Political violence: from whence does it emanate

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” – President Barack Hussein Obama

I posted this as a comment to Book’s previous post, but have now posted it independently as a challenge to all of us Bookworm salon aficionados.

Here’s the premise: virtually all the political violence that has happened in America as come from people associated with the Democrat and/or the Left.

Here’s my list thus far (continuous updating):

DEMOCRAT /LEFT – LINKED VIOLENCE

  1. Mass. Sen. Charles Sumner beaten by S. Carolina Rep. Preston Brooks over perceived insults made in speech by Brooks (1856).
  2. John Wilkes Booth (anti-Republican Democrat) assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
  3. Southern night riders and the KKK during Reconstruction and into the mid-1900s. (Democrats) – question: do we count each of the lynchings as separate acts of violence?
  4. Chicago Haymarket riot (1886)
  5. Pres. McKinley’s 1901 assassination by Leon Frank Czolgosz (Leftwing anarchist)
  6. Sedition Act of 1918 by Woodrow Wilson (Progressive Democrat)
  7. Assassination attempt on FDR, killing Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, by Guiseppe Zangara in 1933 (left-wing anarchist)
  8. FDR’s internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII (Democrat progressive)
  9. FALN attack against Pres. Harry Truman (communist)
  10. Sheriff Bull Connors, Gov. George Wallace (Democrats)
  11. John Kennedy’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald (communist)
  12. Pres. Johnson’s “War on Poverty”
  13. 1968 Democrat Convention
  14. Robert Kennedy’s assassin Sirhan Sirhan (leftwing Palestinian supporter)
  15. Sarah Jane Moore’s attempted assassination of Pres. Gerald Ford
  16. Berkeley People’s Park riot in 1969 (campus socialists, communists and anarchists)
  17. Students for a Democratic Society aka SDS (communist)
  18. Bombing (1970) of Math Center at University of Wisconsin-Madison (anti-war communists)
  19. Symbionese Liberation Army (communists)
  20. American Indian Movement (AIM) killing of FBI agents at Wounded Knee (socialist American Indian activists)
  21. The Weathermen, incl. Dohrn and Ayers (communist)
  22. Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN bombings (communist)
  23. Black Panthers (Left-wing socialist/communist)
  24. James Jones of Jonestown fame (apostolic socialism)
  25. Earth Liberation Front (ELF)
  26. Attack on Branch Davidians (Janet Reno, Clinton Administration)
  27. Ted Kaczynski – Unabomber (leftwing anarchist and environmental fanatic, Gore acolyte)
  28. Left-wing violence, destruction and physical assaults at 1999 G-20 meeting in Seattle.
  29. Attack on Washington, D.C. Holocaust Memorial by James Wenneker von Brunn (anti-U.S. socialist sympathizer)
  30. Left-wing violence, destruction, physical assaults and weapons convictions at 2008 Republican Convention in Minneapolis.
  31. Joe Stack, Austin IRS bomber (anti-Republican, anti-capitalist, anti-wealthy people)
  32. Physical attacks on conservative speakers at university campuses
  33. Multiple physical attacks against Tea Party rallies by SEIU and others (2009).
  34. Shooting of pro-life demonstrator James Pouillon in Owosso, MI (2009)
  35. Physical assault by S. Carolina Rep. Bob Etheridge against student, caught on video.
  36. Discovery Center attack and hostage-taking by James Lee in Sept. 2010 (leftwing environmentalist)

REPUBLICAN, CONSERVATIVE – LINKED VIOLENCE

  1. John Brown’s attack on Harper’s Ferry (?)
  2. Attacks on abortion clinics and murders and attempted murders of abortion providers (conservative Christian group-affiliated (?) individuals)
  3. Firearm attack by Jim D. Adkisson against Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, claiming opposition to its policies (2008)
  4. 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing by Eric Robert Rudolph (see “attacks on abortion clinics” above).

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Please delete, amend or add-to the list as you see fit.

Or, let’s have even more fun: how about a comparable list of CONSERVATIVE acts of political violence?

We shall then be able to offer two lists for posterity.

Comments and contributions? Please make them as specific as possible.

UPDATE***

I have broken these out into two lists and will make additions as they come in.

UPDATE***

OK…I’m convinced. I’ve taken the Tuscon, Ariz. shooting off of the “Left” column.

Another conversation with a liberal: “You won’t like it, because I say no one else does” *UPDATED*

My liberal friend and I were talking about having pizza for dinner.  I suggested Round Table.  My friend was appalled.

Liberal Friend:  “Round Table is awful.”

Me:  “I like it.”

Liberal Friend:  “It’s awful.  Just go on Yelp.”

Me:  “Why should I go on Yelp?  That’s helpful if I haven’t been some place and am trying to get I feel for it.  I’ve already been to Round Table, and I know that I like it.”

Liberal Friend:  “It gets terrible reviews on Yelp.”  (This is untrue, by the way.  The service gets mixed reviews but, by and large, our local Round Table ranks pretty darn well in Marin, ahead even of some of the fancy “artisan” pizza places.)

Me: “But I like it.  The fact that others don’t is irrelevant to me.”

Liberal Friend:  “Nobody likes it.  I’m not going to let you eat pizza that nobody likes.”

Yes, it was an insane little conversation.  It was also, in its own peculiar way, an instructive one, because it shows the statist mind at work.  An individual’s opinion is irrelevant.  What matters is the way the collective thinks — or, more accurately, the way the liberal thinks the collective ought to think.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

UPDATE:  We ended up having Dominos.  The service was excellent.  The pizza wasn’t to my taste.  I like Round Table pizza, no matter what anyone tells me to like.

Individualism as a psychiatric illness — what the NPR kerfuffle reveals *UPDATED*

Juan Williams breached PC, group-think protocol by giving voice to a personal feeling, which is the fear of Muslims on airplanes.  This is not an irrational fear.  While the percentage of Muslims who will be threats on airplanes is small, the percentage of mass murderers who board airplanes and happen to be Muslims is large.

Normal people understood what Williams said.  Leftists intentionally misconstrued him — and then one of them said something more, and it’s a something that, to me, reveals a lot about the true nature of statism.

The “something more” that emanated from the Left after Williams violated the PC shibboleth was this statement from Vivian Schiller, the CEO at NPR:

After the firing, Schiller said publicly that whatever feelings Williams had about Muslims should be between him and “his psychiatrist or his publicist — take your pick.”

It took me a while to figure out why that remark was so awful, and the “so awful” part doesn’t have to do with the fact that it’s demeaning or unprofessional.  It was a little trip down memory lane that made me realize what was so terrible about it.

Walk back with me in time.  It’s sometime in 1970.  The Soviet Union is still a completely committed Communist nation.  As a completely committed Communist nation, it is also a complete totalitarian nation, which means that it must exert total control over any citizens who dare to challenge its hegemony.  (I bet some of you have figured out where I’m going with this one.)  One of the ways the Soviet Union controlled dissidents, whether they dissented because of religion, political beliefs, homosexuality, or whatever else made them challenge the statist monolith, was to send them to psychiatrists for “reeducation“.

For those too young to remember those times, you have to appreciate that psychiatry in America and psychiatry in the Soviet Union were two vastly different things.  In the Soviet Union, psychiatry wasn’t about voluntary commercial relationships between an individual and a doctor, with the latter helping a person break a bad habit, find greater happiness, control anxiety, make personal relationships richer, or whatever else got a person thinking a psychiatrist might be a good thing.

In the Soviet Union, psychiatry existed to support the state.  Psychiatrists used the new science of the mind, not to educate people, but to mentally coerce them into singing the state tune, so that they would abandon their dissenting ways forever.  Or, sometimes, they just tortured them with mind games:

In the Soviet Union, psychiatry was used for punitive purposes. Psychiatric hospitals were used by the authorities as prisons in order to isolate hundreds or thousands of political prisoners from the rest of society, discredit their ideas, and break them physically and mentally; as such they are considered a form of torture.[1] This method was also employed against religious prisoners, including especially well-educated atheists who converted to a religion; in such cases their religious faith was determined to be a form of mental illness that needed to be cured.

So, when the head of NPR lashes out at someone for deviating from Leftist orthodoxy by suggesting psychiatry, that’s a significantly more creepy and unguarded response than its superficial snark and immaturity would seem to imply.

UPDATE:  Turns out I’m not the only one thinking along these lines.

UPDATE II:  Garry Hamilton reminds me that psychiatry in America hasn’t been that innocuous either.

Winston Churchill — freedom fighter *UPDATED*

Yesterday I staged an imaginary Obama/Churchill match-up.  Today I want to add a little commentary.

As you had probably already figured out, I greatly admire Churchill.  I understand that he was a difficult person (often); that he could be nasty; that he was more willing to let his own people die in the fight than we would now consider acceptable; and that he made some bad decisions over his long career.  Offsetting all that, though, was that he was a LEADER.  He loved his country unabashedly, and had a deep and clear-cut commitment to its ultimate victory over Nazi totalitarianism.

Today, we see as inevitable, not only the Allied victory in WWII, but the fact that there would be free countries that would stand against the Nazis to begin with.  Back in the 1930s, though, there were many, especially in Churchill’s England, who wanted to make common cause with the Nazis.  This was an easy idea to hold.  From the middle and upper class viewpoint, Germany was not just another Western culture, but was actually the ne plus ultra of western civilization.

Germany was lovely to look at (those Rhine castles and medieval towns), was an academic leader (producing some of the greatest scientists in the world), and was a cultural leader (Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Goethe, Schiller).  On top of that, it had such well-managed people, who kept their streets clean and their trains running on time.  The Germans and the Brits even shared the same antisemitism, although it took the latter another 70 years to reach Nazi levels of virulence.

Sure, there had been that hiccup in civility from 1914-1918, but that was the belligerent Kaiser’s fault.  From a cultural point of view, many people in England, especially at the level of the ruling class, considered Germany “one of us.”

It was Churchill who understood that there was one insurmountable difference between the two countries, one that could not be glossed over by superficial similarities or by worship for Germany’s architectural, academic or cultural  beauties:  Freedom.  Churchill understood freedom, and he was able to articulate that understanding in a way few men at any time ever could.

At this point in my writing, I was also about to add that Churchill was able to articulate the idea of freedom in a way that even our current president can’t, despite his being sold to us as America’s greatest orator evah, but I stopped myself.  That merely compares their oratorical skills, while assuming that they share the same values.

The real difference between Churchill and Obama is that the latter does not understand freedom in the same way that Americans do — or at least the way that those Americans raised to revere the Constitution do.  Obama, like any other socialist leader, whether in the Soviet Union, or Nazi Germany, or or modern Europe, or UC Berkeley, or even Orwell’s fictional England, believes that true freedom lies only in total subordination to the state.  That of course explains why he is comfortable with Islam, despite the fact that, unlike the Germans and the England in the 1930s, there are few comforting similarities between the Islamic culture and ours:  as does Obama, Islam also believe in complete subordination to the state.]

UPDATEAndrew Klavan’s short post seems like an appropriate coda to any ruminations about liberty.

Backdoor Communism

The British government has proposed stealth communism:  all paychecks go to the government first, which then doles out to the wage earner whatever amount the government feels is the wage earner’s due.  Think about it.  As Pat Sajak wrote yesterday, withholding is bad enough, because it deprives the worker of a sense of ownership over that portion of the money he never sees.  Nevertheless, under the withholding system, the employee at least gets some money which he owns.  The British government, however, is proposing a system by which ownership of all wages lies with the government.  You can dress that up as efficiency, as the Brits are trying to do, but it sure looks like communism to me.

Being forgiven for our past sins — or, maybe, O’Donnell has grown up *UPDATED*

I know this will come as a surprise to all of you, but I was not born wise or well informed.  I blush to think of some of the behaviors in which I indulged, and the ideas that I held, when I was younger.

When I was a very little girl, I picked up from the secular people surrounding me the idea that there is no God.  Not only did I refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance, although I was scared enough of the teacher that I still moved my lips, I also thought all believers were fools.  I held to this belief for many, many years.

After reading Gone With The Wind for the first time, when I was 11, I came away with the impression that slavery wasn’t really such a bad thing, as long as you treated your slaves nicely. It took me a while to shake this belief too, especially because it seemed to me that the way many American blacks lived, whether in San Francisco’s Bayview/Hunters’ Point, LA’s Watts and South Central, or Michigan’s Detroit, wasn’t a great improvement over the life of a slave.  The concept of freedom, versus mere material welfare, eluded me.

At around the same time, as a child who grew up watching the Vietnam War on the news, as well as all the antiwar protests, I thought the American military was evil, and that Communists weren’t so bad.

When I was 17, and California voters pass Prop. 13, I thought it was outrageous that people should want to keep their own money when it could go to the government, which would spend it for the people’s own good, only it would do it better.

When I was 18, I voted for Jimmy Carter and was deeply saddened when he lost.

When I was a 20-year old student attending Berkeley, and I heard that Ronald Reagan had been shot, I agreed with my fellow students that he deserved it, a sentiment that earned me a harsh and well-deserved scolding from my parents.

When I was 21 and living in England, I wore a keffiyeh, because it was a cool fashion statement.  That same year, I listened in silence as a British Arab man told a terrible and cruel holocaust joke, because I was too socially intimidated to speak up.

When I returned to America in the early 1980s, I was fascinated by MTV, and watched it obsessively, believing that somehow those videos, with their rocking beats and alternatively meaningless or crude images, could enrich my life.

Throughout my teens and 20s, I hated Christian proselytizers, because I thought they wanted to hurt me, a Jew.  It took me decades to understand that they were acting out of great spiritual generosity, and that they would respond immediately and respectfully to a politely given “no.”

Also throughout my teens and twenties, I was mean.  I was an awkward, geeky bookworm, with a quick wit that I used to great effect to hurt people before they could hurt me.  I always had friends, but woe betide anyone who fell on the cutting side of my tongue.  A physical and moral coward, I nevertheless believed that, when it came to insults, the best defense was a good offense.

I was young and I was stupid, stupid, stupid.  I cringe when I look back at the things I did and thought.  What’s really sad is that the only thing that stopped me from making even worse mistakes was my cowardice.  I didn’t really live life.  I observed it from the sidelines, and simply managed to collect a whole bunch of bad ideas as I went along.

The good news is that I grew up.  During those same years, I managed to learn a lot.  At Berkeley, because I couldn’t understand the Marxist cant that permeated every non-science class, and therefore ignored it, I managed to learn about history and art and literature.  At law school (despite a miserable semester with Elizabeth Warren), I learned how to revere the constitution, respect the law and, significantly, analyze data.

Being a lawyer was also a great gift.  It exposed me to activist judges, something that taught me that, without a rule of law, businesses crumble and anarchy arises.  It was frustrating to know that, if I was representing a bank or business in a San Francisco court against an individual, the bank or business would always lose, no matter how rigorously it followed the law, while the individual would always win, no matter how sleazy or careless.  The same held true in employer/employee cases.  I understood that judicial activism increased the cost of doing business, drove businesses out of the Bay Area (and California), and made it virtually impossible for business people to have reliable predictors to control their conduct.

Earning and spending money taught me that capitalism, if properly policed (not controlled, just policed) enriches people, rather than impoverishes or enslaves them.  Living as a responsible adult (rather than a child at home or a cocooned student) taught me that government, even with the best will in the world, is an inefficient engine that moves slowly and that inevitably crushes individuality.  I realized that I prefer to keep power diffuse, amongst myriad people with different ideas about the world, rather than aggregated in one, all-powerful being, whether that being is a person or an ostensibly republican government.  This made me a strong anti-Communist and, indeed, an anti anything totalitarian.

I learned that the old saying was right, and that I could truly catch more flies with honey (especially true honey, not false words of flattery), than I could with vinegar.  I came to regret very deeply the verbal hurts I had inflicted on people.  You will seldom catch me being mean, in act or word.  (Although I admit to slipping when the migraines hit or the kids fight.)

I found it impossible to cling to my prejudices about God and religious people.  The more I learned about science, the more I asked myself, “How did it begin?”  I accept the scientific record and scientific conclusions all the way back to the Big Bang — but what came before?  Could all this something truly have come from nothing?  I don’t know that there is a God, but I’d be an arrogant fool, faced with those questions, to deny a God.  I’m not a believer, but I try to live a moral life as an open-minded non-believer.  I respect believers.

As for Christianity, I learned that people can hold beliefs different from mine, and still be truly, deeply good people, whom it is often an honor to know.  My history studies helped me to understand that the Inquisition is over and that, for the past two hundred years, Christianity has been a uniform force for good in the world.  There are, of course, bad people who profess to be Christians, but Christianity as a belief system is a good thing and we should be grateful for it.  (I also learned, which few Jews accept, that the Nazis were not a Christian movement, but were a violently anti-Christian movement, something that helped me open my heart and mind to Christianity.)

Watching our military during the First Gulf war, and meeting military people as I got older, I began to understand that ours is an exceptional military:  a volunteer organization, controlled by the Constitution, and peopled by ordinary Americans.  Well, “ordinary” in that they’re neither the dregs, nor the aristocrats, as is the case in other, class-based societies.  Instead, they’re people like you and me.  Except, unlike me, they’re brave, even the ones who just joined to pay off their student loans.  Oh, and they’re patriots, which isn’t that common.  And of course, they’re awfully polite and frequently so kind.  But other than that….

So here I am:  someone who was profoundly stupid as a child and young person, but who had the capacity to learn and who did, in fact, learn and grow.

You know where this is going, don’t you?  Christine O’Donnell, of course.

I get the feeling that Christine O’Donnell was a very lost soul when she was young.  The latest evidence of this fact is that Bill Maher is boasting that he has tapes of her admitting to practicing witchcraft (although, frankly, this should endear her to the Left, which loves its Gaia-worshipping Wiccans).

When O’Donnell hit Christianity, she hit it hard, taking a lot of extreme positions (masturbation being the one that has the Left most atwitter) — which is normal for a convert.  The zealots usually come from the recently converted, the ones who still have enthusiasm and who also feel that extremism is an act of repentance.  She’s had financial problems, too, although that leaves her in good company, since it seems that this is a common trait in federal employees.

But O’Donnell has grown up.  Or at least she says she has and, for now, I choose to believe her — because I grew up too.  I wasn’t as silly a youngster as O’Donnell, but I grew up in the 70s and early 80s, which gave me a couple of advantages:  I had a slightly more friendly pop culture (TV still hewed to traditional values) and my youthful idiocies didn’t get captured forever on video tape.

Here’s the difference as I see it between O’Donnell and Obama:  Both of them had idiotic belief systems when they were young, because that’s what a lot of young people do.  But Obama’s belief systems hardened into true-blue (or do I mean true-red?) Marxism, whereas O’Donnell grew up.  She held to her core conservative values (no abortion, small government, etc.), but seems to have abandoned the worst excesses of her youth.

More than that, her conversion to maturity seems sincere.  She has indeed walked away from her immaturity. Yes, O’Donnell is still a pugnacious, somewhat volatile young woman, but she’s not a Wiccan now, she’s not going to set the masturbation police on you, and she’s not going to force all Americans to worship in her church.

If we take her at her word, the O’Donnell of today will go to Washington, D.C. to cut government spending, shrink government’s size, and push for a more Constitutionally run government than we currently have. And there’s nothing crazy or immature about that.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

UPDATE:  I seem to be in good (and forgiving) company, as this related post shows.

UPDATE II:  David Swindle has taken my post and run with it.  He makes the point that O’Donnell’s positions on lust, porn and masturbation are “serious” not “extreme” if you have truly embraced Christianity.  I think he’s absolutely right.

The fact is, though, that the media is selling O’Donnell as “extreme” to Americans who aren’t always that serious about Christianity or who are, like me, fairly conservative, but haven’t fully shaken off a lifetime of urban liberal thinking.  I therefore used the word “extreme” in this post in relation to point of view of people who could be swayed by the media’s attack.  In fact, I agree with David’s take about the smooth and reasonable integration of O’Donnell’s faith and her morality.

The one other thing that informs my use of the word “extreme” is the fact that, as someone older than both David and O’Donnell, the whole “spilling your guts on video about your sexual (or wiccan) beliefs” is just a little freaky to me — and that’s a generational thing.  We didn’t do that when I was growing up probably because, in that pre-video, pre-MTV era, we couldn’t do it.

UPDATE III:  If you’ve read UPDATE II, above, you must read Zombie’s wonderful post mixing up quotations from O’Donnell and Carter.  Both are Christians, but you can tell the O’Donnell posts, because she sounds smarter and less narcissistic.  Oh, and the Left loves Jimmah.

UPDATE IV:  Please visit the Anchoress on this too.

Preparing for mob rule in Oakland *UPDATED*

Last year, an Oakland transit police officer, Johannes Mehserle, killed Oscar Grant, in a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station.  Grant was being, to put it mildly, obstreperous.  Mehserle’s defense is that he meant to taser Grant but, instead, shot him.  Video footage made at the time indicates that Mehserle did indeed make a terrible mistake, and never intended to shoot Grant.  For that reason, trial watchers assume that the jury, if honest, will acquit Mehserle.

Oakland’s Communists and, therefore, Oakland’s merchants are making the same supposition.  To that end, the Communists are working hard to foment riots and the merchants, aware of that fact, are working hard to protect themselves in advance.

Zombie has a photo-rich post documenting precisely what is going on in Oakland:  both the Communist efforts to ensure a riot, and the merchants’ hard work, both physical and psychological, to protect their property and their employees.

I have to admit to being a bit nervous about the whole thing.  I’m fairly far away from Oakland, but quite near Richmond, which nestles immediately on the east side of the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge.  Marin, of course, is on the west side of that same span.  Richmond is a pure Democratic city, with a desperately high crime rate.  A significant part of Marin’s crime, especially shop lifting and car theft, originates in Richmond.

If Richmond explodes along with Oakland, who knows what will travel across the bridge?  I’m hoping that our Marin police are paying attention and not just assuming “it can’t happen here.”

And a little bleg:


UPDATE: Mehserle convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

A Marxist indictment of capitalism — and why the indictment must be wrong

The Anchoress posted at her blog a semi-animated video by a self-avowed Marxist explaining why Marxism, not capitalism, will save the world.  I have to admit that I didn’t watch it.  It wasn’t the content that drove me away, it was the choppy visuals, which trigger migraines.  Having just beaten back a migraine, I wasn’t willing to go for round two.  If you want to watch it, though, please do so, here.

Without having seen the video, though, I can still tell you that anything it says is fallacious, to the extent that it tries to argue that Marxism is a better system than Capitalism.  I know this because I’ve had a lifetime to consider that argument.

My father, who was raised a Communist before dying a Reagan Democrat, kept believing to the day he died that Communism could somehow work, if it was just done right.  The problem, in his Communism steeped brain, was that the Russians, and the Chinese, and the Cubans, and the North Koreans just weren’t doing it right.   Back in those days, since I was young, and hadn’t refined my thoughts, I argued with him simply by reiterating that because Communism hadn’t yet been done right, no matter the time or place tried, that alone was a pretty good indication that it couldn’t be done right.

Those arguments are long gone, but I have finally distilled the principles that, in my mind at least, establish conclusively that Marxism, which draws all power away from the individual and vests that power in the State, can never be done right.  A few epigrammatic statements about the State are all I need:

  • The State has no conscience.
  • The State will always put its collective survival ahead of the living, breathing “cogs” that animate it (and it will dehumanize those cogs to the status of disposable cockroaches if need be to maintain its survival).
  • The State is incapable of rapid response to changing situations (with the federal response to the Gulf Spill being the ultimate example of the rigidity that renders it incapable of abandoning its perfect standards in the face of an overwhelming amount of spilled oil).
  • An all-powerful State, without any competition, has no incentive to provide good service, whatever that service may be (health care, housing, etc.).  Competition is the spur to quality.
  • Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  This was true before Lord Acton said it, and it will be true in perpetuity.  If you vest all power in the State, you inevitably have, not only absolute corruption, but you have absolute corruption with unfettered life-and-death power over every living and breathing “cog” under its control.

Your comments about either the Anchoress’ video or my conclusions?

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Israel hasn’t changed; the world has *UPDATED*

[Prepare yourself; this is a long one.  Long-time readers may also recognize that I’ve cannibalized old posts in the service of a new point.]

A friend sent me a link to a 1951 video, showing a popular American singing group celebrating the creation of the State of Israel, something that had happened only three years before:

The affection a mainstream entertainment group felt for Israel was not anomalous back in 1951.  In the eyes of the American public, Israel — and the Jews — were starting what was to be a pretty good run for a number of decades.  This was not a historical accident but was, rather, the confluence of myriad social and geopolitical events.

On the home front, Jews had gone from being alien immigrants clogging New York’s Lower East Side, to becoming middle-class citizens who fully embraced every aspect of American life.  Sure, they might do their worshiping on Friday nights and Saturday mornings, and sure the men wore those funny little skull caps, and absolutely you wouldn’t want your daughter to marry one, but they were still — and quite obviously — solid Americans who embraced the same values as their goyish next-door neighbors.  In other words, for those who liked to justify the irrational, American Jews in the post-war era were not “deserving” of active antisemitism.

It helped that the post-WWII generation had seen exactly what active antisemitism looked like.  Active antisemitism wasn’t the American habit of barring Jews from neighborhoods, banks and law firms.  Nope.  Active antisemitism was serious stuff:

Lager Nordhausen, a Gestapo run concentration camp

Child dying on streets of Warsaw Ghetto

Mass grave at Bergen-Belsen

For the first time ever, Americans understood precisely how far insane, irrational race hated — and, especially, antisemitism — could lead.  The notion of Jews having their own country, a place from which they could defend themselves, made perfect sense to Americans who, less than 200 years before, had also created their own country.

When the nations of the world, in the form of a vaguely philo-semitic and pretty damn guilty UN, voted the State of Israel into existence, Americans cheered.  And when the surrounding Arab nations immediately declared war, intent upon creating a second Holocaust, public sympathy lay with the State of Israel.

This public sympathy was not just a post-War flash in the pan.  Twenty years later, when the Arab nations manifestly intended a second Holocaust, American sympathy again lay with Israel.

A perfect example of the American affinity for Israel is a 100-page 1967 commemorative issue of Life magazine entitled “Israel’s Swift Victory” — referring to the Six Day War in 1967.  What makes the magazine so distinct from today’s media  coverage of Israel is the tone. The Life editors admired Israel tremendously for standing up to the overwhelming odds the Arab nations presented, and for triumphing against those odds. The very first page identifies Israel as a minute, beleaguered haven for Jewish refugees, surrounded by an ocean of hostile Arab nations:

The state of Israel, no bigger than Massachusetts, was established in 1948 in Palestine as a haven for the war-ravaged Jewish communities of Europe. Bitter fighting attended her birth and fixed her boundaries against the surrounding phalanx of hostile Arab states: Jordan cut into her narrow wasp waist and through the holy city of Jerusalem; Egypt along her western desert flank was entrenched in the coastal strip of Gaza. At Israel’s southern tip is the strategic port of Elath, against which Egypt made the play that brought on the war and unhinged the entire Middle East.

Life‘s editors were unsympathetic to Egyptian President Abdel Gamel Nasser’s conduct, which the editors understood presented an existential threat that left Israel with no option but to react. After describing how Nasser, speaking from Cairo, demanded Israel’s extermination, Life editorializes thusly:

The world had grown accustomed to such shows [of destructive hatred towards Israel] through a decade of Arab-Israeli face-offs that seasonally blew as hot as a desert sirocco. Since 1948, when Israel defeated the Arabs and won the right to exist as a nation, anti-Zionist diatribes had been the Arab world’s only official recognition of Israel. Indeed, in the 19 years since the state was founded, the surrounding Arab states have never wavered from their claim that they were in a state of war with Israel.

But now there was an alarming difference in Nasser’s buildup. He demanded that the U.N. withdraw the 3,400-man truce-keeping force that had camped in Egypt’s Sinai desert and in the Gaza Strip ever since Egypt’s defeat in the Suez campaign of 1956 as a buffer between Egyptians and Israelis. A worried United Nations Secretary-General U Thant agreed to the withdrawal, then winged to Cairo to caution Nasser.

He found him adamant. Plagued by economic difficulties at home and bogged down in the war in Yemen, Nasser had lately been criticized by Syrians for hiding behind the U.N. truce-keeping force. With brinksmanship as his weapon, Nasser had moved to bolster his shaky claim to leadership of the divided Arab world.

As a caveat to my post caption (“Israel hasn’t changed; the world has”), I’ll note here that a few things in the world actually haven’t changed:  First, aside from its brief flirtation with decency in 1948, the UN has always been craven. Egypt demands that it withdraws and, voila, it withdraws. The other thing that hasn’t changed, although it’s no longer spoken of in polite MSM company, is the fact that the Arab nations have always used anti-Israeli rhetoric and conduct to deflect attention from their failures and as a vehicle to establish dominance over other Arab nations in the region. In other words, if there weren’t an Israel, the Arab nations would have had to invent one.

In contrast to the fevered, irrational hatred Life describes on the Arab side of the battle line, the Life editors are impressed by the Israelis. Under the bold heading “Israel’s cool readiness,” and accompanied by photographs of smiling Israeli soldiers taking a cooling shower in the desert, listening to their commander, and attending to their tanks, Life has this to say:

With the elan and precision of a practiced drill team, Israel’s largely civilian army — 71,000 regulars and 205,000 reservists — began its swift mobilization to face, if necessary, 14 Arab nations and their 110 million people. As Premier Levi Eshkol was to put it, “The Jewish people has had to fight unceasingly to keep itself alive…. We acted from an instinct to save the soul of a people.

Again, can you imagine a modern publication pointing out the vast disparity in landmass and population between Israel and the Arabs, or even acknowledging in the opening paragraph of any article that Israel has a right to exist? The text about Israel’s readiness is followed by more photographs of reservists preparing their weapons and of a casually seated Moshe Dayan, drinking a soda, and conferring with his men. Under the last photograph, you get to read this:

The Israelis, Dayan said, threw themselves into their hard tasks with “something that is a combination of love, belief and country.”

After using almost reverent tones to describe the Israelis’ offensive strike against the Arab air-forces, which gave Israel the decisive advantage in the War, Life addresses Israel’s first incursion into Gaza. I’m sure you’ll appreciate how the Gaza area is depicted:

Minutes after the first air strike, a full division of Israeli armor and mechanized infantry . . . was slashing into the Egyptian-held Gaza Strip. A tiny wasteland, the strip had been given up by Israel in the 1956 settlement and was now a festering splinter — the barren harbor for 315,000 refugees bent on returning to their Palestinian homes and the base for Arab saboteurs.

Wow! Those clueless (by today’s standards) Life writers actually seem to imply that Egypt, which controlled Gaza for eleven years, had some responsibility for this “festering,” dangerous area.

The Life editors are agog about Israeli military tactics:

The Israeli plan was so flexible that its architects at the last minute switched strategy to avoid a new deployment of enemy forces in southern Sinai. After the air strikes that wiped out the Arab air forces, Israeli armor and infantry swept westward across the waist of Sinai, parallel to the path of the Gaza breakthrough. A smaller column cut south from El Kuntilla, then raced toward Suez. Patrol boats and paratroops were sent to Sharm el Sheikh to break the blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba, but the airborne troops were able to land at the abandoned airfield because the Egyptians had fled. Meanwhile, fighting erupted on another front — the divided city of Jerusalem, where an Israeli pincer column encircled the old, Jordanian section. Yet another Israeli force moved against Jenin, north of Jerusalem. The final Israeli attacked, at the end of the week, was mounted against Syria, which had been shelling border settlements.

The Life editor’s tactical admiration emerges again when speaking about Israel’s successful taking of the Sinai Peninsula:

Stabbing into the Sinai desert, the Israelis stuck to the same strategy that in 1956 had carried them to the Suez Canal in 100 hours: never stop. Although outnumbered more than two to one — by an Egyptian force of almost 100,000 men grouped in seven divisions and supported by 900 tanks — they smashed ahead day and night, outracing the foe, encircling him time and again and trapping thousands of prisoners as Egyptian discipline collapsed. *** The battle — one of the epic armored engagements in history — lasted 24 hours and involved some 1,000 tanks.

Two things occur to me as I read the above descriptions of Israeli strategy in 1967: First, during the 2006 Israeli/Hezbollah war, if press reports are to be believed (and that’s always a leap of faith) Israel did not demonstrate either flexibility or speed. She remained rigidly fixated on using air power, despite the fact that (a) this hadn’t served the Americans that well in Iraq and (b) it didn’t appear to be achieving her objectives.

Indeed, it’s gotten to the point where it’s difficult to imagine the modern Israeli military ever acting with the type of decisiveness and flexibility it showed during the 1967 War.  In the 40+ years since the Six Day War, Israel’s military, like an old man, has become calcified and risk-averse.

The dynamism that characterized its strategy in 1967 was nowhere to be found in 2006, during the Hezbollah War, and its 100% commitment to the worthiness of its own cause seems to have collapsed completely now that Turkey and Iran — two sovereign nations that sit with Israel in the UN — are actively colluding with terrorists to bring weapons into a small neighboring nation-state (that would be Gaza), in order to pave the way for Israel’s destruction.  Only a nation that cares more about world opinion than its own existence would board a terrorist ship armed with paint balls.  Israel’s caving on the blockade is also symptomatic of a loss of faith in itself.

The second thing that occurred to me reading the above was the fact that the Life writers are describing a traditional war: army versus army. Under those circumstances, there’s a tremendous virtue in cheering for the underdog who routs the larger force.

Nowadays, where asymmetrical warfare means that there’s a traditional army on one side and terrorists hiding amongst and targeting civilians on the other side, the battle lines, the tactical lines, and the victory lines can easily be confusing.  This is especially true when you have those, like members of MSM, who don’t understand the nature of the war (one side wants peaceful coexistence; one side wants genocide); who don’t understand that the terrorists are, in fact, well-funded soldiers of Islamic nations, such as Iran and Syria; and who focus on the minutiae of the daily casualty reports without any understanding of the larger dynamics involved (hint:  Iran, Syria and, now, Turkey).

When confronted with the traditional army versus army conflict, as opposed to the illusory “army versus little guy” conflict, the 1967 press could easily distinguish the forest from the trees, as demonstrated in this paragraph:

The Sinai victory had cost the Israelis heavier casualties than the 1956 Suez campaign, 275 dead and 800 wounded. . . . The Egyptian losses were staggering — 20,000 dead by Israeli estimates and perhaps a billion-dollar lost in war materiel. But the objective was gained. Israeli troops took up positions on the east bank of the Suez Canal — and trained their guns on Egypt’s homeland. [Emphasis mine.]

The Life editors also take on what they perceive as the canard that the U.S. blindly allies itself with Israel — a canard that persists to this day, and one that Barack Obama has taken wholly to heart.  Indeed, I have no doubt but that Obama is seriously considering as solid strategic advice the message he received today from Al Qaeda:

Al Qaeda’s American-born spokesman has repeated the terror group’s conditions for peace with America in a video released Sunday.

Adam Gadahn called on President Barack Obama to withdraw his troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, end support for Israel, stop intervening in the affairs of Muslims, and free Muslim prisoners.

If I remember correctly, that was pretty much the same deal (albeit with different nations and another kind of totalitarianism involved) that Hitler offered Chamberlain back in 1938.  And we know how well that turned out.

Back in 1967, the intelligentsia that controlled the MSM wasn’t as easily deceived as the Ivory Tower crowd and media heads are now.  In discussing UN proceedings and, specifically Soviet behavior, the magazine’s editors demonstrated that they understood that Israel was then, as it is now, a pawn in a larger game.  Because this is an extraordinarily important point, and one manifestly ignored on the Left (and often misunderstood in the non-ideological middle), I’m reprinting in its entirety the magazine section focusing on the Cold War aspect of Israel’s travails:

As the Arab soldiers and refugees made their sad and painful way from the scenes of their defeat, the Soviet Union threw its heaviest oratorical gun into the United Nations in an effort to salvage some of what it had lost in the Mideast. Premier Aleksei Kosygin arrived at the General Assembly with an arsenal of invective.

Kosygin put all the blame on Israel and its “imperialist” backers (i.e., the U.S. and Britain). As he saw it, Israel’s “atrocities and violence” brought to mind “the heinous crimes perpetrated by the fascists during World War II.” He demanded the Assembly’s approval for a resolution — rejected earlier by the Security Council — that would condemn Israel as sole aggressor in the conflict, and he proposed that Israel not only be made to pull back to her prewar borders but also to pay reparations to the Arabs for their losses.

He was answered by the Israeli foreign minister, Abba Eban [his speech is here], whose detailed documentation and eloquence told how the Arabs had given his country the choice of defending its national existence or forfeiting it for all time. Then he put Kosygin himself in the defendant’s dock. Russia, he charged, was guilty of inflaming passions in a region “already too hot with tension” by feeding the arms race and spreading false propaganda. He called Kosygin’s reference to the Nazis “an obscene comparison . . . a flagrant breach of international morality and human decency.” As for the Russian demand that Israel pull back to her prewar lines, that, he said, was totally unacceptable until durable and just solutions are reached “in free negotiations with each of our neighbors.” The Arab states “have come face to face with us in conflict; let them now come face to face with us in peace.” Israel was determined not be deprived of her victory.

I assume you caught that the Soviet speaker used precisely the same rhetoric about Israel that has become normative throughout Europe and in most Leftist publications.  He castigated Israel as an imperialist entity and claimed that her tactics were “atrocities” that were identical to those the Nazis used. Unlike today’s MSM, Life‘s 1967 editorial team appears appalled by the tenor and falsity of those accusations.

Back in 1967, the American media was apparently also better able to deal with the fallacious argument stating that Israel is an anchor around America’s neck, dragging her down in her dealings with whomever she happens to be dealing with (whether the Soviet bloc or the Islamists).  The Life editors, some of whom probably were alive, and perhaps fighting, during WWII, understood that an ally’s moral stance is a significant factor in choosing that ally, and that an enemy’s moral deficits are equally important:

The error [the belief that the U.S. unthinkingly supports Israel] arises out of the fact that in most disputes the U.S. has been found on Israel’s side.  That’s because it is the Arabs who challenge the existence of Israel, and not vice versa.

There you have it, in a 1967 nutshell.  The U.S. sides with Israel not because of any hostility to Arabs, but because it recognizes the right of a sovereign nation to defend itself against annihilation — a principle that should be as operative today as it was 40+ years ago.  To the extent that Israel is a mere pawn in larger wars, if America abandons Israel, she is playing right into the hands, not just of Israel’s enemies, but of America’s own.

Because the editors understood the Cold War dynamics at work in the Middle East, they were also clear-headed about the implications of the refugee problem that was arising from the war, a problem that dwarfed the first round of refugees that the Muslim world had begun to use as propaganda tools after the 1948 war, and that the world’s useful idiots funded.  Keep in mind that, in no other place, at no other time, have refugees been kept in stasis in perpetuity.  They have always been resettled, and gone on either to create new communities or to be assimilated within the larger community to which they have relocated.  This would have made especially good sense with the Gaza refugees, who had been simply Ottomans, Jordanians, or Egyptians, depending on the century at issue, the Muslim nation that had regional dominance at the time, and the fellahin‘s geographic proximity to a given Muslim overlord.

Again, because the Life editorial is both clear-headed and prescient, I’m reprinting it here in its entirety (emphasis mine):

The 20th Century’s excellence — and its horrid defects — find some of their most vivid monuments in the hate-filled camps of Arab refugees. The refugees have been supported by the voluntary U.N. contributions of some 75 governments, not to mention the Inner Wheel Club of Hobart, Australia, the Boy Scout Union of Finland, the Women’s Club of Nes, Iceland, the Girls High School of Burton-on-Trend, England, and (for some reason) a number of automobile companies including Chrysler, Ford, G.M. and Volkswagen.

The philanthropy, governmental and private, that has aided these displaced Arabs is genuine — and admirable. The stupidity and political selfishness that have perpetuated the problem are appalling.

Down the ages, there have been thousands of episodes in which whole peoples fled their homes. Most were assimilated in the lands to which they fled. Brutally or beneficently, previous refugee groups were liquidated. Not until our time have there been the money, the philanthropy, the administrative skill, the hygienic know-how and the peculiar kind of nationalism which, in combination, could take a wave of refugees and freeze it into a permanent and festering institution.

In the wake of Israeli victories, the refugee camps received thousands of new recruits, and there may be more if, as seems likely, Israel successfully insists on some enlargement of its boundaries. Thus the refugee problem, one of the main causes of Middle East instability, is about to be magnified.

The early Zionists, looking toward a binational state, never thought they would, could or should replace the Arabs in Palestine.  When terrorism and fighting mounted in 1947-48, Arab leaders urged Palestinian Arabs to flee, promising that the country would soon be liberated.  Israelis tried to induce the Arabs to stay.  For this reason, the Israelis do not now accept responsibility for the Arab exodus.  Often quoted is the statement of a Palestinian Arab writer that the Arab leaders “told us:  ‘Get out so that we can get in.’  We got out but they did not get in.”

After the Israeli victory, Arab leaders outside of Palestine reversed their policy and demanded that all the refugees be readmitted to Israel. Israel reversed its policy, [and] refused to repatriate large numbers of Arabs on the ground that they would endanger the state. Nasser, for instance, has said, “If Arabs return to Israel, Israel will cease to exist.”

Now 1.3 million Arabs, not counting the recent influx, are listed as refugees. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has an international staff of about a hundred and spends nearly $40 million a year, 60% of it from the U.S. government. UNRWA services are performed by 11,500 Arab employees, most them refugees. Obviously, this group has an interest in not solving the refugee problem.

So have the host governments. Consistently they have refused to go along with any plan or policy for the resettlement or assimilation of the refugees, preferring to use them politically. In 1955 the Arab League scuttled a Jordan Valley development project precisely because it would have reduced, perhaps by 250,000, the number of Arab refugees.

It’s about time this dangerous deadlock ended. The inevitable reshuffle of the Middle East ought to include a plan to phase out the refugee problem in five or 10 years. Israel, to show goodwill, should repatriate a few thousand refugees per year. All of the 1.3 million could be absorbed in underpopulated Iran and Syria, provided their governments would cooperate in internationally supported developments projects. Persuading Arab governments to adopt a policy of resettlement should be central to U.S. policy, and it would be worth putting up quite a lot of A.I.D. money to get the job done. [Bolded emphasis mine.]

History has shown the Life editors to be correct when they believed that UN economic interests and Arab political interests would leave the refugee camps as a permanent blight on the Middle Eastern landscape. They were naive only in believing that anyone had the political will to solve the problem. They also could not have anticipated that, in a very short time, the same situation, with its same causes, would be plunged into a looking-glass world, where the Arab governments and the UN were absolved of their sins, and the blame was placed on Israel for not having engaged in an act of self-immolation by taking in these 1.3 million (and counting, and counting, and counting) hate-filled refugees.

America’s fondness and admiration for Israel extended to a cultural appreciation for the Jews as well.  I came of age during the 1960s and 1970s (and 1973, of course, saw the Yom Kippur War, another triumph of Israel’s dynamism that Americans generally applauded).  These were the high water years of America’s pop culture appreciation for her Jews.

If you were around in those decades, you’ll remember a time when popular culture was awash in successful books, songs, and shows that reflected favorably on American Jewish life and culture. For example, when I was a kid, everyone read and quoted from Dan Greenberg’s incredibly funny book, How to be a Jewish Mother. I had a friend who would just double over with laughter every time she thought of the appropriate Jewish mother response if she comes into the living room and finds her daughter necking on the couch with a boy: “Leave this house and don’t come back until you’re a virgin again.”  Another hugely popular Jewish book of the 1960s was Leo Rosten’s The Joys of Yiddish, a book that is a dictionary, a joke book, a cultural history, and a religious history book all rolled into one. (If you haven’t read it yet, you should.)

Anyone over forty also remembers Allan Sherman, the guy who became famous singing “Hello, Muddah; Hello, Faddah” and other ridiculous lyrics to familiar music? His records are still available, but in the 1960s they were a cultural phenomenom.  Sherman’s Ne York Jewishness was an integral part of his humor.  And certainly, no one needs to be reminded of what an enormous hit Fiddler on the Roof was: smash Broadway show, hit movie, and revival after revival. It still does get revived periodically (as was the case in 2004 in New York), but can you imagine it opening as a first run show now, in the same world that lauds a show about about the deranged and pathetic Rachel Corrie?  I certainly can’t.

So much of the entertainment world generally had a Jewish gloss.  Even in the 1960s and 1970s, the Jewish entertainers who hit the big time in Tin Pan Alley, Big Bands, and Broadway from the 1920s through 1940s hadn’t yet been pushed aside.  The American public still recognized and appreciated works from Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Richard Rogers, the Gershwin brothers, Moss Hart, George Kaufman, Lerner and Loewe, Dorothy Field, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, etc.  Milton Berle, George Burns, and Jack Benny lived in American’s living rooms during the 1950s, courtesy of their eponymous TV shows.  While none of these entertainers inserted any Jewish doctrine or explicit Jewish references into their work, their Jewishness permeated who they were and what they did — and Americans still loved them.

Pop culture comes and goes, and I certainly don’t mind — indeed, I think it’s a good thing — that other cultures are getting their moment in the pop culture sun. What I do mind, dreadfully, is how hostile so much of the world is now to things Jewish. Rachel Corrie is a martyr, anti-Semitism is popping up all over, churches boycott Israel, and the New York Times pretends that it was mere coincidence that, back in 2008, the lone Jewish enclave in Mumbai was singled out for an attack that surpassed all the others in sheer brutality.  I miss the time when the Jews were a beloved people, and their culture a thing to be enjoyed and admired.

I’ve now dragged you, higgledy-piggledy, through sixty years of Jewish and Israeli history, as it intersected with American history.  I’ve shown that, pockets of American antisemitism notwithstanding, for most of those sixty years Americans appreciated their Jews, and admired the State of Israel.  More than that, they understood Israel’s role in world geopolitics, seeing it as a proxy for the ugly war the Soviet Bloc was waging against America itself.

Things are completely different now.  Around the world, antisemitism is becoming more blatant and more violent.  Anti-Israel sentiment, which I believe to be an extension of antisemitism, has become de riguer, both abroad and, sadly, somewhat at home.  Our President, whether he is a Muslim or just a sociopath who sympathizes with Islamic goals, has given Israel the cold shoulder and slobbered his way to the feet of every totalitarian Muslim dictator he can find.  Israel has become a pariah nation.

What I find so interesting is that Israel has not changed in the last 60 years.  She is still a small, representative democracy surrounded by dozens of nations that are highly repressive theocratic dictatorships.  Unlike the surrounding nations, she gives equal rights to people of different faiths, colors, creeds, and sexual orientation. (The surrounding nations, in stark contrast, kill and expel people of different faiths, colors, creeds, and sexual orientation, all the while maintaining a brutal war for dominance against the women in the midst.) Israel’s values, in other words, are completely synchronous with those ostensibly espoused by the Western nations that now,  not only despise Israel, but that ally themselves with Islamic dictatorships that practice values completely antithetical to what were, until a few years ago, normative in the West.

Israel also still lives poised on the thin edge of destruction at the hands of those hundreds of millions of citizens who reside in those totalitarian Muslim nations.  She is still the vanguard in a war that both she and the West fight.  Where the enemy was once “Godless Communism,” it’s now Islamic Jihadism, but both enemies have the same goal:  the total destruction of the West and of countries with Western values, and the absorption of those Western nations into political systems that deny individual freedom and that relentlessly destroy their own citizens (in vast numbers) in order to achieve state dominance.

What’s changed, obviously, is the West.  Even though we ostensibly won the Cold War, insofar as we witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, it’s manifest that we also lost the Cold War, in that we lost our self-identity and internalized the values of the Soviet Bloc itself.  As I pointed out above, there is absolutely nothing to distinguish the speech made by the Soviet’s UN ambassador in 1967 from the standard political talk against Israel that routinely emanates today in Europe and (sadly) in America’s Democratic party.

The Left’s war on the West continues unabated and, as it did in 1967, the Left has allied itself with the Islamic jihadists.  What’s different now, is that there are no longer geographic lines, with a nice Iron Curtain neatly delineating the descendants of the Judeo-Christian enlightenment from Marx’s heirs.  Like a fungus, the latter have disseminated themselves through all western societies and are working vigorously on bringing them down.  As was the case in the 1930s, in 1948, in 1956, in 1967, and in 1973, Israel and the Jews are the front line in the battle, only now they fight alone.

Given that our President has clearly put himself on the wrong side of this war, it is imperative that “We, the people” take up moral arms on Israel’s behalf.  We don’t have to board the next plane and enlist in the IDF (although I know many who did in 1973), but we must put political pressure on everyone we know to force America back into the Israeli camp.  Doing so is not some sentimental act on behalf of a nation America once liked and admired.  As the Life editors recognized back in 1967, it is an absolutely necessary step if America wishes to defend herself against statist and theocratic forces that have allied with an eye to America’s ultimate destruction.

UPDATE:  Proving that I am not writing in a vacuum, two things came to my attention just today that emphasize the unholy linkage between the Left and Islam, on the one hand, and Israel and America, on the other hand.  That linkage has always been there, but now it’s not a fringe; it’s part of the dominant culture.  Very scary.  Anyway, the first is a Zombie article about a strike at the Oakland docks that sees Longshoremen, Communists and Islamists joining hands to protest a perfectly innocuous Israeli ship.  The second is Andy McCarthy’s short post commenting on the collusion between the Left and Islam, a running theme in his new book The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.

Obama and socialism

I warned people close to me (mother, sister, etc.) that Obama was a socialist and they laughed at me and (quite lovingly, because they’re my mom and my sister) called me “extreme.”  I wonder if they would have laughed at Al Sharpton too, now that he’s finally let the cat out of the bag:

Al Sharpton isn’t the only one coming out of the woodwork.  David Leonhardt, writing with the New York Times’ approving imprimatur, spells out precisely what’s going on:

For all the political and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems clear: The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.

Read the rest of Leonhardt’s euphoric socialist economic polemic here.

Stop me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the liberal media and the pundits go ballistic when all of us said that Obama’s statement to Joe the Plumber about “spreading the wealth” was a purely socialist notion?  They just think it’s a good thing that it should be the government’s responsibility to, hmm, let me see if I’ve got this right: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”  Quiz those pundits and media-crities and they might suggest some authors for that famous expression.  Was that Adam Smith who said that?  No.  Reagan?  No.  Jefferson?  No.  Tell me that it was Karl Marx, the founder of modern socialism, and I bet they’d be surprised.

Finally, all the pieces have come together, and the MSM is still urging us to avert our heads and not to listen.

I’m sorry this post is incoherent, but I’m irritated, and still trying to get my thoughts organized right now.

Steve Schippert unloads on the “Slaughter Option” & Jamie Glazov speaks of courage under tyranny

As everyone should know by now, House Democrats are contemplating doing away entirely with a vote on the Senate bill, and simply announcing that they’ve passed it.  After all, why shouldn’t the Constitution bow down before their overweening statism?  Steve Schippert, a veteran, has unloaded both cannons against this attack on core American values and governance:

Lose sight of what you are defending and defense isn’t all that important, is it?

This simple reminder compels us to shift focus for the moment from our combative enemies and onto that which we defend. We do not engage in such rigorous defense – in its many forms – simply to preserve soil or borders or lives. We engage in rigorous defense of ideas. Ideas embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. We do not defend simply the shores and borders and people of America. We defend – rigorously – so much more than that. We defend what it means to be American. We defend what it is that inspires so many countless others to risk life, limb and treasure to get to America even still.

And, to put it plainly, there is tyranny afoot and it must be confronted and defeated with confidence, determination and passion. The confrontation is not about health care or any other piece of legislation. It is not about politicians, politics or parties.

The confrontation is about process. The confrontation is about fidelity to the Constitution.

House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter says she is “prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill.” She continued, explaining how House passage of a separate bill containing “changes” to the Senate version would lead House leadership to “deem” the actual Senate HealthCare Bill passed – without a direct vote.

This is not simply tyrannical in nature, it is absolute political cowardice.

Read the rest here.

Also, I suggest that, after reading Steve’s impassioned defense of Constitutional liberty against tyrannical demagoguery, you read Jamie Glazov’s remembrance of his parents, both of whom stood up bravely against the horrors of the Soviet Union.  Being Jewish, I’ve had the pleasure over many years to know so many refusniks and dissidents who stood up to the Soviet Union and made their way to freedom.  I always admired these men and women.  Now, however, I am reminded that their courage must be universal, or we may find ourselves living through the end of the noble American experiment.

Communism is not cute, it’s evil, and Glazov and Beck are helping to educate Americans

The American intelligentsia has a love affair with Communism that will not die.  The dead Soviets, the dead Hungarians, Czechs, Albanians, Poles, Bulgarians, etc., the dead Chinese, the dead Koreans, the dead Africans, the dead Cambodians, the dead Vietnamese, the dead Cubans, and the dead Latin Americans are all irrelevant.  Those are just mistakes from Communism done the “wrong” way.  The Left has absolute faith that, done the right way — the “American way” — Communism will bring about a paradise of plenty and perpetual peace.  All of which shows, as I’ve learned rather painfully over me life, that brains and sense are not the same thing.

One of the worst things that has happened since 1989 is that a new generation is growing up educated by the Left about the joys of Marxism in the abstract, but without any offsetting evidence of the horrors of Marxism in practice.  Yes, China and Cuba are still out there, but China has become such an important trading partner, and Cuba is so whitewashed by Hollywood, the average kid doesn’t see either as an example of Communism.  Those of us who grew up during the Cold War could hear people at Berkeley or Columbia waffle on about the glories of the Soviet (and the evil that was Reagan), but the evidence of our own eyes was pretty compelling.  When people keep trying to escape their own country, you suspect that more is going on than meets the ideologically blinded academic eye.

Glenn Beck is trying to meet and challenge this scary cultural ignorance.  Although I don’t watch his show, I’ve heard from many that he’s been on an educational crusade, trying to make his viewers appreciate just how disastrous Communism in action is.  (Actually, I would broaden this to say “socialism.”  Communism was just one variation of this political plague.  The word “socialism” better encompasses alternative forms of this type of government, including the Nazis.)  Jamie Glazov is especially appreciative what Beck is doing, because his family suffered so terribly under the Soviets:

The tortures included laying a man naked on a freezing cement floor, forcing his legs apart, and then an interrogator stepping on his testicles, applying increasing pressure until the confession surfaced. Imagine the consequences of no surfacing confession. Indeed, many people refused to confess to a crime they did not commit.

Daughters and sons were raped in front of their fathers and mothers — for the sake of extracting “confessions.”

***

Both of my grandfathers were exterminated by Stalinist terror. Both of my parents, Yuri and Marina Glazov, were dissidents in the former Soviet Union. They risked their lives for freedom; they stood up against Soviet totalitarianism. They barely escaped the gulag, a fortune many of our friends and relatives did not share. I come from a system where a myriad of the closest people to my family simply disappeared, where relatives and family friends died under interrogation and torture for their beliefs — or for simply nothing at all.

Please read the whole thing.  It’s not just an indictment of socialism, it’s also an attack against the “intellectuals” who shunned dissidents who actually experienced the evils of Communism.  How much better to live in a world of intellectual theory, with PepsiCo as the big enemy, than acknowledge the fact that the ideology you so cheerfully embrace is responsible for more than 100 million deaths, and uncountable incidences of torture and suffering.

The Communist cat is out of the climate change bag

Since the beginning, climate change skeptics have said that the hysteria of the man-made global warming movement, aside from being based on manifestly shoddy and often dishonest science, was in fact a Leftist political gambit.  The Communists, having failed to win the world over with a Cold War had regrouped and were seeking to win it over with a warm war.  By targeting Western (that is, capitalist) nations as the evildoers in the world’s imminent boiling destruction, and then playing on the fear, guilt and ignorance of those same Western nations, the Communists . . . er, global warming saviors . . . announced a solution:  the West should give up its wealth by transferring it en masse to poor nations.  The West should also give up its lifestyle, by abandoning electricity, gas and even toilet paper.  The West, in other words, should give true meaning to global warming by engaging in self-immolation.

The last month, though, has seen this Communist-inspired house of cards collapse as quickly as the Soviet bloc did back in 1989.  First came ClimateGate, which revealed to the whole world the fact that the most ardent climate “scientists” were, in fact, ideologues who cared little about science, and a great deal about achieving a political goal.  They lied about their data, destroyed their facts, and systematically set out to muzzle and destroy anyone who disagreed with them.

Second came word from Russia that the same “scientists” (and please understand that these “scientists” are responsible for almost all of the conclusions on which the hysteria was based) cherry-picked climate data from Russia.  This is no small thing.  Russia covers 12% of the earth, and it’s been the Siberian tree rings that have been at the centerpiece of the warmies’ claims.

And today comes news that definitively rips the mask off of this whole thing.  When Hugo Chavez, a man who seeks to turn his beleaguered nation into a Communist worker’s paradise, with himself as leader for life, announces in Copenhagen that capitalism is the real culprit, and is met, not with silence or boos, but with deafening cheers, everything becomes clear:

President Chavez brought the house down.

When he said the process in Copenhagen was “not democratic, it is not inclusive, but isn’t that the reality of our world, the world is really and imperial dictatorship…down with imperial dictatorships” he got a rousing round of applause.

When he said there was a “silent and terrible ghost in the room” and that ghost was called capitalism, the applause was deafening.

But then he wound up to his grand conclusion – 20 minutes after his 5 minute speaking time was supposed to have ended and after quoting everyone from Karl Marx to Jesus Christ – “our revolution seeks to help all people…socialism, the other ghost that is probably wandering around this room, that’s the way to save the planet, capitalism is the road to hell….let’s fight against capitalism and make it obey us.” He won a standing ovation.

Let me translate Chavez’s speech:  “The capitalist pigs in the United States are the enemies of the people and need to be destroyed.”  Chavez’s speech, in other words, is pitch-perfect Communist Cold War rhetoric.  During the Cold War, non-Communist bloc nations would have been politely silent, even if they agreed with his sentiments.  Thanks to the brainwashing of global warming, however, people no longer feel compelled to hide their hatred for America and their desire for its destruction.

If Barack Obama had anything approaching human decency, he would use this Chavez speech — and, more importantly, the reaction to this Chavez speech — as the justification for refusing to go to Copenhagen.  He won’t though.  Obama has made it clear, time and time again, that he agrees with the Chavez speech.  He too believes that America is the cause of the world’s woes.  He too believes that America should be de-energized and debased, both because it would make the world a better place and because America deserves that kind of humiliation.  Chavez’s speech, rather than being the straw that should break the Obami back on climate change, is simply the spoken expression of of their innate beliefs.

Incidentally, I realize that I erred somewhat when I compared what’s happening now to 1989.  The difference between now and then is the media.  Although the media always hewed left, and was steadily dragging Americans into the relativist world of “Communism is just another way of life,” it was still able to recognize the shattering drama of the Solidarity movement and the physical destruction of the Berlin Wall.  These were visible symbols of a decades-long conflict, and their occurrence made for good TV.

Things are entirely different here and now.  The media, with almost no exceptions, had bought wholesale into the religion of Climate Change.  Media members don’t want to see their God fail.  Additionally, there’s no good TV here.  Instead of hundreds, and then thousands, of Polish dockworkers facing down Soviet guns, or brave people climbing a wall, again to the backdrop of loaded guns, here are have somewhat complex scientific discussions, a few disgraced academics, and Hugo Chavez (a man media people find charismatic).  They don’t want the American people to see or know anything about all of this and, because it lacks good visuals, it’s easy to hide.  There’s a revolution taking place, and the media is doing its damndest to bury it.

So folks, it’s up to us here, the ones in the blogosphere, to get word of the revolution out.  Bloggers need to write, readers need to email blog posts and news articles to their less news obsessive friends.  All of us need to put intriguing notes on facebook, linking to articles that will enlighten a population kept in the dark.  We need to write letters to our local editors chastising them (politely, of course), for missing out on the biggest story, so far, of the 21st Century — bigger even than the election of a vaguely black, completely red, man into the White House.  The one thing I suggest is that you don’t use the “I told you so” approach.  People tend not to respond well to that kind of thing.  It’s much better, in terms of piquing people’s interest, to strike a tone of incredulous amazement, or excited sense of discovery, or even vague sadness.

There’s a revolution happening here.  We have the weapons to destroy the Communist movement’s second attempt to destroy the Western world.  Don’t sit on the sidelines.  Do something!

Watch the Democratic dominoes fall *UPDATED*

There is a lot of talk about whether, looking ahead to the 2010 elections, we’re looking at 1980, or 1994, or 1932 or some other American political year that I can’t even think of right now.  I actually think we’re looking at a different year altogether:  1989.  As you may recall, 1989 was a big year.  While Obama can’t be bothered to get his sorry self over to Berlin, that was the year the Berlin Wall fell.  That was the year the former Soviet Union imploded.  That was the end of the 70+ year long European Communist experiment.  It was a big deal.

What made 1989 a really big deal was that nobody in the establishment saw it coming.  As far as the realpolitik types were concerned (and the liberals, and the media), Communism was a rock solid, all-powerful entity.  In their world view, we were going to be in a perpetual stalemate with our Cold War enemy, because we were all equally weak and equally strong.  On college campuses we were also told that the European Communists really weren’t all that bad and, Rodney King-like, we should just all learn to get along.

Except that this controlling paradigm was anything but true.  European Communism was rotten to the core.  Its people were prisoners, but the prison walls were beginning to collapse under their own weight.  The government managed economies were completely unsustainable.  This internal rot mean that the external pressure the Ronald Reagan placed on those inefficient, dysfunctional economies, coupled with his relentless cheerleading for freedom, brought the whole festering edifice crumbling down.

What was so amazing about the crumble was the speed with which it happened.  If any of us had thought about it, we would have said that European Communism would slowly diminish over the years and the decades.  None of us envisioned the almost instantaneous collapse that occurred.  We oldsters remember that magic moment when the Berlin Wall, an overwhelming physical symbol of the Cold War, simply vanished.  Gone.

Up until about August 2009, conventional wisdom was that the liberal juggernaut was unstoppable.  Under the guidance of the God-like Obama, progressive liberalism was a rock solid, all-powerful entity.  Charles Krauthammer argues that Tuesday put the lie to that fairy tale:

In the aftermath of last year’s Obama sweep, we heard endlessly about its fundamental, revolutionary, transformational nature. How it was ushering in an FDR-like realignment for the 21st century in which new demographics — most prominently, rising minorities and the young — would bury the GOP far into the future. One book proclaimed “The Death of Conservatism,” while the more modest merely predicted the terminal decline of the Republican Party into a regional party of the Deep South or a rump party of marginalized angry white men.

This was all ridiculous from the beginning. 2008 was a historical anomaly. A uniquely charismatic candidate was running at a time of deep war weariness, with an intensely unpopular Republican president, against a politically incompetent opponent, amid the greatest financial collapse since the Great Depression. And still he won by only seven points.

Exactly a year later comes the empirical validation of that skepticism. Virginia — presumed harbinger of the new realignment, having gone Democratic in ’08 for the first time in 44 years — went red again. With a vengeance. Barack Obama had carried it by six points. The Republican gubernatorial candidate won by 17 — a 23-point swing. New Jersey went from plus 15 Democratic in 2008 to minus 4 in 2009. A 19-point swing.

Ah,” say the skeptics (and Nancy Pelosi).   “You’re just looking at two elections.  That means nothing.”  Well, that may be true.  Except that Riehl World notes that Democratic politicians in more conservative communities are abandoning the sinking liberal ship.  And they’re not slowly abandoning it but, instead, are swiftly heading for the life boats in en masse departures:

Seven Simpson County officials have switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.

District Attorney Eddie Bowen, Sheriff Kenneth Lewis, Supervisor Mickey Berry, Justice Court Judge Eugene Knight, Constable Dan Easterling and D’Lo Alderman Michael Shoemaker made the announcement at the Republican Party headquarters in Jackson today.

“I’m just more of a conservative person,” Berry said.

I don’t track elections the way more savvy political observers do.  But I know a trend and can recognize a historic pattern when I see one — and I’m betting that 2009 is going to be the Democratic equivalent of 1989 for the European Communists.  Not only is the Party over, but it’s going to crater with mind-boggling speed.

That doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods, of course.  Even a damaged party, and a badly damaged party at that, can inflict plenty of wounds on the American economy.  Worse, with Obama in the driver’s seat for at least another three years, we can expect our foreign policy and our national security to continue to swing wildly into danger zones.  With or without Congress and the American people at his back, a hubristic Barack Obama is going to continue his bizarre foreign policy of bowing to dictators, offending friends, and turning his back on the hard work of keeping safe both Americans at home and American troops abroad.

UPDATE:  I’m not the only one who sees lessons in 1989.  Bruce Kesler also thinks it’s an important year for us to look back upon and learn from, with the Berlin Wall as the lesson’s centerpiece.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

What’s in a name? A lot, apparently, when you’re talking about Andy Stern and communism.

One of my favorite books, and one I highly recommend, is Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism. The title is self-explanatory, so I won’t belabor what you’ll find when you read it. I mention it here because I believe it was in that book that I read that, from the 1950s through the 1970s, one of the staunchest anti-Communist forces in America was  . . . wait for it . . . the AFL-CIO!*  Yup, under the leadership of George Meany, big labor was enormously hostile to Communism.  This was not just a symbolic thing.  The AFL-CIO’s political and economic heft meant that it could affect America’s political and economic approach to the Soviet Union.  For that reason, the AFL-CIO contributed largely to the Soviet Union’s downfall — and the freeing of a significant part of the world as a result.

MediaMatters, a Leftist media watchdog, wants to assure us that unions are still anti-Communist.  MediaMatters has therefore mounted a full frontal attack against Glenn Beck, who in turn is contending the SEIU president Andy Stern is not only Obama’s best buddy, but is also a communist.  The problem as Beck sees it and as Kathy Shaidle explains, is that Andy Stern likes to go around quoting communist slogans as his guiding principles.  In a recent interview, he announced that “workers of the world unite, it’s not just a slogan anymore.  It’s the way we’re going to have to do our work.”

Stern hastened to add in a subsequent interview that he thinks it’s just great that communism is dead.  It’s certainly nice of Stern to say that, but his conclusory statement about communism’s death hasn’t assuaged anyone’s worry that he, like Anita Dunn, who quotes Mao with the best of them, looks for moral and practical guidance to some pretty rotten people with really bad ideas.

You and I aren’t simplistic or naive.  We know that even bad people have good ideas.  Indeed, to be a high functioning bad person, you have to have some good ideas or otherwise you won’t sell your overall ideology.  Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin were all effective managers, and Mussolini did get those trains to run on time.

Nevertheless, as I’ve said before and am happy to say again, there comes a point when someone’s reprehensible side is so extreme that simple decency means that you can no longer hold that person’s less reprehensible side up as a useful example for one thing or another.  Because reputation matters, when a person’s evil outweighs his good, we toss him from the role model pedestal for all purposes.

Still, one could argue that recyclying is a good thing, and that’s mere convenience for for Stern, who does want to unite workers, to rely on that recognizable  old Marxist standby about the world’s workings uniting.  It’s kind of like a Che shirt — everybody recognizes it but, to the average American, it’s been leeched of its associated horrors.  The only problem with this defense is that, in addition to a weakness for communist slogans, Stern also engages in communist behavior patterns.

I’ll digress here a minute and explain what I mean by “communist behavior patterns.”  Boiled down to its essence, communism is about government control.  It is statism.  It is the opposite of the American experience which, since the Founders’ days, has been committed to liberty.

To the committed communist, anxious to explain why his system is so good, communism is an economic doctrine, with the government simply ensuring that everyone contributes so that everyone gets back.  (Doesn’t that sound nice?)  In real world terms, proven on the ground in myriad countries (the Soviet Union, North Korea, China, Bulgaria, etc.), things aren’t that simple or sweet.  Without exception, in every country in which it has been tried, communism has resulted in a state that controls the individual absolutely and completely.

It’s quite logical.  Without that overarching control, how can the simple government bureaucrat be sure that everyone is contributing?  Only through the use of force can a statist government ensure those voluntary contributions.  Individual liberty yields so quickly to coercion that life in a Communist nation is tantamount to life in a prison.  Freedom vanishes.  The government sees all and knows all — and it makes sure its citizens are fully aware of its overarching police powers.

To be sure, Andy Stern doesn’t control a government, but he does have his own private fiefdom in the SEIU.  As king of that domain, he’s committed to complete control over both those who officially reside in his kingdom (that would be the union members) and those he views as enemies of his kingdom (business and its allies).  So, Stern, to show his commitment to SEIU’s agenda, proudly boasts of engaging in precisely the same Big Brother tactics that characterize life in a Communist nation:

STERN: We took names. We watched how they voted. We know where they live. (…)

STERN: There are opportunities in America to share better in the wealth, to rebalance the power, and unions and government are part of the solution.

In other words, the same man who openly quotes Marxist doctrine also openly engages in coercive Marxist conduct.  Shakespeare knew that labels are just labels.  What matters is the deeper quality that characterizes a thing or a person.  (“What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.”)  Stern can disavow communism as much as he likes, but when he trumpets Marxist doctrine as his guiding principle, and loudly lets people know that he is willing to use spying and coercive tactics to ensure that everyone “contributes,” there’s a heavy Marxist stench rising around him — and disavowals simply aren’t going to deodorize the smell.

____________________________

* There are two other places I might have read about George Meany.  One is Natan Sharansky’s The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedm to Overcome Tyranny and Terror. The other is Ann Coulter’s Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right. By the way, even if I’m wrong and none of these books is the source for my knowledge about the AFL-CIO’s anti-communist activities, all three are such good books, you have nothing to lose by reading them.

Obama acolytes continue to deny human nature

Tom Elia links to an utterly fatuous statement from a 25 year old Obama supporter (who nevertheless gets a bully pulpit in a WaPo blog), saying that killing the profit motive will have no effect whatsoever on pharmaceutical innovation.  In the face of such stupidity, I have to drag out my family history once again.

My aunt was such an ardent Communist that, after WWII, she returned to Berlin.  When shocked friends in Israel asked, “How can you go back to the land of the Nazis?” she replied, “The Communists have cleansed that stain.”  She lived in Berlin until the day she died, sometime in the late 1980s.

In the early 1980s, my father had the opportunity to visit her.  Although she had retired by then, her status as a very high level party apparatchik meant that she had a “nice” apartment, which included having her own bathroom.  That bathroom proved to be very useful, because her kitchen sink didn’t work.  She had to do all of her kitchen washing up (preparing foods and cleaning up afterward) in the bathroom sink.

My father asked her why she didn’t get the sink repaired.  Her answer:  “I’m on the list for getting a repair.”  He asked, “How long have you been on the list?”  Her reply:  “Nine years.”

That is what happens when there is no profit motive.  If plumbers will get paid the same whether or not the rush out and repair your plumbing or sit back in the office, they will sit back in the office.

Humans have very few motivations:  passion (both physical and intellectual), hunger, fear, and a sort of overarching greed.  Unless the plumber is starving, being imminently threatened, or having sex with his/her customers, the only motivator left for him to get out and do the job is greed.  Harnessed through capitalism, you have a splendidly operating system; limited by communism, you have nothing but immobility and graft.

So many maniacs share the same delusions

If you want to be sickened by the nature of Hamas’ fellow travelers in the U.S., check out Zombie’s photographs from the rally in San Francisco to protest Israel’s war against Hamas.  One photo, combined with Zombie’s comment, struck me with particular force:

Globalize the Intifadah

Globalize the Intifadah

“Globalize the Intifada.” This is the fundamental message underlying all of these anti-Israel rallies organized by far-left radical groups: They see the Palestinian Intifada as the first wave of attack in a global revolution. Which, in their delusional fantasies, will usher in a secular communist utopia. This goes a long way toward explaining how left-wing groups can possibly give their support to Hamas, which is after all a repressive theocratic regime.

If that theme doesn’t strike you as familiar, you’re either fairly young, or you’re not thinking about it hard enough.  It is, in fact, Charles Manson’s Helter Skelter theory, played out on a global scale.  As you may recall, there  was a method behind the Manson murders.  Manson had convinced his followers that it was their mission to instigate a race war between blacks and whites in America, not because he had a dog in either fight, but because he believed that, once the combatants had destroyed each other, his little group would emerge triumphant from the chaos and take over the world.

We all freely acknowledge that Manson was insane, and that his followers were too (or, at least, they were in the grip of a temporary insanity while under his sway).  It was this insanity that led them to commit murders of unspeakable brutality, and to do so with unbridled glee.  Their craziness, aside from firing their blood lust, left them incapable of grasping that, when countries or cultures self-immolate, very little emerges from the ashes but further chaos and death.  (I give you large parts of Africa as Exhibit A to support that statement.)

It’s sadly obvious that those Communists who waltz with the Islamists in their hope to see a world engulfed in flames are subject to precisely the same delusion that drove Manson and his followers.  Despite the manifest insanity of their view, they’re vocal in their belief that they’re the Phoenix, and it’s up to them to stoke to fire to create the ashes.  One wonders were it will end.  Manson’s mania-driven murders numbered in the double-digits.  If these fellow-travelers have their way, mere millions of deaths may ultimately seem like small numbers.

Obama wants the government to redistribute wealth *UPDATE*

Traditionally, Americans conceived of taxes as a way in which citizens paid for basic government services that benefited all (such as defense, infrastructure, etc.).  With socialism, the notion arose that the government was to take from the rich (as defined by the government) and give to the poor (as defined by the government).  Since the Civil Rights movement, the American tendency has been to take from the rich (as defined by the government) and give to the victims (as defined by themselves).

Conservatives have been deeply suspicious that Obama desires the White House to achieve precisely this socialist agenda:  He wants to use taxes, not to provide funds for basic government services, but to take from those he deems rich and to give to those he deems appropriate recipients of government largesse.  (Let’s not pretend he’s just talking about the poor.  Hint:  ACORN.)

When Obama had his little conversation with Joe the Plumber, and went into his “spread the wealth” shtick, he pretty much gave the game away to those who were listening.  Large swathes of America, however, not just the die-hards, but the ones who want to feel good about voting for Obama, rejected the obvious, however, and claimed he was just talking about ordinary taxes.

How, then, can they explain away a 2001 Public Radio audiotape, which Pierre Le Grand found on the always useful Free Republic?  In it, Obama carefully explained that it’s a tragedy that the Warren Court was too conservative to upend the Constitution and redistribute wealth, but that it’s not too late to use legislation to achieve precisely the same goal.

And please note, Obama uses and reuses the word “redistribute.”  No hiding here behind colorful, user-friendly expressions such as “spread the wealth.”  What Obama clearly envisions is a government program that takes away your money (and your incentive to work hard and make it the American way), so that the money can go to those Obama deems worthy:

I’ll give Pierre Le Grand the last word:

[I]f we had an honest press corp stuff like this wouldn’t depend on people like me to find. But since we do not have an honest press corp thank you Free Republic!

UPDATE: If you prefer reading over listening, Michelle Malkin has a transcript of the core discussion.

UPDATE II:  Of, if you feel like discovering some Obama gems for yourself, there are lots more early interviews with the Obamessiah at the same radio station.  I wish I had the time to plow through some of them.  They look intriguing.

Convincing people with ideas

I carpooled to a soccer game today.  The driver, who is someone I don’t know very well, is a very charming man who is quite obviously a potential Obama voter.  He wasn’t quite sure about me and, since he was a very civil individual, he never came out and either insulted McCain or lauded Obama.  He did say, though, that he thought it was the government’s responsibility to provide medical care.  He also characterized Vietnam as a complete disaster.  That gave me an interesting opportunity to explain to him a few historic facts he didn’t know — because very few people know them.

I started out by reminding him of something that most people forget:  the Vietnam War was a Democratic War.  Kennedy started it and Johnson expanded it.  (Nixon, the Republican, ended it.)  I didn’t say this in the spirit of accusation, because I wasn’t being partisan.  I said it to give historical context to a larger discussion about freedom versus statism.

I noted that, in the 1930s — and, again, most people have forgotten this — the major battle in Europe was between two Leftist ideologies:  Communism and Fascism.  When he looked a little blank, I pointed out that the Nazis were a socialist party, a fact he readily conceded.   I also reminded him that, in the 1930s, given that Stalin was killing millions of his countrymen, and that Hitler hadn’t yet started his killing spree, Fascism actually looked like the better deal.  World War II demonstrated that both ideologies — both of which vested all power in the State — were equally murderous.

Men of the Kennedy/Johnson generation, I said, saw their role in WWII as freeing Europe from the Nazi version of socialism.  When that job ended, they saw themselves in a continuing war to bring an end to the Communist version of socialism.  Again, they were reacting to overwhelming statism.

Thus, to them, it was all a single battle with America upholding the banner, not of freedom, but of individualism. They knew that America couldn’t necessarily make people free or bring them a democratic form of government, but that it could try to protect people from an all-powerful state.  That’s always been an integral part of American identity.  He agreed with everything I said.

I then moved to the issue of socialized medicine, which I pointed out, again, gives the state all the power.  The state, I said, has no conscience, and it will start doling out medical care based on its determining of which classes of individual are valuable, and which are less valuable, to the state. My friend didn’t know, for example, that Baroness Warnock of Britain, who is considered one of Britain’s leading moralists, announced that demented old people have a “duty to die” because they are a burden on the state.

A few more examples like that, and we agreed that the problem wasn’t too little government when it comes to medicine, but too much. Health insurer companies operating in California are constrained by something like 1,600 state and federal regulations.  I suggested that, rather than give the government more control over the medical bureaucracy, we take most of it away.  He conceded that this was probably a good idea.

Lastly, I reminded him what happens when government steps in as the <span style=”font-style: italic;”>pater familias</span>.  He didn’t know that, up until Johnson’s Great Society, African-Americans were ever so slowly “making it.”  As a result of the Civil Rights movement, opportunities were opening for Northern Blacks, and they — meaning the men — were beginning to make more money.  The African-American family was nuclear and starting to thrive.

This upward economic trend collapsed in the mid-1960s, and its collapse coincided absolutely to the minute with government social workers fanning out to black communities and telling them that the government would henceforth provide.  Since it seemed stupid to work when you could get paid not to work, black men stopped working.  They also stopped caring about their families, or even getting married, since unmarried mothers did even better under welfare than intact families.  In a few short years, not only did African-Americans as a group collapse economically, their family structure collapsed too.  Men were redundant.  The state would provide.  Again, my friend nodded his head in agreement.

The ride ended at that point but, as he was dropping me off, my friend told me (and I think he was speaking from his heart), that it was an incredibly interesting ride.  And I bet it was, because I gave him real food for thought in the form of facts and ideas that fall outside of the orthodoxy that characterizes our ultra-liberal community.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and McCain-Palin 2008.

Switching from a communist to a capitalist economy

I never thought about it, but I was running my house like a commune.  The kids had chores to do, of course, but the incentive was the greater good, my approbation, and an allowance that, in their minds, had no relationship to the tasks demanded.  The kids did not find these incentives inspiring, and the days and works tended to be a blur of my pushing, and pushing, and their pushing back.  I was frustrated, they were resentful, and the house chaotic.

Aside from the practical stalemate of a sort of general household chaos, the “incentives” of “the greater good” and punishment did not work very well at controlling behavioral problems either.  The kids fought like cats and dogs, whined more than one would have thought possible, and thought that interrupting me was an Olympic sport.

Believe it or not, they are nice kids, but life has been a day to day struggle to achieve things that, in the perfectly run “communist” household of my youth, worked well.  As to my youth, my sister reminded me that it probably worked well because my mother, who is a lovely woman, nevertheless carried a a very big stick.  Also, my sister and I were exceptionally biddable children (probably because of that same stick).

I decided this summer to switch to capitalism, aided by the fact that the kids have very strong commercial desires — he wants a Rip Stick and she (I blush to admit this) Abercrombie clothes.  Here’s the method I devised:

I have a lot of big tasks in the house that have been bedeviling me, mostly in the form of closets that badly need organizing.  There are also the usual things of dirty kitchens, clean (but full) dishwashers, and stacks of clean, unfolded laundry.  I told the kids that, on a daily basis, I will assign them a task with a good salary.  Not a piddling 50 cents or $1 per task, but $5 to $20 per child, depending on the task’s magnitude.

There are conditions, however.  First, they must listen well as I explain the task.  Second, while doing the task, they cannot fight with each other or come whining to me.  If they don’t understand something, they may interrupt me only if it brings the task to a dead halt.  Otherwise, they have to set aside things that confuse them and wait until they’ve reached a functional wall.  If they commit any of the bad employee sins — not listening, fighting, whining, or excessive interrupting — I dock their pay, to the point where they may find themselves doing the task for no money at all.

My husband, to my surprise, thought this was a wonderful idea.  He offered a further incentive.  If the kids could get through the whole summer without having their pay docked, he’ll double whatever they earn from me.

We put the system in effect yesterday and it was the first day ever that the kids cleaned their rooms, tidied the house, and organized a closet without fighting, whining or interrupting me every second.  The whole thing flowed.  They leaped from project to project with enthusiasm and good will.  At the end of the day, they eagerly counted their earnings, projected ahead to the time at which they’d be able to make their purchases, and expressed surprise at (a) how fun it had been to work well and (b) how nice it was not to fight.

I couldn’t resist, of course, and gave them a little lesson in the differences between communism and capitalism.  They completely understood how, with money as the hub, we were all able to achieve our goals:  they moved further towards their Rip Stick and Abercrombie clothes, and I got a tidy house, an organized closet, and two well-behaved kids.

I’ll try to keep you posted on this capitalist experiment.

Friends of Obama

I highly (really highly) recommend that you read Paul Kengor’s piece in today’s American Thinker, Return of the Dupes and the Anti-Anti-Communists. In it, he describes a struggle I remember well from the 1970s (when I became politically aware during the end of the Vietnam era) through the 1990s (during which time I was on the Lefter side of the political divide) — The way in which Communists co-opted weak-thinking liberals so that the latters’ strongest beliefs weren’t either Communist or liberal, but were simply hostile to those who had the foresight to be anti-Communist.

As did most of my peers, I hated conservatives, not because of the things for which they stood, but because they were so wrong in being against the Communists and so paranoid. It came as something as a shock to me when I learned about the enormous numbers of deaths at Communist hands, something Kengor describes about students today:

These liberals, particularly after the McCarthy period, came to detest the anti-communists on the right. These liberals were not pro-communist but anti-anti-communist. They saw the anti-communists as Neanderthals, and still do, even though the anti-communists were absolutely right about the 20th century slaughter otherwise known as Marxism-Leninism. This ongoing anti-anti-communism is immediately evident in a quick conversation with your typical liberal in the press or academia. When I lecture at universities around the country, rattling off facts about the literally unparalleled communist destruction in the 20th century — easily over 100 million people died under communism from about 1917-79 — the young people are riveted, clearly having never heard any of this in the classroom, whereas their professors roll their eyes, as if the ghost of Joe McCarthy had flown into the room and leapt inside of my body.

With these facts in hand, I realized that those who stood staunchly against Communists (and that included, prior to 1972, the Democratic party) had been right.  What a shock to the system.

Obama is not someone whose learned that lesson.  Kengor discusses the fact that one of Obama’s early mentors was a large “C” Communist.  We all make mistakes, and a bunch of us neocons have people like that in our past.  If that’s were Kengor’s article stopped, it would merely be interesting.  What elevates his article is the fact that he discusses the fact that Obama, who has never explained these associations, is still being protected by a still-existing reflexive anti-anti-Communism that relies on ignorant, cynical dupes in the media, Hollywood and academia.

By the way, after you read the article, be sure to read the comments, paying special attention to the first one.  It’s quite instructive.

Random thoughts

There was a round-up of illegal aliens in Marin County. The story included the obligatory reference to the children who had to watch their parents being arrested for illegal activity:

Wilson said children watched while their parents and other adults were taken away by authorities. Some were removed while accompanying children to the school bus, he said.

“They are taking parents of citizen children,” Wilson said. “Most people are just dealing with the shock and the loss and trying to find their loved ones.”

One point and one suggestion. The point is that one never reads stories about the trauma suffered by children whose parents are arrested for crimes other than being illegal aliens. Apparently it’s only the children of illegal aliens who suffer newsworthy emotional trauma. And the suggestion: why don’t we say that, if Mom and Dad are illegally here, so are you, regardless of where you were born? That way parents and kids can stay together, here or there.

***

America is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t. China and Russia used to castigate her for her temerity in developing missiles. Now they scold her for her temerity for developing defenses to their (and others’) missiles. Since American can’t win, one does get the sense that she could go ahead and do whatever the Hell she deems best for her security.

***

Speaking of Russia, I find it somehow amusing that Russia is upset that finally, long after the Cold War ended, an American movie once again reverted to its pre-Leftist roots and depicted the Communists as bad guys. (And yes, I know that during WWII, the Lefties in Hollywood went nuts making movies glorifying Communism, but that stopped for a while when the Cold War actually began.) I thought the Russians had abandoned Communism, having recognized that it wasn’t beneficial for them. Why, then, are they taking it personally now? Could it be that, when it comes to Putin, once a KGB apparatchik, always a KGB apparatchik?

***

Hillary is historically accurate that things can happen in a primary between there and now (whenever that here and now is) and the actual convention, where the delegates place the final imprimatur on their candidate of choice. Nevertheless, with a woman as calculated as Hillary, it’s hard to believe that it was coincidence that she mentioned that a primary candidate could be assassinated in the June before the convention. It’s a nasty thing to do, and it’s also a horrible thing to say about Americans, especially conservative Americans, with the implication that they’re still racist enough to do something like that.

***

Israel wiped out Iraq’s nascent nuclear arsenal, and the world has had cause to be grateful. Israel probably wiped out Syria’s nascent nuclear arsenal, and the world ought to be grateful. There’s talk now about Israel once again taking on responsibility for the world and wiping out Iran’s nuclear arsenal. Many are afraid that, if she does so, Iran will strike back like a wounded, but still dangerous, animal. Tellingly, one pair of experts isn’t that worried. Patrick Clawson and Michael Eisenstadt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy wrote a paper called “The Last Option,” in which they discuss the possibility of a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. In an interview about their conclusions, Clawson had this to say:

And what will be a possible result of an Israeli attack?

Again, my answer is that it depends. Israel has to create the circumstances in which world public opinion will understand Israel and its motives, even if it regrets the attack.

That’s more or less what happened with the attack against the nuclear facility in Syria?

Yes, it is quite similar. Israel benefited from President Assad’s hostile attitude to the world, and therefore the international community showed understanding of the Israeli air force’s attack. Israel did not have to do much because Assad did the job for it. In this respect, Israel also benefits from Ahmadinejad and his statements. They help Israel present its position to the world and explain the threat it faces.

Do you share the sweeping assessment of most experts that Iran’s reaction if attacked will be harsh and painful?

No. Iran’s record when it comes to its reactions in the past to attacks against it, or its important interests, is mixed. When the Taliban assumed power in Afghanistan and persecuted the Shi’ite minority there, Iran mobilized military forces on the border and threatened to respond, but in the end it did nothing. The same occurred when the U.S. shot down an Iranian passenger airline in 1988: Iran threatened to avenge the incident, but in the end the exact opposite happened. Not only did Iran not respond, but also the incident hastened its decision to agree to a cease-fire in the war with Iraq for fear that the U.S. was about to join the war on Saddam Hussein’s side.

In another incident during the war, Iranian boats attacked an American naval force that set out to mine the Gulf. The U.S. did not expect Iran to react, and was surprised. This did not stop it from sinking half of the Iranian fleet in response.

Iran has lately been threatening that if it is attacked it will close the Straits of Hormuz and block the flow of oil, and thereby damage the world economy. But this is a problematic threat, since it would also affect Iran’s friends and supporters, such as China and India. I have no doubt that in such a case, they would be angry at Iran.

But most experts estimate that in the event of an Israeli attack, the Iranians will respond with force and launch Shihab missiles at Israel.

It is possible, but first, the Shihab missiles are not considered particularly reliable. Iran deploys them without having done hardly any significant tests. Second, the Shihab’s guidance system is not very accurate. The missile’s range of accuracy is up to a kilometer. And finally, Israel’s aerial defense system – the Arrow missiles would certainly intercept quite a few Shihab missiles. Moreover, Iran’s firing missiles at Israel would enable Israel to respond in a decisive manner.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

***

And as a reminder of what the statists housed in today’s Democratic party are all about, I leave you with this video of the lovely Rep. Maxine Waters talking to America’s oil companies:

Anger on the Left *UPDATED*

My father was a very angry man. At whichever job he had, he was pretty darn certain that management was out to get him. At stores, he knew he was being cheated. My mother always attributed this anger, not to the poverty and dislocation of his youth (placed in an orphanage at 5, refugee from the Nazis at 15, fighter in the RAF at 19), but to the Communism of his youth.

You see, my father grew up in the Dickensian Jewish slums of Berlin in the 1920s. Unsurprisingly, these slums were hotbeds of Communism and, while his mother was apolitical, his brother and sister were fervent Communists. Although they were much older than he was, they nevertheless managed to infect him with their political ideology, so much so that, while he eventually was a rock solid Democrat (until 1980) his world view was colored by the concept of class warfare — in his mind, anyone who was better situated than he was, was by definition out to get him.

My Dad and his siblings, therefore, were Communists in the perfect Marxist sense. They emerged from the underclass. They were genuinely downtrodden. The cards were completely stacked against them. Their class animus was understandable. It also made them very, very angry, and fairly dysfunctional in ordinary capitalist circumstances. His sister, indeed, was so hostile to Israel for adopting a mild form of socialism that she returned to East Germany to live in the Communist paradise. His brother was incapable of working in a capitalist system, or even a semi-socialist system, and ended his life in squalor, a low-level civil servant in Copenhagen, living in a one room apartment with his wife and child.

As for my Dad, he married my mom. My mom, too, had a life time of poverty and dislocation, but was never tainted by Communism. She is, indeed, to this day, perfectly happy with Capitalism in theory, although the fact that she was married to my father meant she never got to realize any real economic benefits from the system. Because of my Mom, my Dad completed his education, had children, and held down a job. He bought a home, and he became friends with rich people because, while we had no money, my Mom has class. He discovered that rich people, at least in America, weren’t evil parasites but were, in fact, very nice — and very hard-working. He moved right, so far, in fact, that he was one of the Reagan Democrats. I’m certain that he would be a McCain Demcrat too, were he still living. But he still would have been paranoid, convinced that the world was out to get him.

Believe it or not, there is a point to all of this biographical rumination and it’s anger. One could accuse my Mom of being guilty of amateur armchair psychology, with her certainty that it was Communism, not poverty, that fed my Dad’s anger. I think she’s right, though. We see even today that the Left is very, very angry. Despite the fact that life in America is, for most people, very good and certainly is, again for most people, better than it’s ever been at any other time or place in history, the Left sees America in only the grimmest terms. America is an evil oppressor. America intentionally hurts people. America lives to abuse people for racist reasons. You’ve seen DailyKos and the Democratic Underground and the HuffPo and the New York Times and the WaPo, and you know these feelings are out there.

What’s peculiar about this evil capitalist mantra is that it no longer emanates from the underclass. Think about the proponents of these theories: John Kerry, billionaire; Al Gore, multi-millionaire; John Edwards, multi-millionaire; Hillary Clinton, multi-millionaire; Nancy Pelosi, multi-millionaire; Jeremiah Wright, rich pastor moving into exclusive white enclave; the Obamas, products of America’s top education systems and, within the past few years, millionaires; Harry Reid, multi-millionaire; Barbara Boxer, millionaire. I’m stopping here, but you can add your own names to the list.

These people I’ve named are not, as my father was, social rejects who live in (or came from) squalor that is almost impossible to imagine now. They haven’t been kicked from pillar to post by the upper classes, nor have they been refugees, nor have they been denied opportunities. These people are the cream of the crop, the ones who have benefited most from America’s economic and educational opportunities. For those of us working gazillions of hours a week, holding two jobs, watching fuel prices tick up, wondering how we’ll pay for our children’s educations, and hoping no one gets seriously sick, they are the ones to be envied. They are the ruling class.

And yet every single one of the people I’ve named, and all of the similarly situated people I didn’t think of but that you did, share something in common with my down-trodden, refugee father — they’re really, really angry. So I have to think that this overarching, paranoid anger does not arise because of someone’s economic situation or their vertical position in the social hierarchy. Instead, my Mom was right all along: Communism, or whatever form of Leftism is currently in vogue, is attractive to those who are angry, and it breeds anger in those who otherwise might avoid that emotion.

And while anger is a universal trait, and clearly operates to help us survive in dangerous situations, those of us who have lived with chronic anger know that its long-term effects can only be harmful. For the angry individual, the results are ill-health, as the heart and guts rebel against the streams of bile flowing through the system. For the person living with someone angry, the downsides run the gamut from stress, anxiety and depression, to actual physical danger (a situation that my father, bless him, never created). And for those who live in a country powered by the angry, one sees political self-loathing, which leads suicidal behavior when it comes to both the economy and national security.

One of the things I’ve come to like about John McCain is that, while he definitely has a temper, that seems to be a generic trait. That is, he suffers from situational anger. He has what, in the old days, used to be called a quick temper. He is, in other respects, a sunny optimistic soul, and that despite his years as a POW. What McCain clearly lacks is the brooding, paranoid anger that characterizes the Left, and for that reason I believe that, his temper notwithstanding, he’d definitely be a sunnier presence in the White House than his embittered opponents.

I also think that Americans share McCain’s more sunny optimism. I can’t imagine that, over the long run, they’re going to be attracted to professional paranoids who live in the mansions on the hill, sucking every bit of wealth they can from the system, all the while castigating ordinary Americans for being greedy, embittered fools.

UPDATEHere’s something to chew on regarding the basic decency and optimism that characterizes John McCain.

A little perspective about Israel

In an earlier post, I asked how America in the 60s managed to swing over to and completely accept its enemy’s way of defining the situation. That is, the logical American point of view should have been that we were defeating Communism, which is an evil scourge that was trying to take over the world one country at a time, and that we were aiding free Vietnamese in their desperate fight against the Communists. However, in America, on our streets and campuses, what you heard was that America was an evil imperialist trying to take over the world one country at a time. It was a profound paradigm shift and its only because of the passage of time that we know that the defeated pro-American viewpoint was the correct one — as countries emerged from the Communist yoke, it was clear that Communism was as evil as the anti-Communists said and that American help, no matter how lukewarm and limited it eventually became, counted.
The same holds true for Israel, and I think Joseph Klein correctly characterizes the topsy-turvey way in which a truly evil narrative has trumped reality:

Every year since Israel’s founding, Israeli civilians have been murdered by Arab soldiers, the fedayeen, Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade, Hezbollah or some other shadowy Islamic militant group. Israel’s enemies have, from the start, sought to eliminate the Jewish state through whatever means necessary, including committing genocide against the Jewish people.

Islamic terrorists use suicide bombers and increasingly sophisticated rockets, launched from lands relinquished by Israel to the Palestinians, to accomplish their grisly deeds. Their killing machines of choice tomorrow will be whatever weapons of mass destruction they can get their hands on.

Israel is falsely accused of ‘collective punishment’ when it strikes back to defend its citizens. This propaganda has been repeated at the United Nations, right up to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon himself. He said late last month, for example, that “I would hope that the Israeli Government should not take such a collective punishment to the general public.”

Yet it is the Palestinian and other Islamic terrorists who continually violate the Israelis’ human rights under the Geneva Conventions, which state that “Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited”.

The innocent Israeli women and children, who have been slaughtered while going about their daily lives in their homes, their schools, on buses, at shopping malls, and places of worship, have committed no wrong against the Palestinian people. They are the victims of the Islamic terrorists’ measures of intimidation and terrorism, which violate their most basic of human rights – life itself. The Islamic terrorists are pursuing nothing less than the collective annihilation of the Israeli people.

When the Israeli government responds with stern but non-violent, defensive measures to protect its most vulnerable citizens from murder – for example, with border closures, security checks, economic sanctions and a separation wall – the terrorists’ apologists complain that it is Israel which is violating the Palestinians’ human rights under international law. Their premise is that Israel, as the occupying power, is prohibited by international law from imposing collective punishment on the occupied population. As recently as last week, Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson declared on the record that the UN still regards the Gaza Strip as part of the Occupied Territory. This assumption leads to the proposition that Israel is thereby precluded from taking actions that might hurt the people who are under its occupation.

The premise underlying this argument is false because Israel is no longer occupying Gaza – or Lebanon, for that matter. Hamas controls Gaza and the Lebanese have sovereignty over all of Lebanon. Yet Israel’s citizens continue to suffer intimidation and terrorism launched from those liberated areas in violation of their international human rights. The perpetrators are Palestinian and other Islamic terrorists, with the active support of state sponsors such as Iran. Israel in good faith ceded the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians in a good faith effort to advance peace. Gaza turned instead into hostile territory under Hamas’s control. More than 4200 rockets have been launched from Gaza into Israeli residential areas after Gaza was no longer occupied territory.

You can and should read the rest here.  The inversion of truth into negative political propaganda can destroy a country from the inside out as we know.  In America, it led to country in emotional and economic disarray until Reagan came along; in Israel, it may well lead to something more extreme, such as national annihilation.

The finest minds and their games

Although I’d willingly vote for him if he were the Republican candidate, I’ve never liked McCain as a politician.  To me, his “iconoclasm” (which is how the Press has always labeled it), hasn’t been the sign of an independent mind but a lack of fixity of purpose.  Having said that, though, I’ve always strongly admired McCain the man.  What he went through in Vietnam doesn’t bear thinking about, and the fact that he returned and went on to a normal and highly successful life is a testament to his strength and resilience.

There’s one statement in the above paragraph that isn’t true.  I said that what he went through in Vietnam “doesn’t bear thinking about.”  In fact, it’s something we should think about, because it helps us understand that nature of freedom’s enemies, then and now; it helps us appreciate the strength of our American military, then and now; and it shines a light on McCain’s character.  So, if you would in fact like to think about these things, I urge you to check out this article in Leatherneck, the Magazine of the Marines, describing life for American POWs (including McCain) in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.”  And as you’re reading it, do keep in mind how the Vietnam-era anti-War activists gave hope to the Vietnamese Communists and enabled them to maintain their continued attacks on their prisoners.

Hat tip:  Paragraph Farmer

Rejiggering everythough you thought you knew about Communism

Okay, the title of this post isn’t quite true, because it would take a whole book, or maybe a series, to rejigger American conventional wisdom about Communism.  Nevertheless, Randall Hoven makes an incredible start here, debunking myriad myths, and I urge you to read it.

The brainwashing worked

Michelle Malkin has a good photo essay about the gathering in front of the Marine Recruiting Station in Berkeley the other day. The San Francisco Chronicle also ran a story about the protest, which I found interesting only because of this quotation from one of the anti-War protesters:

“They represent the social base that’s giving rise to this imperialistic war. Their so-called patriotic attitude,” he said, “just shows their blatant disregard for humanity and what the flag stands for. The very fact that they’re holding it up is enough for us to be out here.”

You caught that those few sentences have all the familiar Progressive bullet-points: imperialistic war, xenophobic patriotism, disregard for humanity, etc., etc. It would be an unremarkable statement from the Progressives if it weren’t for the person who said it: “David Santos, 15, of Oakland.”  Do you wonder, as I do, where a 15 year old got such a firm grasp of Leftist rhetoric?

I knew I didn’t like them

Mr. Bookworm has liked the singing duo Indigo Girls for as long as I can remember, and I’ve disliked them, very much, for equally long.  To my ear, there is a bullying, hectoring tone to their singing that is just a complete turn-off.  Considering how little I like them, I somehow was not surprised to find them the headline act at the Communist sponsored “Power to the Peaceful Festival” held in San Francisco this past weekend and documented perfectly at a Zombie post.

I knew I didn’t like them

Mr. Bookworm has liked the singing duo Indigo Girls for as long as I can remember, and I’ve disliked them, very much, for equally long.  To my ear, there is a bullying, hectoring tone to their singing that is just a complete turn-off.  Considering how little I like them, I somehow was not surprised to find them the headline act at the Communist sponsored “Power to the Peaceful Festival” held in San Francisco this past weekend and documented perfectly at a Zombie post.

Netanyahu is in (and a little Netanyahu family history)

Bibi is a larger than life figure, who has allowed hubris to damage his political career. Since I think he’s one of the few Israeli politicians who understands both the Islamist forces arrayed against Israel and America (where he lived), and who has the smarts to put his understanding into effect, I’m glad he’s back in the political game:

Benjamin Netanyahu easily defeated a radical Jewish settler in the race to lead Israel’s hardline Likud Party on Tuesday, a party official said, boosting his ambitions to reclaim the country’s premiership.

While Netanyahu’s victory had been all but assured, a strong showing by challenger Moshe Feiglin could have shored up Israel’s extreme right and hurt Netanyahu’s efforts to rehabilitate Likud after it was trounced in national elections last year. Recent polls have crowned Netanyahu, Likud’s leader since late 2005, as the front-runner for Israel’s top job.

With more than 80 percent of the primary votes tallied, Netanyahu was out way ahead with 73 percent to Feiglin’s 22 percent, party executive director Gad Arieli said. World Likud Party Chairman Danny Danon trailed with 4 percent. Final results were expected early Wednesday.

In his victory speech, Netanyahu made it clear that the race was a dress rehearsal for a much bigger contest.

“Tonight the internal contest ended, and as of tomorrow, we will focus our efforts on bringing a new leadership to Israel,” Netanyahu told dozens of cheering supporters in Tel Aviv.

A telegenic politician and self-described hawk, the M.I.T.-educated Netanyahu speaks flawless, American-accented English. He’s tough on defense issues and hands-off on the economy, but in recent months has been trying to position himself in the political center to try to lure moderate voters.

Thinking of Bibi always makes me think of his brother, Jonathan, and the role he played in the amazing Entebbe raid. ‘Cause it’s a great story, and because I believe it’s an important part of Bibi’s psyche) I think I’ll tell it again.

For those of you too young to remember, here is a short-ish version of the long and exciting story about the Entebbe raid. (I culled these facts from a much longer article by by Maj. (Res.) Louis Williams, which I found once at the Israeli Defense Forces website, but can’t find now.)

It all started with the metal detector no one looked at. On June 27, 1976, as passengers in Athens boarded the already partially full Air France 139 flight to Paris, no one paid any attention to a young woman traveling on an Ecuadorian passport, a young blond man with a Peruvian passport, and two other men, one with Bahraini and the other with Kuwaiti papers. A little more on-the-job attention could have saved four lives and a world of trouble. It would later turn out that these four people were members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Baader-Meinhof Gang.

The flight out of Athens began in ordinary enough fashion. It was a mid-day flight so, as soon as the plane was airborne, the flight attendants began bustling around, preparing lunch. The 246 passengers — 77 of whom were Israeli citizens — settled in to do what passengers do: read, sleep, and talk. Unfortunately, they had little time to engage in any of these ordinary activities. Within eight minutes of being airborne, the women, who called herself Ortega; the blond man, who went by the name of Garcia, but was really Wilfried Boese; and their two Arab companions, sprang into action. Ortega, gun in hand, covered the first class compartment, the Arabs took over the coach compartment, and Garcia, who had both a revolver and a grenade, invaded the cockpit. Within minutes, they had secured the plane.

The first sign the outside world had that something was wrong was when the French captain, Michel Bacos, ceased radio contact. Because of the large number of Israeli passengers on Board, when Ben Gurion Airport management received the news about this peculiar radio silence, it instantly passed it on to the Israeli government and defense ministry. The Israelis had always known about the possibility that something could happen to their citizens in the air, so they quickly set up a command station and began mobilizing forces based on their initial assumption that the hostage crisis might play out at Ben Gurion itself.

Within a half hour of the Israelis setting up this station, the terrorists began issuing their demands by contacting a Libyan control tower. Their first requests were simple, and made very clear where they stood on the ideological spectrum: in addition to fuel, they demanded that the local representative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine meet them at the Libyan airport.

The plane did touch down in Libya, although it was clear that this was only a fueling stop. The terrorists released a single passenger, a young pregnant woman. In the meantime, the Israelis huddled, trying to come up with a viable plan, despite the fact that the situation was unstable and the terrorists’ ultimate destination unknown.

That same afternoon, at the terrorists’ direction, the plane took off again, with no one the wiser as to the next landing point. Eventually, with an almost empty tank, the terrorists had Captain Bacos land the plane at Entebbe, in Uganda, in the wee hours of the morning of June 28. Entebbe was an unpromising location for the Israelis, since Idi Amin, the dictator in charge, was no friend to Israel.

Once in Entebbe, it became clear that Amin was working with the terrorists, whether as part of a preconceived plan, or because he was a seizing an opportunity that presented itself to him. Thus, he allowed several more terrorists to meet the airplane, he assembled his troops at the airport, and he himself appeared there, making a speech supporting the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Aside from Amin’s posturing, though, little was happening. Amin’s involvement was worrisome enough. As Shimon Peres (who was then Defense Minister) noted, it would be a catastrophic development for Israeli air travel if a sovereign nation successfully came to the support of hijackers.

Despite the information vacuum, the Israeli Defense Forces started brainstorming. The IDF was lucky in that, as late as 1972, Israeli planes had flown into Uganda. The IDF therefore knew that the airport where the hostages were being held was within flying range and had a fair idea about the site itself. While things might have changed since 1972, finding out about those changes was do-able.

By June 29, the situation was static from the IDF’s point of view, with the terrorists apparently locked into Entebbe. The IDF therefore made the formal decision to start turning its brainstorming into reality. In the meantime, word came that the terrorists were demanding the release of various of their terrorist compatriots who were being held in Europe, Israel and Africa. By the end of the day, the terrorists fleshed out their demand: if their demand for terrorist releases was not met by 2 p.m. Israeli time on July 1, they would kill all the hostages.

Unbeknownst to the IDF (although nothing would have surprised them), as these demands were issuing, sinister things were happening in Entebbe. With help from Ugandan soldiers, the terrorists were “remodeling” the airport terminal to create a small passageway between two rooms. Boese, the blond man, then began dividing the hostages into two groups: Jews and Israelis in one group, everyone else in another group. For the Jews, it was a grim echo of Mengele’s sorting technique, with its life and death divisions.

In the small hours of June 30, the IDF continued its non-stop information gathering and planning. The consensus was that the Israelis had to seize the Entebbe airport and free the hostages — a simple idea that was incredibly difficult to put into operation. Every detail had to be considered, including a way by which to co-opt the psychopathic Amin so that he would cease assisting the terrorists and, perhaps, even come to the Israelis’ aid. (As it turned out, aside from buying some time, Amin was not otherwise deterred from his murderous path.)

It helped the Israelis that the Germans, showing more backbone than they had in 1972 during the Munich hostage crisis, were refusing to release the terrorists they had imprisoned, as were the French. Indeed, in a move unimaginable today, the French actually ceded to Israel the decision-making power regarding responsive steps in the face of the terrorist demands. On the ground, the French were also showing true integrity. When the terrorists attempted to have Captain Bacos and his French crew join a group of non-Jewish/Israeli passengers to be released on the Air France plane, they refused to do so, insisting on staying with and caring for their passengers. A French nun also attempted to stay with the Jewish passengers, but was thrust onto the plane despite her protests. The released passengers soon ended up at home and, after being debriefed and providing some valuable information, vanish from our story.

In Israel, the IDF’s plans were sufficiently advanced to begin gathering personnel. One of the soldiers handpicked for the responsibility of leading the raid was Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan (”Yoni”) Netanyahu. Another, more junior officer, Muki Betser, was summoned as well. It was the first either knew of the plan, and they were quickly brought up to speed about the three major plans currently being considered — one of which, of course, was the air raid that ultimately took place.

On July 1, the date the terrorists had given as their deadline for killing the Jewish hostages, the Israelis had an unexpected bit of luck. It turned out that an Israeli building contractor had built the Old Terminal at Entebbe, giving the IDF access to the building’s plans.

Although the Israelis were bound and determined not to submit to the terrorists’ demands — correctly perceiving that to do so would open the door to unlimited kidnappings and hostage situations — the Cabinet voted unanimously to begin negotiations with the terrorists as a means of buying time. Idi Amin, apparently swayed by Israeli flattery that played on his overweening ego, announced that he would allow the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to broadcast on Ugandan radio at 2:00 p.m., Israeli time, thereby buying one precious hour. This one extra hour stretched into two, and then a day, and then two days, until the Israelis had a fortunate reserve of time within which to work.

The Israelis, while simultaneously cajoling Amin, gathering information, and negotiating for time, continued to finalize plans. They gathered more and more personnel, especially those paratroopers with experience with long-range flights over Africa. As a second group of non-Israeli/Jewish hostages arrived in France, the situation improved, both because there were fewer passengers to rescue, and because the new arrivals helped flesh out necessary information about the Entebbe situation.

By mid-morning on July 2, the plan were sufficiently developed that Netanyahu and his fellow officers were beginning to intellectualize actual dry run practices. They also begin focusing on the minutiae of the plan, such as specific geographic landmarks in and around the airport, fueling issues, etc. Air Force ground crews began getting seven airplanes reading for the raid: four Hercules for the trip; one Hercules as a reserve plane; and two Boeing 707 as command headquarters and backup to fly the rescued hostages home. One plane was swiftly converted into a flying medical center.

One soldier, possibly Muki, also had a brainwave about preserving the surprise aspect of the raid once the planes landed. This involved using a Mercedes limousine as one of the assault vehicles, on the theory that Ugandan officials always traveled in these vehicles. Seeing one drive around the airport attended by an entourage of Land Rovers would be so normal at Entebbe that no one would be on guard.

For the rest of the day, the selected troops, led by Netanyahu, drilled and drilled. Each knew that seconds mattered. Their rehearsals were so disciplined that, by July 3, they were ready.

As the IDF engaged in this feverish behind-the-scenes activity, negotiations stagnated. It didn’t really matter, of course, since the whole purpose behind the negotiations was to buy time. Nevertheless, it was galling to see the terrorists use these talks as a way to humiliate Israel as much as possible. Certainly no one in Israel truly believed that, if Israel capitulated to the terrorist demands, the terrorists would actually release all 105 hostages safely.

At noon on July 2, 1976, the operation, now called “Operation Thunderball” was reading to go. By 1:30, the commandos were airborne and heading South to Ophir, preparatory to crossing over into African airspace. Even on the plane, the officers and their troops continued to go minutely over the plans, mentally rehearsing and polishing small details. Eventually, everyone tried to get some sleep, so as to be fresh when the raid finally took place. The flight, already stressful, was made worse by turbulence over Ethiopia, which forced the planes to divert. The one good thing was that the same storm meant that the Israelis didn’t need to worry about detection, since the storm ruined incoming radar signals.

Despite the horrific conditions, the pilot landed the plan at Entebbe only 30 seconds behind the scheduled time. Within minutes of landing, the men were piling into the decoy Mercedes, and two Land Rovers. Even as the plane was still moving, the instant the cargo doors opened, the cars drove off the plane. Thanks to the work of paratroopers who also left the plane to place temporary lights on the runway, the planes were able to taxi slightly forward.

The Mercedes, and its escorts speed down the road to the terminal, all the while trying to give the appearance of an official entourage. When two Ugandan sentries challenged them, however, they had no option but to shoot. They hit one soldier, but the other was able to run for the control tower. In minutes, despite the loss of their cover, the commandos secured one of the terminal entrances and moved on to another.

Shortly after entering the building, the terrorists began firing, both at the Israelis and the hostages. A firefight began, with Israeli troopers successful in bringing down two of the terrorists. Sadly, despite bullhorn announcements from the IDF warning the hostages to keep down, one man was killed in this first burst of gunfire.

The second assault team, which had almost been fooled to death by two terrorists pretending to be hostages, managed to kill these terrorists. At the same time, Netanyahu’s group killed Ugandan soldiers assisting the terrorists. Within the building, after only three minutes, the raid was over. The only step remaining was to get everyone — paratroopers and hostages alike — back to the waiting planes for the return trip to Israel.

Sadly, the raid was not without costs. Two hostages died on the ground. Another, an old lady, had been taken to a Ugandan hospital, where she was subsequently murdered on Amin’s orders. And, in what proved to be a terrible blow to the Israeli psyche, Netanyahu was fatally wounded. He died on the flight back to Israel.

And that’s the story. It’s an incredible story of a small force, fighting against the odds, and, with creativity and bravery, freeing over a hundred people from captivity. It’s also a story of sacrifice, because not only did Yoni Netanyahu die on that day, every single one of the paratroopers on the flight was willing to give his life to rescue his fellow Israelis and Jews from a brutal terrorist assault. Lastly, it was a story of remarkable government foresight. By refusing to give in to the terrorist demands, Israel managed for 30 years to insulate herself from hijackings and kidnappings, a situation that changed only last year, within weeks of the 30th anniversary of Entebbe, when terrorists realized that Israel no longer had the will (or, perhaps, the ability) to pull off another Entebbe.

 The grave of Jonathan Netanyahu

Worshipping killers

The Left (both at home and abroad) likes to revile the infamous American President “Chimpy-BusHitler,” but they seem to be taking a pass on some people that even the Left would have to concede have a bit more blood on their hands. Mike Adams and the American Thinker take on the results of that, shall we say, imbalance in beliefs.

Mike Adams’ target is the Che Guevara worship that infects the self-styled “intelligentsia,” who like to swan around in Che shirts, purses and (my personal favorite), darling little clothes for their babies. Che, after all, say the intellectuals, was a “sincere, “Christ-like” “martyr.” Adams’ suggestion is that his University (UNC-Wilmington) acknowledge all this Che worship and build a Che memorial on campus. He further suggests that the University use the Jefferson Memorial as its guide, and that it cover the walls with Che’s own words:

“A revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.” Che Guevara.

“If the nuclear missiles had remained we would have used them against the very heart of America, including New York City.” Che Guevara.

“We will march the path of victory even if it costs millions of atomic victims… We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm.” Che Guevara.

“Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any enemy that falls in my hands! My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. With the deaths of my enemies I prepare my being for the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial bowl.” Che Guevara.

“Don’t shoot! I’m Che, I’m worth more to you alive than dead.” Che Guevara.

“(T)o execute a man we don’t need proof of his guilt. We only need proof that it’s necessary to execute him. It’s that simple.” Che Guevara.

Wasn’t it Jack Nicholson who blasted Tom Cruise with the words “You can’t handle the truth“? I wonder what the Che faithful will do when confronted with their hero’s blood-soaked feet of clay.

In Britain, they’ve done away with that problem altogether, according to a letter republished at the American Thinker, by simply coming up with an alternative history when it comes to teaching about Hitler:

So waiting for the Dolphin swim at Discovery Cove in Orlando, my daughter Nikki and I were seated with a Brit family–mom, daughter and son. After small talk about the great value of the pound vs the dollar etc, I mentioned that Churchill was one of my heroes. The son, no more than 16 countered that he really liked Hitler, and his sister Gandhi. I was stunned and sickened.

According to him, Hitler was a great leader and did great things for the German people. He brought them out of depression. His quest for land was only to provide “living space” for the German people. The reason for the London bombings was because Britain “carpet bombed” German cities. Hitler had to attack France, for they were a treat to his effort to gain land for living space. The atrocities of the Holocaust were attributed to the fact that he was “mad”, so it wasn’t his fault. In general, his intentions were noble.

In speaking privately with his mother after my discussion, she stated that this is the new curriculum in the British schools to combat “prejudice” against Germans. They teach the children not to “judge” Hitler.

Of course, this won’t be a problem much longer in England. The British have decided to do away with Hitler altogether, along with such iconic British figures as Queen Elizabeth I and Winston Churchill. Makes you wonder how much longer America’s Europe loving intellectuals can continue to pretend that Europeans out pace us educationally.

England — birthplace of awful political systems

I used to live in the North of England, before it became Islamisized. I doubt I’d recognize it now. When Earl sent me a link to an article entitled “My brother the bomber,” which traces the trajectory one of Britain’s 7/7 bombers took from ordinary northern Muslim to mass murderer, I thought I’d read about recognizable things. I didn’t. The new Britain is an utterly alien place, open to influences no one even contemplated 25 years ago.

I’m having the same lack of recognition when I read Melanie Phillip’s Londonistan, which describes the radicalization of England’s Muslim population (with lots of help from radical immigrant Islamists, kicked out of their own countries).  I’ve actually had Londonistan on my reading list — and available to me — for months, but I haven’t been able to make myself read it.  Melanie Phillip’s is a superb writer, both lucid and vivid but, for a long time, I avoided reading this book the same way I would avoiding watching a car wreck unfold.  You know what’s going to happen, and the outcome is too terrible to contemplate.

It also pained me on a level entirely separate from the fact that London, specifically, and Great Britain, by extension, have become completely radioactive when it comes to disseminating the worst and most violent forms of Islam throughout the world.  It pained me because the book truly sounds the death knell of a very lovely time in my life, which was my sojourn in England, an England that was just starting down Thatcher’s road to recovery.

When I lived there so long ago, I was especially delighted that I had the opportunity to live in the North, because it was still the “real” England, as opposed to the more internationalized (and definitely more tourist oriented) South.  People up North still spoke with strong regional accents, and traced their ancestors back hundreds of years.  Now, when I read books about the North, I learn about a place where entire towns are indistinguishable from backwards villages in Pakistan.  It’s very depressing, more so because the English have been so leeched of any sense of self and morality, that they’ve passively watched as their world has been destroyed.

An aside, related to Phillips’ book:  Phillips notes that Al Qaeda essentially got its start in Britain, because that’s where the money and organization first flowed to set up its structure and spread its ideas.  I couldn’t help remembering that it was during his exile in England that Karl Marx lived out most of his life, and where he wrote the books that seeded modern C0mmunism.  Indeed, it was the fact that London has served as a petri dish for two of the most destructive political ideologies of our time that gave me the title for this post.

How our perspectives got warped

A few days ago I blogged about the warped perspectives that permeate the American Left. Frequent commenter D. Reid sent me a link to a YouTube video that reminds us that these warped perspectives — perspectives that have an entire generation of Americans look upon free countries with loathing and see capitalism and democracy as failures that can only be cured by the strong hand of a totalitarian government — did not happen accidentally. Instead, as a former KGB operative explains, the damaged thinking that characterizes so many Americans, especially those in academia, was deliberately planted over several generations as part of the Communist effort during the Cold War: