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Ed Driscoll

War And Anti-War

New York’s Other Big Story Yesterday

October 24th, 2014 - 12:21 pm

“Islam convert shot dead after ax attack on NYPD cops,” the New York Post reported yesterday, in a story that got lost in the wild, the innocent, and the Ebola shuffle last night:

A hatchet-swinging psycho with Islamic militant leanings turned a busy Queens street corner into a scene of bloody chaos Thursday, chopping a rookie cop in the back of the head and slicing a second officer on the arm before two other officers shot him dead.

In opening fire on the madman, cops accidentally wounded a bystander, ­authorities said.

Officer Kenneth Healey, 25, had just four months on the job when Zale Thompson, 32, of Queens — a “scholarly” but “weird” ­recent convert to Islam — fractured the back of the cop’s skull with one swing of a blue-handled hatchet at about 2 p.m. in Jamaica.

As Mark Steyn has written, they all seem like weird losers — right before the bomb goes off, the AK-47 starts spraying bullets, or the hatchet starts swinging:

That’s certainly true of the Fort Dix jihadists who took their terrorist training DVD to the local audio store to be copied. It was also true of the Islamists arrested in Toronto last year for plotting to behead the Prime Minister, one of whose cell members had a bride who wanted him to sign a pre-nup committing him to jihad. The Heathrow plotters arrested while planning to blow up U.S.-bound airliners included a Muslim convert who’d started out as the son of a British Conservative Party official with a PG Wodehouse double-barreled name and a sister who was a Victoria’s Secret model and ex-wife of tennis champ Yanick Noah.

But then Mohammed Atta and the 9/11 gang would have seemed pretty funny if you’d run into them in that lapdance club they went to before the big day where the girls remembered them only as very small tippers. Most terrorists are jokes until the bomb goes off.

I quoted that passage by Mark in my post in late August concerning the fellow named “Douglas McAuthur McCain,” who was born in Illinois, raised in Minneapolis, moved to San Diego — and given a name by his parents that honors (phonetically at least) two prominent American fighting men, of course eventually joined the military.

Not ours, but ISIS in Syria, where he was killed on the battlefield.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the Ottawa terrorist, had a similarly strange background. As Glenn Reynolds noted, he was the “son of a jihadist and a Social Justice Warrior:”

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the slain 32-year-old suspected killer of a Canadian Forces soldier near Parliament Hill, was a labourer and small-time criminal – a man who had had a religious awakening and seemed to have become mentally unstable.

Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was born in 1982 and was the son of Bulgasem Zehaf, a Quebec businessman who appears to have fought in 2011 in Libya, and Susan Bibeau, the deputy chairperson of a division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. The two were divorced in 1999.

“That’s a toxic blend,” Glenn drolly quipped.

Then there was the woman beheaded in a food distribution warehouse in Oklahoma by her coworker last month the proverbial “recent convert to Islam,” a town where another beheading was near-simultaneously threatened by another apparent convert to, well, two guesses.

 

Speaking of toxic, is it just me, or does it seem like freelance one-off Islamofascist terrorists are slowly increasing in number in North America? A favorite cliche of the left is addressing a problem’s “root causes” — are we doing anything to address any of the root causes of this issue?

A Canadian convert to Islam is the suspect in today’s Ottawa terrorist attack according to Reuters, Allahpundit writes at Hot Air. Move along, nothing to see here:

That’s all Reuters has right now, apart from his name: Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. One reporter notes, though, that that name appears several times in Montreal’s court database on drug charges. Martin Couture-Rouleau, the suspect in the other recent attack on Canadian soldiers and a convert to Islam himself, also lived in Quebec. Might be just a coincidence but the first thing police will be investigating is whether these two knew each other. The timing of the attacks suggests that there was some copycatting happening at least.

Another interesting detail: A Twitter account linked to ISIS apparently tweeted a photo this afternoon of a man whom they claimed is Zehaf-Bibeau, holding a gun with a keffiyeh covering his mouth. Where they got that photo is unclear. Could be they simply googled him, found a social media account somewhere, and lifted the pic. If not, if they had it archived for some reason, this investigation’s going to get much hotter. Oh, and according to Heavy.com, that same ISIS account was supposedly followed by Couture-Rouleau. Another coincidence?

His origins and purpose, still a total mystery:

 

Terrorist Attack on Canadian Parliament?

October 22nd, 2014 - 11:52 am

“Looks like it,” Noah Rothman writes at Hot Air:

The situation in Canada is still developing and many reports regarding the violence in Canada are unconfirmed, but what is known is that at least one police officer was wounded when a shooter attacked him at the war memorial in Ottawa. What was described as a “lone gunman” then entered Canada’s parliament building where this person engaged in a firefight with police before he or she was incapacitated.

It seems that early reports which indicated the attack on parliament was the work of a “lone gunman” were inaccurate. At least one Canadian police official told an MSNBC anchor that multiple suspects were involved in the initial incident. He described the attackers as “numerous.”

Read the whole thing. And as Glenn Reynolds adds in his update, “stay tuned. Early reports are often unreliable.”

Update:

Filed under: War And Anti-War

Is Our Children Learning?

October 19th, 2014 - 3:56 pm

Two observations: Assuming this fellow is a man of the left, why does he hate President Goldman-Sachs so? And just as a refresher, as Theodore Dalrymple recently noted, your dad is still not Hitler.

The Banality of Justifying Evil

October 19th, 2014 - 3:13 pm

In “Stalin, Sane,” National Review Online’s Andrew Stuttaford links to Anne Applebaum’s review of a new biography of Joseph Stalin:

Writing in The Atlantic, Anne Applebaum reviews the first volume of what looks like an interesting new biography of Stalin (it takes the story up until 1928). Critically, its author, Stephen Kotkin, appears to dispense with glib ‘psychological’ alibi (tough childhood and so on) for what Stalin became, replacing it with the more sinister explanation that his actions were, in one sense, perfectly rational:

 His violence was not the product of his subconscious but of the Bolshevik engagement with Marxist-Leninist ideology. This ideology offered Stalin a deep sense of certainty in the face of political and economic setbacks. If policies designed to produce prosperity created poverty instead, an explanation could always be found: the theory had been incorrectly interpreted, the forces were not correctly aligned, the officials had blundered. If Soviet policies were unpopular, even among workers, that too could be explained: antagonism was rising because the class struggle was intensifying.

And if you think that that sounds a lot like a true believer trying to square the teachings of his faith with perennially inconvenient reality you would be right. The frontier between avowedly atheistic communism, a “political religion” (as it has often been described) and more conventional religious belief is not as clearly defined as is so often imagined. Trying to understand why Stalin was attracted to such a creed thus raises unsettling questions—over what we want to believe, and why— that go far beyond the motivation of a series of communist fanatics.

As Glenn Reynolds likes to say, “Communists are just Nazis with better PR”; those engaging in PR spin to defend Stalin and his crimes go far beyond the Russians themselves to include numerous academics in both the US and England (including venerated British historian Eric Eric Hobsbawm, a true believer to the very end), crazed filmmakers such as Oliver Stone, and more than a few journalists in places such as the New York Times. But note how similar the “Stalin was a hideously deformed monster” theories dovetail with those who wish to whitewash their nation of the crimes of another murderous tyrant. Or as Ron Rosenbaum, the author of Explaining Hitler wrote in 2006:

As I tried to point out in Explaining Hitler, so called “psycho-historical” theories of Hitler have long been justly discredited, but still attract those who find some kitschy thrill in contemplating the sexual and personal perversities of Nazis.

Psycho-historical theories have been discredited both for lack of credible evidence and for flawed notions of causation. Here, for instance, it sounds like the director has blindly accepted the dubious, contradicted hearsay that Hitler’s father beat him, promoted strenuously without corroboration by psychoanalyst Alice Miller (who, again without corroboration “explains” Hitler’s anti-semitism by claiming Hitler’s father beat him because the father was upset that he, the father, might have “Jewish blood”–a concatenation of unproven, unprovable old wives tales). Even if it were true that Hitler’s father beat him this does not support the notion that therefore Hitler became a mass murderer because he resented Daddy. All too many children are beaten by their fathers, true, but only Hitler became Hitler because his exterminationist impulses had the enthusiastic support of hundreds of thousands of “ordinary” Germans and other Europeans.

Second, the focus on Hitler’s alleged personal peculiarities, de-historicizes the causes of the Holocaust; making it some kind of outgrowth of personal revenge and perversion rather the culmination of centuries of murderous anti-semitic hatred in Europe carried out by hundreds of thousands of non bed-wetting accomplices to Hitler. It de-politicizes the genocidal hatred in an utterly trivializing way. The Holocaust was not the product of one man’s personal peccadilloes, but of a powerful historical, theological and racial ideology that a juvenile comic focus on “bed-wetting” utterly obscures and in effect denies.

In his recent article “Arendt, Banality, and Benhabib: A Final Rejoinder,” Richard Wolin of the Jewish Review of Books writes:

In The Origins of Totalitarianism, Arendt viewed Nazism as a manifestation of “radical evil,” insofar as, as she explains in her preface, its crimes could “no longer be deduced from humanly comprehensible motives.”

Actually, the motives of Nazism and Bolshevism, those twin “heresies of socialism,” as Richard Pipes has dubbed them, flow logically and inexorably from the rhetoric of those whom Martin Marty dubbed “The Bearded God Killers” of the 19th century, and the “Progressives” such as H.G. Wells and Margaret Sanger who followed them in the early 20th century.  And they certainly can be deduced from humanly comprehensible motives.

At least by those who wish to make the effort.

BuzzFeed Accidently Gives MSM Game Away

October 17th, 2014 - 4:27 pm

“GOP rep: What if terrorists self-infect and bring Ebola into the U.S.?”, as spotted by Allahpundit at Hot Air, who notes:

This is posted at BuzzFeed without comment apart from a transcript, a classic way to imply “this is preposterous to a newsworthy degree” without actually having to explain why. Here’s Jonathan Last putting some meat on the bones of the idea Joe Wilson is expressing:

What’s to stop a jihadist from going to Liberia, getting himself infected, and then flying to New York and riding the subway until he keels over? This is just the biological warfare version of a suicide bomb. Can you imagine the consequences if someone with Ebola vomited in a New York City subway car? A flight from Roberts International in Monrovia to JFK in New York is less than $2,000, meaning that the planning and infrastructure needed for such an attack is relatively trivial. This scenario may be highly unlikely. But so were the September 11 attacks and the Richard Reid attempted shoe bombing, both of which resulted in the creation of a permanent security apparatus around airports. We take drastic precautions all the time, if the potential losses are serious enough, so long as officials are paying attention to the threat.

BuzzFeed’s point here, I guess, is that it’s bad form for a congressman to articulate this possibility even if plenty of Americans are already worried about it because that would be fearmongering, quite unlike what Democrats do routinely with climate change, the “war on women,” horsesh*t like this, etc etc. It’s one thing for the rank-and-file boobs on the right to see terrorists under every rock, it’s another for a man in power who’s, um, almost certainly going to be reelected anyway to broach the subject. But never mind that. What’s the actual argument for why Last’s point is stupid?

After 9/11, when he wasn’t accused of orchestrating the event himself by at least a third of Democrats, GWB was routinely crucified by the left for not being better prepared for a terrorist attack  on the World Trade Center. (As I think James Lileks noted years ago in one of his columns, plunging a 747 into the WTC is what just about everybody tries as a goof at least once soon after purchasing Microsoft’s “Flight Simulator” computer game.) But if Bush had been making speeches, starting from say, first running for national office in 1999 until September 10th, 2001 suggesting that the WTC was vulnerable to another terrorist attack, particularly an attack using multiple hijacked airliners by Jihadis on suicide missions, he’d have been looked at by the left, not the least of which their operatives with bylines, as a fear-mongering Strangelove-esque crank and anti-Muslim “racist,” in exactly the same way as GOP Rep. Wilson is being attacked today.

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‘Obama’s Great Big Ebola Error’

October 15th, 2014 - 1:38 pm

The recently retired president’s administration and its lackeys have made lots of errors regarding their handling of the Ebola crisis, of course. But at the National Interest, James Jay Carafano spots what he considers to be the big one:

The White House has declared Ebola to be a top national-security concern. That ought to worry Americans. The last time a president tried to make a disease a national-security issue, he helped trigger a global pandemic that killed 50 million people.

Progressives like to expropriate the label of national security to help drive their agendas. Statist, centrally managed, with top-down direction, the national-security model is the perfect vehicle for any policy “crusade,” be it fighting global warming or raising taxes. Thus, for example, when the administration got the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to label the “debt the biggest threat to national security,” it had all the cover needed to press for cutting defense and raising taxes—two cornerstones of President Obama’s progressive political agenda.

But playing “national security” progressive politics with public health can bring outright disaster. When the United States entered World War I, Woodrow Wilson played the national-security card early and often. The war effort became an excuse for everything from jailing political opponents to spying on everyday Americans. But, when the president used a global war as an excuse to preempt sound public-health policy, he reaped a global catastrophe.

In a post titled “Ebola and the great forgetting: the best of times, the worst of times,” Neo-Neocon quotes from a PBS documentary on how the Spanish flu ravaged America during this period:

Narrator: In 31 shocking days, the flu would kill over 195,000 Americans. It was the deadliest month in this nation’s history. Coffins were in such demand that they were often stolen. Undertakers had to place armed guards around their prized boxes. The orderly life of America began to break down. All over the country, farms and factories shut down — schools and churches closed. Homeless children wandered the streets, their parents vanished…

Dr. Alfred Crosby, author, America’s Forgotten Pandemic: The epidemic killed, at a very, very conservative estimate, 550,000 Americans in 10 months, that’s more Americans than died in combat in all the wars of this century, and the epidemic killed at least 30 million in the world and infected the majority of the human species.

Narrator: As soon as the dying stopped, the forgetting began.

Dr. Alfred Crosby, author, America’s Forgotten Pandemic: It is in the individual memory of a great many of us, but it’s not in our collective memory. That for me is the greatest mystery: how we could have forgotten anything so horrendous, so massively horrendous, as this, this epidemic which killed so many of us, killed us so fast and our reaction was to forget it.

It’s no surprise that someone being quoted on an NPR show can’t understand why this period of American history is so little known today. The left have been writing American history since the days of FDR, and have managed to airbrush virtually all of Woodrow Wilson’s sins out of American history, as they would reflect rather badly on the notion of “Progressive” or “liberal” government. Indeed, historian Fred Siegel writes that the American left stole the word “liberal” from traditional laissez-faire classical liberals in the early 1920s in order to cast off the taint of being associated with the disastrously “Progressive” Wilson administration.

After quoting from Carafano’s article, Moe Lane writes:

As the article notes, the eventual death toll for that was 50 million.  How many dead can actually be directly laid at Wilson’s feet is arguable – goodness knows that era did not lack for fools and knaves – but you can certainly tie his actions to the American soldiers and workers and patriots who died because they were at an event that was deliberately put on despite a quarantine.  Not that there’s any rush to do that; the whitewashing that they’ve done for Barack Obama pales in comparison to the cleanup that academia and the media have done on Woodrow Wilson’s reputation…

Prefacing an excerpt from his-then new book Liberal Fascism in the February 2008 issue of the Christian Science Monitor, Jonah Goldberg wrote, “You want a more ‘progressive’ America? Be careful what you wish for…”

And with the Ebola crisis risking expansion, future historians may well need to do Wilson-level airbrush work erasing Obama’s actual presidential record out of the history books.

I’m sure the New York Times will be ever-eager to do their part, of course.

Weapons of Midterm Destruction, Then and Now

October 14th, 2014 - 8:52 pm

Shot:

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, joined Congressman Peter Hoekstra, (R-MI-2), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, today to make a major announcement regarding the release of newly declassified information that proves the existence of chemical munitions in Iraq since 2003. The information was released by the Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, and contained an unclassified summary of analysis conducted by the National Ground Intelligence Center. In March, Senator Santorum began advocating for the release of these documents to the American public.“The information released today proves that weapons of mass destruction are, in fact, in Iraq,” said Senator Santorum. “It is essential for the American people to understand that these weapons are in Iraq. I will continue to advocate for the complete declassification of this report so we can more fully understand the complete WMD picture inside Iraq.”

The following are the six key points contained in the unclassified overview:

• Since 2003 Coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent.

• Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq’s pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist.

• Pre-Gulf War Iraqi chemical weapons could be sold on the black market. Use of these weapons by terrorists or insurgent groups would have implications for Coalition forces in Iraq. The possibility of use outside Iraq cannot be ruled out.

• The most likely munitions remaining are sarin and mustard-filled projectiles.

• The purity of the agent inside the munitions depends on many factors, including the manufacturing process, potential additives, and environmental storage conditions. While agents degrade over time, chemical warfare agents remain hazardous and potentially lethal.

• It has been reported in open press that insurgents and Iraqi groups desire to acquire and use chemical weapons.

—Press release issued on June 21st, 2006 by Republican Rick Santorum, as part of his (ultimately doomed) reelection bid, and widely ridiculed by virtually all Democrat operatives with bylines to aid their party’s ultimately successful recapture of both houses of Congress.

Chaser:

I THOUGHT IRAQI CHEMICAL WEAPONS WERE A BUSHITLER/CHENEY FANTASY: New York Times: The Secret U.S. Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons. “From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule. In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs.”

Instapundit.com, earlier tonight.

As Glenn Reynolds’ commenters note,”Actually, we knew about it. We screamed about it. And people who believed the NYT called us liars,” and “There’s not a word in that article about Hussein transporting WMDs to eastern Syria just prior to the invasion. They just spun that story to be as anti-W as they could.”

Plus as anoter Insta-commenter adds, assuming my fellow PJM colleagues Roger Kimball and Roger Simon are co-hosting another Walter Duranty prize next year, their speeches have just written themselves.

Update:

 

Much more at Twitchy.

Biker Gangs to Fight ISIS

October 14th, 2014 - 11:21 am

As always, with the world descending into tribal-based primitivism, there’s no way that satire can compete with reality for its pure absurdity. Three weeks ago, I tweeted this:

Reality has quickly caught up. Or at least as close to reality as Europe’s venerable Agence France-Presse news agency can get. It’s reporting today that “Netherlands says OK for biker gangs to fight Islamic State:”

The Hague (AFP) — The Dutch public prosecutor said on Tuesday that motorbike gang members who have reportedly joined Kurds battling the Islamic State group in Iraq are not necessarily committing any crime.

“Joining a foreign armed force was previously punishable, now it’s no longer forbidden,” public prosecutor spokesman Wim de Bruin told AFP.

“You just can’t join a fight against the Netherlands,” he told AFP after reports emerged that Dutch bikers from the No Surrender gang were fighting IS insurgents alongside Kurds in northern Iraq.

The head of No Surrender, Klaas Otto, told state broadcaster NOS that three members who travelled to near Mosul in northern Iraq were from Dutch cities Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Breda.

Here’s in the states, no word yet if Sonny Barger has volunteered the Hell’s Angels’ services to fight ISIS, as he did in 1965 to help LBJ fight in Vietnam, according to this account of the 1970 biker film Nam’s Angels and its inspiration.

Jimmy Carter, Racism Straight Up

October 8th, 2014 - 3:21 pm

“I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man,” Jimmy Carter said in 2009:

“I live in the South, and I’ve seen the South come a long way, and I’ve seen the rest of the country that share the South’s attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African Americans.”*

Carter continued, “And that racism inclination still exists. And I think it’s bubbled up to the surface because of the belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It’s an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply.”

I agree. Which is why it grieves and concerns me deeply to read about nefarious rightwing neocon death beast Rethuglican Tea Party Koch-heads uttering such clearly racist filth as this today: “Jimmy Carter: Obama has really bungled America’s foreign policy:”

“First of all, we waited too long. We let the Islamic state build up its money, capability and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria,” he said. “Then when [ISIS] moved into Iraq, the Sunni Muslims didn’t object to their being there and about a third of the territory in Iraq was abandoned.”

Carter sees some hope for the current American policy against ISIS in Iraq where troops on the ground will follow up after air strikes.

“If we keep on working in Iraq and have some ground troops to follow up when we do our bombing, there is a possibility of success.”

“You have to have somebody on the ground to direct our missiles and to be sure you have the right target,” Carter said. “Then you have to have somebody to move in and be willing to fight ISIS after the strikes.”

Gee, if only the infamously dovish Carter had taken his own advice in 1979, his presidential reputation might not be 20,000 leagues under the sea right now.

As John Hinderaker writes at Power Line, “When you’ve lost Jimmy ‘Boots on the Ground’ Carter, whom haven’t you lost? That’s got to be a short list.” But who on the left will be next to unleash his inner Curtis LeMay?

* No thanks to Carter himself, of course.

Related: Austin Bay puts Obama into historical perspective.

As Matthew Continetti wrote in June, “The Obama post-presidency has already begun.” So why shouldn’t the former president expect numerous tell-all books from former cabinet officials and aides? Which answers the question posited by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post. As paraphrased by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, the Democrat operative with a byline wonders “Why are Obama’s former officials so disloyal?” In response, Ed writes:

Twitter had a lot of fun with this question last night, mostly at Dana Milbank’s expense, but the emergence of several tell-all accounts while Barack Obama is still in office does seem a little … remarkable.  At least three books in the past year or two have opened the ledger on Obama’s policies and decisions as President, an effort that usually — but not always — begins after a President leaves office. Leon Panetta is the third Cabinet official, and more importantly the third major member of Obama’s national-security team, to write memoirs that criticize him in highly detailed accounts.

* * * * * * * *

It appears that Obama wasn’t listening to the people who held authority and expertise in these national-security issues, and now with things going as badly as they are, the three of them (and especially Gates and Panetta) want to make sure the record remains straight on whose decisions led to the debacle. On a broader level, the two men may have their loyalties focused less on Obama than on the nation as a whole. That’s not to say that personal loyalty to the President who appoints one to those positions should be of no account, but it shouldn’t trump the broader commitment to American national security, either.

In other words, the question and focus on these memoirs should be less about what they do to Obama, but what Obama himself is doing.

By the way, Panetta may have inflicted damage on both of his former bosses — at least one of whom, presumably, he’s hoping to work for again: As Bryan Preston writes at the PJ Tatler, Panetta told Andrea Mitchell this morning that “he knew, from the beginning, that the attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, was a terrorist attack. President Obama did not see it that way, and his actions that night remain a mystery.”

As do Hillary’s lies later that week, in which she attempted to blame the attack on a YouTube video, while standing in front of its victims’ caskets.

You Had One Job…

October 6th, 2014 - 6:15 pm

You had one job, CDC, as Glenn Reynolds notes at USA Today:

And, of course, the various busy-body looks at playgrounds, smoking in subsidized housing, and the like. As The Federalist‘s David Harsanyi writes: “The CDC, an agency whose primary mission was to prevent malaria and then other dangerous communicable diseases, is now spending a lot of time, energy and money worrying about how much salt you put on your steaks, how close you stand to second-hand smoke and how often you do calisthenics.”

These other tasks may or may not be important, but they’re certainly a distraction from what’s supposed to be the CDC’s “one job” — protecting America from a deadly epidemic. And to the extent that the CDC’s leadership has allowed itself to be distracted, it has paid less attention to the core mission.

In an era where new disease threats look to be growing, the CDC needs to drop the side jobs and focus on its real reason for existence. But, alas, the problem isn’t just the CDC. It’s everywhere.

Not the least of which, at the Secret Service, which also has one job, and similarly has recently proven to be miserable failures at it, as Jonah Goldberg writes, also in USA Today:

The scandal besetting the Secret Service offers a valuable lesson. One of the greatest assets the agency has is its reputation. If would-be attackers believe you are infallible, odds are they won’t test the proposition, much in the same way few criminals waste much time pondering how to rob Fort Knox. Recent events have dealt the agency an incalculable reputational blow.

Omar Gonzalez, a troubled man, stormed the White House with a knife and made it deep inside the building. A felon with a handgun rode an elevator with the president of the United States. A still at-large gunman fired a high-powered rifle at the White House.

Is there any doubt that terrorists and madmen are taking notes? Someone at al-Qaeda is surely slapping his forehead and shouting, “If we only knew!”

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, has been on the receiving end of a lot of mockery for arguing that the Secret Service should be quicker to use deadly force. “If you project weakness,” Chaffetz argued in hearings last week, “it invites attacks.”

While no one — including, I am sure, Chaffetz — wants to see a trigger-happy Secret Service, no one disputes his basic point, at least when it comes to the Secret Service.

As the debacles add up, Bill Kristol writes that “The decomposition of the Obama presidency has created what Obama might call a teachable moment:”

This is, needless to say, a loathsome phrase, reeking as it does of liberal sanctimoniousness and professorial condescension. Still, who can resist appropriating it, if only for this one occasion? Because it is, really, a moment. It’s a moment when minds can be opened to conservative truths, ears can be induced to hear conservative insights, eyes can be fitted with contact lenses so as better to see conservative arguments.

Are the young struck by the dashed hopes of Obamacare? Give them a copy of Friedrich Hayek’s The Fatal Conceit. They can’t believe the Secret Service farce? Introduce them to James Q. Wilson on bureaucracy. They’re befuddled by the exploitation of an unfortunate incident in Ferguson? Have them read Edward C. Banfield’s The Unheavenly City (especially the chapter he titled “Rioting Mainly for Fun and Profit”). Liberalism’s domestic policies aren’t working quite the way they were supposed to? Acquaint them with Irving Kristol: “I have observed over the years that the unanticipated consequences of social action are always more important, and usually less agreeable, than the intended consequences.”

The economics and (particularly) the tax laws of the late 1960s and 1970s favored mammoth corporations such as Penn Central Railroad, formed in 1968 and spectacularly bankrupt less than two years later, and conglomerates whose component parts had every little to do with each each other such as Beatrice, whose very name became synonymous with what is now referred sardonically as “Too big to fail:”

From the late 1950s until the early 1970s, the company expanded into Canada and purchased a number of other food firms, leveraging its distribution network to profit from a more diverse array of food and consumer products. It came to be the owner of brands such as Avis Rent A Car, Playtex, Shedd’s, Tropicana, John Sexton & Co, Good & Plenty, and many others. Annual sales in 1984 were roughly $12 billion. During both the Winter and Summer Olympics that year, the corporation flooded the TV airwaves with advertisements letting the public know that many brands with which they were familiar were actually part of Beatrice Foods. These ads used the tagline (with a jingle) “We’re Beatrice. You’ve known us all along.” After the Olympics, advertisements for its products continued to end with the catchphrase “We’re Beatrice” and an instrumental version of the “You’ve known us all along” portion of the jingle, as the red and white “Beatrice” logo would simultaneously appear in the bottom right hand corner. However, the campaign was soon found to alienate consumers, calling attention to the fact that many of their favorite brands were in fact part of a far-reaching multinational corporation, and the campaign was pulled off the air by autumn.

The mammoth federal government is now an assortment of fiefdoms each of whom are Beatrices and Penn Centrals in and of themselves. (Actually worse — Penn Central couldn’t sic the full weight of the government on someone to threaten him or access his tax records.) Mr. Obama was elected in 2008 because he was, at the time, the best spokesman for such an antiquated worldview. We now know he’s one of the worst managers of such a concept.

Still, he’ll rake in millions starting 2017 on the speaking circuit, where he really will, at last, have only job.

Update: “Obama Writes His Own Ballot Epitaph.”

Generation Blank

October 6th, 2014 - 12:29 pm

Hello, Our Mothers. Hello, Our Fathers. Here we are in Concentration Camp Grenada.

You never know what sort of flotsam and jetsam will show up on Netflix Streaming, and I’m sure everyone who clicks through the site, whether on their PC or their HDTV set-top box, knows the feeling of stumbling over something late at night, clicking the play button, and slowly starting to wonder, “Why the hell am I watching this — and why can’t I turn it off?”

Over the weekend I found myself binging late at night on the four and half-hour 2013 German mini-series Our Mothers, Our Fathers (in the original German, Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter) released in America as Generation War. And it was almost immediately apparent what was coming. In America and England, World War II history, whether in the form of books, TV, or movies, is crafted by the victors, and when it comes to movies and TV, World War II is, for better or worse, the only war that (a) the public can be reliably expected to tune in (World War I films are much more hit and miss at the box office) and (b) unlike the wars in Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East, there’s a near-unanimous consensus that we should have fought WWII, we were the good guys, and it’s a damn good thing we won.

In Germany, of course, WWII history is crafted by the losers, and there’s simultaneously an enormous shame over their actions and an enormous cultural industry to explain them away. Not really to justify them, but to transform the nation that fielded the most powerful army in the world in 1939 into victims.

As Uri Klein writes at Haaretz, in many ways, Generation War updates the formula that Erich Maria Remarque popularized in All Quiet on the Western Front, his novel set in the Germany of the first World War. Klein’s article is titled “Nostalgic German TV series takes history out of WW2.” Spot on; right from the start, Generation War plays fast and incredibly loose with history.

The miniseries begins by establishing its cast, four Germans in their late teens or early 20s, who in 1941 are about to set off on their wartime adventures on the Eastern Front. They meet after hours at a bar in Berlin where Greta, one of the friends – and it really quickly does start to feel like an episode of Friends set in Nazi Germany – works as a waitress and budding chanteuse. The four Aryan friends are joined by their fifth buddy, Viktor. Five minutes into Generation War, the miniseries begins with the biggest of the big lies, to coin a Teutonic phrase, as Adam Kirsch noted in his well-written review in February at the New Republic

The fifth member of the group is, for the film’s purposes, the most important of all. He is Viktor Goldstein, and yes, he is a Jew—a Jew who is the bosom friend of four young Aryans in Nazi Berlin in 1941, and the lover of one of them, the heedless Greta. Now, these young Germans are supposed to be about twenty when the film begins, which means that they were twelve when Hitler took power. For eight years they would have been subjected to Nazi propaganda; they would have been members of the Hitler Youth. Would such people really accept a Jew like Viktor as a bosom friend? Would they even have a chance to meet him, since Jews had already been expelled from the schools, most jobs, and even public places like parks and zoos? Yet Generation War assures us that this friendship was normal: it was those other Germans who hated Jews, not “our mothers, our fathers.”

Which is a reminder that even the mini-series’ title is an apologia for German audiences, convincing them “Our Mothers, Our Fathers,” particularly as represented by the miniseries’ attractive, well-scrubbed cast, were victims (even as they were rampaging through most of Europe and Russia) – it was the mean and nasty generation before them that duped them all into becoming Nazis.

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Al Gore was driven (further) insane when he lost to GWB in 2000, going from a man who attacked Bush #41 in 1992 for not removing Saddam Hussein from power, to demonizing Bush #43 for removing Saddam Hussein from power, and smearing his supporters as “digital brownshirts.”  Gore, whose political career was reborn in 1989, when he made an about-face from a relatively conservative Democrat in the 1980s to comparing global warming to “An Ecological Kristallnacht” in a New York Times op-ed, sold his Current TV channel to Al Jazeera, owned by the ISIS-funding petro-state Qatar, for $500 million at the start of 2013.

With her above Facebook post today, Naomi Wolf, legendary (if perhaps somewhat apocryphally) for advising Gore in 2000 to switch to earth tones to bring out his hot-blooded alpha male (no, really), has joined him in la-la land.

It shouldn’t be all that surprising. In August of 2009, the former self-described “third wave feminist” thought that Islamic women forcing women to cover their faces was totally groovy, and underneath, the Islamic world was as laid back about sex as say, your average, Greenwich Village coffee house. (No, really.) Or as Phyllis Chesler paraphrased Wolf’s essay in the Sydney Morning Herald, “The Burqa: Ultimate Feminist Choice?”

In the fall of 2008, she predicted that if John McCain won, we’d see the coming of the Palin-Rove Police State. (No, really!) Here’s Wolf’s fever-swamp rant at the Huffington Post in September of 2008:

Please understand what you are looking at when you look at Sarah “Evita” Palin. You are looking at the designated muse of the coming American police state.

You have to understand how things work in a closing society in order to understand “Palin Power.” A gang or cabal seizes power, usually with an affable, weak figurehead at the fore. Then they will hold elections — but they will make sure that the election will be corrupted and that the next affable, weak figurehead is entirely in their control. Remember, Russia has Presidents; Russia holds elections. Dictators and gangs of thugs all over the world hold elections. It means nothing. When a cabal has seized power you can have elections and even presidents, but you don’t have freedom.

I realized early on with horror what I was seeing in Governor Palin: the continuation of the Rove-Cheney cabal, but this time without restraints.

(Read the whole thing; it’s quite a hoot.) In October 2011, Wolf got her wish, sort of, being busted by Mayor Bloomberg’s finest and held overnight after an Occupy Wall Street rally went awry. The following year in the UK Guardian she had her latest gnostic revelation: “Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy –New documents prove what was once dismissed as paranoid fantasy: totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent.”

But when faced with what should be her worst nightmare, an Islamic state that represses dissent with machine guns and rusty knives to the jugular, Wolf dissembles on whether or not it’s fair to call ISIS “evil” and goes into truther mode over their snuff videos. Very likely, she’s not alone in that department; in 2007, Jane Hamsher, the founder of the leftwing Firedoglake blog, estimated that 35 percent of Democrats were 9/11 truthers.

As Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal once posited, the most traumatic event in recent history for many on the left wasn’t September 11th, 2001, but losing to President Bush the previous year. And apparently, those closest to the epicenter were driven the furthest into hysteria.

Update: Worried about Ebola in the USA? Who isn’t! Fortunately, Naomi’s got you covered with a conspiracy theory for that as well:

Update:


If that request actually did come from a New York Times journalist as Wolf writes on her Facebook page, then evidently the Times would rather protect Naomi’s rep than have to report on a former Gore advisor now in ISIS truther mode. Or as Jim Treacher of the Daily Caller recently tweeted, “Modern journalism is all about deciding which facts the public shouldn’t know because they might reflect badly on Democrats.”

Quotes of the Day

October 3rd, 2014 - 5:01 pm

From Bryan Preston at the PJ Tatler:

The Islamic State had threatened to behead British captive Alan Hennings. They have carried out that threat, with U.S.-led airstrikes supposedly hitting them in Iraq and Syria.

Islamic State militants have published a video that is said to depict the murder of a British aid convoy volunteer Alan Henning three weeks after warning that he would be the next to die.

If the video is found to be authentic, Henning will be the fourth western hostage to have been killed by the group, following the video-taped beheadings of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and Scottish aid worker David Haines.

The latest crime comes after the UK launched air strikes against Isis, joining the US and its Arab allies – Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – which had been targeting the group for several days.

He leaves behind a wife and two teenage children.

Bryan grimly adds that “The Islamic State is now threatening to behead another American hostage.”

Update: “At least they make the heads roll on time:” The Small Dead Animals blog spots a Toronto Star columnist making “The case for doing nothing about the Islamic State:”

So imagine being a villager. From high overhead, others are raining Hellfires, literally, on you. You can’t see them but you know they don’t look like you or speak your language, and care only in the most abstract way. Then along come the Islamic State thugs. They look and talk like you. They’re brutal but they create some administrative order…

George Orwell, call your office.

“Christians, and those rejecting the me-generation liberal dogma of ‘if it feels good do it,’ are no longer tolerable by the intellectual and cultural elite,” Robert P. George of Princeton notes, as quoted by Ginni Thomas of the Daily Caller:

“Christians, and those rejecting the me-generation liberal dogma of ‘if it feels good do it,’ are no longer tolerable by the intellectual and cultural elite,” says George, 59, director of the James Madison program at Princeton University. Citing the political witch hunt that forced Brendan Eich’s departure as CEO of Mozilla for a small contribution to a conservative political cause, George said politically correct mobs “threaten us with consequences if we refuse to call what is good evil, and what is evil, good. They command us to confirm our thinking to their orthodoxy, or else say nothing at all.”

Yet instead of accepting this liberal cultural dominance, George offers a call to arms with practical advice for the embattled faithful. Encouraging conservatives to model themselves off the early civil rights leaders who clung to noble bedrock free speech principles liberals claim to embrace today, George says “our first and most effective move is to hold these elites to their principles.”

As the late Kenneth Minogue wrote in the New Criterion in the summer of 2010:

My concern with democracy is highly specific. It begins in observing the remarkable fact that, while democracy means a government accountable to the electorate, our rulers now make us accountable to them. Most Western governments hate me smoking, or eating the wrong kind of food, or hunting foxes, or drinking too much, and these are merely the surface disapprovals, the ones that provoke legislation or public campaigns. We also borrow too much money for our personal pleasures, and many of us are very bad parents. Ministers of state have been known to instruct us in elementary matters, such as the importance of reading stories to our children. Again, many of us have unsound views about people of other races, cultures, or religions, and the distribution of our friends does not always correspond, as governments think that it ought, to the cultural diversity of our society. We must face up to the grim fact that the rulers we elect are losing patience with us.

And so are those we employ to educate America’s children as well, alas.

Meanwhile, whenever I get a twinge of guilt that I’m getting too out there when quoting articles that compare the quotes of radical Islamists with radical leftists (such as “Mohamed Atta, Socialist Critic of Capitalism,” linking to a 2011 article at the American Spectator), radical Islamists are unfortunately all too quick to reinforce that notion: “Anjem Choudary: ‘Muslims must reject the unIslamic ideas of democracy/freedom.’”

Thomas Friedman, Donna Brazile, Harry Reid, and RFK Jr. couldn’t have said it better themselves.

Related:

Unexpectedly! “In a bizarre coincidence, a fired Oklahoma City nursing home employee was arrested Friday after a co-worker reported he threatened to cut her head off,” local newspaper The Oklahoman reports today. “Jacob Mugambi Muriithi, 30, is being held in the Oklahoma County jail on a terrorism complaint. His bail is set at $1 million:”

[His co-worker] said Muriithi identified himself as a Muslim and said he “represented ISIS and that ISIS kills Christians,” the detective told a judge in the affidavit. The two had not worked together before.ISIS is a reference to Islamic State militants responsible for highly publicized beheadings in the Middle East.

The woman said she asked him why they kill Christians and he replied, “This is just what we do,” the detective reported.

“The victim said Jacob asked her what time she got off work and she replied by asking him in a joking manner if he was going to kill her,’ the detective wrote. “Jacob told the victim, ‘Yes,’ he was going to cut her head off. The victim asked Jacob what he was going to cut her head off with and he said, ‘A blade,’ then told her after he did it he was going to post it on Facebook.

“The victim said Jacob was serious when speaking and never made any statements that he was joking or playing around.”

NBC to denounce this latest “gentleman’s” threat as mere potential “workplace violence” in 3…2…1…

Related: speaking of Facebook and Oklahoma “workplace violence,” “‘SHARIA LAW IS COMING!!!!’ Oklahoma Beheader Celebrated Terrorists, Disparaged Non-Muslims On Facebook”

Peace Protests, RIP

September 28th, 2014 - 3:56 pm

janeane_garofalo_missing_milk_carton_9-28-14-1

“Where are the peaceniks? Why aren’t they marching on Capitol Hill to protest President Barack Obama’s use of military force in Syria and Iraq?”, Debra Saunders asks at Real Clear Politics:

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Kevin Fagan interviewed peace activists who told him that their ranks are numb, in part because America has been at war for more than a decade. Some even wonder whether the Islamic State is so barbaric as to merit airstrikes.

“People are war-weary and have already been very disappointed in President Obama for some time,” Peaceworkers Executive Director David Hartsough said. That’s right; they’re disappointed. After GOP President George W. Bush sent U.S. troops into Iraq with congressional authorization in 2002, activists took to the streets, but after a Democrat ordered airstrikes over Syria without explicit authorization, they’ve been subdued.

“It’s early still, and for the moment, this is an air war and not a ground war,” another progressive told Fagan.

I understand. Partisans on both sides of the aisle like to think that if they were in charge, the world would be a safer place. For eight years, Democrats indulged in the seductive conceit that if they were in charge, the world couldn’t be worse than it was with the bumbling Bush as commander in chief. As Secretary of State John Kerry scoffed as a senator in 2004, Bush ran “the most arrogant, inept, reckless and ideological foreign policy in the modern history of this country.”

Which is a curious admission, since it was merely an extension of the policies of the Democratic administration that preceded it, whose chief architects may well return to power in 2017:

Former actress and comedienne Janeane Garofalo (who incidentally turned 50 today) gave the game away in 2003, as to why when Al Gore was calling for regime change in Iraq and Bill Clinton was bombing , the left was so quiet:

Comedienne-turned-peace-activist Janeane Garofalo offered a stunning admission on Sunday, explaining that she and her fellow anti-war protesters didn’t stage huge demonstrations when President Clinton launched attacks on Iraq, Bosnia, Afghanistan and the Sudan because “it wasn’t very hip” to protest the former president.

Asked by “Fox News Sunday’s” Tony Snow why peace protesters like herself didn’t object to Clinton’s wars, Garofalo explained:

“I absolutely did. I did not support Operation Desert Fox. It’s just that you didn’t know me very well back then. Nobody really was interested in listening to me back then.”

Then she added, by way of explaining why the anti-Clinton protests never gelled, “It wasn’t very hip.”

Why, it’s as if most “anti-war” groups are in reality “on the other side” or “Just Democratic Party Tools,” — or both.

Update: It looks like we’re going to need a lot more milk cartons:

MSNBC-parody-10-4-10

Lean forward:

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY: I would be remised not to bring up the story out of Oklahoma. It is a story that I read as a workplace violence story. But I want to play just a little bit of the sound from the press conference that followed a gentleman who beheaded a woman in the context of his having been fired then he goes back to the plant. He stabs several people. One of the women, her head is severed. But then this gets said at the conference. Let’s listen for a moment.

JEREMY LEWIS: conducting interviews with co-workers of Nolen information was obtained that he recently started trying to convert some of his coworkers to the Muslim religion.

HARRIS-PERRY: And then that’s it. And now this is somehow about Islam.

DEAN OBEIDALLAH: You know what’s funny. Just so it is clear to everyone, there is nothing in the Quran that says if you get fired go back to your workplace and kill people. I want everyone to know that. No it is not in the Quran. You know, anything that is bad, a bad crime, I don’t know about you, but my reaction is please don’t let them be Muslim.

I have to go now Dean, because I’m due back on planet earth.

Or as Twitchy notes, rounding up a smattering of outrage from Twitter users, “Don’t try to make sense of it. The conclusions that liberals come to in their own fantasy world are void of reality and logic.”

Speaking of which, George Orwell, call your office.