Roger’s Rules

Roger’s Rules

Rudy Giuliani & King Canute

February 22nd, 2015 - 2:52 pm

So White House spokesman Josh Earnest “feels sorry” for Rudy Giuliani. Save your sympathy, Josh: you’re going to need it closer to home as America wakes up to the rude truth of Giuliani’s recent comments about your boss. 

Everyone now knows that “America’s mayor” created a firestorm with his off-the-record-but-nevertheless-reported remarks at a “private” (Ha!) dinner for Scott Walker in New York last week.  Barack Obama, Giuliani suggested, didn’t “love America,” not really. He hastened to add that he was not questioning the president’s patriotism. Oh, no, never that. It’s just that Obama’s habitual denigration of  America (he believes in American exceptionalism in the same way that the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism, he once said) led him to conclude that Barack Hussein Obama was not viscerally connected to this country in the same way that, for example, Ronald Reagan was.

The MSM sure didn’t like that. And they liked it even less when Giuliani decided to underscore his comments in the following days.  Not only did Obama not really love America, Giuliani said, but also he was deeply influenced by America-hating Communists growing up, from his parents to Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers, and the “Reverend” Jeremiah (“God Damn America”) Wright.

Kevin Williamson was right when he observed in his National Review column that for the “progressive” (sorry about “progressive,” but I can’t light on a better term: “liberal” certainly won’t do it) worldview, of which Obama is an example,

there is very little to love about the United States. Washington, Jefferson, Madison? A bunch of rotten slaveholders, hypocrites, and cowards even when their hearts were in the right places. The Declaration of Independence? A manifesto for the propertied classes. The Constitution? An artifact of sexism and white supremacy. The sacrifices in the great wars of the 20th century? Feeding the poor and the disenfranchised into the meat-grinder of imperialism. The gifts of Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Astor? Blood money from self-aggrandizing robber barons.

Kevin continues, coming close to that alternative for “progressive” I was looking for: “There is a personality type common among the Left’s partisans,” he writes, “and it has a name: Holden Caulfield. He is adolescent, perpetually disappointed, and ever on the lookout for phoniness and hypocrisy.” Sound familiar?

But it is now clear that Rudy Guiliani’s performance these past few days was nothing in comparison to his speech at a conference on Obama’s policy toward Iran on February 13.  Vladimir Putin may be the single most dangerous individual walking God’s snow-covered earth these days, but among state actors the theocratic mullah-mad country of Iran deserves a place at the tip top of badness.  They have, as Giuliani said, probably sponsored more terrorism than any other country.  Their ambitions are boundless. (Ilan Berman has the lowdown on this in his forthcoming book Iran’s Deadly  Ambition.) They hate Israel and have repeatedly said they wish to wipe it off the face of the earth. They are avidly, single-mindedly, tirelessly seeking nuclear weapons.  And Obama is helping them do just that. This is too important an issue, Giuliani said, to be left to a feckless creature like Barack Hussein Obama. Congress should be brought in to study and approve any agreement made with the insane people running the Shia hellhole. He is quite right about all this. His speech was full of wonderful one-liners: Netanyahu is a man that fights for his country, quoth Giuliani, “unlike our president.” “Wake up, Mr. President,” he said. “Come off the golf course.  Come back to earth.” Actually, I’d rather Obama stay on the golf course and out of Washington.

The Left of course is going nuts over Giuliani’s remarks. The off-the-cuff line about Obama not really loving his country was bad enough.  But now it turns out he has turned over the whole slimy rock and look what crawled out: Bill Ayers, Obama’s America-hating Commie parents, the “Reverend” Jeremiah Wright, and on and on. Giuliani understands terrorism as well as anyone and he doesn’t like it. He isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade. When the people committing terrorist massacres do so while shouting “Allahu Akbar,” you don’t neeed an advanced degree in hermeneutics to work out that their activities have something to do with Islam—not the suburban varieties supposedly on offer everywhere that Muslims are not busy beheading, flogging, and incinerating people for the tort of being Christian, or Jewish, or homosexual, or a woman.  No, Giuliani is quite right. He calls a spade a spade.  When Major Nidal Hasan went on a shooting spree at Ft. Hood, shouting “Allahu Akbar” and killing 13, he wasn’t an emissary of the Methodist Church or the Fraternal Order of Elks or the Lions Club.  He was acting out an Islamic jihadist fantasy for which he’d been prepped by imams in Yemen.

The Left-leaning media, from Mr. Earnest down through the New York Times and other rancid specimens of Holden Caulfield group-think, are screaming about Giuliani, who has even received a few death threats.  The positive response, however, has been overwhelming. It’s as if some distorting filter has been removed from people’s ears and, suddenly, they hear the truth, not what the New York Times tells them.  They hear and they are roused to shock and anger.  They hear and they ask themselves, How have I been duped so long?  In the famous story about King Canute, the fabled monarch is said to have dragged his throne down to the water’s edge and ordered the incoming tide to turn back. It didn’t, thus demonstrating the King’s humility and the cravenness of his flatterers.  But I wonder whether Rudy Giuliani may not be a more potent, modern-day Canute, turning back not the nautical tides but the tides of politically correct, anti-American propaganda with which the Holden Caulfields of the world (and they are legion) have been filling the newsstands and the airwaves.  I sense a sudden change in the direction of the Zeitgeist’s current.  I suspect that Giuliani’s impassioned and forthright performance may be a contributing factor.  I pray that it is not too late.

None Dare Call It ‘Islam’

February 19th, 2015 - 4:53 am

First of all, Islam has not “been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding,” as Obama said yesterday in his speech about combatting terrorism. Indeed, like most of his public pronouncements, the speech was a Lillian Hellman performance as described by Mary McCarthy: every word including “and” and “but” was a lie.

Has there ever been a more anti-American president than Barack Hussein Obama, representative of the Weatherman left, student of Bill Ayers, the Reverend (“God Damn America”) Wright, and Saul Alinsky? There have been ostentatiously incompetent presidents before — Jimmy Carter leaps to mind — but has there ever been an anti-American president before BHO? I can’t think of anyone who even comes close. Even the bumbling fool Carter was a patriot. No one would accuse Barack Obama of being an American patriot (much though he likes its beaches and country clubs).

Every American should attend to what Obama has said about combating terrorism. Here he is last September: “Now let’s make two things clear,” he said. “ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ No religion condones the killing of innocents.”

“ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’” Really? Was the Ayatollah Khomeini “Islamic?” How about Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan: is he “Islamic”? A few years ago, Erdogan told the world that the phrase “moderate Islam” is “ugly” because “Islam is Islam.” Democracy, he said, is just an express stop on the train whose destination is Islam.

Who, in fact, speaks for Islam? Who gets to say what it is and isn’t?

The Saudis, the biggest and richest Sunni nation? They torture bloggers for “insulting Islam,” stone adulteresses, maim thieves, and treat women like chattel. Do they represent Islam? Last month in this space, I dilated on this question: “Who Speaks for Islam?

 We are assured that it’s not the group that now calls itself Islamic State … [W]e know that they don’t speak for Islam because our political leaders and our media have told us so. It’s the same with Boko Haram, the Nigerian Muslim group. This morning, quoting the Australian journalist Andrew Bolt, I noted that they had kidnapped and sold into sex slavery 300 Nigerian school girls. That was before I saw the story that Boko Haram had just invaded another town killing as many as 2000. Boko Haram appears to believe that they represent Islamic teaching, but no: our leaders have assured us that that is not the case. Ditto about Syria: this summer an adulteress or two were stoned to death, but that, of course, was the work not of Islam but of “extremists,” if not quite “lone extremists.”

But let’s return to the president’s speech. “No religion,” he says, “condones the killing of innocents.” Can Obama really be that ignorant of the glorious history of Islam and the glittering deeds of Mohammed?

We have it on the highest (for Muslims, the only) authority that he regularly slaughtered innocents. Consider, to take just one example, the year 627 siege of Medina, then home to a Jewish tribe. After a couple of weeks, the inhabitants surrendered unconditionally. Mohammad then had the 600-800 men butchered, and sold the women and children into slavery.

“We are not at war with Islam,” Obama said yesterday. “We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.” Let’s see, that would be the Iranians? No, no: we like them now, remember? After all, the president of the United States has reversed himself and is doing everything he can to assure that the radical Shia state can acquire nuclear weapons. He doesn’t say that, of course, but actions — including non-actions — speak louder than words. Where are those unperverted Muslims of whom the presidents is so fond? In the common rooms of American universities? Maybe. In our cities and suburbs? Perhaps. But I think we can agree that it is not (to make an arbitrary and woefully incomplete list) the people behind such actions as

  • The 9/11 terrorist attacks (mostly Saudis involved in that little escapade)
  • The Bali nightclub bombing
  • The Ft. Hood “workplace violence” event
  • The London tube and bus bombings
  • The Madrid train bombing
  • The Boston Marathon carnage
  • The Charlie Hebdo and Jewish supermarket slaughter last month (“folks shot in a deli” was how Obama described the latter)
  • The Danish shootings just a few days ago by another “Allahu Akbar”-shouting chap.

Islam, or perversion of Islam? At some point, as Hillary Clinton might put it, what difference does it make? Under Barack Obama, it is painfully clear that “we are not at war with Islam.” The trouble is, it has become increasingly obvious to everyone except Barack Hussein Obama that Islam is at war with us.

The Swedes and the Clash of Civilizations

February 15th, 2015 - 4:21 am

The indispensable Gatestone Institute reports on some very disturbing news out of Sweden.

In 1975, the Swedish parliament unanimously decided to change the former homogeneous Sweden into a multicultural country. Forty years later the dramatic consequences of this experiment emerge: violent crime has increased by 300%.

If one looks at the number of rapes, however, the increase is even worse. In 1975, 421 rapes were reported to the police; in 2014, it was 6,620. That is an increase of 1,472%.

That makes Sweden the rape capital of the West, second globally to only Lesotho in Southern Africa in the number of rapes it suffers. Politically correct academics in the U.S. are sounding the alarm bells about a “rape culture” on U.S. campuses. In fact, the groves of academe across the fruited plain are among the safest, most coddled environments in the world. If the “mattress girl” at Columbia wants to find a hostile environment for women, she need look no further than Sweden.

What happened?  Samuel Huntington, whose book The Clash of Civilizations (1996) looks ever more prescient, warned that Islam and the West were on a collision course. What we have come to call “multiculturalism” was a recipe not for comity  and progressive enlightenment but for increasing conflict. That the huge influx of Somalis, Iraqis, and Syrians into Sweden has led to this expanding rape culture would not have surprised him.

For their part, Swedish bureaucrats prefer to explain the expanding rape culture by denying it. The Gatestone Institute cites some of their excuses (none rises to the level of an explanation):

▪   Swedes have become more prone to report crime.

▪   The law has been changed so that more sexual offenses are now classified as rape.

▪   Swedish men cannot handle increased equality between the sexes and react with violence against women (perhaps the most fanciful excuse).

Note that conspicuous by its absence is any mention of who it is who is committing the rapes.  Gatestone quotes Michael Hess, a local politician from the Sweden Democrat Party: “When will you journalists realize that it is deeply rooted in Islam’s culture to rape and brutalize women who refuse to comply with Islamic teachings. There is a strong connection between rapes in Sweden and the number of immigrants from MENA-countries [Middle East and North Africa].”

For that bit of plain speaking, Hess was handed a fine and a suspended jail sentence by a Swedish court.  Was what he said untrue?  Truth was not something the court cared about: “The Court [Tingsrätten] notes that the question of whether or not Michael Hess’s pronouncement is true, or appeared to be true to Michael Hess, has no bearing on the case. Michael Hess’s statement must be judged based on its timing and context.”

For those whose chief concern is not towing the politically correct line but in the truth, the evidence Hess has assembled tells a disturbing and unequivocal story: “Twenty-one research reports,” Gatestone reports, “from the 1960s until today are unanimous in their conclusions:

Whether or not they measured by the number of convicted rapists or men suspected of rape, men of foreign extraction were represented far more than Swedes. And this greater representation of persons with a foreign background keeps increasing:

▪ 1960-1970s – 1.2 to 2.6 times as often as Swedes

▪ 1980s – 2.1 to 4.7 times as often as Swedes

▪ 1990s – 2.1 to 8.1 times as often as Swedes

▪ 2000s – 2.1 to 19.5 times as often as Swedes

Even when adjusted for variables such as age, sex, class and place of residence, the huge discrepancy between immigrants and Swedes remains.

Just how huge is suggested by these statistics:

It emerged that in 2002, 85% of those sentenced to at least two years in prison for rape in Svea Hovrätt, a court of appeals, were foreign born or second-generation immigrants.

A 1996 report by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention reached the conclusion that immigrants from North Africa (Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia) were 23 times as likely to commit rape as Swedish men. The figures for men from Iraq, Bulgaria and Romania were, respectively, 20, 18 and 18.

Et cetera.

It gets worse.  For not only is rape epidemic in Sweden, also very much on the upswing is gang rape, which has increased “spectacularly” between 1995 and 2006. Courts have tended to be lenient with the perpetrators, handing out light sentences or acquitting them outright.

You know how the Western media prays, just prays, that when a violent crime is committed in the U.S.  the perpetrator be a white Christian male?  The Swedes suffer from a kindred disease.  Earlier this month, all the Swedish media reported on a brutal gang rape that took place on a ferry running between Stockholm and Åbo in Finland. At last, they seemed to have their Swedish rapist:

▪       “Several Swedish Men Suspected of Rape on the Finland Ferry” (Dagens Nyheter).

▪       “Six Swedish Men Raped Woman in Cabin” (Aftonbladet).

▪       “Six Swedes Arrested for Rape on Ferry” (Expressen).

▪       “Eight Swedes Suspected of Rape on Ferry” (TT – the Swedish News Agency).

But as Gatestone reports, a look behind the headlines reveals a very different reality. “It turned out that seven of the eight suspects were Somalis and one was Iraqi. None of them had Swedish citizenship.” Oops.

George Orwell once observed that the only way to challenge totalitarianism was by having the courage to call things by their real names.  Political correctness is so dangerous because it is based on a lie and it promulgates itself by enforcing a lie on the rest of us.  The reality of Islamic influence in Sweden is brutal and dehumanizing.  It won’t get better by pretending that Sweden is a multicultural paradise. Sweden is lucky to have truth-tellers like Michael Hess. We are lucky to have outlets like the Gatestone Institute.  Will we listen?

Today’s funniest news item comes to us courtesy of the Washington Post. Here’s the headline:

As Scott Walker Mulls White House Bid, Questions Linger Over College Exit

Not a side-splitter, I admit, but I did savor the humor. Listen:

MILWAUKEE — Scott Walker was gone. Dropped out. And in the spring of his senior year.
In 1990, that news stunned [stunned!] his friends at Marquette University. Walker, the campus’s suit-wearing, Reagan-loving politico — who enjoyed the place so much that he had run for student body president — had left without graduating.

Gosh. I mean, you don’t say. This, you will have noticed, is the tone that newspapers reserve for Serious Revelations. The short sentences. Staccato. Ernest Hemingway meets Bob Woodward.

It’s the sort of prose that is wheeled out when an 18 ½ minute gap is discovered in the president’s secret tapes of his Oval Office conversations. This is serious, possums, pay attention!

But what did WaPo have for us? That Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin and likely GOP presidential candidate, decided to leave college without graduating.

Wow. And they meant it to sting.

As damaging revelations go, this does not even rise to the non-story that Mitt Romney had transported a family pet on the roof of his car. (By the way, the pooch, as Ann Romney recalled, “loved it.”)

No, the news that Scott Walker concluded that he had better things to do than hang about the ivied halls of Marquette University is about on a par with the revelation that Harry S. Truman had no middle name or that he had been a tailor, not a swell.

My own feeling — and I suspect that it is a feeling that will be shared by many Americans (though perhaps not those in places like Cambridge, Massachusetts, or Berkeley, California) — is that, given the corrupt nature of American academia, the less exposed a presidential candidate is to so-called higher education, the better.

Would you like to know why the Washington Post commissioned this flaccid hit job? All is revealed in this sentence:

Since 1993, [Scott Walker] has run 11 races for state legislature, county executive and governor — including a highly unusual recall election in 2012 — and he has won them all.

Yikes. The GOP just might run someone who is not an off-the-rack, ready-to-wear guaranteed loser like John McCain or Jeb Bush. Maybe, just maybe, they have wised up. Maybe they will run someone of demonstrated political savvy who is a genuine but non-scary conservative and is by all accounts a likable chap. What then?

The faint acrid scent you discern rising from this fetid little piece of partisan slobber is the smell of desperation. That, of course, is what makes it funny. Scott Walker left college and got a job. Stop the presses! Maybe the WaPo gumshoes or Hillary’s (or Jeb’s) “opposition research” will discover that he bullied some creep in second grade or that he drank a beer when he was 18. Jeesh.

Though I am morally certain they won’t find that he accompanied a pedophilic billionaire on his private plane to his island getaway where a bevy of tender young ’uns awaited. They won’t find that he lied about a terrorist attack that left four American dead in Benghazi. Nor will they uncover evidence of serious financial hanky-panky involving preferred treatment in the commodities market.

Scott Walker left college and got a job. Is that the best they can do?

I suspect that it is the best they can do for the simple reason that Scott Walker, unlike the vast majority of politicians of either party, is what he appears to be: a hard-working, small “c” conservative who is well liked and is possessed of serious political skills.

Walker, in other words, is the Democrats’ biggest nightmare.

They are right to be worried. Who will they put up against him? A fake Indian whose yuppie “progressivism” is wildly out of touch with America? Or a moth-eaten political hack whose tin ear is almost as serious a liability as her appalling record or her notoriously repellent personality?

Scott Walker is emerging as a formidable candidate. Hysterical melodramas about imaginary torts will make his opponents look craven and downright silly.  They will do nothing to derail his candidacy, which is yet another reason I found the story about him in the Washington Post amusing.

No, I am not suggesting a perverse game of “let me count the ways.” The question is not as easy to answer as you might think.  That he is a bad president I take as given, as a look at the U.S. economy, race relations in the U.S., and the dismal state of the world whose dismalness is due to the fecklessness of U.S. foreign policy inarguably show.

I know that there are those who dissent from my assessment, but then there are people who dissent from the judgment that the Great Society welfare policies of the Johnson administration were and (to the extent that they persist) are an utter disaster. People really can be, as Wittgenstein said, “captivated by a picture” of the world, blinded by their attachment to what we have come to call “the Narrative.” According to the narrative, Great Society welfare programs are a good thing. They are framed (weren’t they?) to help poor people (and, not incidentally, to make the people framing them feel better about themselves) ergo they cannot be a failure, not really. Do they, as a matter of fact, institutionalize rather than abolish poverty? Do they make an entire class of people more and more dependent on government? Do they encourage a range of social pathology, from teen pregnancy and single-mother households?  Do they nurture a Janus-faced culture of dependency that involves a huge government bureaucracy, captive politicians, as well as official “clients”?  None of that matters to The Narrative, which persists through it all partly by demonizing its critics, partly by dispensing public largess to said politicians, managers of the bureaucracy, as well as (of course) to the officially designated objects of government benevolence.

If you can’t dislodge people from their attachment to so ostentatious a failure as the Great Society welfare project, how do you suppose you can dislodge them from their allegiance to a half-black international man of mystery with no visible qualifications to be president but who is the very incarnation of every leftist aspiration from the gospel of environmental economic suicide and hatred of the United States to an “evolving” metrosexual affirmation of polymorphous eroticism (has any other president dilated on “transsexuals” in his State of the Union speech?) to his embrace of an ideology—I mean Islam—diametrically opposed to America’s traditional commitment to limited government and individual liberty?

That’s a long-winded way of saying “good luck, it can’t be done.” Partisans of Obama will be with him to the bitter end no matter how ostentatious his lawlessness, how flagrant his incompetence, how surreal his proclamations, how disastrous his policies.

Consider, for example, his  recent interview with Mr. Plagiarism, Fareed Zakaria. The interview turned largely on Obama’s attitude towards terrorism and Islam, two words—“terrorism” and “Islam”—he is loath to see in the same sentence.  (Why? Perhaps Obama’s early tutelage in the Muslim religion in Indonesia has something to do with it.) It was a remarkable exchange. After saying that, of course, he has oodles of sympathy for the families whose loved ones were slaughtered by those whom he elsewhere has called “violent extremists” (i.e. Muslims), he goes on to  insist that we maintain a “proper perspective” by not “over-inflating” the importance of those terror networks. Above all, said Obama, we wouldn’t want to give them the satisfaction of thinking that we regard them—i.e. Islamic terrorism—as an “existential threat to the United States or the world order.” Sure, “they can do harm,” Obama acknowledged, but—pay attention now: semantic slippage ahead!—“but we have the capacity to control how we respond in ways that do not undercut what’s the — you know, what’s essence of who we are.”

Eh? Has the air gotten foggy all of a sudden? The leader of the free world continues:

That means that we don’t torture, for example, and thereby undermine our values and credibility around the world. It means that we don’t approach this with a strategy of sending out occupying armies and playing Whack-A-Mole wherever a terrorist group appears because that drains our economic strength and it puts enormous burdens on our military.

Feeling better? Then this will really set your mind at ease:

Ultimately these terrorist organizations will be defeated because they don’t have a vision that appeals to ordinary people. It is — it really is, as has been described in some cases, a death cult, or an entirely backward looking fantasy that can’t function in the world.

When you look at ISIL, it has no governing strategy. It can talk about sitting up the new caliphate but nobody is under any illusions that they can actually, you know, sustain or feed people or educate people or organize a society that would work. And so we can’t give them the victory of over-inflating what they do, and we can’t make the mistake of being reactive to them. We have to have a precise strategy in terms of how to defeat them.

By doing what?  By releasing 5 terrorists in order to secure the release of one Army deserter (here’s looking at you, Mr. Bergdahl)? By describing ISIS as a “jay-vee” operation right before it started (speaking of Whack-a-Mole) beheading people in earnest?  By insisting that Major Hasan’s murderous “Allahu Akbar” rampage at Ft. Hood was an instance not of Islamic terrorism but of “workplace violence”?  And on and on and on.

In that remarkable interview Obama also said that “it’s very important for us to align ourselves with the 99.9 percent of Muslims who are looking for the same thing we’re looking for. Order, peace, prosperity.” Do you wonder where he got that statistic?  Leave aside al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, the assorted wackos who murdered Theo van Gogh, who slaughtered innocents at the Boston Marathon, who just murdered 16 people in Paris, some for drawing cartoons, some for being Jewish.  Forget about them, and forget about the madmen who did for Daniel Pearl, who blew people in London to bits, who incinerated a Bali nightclub, or a train in Madrid.  How about the millions—millions— in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia or Iran or Syrian who agree with what Obama lightly dismisses as a “medieval” interpretation of Islam? What about them?  Why should we believe that a dozen secularized Muslims living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, or Washington, D.C., speak more authentically for what Islam is and aspires to than those millions? Why?

Just about the first thing he did when he took office in 2009 was embark on a world’s tyrants tour. He bowed to despots the world over. He apologized for the United States. And in Cairo, he gave a speech in which he outlined his hope for a “new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world,” “one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam . . .  overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”

“Progress,” “tolerance,” the “dignity of all human beings.”  Progress like subjecting a blogger in Saudi Arabia to 1000 lashes because he “insulted” Islam. “Tolerance” like that extended to the women who were just beheaded in Iran. Or the “dignity” extended to Jews by, to take just one example, the Egyptian cleric who said that it doesn’t matter what the Jews do or refrain from doing. “The Prophet” commands us  to “fight the Jews and kill them.”

So to return to my original question: What makes Barack Obama such a bad president? In brief, his unwillingness to face up to reality, his insistence on his beneficent-sounding (but ultimately poisonous) narrative in the face of an avalanche of contradictory facts.  Obama, like some other infamous political leaders in history, is a fantasist.  Some people share his fantasies. But it’s the rest of us who will have to bear the brunt of his blinkered and ideologically motivated stumblings.

Who Speaks for Islam?

January 11th, 2015 - 11:28 am

During these long winter nights, my son and I are reading aloud Greenmantle, John Buchan’s World War I thriller. Early in the novel Sir Walter Bullivant of the Foreign Office puts our hero, the dashing Richard Hannay, into the picture about a German plot to enlist a nascent Islamic uprising to the side of the Kaiser. “The ordinary man,” Sir Walter mused, believes that Islam is succumbing to “Krupp guns,” to modernity. “Yet—I don’t know.  I do not quite believe in Islam becoming a back number.” Hannay agrees: “It looks as if Islam had a bigger hand in the thing than we thought. . . . Islam is a fighting creed, and the mullah still stands in the pulpit with the Koran in one hand and a drawn sword in the other.”

It was passages like that, no doubt, which caused the BBC to cancel a dramatization of Greenmantle in the aftermath of the London Tube and bus bombings in 2005. That event demonstrated pretty vividly, as had 9/11 before it, that Hannay was right. And yet we weren’t supposed to say so.

It wasn’t Islam, we were told, but rather a twisted perversion of Islam. The religion itself, as President Bush publicly insisted within days of 9/11, was a religion of peace. It would be tedious to multiply examples of this trope. They are as common as dirt. So I’ll just mention what is perhaps my favorite example. It’s from Jacqui Smith, the former British home secretary.  Henceforth, she told ministers in 2008, terrorist acts that happened to be committed by Muslims were to be described as “anti-Islamic activity.” Why? Because the “extremists” involved “were behaving contrary to their faith, rather than acting in the name of Islam.”

Taken in isolation, that statement is not absurd.  I mean, it is conceivable that a crazed Muslim (or Christian, or Jew, or Buddhist) should go on a murderous rampage, massacre some number of people, say that it was in the name of their religion, but that the claim should turn out to be false. That is possible. But here’s the question: does it speak to the reality of our situation with respect to Islam?

We were told that the 9/11 terrorists, though Muslim, did not speak for Islam. OK, maybe they didn’t.  But how about the London subway bombers? They claimed to be murdering people in the name of Allah or Mohammed. But maybe they were wrong. Maybe they read the wrong parts of the Koran or Hadith, or interpreted those eyebrow-raising passages too literally or something. Maybe.

Yet here’s my puzzlement. Let’s agree, for the sake of the discussion, that the 9/11 bombers did not speak for Islam. Ditto the London murders. Indeed, let’s say that neither the Boston marathon bombers nor the people who murdered a total of 16 people in Paris last week (the 12 at Charlie Hebdo and four at the kosher market), let’s say that they did not speak for Islam either. Like Major Hasan, who murdered 13 people at Ft Hood in 2009 while shouting “Allahu Akbar,” they were just “lone extremists” who carry out murder and mayhem while shouting “Allahu Akbar.” But that has nothing to do with Islam. OK. Got it.

But here’s my question: Who does speak for Islam? We are assured that it’s not the group that now calls itself Islamic State, but which, following Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, I am considering calling Daesh, a name they apparently dislike. Anyway, we know that they don’t speak for Islam because our political leaders and our media have told us so. It’s the same with Boko Haram, the Nigerian Muslim group.  This morning, quoting the Australian journalist Andrew Bolt, I noted that they had kidnapped and sold into sex slavery 300 Nigerian school girls. That was before I saw the story that Boko Haram had just invaded another town killing as many as 2000. Boko Haram appears to believe that they represent Islamic teaching, but no: our leaders have assured us that that is not the case. Ditto about Syria: this summer an adulteress or two were stoned to death, but that, of course, was the work not of Islam but of “extremists,” if not quite “lone extremists.”

So who, according to the establishment gospel, does speak for Islam? The Ayatollah Khomeni was the spiritual leader of Iran, a great Shia Muslim country. Did he speak for Islam?  He didn’t like a novel by Salman Rushdie and told his followers to kill him for insulting Islam. Did the ayatollah speak for Islam?

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‘Our Gutless Surrender’

January 11th, 2015 - 5:49 am

The Melbourne-based journalist and television commentator Andrew Bolt is celebrated and reviled by all the right (i.e., all the left) people throughout his native land.  He’s been threatened, sued, and otherwise harassed by the politically correct establishment that, despite the great Tony Abbott in the prime minister’s seat, holds sway in Oz. Along with the writers associated with Quadrant magazine in Sydney, Bolt is one of only a handful of people who have effectively challenged the sclerotic orthodoxy of establishment opinion on all matter of issues, from the Aborigines and immigration to the virtues of free-market economics to the cesspool of hatred that is the ideology of radical Islam.

There has been an enormous amount of sentimental posturing in the wake of the massacre of 10 journalists and 2 policemen at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last week. Even now tearful crowds are parading across France holding up placards reading “Je Suis Charlie.” The whole production is slightly nauseating in its fakeness, its self-aggrandizing narcissism, and its essential mendacity.

In As We Were, his charming memoir about Victorian England, E.F. Benson tells the story of the pompus classics don O.B. Browning presenting himself before Tennyson at a party. “I’m Browning,” said O.B. Tennyson looked him up and down and replied, “No you’re not.”

It’s the same here. Those skirling throngs are not Charlie, not at all.  And that is the point of Andrew Bolt’s superlative column in yesterday’s the Herald Sun. Are we really Charlie?” he asks. “No, and shamefully no.” “They lie,” Bolt writes.

 The Islamist terrorists are winning, and the coordinated attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and kosher shop will be just one more success. One more step to our gutless surrender.

Al-Qaeda in Yemen didn’t attack Charlie Hebdo because we are all Charlie Hebdo.

The opposite. It sent in the brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi because Charlie Hebdo was almost alone.                                     

Yes, that’s right, almost alone, despite the hundreds of thousands marching with their “Je Suis Charlie” placards. The more you think about it, the more you can understand why the surviving journalists at Charlie Hebdo regard all their new “friends” with scorn and contempt. “We vomit on these people who suddenly say they are our friends,” said one of the magazine’s cartoonists.

“Almost alone,” Bolt said. Even the Jyllands-Posten, the Danish paper that originally published the cartoons that provided Muslims with a pretext for mayhem and murder, even that paper has declined to republish anything that might be “offensive” to Muslims because, they said, “violence works.”

I’ll have more to say about this and related issues in the coming days.  For now, I want to call my readers’ attention to Andrew Bolt’s incisive column. Let me recommend in particular his phrase “our gutless surrender.”

“Our gutless surrender.” Remember that, please, the next time a Muslim goes on a shooting rampage at a U.S. military installation, killing thirteen while shouting “Allabu Akbar.” Islamic terrorism or just, as the Obama administration insisted, mere “workplace violence”? Remember it the next time a mullah in Tehran calls upon the faithful to murder a novelist because said mullah decided that the book “insulted” Islam, Mohammed, or his aunt Nellie. Remember it the next time that a marathon race in Boston is bombed by young Muslims, or a subway in London is bombed by Muslims, or some coffee shop patrons in Sydney are killed, or some skyscrapers in New York are destroyed by Muslims. Islam is a religion of peace, President Bush said after 9/11. A United States consular facility in Benghazi was overrun by al Qaeda-trained terrorists on September 11, 2012, and four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya, were murdered. Response? The United States says that regrettable event was a “spontaneous uprising” sparked by a sophomoric internet video making fun of Mohammed. We can’t even acknowledge what really happened. When Boko Haram jihadists kidnapped nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls, Bolt reminds us, “forcing them to convert to Islam and selling them to be raped, Islamist apologist and terrorism lecturer Waleed Aly refused even to acknowledge on Channel 10 that Boko Haram actually had an Islamist agenda, describing it merely as a group of vigilantes.”

“Our gutless surrender.” It’s not merely capitulation to external intimidation.  Self-surrender, self-censorship is also part of the agenda. Australian journalists, Bolt reports, “haven’t really needed a muzzle. They have been only too eager to shut themselves up rather than call out the growing threat of jihadism, brought to us by insanely stupid programs of mass immigration from the Third World.”

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Students of ancient history will recall that, back when the Anglican Communion described a form of the Christian religion, there were thirty nine articles universally promulgated within the faith.  These declarations were meant to describe the basic elements of the confession, and paid up members of the confraternity were expected to assent in their hearts (and sometimes publically, by an oath) to the substance articulated therein. You can get a good feel for what the thirty-nine articles required by savoring the first two:

  1. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity.
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
  2. Of the Word or Son of God, which was made very Man.
The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect Natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men.

Quaint, what? James Burnham was perhaps the most underrated political philosopher of the twentieth century. A month or two back Encounter Books published a new edition of his Cold-War classic Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism. The book has a great deal to recommend it. Though published in 1964, when the Soviet colossus had yet begun to teeter, it is if anything more pertinent to our situation today, circa 2015, when Communism is hibernating but totalitarian Islam is on the march.  Burnham’s book was Janus-faced: one the one hand, he had a lot to say about the totalitarian threat of Soviet Communism. Mutatis mutandis, what he says there applies also to the threat of militant Islam. But in his efforts to account for the “contraction of the West,” Burnham the diagnostician also looked inward, at the beating heart of liberalism.

Who were the liberals Burnham was talking about? He proposed a list of thirty-nine propositions as a means of identification. Readers were invited to look them over and say whether they agreed or disagreed “by and large, without worrying over fine points.” I invite my readers to take the same quiz.

 1. All forms of racial segregation and discrimination are wrong.

2. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion.

3. Everyone has a right to free, public education.

4. Political, economic or social discrimination based on religious belief is wrong.

5. In political or military conflict it is wrong to use methods of torture and physical terror.

6. A popular movement or revolt against a tyranny or dictatorship is right, and deserves approval.

7. The government has a duty to provide for the ill, aged, unemployed and poor if they cannot take care of themselves.

8. Progressive income and inheritance taxes are the fairest form of taxation.

9. If reasonable compensation is made, the government of a nation has the legal and moral right to expropriate private property within its borders, whether owned by citizens or foreigners.

10. We have a duty to mankind; that is, to men in general.

11. The United Nations, even if limited in accomplishment, is a step in the right direction.

12. Any interference with free speech and free assembly, except for cases of immediate public danger or juvenile corruption, is wrong.

13. Wealthy nations, like the United States, have a duty to aid the less privileged portions of mankind.

14. Colonialism and imperialism are wrong.

15. Hotels, motels, stores and restaurants in southern United States ought to be obliged by law to allow Negroes to use all of their facilities on the same basis as whites.

16. The chief sources of delinquency and crime are ignorance, discrimination, poverty and exploitation.

17. Communists have a right to express their opinions.

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The Real Lesson of Charlie Hebdo

January 9th, 2015 - 9:08 am

As the world endeavors to digest the savage massacre of 12 innocent people in Paris by French Muslims, it is worth stepping back to remember that the last week or so has also seen the publication of two important manifestos by prominent Muslims.

Both manifestos, though in different ways, are remarkable for their frank recognition of some salient facts about Islam, what a Marxist might call “really existing Islam,” as distinct from those ideal constructions urged upon us by the naïve but well-meaning.

The first manifesto was delivered in Cairo by Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on New Year’s Day before Al-Azhar University and the Awqaf Ministry, which oversees Egypt’s religious endowments. Roger L. Simon, writing here at PJM, was right to call the speech “extraordinary.” El-Sisi, as Simon observes, called for nothing less that an ecclesiastical revolution in Islam. The great Raymond Ibrahim, who has done as much as anyone to tell the truth about Islam in the Middle East, posted an English translation of key excerpts from the speech on his web site. “The corpus of [Islamic] texts and ideas that we sacralized over the years,” el-Sisi said,  are “antagonizing the entire world.” Egypt, he continued, is being “torn apart” by these violent ideas.

We have to think hard about what we are facing . . . It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible! . . .
Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible! . . .
I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move . . .  because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.

Some have objected that el-Sisi has not matched his actions to his words. But Simon is right: no Western leader (certainly not Barack Hussein Obama) has had the courage to issue a call for such radical change in Islam. And the fact that the leader of the largest Arab nation should do so has potentially “world-changing implications.”

El-Sisi’s speech occurred on New Year’s Day. A scant week later,  two masked gunman shouting “Allahu Akbar!” stormed into offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and murdered 10 journalists and 2 policemen in cold blood. This was not a random act of what the Obama administration called “workplace violence” (their description of the Islamic-inspired butchery at Fort Hood). It was not the work of “lone extremists” (another favorite Obama term for the work Islamic terrorism). It certainly was not an act of “anti-Islamic activity,” the cynical and mendacious term that former British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith coined to describe Islamic terrorism. (Shades of the “No True Scotsman fallacy” there, Jacqui.)

No, these two French Muslims, since identified as Said Kouachi (34) and his brother Cherif Kouachi (32), were on a mission. They targeted Charlie Hebdo because the irreverent magazine had repeatedly made fun of Islam and its founder (it has done the same to other religions and indeed to other establishment figures in general, but with less incarnadine results). Back in 2011, after the paper published the famous “Danish Cartoons” of Mohammed, other partisans of “the religion of peace” firebombed the offices of the magazine.  Its editor, Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier, was given round-the-clock police protection as a result. It wasn’t enough. The Kouachi brothers knew exactly who they were looking for. When they shot their way into the office of Cahrlie Hebdo, they rattled off a list of names of journalists and cartoonists, including Charbonnier’s. When they found them, they murdered them. Now at last, they proclaimed, “the prophet has been avenged.”

Think about that. The prophet, i.e., Mohammed, the revered founder of Islam, has been “avenged” because 12 people have been murdered in cold blood. Why? Because a magazine published some satirical cartoons of said prophet.

Which brings me to the second Muslim manifesto I mentioned.  This, too, was an extraordinary effusion, notable for its honesty about the realities of Islam in the world today.  But unlike President al-Sisi’s speech in Cairo, this manifesto was not a call for an accommodating revolution in Islam. On the contrary, it was a warning to infidels (that would be you and me, Virginia) that the French journalists (and their bodyguards) reaped what they had sown.

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So, when I wasn’t paying attention last Spring, the de Blasio administration in New York cooked up yet another mechanism for relieving denizens of Gotham of a little more of what some quaint folks still refer to as “their” money. Bill de Blasio, of course, thinks of it as his money. In this, he is merely following the lead of our masters in Washington, whose insatiable appetite for the green stuff leads them to hoover up as much of our money as possible (for really, you know, it is our money: pace Barack Obama and Elizabeth “Big Chief” Warren, we did build: they merely spend it).

But I digress. What prompts this little outburst was my discovery yesterday that New York City has just enacted a 30¢ “improvement surcharge” on every taxi ride.  That’s on top of the 50¢ surcharge they imposed some years ago.  What’s the “improvement” in question?  The New York Times had the story last April, but since I do not read our former paper of records, I missed it.  There is was in black and white: “The de Blasio administration on Wednesday approved a 30-cent surcharge on all yellow and street-hail livery taxi rides as part of a plan to make half of New York’s yellow cabs wheelchair accessible by 2020.”

I’d say you can’t make it up, but these guys not only made it up but, as I discovered where I got into a cab yesterday, they actually imposed this stupid tariff on the sheep, er, the citizens of New York. What’s next, cabs with extra flashing lights for the deaf? Sirens for the blind? Mandatory Arabic-speaking drivers for terrorists?

“It’s only 30¢ Kimball, suck it up. Are you anti-cripple or what?”

What I am against is the proliferation of government schemes to line their bureaucracies pockets by fleecing the citizenry.  30¢ may seem like a paltry sum. But it is only one of a veritable galaxy of levies, fees, surcharges, tariffs, penalities, “Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises” that governments federal, state, and local suck out of the helpless populace. The idea of requiring every taxi to be wheelchair accessible is as stupid as requiring every bus to be wheel chair accessible. It is a top-down imposition that is of questionable benefit to the halt but inestimable benefit to the rapacious bureaucrats who want to run your life.