of misplaced indignation. In this instance it has actually condemned the killing. It comes as a surprise – which is in itself an indictment of that organization.

Anav Silverman writes at Front Page:

It is not every day that Human Rights Watch (HRW) comes out with a report that accurately highlights Hamas war crimes against Israel, but in the case of the Thai worker killed by a Gaza rocket on March 18, 2009, HRW did just that.

The tragic story of Manee Singmueangphon, a Thai migrant worker who was killed when a rocket struck an Israeli greenhouse north of Gaza on Thursday March 18, was barely given any in-depth coverage in the mainstream media. Most news reports simply stated that a Thai migrant worker was killed in a rocket attack, not even giving the victim a name.

Indeed, almost no western leader or human rights organization directed words of condemnation to the Islamic terrorists who fired the rockets that killed Manee, a 33-year old husband and father with children back in Thailand, and sent shock waves among his fellow Thai and Nepalese workers…

Human Rights Watch … made it clear in its March 19 report titled Gaza: End Impunity for Indiscriminate Rocket Attacks, that … “Hamas as the de facto authority in Gaza has the responsibility to stop indiscriminate rocket attacks into Israel” …

In general, the Western’s world attitude of toleration towards Islamic terrorists and terrorism has become a very worrying phenomenon. The killing of the Hamas commander, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, was received by shocked disapproval from the international community. Many news outlets, including AP, called his death a murder.

The fact that al-Mabhouh was key to moving arms made or funded by Iranian government to Hamas in Gaza, or for his role in the 1989 kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers, did not elicit any signs of outrage in a world where Islamic terrorists are not often brought to justice.

The underlying result of al-Mabhouh’s death is that a dangerous terrorist, abetting the radical Islamic jihadist organization, Hamas, which is responsible for thousands of Israeli civilian deaths and injuries, is no longer a threat to humanity. Britain, Australia, France and other western nations, however, simply slammed Israel, the accused agent behind the assassination for carrying out the attack by using fake foreign passports. Not one word was said about the global need to successfully combat terrorism and bring terrorists to justice.

In order for terrorism to abate, the anger and words of condemnation and action need to be directed at those terrorists who commit these heinous acts. World leaders both in Europe and the West need to look beyond Islamic jihadist rhetoric and take a firm stand against Islamic terrorists whether it be in Israel, Gaza, Iraq, Afganistan, Iran, Somalia and other areas, where women and children remain their constant targets…

As long as the world tolerates those Islamic jihadists who fire rockets against innocent Israeli civilians and accepts their legitimization for it, terrorism will continue to strike innocent civilians everywhere. The killing of Manee Singmueangphon by a Gaza rocket should serve as a constant reminder that people of all nationalities are indiscriminate victims of Iranian-sponsored Islamic terrorism.

Gazans oppressed with cash and gold 0

Gaza is awash with cash, goods, gold.

The gold is smuggled in from Egypt. The cash is given to the Palestinians by Israel.

According to a DebkaFile report, an (unpublished) Egyptian investigation contradicts the tear-jerking accounts spread in the West.

Here’s the story:

Foreign visitors to the Gaza Strip, most recently UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon and European Union foreign executive Catherine Ashton, depict its 1.2 million Palestinian inhabitants with great pathos as living in wretched conditions, starving and homeless – and all because of the Israeli embargo. In fact, a new Egyptian report … shows that the one-day observers were hoodwinked or willing to be misled.

The Egyptian authors count more than 1,000 tunnels, some broad enough for loaded trucks, through which a large array of basic and luxury goods flow to the markets and shops of the Palestinian enclave – and have done ever since the end of 2009. The latest hit in Gaza is the new Gold Market, which has been crowded with shoppers for trinkets, ornaments and glittering gifts since it opened.

Yet Ashton, after a day in Gaza, reported: “Moving from Israel into Gaza, you go from a 21st century country to a landscape that has been disfigured. Rebuilding is impossible while Israel blocks goods from entering. People have little more at their disposal than the ruins that surround them.”

And the UN secretary never tires of demanding that Israeli lift its embargo, as though the Gaza Strip’s plight was unmatched anywhere in the world.

The stage props they witnessed in their fleeting visits were bolstered by the accounts of local UN Works and Relief Agency personnel who have a vested interested in presenting a picture of profound poverty – both to stimulate donations and to justify their jobs. They and the Hamas rulers share an interest in keeping this distorted impression before the world media.

The new Egyptian report finally exposes this fraudulent picture with hard facts and figures.

For instance, the oversupply of building materials has in fact depressed the market price per ton of iron from $1066 in 2008 to $533 in March 2010; cement has dropped even more steeply, from just over a thousand dollars then to $240 today, because of an overabundance.

If the buildings damaged in Israel’s operation Cast Lead in 2009 have not been rebuilt, it is not because of the ineffectual Israel embargo.

In fact, the Hamas rulers make a tidy profit from embargo: They impose duty on every item of goods “imported” via the tunnels which honeycomb the Egyptian-Gazan border area. This revenue not only keeps them in silk ties but also in power.

Their other main source of income is, unbelievably, the 200 million Israeli shekels (app. $50 m), Israel deposits in cash in Gazan banks every month. This income – which provides the oxygen for keeping Gaza’s economy and financial sector afloat – is in fact spent on building more and better tunnels for more high-end goods, in order to further boost Hamas revenues – as well as weapons, which are then used for attacking Israel. The Strip is awash with every type of hardware.

Keeping Gaza’s banks supplied with Israeli currency, an Israeli concession to foreign demand, fuels one of the craziest and destructive cyclical processes ever seen even in this irrational region.

Some of those shekels are spent to upgrade the underground conduits with concrete walls and efficient lighting to resemble European highway tunnels, through which trucks and other vehicles flow. The “tunnel industry” – as it has become – employs 20-25,000 workers.

Because the markets of Gaza are swamped with an enormous variety of cheap luxury items, unavailable in many other Middle East countries, the tunnel managers have recently slowed down the traffic to support prices. As a result, Hamas’ revenue from “import duty” declined by 60 percent in the first two months of 2010.

There are certainly poor people in Gaza, like anywhere else – but the obvious causes, which anywhere else would be first assigned to poor government and social malaise, never seem to occur to observers who look at this reality through the prism of their agendas.

Posted under Arab States, Israel, middle east, News by Jillian Becker on Sunday, March 28, 2010

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By degrees 0

In an impressive display of how to wield overwhelming power, the Obama administration has slowly and steadily softened its threat of sanctions against Iran for its persistence in developing an aggressive nuclear capability.

These are the administration’s six degrees of sanctions:

Sanctions that cripple

Sanctions that bite

Sanctions that pinch

Sanctions that tap

Sanctions that stroke

Sanctions that kiss

The only sort Obama will apply, if any at all, and if Iran lets him, are the last.

Post Script – news from Newsmax:

Legislation passed by Congress imposing harsh sanctions on Iran has languished for months without President Barack Obama’s signature as the Islamic Republic moves forward with its nuclear program.

In December, the House passed the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act by a 412-12 vote. The bill would increase the White House’s power to sanction any company or individual aiding Iran in importing gasoline or refining petroleum.

Iran must import up to 40 percent of its gasoline due to a lack of refining capacity.

The Senate passed a similar bill by a unanimous voice vote in January.

Citing Iran’s human rights abuses, funding of terrorists and pursuit of its nuclear program, Sen. Chris Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat who co-sponsored the bill, said: “With passage of this bill, we make it clear that there will be appropriate consequences if these actions continue.” …

All that remained was for the Democratic leadership to reconcile slight differences in the House and Senate bills.

Instead, they have “bottled up the measure and refused to allow a blending of the bills,” Michael M. Rosen, a Republican activist and attorney in San Diego, writes in the Jerusalem Post.

“Why? Because the Obama administration asked them to.”

Posted under Commentary, Humor, Iran, satire, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, March 28, 2010

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