For season 2 of the 13 Weeks Radical Reading Regimen, each weekday I juxtapose excerpts from my book readings with a selection of the previous day’s headlines and noteworthy excerpts. The goal is to make fresh connections between the events of the day and the bigger picture of history and humanity’s place in the universe.
In yesterday’s collection of the weekend’s headlines and excerpts, I announced my plan to begin opening each of these weekday link round-ups by highlighting one of my favorite writers and explaining how one of their key ideas could be used to better understand the day’s events. I opened this series with the intent of naming the five men and one women — all PJ columnists — who have most shaped my foreign policy views. I began by proclaiming my appreciation for PJ columnist Michael Ledeen and his books. To understand Monday’s headlines, I invite others to consider The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America by Andrew C. McCarthy – excerpted below — and also his PJ Media Ordered Liberty blog and National Review archive. McCarthy is one of today’s most important advocates for a strong, focused national security policy that recognizes and defeats America’s enemies.
Back in November, I included The Grand Jihad in my list of the “The 15 Best Books for Understanding Barack Obama’s Mysterious Political Theology.” The book is particularly valuable for understanding a vital reality that the majority of people across the political spectrum either know nothing about or work very hard to ignore: for decades the Muslim Brotherhood has worked very hard developing front groups which train operatives for the purpose of subverting America and someday conquering us from within. These activists pretend to be moderates but actually work to advance the interests of Islamic supremacists who seek to implement Sharia. They intentionally obfuscate their real views. So far it’s been working very well.
McCarthy is one of the most incisive and credible analysts of this phenomenon. He is unique amongst other writers on Islam in that he is a former federal prosecutor, responsible for convicting the Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman. He’s not someone who can be dismissed as promulgating “crazy conspiracy theories” like the Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein recently attempted. There really are criminal conspiracies and they’ve been convicted in court. Want documentary proof that the Muslim Brotherhood created the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for the purpose of duping people into supporting Muslim supremacists? This document recovered from the Brotherhood — “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America” — was entered into evidence by the FBI during the Holy Land Foundation trial. It’s a good place to start and an important piece of evidence that McCarthy explains. Here’s the excerpt from which the title of the book emerged:
This isn’t conspiracy mongering. It’s a well-established historical fact that during the Cold War the Soviet Union funded spies and subversive cultural groups to try to destroy America from within. Today’s Islamist groups draw from this tradition. The various strains of Islamism we see today across the Middle East from the Muslim Brotherhood to the Saudi Kingdom to the Iranian mullahs all infuse orthodox Islam with aspects of Marxism and fascism. (Hence one of the reasons why I choose to use the term “Islamism” much to the consternation of some of my more hardline counter-Jihad colleagues. An “Islamist” is someone who uses modern day political methods — violent or nonviolent — in order to establish an Orthodox Islamic state that runs according to Sharia law. The Islam of Mohammed’s age is the goal, but modern tools from modern weapons to postmodern ideology are the means.)
Having come to understand the criminal techniques utilized throughout the 20th century, we can see them implemented today. Consider the subject of Robert Spencer’s monday PJ Lifestyle article: Why Reza Aslan’s Christian Relatives and Friends Aren’t Trying to Kill Him.
With the understanding in mind that America’s totalitarian foreign enemies have throughout history sought to disrupt the foundations of America’s cultural values, we can begin to connect the dots:
Fact 1: Reza Aslan is an advisory board member of the National Iranian American Council, an unofficial lobbying organization and apologist for the current terrorist-sponsoring regime.
Fact 2: Aslan has advocated for the U.S. to negotiate with both Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah
Fact 3: Aslan is a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. He wrote that “the Muslim Brotherhood will have a significant role to play in post-Mubarak Egypt. And that is good thing” and has spoken regularly at events sponsored by the MSA and CAIR.
Fact 4: Aslan, an ex-Christian who returned to Islam, claims that Jesus of Nazareth was an illiterate, revolutionary zealot and that the gospels are all distortions of who Jesus really was. In Aslan’s telling, Jesus is reminiscent of Mohammed. Where have we heard this before? Aslan agrees with the dominant Muslim interpretation of the Koran, which claims that the Jewish Torah and Christian gospels are perversions of what Moses and Jesus actually taught. His evidence for an illiterate Jesus? This interview from the Wall Street Journal demonstrates Aslan’s preferred creative writing method of historical analysis — stereotyping — and then his outright dismissal of the importance of the individual:
In the book you say that Jesus was “very likely” illiterate, and there’s “no reason to think” he could read or write. But a lot of Biblical scholars disagree. In Luke 4:16, we see Jesus reading. [“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.”] So where do you get that from, saying Jesus is illiterate when in the Bible he is seen reading?
Well, first of all, it may sound shocking to some people, but just because the gospels say something doesn’t mean it’s actually factual. The Gospel of Luke was written 60-70 years after Jesus had died, when Christianity was quintessentially a Roman religion and no longer a Jewish religion and the gospel writers were very interested in making Jesus someone who would appeal to a non-Jewish audience. But the facts of history speak for themselves. And I would say the vast majority of Biblical scholars would agree that the illiteracy rates in Jesus’s world were somewhere around 98 percent. 98 percent of Jesus’s fellow Jews could neither read nor write. The notion that a tekton, as Jesus is referred to in the Bible, a woodworker, which would make him the second-lowest rung on the social ladder in his time just above the slave and the indigent and the beggar, the notion that he would have had any sort of formal education, let alone the kind of education necessary to debate theological points with the scribes and the Pharisees, is difficult to reconcile with what we know of the history of the time.
But examining the broad sweep of historical trends of a particular time doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about an individual person.
It tells you everything about an individual.
This ideology — that believes “historical trends” are more important than the individual — is the perpetual enemy of America, constantly returning with new masks. We have beaten it many times throughout our history and we will defeat it again.
Monday Morning Book Reading:
“Misogyny is particularly cruel when it comes to the barbaric practice of stoning. Both men and women can be stoned to death, but men have some chance of survival…” -pg 83 of Accomplice to Evil: Iran and the War Against the West by Michael A. Ledeen
Monday Morning News Round Up:
Lead PJM Stories From Monday:
For nearly a year, we have had no answer to why the administration lied about Benghazi — why it told the world, not to mention the parents of our murdered SEALs at the funeral of their sons, that the cause of that fatal conflagration was an anti-Islamic video no one saw, when the various arms of our executive branch (White House, State and intelligence) already knew, or strongly suspected, it was a terror attack orchestrated by al-Qaeda affiliates.
You only have to read the now infamous talking points to know that.
That this lie was deeply immoral is obvious. What still eludes us is the cause of that lie, other than the equally obvious desire to avoid embarrassment weeks before a presidential election.
But what was this embarrassment about? Recent events have supposedly unearthed a tie to secret arms shipments to Syrian rebels, but as the always cogent Barry Rubin points out, anyone paying attention to the story has known this for some time. Rumors of such shipments filled the Internet even before the Benghazi fireworks.
Furthermore, as Rubin also indicates, if that information had been immediately revealed or leaked to the public soon after the event, it would have been met by a national shoulder shrug that was firmly ratified by Obama’s loyal media claque. It wouldn’t have impacted the election much, if at all.
No, something more problematic was involved and I suspect I know what it was. No one wanted to admit — or probably face for themselves — the extent to which the president, and therefore his administration, the State Department, the CIA and even the military, was in bed with Islamists. That the Benghazi consulate (or whatever it was) was guarded by al-Qaeda types who surely either turned on the people they were supposed to be defending that night, or simply gave safe passage to the enemy, is only tip of the proverbial iceberg.
If anything, it seems that the election (and re-election) of the first black president has actually aggravated racial issues in America. If you want my opinion on why — and you probably don’t — it’s because we specifically elected a black president instead of a president who happens to be black — i.e., his election was more because of racism than a triumph over it.
Hopefully this is just a growing pain on the way to that fabled post-racial society of the future. Being an integrated society is new territory for us; everything is a learning experience. And we’re learning. Maybe.
But the Trayvon Martin shooting and George Zimmerman trial have illustrated the big divide we still have to overcome. A lot of people saw it as a purely defensive shooting — and maybe George Zimmerman made some bad choices, but there was nothing racial about it. On the other hand, some people are absolutely certain the incident was white supremacy in action — but even if they’re right, the incident still shows progress, as it’s now a more inclusive white supremacy that also incorporates Hispanics.
Another thing that demonstrates the divide is voter ID. For the majority of people, it’s common sense to at least try to prevent voter fraud. For others, it’s the most racist thing ever and the return of Jim Crow — which I can’t even comprehend. I guess if you have to present a photo ID, then people can see what race you are in the photo and then discriminate against you… or something.
“They don’t even know what consensual sex is,” said Rehtaeh’s aunt of the boys. “They don’t even know that the other person’s supposed to be participating and wanting it.”
Pictures of the rape “ended up online,” to use the phrase from Katy Perry’s unrelated song. Rehtaeh became the target of bullying. Seventeen months after the event, she hanged herself — and died later, when she was taken off life support.
PJ Lifestyle Featured on PJ Home Page:
When an Islamic scholar, Suliman Bashear, taught his students at An-Najah National University in Nablus that the Qur’an and Islam were the products of historical development rather than being delivered in perfect form to Muhammad, his students threw him out of the window of his classroom. So why aren’t any Christians trying to kill Aslan, or at least throw him out of a window? If he had been a Muslim who had left Islam, believers in such statements as this one attributed to Muhammad could have confronted him: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari 9.84.57). Because the Qur’an stipulates that Muhammad is the “excellent example” of conduct for Muslims (33:21), in all things to be imitated, this command became normative in Islamic law. The death penalty for apostasy is part of Islamic law according to all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence.
All the schools of Islamic jurisprudence teach that a sane adult male who leaves Islam must be killed. They have some disagreements about what must he done with other types of people who leave Islam, but they have no disagreement on that. The Tafsir al-Qurtubi, a classic and thoroughly mainstream exegesis of the Qur’an, says this about Qur’an 2:217: “Scholars disagree about whether or not apostates are asked to repent. One group say that they are asked to repent and, if they do not, they are killed. Some say they are given an hour and others a month. Others say that they are asked to repent three times, and that is the view of Malik. Al-Hasan said they are asked a hundred times. It is also said that they are killed without being asked to repent.”
New at PJ Lifestyle on Monday:
New at PJ Tatler on Monday:
The GOP is a party in transition and that is a very good thing. A little ideological throwdown between people who might be running for president in THREE FREAKIN’ YEARS is hardly a cause for concern. And anybody who says that it’s getting more personal than ever really isn’t well-versed in American political history.
True, the Democrats used to bicker more. They also used to be a party that brooked dissent. As the ’60s era progressives began to have more influence, the hive mind began to take over. Now they view any disagreement between members of the same party as a sign that the apocalypse is nigh.
If she truly doesn’t know what happened in the Gosnell case, her opinion on the law she opposed is worthless. In fact, everything she tells the Standard after admitting her ignorance is empty rhetoric, not fact. Does she really know anything, or not?
If Wendy Davis cared about women and children, she could read up on what happened in the Gosnell case and why he will spend the rest of his life in prison. She could read up on the women who died or were injured at the hands of Kermit Gosnell. She could read up on the body parts of babies kept in jars. She could read up on how a lax, really nonexistent, state inspections regime allowed Gosnell to get away with running an abattoir for years. She could come to understand that politics allowed Gosnell to go on killing viable, born babies for more than a decade.
Also Around the Web Monday:
DANVILLE, Va. — Danville police are investigating the vandalism of a century-old church.
Media outlets report that someone spray-painted an upside- down cross, several other symbols and Latin words that translate to “Hail Satan” in red on the rear outside wall of the Schoolfield Church of the Brethren.
Given that the two publications lost more than $30 million in the previous two years, he asked, why was it a good idea to put them together? And if The Beast was on schedule to break even in 18 months, how much longer would it take now that Newsweek was part of the mix?
Ms. Brown says she has no recollection of that particular meeting, but half a dozen employees who say they were present said the atmosphere immediately turned awkward. The famous editor gave no ground. The target, she said, remained 18 months.
More than two and a half years later, Ms. Brown has missed the mark. Synergies have long since slipped away. After the magazine hemorrhaged tens of millions of dollars, Barry Diller, the billionaire media mogul whose company owns both publications, publicly called the purchase of Newsweek “a mistake” and the original plan to save it “stupid.” On Saturday, the company announced that it had sold Newsweek for an undisclosed amount to the digital news company International Business Times.
But many of her colleagues say that going back into print brought out Ms. Brown’s tendencies toward chaotic management and indecision, running the enterprise in what one former editor who asked not to be named for fear of retribution, described as a state of panic.
Employees also say that the newsrooms never really merged. Instead of using Beast writers to fill Newsweek, she turned to her Rolodex and hired expensive talent like Simon Schama, Michael Tomasky and David Frum.
Mr. Boyer, a fan of Ms. Brown, said, “There was an awful lot of frustration on the part of the young beasties who were so good, half a dozen really good writers and reporters who weren’t making it into the magazine, and that was a mistake.”
Caddell alleged that CIA agents were using Libya as a transit point to move weapons from North Africa into Syria without congressional approval. He added that the revelations surrounding the large number of CIA agents on the ground in Libya in 2012 was part of an operation that Boehner supported and approved.
Turning to the details of the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups, Caddell concluded by saying that he can “guarantee” that the details surrounding that scandal go “directly into the White House.”
My two husbands: Everyone wants to know how my polyamorous family works. You’d be surprised how normal we really are
My family is very ordinary to me. We eat dinner together. We gather in the living room and watch movies. Last weekend, we went on a camping trip and sat around the campfire making s’mores, the grown-ups enjoying a few beers while my 9-year-old daughter challenged us with endless rounds of “would you rather?” It all feels so wonderfully mundane that sometimes I have to remind myself that most people view us as strange at best, depraved at worst.
I’m polyamorous, which means I believe you can love multiple partners at the same time. I’m in a relationship with my husband of nearly 17 years, and my boyfriend, with whom I celebrated my second anniversary in May. (In polyamorous lingo, our relationship is known as a “V”; I’m the “hinge” of the V and my two partners are the vertices.) People often say our lives sound complicated, but the truth is, we’re quite harmonious. We often joke that we’d make incredibly boring subjects for reality TV.
The whole basis of Brock’s respectability is his repentance for his underhanded tactics, yet he is every bit as devious, deceptive and malicious in his attacks on Fox News as he was 20 years ago.
So why does anyone think it’s OK to quote him or invite him on a TV show?
There’s one influential journalist who hasn’t been fooled, though.
Despite his ubiquity in national media and his embrace by star Democrats, Brock is not welcome in the pages of The New York Times. Since Jill Abramson took over as executive editor of the Times nearly two years ago, Brock has been quoted in the paper exactly once, and that was to talk about campaign fundraising, according to a search ofLexis-Nexis.
His only other mention in the paper in that time was in a review of his book and a related letter to the editor. His organization, Media Matters for America, has been cited in just a handful of stories.
Journalists elsewhere may have gradually and unthinkingly accepted the notion of Brock’s respectability, but Abramson knows his duplicity too well.
Abramson and her then-colleague at The Wall Street Journal, Jane Mayer, wrote a meticulously researched book, “Strange Justice,” in 1994, on the Thomas/Hill affair, a book intended to clear up many of the lies and distortions that Brock created with his own book and sensational articles in The American Spectator.
“I never saw his credibility as being strong, because when his book came out I saw that factually it was shot full of holes right from the start,” Abramson told Howard Kurtz in 2001. “I could see the flaws in the book, but it was presented as, you know, a very carefully researched book.”
At The Daily Caller:
In his first interview since his supervised release from prison, the filmmaker behind “Innocence of Muslims” told The Daily Caller that he “has no regrets” and promises more films and books about Islam.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is the only person who has been imprisoned in the aftermath of the organized Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which the ambassador and three other Americans were killed. He was wholly unconnected to the attack and was imprisoned on technical probation violations.
“The first reason I am writing this book is to tell the world we never forget our heroes and the second reason is to tell [everyone] that I’m not afraid,” Nakoula writes in a foreword obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller.
He also disputed characterizations of his film as anti-Muslim. He says it is against the terrorism culture so often expressed in the Islamic world.
The film is “more political than religious,” he explained. Nakoula claimed to draw on more than “a thousand books written by Islamic scholars and a lifelong study” of Islam in Egypt to make each scene.
“I have many Muslim friends,” Nakoula told TheDC. “They do not believe in terrorism culture like many others. We have to keep fighting against this culture to protect our future generations and our civilization. This war does not use weapons but minds. … I am talking about how much the world will suffer because of this culture if we do not stop it as soon as possible.”
“I love U.S.A. as my wife and I love Egypt as my mom,” he writes, turning to his native Egypt where Christian Egyptians are second-class citizens. “Fourteen hundred years ago the Arabians attacked Egypt and in the invasion they gave the Egyptians three choices: convert to Islam, pay extortion, get killed. The poor Egyptians converted to Islam because they were poor in faith and money. The middle class of Egyptians get killed but the rich Egyptians paid the extortion.”
More great writing from Charles C. Johnson, one of my generation’s most important, effective of journalists. There aren’t very many writers under 30 worth reading regularly but he’s one of them.
At the Daily Mail:
Andrew Silverman, the real estate mogul whose socialite wife Lauren is pregnant with Simon Cowell’s baby, co-owns a hotel in Panama that is known for prostitution, it emerged today.
Silverman’s company took over the Veneto hotel – which one travel website claims has been a ‘Panama sex destination for decades’ – in 2007 for $90 million.
The revelations come as sources close to Silverman’s estranged wife told MailOnline that he is ‘no angel’ – even though friends have tried to paint him as an injured, innocent party.
At National Review:
Conservatives have for years attempted to put our finger upon precisely why Barack Obama strikes us as queer in precisely the way he does. There is an alienness about him, which in the fever swamps is expressed in all that ridiculous Kenyan-Muslim hokum, but his citizen-of-the-world shtick is strictly sophomore year — the great globalist does not even speak a foreign language. Obama has been called many things — radical, socialist — labels that may have him dead to rights at the phylum level but not down at his genus or species. His social circle includes an alarming number of authentic radicals, but the president’s politics are utterly conventional managerial liberalism. His manner is aloof, but he is too plainly a child of the middle class to succumb to the regal pretensions that the Kennedys suffered from, even if his household entourage does resemble the Ringling Bros. Circus as reimagined by Imelda Marcos when it moves about from Kailua Beach to Blue Heron Farm. Not a dictator under the red flag, not a would-be king, President Obama is nonetheless something new to the American experience, and troubling.
In total, it amounts to that fundamental transformation of American society that President Obama promised as a candidate: but instead of the new birth of hope and change, it is the transformation of a constitutional republic operating under laws passed by democratically accountable legislators into a servile nation under the management of an unaccountable administrative state. The real import of Barack Obama’s political career will be felt long after he leaves office, in the form of a permanently expanded state that is more assertive of its own interests and more ruthless in punishing its enemies.
In a similar vein, President Obama has refused to cut off foreign-aid funds to the Egyptian government, though he is required by law to do so in the event of a coup d’état, which is precisely what happened in July in Egypt. It might be embarrassing for the president to punish the Egyptian military and the grand mufti of al-Azhar for their overthrow of the unpopular Mohamed Morsi, but the law does not make exceptions for presidential embarrassment. The president is not legally empowered to assassinate American citizens, but he has done so, after going through the charade of drawing up a legal argument under which he judged himself entitled to do what the Constitution plainly prohibits.
Perhaps the strangest element of all of this, though, is that the whole thing looks pretty profitable — a veritable cottage industry of anarcho-paranoia. In the same way that Alex Jones preaches against the dangers of fluoride in water and also sells filtration systems to remove said fluoride, Kokesh shills a variety of T-shirts (one says “IF THE TROOPS DEFENDED FREEDOM THEY’D ATTACK THE GOVERNMENT” and another says “Being offended is F***ING BULLSH**”; no asterisks in the original). And at the bottom of the YouTube description of the video that precipitated his arrest, after a long screed calling for “The Final American Revolution,” there’s a little ad of sorts, urging: “Buy agorist! Get your metals from http://agoristmetals.com.”
Welcome to the curious appeal of the Bachelor and Bachelorette series: In an era when marriage rates are declining, Americans are fascinated by a show that is unabashedly about finding a lifelong spouse. And these long-running reality series are not the only example of this phenomenon: How I Met Your Mother, a series about a man telling his children about his long search to meet their mother, is about to begin its ninth season.
But if the statistics are any indication, more Americans are like How I Met Your Mother’s Ted Mosby, who has spent eight years pining for a spouse without finding Miss Right, than like Sean Lowe, the most recent Bachelor, who is happily engaged. Americans are getting married later than ever: According to a 2011 Pew Research Center study, the average age is 27 for women and 29 for men.
And overall, marriage rates are declining. That same Pew study shows that 51 percent of adults are married, down from 72 percent in 1960.
At the Mary Sue:
At Click On Detroit:
Tuesday Morning Book Reading:
An excerpt from page 121 of Andrew C. McCarthy’s The Grand Jihad describing the roots of the Muslim Brotherhood’s efforts to infiltrate academia:
See the previous four weeks’ link round-ups:
- Week One
- 1. Monday, July 8: “We Ought to Defeat Capitalism With Its Own Weapons, Comrades…“
- 2. Tuesday, July 9: Can We Just Fast Forward to 2040? Please?
- 3. Thursday, July 11: Researching the American Family’s War to Beat Death…
- Week Two
- 4. Monday, July 15: Turning On Mankind’s Magical Machines To Battle Mother Earth’s Cruel Monsters
- 5. Wednesday, July 17: ‘So, You Know How You Felt on 9/11? Yeah, That’s How We Feel When It Comes To Race.’
- 6. Thursday, July 18: ‘… And There We Can Still Maintain Our Mysterious and Dreadful Freedom.’
- 7. Friday, July 19: ‘Evil Always Takes Advantage of Ambiguity.’ – G.K. Chesterton
- Week Three
- 8. Monday, July 22: ‘His Father Urged Him to Study Marxism, But Valentin Preferred Science.’
- 9. Tuesday, July 23: ‘Perhaps The Final Secret of the Illuminati Is That You Don’t Know You’re A Member Until It’s Too Late to Get Out.’
- 10. Wednesday, July 24: Is Anthony Weiner a ‘Deviant’ or a ‘Normal’ Male?
- 11. Thursday, July 25: ‘The Most Ancient Conflict in Western Culture, Between Jew and Egyptian, Continues…’
- 12. Friday, July 26: Weiner’s Wild Women: Are Sydney Leathers and Huma Abedin His Succubi?
- Week Four
- 13. Monday, July 29: Malcolm X: ‘The Jew Cries Louder Than Anybody Else If Anybody Criticizes Him.’
- 14. Tuesday, July 30: ‘My Father Was a White Man.’ – Frederick Douglass, the Archetypal Anti-Slavery Republican
- 15. Wednesday, July 31: Why Is It Evil to Murder Unwanted Children?
- 16. Thursday, August 1: Nihilism Defined: ‘When You Realize Your Life Has as Much Meaning as Your Dog’s…’
- 17. Friday, August 2: Pastafarianism Is a Real Religion. Benghazi Is a ‘Phony Scandal.’ Hillary Will Be President.
- Week Five
- 18. Monday, August 5: ‘War, and Preparation for War, Are the Normal Conditions of Mankind, While Peace Is Extremely Rare.’ – Michael Ledeen