Is the Swamp swallowing Trump? (3) 2

Continuing from the two posts below, we now look at how powerful elements in the intelligence services defy and try to undermine President Trump.

We know that the former head of the FBI, James Comey, by his own confession leaked information through a friend to the leftist media with malice towards the president. (And for the latest revelation of James Comey’s corruption, see here.)

It is reported that the CIA is leaking its discontent with its new director – the president’s ally, Michael Pompeo – because he is trying to to stop the leaks and change their Obama-set agenda.

And this is from an editorial in Investor’s Business Daily:

The remarks made in recent weeks by two former spy chiefs go well beyond anything ever uttered by previous espionage leaders, calling into question the commander in chief’s competence and sanity. In politics, when considering such vituperative criticisms, it’s always wise to consider the source.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan have both weighed in with scathing remarks about President Trump in recent days and weeks. To be blunt, Clapper and Brennan were political partisans of President Obama, and neither did exactly a bang-up job while in their posts.

Speaking on CNN to left-leaning anti-Trump host Don Lemon this week, Clapper said, “I really question his ability, his fitness to be in this office. And I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it. Maybe he is looking for a way out.”

“How much longer does the country have to, to borrow a phrase, endure this nightmare?” he asked, suggesting concern over Trump’s access to nuclear codes.

There’s an awful lot to unpack there.

For one, should a former intelligence chief who admitted to lying before Congress about the extent of National Security Agency spying on average Americans be passing judgment on any politician?

And should we trust the judgment of someone who, laughably, claimed that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was “largely secular,” as Clapper did, and who predicted during Libya’s civil war that Moammar Gadhafi would “prevail” in the end, just months before his dead body was dragged through the streets?

And yet, we’re supposed to take his criticisms of Trump seriously.

As for also suggesting that Trump is “looking for a way out”, that’s by now an old fantasy peddled and re-peddled by angry Obama-ites.

“It’s shocking that a former director of national intelligence takes the discredited ‘Trump wants out’ theme one step further at this late date,” as Paul Mirengoff of the PowerLine blog put it. “What does Clapper mean when he says Trump may be ‘looking for a way out’ by giving what Clapper considers over-the-top speeches? Does he think Trump, for whom winning means everything, wants to be impeached? That he wants to be institutionalized?”

Or, perhaps, is he just trying to sow more confusion, more anger, more inchoate hatred for the president among those who didn’t vote for him, thus obstructing Trump’s ability to govern?

We’d opt for the latter.

Then there’s former CIA chief John Brennan, who has also stepped out of his supposedly apolitical role as a spymaster to make highly charged political comments about Trump.

After Trump’s comments about Charlottesville, Brennan ripped into Trump for making “dangerous” and “ugly” comments.

He’s entitled to his opinion, of course. But it has long been a part of our tradition of government service that former officials serving in a nonpolitical capacity would leave the criticisms of other administrations to the elected politicians. To ignore this tradition runs the risk of tainting the professionalism of the agencies they once headed, and provides evidence that the heavily politicized, entrenched, progressive “deep state” that many Americans believe poses a danger to our republic really does exist.

By the way, Brennan in remarks made last July that can only be called highly questionable suggested that it’s “obligation of some executive branch officials” to refuse to fire Robert Mueller, who is heading up the open-ended investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and its hacking of the 2016 election.

Let’s be clear: Trump, should he want to do so, would be absolutely within his rights as president to seek Mueller’s firing. Whether it would be politically wise to do so is a separate question.

And Brennan’s remarks are incredibly self-serving, since he is the one who initiated the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia last summer, in the heat of the campaign. The Obama loyalist did so, apparently, thinking it would fatally damage Trump’s campaign.

“It was then-CIA Director John O. Brennan, a close confidant of Mr. Obama’s, who provided the information — what he termed the ‘basis’ — for the FBI to start the counterintelligence investigation last summer,” wrote Washington Times national security correspondent Rowan Scarborough last May. “Mr. Brennan served on the former president’s 2008 presidential campaign and in his White House.”

Brennan, by the way, also aided in making up the bogus talking points used by the Obama administration to lie about what happened in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were murdered. Whose interests was Brennan serving?

Far from being a disinterested intelligence official, Brennan is in fact a highly partisan political operative with a far-left background. By his own admission (it came out in a CIA polygraph test administered early in his career), he voted for Communist Party hack Gus Hall for president in 1980.

A mere youthful indiscretion? According to the authoritative Black Book Of Communism, Communist nations in the 20th century slaughtered more than 100 million people around the world. They did so in a (fortunately) failed attempt to impose that inhuman, totalitarian system on free people everywhere. Yet Brennan voted to have that same murderous, totalitarian system imposed on us here in the U.S. And was still given the keys to our nation’s secrets.

Anyone can criticize the president. That’s America. But not everyone should. Neither Clapper nor Brennan have distinguished themselves in recent years, either professionally or politically. America’s intelligence agencies were deeply dysfunctional during the Obama years.

By inserting themselves so dishonestly into a partisan political dispute, Clapper and Brennan have not only damaged the agencies they once headed, but the democracy they once claimed to serve. They serve as Exhibits A and B in why the swamp must be drained, and drained thoroughly.

The dying Left 1

We wrote yesterday that a century of Leftism is coming to an end. (See the post immediately below, End of an atrocious era). The death throes can be seen in France, where the Socialist Party is about to lose power.

This is from PowerLine, by Paul Mirengoff:

The French Socialist party held its primary [on January 22] in the race to succeed Francois Hollande as the party’s standard bearer. Hollande’s presidency has been such a disaster that he declined to stand for re-election.

Former education minister Benoit Hamon came in first with around 36 percent of the vote. He will face former prime minister Manuel Valls, who captured around 31 percent of the vote.

Hamon is a left-winger. He represents what the BBC calls “the angry, radical wing of the Socialist party.” Apparently, his central policy idea is a guaranteed minimum income.

Valls is a centrist by French Socialist standards, anyway. As prime minister, he tried to implement a somewhat pro-business agenda. He also declared that France is at war with radical Islam and stated that if Jews flee France in large numbers, “France will no longer be France” and “the French Republic will be judged a failure.”

Unfortunately, Hamon has a very clear edge in the run-off. The third-place finisher, left-winger Arnaud Montebourg, is backing him. Combined, Hamon and Montebourg received more than 50 percent of the primary vote.

Valls has characterized the run-off as a choice “between an assured defeat [in the general election] and possible victory”. He’s right, I think, that defeat is assured if Hamon is the Socialist candidate. But it is probably a reach to say that victory is possible under Valls.

The big question is whether the Socialist candidate can finish second in the general election and thus make the runoff against against Francois Fillon, the closest thing to a Reagan-Thatcher conservative, at least when it comes to economic policy, ever nominated by a major party in France. Standing in the way is Marine Le Pen of the National Front party, a right-wing ultra-nationalist outfit. As far as I can tell, most observers expect that it will be Fillon vs. Le Pen in the runoff.

The bigger story here may be the collapse, at least for now, of socialist parties throughout Europe.

So Mirengoff cautiously allows for a resurrection of Socialism. We concede that its specter may haunt the world for ages yet, but we do not foresee it reigning again.

He quotes an article by Alissa Rubin in the New York Times:

The collapse of the establishment left in France is hardly a unique phenomenon. Across Europe, far-right populist parties are gaining strength, including in France, while the mainstream left, which played a central role in building modern Europe, is in crisis.

From Italy to Poland to Britain and beyond, voters are deserting center-left parties, as leftist politicians struggle to remain relevant in a moment when politics is inflamed by anti-immigrant, anti-European Union anger.

In Italy, constituencies that used to routinely back the center-left Democratic Party are turning to the new anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which is Euroskeptic and anti-globalization

Rubin quotes a professorial view:

Wherever you look in Europe the Socialists are not doing well, with the exception of Portugal,” said Philippe Marlière, a professor of French and European politics at University College London. …

And Mirengoff comments, “Europe is in a state of tremendous flux and possibly a state of crisis.”

It is definitely in a state of crisis. At this critical moment in their history, Europeans have to choose between letting the socialist parties (a category that includes the parties calling themselves “conservative”) continue in power, which means the preservation of the European Union and the Islamization of the continent; or saving their nation states, their identity, their culture, their law, their heritage, their traditions, their liberty – in short, their civilization – by supporting the populist parties indiscriminately labeled “far-right” by the establishment and the media.

The outlook is brightening for the populist parties since Donald Trump won the US presidency. His success has invigorated them. Chances are they will soon win power in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy … and eventually even in Portugal.

In praise of waterboarding 5

Frankly, the waterboarding, if it was up to me, and if we changed the laws or had the laws, waterboarding would be fine. I would do a lot more than waterboarding. You have to get the information from these people.

So said Donald Trump on NBC’s Today show last Tuesday, March 23.

We agree with him. And, somewhat to our surprise since PowerLine has declared itself to be anti-Trump, Paul Mirengoff of that excellent website does too.

He writes:

According to reports, the terrorists who carried out last week’s attacks in Brussels acted sooner than originally planned because they feared that captured terrorist Salah Abdeslam would inform authorities of the attacks. Apparently, they need not have worried.

Belgian officials questioned Abdeslam only lightly, and not at all about possible new attacks. Instead, using the discredited law enforcement model, they focused on the Paris attacks of last November, presumably hoping to obtain a confession.

Back in the days of the controversy over waterboarding, there was talk about a “ticking time bomb” scenario. The question was: When we know there’s time bomb ready to go off, but don’t know the location, is it okay to waterboard a captured terrorist who likely has knowledge of the impending attack?

Opponents of waterboarding, having no satisfactory answer, tended to pooh-pooh the question. It was based on an unrealistic scenario, they insisted.

Tell that to the victims of the Brussels attacks.

In reality, most captured terrorists present a variation of the ticking time bomb scenario. These days, organizations like ISIS are constantly planning new attacks. A captured terrorist who has been active recently might very well know something about upcoming attacks in his locale.

It’s unlikely that even in the Age of Obama, the U.S. would have handled Abdeslam as ineffectively as the Belgians did. One can imagine our people declining to question the terrorist for 24 hours because he was hospitalized and then questioning him only for a fairly short time because “he seemed very tired” after surgery. But I doubt that we would have failed to ask about future attacks.

But how far would we have gone to obtain answers? … What if Abdeslam proved to be among the one-third of detainees who don’t cooperate without enhanced interrogation?

In that scenario, no one with a decent regard for innocent human life could object to the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on a terrorist like this. Abdeslam was the mastermind behind the Paris attacks. … This was a ticking time bomb scenario.

It’s time to revisit the question of enhanced interrogation, a question that the U.S. answered incorrectly during a lull in the terrorist threat.

The writer, it seems to us, clearly enough implies that the “correct” answer is Donald Trump’s.

It will be interesting to see whether, if Trump is elected to the presidency, the mere fact of his coming to power will deter Muslim terrorism – as the mere fact of Ronald Reagan’s entering the Oval Office on January 20, 1981, persuaded Iran to release the American hostages it was holding, on that very day.

“Let the Muslims kill each other” 14

Yes. It would be greatly good if the savage fight now underway between two Muslim armies in Iraq, Sunni and Shia, could end in the destruction of both.

We quote from an article at American Thinker, by Mike Konrad, who argues the desirability of leaving the two sides to fight it out:

I know, I know, the recent ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) gains have everyone scared. No doubt, the Islamophilic administration will want to step in, and save Islam from itself once again.  Let me advocate a course of action that will make sense to all sides in America; the left and right; from militarists to pacifists: Let the Muslims kill each other. …

ISIS is presently a large group of thugs with guns. They have no navy, no air force, except for a few captured helicopters, which they will soon break.  The only ones they can threaten are their fellow Muslims. If they take over Iraq, who cares? They will soon reduce the Levant to the seventh century.

And this is a problem to us? OK, oil prices may spike for a while, but they are going to need to sell their oil because they’ve got nothing else to produce for export and can’t produce any of the fruits of modern industry. Meanwhile, the high prices will encourage domestic drilling and production of our nearly boundless reserves held in shale deposits, to the point where we will become a major oil exporter ourselves.

These mujahadeen are incapable of maintaining the weapons they already have. Weapons need upkeep. Weapons have to be oiled, cleaned, and upgraded.  Upkeep interferes with raping, pillaging, and chopping off heads. Within two years, they will be slaughtering each other with scimitars and rusty AK-47s.

Iraq’s president, Maliki has asked for US assistance. Oh really?

Iraq insisted on setting up its country with an Islamic constitution; against our advice, and now he wants American help. For what? So Iraq’s Shia can continue to run arms to Syria and Hezb’allah in Lebanon?

We’d rather President Maliki wasn’t helped at all, but we like the idea of putting these conditions on any help he gets from the US:

If our State Department had men and women with intelligence instead of a love of the Qur’an, they would tell Maliki that our help would be predicated on four conditions:

1) Get rid of the Islamic constitution, and set up a secular state

2) Recognize Israel

3) Naturalize the Palestinians in your state

4) Break off ties with Iran

If Maliki says no, we say “Fine, have your Islamic state. We are not going to decide which flavor.”

Whether Maliki agrees or not, he loses:

He has no choice. No matter what he decides, the West wins. Should ISIS take over, Iran will be cut off from land routes to Syria’s Assad, and Lebanon’s Hezb’allah. How does this hurt the West?

Sure! Iraq may go down. The Sunni officers in the Iraqi army will not fight for a Shia majority Iraqi state. In fact, many Sunni officers are already joining ISIS. The Shia, who are mere foot soldiers, are not prepared to fight the better trained Sunni. So what?

When thieves fall out, honest men prosper. When Muslims fall out, civilization prospers. …

Now, Iran is scared. …

Iran sent two battalions of Iranian Revolutionary Guards to help the Iraqi government in its battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is hugely important, if not totally surprising given Iran’s intervention in Syria. Iran has the power to crush ISIS in open combat. But Iranian intervention could also make the conflict inside Iraq much worse …

Iran is hurting. Iran may have to decide between arming Hezb’allah or the Shia in Iraq. And this hurts the West how?

Other sources are reporting that Iran has called for international assistance to crush ISIS. Iran needs our help!  The nation which has thumbed its nose at the West for 35 years, now wants our help?

Iran officials call for international response to ISIS violence …

Let them ask for Russian help, or Chinese assistance. I am sure the Russians and Chinese will be more than happy to make their nations targets for Islamic revenge. Nothing makes Muslim group A angrier than knowing that you have helped Muslim group B. And if the Russians or Chinese do intervene, good for them. Maybe international terrorism will re-direct their wrath eastward. Tell them it will be like the Chechnyans on steroids.

If Iran is really desperate to save its supply lines across Shia Iraq to save Assad, we could strike a deal.

You want our help. We want the Israelis to inspect your nuclear power plants; or you can go fight your fellow Muslims yourselves. Tell them, “Remember the first Iraq-Iran war.” Make the offer public. No help until the first Israeli technician comes out of the Isfahan plant and says, “All clean.”

Tell them up front they have to stop aiding Hezb’allah. Tell them that we are enjoying this.

At the same time, we should encourage all Euro-Muslim males to join the fight, and when they are gone, revoke their right of return to the West. Tell them, Allah Wants You; and send them off with halal meat and enough weapons to keep the Mideast in turmoil for another hundred years.

Why is this a problem? Even if ISIS wins the Caliphate, it will revert to seventh century technology soon enough.

Jordan is scared, now. She might be overrun. Supposedly, she is a Western-oriented state, which has the rudimentary forms of a democracy. Of course, honor killing and wife beating are still not prohibited; and Jordan refuses to take in more Palestinians.

If they want our help:

1) Saudis and Jordanians have to start naturalizing Palestinians

2) Set up truly secular states

3) protect their women

Be upfront about it. Of course, they won’t agree. So let them shoot it out. When the Mideast is a flaming wreck, the administration should encourage Putin or China to intervene.  Nothing sinks empires faster than trying to tame the Muslims. We will get out, and avoid our own collapse.

If our administration intervenes in any way, it would be foolish. Over the past two years our administration has made blunder after blunder in the Mideast, regarding Libya, Morsi, Sisi, Arab Spring, etc.

This time it is so easy.

All the administration has to do is …  NOTHING!

It is that simple. … If it does intervene, it will be clearly seen as an attempt to prop up Islam, once again.

Let the Shia and Sunni kill each other.  In the words of the late Mayor Ed Koch, “root for whoever is losing.”

We like Mike Konrad’s suggestions. (And we understand that he is not being wholly serious.) But more needs to be considered.

There is the strong possibility, astonishing though it may seem at first, that fanatically Shia Iran has been giving aid to the Sunni insurrectionists – as well as the Shia government – in Iraq. Why ? In order to bring about upheaval and chaos, so the mullahs will be called upon to restore order.

Another surprise: it is the Obama administration itself which has made this information public – that Iran has assisted the Sunni insurrectionists.

Paul Mirengoff writes at PowerLine:

A mere six weeks ago, the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism concluded that Iran is actively working to undermine Iraqi stability through terror groups. Significantly, for present purposes, the report assessed that Iran was facilitating both Shiite and Sunni terror activities.

With respect to Sunni terrorism, the State Department said this:

Iran allowed al Qaeda (AQ) facilitators Muhsin al-Fadhli and Adel Radi Saqr al-Wahabi al-Harbi to operate a core facilitation pipeline through Iran, enabling AQ to move funds and fighters to South Asia and also to Syria. Al-Fadhli is a veteran AQ operative who has been active for years. Al-Fadhli began working with the Iran-based AQ facilitation network in 2009 and was later arrested by Iranian authorities. He was released in 2011 and assumed leadership of the Iran-based AQ facilitation network.

In addition, of course, Iran has “trained, funded, and provided guidance to Iraqi Shia militant groups” both inside and outside of Iraq. The training has included instruction in “the construction and use of sophisticated improvised explosive device technology and other advanced weaponry.”

The terrorist activities of the Iran-supported Shia militants have undermined stability in Iraq and undermined support for the government among Sunnis. But, again, Iran is destabilizing Iraq from both ends by also facilitating Sunni terrorism.

If anything, Obama should be punishing the Iranians by continuing, and indeed escalating, a sanctions regime. Instead, he seems determined to cozy up to the mullahs. In all likelihood, this means granting them additional concessions when it comes to negotiations over Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Why else would Iran help the U.S?

The mullahs have always understood that an unstable Iraq not only can’t threaten or complete with Iran, but may well be forced to become a virtual client, as might now happen. But the mullahs could only have dreamed that an unstable Iraq would cause an American president to come before them as a supplicant.

Yet this too may now be about to happen.

And still another surprise. Amazingly, for once we find points to agree with in an opinion from the Left:

Among many assertions in the same column which we do not agree with, Richard Cohen, columnist for the Washington Post, writes some that we find ourselves nodding at:

Whose fault is the current debacle in Iraq?

It could be Nouri al-Maliki’s since he is the country’s strongman and has alienated the minority Sunnis.

It could be George W. Bush’s because he started the whole thing off …

The one person who is not at fault, we are told over and over again, is the current president of the United States. …

But with that he does not agree. He takes Obama to task for his failure to do anything effective against the gassing of Syrians by Bashar Assad:

Foreign policy [is] the area where a president’s power is substantially unchecked. … Other than avoiding war, it’s hard to know what Obama wants. I know what he says, but actions always speak louder than words.

For instance, he wanted Bashar Assad to cease using chemical weapons. His language was strong, nearly warlike.

“Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people, including hundreds of children. The images from this massacre are sickening: Men, women, children lying in rows, killed by poison gas. Others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath. A father clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk.”

What happened next? Virtually nothing.

All those poisoned kids were soon forgotten and so, too, were all those people killed in the war, perhaps as many as 200,000. Those of us who advocated more forceful action were denigrated as war lovers who wanted to send in the infantry. (Better boots on the ground than head in the clouds — but I prefer neither.)

He disagrees with Mike Konrad’s idea that nothing at all should be done about the war in Iraq:

Airstrikes and such might not have worked, but doing nothing never does.

This is a serious, depressing discussion. Countless lives have been lost. A civil war that might have been stopped in its tracks was allowed to fester. The Syrian dictatorship survived and the war has spilled into Iraq. It has the potential to engage the whole Middle East — Jordan, for sure, and then that tiny nation west of the Jordan River: Israel. The madmen of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria don’t only kill Muslims; they would gladly drop a bomb on Tel Aviv.

Right. But he doesn’t say that the bomb could be nuclear. And that two, or twenty, could be dropped on Israel.

Or that there could be targets in Europe, or even in America, since the mullahs have long-range missiles.

He rightly finds the idea of the US and Iran being in alliance “preposterous”:

The U.S. may now find itself on the side of Iran — a majority Shiite nation much like Iraq. What could be more preposterous? What could be more ironic?

Worse, we could find ourselves engaged in a religious war — Sunni vs. Shiite. …

He fears non-intervention more than involvement:

Or maybe we should just wash our hands of the whole thing and turn over a hunk of the Middle East with its oil to a terrorist organization — one that boasts of committing massacres.

You thought you can’t get more evil than al-Qaida? Look at who’s pillaging Iraq, a terrorist group that even al-Qaida can’t stomach. …

The one thing we do know is that things can get worse. They did in the Middle East, where Obama settled for a victory jog around the political infield after getting Assad to give up most of his chemical weapons. He now must deal with a region that is so much worse than anyone imagined.

Where does the fault lie? Where it always has — where the buck stops.

By which presumably he means Obama. He means that the fault lies with Obama!

How many members of Obama’s enormous media fan club, or of the Democratic Party, find him at fault over the carnage in Syria and Iraq, we wonder.

And will their disapproval induce Obama to act?

If so, how? Richard Cohen expresses his disgust, or frustration, or irritation – but he doesn’t say what Obama should do.

We say Iran should be stopped by all possible means, late though it is to take action, from becoming a nuclear power. And that is obviously not what Obama intends or wishes to do.

The injustice of “social justice” 5

The Left is intensely immoral, as unabashedly unscrupulous as a wild beast. It will shamelessly blacken the name of anybody it perceives as a danger to it with baseless lies. Example: Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, publicly announced that the Republican candidate for the presidency in 2008, Mitt Romney, had not paid his taxes.

The Left will sacrifice any number of people, destroy their hopes, their health, their lives, if in their calculation doing so might give them an advantage. Example: Far-left President Obama is drawing tens of thousands of children over the Mexican border – to become, he hopes, future voters for his Party – by announcing that children who are in the US as illegal aliens will not be deported. All the children suffer. Many are ill. Some die.

The Left will deprive a law-abiding citizen, with armed force, of everything he has striven for in the name of some new oppressive regulation it has suddenly launched with a dim ideological end in view such as “environmental protection”. Example: A man who made a pond is being fined $75,000 a day by the EPA for doing just that, on the absurd grounds that the little stretch of water on his property is contaminating a river miles away.

These are just three examples, picked at random from the top of our composite editorial head, of present-day Leftist immorality in America. (How to choose from among the misdemeanors of the Clintons? An embarrasment of riches!) ) The theme of the Left’s iniquity is so vast that volumes could be written about it, and have been. In other countries, Leftist powers have committed mass-murder on an unimaginable scale by poison-gas, firing-squad, torture, overwork, and deliberate starvation.

And what compounds the evil and swells the monstrousness of it all is that they do it  in the name of compassion. Their aim, they claim, is to better the lot of the the underdog. They will make the poor richer by taking riches from the rich and giving them to the poor until all are materially and socially equal. They do not want the only form of equality that is just – equality before the law. It offends them, they say (even the richest among them, and most of them are rich) to see inequality between the richest and the poorest.

With them, equality  is not a moral principle but an aesthetic one.

They call the ideal of it “social justice“.

Paul Mirengoff writes at PowerLine, in part commenting on an article by Peter Wehner defending “social justice” (though Wehner is not a Leftist):

Justice has always been understood in our tradition as justice for the individual, qua individual. When a person goes to court, either in a criminal or a civil case, our system strives to provide him with a result that is fair given what he has done or failed to do. This is what we understand justice to be. Thus, when we say that justice should be blind, we mean that it should be rendered without regard to a person’s social status and without regard to the demands of this or that social agenda.

If justice is an individual-centric concept, then there is no room for the concept of social justice. The pursuit of social justice may lead to action that is consistent with justice, for example a non-discrimination statute. But the concept of “social justice” isn’t required to justify such a law; nor is it invoked to do so, since arguments for simple justice are always more persuasive (for example, the sponsors of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 took pains to assure the nation, probably disingenuously in some cases, that the law would preclude racial preferences).

The pursuit of social justice may also lead to action that is inconsistent with justice, such as granting racial preferences or expropriating someone’s property for “the greater good”. Such action is not justice, but rather justice’s antithesis. Thus, we should object when it is marketed as “social justice”. 

In sum, the concept of social justice has no value. In the first scenario, it is superfluous; in the second, it is false advertising.

[Peter] Wehner argues that “any society that fails to dispense some measure of sympathy and solicitude to others, particularly those living in the shadows and who are most vulnerable to injustice, cannot really be a good society”.  I agree. But vulnerability to injustice can be countered by the rigorous pursuit of simple justice. And sympathy and solicitude can be dispensed under these labels, rather than as a form of justice.

Wehner recognizes this when he concludes: “Whether this effort travels under the banner of social justice or some other name, to do justice and to love mercy is what is required of us, as individuals and as a society”. But the banner under which the charitable project travels matters.

When it travels under the banner of social justice, it gains extra moral authority that it does not deserve. The genuine tension between our desire to do justice (as commonly understood) and to be merciful is elided because justice is subsumed under mercy.

The result will be confusion and mischief, such as the aforementioned racial preferences and expropriation of property for “the greater good”. If rationalized as “social justice”, such components of the redistributionist project become entitlements, not favors to be granted, if at all, in small doses and under limited circumstances.

As [Friedrich] Hayek, who (as Wehner notes) deplored the concept of social justice, understood, therein lies the road to serfdom.

Besides, we cannot believe that devotees of the Left (once grown out of the ignorant idealism of adolescence) give a fig for “sympathy”, “solicitude”, or “mercy”. If they did they would take pains to find out what economic system really does better the lot of the poor (namely, the free market); and they wouldn’t repeat as they do that “the end justifies the means” – their excuse for sacrificing any number of their fellow human beings.

In fact many of them have dropped even the pretense of sympathizing with human beings. The victims of their “compassion” were first the proletarians. Then, as the proletarians in the Western world became too prosperous (because they had a degree of freedom) to qualify as pretexts for vast destruction, they focused on the lumpenproletariat. That class also became too well-off to care about. So then they moaned about the lot of  “women” – by which they meant feminists – and people of unconventional sexual preferences. Many of them moved on to animals. But their ever-restless avant-garde did not stop there. They are now working to sacrifice more people than ever before on the grounds that it will be good for the wilderness, for rocks and stones, and even the vast, spinning, molten-cored planet – the ultimate victim of “social injustice”. (See our post, Fresh wild raw uninhabited world, January 2, 2012.)

It would be enormously laughable as a theory, if it wasn’t colossally tragic as historical and contemporary reality.

Brandeis University true to itself 1

Brandeis University was being true to its despicable self after all when it treated Ayaan Hirsi Ali disgracefully.

It was where Herbert Marcuse, one of the most prominent apologists for the violently destructive New Left, indoctrinated students and wrote his staggeringly idiotic books.

This is from PowerLine, by Paul Mirengoff:

BRANDEIS’S “REPRESSIVE TOLERANCE”

Like me, Michael Leeden finds that “if there’s anything really new about Brandeis’ disinvitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, it’s that they invited her at all”.  While many seem surprised that Brandeis, founded by Jews in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust, would align itself with Islamists and their apologists, Ledeen finds no underlying inconsistency.

Brandeis was the home of professor Herbert Marcuse, the iconic leftist philosopher of the 1960s. Marcuse dedicated his book Repressive Tolerance to his Brandeis students. He summarized its thesis this way:

The … realization of the objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are outlawed or suppressed. In other words, today tolerance appears again as what it was in its origins, at the beginning of the modern period – a partisan goal, a subversive liberating notion and practice. Conversely, what is proclaimed and practiced as tolerance today, is in many of its most effective manifestations serving the cause of oppression. . . .

The restoration of freedom of thought may necessitate new and rigid restrictions on teachings and practices in the educational institutions. …

Marcuse gave the student rebels and the terrorists of the West European New Left “a justification for their aggression. He told them that they were quite as subjugated as those who lived in the totalitarian states on the other side of the Berlin Wall – by being forced to endure the tolerable and rewarding and comfortable, to suffer food and clothing and lodging beyond bare necessity, to have many varieties of luxury foisted on them, and to be conned into the illusion that they were free”.  (Quotation from Hitler’s Children by Jillian Becker.)

Paul Mirengoff concludes:

Herbert Marcuse would be proud of his old University.

Yes. Brandeis has been disgraceful for at least fifty years. But its treatment of Ayaan Hirsi Ali adds cold-blooded viciousness to its record.

Land of the unfree 7

The Leftist fascists now in charge of America declare individual liberty, the ideal on which and for which the USA was founded, dangerously “extremist”.

Their aim is to make Leftist ideology the norm.

This comes from Investor’s Business Daily:

Once more, military training has become an Orwellian re-education camp where a radical transformation of the truth depicts the Founding Fathers as extremists and conservative groups as “hate groups.”

Saying “Give me liberty or give me death” qualifies Patrick Henry as an extremist, according to the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute training guide … And so were the rest of those who took up arms against the British Crown and pledged their lives, their fortune and their sacred honor for a shot at liberty and democracy.

Under a section titled “Extremist Ideologies,” the document states, “In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples.”

We would not lump the two together necessarily, but the Pentagon does. …

“Nowadays, instead of dressing in sheets or publicly espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place,” the Pentagon guide advises.

Which provides us with an opportunity to recall the fact that those who dressed up in sheets to terrify Blacks, those who lynched and murdered them, which is to say the members of the Ku Klux Klan, were Democrats.

This is from Free Republic, quoting David Bartonand his book Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White:

Republicans often led the efforts to pass federal anti-lynching laws and their platforms consistently called for a ban on lynching. Democrats successfully blocked those bills and their platforms never did condemn lynchings. …

Further, the first grand wizard of the KKK was honored at the 1868 Democratic National Convention, no Democrats voted for the 14th Amendment to grant citizenship to former slaves and, to this day, the party website ignores those decades of racism

Although it is relatively unreported today, historical documents are unequivocal that the Klan was established by Democrats and that the Klan played a prominent role in the Democratic Party … A 13-volume set of congressional investigations from 1872 conclusively and irrefutably documents that fact.

The Klan terrorized black Americans through murders and public floggings; relief was granted only if individuals promised not to vote for Republican tickets, and violation of this oath was punishable by death … Since the Klan targeted Republicans in general, it did not limit its violence simply to black Republicans; white Republicans were also included.

The IBD article continues about those designated “extremists” by the Pentagon:

They might even form groups with “tea party,” “patriot” or “9-12” in their name, like the groups targeted for political harassment and intimidation by the IRS.

“The Obama administration has a nasty habit of equating basic conservative values with terrorism,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And now, in a document full of claptrap, its Defense Department suggests that the Founding Fathers, and many conservative Americans, would not be welcome in today’s military.

“And it is striking,” he added, “that some of the language in this new document echoes the IRS targeting language of conservative and tea party investigations.

Indeed, it also echoes the 2009 document issued by Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security, Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment:

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that … are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

The guide makes no mention of Nidal Hasan, the Army major who worked his way up through the ranks amid politically correct indifference to kill 13 people, including a pregnant soldier, and shoot 32 others in a Nov. 5, 2009, rampage at the base in Killeen, Texas, while shouting “Allahu Akhbar!”

But then he was defending the Taliban, not seeking freedom from the British.

Somewhat less distressing – though wrong both factually and morally – is the information that the guide calls Catholics, Evangelicals, [religious] Jews, Mormons “extremists” – just like al-Qaeda.

So it labels al-Qaeda “extremist”, but not Muslims as such? The article doesn’t say, but we very much doubt that the guide has a word to say against Islam.

This is from PowerLine, by Paul Mirengoff:

The Chaplain Alliance has issued a press release alleging, based on a review of documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, that in training materials, the Department of Defense classified Catholics, Evangelicals, Jews, and Mormons as religious “extremists” similar to Al Qaeda. The Chaplain Alliance also claims that the military deemed the [far left] Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate group” list a “reliable source” for this conclusion. …

There was never any reason to suppose that the left’s long march through our institutions would not encompass the U.S. military. And we’ve seen plenty of evidence of the success of this portion of the long march.

So now the mighty Pentagon is helping the Obama regime turn the USA into the land of the unfree, and the home of the politically correct.

A bad idea, badly executed 3

To continue our discussion of the “Fast and Furious” scandal (see the two posts immediately below, one of them a video of Bill Whittle putting his argument), we now quote Paul Mirengoff’s opinion on what the operation was intended to achieve:

Bill Whittle is arguing that the Fast and Furious program was an effort by the Obama administration to increase bloodshed in Mexico and thereby lead to tougher gun control regulation in the U.S. … The theory cannot be ruled out. However, I don’t find it persuasive. …

Obama and Holder probably would not have believed that increased violence in Mexico could lead to tougher regulation of guns in the U.S. Americans simply don’t care enough about Mexico to alter domestic policy based on what occurs there, especially when it comes to an issue as passionately and endlessly argued as gun control. Americans view violence in Mexico the way they viewed violence in Colombia – unfortunate, typical, and not our problem at any fundamental level. …

Why, then, was the program implemented? As noted, considerable frustration existed over attempts to deal with gun running through interdiction at the point of sale because this form of enforcement resulted in the apprehension of only the small fry. Those who came up with Fast and Furious probably hoped that if guns followed their natural course into Mexico, they would lead to much more important players. Wire taps and other surveillance of Mexican cartel bosses would assist in nailing these players, or so the thinking went.

It was a very bad idea, poorly executed. But, as conservatives should understand better than most, the government frequently implements very bad ideas and does so incompetently.

Yes. Whatever government does, it does badly.

In any case, trying to apprehend cartel bosses through Fast and Furious strikes me as less foolish than intentionally increasing shootings in Mexico to enhance the cause of gun control in the U.S.

But what about the cover-up, including the assertion of a weak executive privilege claim? Bill Whittle says that to understand it, we should follow the ideology. In reality, cover-ups typically stem from a quintessentially non-ideological motive – the desire to escape blame and stay out of trouble.

What kind of trouble? The administration may be motivated by the desire to cover up evidence that the Attorney General knowingly and deliberately lied to Congress. It may want to cover up evidence that Holder knew plenty about Fast and Furious and/or that Obama did too.

Bill Whittle is right anyway that Obama and Holder are evil men. 

No offense meant, none taken 8

In a recent post on attempts by Jews to ‘remove Christmas from the public square’, Paul Mirengoff of Power Line – one of our favourite blogsquoted the historian John Steele Gordon as saying: ‘It has always seemed to me that it was not Jews but atheists (a religion of its own in that it is a belief system that is untestable) who have led the charge against public celebrations of Christmas as an “establishment of religion”.’

It is with the parenthetical assertion about atheism that we join issue. Atheism is not ‘a belief system’  – it is the absence of belief in the supernatural. The statement ‘God does not exist’ is not provable, but that does not make it a religious statement, a statement of faith. God’s non-existence does not impinge on any aspect of an atheist’s life or thought. It is not just that God is not watching or does not care. He is not there, at all, ever. The Christian deity lying in a manger, the miracle of the oil in the Hannukah candles, the flying Santa Claus are all  in the same category of idea: incredible, imaginary, supernatural. If an atheist wants such religious symbols to be banned, he or she is showing an irrational superstitious belief in their power, and deserves ridicule.

If some atheists object to any display of fairy folk, or God folk, or magic objects – provided worship of them is not required – it is not because their non-belief is offended, but because they decide to put on a show of being offended in order to make political points, to flex their political muscle. Such atheists are almost certain to be on the Left. I would guess that the Jews who object to nativity displays in public places at Christmas are also politically motivated, and that they too are on the Left. I cannot see how the deification of a Jewish boy should cause religious offense to those who do not believe it. Other people’s irrationality is their own business. Religious offense-taking is the hall-mark of leftist victim politics – and is invariably fraudulent.

C. Gee  December 29, 2009

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Commentary, Judaism, Progressivism by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, December 29, 2009

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