Islam versus democracy 3

Can the Arab states be democratized? Not just hold elections but firmly establish institutions for government of the people, by the people, for the people ?

Charles Krauthammer thinks it is possible.

He writes (in part) at Investor’s Business Daily:

As the states of the Arab Middle East throw off decades of dictatorship, their democratic future faces a major threat from the new totalitarianism: Islamism. As in Soviet days, the threat is both internal and external.

Iran, a mini version of the old Soviet Union, has its own allies and satellites — Syria, Lebanon and Gaza — and its own Comintern, with agents operating throughout the region to extend Islamist influence and undermine pro-Western secular states. That’s precisely why in this revolutionary moment, Iran boasts of an Islamist wave sweeping the Arab world.

We need a foreign policy that not only supports freedom in the abstract but is guided by long-range practical principles to achieve it — a Freedom Doctrine composed of the following elements:

(1) The U.S. supports democracy throughout the Middle East. It will use its influence to help democrats everywhere throw off dictatorial rule.

(2) Democracy is more than just elections. It requires a free press, the rule of law, the freedom to organize, the establishment of independent political parties and the peaceful transfer of power. Therefore, the transition to democracy and initial elections must allow time for these institutions, most notably political parties, to establish themselves.

(3) The only U.S. interest in the internal governance of these new democracies is to help protect them against totalitarians, foreign and domestic. The recent Hezbollah coup in Lebanon and the Hamas dictatorship in Gaza dramatically demonstrate how anti-democratic elements that achieve power democratically can destroy the very democracy that empowered them.

(4) Therefore, just as during the Cold War the U.S. helped keep European communist parties out of power (to see them ultimately wither away), it will be U.S. policy to oppose the inclusion of totalitarian parties — the Muslim Brotherhood or, for that matter, communists — in any government, whether provisional or elected, in newly liberated Arab states.

We may not have the power to prevent this. So be it. The Brotherhood may today be so relatively strong in Egypt, for example, that a seat at the table is inevitable. But under no circumstances should a presidential spokesman say, as did Robert Gibbs [the bumbling and fumbling White House press secretary – JB], that the new order “has to include a whole host of important nonsecular actors.”

Why gratuitously legitimize Islamists? Instead, Americans should be urgently supporting secular democratic parties in Egypt and elsewhere with training, resources and diplomacy.

We are, unwillingly again, parties to a long twilight struggle, this time with Islamism — most notably Iran, its proxies and its potential allies, Sunni and Shiite. We should be clear-eyed about our preferred outcome — real democracies governed by committed democrats — and develop policies to see this through.

And then the Arab states would become tolerant, pacific, industrious, productive, and prosperous?

We don’t think so. We don’t think they can be democratic as long as they remain – not “Islamist” but – Islamic.

Why? Because Islam and democracy, Islam and liberty, are essentially incompatible. Islam and Western civilization are totally antithetical to each other.

Islam is a dogmatism that forbids doubt – and doubt is the very DNA of our civilization. Doubt alone guarantees the tolerance which makes democracy possible. Doubt starts scientific enquiry, demands experiment and exploration.

Islam cannot be “reformed” to become its opposite.


Obama and the Seven Dorks 0

Posted under Commentary, Humor, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, August 8, 2010

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What is that smell? 0

Michelle Malkin writes:

Two weeks ago, the White House embraced $150 million in drug industry ads supporting Obamacare. This week, Bloomberg News reported that White House senior adviser and chief campaign strategist David Axelrod’s former public relations firm, AKPD Message and Media, has raked in some $24 million in ad contracts supporting Obamacare — along with another PR firm, GMMB, run by other Obama strategists.

The ads are funded by Big Pharma, the AARP, AMA and the powerhouse Service Employees International Union (whose Purple Shirts dumped $80 million in independent expenditures to get Obama and the Democratic majority elected). In trademark Axelrod style, the special interest coalition adopted faux grassroots names — first under the banner of “Healthy Economy Now” and more recently as “Americans for Stable Quality Care.” …

Axelrod was president and sole shareholder of AKPD from 1985 until last December, when he resigned to take his White House position. His son, Michael, works there. So does former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.

Axelrod is prominently featured on AKPD’s website, from a founder’s quote on the front page (“CHANGE IS SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO FIGHT FOR”) to the glamorous election night photos of Plouffe and Axelrod with the Obamas. AKPD still consults with Axelrod on “strategy and research” for the Democratic National Committee. The firm owes Axelrod $2 million … That Axelrod and his old firm benefit mutually from their respective roles selling Obamacare should be gobsmackingly obvious. Axelrod pushes the White House plan on TV news shows. AKPD derives mega-income from ad contracts selling the White House-endorsed plan. The windfall allows AKPD to settle its debts with Axelrod, whose name, face and high-powered ties are critical to future wheel-greasing for AKPD — and future salary-earning for Axelrod’s son and close associates.

White House flack Gibbs called any suggestion that Axelrod benefits from the relationship “ridiculous.” Retorted Gibbs: “David has left his firm to join public service.” So when Republicans trade power and access, Team Obama calls that being “in cahoots” with business. But when noble servants like Axelrod do it, it’s called “public service.”

What else is Axelrod keeping from full public view? AKPD is just one of his influence-peddling operations. Housed in the same office as AKPD is Axelrod’s secretive former PR shop, ASK Public Strategies. That firm also owes Axelrod money from a buy-out deal — five annual installments of $200,000 each. Axelrod has remained notoriously tight-lipped about ASK’s corporate business. One client that came to light: utility company Commonwealth Edison in Chicago. Axelrod ran a fear-mongering campaign in Illinois for ComEd in support of a huge utility rate hike — and failed to disclose that his bogus grassroots ads (under the guise of public interest group “Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity”) were actually funded by the utility…

Diktat 0

 From Investor’s Business Daily:

Rep. Barney Frank, the Democrat who sits atop Congress’ efforts to deal with the financial crisis, has enough chutzpah for 100 politicians — which is saying a lot.

In comments before testimony from both Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Fed chief Ben Bernanke Tuesday, Frank said he wants to regulate pay on Wall Street — even for companies that aren’t getting bailouts.

And he called retention bonuses — a time-honored practice on Wall Street and elsewhere in America in which key employees are compensated for their enormous value — "extortion" and "bribes."

Frank, one of the chief architects of the housing mess that’s brought us so low, isn’t satisfied merely with pretending he and his Democratic pals aren’t to blame for all this. No, exploiting voter anger over the now-infamous AIG bonuses, he also wants to dictate to American capitalism what it can earn and what it can’t.

This is the kind of thing that normally happens in Third World countries ruled by tinhorn dictators, or in fascist states, where the democratic rule of law has collapsed. Not the U.S.

Yet, that’s where we find ourselves today, isn’t it? Democrats in Congress, who steadfastly rejected virtually all efforts to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as they went on the wildest, most irresponsible lending binge in the history of finance, now pose themselves as the saviors of fallen capitalism.

The hypocrisy is nothing short of stunning.

Take Frank. As we’ve written before, he spearheaded congressional Democrats’ efforts in 1992, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2005 to block reform of Fannie and Freddie.

Those two "government-sponsored enterprises" were the nexus of this crisis, holding $5.4 trillion of the $12 trillion in U.S. mortgages, while originating or funding 90% of the subprime market.

Their failures presaged the subsequent financial meltdown from which we’re still trying to regain our economic footing.

Then there’s Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, another posturing moralist in the flap over AIG bonuses. He turns out to have inserted the bonuses into the bailout legislation in the first place.

An innocent move? Please note Dodd was No. 1 on the list of recipients of AIG’s political contributions. Also that his wife was a former director of IPC Holdings, a company controlled by AIG.

We wish all this tinkering with the private sector was limited to Congress. But it isn’t. The Treasury wants what the Washington Post called Tuesday "unprecedented powers to initiate the seizure of non-bank financial companies, such as large insurers, investment firms and hedge funds, whose collapse would damage the broader economy."

Citing the AIG precedent, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs defended this radical move, saying on CNN, "We need resolution authority to go in and be able to change contracts, be able to change the business model, unwind what doesn’t work."

Breathtaking. Coupled with the vast expansion of government spending over the next 10 years, this is socialism, pure and simple.

Yes, we know it’s unfashionable to use the "S" word. But we’re willing to be unhip in the service of the truth.

It’s a frightening thing to see a once mighty, and free, capitalist economy placed under the heel of an incompetent government. But that’s precisely what’s happening now.

Executive pay, the focus of much public fury right now, is only the start. Your pay will be next, rest assured. So hold on to your wallets, sure, but also hold on even tighter to something even more precious that now seems at risk: your freedom.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, March 25, 2009

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The budding American dictatorship 4

 From Investor’s Business Daily:

Rep. Barney Frank, the Democrat who sits atop Congress’ efforts to deal with the financial crisis, has enough chutzpah for 100 politicians — which is saying a lot.

In comments before testimony from both Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Fed chief Ben Bernanke Tuesday, Frank said he wants to regulate pay on Wall Street — even for companies that aren’t getting bailouts.

And he called retention bonuses — a time-honored practice on Wall Street and elsewhere in America in which key employees are compensated for their enormous value — "extortion" and "bribes."

Frank, one of the chief architects of the housing mess that’s brought us so low, isn’t satisfied merely with pretending he and his Democratic pals aren’t to blame for all this. No, exploiting voter anger over the now-infamous AIG bonuses, he also wants to dictate to American capitalism what it can earn and what it can’t.

This is the kind of thing that normally happens in Third World countries ruled by tinhorn dictators, or in fascist states, where the democratic rule of law has collapsed. Not the U.S.

Yet, that’s where we find ourselves today, isn’t it? Democrats in Congress, who steadfastly rejected virtually all efforts to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as they went on the wildest, most irresponsible lending binge in the history of finance, now pose themselves as the saviors of fallen capitalism.

The hypocrisy is nothing short of stunning.

Take Frank. As we’ve written before, he spearheaded congressional Democrats’ efforts in 1992, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2005 to block reform of Fannie and Freddie.

Those two "government-sponsored enterprises" were the nexus of this crisis, holding $5.4 trillion of the $12 trillion in U.S. mortgages, while originating or funding 90% of the subprime market.

Their failures presaged the subsequent financial meltdown from which we’re still trying to regain our economic footing.

Then there’s Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, another posturing moralist in the flap over AIG bonuses. He turns out to have inserted the bonuses into the bailout legislation in the first place.

An innocent move? Please note Dodd was No. 1 on the list of recipients of AIG’s political contributions. Also that his wife was a former director of IPC Holdings, a company controlled by AIG.

We wish all this tinkering with the private sector was limited to Congress. But it isn’t. The Treasury wants what the Washington Post called Tuesday "unprecedented powers to initiate the seizure of non-bank financial companies, such as large insurers, investment firms and hedge funds, whose collapse would damage the broader economy."

Citing the AIG precedent, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs defended this radical move, saying on CNN, "We need resolution authority to go in and be able to change contracts, be able to change the business model, unwind what doesn’t work."

Breathtaking. Coupled with the vast expansion of government spending over the next 10 years, this is socialism, pure and simple.

Yes, we know it’s unfashionable to use the "S" word. But we’re willing to be unhip in the service of the truth.

It’s a frightening thing to see a once mighty, and free, capitalist economy placed under the heel of an incompetent government. But that’s precisely what’s happening now.

Executive pay, the focus of much public fury right now, is only the start. Your pay will be next, rest assured. So hold on to your wallets, sure, but also hold on even tighter to something even more precious that now seems at risk: your freedom.

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tagged with , , , , , , , , ,

This post has 4 comments.

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