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Home Front: Politix
Contract With America 2.0
Jim Geraghty

A little while back, I wrote, “before a political movement - any movement, not just conservatives - can use technology to promote its message, it needs to agree on what that message is. If one had to propose a new Contract With America, could conservatives formulate a list of ten legislative proposals that would get 90 for 9? (Meaning, 90 percent of conservatives agreed with 9 of them?)”

Cam and I talked a bit about this off line. I loved Cam’s idea of framing the list as “A Contract With Our Children” –evoking the “Contract With America” while turning around Hillary’s ever-present “it’s for the CHILDREN!” mantra for the right.

But after weeks of wrangling with what ten issues and proposals could get 90 percent of conservatives (and a big chunk of the public) to back nine of them, I’ve finally made up my list. Here’s a list of ten – first the principle or idea behind the idea, and then the policy proposal that grows out of it. . . .

Hit the link and read them. There's some good stuff in there.
Posted by: Mike || 07/12/2007 00:36 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

#1  And some bad stuff.

The bit about using government funds/regulations to create more physicians has already been tried, in a subfield of medicine. This is an interesting case study known by those who study business but few others.

In the 1970's the government established capitation plans for universities to create more seats in their dental school classes, and for universities which did not have dental schools to create them. This was done with the idea of creating enough dentists to break the back of the fee structure, greatly decrease the cost of dentistry, and therefore (supposedly) increase the amount of dental care received by low-income Americans.

This failed miserably. The architects of this notion (leftists in that era - interesting that this idea is now espoused by someone on the right) did not account for several factors. First, they assumed that the cost of the service was the only thing preventing the public from using it at higher rates. It turned out that cultural, personal, and geographic distribution factors were equally as important. So from the standpoint of increasing utility, the plan didn't work.

Additionally, they didn't take into account the fixed costs of operating a dental office, and that areas with sufficient population to justify those fixed costs and enough cash flow to live were already saturated. More and more dentists crowded into the same areas that already had dentists. As a result, many dentists went bankrupt (again, this is not know by probably 99.9% of the general public who probably assume that all dentists are wealthy types). In fact, loan officers in banks were obliged to considerably lower their assessment of dentists during the 1980's in many parts of the country.

The end result has been that as soon as the capitation went away in the late 1980's, dental schools (even good ones) were been forced to close and others have reduced class size.

Government intervention to tweak the market like this won't work. Training professionals in any field is expensive and market forces once the professionals are out working are complicated. If you create twice as many professionals who can't earn enough to live in their field, their services won't be available to the public anyways, and you haven't helped anybody.
Posted by: no mo uro || 07/12/2007 6:03 Comments || Top||

#2  So whaddabout the other nine, no mo uro?

I liked pretty much all of 'em, except I am skeptical that government pressures for more doctors is the answer; tort reform and less red tape - somehow - might be more beneficial.

But I can see the MSM and the left-wing liberal losers having a lot of fun with the list, and their 'sound bite' interpretation thereof. Can we get Dan Rather back to report on the subject?
Posted by: Bobby || 07/12/2007 7:53 Comments || Top||

#3  I like most of them, just not the ones about health care and trains.

Some of the others need a little tweaking, too.

Posted by: no mo uro || 07/12/2007 8:02 Comments || Top||

#4  Bad ideas, and bad politics. Nothing new here.
Posted by: JSU || 07/12/2007 8:14 Comments || Top||

#5  I think 6 or 7 of them are feasible. A couple are pie in the sky. His immigration thoughts are weak imho. Also, I didn't get how he's going to execute the "culture" policy. I like #1 though.
Posted by: Broadhead6 || 07/12/2007 10:16 Comments || Top||


India-Pakistan
Lal Masjid as logic of Islamic rejectionism
By Khaled Ahmed

Muslims all over the world withhold legitimacy from the Muslim nation-state. Muslim states respond by using the mithridatism of sharia – take a bit of poison every day for immunity from actual poisoning – only to discover that the clergy continually posits a more stringent sharia whose enforcement is not possible without theocratic rule. The Islamic state describes a familiar trajectory of rejectionism till it becomes internally secure under direct clerical rule, as in the case of Mullah Umar’s Sunni caliphate of Afghanistan and Imam Khomeini’s Shia imamate of Iran.

Isolation, indoctrination, rejectionism: The madrassa and the mosque act as nurseries of Islamic rejectionism. The mosque is the place of employment of the graduate of a seminary. The seminary socially insulates its acolytes through its dars nizami syllabus, ensuring that its graduates can only be employed in a mosque. (This is at the root of the proliferation of mosques in Pakistan.) The residential madrassa is the locus of three functions: isolation, indoctrination and rejection. The burden of its message to society is an exhortation to vigilantism based on the Quranic concept of amr (encourage good) and nahi (oppose wrong).

In a Muslim state, a majority of the population possesses a rejectionist mind – rejection of ‘the incompletely Islamic state’. This is not a negative trait; it is an honest expression of allegiance to the utopia of the sharia. The clerical message about the backsliding of the state targets internal non-enforcement of literalist edicts. It also attacks foreign policy whose avoidance of international isolation is interpreted as compromise of national honour. Honour-based societies such as Pakistan focus on foreign policy as a device of repossession of lost honour. In this sense, Islam becomes an instrument of re-tribalisation.

Madrassa as centre of cult following: Lal Masjid encapsulates the Muslim mind. The TV channels in Pakistan have woken up to the parallels Lal Masjid has in other parts of the world, but they still deliberately ignore the cultic aspects of these comparisons. Not all the comparisons have been correctly defined. For instance, comparisons with the Chechen attacks on a school in Beslan in Russia (2004) and a Moscow theatre (2005) do not take into account the charisma of Abdul Aziz. However the reference to 1979 Makka revolt by a rebel preacher Juhaima was more to the point because of the central figure in it of Imam Mehdi pretender. Reference to the siege of Golden Temple after the Bhindranwale revolt (1984) in India is also an acceptable analogy.

Why did the TV channels avoid reference to the fact that Juhaima had put up his nephew Qahtani as the promised Mehdi? One can only say that there is a reluctance to compare cultism with the Lal Masjid phenomenon. Reference was indeed made to the 300 ‘prophetic’ dream visions of Maulana Abdul Aziz in the Urdu press, but the theme was not pursued further. Was this non-reference meant to avoid comparison with religious cults in the West that manifested the same syndrome of isolation-indoctrination-rejection as the Islamabad seminary?

Divine inspiration and cult figures: If Maulana Abdul Aziz had received his orders directly from Allah, and had a cult following he himself described as ready to commit suicide for him, David Koresh and his suicide squad of devotees at Waco, Texas (1993) also clashed with state troops because ‘messages from God’ did not allow surrender. His cult followers accepted suicide the same way as the cult followers of California’s Jim Jones in British Guiana (1978). The Swiss group suicide (1994) was also ordained by a divine message. The fanaticism of the male and female acolytes of Maulana Abdul Aziz would have resulted in mass suicide had he not himself abandoned them by fleeing.

The Lal Masjid founder Maulana Abdullah was killed in 1998 at the height of the sectarian war unleashed by Deobandi madrassas in 1986 after the issuance of apostatisation fatwas. Abdullah was a graduate of Jamia Banuria like Maulana Masood Azhar of Jaish Muhammad whose trained terrorists are now found entrenched within Lal Masjid together with Maulana Abdur Rashid Ghazi. Ghazi echoed his father’s sectarian worldview when he told a TV channel that the government might have brought out Shia warriors against his besieged acolytes.

The Aziz-Rashid duo began with a clear anti-Shia intent when they abducted a Shia lady in Islamabad after accusing her of running a brothel. Only the BBC website recorded the charge made by the lady that, while they were dragging her family out, the Lal Masjid vigilantes had referred to the Shia sect as a ‘sect of prostitutes’. The duo had climbed to the top of the already dominant position of the Deobandi seminaries in Islamabad by establishing contacts with the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Musharraf and proliferation of madrassas: The madrassas in Pakistan have proliferated after 9/11 and under Musharraf. This makes clear the intent of the new religious seminary in Pakistan. In the old radical madrassas ready to face America and its allies, induction of acolytes has doubled, as was shown by admissions at Jamia Banuria in 2002. In Islamabad too, the proliferation of madrassas has taken place under Musharraf after 2001, not under General Zia after 1979.

Today, there are 88 seminaries in Islamabad imparting religious education to more than 16,000 students. It is not for nothing that every second male in Islamabad keeps a jihadi beard and looks scary to foreigners. Research has revealed that the number of students of the Deobandi seminaries, including Jamia Hafsa and Jamia Faridia, doubled during the last one year. The students to these seminaries – many of them residential – have flocked from all parts of the NWFP and the tribal areas.

Madrassa dominance of Islamabad: The breakdown of madrassas in Islamabad is as follows: Deobandi (5,400 students); Barelvi (3,000 students in 46 seminaries), Ahle-Hadith (200 students in two seminaries); Shia (700 students in eight seminaries) and Jamaat-e-Islami-led Rabita al-Madaris (1,500 students in 18 seminaries). According to a newspaper investigative report, ‘the present number of 10,700 seminarians in the federal capital is almost equal to the combined strength of the seminary students from Balochistan (6,374 students) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (2,835 students)’.

Who has tried to change the character of Islamabad through a proliferation of extremist seminaries? One could quickly claim that President Musharraf could not have been involved in this proliferation because of his exhortations against extremism. But that would be incorrect: During the rule of General Zia (from July 1977 to August 1988), 7 new seminaries were established in the federal capital; under President Musharraf, the number went up to 14!

Mithridatism will not work. The commander of the Rangers besieging the Lal Masjid madrassa had a flowing beard just like the ones sported by Maulana Abdul Aziz and Abdur Rashid. Almost all the troops brought out to confront the terrorists inside Jamia Hafsa were bearded and looked more like the Taliban than Pakistan army soldiers. Pakistan is firmly set on the trajectory beyond all dreams of democracy as the panacea for collective derailments.

Utopias of rejectionism: At the end of the parabola of Islamic reform is the theocratic state, ruled and secured against de-legitimisation by the clergy through punishment of dissent with death on the basis of the doctrine of fasad fil ard (turmoil on earth). But after the establishment of theocracy as the acme of state evolution, comes the international assault. The Sunni caliphate of Afghanistan was invaded under a chapter-seven UN Security Council resolution number 1373. It was found that the caliphate had endangered its Muslim neighbours before endangering the world. The same kind of international movement is developing against the imamate of Iran which also endangers its Muslim neighbours equally as it endangers the world.

The seminary is the symbol of Islamic rejectionism. This rejectionism is achieved through isolation which international investigators often condone as dars nizami, thinking that insulation of the acolyte has nothing to do with violent rejection of society and state. At the subconscious level, we are all waiting for the Sunni caliphate in Pakistan. We all know what will happen after that.
Posted by: John Frum || 07/12/2007 10:47 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The madrassas in Pakistan have proliferated after 9/11 and under Musharraf. This makes clear the intent of the new religious seminary in Pakistan. In the old radical madrassas ready to face America and its allies, induction of acolytes has doubled, as was shown by admissions at Jamia Banuria in 2002. In Islamabad too, the proliferation of madrassas has taken place under Musharraf after 2001, not under General Zia after 1979.

One could quickly claim that President Musharraf could not have been involved in this proliferation because of his exhortations against extremism. But that would be incorrect: During the rule of General Zia (from July 1977 to August 1988), 7 new seminaries were established in the federal capital; under President Musharraf, the number went up to 14!
Posted by: John Frum || 07/12/2007 12:16 Comments || Top||

#2  You either accept the world as it is, or you embrace the fallacious concept of making a world as you wish it would be. Eventually idealism (ignorance) will be the ultimate capital crime...
Posted by: M. Murcek || 07/12/2007 18:57 Comments || Top||


Let us shed tears for ourselves
by B. Raman

Large sections of the nation shed tears on July 11, 2007, in memory of the 190 innocent Indians belonging to different religions who were killed a year ago in a series of explosions in suburban trains of Mumbai by jihadi terrorists inspired by the ideology of Al Qaeda. Their tears were also an expression of solidarity with the surviving relatives of these victims.

Just as millions of Americans and their leaders belonging to both sides of the political spectrum shed tears on September 11 every year in memory of the over 2,500 innocent civilians belonging to different nations who were killed by Al Qaeda in the US homeland on September 11, 2001, and in solidarity with their relatives.

Just as millions of Indonesians and Australians and their political leaders shed years every year on the anniversary of the Bali bombing of October, 2002, in which nearly 200 innocent civilians---Indonesians, Australians and others--- were blown to pieces by jihadi terrorists.

Just as millions of Spanish people, their royal family and their political leaders shed tears every year on the anniversary of the Madrid bombing of March, 2004, in which the jihadi terrorists targeted suburban trains, killing nearly 200 innocent civilians.

Just as millions of British, their royal family and their political leaders shed tears every year on the anniversary of the London bombings of July, 2005, in which jihadi suicide terrorists targeted the public transportation system killing over 50 innocent civilians.

There was a significant difference between the observance of the anniversaries of these great human tragedies inflicted on humanity by the jihadi terrorists in other countries and in India.

In other countries, the head of the State or Government participated in the observance of the anniversaries. On July 7, 2007, we saw on the TV touching scenes of Mr. Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, and his wife visiting the tube stations where the terrorists struck and placing flowers at the scene of the tragedy.

In India, our so-called secular political class and elite kept away from the observance of the anniversary of the Mumbai tragedy of July 11, 2006.

Forget about flowers.

Not a drop of tear.

Not a word of sorrow.

Not a sign of grief.

Not a single expression of solidarity with the relatives of the victims.

I did not write this article yesterday because I waited to see whether our Prime Minister would fly to Mumbai and lead the people of the nation in remembering the innocent Indians----men, women and children--- who were blown to pieces by the jihadi terrorists last year. I was convinced in my mind that he would not. Still, I was hoping that he would prove me wrong by participating in the observance of the anniversary. He didn't.

Why he didn't?

Busy dealing with grave crises confronting the nation?

No.

Lack of time?

No.

Bad weather?

No.

He did not attend because he was worried the Muslims might misunderstand.

He did not attend because he was worried that any public expression of sorrow for those blown up by the jihadi terrorists might be misinterpreted by the Muslims as stigmatising their community.

A few weeks after the Mumbai blasts of July 11, 2006, I had been to Kolkata to attend a conference. One of the eminent participants told me that a few days after the blasts there was a meeting in the Raj Bhawan chaired by the Governor of West Bengal to discuss some other subject. One of the participants proposed that they observe a two-minutes' silence in memory of those killed in Mumbai.

The Governor ruled his suggestion out of order.

Why?

Lest the Muslims misinterpret it as stigmatising their community.

Jihadi terrorists can go on indulging in one act of mass casualty terrorism after another.

But, according to our so-called secular political class and elite, we should not talk about it or even cry about it.

Our anger, our tears, our exasperation at the failure of the Government to deal with them might be seen by the Muslims as stigmatising their community.

How many acts of jihadi terrorism we have had in India since the present Government came to power in Delhi in 2004?

Delhi, Varanasi, Mumbai, Malegaon, Bangalore, Samjota Express, Hyderabad.

Shri Shekhar Gupta, the Editor-in-Chief of the "Indian Express", in a recent article drew attention to a fact to which I have been drawing attention in my writings for over a year. There has been no satisfactory progress in any of these investigations.

In the past, our Police might have been criticised in some instances for its inability to prevent acts of terrorism, but it had generally received very high praise for its successful investigation.

We all felt proud of the Mumbai Police of the 1990s recently when the case relating to the Mumbai blasts of March, 1993, in which about 250 innocent civilians were blown up by jihadi terrorists, ended in conviction. There were many other cases in which too the Mumbai Police of the 1990s had covered itself with credit.

So too the Delhi Police.

So too the Police of other cities.

Why there is a perception now that they are not as good as they were in the 1990s?

Has there been a deterioration in their competence?

No. In the 1990s, they received the full backing of the political leadership of those years, which took active interest in the investigation.

The political leadership of those years did not give sermons to the police not to do anything which might be viewed by the Muslims as stigmatising or targeting their community.

It refrained from inhibiting a thorough investigation through such sermons.

The political leadership of the past provided leadership and guidance. It took active interest in the investigation. It was determined that the guilty will be brought to book, even if they be Muslims.

The political leadership of today gives sermons and no leadership. It avoids active monitoring and supervision of the investigation lest the Muslims misunderstand.

I was in service at the height of terrorism in Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir under leaders like Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao.

They never gave sermons.

I had never heard expressions like "stigmatising a community" or "targeting a community" etc coming out of their mouth.

In the past, we used to accuse Western countries of following double standards in counter-terrorism because of their reluctance to co-operate with us.

We accused them of adopting an over-legalistic approach in order to avoid co-operating with us.

Since the botched-up London and Glasgow terrorist strikes by a joint Arab-Indian jihadi cell, we have been guilty of the same sins of commission and omission which we attributed to the West in the past.

Much of the initial leads about the Indian participants and their jihadi background before they migrated to the UK came from the Karnataka Police. It is they who were the first to identify the man who drove the car, which crashed into the Glasgow airport, as Kafeel Ahmed, an Indian national.

They were also the first to identify him as an aeronautical engineer and not a doctor.

They were also the first to establish that he became Wahabised in Bangalore and not in London, Belfast, Cambridge or Glasgow. He was not infected in the UK. He carried the jihadi infection to the UK from India.

Leaders of the Indian Muslim community are worried that digging out the truth might lead to a stigmatisation of the Indian Muslims abroad.

They express their concern to the so-called secular political leadership. What does it do?

Till recently, our Prime Minister was giving sermons to our police and intelligence agencies not to do anything, which might be viewed by the Muslims as stigmatising their community.

Now, he gives a ring to Mr.Gordon Brown and gives him a sermon about the importance of not doing anything which might stigmatise the Muslim community.

The Australian Police want some quick check-up about the antecedents of an Indian Muslim doctor from Bangalore under interrogation by them. He is related to one of the Indian perpetrators of the London and Glasgow attempts and had lived with them in the UK before migrating to Australia.

What do we do?

The Central Bureau of Investigation gives them a sermon about the importance of making their request through proper channel.

Just as the Western Police and intelligence agencies used to tell us in the past when we asked for a quick check-up of a terrorism-related information.

New Delhi is afraid that any over-enthusiasm by our police and investigative and intelligence agencies in co-operating with the British and Australian investigators making preliminary enquiries about the suspected Indian Muslims might be viewed by the Indian Muslim community as stigmatising them.

So, the message is: Drag your feet in co-operating with the British and Australians.

The sensitivities and feelings of the Muslims are more important than saving innocent civilians----whether in India, the UK or Australia---by exposing the jihadi iceberg and neutralising it before it is too late.

We shed tears for the victims of last year's Mumbai explosions yesterday.

Let us shed tears for ourselves today for having the misfortune of having a Government for which the feelings of the Muslims are more important than saving the lives of innocent civilians from the continued depredations of the jihadi terrorists.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai.
Posted by: John Frum || 07/12/2007 09:21 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6464 views] Top|| File under:

#1  He gets it.
Posted by: Bunyip || 07/12/2007 9:45 Comments || Top||

#2  The author's last paragraph could be applied to any western nation & our own as well.
Posted by: Broadhead6 || 07/12/2007 10:19 Comments || Top||

#3  He did not attend because he was worried that any public expression of sorrow for those blown up by the jihadi terrorists might be misinterpreted by the Muslims as stigmatising their community.

What's there to worry about? Muslims stigmatize themselves perfectly well without any outside help at all.

The entire preceding article is by itself enough to permanently discredit Politically Correct thinking. (Isn't Politically Correct thinking an oxymoron?) Must we forever tiptoe about because Islam insists upon having an eggshell ego? Must we remove all sharp edges and corners from our world because Islam bleeds so profusely at even the least pinprick to its bloated self-importance? Must we laboriously smooth over every last rough patch on this entire planet because Islam is a skinless people of endless sensitivity?

How much longer do we delude ourselves that endlessly appeasing these hideous barbarians does anything except embolden them to make even more unfair demands upon those that they already treat with utter contempt?

Oh yeah, and what Broadhead6 said.
Posted by: Zenster || 07/12/2007 11:19 Comments || Top||

#4  Thanks for the post John. I recall you have said before that nearly half the populace is Muslim in India. I guess most people of the world were ignorant of this. You have a tremendous problem there. Makes France look like very small problem indeed. So, all officials there are scared to death, literally, of "offending" Muslims. I wandered why there was little backlash from Hindus, but now understand it takes a terrible offence to get the required response. Everything hushed up otherwise, hoping the Muzzie bogeyman attacks anyone but me.
Posted by: Woozle Elmeter2970 || 07/12/2007 11:44 Comments || Top||

#5  The muslim population is about 15%. With a billion plus population, that is 150 million.
In the Indian subcontinent as a whole, muslims may total 450 million
Posted by: John Frum || 07/12/2007 12:09 Comments || Top||

#6  Even the Scots have dhimmied up after the Petrol-Jihad failure. The catchword is: inclusivism. Make the Muslims feel at home. Or create conditions for eventual Dar-Islam (home of Islam). Muslims can't be suspects because they subscribe to a religion of peace.
Posted by: McZoid || 07/12/2007 14:30 Comments || Top||

#7  TRhe reason we, not only trhe Indians but also us, western,eers, fear of offending Muslims by talking about terrorists is preceiselyn because the Muslims have never rejecvted nthem as alien. After every terrorist bombing there has been 10 seconds of mild blame of the terrorists followed by five minutes of "America have had it coming" or "Poor Muslims are living under suspicion".

What we have not seen ios Muslims ashamed of terrorits, spitting at them, fathers denying them their houses, fatwas banishing them from the Umah.

What we have seen is Muslims dancing in the streets after 9/11, carrying Bin Laden tee-shirts, fathers proud of their terrorist sons and imams calling to extermination of infidels.

The mere fact that we think we could offend them by commemorating teh bombings is proof that they don't deserve this kind of attentions.
Posted by: JFM || 07/12/2007 15:33 Comments || Top||

#8  The president of India, Dr A.J.P. Abdul Kalam, is a Muslim. Note that the president of India is not like the president of the United States. He is not head of state. The Prime Minister is Dr. Manmohan Singh, a Sikh.
Posted by: Rambler || 07/12/2007 17:18 Comments || Top||

#9  How about we commemorate 911 by bombing an islamic monument every year?
Posted by: JohnQC || 07/12/2007 17:27 Comments || Top||

#10  . He is not head of state

Actually Professor Kalam is the Head of State.
He is commander in chief of the armed forces of India as well.

He is NOT head of government. That is the portfolio of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Posted by: John Frum || 07/12/2007 19:24 Comments || Top||

#11  photo

The Indian President Abdul Kalam, developer of India's first satellite launchers and ballistic missiles.
The guy behind him is Professor Chidabaram, the nuclear physicist in charge of the Indian hydrogen bomb design team
Posted by: John Frum || 07/12/2007 19:30 Comments || Top||


Israel-Palestine-Jordan
The tyranny of the weak
'We have to understand the origin of the terms we throw around," says Joel Fishman, a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) and adjunct fellow at the University of Calgary's Center for Military and Strategic Studies.

One such phrase, says Fishman - the author of a 2003 paper titled: "Ten Years Since Oslo: The PLO's 'People's War' Strategy and Israel's Inadequate Response" - is "two-state solution." Another is "peace camp." The former, he says, was adopted by the PLO in the early 1970s, after Yasser Arafat went to North Vietnam to consult with political officers on how to combat his international reputation as a terrorist. The latter was a Soviet term invented during the Cold War to make a distinction between the "good" socialists and "evil" capitalists.

What such catch-phrases have in common, explains Fishman, 64, is their use as political tools to achieve military aims - something that has characterized many asymmetrical battlefields. Using the Vietnam War as an example of a weaker power's political victory over a stronger one, he shows the way in which the Palestinians have used it as a model for their own struggle against Israel. "The Vietnamese did not really win that war on the ground," Fishman points out. "They won it in the United States," with the help of the American Left.
Rest at the link
Posted by: gromgoru || 07/12/2007 13:29 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6472 views] Top|| File under:

#1  First things first:

The tyranny of the weakminded

There, fixed that.

We may ask whether the Palestinians, be they Fatah or Hamas, represent a partner for Israel or a lethal threat. Another basic question is whether the Palestinians actually want to build a viable state. They may not, because the moment they have a state with defined boundaries, their war against Israel will effectively be over.

This early point may well be the best. It speaks volumes as to exactly why the Israeli and Palestinian conflict is no closer to a settlement today than it was decades ago. The only true progress has been in exposing all Palestinians as terrorist facilitators such that their constant claims of victimhood now ring patently false. Hamas' coup in Gaza and the bloodshed that followed has ripped the mask from Palestinian cries for justice.

One French philosopher observed that the mark of a good democracy is when the people are better than their leaders. According to this logic, [he laughs] Israel is a great democracy.

This goes double for America.

That comes from a mindset that is very popular in the US of "cultivating the moderates" or seeking a "win-win situation."

[British MP and Celsius 7/7 author] Michael Gove and [German researcher] Matthias Kuentzel both attribute the weakness of the West to its lack of understanding of ideology as a driving force, particularly in the case of Iran. Generally, Westerners prefer to ignore the ideological dimension and focus on pragmatic problem-solving. They seek the "root causes" of terrorism, as if they were material. This mindset prevents one from understanding the enemy. For example, it fails to take into account the public declarations of [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad such as: "The Zionist regime must disappear from the scene of existence," which is a literal translation from Farsi. Indeed, the essential weakness of Israel and the rest of the West is that we tend to think that every dispute can be settled through some kind of deal.

Another type of faulty reasoning is the assumption that our adversaries are decent people just like you and me.

This approach is called "cognitive egocentrism." It happens when you believe that everybody else is as reasonable as you are.


Bush's continuing reference to Islam as The Religion of Peace [spit] demonstrably proves this notion. Despite the near-constant deceit and lies that issue forth from Fatah and Hamas, Israel's liberals continue to suffer from this cognitive egocentrism as well. Western leaders simply do not, cannot or will not accept that any deal struck with Islam is essentially rendered meaningless by taqiyya. This one fact voids all diplomatic efforts and—once understood—channels all further rational effort towards a military solution.

One thing is clear: Political correctness is a form of linguistic totalitarianism that leads to Orwellian "slavery." When there are certain things you're not allowed to say, it means in most cases that there are certain things you're not allowed to think.

I have always maintained that the ultimate goal of Politically Correct speech is thought control. Recall the scene from "1984" when Winston Smith's friend brags to him about how his job at the Ministry of Speech involves removing thousands of words from the dictionary each day. Much like how "ungood", "plus-ungood" and "double-plus-ungood" are merely all shades of "good" and the concept of "bad" has now been disposed of: So Politically Correct speech prunes controversial terms from our vocabulary in an attempt to eliminate even the thought of ideas that subvert the sterile thought-scape sought after by its practitioners.

It is this modification of public opinion through the editing of allowable expression that we see happening in the EU as they intentionally unbolt Islam and terrorism despite the deep and abiding connections between them. While Europe has never been a bastion of free speech, America always has and it is particularly reprehensible that our own government still refuses to properly identify the enemy confronting us. This refusal has left mute The Voice of America and other legitimately powerful propaganda tools that we could bring to bear in our fight for survival. America's political elite are emerging as a traitor class unworthy of their own citizenship in this great nation of ours.
Posted by: Zenster || 07/12/2007 17:56 Comments || Top||

#2  An odd thought just occurred to me -- the Left gets gooey over strongmen in weak societies, but has nothing but contempt for the leaders of strong societies. Only when the leaders of free societies act like strongmen -- abusing women, silencing opposition, selling access to the highest bidder -- do they have any respect for them.

Strong men in weak societies have the power to -- attempt -- to remake those societies to their whims. Castro, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Chavez, Hitler (before he attacked Stalin) -- all were "progressive" heroes. They claimed to be trying to "perfect" society, while really just ruling according to their whims.

The Left lusts for that kind of power. They know the best way to organize everyone's lives -- and not being able to do it enrages them. They have nothing but contempt for those who truly try to lead from within the bounds of the law in strong societies, and vehemently despise the people in those societies who resist their utopian schemes.

The tyranny of the weak is the effect of that lust combining with their hatred for strong societies. The strong must be hobbled and humiliated, and the weak who are lorded over by tyrants must be increased, so that the Annointed may rule.
Posted by: Rob Crawford || 07/12/2007 20:13 Comments || Top||

#3  Amen Rob C.
Take HRC for example. "She" has no desire to Lead, Govern, Administer, Shepherd, etc.

She intends to RULE. In fact, she's drooling to RULE (&REIGN). With all those "useful idiots" out there; she just might. In Jesus' name, God Forbid!
Posted by: Asymmetrical T || 07/12/2007 21:17 Comments || Top||

#4  RC may be onto something here. When one examines the Left's spiritual belief structure it all too often resembles a "cafeteria culture". Paganism, New Age, Atheism, Wiccanism: All of these constructs point towards a potentially less-well-anchored core philosophy. While monotheism is not the end-all or be-all answer to belief—merely examine Islam for proof of this—it still tends to have a more concentric doctrinal substrate.

Thusly, in the absence of such a bedrock stratum, it is definitely conceivable that participants might yearn for—or otherwise subconciously desire—a souce of personal authorization not available from more dispersed deistic pantheons. It would therefore be no great surprise if Liberals then sought out these "strongmen" as substitute deities in order to satisfy their craving for simplification and order.

It is certainly no great leap to note that the cognitive dissonance induced by moral relativism and the irrational, inductive, feeling-based decision making process so often exhibited by Leftists literally demands some other center of gravity not apparent in their spiritual consitution.

Other threads today have addressed Politically Correct thought and the totalitarian mindset it represents. Leftist thinking may well depend upon such restrictive thought processes to counterbalance the free-floating notions of answerable philosophy that they so often embrace.
Posted by: Zenster || 07/12/2007 22:33 Comments || Top||


Syria-Lebanon-Iran
Iran abducts union man
One of Iran's most popular civil-society leaders was abducted in Tehran on Tuesday after chairing a meeting of trade unionists.

Mansour Osanloo, the 48-year-old president of the Union of Bus Drivers (SKSV), had just stepped off a bus when a group of bearded men emerged from a gray Peugeot and attacked him with clubs and knuckle-dusters. Shouting, "You are an enemy of Islam," the attackers pushed him into the car and drove away. Witnesses said Osanloo was severely beaten, and his attackers continued to beat him even after they had forced him into their car. Passengers on the bus, which had halted, tried to restrain the attackers but were held back at gunpoint.

Osanloo's friends and relatives say that secret-service agents had followed him round the clock since his return from Europe last month. On that visit, he addressed a number of international labor meetings in London, Brussels and Geneva.

In 2004, Osanloo helped create one of the first independent trade unions in Iran since the mullahs' 1979 seizure of power. He has led two successful transit-worker strikes, forcing the state-owned bus company to offer concessions.

Other workers have followed his example, creating over 400 independent trade unions with an estimated 1.5 million members. Earlier this year, the independent unions set up the Workers' Organizations and Activists Coordinating Council (WOACC) to foster unity of action. On May 1 (International Labor Day) the WOACC held the first independent workers' marches in Tehran and 11 other major cities since 1979.

Osanloo, regarded by some as "Iran's Lech Walesa," has been abducted by paramilitaries working for the government before. He's also been imprisoned twice, including a spell at Evin, the dreaded "Islamic Alcatraz."

Osanloo has been careful not to give Iran's emerging labor movement a political coloring, but President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regards the union leader as a threat, for the authorities fear the growth of an independent labor movement. Workers in independent unions are still no more than 5 percent of wage earners in Iran. Most workers are either not unionized or drafted as members of unions controlled via so-called "Islamic committees."

Osanloo especially angered the authorities with his success in mobilizing international support for the Iranian labor movement. They released him from prison earlier this, and let him go to Europe for the annual conference of the International Transport Workers Federation. His friends believe the authorities had hoped that he would stay in Europe, joining other former dissidents in exile. But Osanloo had no such intention.

In London, he made a passionate appeal to workers throughout the world to support their Iranian counterparts in their quest for decent wages, human working conditions and freedom of association. In Brussels, he met leaders of the General Council of the International Trades Union Conference and managed to "open their eyes to the realities workers' conditions in the Islamic Republic," says one of his friends in Tehran.

For a quarter-century, appeals to Western labor leaders to support their Iranian working-class brethren had fallen on deaf ears, because the Tehran regime was seen as a revolutionary set-up backed by the "toiling masses." Osanloo altered that perception, persuading at least some Western unionists that suspicion or even hatred of America shouldn't translate into support for the Iranian regime in its repression of workers.

Osanloo also convinced the leaders of the International Labor Organization (of which Iran is full member) to oppose Ahmadinejad's new draft Labor Code. This would abolish virtually every right won by Iranian workers over decades of struggle, and impose rules that WOACC calls "conditions for slave labor, not employment in a free society."

Is Osanloo's abduction related to the meeting he had just chaired? The meeting certainly did two things that the authorities do not like: It condemned the government's announcement that it had "dismissed" and taken into custody six SKSV leaders. And it refused a government demand that bus drivers assume responsibility for imposing stricter "hijab" rules by keeping women passengers limited to the two back seats and forcing women "not dressed according Islamic codes" off any bus.

Osanloo told the meeting that it was not up to the government to decide who should lead the union, and called for the immediate release of his colleagues. He also recalled that a bus driver's task was to drive his passengers to their destinations safely, not to select them according to what they wear.

Mansour Osanloo is a voice for wisdom, moderation and peaceful change in a society ridden by potentially explosive contradictions. To silence that voice would be a tragic loss for Iran's future.
Posted by: ryuge || 07/12/2007 08:02 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under: Govt of Iran

#1  The bravery of such individuals is awe-striking. God be with him, if there is any such thing.
Posted by: Perfesser || 07/12/2007 9:07 Comments || Top||


Terror Networks
Dupe entry: A Resurgent Al Qaida?
The mainstream press is abuzz over a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which concludes that Al Qaida has "reconstituted" its core structure along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, and "may be a stronger and more resilient structure than it appeared a year ago."

According to this Newsweek account, the intelligence estimate is still in draft form, but that hasn't prevented the leakers from discussing it with their friends in the press. Reporters Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball found no less than three intelligence officials who were willing to talk about it (under the condition of anonymity, of course). Never mind that the new estimate hasn't been "finalized," or briefed to Congress. In the race to eclipse President Bush's war strategy, anything is fair game, including an NIE that can be "spun" to show that military operations in Iraq have made the problem worse.

But the primary reason for Al Qaida's resurgence is buried (typically) on page three of the article. And--surprise, surprise--it has nothing to do with the War in Iraq, or domestic security measures in the United States. As the draft assessment indicates, Al Qaida's reconstitution along the Pakistan-Afghan border is a direct result of the disastrous "Waziristan Accords," signed last year between the Islamabad government and pro-Al Qaida groups in the western tribal lands. Implementation of those agreements further eroded Pakistani authority in the region, and allowed terrorists to rebuild the training, support and administrative infrastructure that once existed in neighboring Afghanistan.

Bill Roggio was almost alone in reporting the dire consequences of those agreements, and we've echoed those sentiments in this blog. A few months ago, Mr. Roggio described the situation in Pakistan as a "civil war at the peripheries" and we can't disagree with his assessment. By attempting to "negotiate" with terrorists, the Musharraf government only emboldened them, allowing Al Qaida and its Taliban allies to reestablish operating bases, and extend their influence beyond the tribal areas. In that permissive environment, it would be shocking if Al Qaida didn't re-establish itself in the border region. In fact, as Mr. Roggion reminds us, Osama bin Laden himself vowed that his group--and the Taliban--would reestablish their base in the border region in the winter of 2005-2006, months before the first accord was signed.

As more proof of a resurgent Al Qaida, Newsweek also highlights concerns from German authorities, who are tracking a number of suspected insurgents within their borders. Unidentified German officials tell the magazine that a number possible jihadists are now being tracked by the nation's security and intelligence services. Readers will also note that the Germans are quick to blame the United States for their rising terrorism threat, claiming that many of the suspects are Iraqis who were "educated" by terrorist groups in that country.

Not surprisingly, the officials make no mention of Germany's (relatively) liberal asylum laws, large Muslim community and uneven counter-terrorism efforts. Lest we forget, much of the planning for 9-11 was conducted by Al Qaida's infamous "Hamburg" Cell, led by Mohammed Atta, which operated for more than a year under the noses of German authorities. Flash forward six years, and the Germans have plenty of reasons to be concerned. But any terror attack on their soil will be the result of many factors--including domestic policies on surveillance and immigration--and not merely a by-product of the War in Iraq.

As further proof of the gathering storm, Isikoff and Hosenball depict an Al Qaida that has achieved critical mass, with a revitalized central leadership, and active affiliates that are gaining influence in North Africa and other parts of the Middle East. Their sources also note Al Qaida's "robust" public affairs campaign (which now averages one audio, internet or video message a week), an increased chatter about new plots against the United States, emanating from the group's operational bases along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

We haven't read the NIE, so there's no way of knowing if the "Al Qaida on the march" comments are tempered by discussions of the group's significant failures in recent months. The recent U.K. plot--assuming that it was linked to Al Qaida's Iraq affiliate, as some have suggested--was a flop. Earlier this year, the Ethiopian Army, backed by U.S. special forces and airpower, crushed efforts by an Al Qaida affiliate to take control in Somalia. In Afghanistan, the Taliban's widely-touted spring offensive also failed badly, despite the availability of new bases and training centers in Waziristan. And finally, the most recent propaganda messages from the group's #2 leader, Ayman al-Zawihiri, sound anything but optimistic.

On the balance, Al Qaida probably is stronger today than it was a year ago. But even leaked portions of the NIE note that the primary reason for the resurgence (the Waziristan accords) is beyond U.S. control. It would also be interesting to learn if the NIE acknowledges the "positive" impact of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on the terrorist movement. In one of his recent tapes, Zawihiri against identified Iraq as the "central front" in the war against the west, affirming that Al Qaida will continue that fight, and devote the necessary resources.

You won't find this in the Newsweek column, but a U.S. retreat from Iraq would place Al Qaida in an even stronger position, allowing the terror group to shift assets toward new targets outside the Middle East. If the U.S. leaves Iraq over the next year--as many in Washington are suggesting--Al Qaida would become ascendant, not just resurgent, posing an even greater threat across the region, in Europe, and here at home.
Posted by: tu3031 || 07/12/2007 10:43 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6469 views] Top|| File under: al-Qaeda

#1  Dubya is reportedly contesting the premise that AQ is stronger than the year before or than before 9-11. See also DEBKA for similar wid Israel vs new, improved, allegedly bigger-and-better armed-than before Hizzies in Lebanon. Besides circa 18,000 men, Air Defense System, and LR rockets [Syria?] than can hit Jerusalem andor Tel Aviv from Lebanon, the Hizzies also reportedly have 35-40 CS-802 missles that can threaten Israeli and Allied shipping = naval targets. Also in DEBKA > the USS ENTERPRISE will allegedly join two other CVN's already in the region, NOT replace one of 'em.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 07/12/2007 23:02 Comments || Top||

#2  Dubya is reportedly contesting the premise that AQ is stronger than the year before or than before 9-11. See also DEBKA for similar wid Israel vs new, improved, allegedly bigger-and-better armed-than before Hizzies in Lebanon. Besides circa 18,000 men, Air Defense System, and LR rockets [Syria?] than can hit Jerusalem andor Tel Aviv from Lebanon, the Hizzies also reportedly have 25-30 CS-802 missles that can threaten Israeli and Allied shipping = naval targets. Also in DEBKA > the USS ENTERPRISE will allegedly join two other CVN's already in the region, NOT replace one of 'em.
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 07/12/2007 23:02 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Culture Wars
Lost Eden: The world of Robert A. Heinlein
Very long. Here's an excerpt
Watching the recent furor over the Senate immigration bill, I found myself wondering if this was perhaps a first in U.S. history: a sort of Peasants’ Revolt against the now-enormous and massively entrenched (and increasingly endogamous) elites. It has long been a commonplace, confirmed over and over again by polls, that the elite-commoner gap on the immigration issue is wider than on any other.

It may be that this is only the first of many such issues. As the elites pull away from the rest of us, and the rest of us become more atomized and disorganized — “a heap of loose sand” in Sun Yat-sen’s memorable phrase about the late-Imperial Chinese — we may be headed for the kind of intractable elite-commoner hostility predicted by Michael Young in his 1958 book The Rise of the Meritocracy. I don’t think it is fanciful to see an element of this in the current widespread anger towards the political class — the president’s approval ratings down in the 30s, and Congress’s even lower.

Some of that is anger at particular policies — Iraq, the immigration bill. Much, though — a rising proportion, I believe — is systemic: a feeling that the elites are now running the show for their own interests, Latin-America-style, with not much regard for ours. As my reader X (see above) correctly observed: “The low paid politician has vanished. The surest route to wealth is politics, followed closely by government service
Posted by: gromgoru || 07/12/2007 20:14 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:



Who's in the News
52[untagged]
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3Islamic Courts
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2Govt of Iran
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1al-Qaeda in North Africa
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A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.

Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.

Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has dominated Mexico for six years.
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Two weeks of WOT
Thu 2007-07-12
  Iraq: 200 boom belts found in Syrian truck
Wed 2007-07-11
  Ghazi dead, crisis over, aftermath begins
Tue 2007-07-10
  Paks assault Lal Masjid
Mon 2007-07-09
  Israeli cabinet okays Fatah prisoner release
Sun 2007-07-08
  Pak arrests Talibigs
Sat 2007-07-07
  100 Murdered in Turkmen Village of Amer Li
Fri 2007-07-06
  Failed assasination attempt at Musharraf
Thu 2007-07-05
  1200 surrender at Lal Masjid
Abul Aziz Ghazi nabbed sneaking out in burka
Wed 2007-07-04
  12 dead as Lal Masjid students provoke gunfight
Tue 2007-07-03
  UK bomb plot suspect 'arrested in Brisbane'
Mon 2007-07-02
  Algerian security forces bang Ali Abu Dahdah
Sun 2007-07-01
  Lebs find car used in Gemayel murder
Sat 2007-06-30
  Car, petrol attack at Glasgow airport terminal
Fri 2007-06-29
  Car bomb defused in central London
Thu 2007-06-28
  Brown replaces Blair

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