Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Time For Clarity

     The above phrase was uttered by Lou Dobbs in naming Islamism, rather than an undifferentiated “extremism,” as the moving force behind terrorism. At the time it was a virtually unique event: one which other commentators who addressed terrorism lacked the courage to emulate. Indeed, many of Dobbs’s colleagues were unsparing in castigating him for “slandering” Islam.

     To many persons today, Dobbs’s locution seems quaint. It’s an “unspeakable truth,” the sort of statement that must only be muttered under one’s breath. “Yes,” John Q. Public might say, “we all know that, but don’t say it out loud. You might make them angry.”

     The tragedy of the thing is that Dobbs was wrong and J. Q. Public was more right than not. The moving force behind terrorism, wherever and whenever it strikes, isn’t Islamism.

     It’s Islam.

     I’m going to repost two pieces. The first was written in November of 2015, shortly after a group of coordinated Islamic terrorist acts in Paris.


     There’s no need for me to read the news to any Gentle Reader of Liberty’s Torch. If you care, you already know about the overnight death and destruction that has afflicted the City of Light. If you don’t, you probably aren’t reading this at all.

     Many will attribute last night’s savagery to uncontrolled immigration. It’s an easy end run around the identities and affiliations of the terrorists. The U.S. has experienced a comparable uncontrolled influx, but apart from September 11, 2001, we haven’t suffered as the Parisians just did. Our immigrants don’t slaughter wantonly or randomly; they form drug gangs that kill one another over “turf.” The victims might not care about the difference, but from a sociopolitical perspective it’s critical.

     I’ve written voluminously on this subject, so there’s no need to repeat those analyses. The questions of import are two:

  • What can the Western world do about it?
  • Will we do it?

     We begin.

     There is no possibility of “reforming” Islam, or of detoxifying the hatred its allegiants feel for the Western conception of freedom. Similarly, there is no possibility of sifting out the “extremists” who take Islam’s commands to conquer the world seriously, dealing with them, and leaving the rest alone. The typical peaceable Muslim knows that his jihadist co-religionist is the more devout and stricter in observance of their common creed. Moreover, numerous opinion surveys indicate that the majority of “peaceable” Muslims endorse the goal of the jihadists. They’re merely unwilling to pursue it personally. As has been said repeatedly, the “extremist” Muslim wants to kill you; the “moderate” Muslim wants the extremist to kill you.

     Another apostle of revolutionary violence, Mao Tse-tung, discoursed on the aphorism “the people are the sea in which the revolutionary swims:”

     Many people think it impossible for guerrillas to exist for long in the enemy's rear. Such a belief reveals lack of comprehension of the relationship that should exist between the people and the troops. The former may be likened to water the latter to the fish who inhabit it. How may it be said that these two cannot exist together? It is only undisciplined troops who make the people their enemies and who, like the fish out of its native element cannot live. [On Guerilla Warfare]

     If there exists a large, like-minded but superficially peaceable community in which the revolutionary can shelter, the revolutionary is safe from any measure that seeks to spare the “innocent.” This misconception of “innocence” is the Muslim jihadist’s greatest asset.

     Therefore, the solution must be wholesale:

  • Every Muslim currently residing in a Western nation must be expelled.
  • No further immigration from majority-Muslim nations can be permitted.
  • Every vestige of Islam that remains behind must be eliminated:
    • All mosques must be destroyed;
    • All embassies from Islam-dominated nations must be delegitimized;
    • No further “diplomatic” intercourse between the West and Islam can be permitted.

     All of this must be agreed upon by the entire First World, made a matter of law, protected against modification or “interpretation” by custard-headed regimes, and enforced with ruthless vigor. Absolutely no exceptions can be allowed.

     It sounds like a harsh prescription because it is. It’s also the only one that has a chance of working.

     Among the U.S.’s great disadvantages in combatting Islam-powered terrorism has been Washington’s insistence in seeing the conflict in terms of conventional warfare: two sets of armed forces, each identifiable in the field if only by the direction their guns are pointing, directed by sovereign entities with strategic goals. That model makes the use of American military prowess the logical recourse. However, the closest any aspect of the conflict comes to that model is the war against ISIS. The contributions of “non-state actors” make the model effectively unusable, even self-defeating.

     A classic short story, Christopher Anvil’s “Mission of Ignorance,” emphasizes one of the critical differences:

     "Just suppose," said the chairman, "that you were in charge of a great spaceship—perhaps belonging to a great Galactic organization (never mind about it being a benevolent organization) and let's just suppose your job was to subvert Earth and make it obedient to that great Galactic organization—what could be nicer than to get Earth totally dependent on certain technological developments that you could withdraw at will? At a mere snap of your fingers, Earth's whole technological civilization could collapse, to leave, for practical purposes, a planetful of ignorant savages with no relevant skills, whose reproduction rate could be altered at will, and, if you chose, whose main food supply could also be wiped out with a snap of your fingers. Think how cooperative such people would be once they saw what you could do. Suppose that, having delivered the necessaries to bring about this situation and having seen the fools rushing to their own destruction, you then went away to take care of other business and returned when your calculations showed the situation would be ripe.
     "Then," said the chairman, "suppose you summoned to your ship the Earth representative, planning perhaps to give him the same little demonstration we have just given here, and suppose you discovered: first, that a mere second lieutenant had been sent to deal with you; next, that in your absence, instead of dependence on computerized voice typers, a new, completely nontechnological system of rapid writing had been developed; third, that a completely nontechnological uncomputerized system of identification had come into use; fourth, that one-quarter of the Earth's land surface was in the hands of a sect which, for religious motives, rejected the gifts, and in their place was developing Earth's own technology at a fever pitch; fifth, that the sect was armed to the teeth, dug in, stocked for a long fight, seasoned in battle, and so situated that you couldn't count on striking at the nonmembers without hitting the members of the sect, or vice versa, and, sixth, to top it all off, suppose you had no way to judge whether this was all the bad news, or whether this was just the tip of the iceberg showing above the water, with a lot more underneath? If you had been in that situation, would it have jarred you?"

     Leave aside the technological features and contrasts described above. The religious sect, which Anvil styles “the Burdeenites,” is the key. As Larry Niven and Steven Barnes noted in The Descent of Anansi, religious warriors never surrender, and they don’t toddle off to find another war. They win or they die.

     Our war against “Islamic terrorism” is a war against Islam itself. It is a religious war, whether or not atheists and agnostics choose to recognize it as such. There will be no armistice. There will be no surrender, unless the West chooses to do so.

     It will be victory or death.

     The only war policy that has the smallest chance of working in the West’s favor is one that will only accept one of the following two outcomes:

  • Quarantine: The rigid confinement of Islam within a geographical border made as impermeable as our will, skill, and technology can make it; or:
  • Genocide: The extermination of every devotee of Islam on Earth.

     Quarantine is obviously preferable from a humanitarian standpoint, at least in the near term. (Islamic societies cut off from Western knowledge and expertise might revert to seventh-century savagery, but at least that wouldn’t be our fault.) However, quarantine would require more effort from us than genocide: more effort to bring it about, more effort to maintain it, and more effort to restrain ourselves after the inevitable Islamic counterattacks on Western civilian targets should occur. That makes it the less likely of the two approaches to be adopted. However, the genocide approach would require a marshaling of will and anger to a height undreamed of by Twenty-First Century Americans, though perhaps French Parisians could attain it this November morning.

     Neither approach will be adopted until certain fundamental propositions are accepted almost unanimously throughout the West:

  • Islam is not a religion but a militant totalitarian ideology with some theological decorations for camouflage.
  • Muslims cannot and will not assimilate to the Christian-Enlightenment / classical-liberal norms upon which the West is founded.
  • As long as there are Muslim communities in the West, some fraction thereof will be “fundamentalist,” “extremist,” or “jihad-minded,” and a larger fraction will be amenable to concealing them from the authorities and enforcement agencies of the enveloping society.
  • Such exclaves will enforce non-assimilation upon dissidents, and will resist penetration by forces or influences of a contrary nature.

     Until those precepts are shared by nearly everyone in the First World, the atrocities will continue. Indeed, they’re likely to scale up. But should they be accepted widely, the war that will commence will dwarf every other conflict in the history of Mankind.

     Either way, it’s us or them.

     I wrote this second piece in July, 2002. In composing it I strove to be as factual as my knowledge and research capabilities allowed, and as clear as my mastery of the English language permits. Judge its evaluations and prescriptions for yourself.


     1. How It Began: Black Tuesday, September 11, 2001

     It's been said that no one who was alive at the time, however young, will ever forget where he was and what he was doing on November 22, 1963: the day John F. Kennedy was killed. How much more so for Black Tuesday!

     I'll certainly never forget it. I was sitting at my desk, poring over the Help Wanted section of Newsday, our regional daily paper, when I was alerted to the attack on One World Trade Center. My attention was immediate; there was a company at the top of that tower, Cantor Fitzgerald, that I was hoping to work for.

     The commentators and reporters who filled the airwaves from 8:45 to 9:30 AM, the period between the attack on the first tower and the attack on the second, were extraordinarily reluctant to speak of terrorism. I could feel them straining to avoid the word and the subject. Of course, when the second tower was hit, it was no longer possible. It was no longer possible that this unprecedented homicidal outrage could be anything else.

     It wasn't long afterward that unbelievable images reached us from the Middle East. Palestinians on the West Bank of the Jordan River were celebrating the death and destruction in lower Manhattan. Armed thugs were firing AK-47s into the air. Merchants were passing out candy to passers-by. People filled the streets cheering and shouting abuse of America.

     Someone interviewed a young Iranian on the streets of Tehran. He wore a look of satisfaction. "It should have been worse," he said in crisp English.

     I saw and spoke to many people that day. Gripped with shock from the events, many had nothing to offer but tears. Those who could articulate their feelings were nearly unanimous about them:

     "Kill them all."

     It was a sentiment I shared with a degree of passion and a wholeness of heart that I'd once reserved for the people and things I loved.

     2. Allocating The Blame And Responding.

     There was, of course, immediate suspicion of the shadowy edifice Americans called the "Middle Eastern terror network." The name al-Qaeda had yet to become widely known, even though the mastermind and financier of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, was already notorious. In the days that followed Black Tuesday, as evidence mounted that the bin Laden organization was the moving force behind the atrocity, President Bush and others repeatedly counseled full tolerance toward Muslims within our borders, citizens and visitors alike. We saw major U.S. security organizations lean over backwards to avoid the appearance of "ethnic profiling," even though every hard indicator pointed to a Middle Eastern conspiracy stocked entirely with young Muslim males, predominantly from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

     America was not the only country suffering from terrorist blows. Yasser Arafat's Second Intifada was raging in Israel. Israeli citizens were being slaughtered in ambushes and by suicide bombers at an unprecedented rate. Yet President Bush urged restraint upon Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and for a long time treated him and Arafat as if they were moral and political equals fit to sit at the same table.

     When American armed forces undertook to root al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden out of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, they did not act on the "kill them all" passions that burned in our body politic. They advanced under rules of engagement stricter than any ever issued in American history. From the standpoint of the priority given to the preservation of non-combatants' lives and property, and the resulting near-perfect record of American arms at doing so, the Afghani War that destroyed al-Qaeda's bases there and unseated the Taliban was the most careful war ever fought.

     We had been struck a foul and cruel blow, not at our men at arms but at our civil society, yet our retaliatory force struck back with unbelievable restraint and precision, and achieved nearly all their objectives. If ever there was a time to be proud of America's military and its animating ethics, that was it.

     3. What We Have Today.

     What did we buy with our precision strikes, our military restraint, and our tolerance toward the ethnic and spiritual kin of our mortal enemy?

     Recent surveys of the peoples of Muslim states reveal that their antipathy toward the United States is at an all time high. Many of the respondents -- more than half in nearly every Muslim country -- believe that there was not and could not have been any Muslim participation in the Black Tuesday assault on America. A substantial minority outrightly blamed the atrocity on an Israeli conspiracy intended to yoke Washington to Tel Aviv's designs for quelling Palestinian "resistance." Osama bin Laden was spoken of in tones of admiration for his "heroic resistance to American oppression." He proved to be one of the most widely admired figures in the Middle East.

     As the Afghani War ended, the waves of Palestinian violence against Israel surged to all-time record heights, and reached new depths of depravity. Suicide bombers sought out groups of women and children. Assassins invaded Jewish homes and murdered their occupants in their beds, including children five years old. Ariel Sharon finally cast off the shackles of "international opinion," including President Bush's and Secretary of State Colin Powell's opinion, and dispatched the Israeli Defense Force into Ramallah, Jenin, and other hotbeds of Palestinian terrorism. For a time, the attacks on Israeli citizens dwindled near to zero, and President Bush ceased to call for Israeli restraint.

     When Passover drew near, the infamous "blood libel" against Jews -- that Jewish Purim pastries must be made with the blood of a gentile captured and exsanguinated for the purpose -- was trumpeted by the State-controlled news organs of several Muslim states. Most notable was the performance of the State-controlled media of Saudi Arabia, which not only propagated the "blood libel," but also held several fundraising telethons whose proceeds were used to pay the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

     The old calumny Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion was resurrected and returned to circulation. It and Mein Kampf were the best-selling books in the Islamic world.

     The populace of our Islamic "ally" Pakistan has apparently welcomed the rump of al-Qaeda into its embrace. The government of Pakistan, headed by former General Pervez Musharraf, claims to be unable to act effectively against al-Qaeda elements within Pakistan's borders.

     With regard to the Islamic religion, Americans were astounded to learn that Wahhabi Islam, the dominant strain among anti-American Muslims, is being actively advanced by thousands of Muslim academies in the United States. Nearly all of these schools are heavily subsidized by the government of Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, the practice or espousal of any religion other than the Islamic creed is illegal, and subject to extraordinary penalties, but the Saudis have no problem with advancing their creed here.

     "International opinion," with the sole exception of the government of the United Kingdom, has remained solidly against American "unilateralism" and Israeli self-defense. The condemnations of our actions in defense of American lives and in retaliation for the lives already taken have come from many quarters of the Old World, and have been echoed by the more scrofulous of our own "glitterati," as if America had no justification for her anger. Their sentiments go beyond all previous effusions of "moral equivalence". They claim that America has a great deal to "answer for" to the peoples of the Third World, that until it stands and delivers what's demanded, events like the Black Tuesday assault are to be expected, and are fully deserved.

     Anti-Semitic acts -- attacks on Jews and the institutions affiliated with them -- by Muslim immigrants to the countries of Europe have raged as if a new Kristallnacht were upon us. In response, the governments of Europe have shown more solicitude toward their troublesome Muslim minorities than toward the targets of Muslim anti-Semitic rage. One government, that of Norway, is actually inching toward an embargo on products made in Israel.

     Meanwhile, Americans endure a security lockdown unprecedented in this nation's history, even while World War II was raging. Though few are paralyzed with the fear of being among the victims of the next terrorist attack, a backdrop of fear pervades every major city, afflicts all mass transportation, and hangs over every building, stadium, or bridge where Americans occasionally gather in significant numbers.

     Yet the radical Wahhabist preachments of the Saudi-funded academies on American soil continue unabated. Though our government-run schools have gone to extraordinary lengths to accommodate Muslim students and their religious practices, Muslim activist organizations claim that American Muslims have been made into second-class citizens. At the extreme pole of their ludicrous demands, a Muslim woman in Florida is suing the state's Department of Motor Vehicles for the privilege of having her driver's license taken with her face entirely concealed, on the grounds that to demand that she expose her face for her photo violates her religions beliefs and would constitute discrimination.

     4. The End Of Otherness.

     The net result of all this has been to extinguish American tolerance for Islam and its followers in a large segment of the populace, possibly a majority.

     Astrophysicist and author David Brin has noted the prevalence of the imperative of "otherness" -- the mandate that one must try to see any dispute from the other party's viewpoint -- among Americans generally, and particularly among Americans who identify themselves as liberals. When he first wrote of it, he said he'd found it to be so strong that it had sunk below the rational level in most of the people he knew, and operated essentially without conscious invocation.

     "Otherness" could be taking a death blow from the ongoing struggles with Islam-fueled terrorism. If national attitudes reflect the opinions to which I've been exposed, few Americans are now willing to trust a Muslim even to the slightest extent. They have essentially no interest in "seeing things from the Muslims' point of view." Part of this is, of course, the fruit of our outrage at Black Tuesday, but still more arises from the persistent Islamic drumbeat, transmitted over every known medium of communication, to the effect that America is an oppressor nation that deserves whatever anyone does to her.

     Though some of our domestic glitterati continue to pander to these opinions, and maintain that Islamic assaults on America and Israel are only to be expected "after all we've done to them," a large fraction of these usually noisy celebrities has fallen silent. They've felt a very cold shoulder for their emissions, and it's caused them to modify their behavior. They, too, sense the approaching end of public tolerance for their reflexive iconoclasm, their perpetual flaunting of their special status, and their assumption of superior wisdom and virtue.

     Perhaps the most visible manifestations of the convulsive change in public attitudes are the crescendo in gun sales, the very short shrift now granted to celebrity criticism of American values and traditions, and the remarkable explosion in books of a pro-American slant. In that last category, one must take special note of the recent book Slander: Liberal Lies About The American Right, by constitutional lawyer and pundit Ann Coulter.

     Miss Coulter is no one's choir angel. Butter certainly would melt in her mouth. Her attack on the American Left's many calumnies against the pro-free-market, pro-American-values camp loosely called "the Right" is angry, sarcastic, and merciless. It's also meticulously researched, tied down with hundreds of footnotes and explicit references to time and place. It's been received with an enthusiasm no political book in memory has ever commanded. Miss Coulter herself is now one of the most popular political guests on talk radio and television. She maintains her relentless, bomb-throwing style at all times. Her listeners love her for it.

     There is no more outspoken opponent of liberal "otherness" than Ann Coulter. She has tapped the American Zeitgeist and become its voice. Those she targets are paralyzed like a deer in a truck's headlights.

     5. Identifying The Malady.

     Once the veil of "otherness" dropped from our eyes, we were able to see clearly, and we did not like what we saw. The closer and more alien to us it was, the less we liked it.

     There's much truth in the old saw that to be anti-immigrant is to be anti-American, for America is a nation of immigrants. We celebrate our origins on other shores, and also our ancestors' good sense in fleeing those places and coming here -- and we never forget that they came here to become Americans, not just Irishmen, Italians, Chinamen, Swedes or Zambians in another land.

     The xenophilia of earlier generations of Americans was founded on the assumption of assimilation, the sooner, the better. The demise of this assumption explains the burgeoning xenophobia of our time. The typical immigrant to this nation in this time is determined not to assimilate to American norms, but to retain his earlier national allegiance and cultural identity, sometimes even to the extent of refusing to learn the English language.

     Among the least assimilable peoples to reach these shores are Muslims, whether from the Middle East or anywhere else. Though the overwhelming majority of them do learn English, their associations, family structures, religious, marital and other practices tend to isolate them in enclaves with impermeable borders. We've spoken of black ghettoes, of Little Italys and Chinatowns, and now and then of Jewish quarters in our cities, but none of these have demonstrated the Muslim communities' near-absolute resistance to diffusion.

     In the face of such separatism, continued American goodwill toward a people who display so much hostility toward American norms and culture is a remarkable thing, for which Americans are to be congratulated. But it might not continue much longer.

     Why would anyone come to this country determined not to partake of its virtues and bounties? Once he'd arrived here, what would hold him back from doing so?

     The answer is Islam.

     Alone among the major religions of the world, Islam:

  • opposes material progress and condemns most Earthly pleasures,
  • erases all boundaries between religion and politics,
  • denies that its adherents have any ethical obligation to non-adherents,
  • prescribes death for blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy,
  • preaches the use of force to impose itself on all the people of the world,
  • promises eternal bliss to those who die fighting to extend its dominion.

     One cannot be a "tolerant" Muslim. The concept is internally contradictory. The infidel is the enemy, to be converted by any means fair or foul. They who resist conversion are to be allowed to live only until Islam has acquired sufficient force to pose them the choice of conversion or execution.

     To the extent that a Muslim internalizes the precepts of Islam, he ceases to be open to Western concepts of freedom, justice, and tolerance for human diversity and variety. He resolutely resists all such notions, for Islam condemns them all explicitly. If you embrace them, he finds fault in you, and the more devout he is, the more serious the fault.

     The Islamic attitude toward other religions and other ways is essentially medieval. It hearkens to the times when "Cuius Regio, Eius Religio" was the rule. The ruler of a realm could impose his own ways and creed upon all his subjects, who had no recourse. Philosophically, Islam, which denies the legitimacy of a secular State, is in accord with the assumptions of that pre-Enlightenment code. The main difference between them is that Islam's ambitions are larger.

     Given that Islamic doctrine and the resultant insularity of Muslims preclude influence by more advanced ways and concepts, Muslims are exceptionally vulnerable to demagoguery by Islamic authority figures. Worse, the impenetrability of Islam's wall against the non-Islamic world makes it possible for a demagogue to demonize the infidel, paint him in colors that would justify any atrocity including extermination, and thus raise the cry of jihad against him.

     Americans are coming to understand this.

     Yet, for a long period after Black Tuesday, we were repeatedly told, and repeated to one another, that the enemy was not Islam, but rather terrorists acting out their depravity under an Islamic rationale. We called these "Islamists," and made a point of distinguishing them from "peaceful" Muslims for whom the use of force as a vehicle for religious proselytization was unthinkable.

     The combination of the gradual comprehension of Islam's actual precepts, accumulating revelations of stealthy Islamic maneuvers here and abroad, and the recognition of the horrors Islam imposes on its subjects, has propelled a major shift in American attitudes. The typical American no longer considers himself safe in the presence of a Muslim.

     He is right not to feel safe.

     6. Futures.

     None of the possible directions for future relations between Islam and the United States are particularly attractive.

     Domestically, current trends suggest that, at the minimum, there will be a long period over which Americans will adjust to having an enemy minority among us: a people whose hostility to our norms cannot be denied, whether or not it manifests itself as aggression against us. Our longstanding traditions of tolerance will be greatly strained, and some number of undeserving persons will suffer thereby.

     Some forms of tolerance are, of course, entirely wrong, even evil. Muslim barbarities such as clitoridectomy and the chattelization of women cannot be accepted. Legal ground has recently been broken in this regard, and more will surely follow. This is all to the good.

     Because of the outrage Americans feel over Black Tuesday and the subsequent displays of antipathy toward America by Middle Eastern Muslims, it is overwhelmingly likely that Muslims in this country who voice such antipathy will receive very short shrift. Some may suffer violence; some may die. Troublemaking young Muslim men who go beyond mere words could face lynch mobs. Courts will come under pressure to make examples of Muslims convicted of offenses against the public peace.

     Due to Israel's unique position in America's international dealings, and due to the affection many Americans feel for it, Muslims who voice hostility to Israel could face ostracism and worse. There have already been court battles over alleged employment discrimination against American Muslims, who claim they were fired because they expressed anti-Israel sentiments. There will be more.

     If Muslims abroad continue their barbarities and their vocal condemnations of Western ways, American anger toward them will grow. The consequences would not be pleasant for the Islamic world, whose economies are totally dependent on Western consumption of their sole exportable resource: oil. There is no reason we have to buy oil from the Middle Eastern states. Not only are there other sources of oil available to us, including untapped domestic ones, but we have hardly scratched the surface of our nuclear power capabilities. A program of nuclear electrical power generation comparable to France's or Japan's would liberate America from any need to import oil.

     Further action against Israel, whether direct or indirect, by Muslim states could bring American military force into the conflict, with the inevitable destruction of not one but several shaky Middle Eastern regimes. At the minimum, Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia would all undergo compulsory "regime change," a process seldom enjoyed by the displaced incumbents. The governments that replaced them would undoubtedly be closely supervised from Washington.

     Even if the states of the Middle East were to moderate their rhetoric and withdraw their overt support for the terror campaign against Israel, it seems inevitable that America will move against the autocracy of Saddam Hussein, a longtime supporter of Islamic terrorist groups operating in Palestine, with military force. Covert American support -- funding, weapons and training -- for insurgents against the Islamic theocracy of Iran appears equally inevitable. Other Islam-dominated states around the world could be brought to heel on a slower schedule, and probably by economic rather than military means.

     7. Other Developments.

     Should an overt war between America and some other nation not break out, we would still see extensive use of our special forces -- Delta Force, the Army Rangers, Marine Force Recon, and the Navy SEALs -- against nodes in the far-flung Islamic terror network. Some of these operations would be publicized, but probably not all, as it's an act of war by international law to send an armed man into another country to do violence.

     In recognition of the realities of "low-intensity" or "asymmetrical" warfare, we would be wise to expand our covert and small-unit capabilities. Mostly this would mean reprioritizing expenditures and personnel allocations, as we already have the world's best technology for stealthy, small-unit and precision-strike warfare. With a few years' expansion, training and refinement, aided by the already high prestige enjoyed by the SEALs and comparable units, American arms could possess the power to go anywhere and kill or capture any designated individual, without meaningful collateral damage.

     This is a more important goal than is immediately apparent, for the terror weapon isn't as asymmetrical as it seems. A "terrorist" who must himself live in continual fear of capture, a humiliating trial, and incarceration or execution is far less effective than one whose continuing freedom of movement can be assumed. That they don't have to fear capture by us is mostly due to our reluctance to use our conventional military power to pursue them, with attendant collateral damage to the societies that shelter them. The reluctance is correct, not only on ethical but on geopolitical grounds. Terrorists gain enormous support from their kindred when the "enemy" commits an "atrocity" while pursuing them.

     Our ties with Israel, and our support to her in the military and intelligence realms, will be strengthened and broadened. This is a double-edged sword. There have been many voices raised to criticize our existing support of Israel, which costs American taxpayers several billion dollars per year. The criticisms have merit; Americans should not have to pay for the maintenance of another people's State. However, if the whole affair were put on a Marshall Plan basis, such that reaching a particular goal would bring the transfers to a halt, it could be made palatable even at a cost substantially elevated above the current one.

     And as all of this proceeds, and Americans learn to accept that we have an implacable enemy that, for religious reasons, will never cease to wish us ill, a facade of tolerance for Islam will be maintained.

     8. Lessons.

     We've always known how important it is to "know your enemy." But the first step in knowing him is recognizing that he is an enemy. Black Tuesday was a wake-up call. The subsequent words and deeds of Muslims worldwide should have overridden our inclination to return to sleep.

     Our recognition of an enemy should be followed not only by a serious study of his capabilities, but by the most complete possible analysis of his reasons for opposing us. From his reasons we can infer his motives and objectives, which are priceless possessions in any conflict. If the foregoing analysis of Muslim opposition to the United States and Western values generally is correct, then we must cease to delude ourselves that there is any possibility of "converting" Islam from an enemy to a friend, or even a tolerable neighbor. That sort of conversion would require the prior abandonment of Islam, with its life-hating medieval strictures and its command to kill or convert the infidel by any means expedient.

     Abraham Lincoln believed that the best way to defeat his enemies was to make them friends. And indeed it is -- when it's possible.

     The above pieces are my notion of clarity about Islam and its global jihad, now fourteen centuries long. I stood by them when I wrote them, and I stand by them today. Your mileage may vary.

     Remember the first World Trade Center bombing.
     Remember Black Tuesday.
     Remember the Spanish train bombing.
     Remember the London bombings.
     Remember Beslan, and Boko Haram, and the “Miss World” atrocities in Niger.
     Remember Nice, and Charlie Hebdo, and the murders that followed the Jyllands-Posten cartoons.
     Remember Paris.
     Remember Manchester.
     Remember Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh.
     Remember the innumerable rape victims throughout Europe.
     Remember all of Islam’s atrocities and victims.
     Have a nice day.

Polish education.

The unspeakable horror:
Polish textbooks are not full of absurd but obligatory profiles of the marginal contributions of various historical figures just because they are from “underrepresented” groups. While American students learn yet again about how the U.S. Constitution was secretly influenced by the Iroquois Confederacy or the many uses for the peanut discovered by George Washington Carver, Polish students are studying advanced mathematics, literature, or mechanics.

Ethnic homogeneity allows Poles to have common heroes, cultural traditions, and a history of their own, passed down to younger generations through public schools. While support for every aspect of the curriculum is by no means unanimous, Poland doesn’t have to juggle the demands of bickering ethnic tribes demanding equal time for their historical narratives. American school districts have to deal with “demographic changes” and an ever-expanding list of dietary laws, dress codes, cultural standards, religious holidays, and demands for various forms of accommodation but Polish schools can focus on teaching the story of the Polish people. The biggest social issue to spill over into education is probably the presence of crucifixes in public schools, and they aren’t going to disappear any time soon.

* * * *

The Polish educational system gets great results because it educates Poles and not Somalis, Guatemalans or Bangladeshis.

"Notes from a White Country, Part III." By Jack Krak, American Renaissance, 5/20/17.

Disappointing cynicism.

Zero Hedge has a story today about three kids being stabbed outside a Manhattan public school by another kid described as wearing a red hat.

Comments ensue:

We need common sense knife laws.

We should make stabbing illegal too.

Oh that is nothing compare to the stabbing in the back at our nations capital, daily.
Miss Expectations
Any second now, the Dept of Education will say, "The well being and safety of our students is our TOP priority."
Handful of Dust
Notice how the MSM fails to give a description of the attacker. This always means only one thing.......
"Three Stabbed In Fight Outside Midtown Manhattan School, Suspect At Large." By Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, 5/24/17.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

“Your Healthcare”

     As one who is serious about the meanings of words and sensitive to their misuse, I got a particular jolt of adrenaline out of the title of this piece...and not just from the neologism “healthcare.”

     Do you own any “healthcare?” Myself, I’m not sure. What does it look like? Is it something I’d keep in the kitchen, or a desk drawer, or perhaps in a bedroom closet? All I’ve found anywhere I’ve looked to date has been recognizable stuff that belongs where I keep it.

     Maybe the C.S.O. has it. If it’s large, it might explain why she’s been encroaching on my closet space again.

     I’m sure my Gentle Readers get the point. “Healthcare” – properly, medical care — is a service provided by others, usually for a fee. It’s not something to which one can lay a property claim. Medical goods such as pills, vaccines, bandages, crutches, and wheelchairs can be property, but of themselves they don’t constitute medical care. They’re merely aids to recovery from disease or injury, which can be used or misused...and if misused, they can set back your actual health as effectively as a shotgun blast.

     None of the above has any effect on such as Congressional Minority “Leader” Nancy Pelosi:

     Pelosi accused the Republicans of trying to jam a repeal-and-replace bill through Congress not for health-related reasons, but to set the stage for a tax reform proposal providing hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts for the rich.

     “They’re in a hurry … because they need this money to give a tax break to the wealthiest people in our country. This bill will have the biggest transfer of wealth in the history of our country — Robin Hood in reverse,” she said.

     “That is the goal of their tax bill, but they need this money from your healthcare in order to do that.” [Emphasis added by FWP.]

     I’m equally sure my Gentle Readers will get what this...person is attempting to do through her phrasing.

     It sometimes seems that the entire Leftist project relies upon verbal obfuscation. Leftist mouthpieces certainly do a lot of it. This business about “your healthcare” is currently the most important battlefield, but it’s not the only one. Note how they transform the World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs Fund into a personal project of Ivanka Trump’s:

     This weekend, the Wall Street Journal‘s Carole Lee wrote a perfectly accurate story about Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pledging to donate $100 million to a World Bank fund for women entrepreneurs. The article noted that the fund was Ivanka Trump’s idea and that she was at the event where the pledge was announced.

     When Wall Street Journal reporter Rebecca Ballhaus tweeted out a link to her colleague’s story, she spun it in such a way as to add inaccuracies. First she reclassified a World Bank fund as a fund belonging to Ivanka Trump.

     Then she claimed that the donation from the two countries were therefore akin to what Trump pilloried Hillary Clinton for.

     Please read the whole thing...and feel your blood pressure rise. Through verbal sleight of hand, a World Bank initiative of which merely approves Ivanka Trump has become her personal fund – even though she has no control over the money, neither where it comes from nor how it will be used. And the Left leaps upon it with a tiger’s ferocity, eager for a new flail with which to flog a popular member of the First Family! This is just one of the more recent examples of Leftist deceit through verbal misdirection.

     Was this donation an attempt by the Saudi royal family to curry favor with President Trump? Probably. Neither the Saudis nor Muslims generally look favorably upon independence among women. But neither Trump, nor his daughter Ivanka, nor anyone else in the First Family will benefit materially. It’s merely a donation to an undertaking Ivanka Trump has mentioned favorably.

     Yet virtually the whole of the Punditocracy, including quite a few Establishment-aligned pseudo-conservatives, constantly deride President Trump for his locutions. It is to laugh.

     I can’t resist reposting the following slice of the Analects of Confucius:

     Zi-lu said, "The ruler of Wei has been waiting for you, in order with you to administer the government. What will you consider the first thing to be done?"

     The Master replied, "What is necessary to rectify names."

     "So! indeed!" said Zi-lu. "You are wide of the mark! Why must there be such rectification?"

     The Master said, "How uncultivated you are, Yu! A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve.

     If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things.

     If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.

     When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish.

     When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded.

     When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot.

     Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately.

     What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect."

     Confucius’s remonstrance to Zi-lu is of contemporary relevance and staggering importance. Alternately, we have this critically important essay by George Orwell:

     In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible....Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, ‘I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so’. Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:
     ‘While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.’

     As horrifying as is such verbal legerdemain when it’s used to conceal or defend atrocities, it’s even more threatening when it goes on the attack, as our political elite has lately done. And it’s high time that the American people should rebuff it brutally...if they’re still capable of recognizing it when they read or hear it.

Pearls of expression.

"We believe it is highly likely that the attack was carried out by the Assad regime," British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a televised statement. "Apart from anything else, we believe it's only the regime that has the capability to make such an attack."

Not counting, of course, the Trump regime, the Netanyahu regime, the Erdogan regime, the May regime, the Hollande regime, the Al Saud regime, the.....

Comment by Marko on "The White House Report – TTG." By Sic Semper Tyrannis, 4/13/17.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Correcting The Histories

     Who controls the past controls the future.
     Who controls the present controls the past.

     [George Orwell, 1984]

     History is generally taken to mean a record of past events. More often than not in our time, this is not the case.

     Most people, given a moment to reflect on the matter, would easily reach the “trivial solution:” i.e., that the historian is virtually never someone who was personally present at the events he purports to chronicle. He almost always works from other people’s reportage – hopefully, “primary sources” and tangible objective evidence they’ve amassed – and from histories written by other historians. In the latter case, the historian may inadvertently make an easily understood assumption: that his earlier colleagues relied upon tangible evidence that was real and primary sources that were trustworthy. It’s a natural form of “professional courtesy,” and one which persons in all walks of life would be likely to feel.

     However, as you may already have realized, there’s another facet to the story. It inheres in a simple yet seldom asked question: Why is the historian writing this history?

     In earlier times, the correct answer would normally be to create a record for posterity. Over the century immediately behind us, it would more often be to impose his preferred causal model on particular events. I submit that our ability to perceive this is a great part of our contemporary dissatisfaction with history.

     Historians who delve into the distant past have a certain advantage over those who treat with more recent events. As recently as seven centuries ago, the state as we know it was still either nonexistent pitifully weak. Barbara Tuchman made note of this in A Distant Mirror, her engaging and illuminating treatment of Europe in the Fourteenth Century. One consequence is that the historian’s focus must be on far smaller aggregates of persons and regions of territory. Those histories tend to be more intimate with the lives and doings of ordinary men than are histories of more recent times, especially histories of post-Westphalian Europe.

     When the state is weak, the individual is strong; when the state grows strong, it’s necessarily at the expense of individuals and their voluntary organizations and arrangements. Isaac Asimov mentioned this in Foundation and Empire. His fictional Galactic Emperor Cleon II was considered “the last of the strong emperors” specifically because he permitted no great strength to individuals, especially among those who served him.

     Strong states give rise to explicitly political histories. This too is inevitable, as strength correlates with the ability to steer events. A strong state may be under the hand of a strong individual, as is the case in a dictatorship, or a small oligarchy such as the inner circle that ruled the late, unlamented Soviet Union, but what matters to historical treatments thereof is the strength of the state itself: whether it can impose its will on its subjects and bend the policies of other states to its liking.

     At this point the political preferences of the historian become a major factor in how he’ll treat with developments.

     Many an important historical question is asked without the explicit inclusion of important qualifications and conditions. Consider as an example this article cited by Ed Driscoll. Please read it all before proceeding here.

     With regard to the importance of whether the Vietnam War was “winnable,” note the following:

     “The administration made a deliberate decision not to create a war psychology in the United States,” Secretary of State Dean Rusk remarked that October, because it was “too dangerous for this country to get worked up.” Johnson, Rusk and other officials had feared that war fever would undermine the domestic programs of the Great Society and heighten tensions with the Soviets. But now, Rusk conceded, “maybe this was a mistake; maybe it would have been better to take steps to build up a sense of a nation at war.”

     As a condition for the prosecution of a war, the national temperament can be important. Indeed, sometimes it’s critical. Add to that the decisions by the administration to refrain from the use of available weapons and to impose unrealistic rules of engagement upon its forces. But the headline of the article:

Was Vietnam Winnable?

     ... understandably doesn’t include that consideration. In raising it, the writer should cause the reader to realize that the real question was:

Was Vietnam Winnable Given The Constraints The Johnson Administration Put On Its War Effort?

     That’s a much different question, which historians tend to answer according to their political preferences.

     Viewed outside all constraints, the answer is “Of course it was winnable.” The United States in the 1960s was the most powerful nation the world had ever seen, capable of annihilating every other nation on Earth without sustaining one percent of the damage it could inflict. The U.S. could have reduced North Vietnam to smoking rubble. Indeed, it could have done so with effectively no loss of life. But the Johnson Administration didn’t want that sort of outcome.

     By suppressing any discussion of the constraints, the “dovish” historian can make the Vietnam War appear unwinnable. By dismissing the constraints or downplaying their importance, the “hawkish” historian can make the Vietnam War appear to be a pure botch, a comedy of errors by inept politicians and commanders more concerned with their images and postwar career prospects than with victory. Both positions are open to serious dispute.

     A political history whose causal model prevails, especially if it prevails among decision makers, will often shape subsequent developments with an astounding force. “Dovish” historians of the Vietnam War exerted a profound influence on the foreign policies of the Nixon, Ford, and Carter Administrations. “Hawkish” historians of Operation Desert Storm exerted an opposite though less powerful influence on the Bush II Administration. Yet it is typical for those historians – indeed, for all who discuss the relevant conflicts – to emphasize or deemphasize important constraints on those wars in a tendentious, politically oriented fashion.

     As ideologies, rise, wax, wane, and fall in popularity, especially among political elites, histories tend to be “corrected” as to the causes of political developments. No history of any period can be so inclusive as to address even the most minor of surrounding conditions and the smallest pockets of sentiment. But even here there’s a lot of leeway for tendentiousness. Who decides what’s important enough to include and evaluate? Why, the historian, of course...with the “assistance,” be it noted, of those who pay for his coffee and cakes while he works.

     Standing above all other considerations is the state itself, which is stronger than ever before, and not just in military might. Today, the majority of the funding for all scholarly studies comes from the federal treasury. It follows that those who control the flow of funds can decree the direction of those studies. As important as that is to the hard sciences and the way the public can be led to regard them, it’s critically determinative for histories written by contemporary historians.

     As our era’s knowledge aggregate transitions away from physical objects with material persistence and toward mutable, erasable electronic records, we face a danger unprecedented in human history: the loss of earlier records of events and viewpoints on them. Of course those records could be mistaken. Of course the causal models favored by earlier historians could be erroneous. That doesn’t matter. All such records are important elements of Man’s historical memory and perspective. They illustrate how easily a writer with an axe to grind can impose his own notions upon the genesis and consequences of a major event. By their diversity they speak of the effects of focus, viewpoint, and historians’ human orneriness. They remind us that the frame is just as important as the photograph – indeed, that the photograph is determined by the choice of frame.

     There will come a time when human lives will depend upon our ability to remember that Oceania hasn’t always been at war with Eastasia...that Oceania was once at war with no one at all.

     Food for thought.

The U.S. continues its support for scum.

As the CIA reopens its rebel supply lines [in Syria], it’s important to note that the entire opposition is dominated by al-Qaeda and other radical Islamists. While pro-regime-changers in the U.S. have repeatedly blame[d] the rise of ISIS on the U.S. not sufficiently sponsoring the “moderate” rebels, in reality the program of supporting the moderates was the major factor that empowered the jihadists. The so-called “moderates” were never separate from the extremists, and often were only called “moderate” to justify U.S.-support.[1]
Read the source of this quote to get the full flavor of U.S. "thinking" on our continued aggressive, unconstitutional war against Syria and the international order.

[1]  "Trump Escalates Syrian Proxy War." By Steven Chovanec,, 5/18/17.

Pearls of expression.

What is the difference, I wonder, between a Russian military satellite's eyesight and that of a commercial satellite and for that matter the American military's eyes in the sky? I got interested in satellite eyesight when I noted that only a Russian satellite was able to see Islamic State oil truck convoys driving from Raqqa in Syria to Turkey's side of the border.

"Uh oh. U.S. sounds hopping mad about de-escalation zones in Syria." By Pundita, 5/16/17.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Funday

     Well? Just because we’re supposed to keep it holy doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable too, does it? God has nothing against fun!

     1. A Cautionary Tale.

     Old Madge had just passed away after eighty years, sixty of those years married to Herb...and not many of those pleasant ones. But there she stood at the Pearly Gates, with Saint Peter smiling broadly as he strode forward to greet her.

     “Welcome, Madge!” Saint Peter cried. “Yes, you are qualified to enter the Heavenly City. But we have a little admissions test we ask all new arrivals to pass. Are you ready?”

     Madge was somewhat nonplussed, but she squared her shoulders and said, “Yes, I’m ready. What’s the test?”

     “It’s a spelling quiz. Just one word,” Saint Peter said. “Can you spell ‘love?’”

     “Why, certainly!” Madge replied. “L–O–V–E.”

     “Excellent!” cried the saint. “And now, a personal request. I’m overdue for my annual vacation. Would you mind spending a few days here at the gates, greeting people just as I’ve greeted you?”

     “Not a problem, Saint Peter,” Madge said. “Go and enjoy yourself.” Which the saint did, leaving Madge there at the gates with her new responsibilities.

     Over the week that came, Madge greeted many fresh souls, and administered to them the same little spelling quiz she had faced. But on the last day of her duties, with Saint Peter’s return less than an hour away, whom should she see approaching but...her husband Herb!

     Herb approached her warily, for his experience of their marriage had been no more pleasant than hers. “Hello, sweetie,” he said. “What are you doing here?”

     “Oh, Saint Peter took a few days off, that’s all,” she said. “In fact, he’ll be back any minute now, but until he returns, I’m the gatekeeper. There’s a little test to get into heaven. Don’t worry, it’s a spelling quiz, but it’s just one word. Are you ready?”

     Herb shrugged and said “Sure, what’s the word?”

     Madge smiled and said, “Schenectady.”

     2. The Nervous Young Priest.

     The following was sent to me by a friend in Virginia:

     A new priest at his first mass was so nervous he could hardly speak. After mass he asked the monsignor how he had done.

     The monsignor replied, "When I am worried about getting nervous on the pulpit, I put a glass of vodka next to the water glass. if I start to get nervous, I take a sip."

     So on the following Sunday he took the monsignor's advice. At the beginning of the sermon, he got nervous and took a drink. He proceeded to talk up a storm.

     Upon his return to his office after mass, he found the following note on the door:

  1. Sip the Vodka, don't gulp.
  2. There are 10 commandments, not 12.
  3. There are 12 apostles, not 10.
  4. Jesus was consecrated, not constipated.
  5. Jacob wagered his donkey, he did not bet his ass.
  6. We do not refer to Jesus Christ as the late J. C.
  7. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not referred to as Daddy, Junior and the Spook.
  8. David slew Goliath, he did not kick the shit out of him.
  9. David was hit by a rock and was knocked off his donkey, he was not stoned off his ass.
  10. We do not refer to the cross as the "Big T."
  11. When Jesus broke the bread at the Last Supper he said, "Take this and eat it for it is my body." He did not say "Eat me"
  12. The Blessed Virgin is not called "Mary with the Cherry,"
  13. The recommended grace before a meal is not: Rub-A-Dub-Dub thanks for the grub, yeah God.
  14. Next Sunday there will be a taffy pulling contest at St. Peter's, not a Peter pulling contest at St. Taffy's.

     3. Bloopers From Church Bulletin Boards.

     These gems actually appeared on church bulletin boards in England and the United States:

  1. Due to the Rector’s illness, Wednesday’s healing services will be discontinued until further notice.
  2. Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at Calvary Methodist. Come hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.
  3. The Rev. Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the audience.
  4. On a church bulletin during the minister’s illness: GOD IS GOOD; Dr. Hargreaves is better.
  5. Applications are now being accepted for 2 year-old nursery workers.
  6. The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, “Break Forth Into Joy.”
  7. If you would like to make a donation, fill out a form, enclose a check, and drip in the collection basket.
  8. Next Sunday Mrs. Vinson will be soloist for the morning service. The pastor will then speak on “It’s a Terrible Experience.”
  9. Don’t miss this Saturday’s exhibit by Christian Martian Arts.
  10. We are grateful for the help of those who cleaned up the grounds around the church building and the rector.
  11. A worm welcome to all who have come today.
  12. Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Nelson’s sermons.
  13. During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.
  14. Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
  15. The ushers will come forward and take our ties and offerings.
  16. The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Reverend and Mrs. Julius Belzer.
  17. The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the church basement on Friday at 7 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
  18. Don’t let worry kill you off; let the church help.
  19. Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person(s) you want remembered.
  20. Let us join David and Lisa in the celebration of their wedding and bring their happiness to a conclusion.
  21. Helpers are needed! Please sign up on the information sheep.
  22. Diana and Don request your presents at their wedding.
  23. The concert held in Fellowship Hall was a great success. Special thanks are due to the minister’s daughter, who labored the whole evening at the piano, which as usual fell upon her.
  24. The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.
  25. Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30p.m. Please use the back door.
  26. The 1991 Spring Council Retreat will be hell May 10 and 11.
  27. The audience is asked to remain seated until the end of the recession.
  28. Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
  29. 22 members were present at the church meeting held at the home of Mrs. Marsha Crutchfield last evening. Mrs. Crutchfield and Mrs. Rankin sang a duet, The Lord Knows Why.
  30. The choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.
  31. At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What is Hell?”. Come early and listen to our choir practice.
  32. The third verse of Blessed Assurance will be sung without musical accomplishment.
  33. The music for today’s service was all composed by George Friedrich Handel in celebration of the 300th anniversary of his birth.
  34. A song fest was hell at the Methodist church Wednesday.
  35. Today’s Sermon: How Much Can a Man Drink? with hymns from a full choir.
  36. Hymn: “I Love Thee My Ford.”
  37. Miss Charlene Mason sang “I will not pass this way again” giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
  38. Women’s Luncheon: Each member bring a sandwich. Polly Phillips will give the medication.
  39. Announcement in the church bulletin for a National PRAYER & FASTING conference: “The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer conference includes meals.”
  40. The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.
  41. Ushers will eat latecomers.
  42. Tuesday at 4PM there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk will please come early.
  43. Weight Watchers will meet at 7 p.m. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
  44. Potluck supper: prayer and medication to follow.

     4. But Seriously, Folks...

     This coming Thursday is the Feast of the Ascension, just before which Christ gave His Apostles the Great Commission:

     Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
     And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. [Matthew 28:16-20]

     Though it’s prominent in the liturgical calendar, it’s not as widely nor as vividly celebrated as the other feasts. I’ve never understood why. The Son of God had risen from the dead and charged those who had followed him to teach others as He had done, in His name. Surely no greater responsibility has ever been conferred upon mortal men...and just as surely, it was as much an honor as a responsibility.

     The Great Commission has passed down from the Apostles through the generations – and not just upon ordained clerics. Every Christian has a part in it, for each of us known to be of the faith is taken by others to be an example of Christian conduct, most especially in our adherence to Christ’s “new commandment:”

     Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
     By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. [John 13:33-35]

     This is not just a repetition of the Second Great Commandment, but an unmistakable intensification: for Christ so greatly loved Man that He gave His mortal life for us, for the remission of our sins, and that His Resurrection might stand as evidence of His divine authority.

     I hope you’ve had a joyous Easter season. May God bless and keep you all.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Baksheesh: An Addendum

     With regard to this morning’s essay. Military / SF writer Tom Kratman has graciously supplied the following snippet from his novel Countdown: The Liberators:

     “Oh, God,” moaned Adam, seated between Abdi and Gheddi, “what is this?” The boy covered his mouth and nose with his hands and began to cough and sneeze from the thick dust that swirled around the bus. His kidneys were in agony from the pounding they’d taken from the combination of bad shocks and worse road.
     “I believe this is called ‘foreign aid,’” Labaan answered.
     The captive looked confused, and from more than the aftereffects of the drugs he’d been given.
     “Foreign aid,” Labaan repeated, with a sneer. “You know: When guilty feeling Euros and Americans shell out money, ostensibly to help the people, but the money all ends up in the hands of sundry corrupt rulers and their relatives?”
     “I don’t…”
     “Understand?” Labaan stood up and, using the bus seats to hold himself erect against the bouncing, walked to the rear where Adam sat. Abdi moved over to open a space for Labaan to sit.
     “We are travelling on what is supposed to be an all-weather, asphalt highway. Money was budgeted for it, no doubt by a consortium of Europeans and Americans, governmental and nongovernmental, both. No doubt, too, a generous provision for utterly necessary bribes was built in to every bid…well, except maybe for the Americans. For that matter, probably no American concerns bid on the project, since their government is death on paying bribes if they catch someone at it. Such an unrealistic people.”
     If ever someone wore a smile that was three fourth’s sadness, that someone was Labaan. “Now let me tell you what happened with all the money that was supposed to go for the road. First, some very high ranking people in this country took the twenty or so percent that was factored into the bids for bribery. Then someone important’s first cousin showed up, waved some official looking papers, sprouted something in the local language that the contractor couldn’t understand. Then, in really excellent French, that cousin explained all manner of dire probabilities and suggested he could help. That cousin was then hired as a consultant. He was never seen again, except on payday.
     “An uncle then showed up, in company with four hundred and thirty seven more or less distant family members, every one of which was hired and perhaps a third of which showed up for work on any given day, except for payday.”
     The bus’ right front tire went into a remarkably deep and sharp pothole, causing the metal of the frame to strike asphalt and Labaan to wince with both the nerve-destroying sound and the blow, transmitted from hole to tire to almost shockless suspension to frame to barely padded and falling apart seat to him.
     “A guerilla chieftain,” he continued, once the pain had passed, “perhaps of no particular relationship to the ruling family, then arrived, offering to provide security with his band of armed men. He was, at first, turned down. And then several pieces of heavy construction equipment burned one night. The guerillas were quickly hired. They never showed up either, except for their leader, at payday, but no more equipment was burned.
     “Then came the tranzis, the Transnational Progressives, average age perhaps twenty-one or twenty-two, and knowing absolutely nothing about road construction. Indeed, most of them wouldn’t have even known what it meant to work. Rich boys and girls, trust fund babies, out to feel good about themselves by saving the world. They filled up every hotel room and hired the few competent, and critical, local engineers to do important things like act as chauffeurs and translators.”
     The bus had now arrived at a washboard section of the road. Labaan kept speaking, but the steady thumpkareechsprong of the road and bus made his words warble almost as much as a helicopter pilot’s over a radio.
     “More cousins came, and they, of course, had to be hired as consultants, as well.
     “At about this time, the accountant for the project arrived and explained that it could no longer be done to the standard contracted for. The substrate began to suffer and the thickness of the road to be reduced. The demands for money, for the hiring of spurious workers and spurious services, never ended. With each mile of road, that substrate became less to standard and that surface became thinner.”
     Labaan shook his head. “And then came the first rain…”
     At that moment, both front tires went into a large, more or less linear hole, adding the screech of metal as the fender twisted to all the more usual sounds.
     “As I said: ‘Foreign Aid.’ And it doesn’t matter a whit whether it come from NGOs, quangos, governments, or rock stars; it never does a bit of good. Never. Fifty-seven billion United States dollars come to Black Africa every year in aid, official and unofficial, Adam. Fifty billion is deposited to foreign accounts by our rulers.”

     I have no doubt that apart from the names of the particular persons and places involved, this is an exact description of the “process.” Israel may be an exception. Reflect on that.

Yet Another Hand Out For Baksheesh

     “Ev'ry one's got something
     And they're out tryin' to get some more.”

     (Randy Newman.)

     Seldom are foreign politicians looking for a handout quite this open about it:

     Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos withheld his approval of President Trump's proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico Thursday evening in an interview with Bret Baier.

     "The best wall that you can build is economic development in Central America and South America," Santos responded when asked for his thoughts on the wall.

     "I urge President Trump and all of the United States to look more to the south," he told Baier. "The strategic interests of the United States are much more important in the south, in Latin America, than many parts of the world."

     It’s not unexpected that the potentate of some other country should wheedle the president of the United States for a bag of American dollars. It’s happened often enough in the past. The irony here is that a huge flood of U.S. cash already flows into Colombia, every day of every year. However, it’s private cash: money Americans freely spend on the drug of their choice: cocaine. At this time, that flow is the lifeblood of Colombia’s economy.

     Perhaps Santos hasn’t caught enough of that river of greenbacks in his personal bucket. Or perhaps he’s been pressured by other Central and South American satraps to use his influence on American federal policy – considerable, given the effort Washington has put into interdicting the flow of cocaine into the U.S. – to get some American bucks for his Latin brothers in corruption, who don’t have a coca money tree to shake. Either way, the thrust of Santos’s statement cannot be denied.

     But the implied request itself must be.

     Quoth Isabel Paterson:

     Loans made by one government to another do not answer to any of the proper conditions of credit. The money lent belongs to the people of the lending nation, not to the officials who grant the loan; and it becomes a charge upon the people of the borrowing nation, not upon the officials who negotiate the loan and spend the money. There is no collateral, and no means of collection by private action. If the debt is not paid, war or the threat of war is the only recourse. Meantime private production is wrecked; the economy of the lending nation has to bear the capital loss; while the economy of the borrowing nation is loaded with the dead weight of government projects (buildings, armies, etc.) for which the money is spent. It is an infallible formula for disaster.

     It cannot be put more clearly than that – and that assumes that Santos and his fellow corruptocrats would “settle” for loans. It’s far more likely that they would ask for (and hope to receive) “grants” through some supposed “development agency.” Add to that the well-documented frequency with which such “loans” and “grants” do nothing but enrich and strengthen the rulers of the recipient nation.

     Yasser Arafat died a billionaire. There is no record of his ever having worked a day in his life. Bear that in mind when your “charitable impulses” toward the denizens of other lands rise to befuddle you.

     Donald Trump is not the sort of man who can be wheedled. Though his charitable impulses are notable and his charitable deeds are well documented, he can be guaranteed to see through an appeal such as that being presented by Santos. Atop that, the border wall is one of his foremost campaign pledges; he knows he must make good on it to validate his presidency.

     Should they try to “work” this president, the gimme-bodies of the so-called developing world, used to extracting American cash from such agencies as AID and the World Bank, are in for a surprise. That opens another possibility: that one or more might try subtle coercion. For example, Santos might hint that Colombia’s openness to American drug interdiction efforts is on the table. Alternately, he might suggest that he would deny the United States his support when the Trump Administration must deal with states such as Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Bolivia, whose regimes are overtly socialist. How Trump, who probably had little need to deal with threats of that sort in his business dealings, would react is hard to predict...especially with the pantywaists of the State Department counseling him to “be diplomatic.”

     My preference is for another approach to that sort of “diplomacy:”

     ...but that is another and much less pleasant subject.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Losing The Thread

     Few institutions, and even fewer nations, can survive the loss of their conceptual core.

     I received a Catholic grammar-school education. While I would never dream of denigrating that education, nor of disparaging the nuns I had as teachers, it is nevertheless the case that the experience is largely the reason I fell away from the Church. The barely concealed authoritarianism my teachers implied to the Church, and to Catholicism itself, repelled me sufficiently that I spent more than thirty years away from them. To be blunt, I wanted no part of a religion that preaches that “Everything not compulsory is forbidden.”

     Many Catholics of my generation have harsh things to say about the Church. Their criticisms often focus on the Second Ecumenical Council, better known as Vatican II. That great conclave was devoted to two principal objectives:

  1. Reducing the authoritarianism of the Church, both in substance and in form;
  2. Renewing the Church’s commitment to the reuniting of all Christians under a single banner.

     Though Vatican II did have some consequences that may be deemed unfortunate, it succeeded to a greater extent than not. The return of the vernacular to Catholic liturgical practice, and the reduction of animosities between the Church and the larger Protestant sects were particularly valuable. Though a large and venerable institution will always have difficulty admitting its errors and changing its ways, the Church has had a goodly measure of success at gentling its manner and reifying G. K. Chesterton’s well known observation:

     The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted; precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden.

     To many Catholics of my generation (and previous ones), the contemporary Church is well nigh unrecognizable. Instead of scolds in cassocks who wave the Baltimore Catechism while threatening eternal damnation, we have priests who listen, counsel, guide, and above all welcome back the straying sheep.

     Catholic allegiance is no longer an “open-air cloister.” It’s a thing of great joy and power. Indeed, the Church has returned to its roots in the Redeemer, especially in these words He spoke to the “rich young man:”

     Now a man came up to him and said, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to gain eternal life?” He said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” he asked. Jesus replied, “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false witness, honor your father and mother and love your neighbor as yourself.” [Matthew 19:16-19]

     But that’s not my main point for today.

     Authority is a heady thing. It intoxicates many who are granted it, to the point that they forget their bounds and lose their way. This story provides a chilling example:

     “It has been frighteningly apparent that we in this city have given our freedoms up in ways that we never really saw coming,” [Columbiana, OH resident Tony] Dolan wrote in the Columbiana for/against Chickens Facebook page.
     Dolan also posted copies of ordinances council was expected to discuss during last week’s meeting. One of those ordinances was to amend section 1260.16 of the planning and zoning code to include language pertaining to the planting and growing of fruits, vegetables and grapevines.
     The other related to the keeping of chickens in town.
     The garden legislation would amend the zoning code to allow gardens on residential property, but Dolan and others at the meeting believed it was just another effort on the city’s part to restrict their rights.
     The proposed amendment originally stated that residential gardens would need to be confined to rear yards, but that wording was later removed by a motion of council during the meeting.
     Municipal Attorney Daniel Blasdell said the garden issue came about as a result of the chicken issue.
     He explained that people were asking why chickens couldn’t be allowed in the community while gardens were.
     The city had no laws pertaining to residential gardens, which means they were technically not allowed.
     According to the city’s laws, if something is not permitted it is prohibited.
     “Right now, if there is not something expressly in this code that says that you can have one, you technically can’t,” Blakeman confirmed.
     He went on to say that the city’s effort to make a law allowing gardens is something that should be seen as a good move by residents.
     “The intention of it is to not to take away, it is to give,” he said.

     Please read it all. Note especially the parts emphasized above. Note the attitude embedded in the statements by Columbiana Mayor Bryan Blakeman. He sees the Columbiana city government’s authority as unbounded, such that Columbiana’s residents have only such latitude of action as the city code expressly provides.

     That’s not quite “Everything not compulsory is forbidden,” but it comes close enough to be lethally chilling. And an elected official of an American city has proclaimed it.

ANGELO: ‘Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
Another thing to fall. I not deny
The jury, passing on the prisoner’s life,
May in the sworn twelve, have a thief or two
Guiltier than him they try. What’s open made to justice
That justice seizes. What know the laws
That thieves do pass on thieves? ‘Tis very pregnant,
The jewel that we find, we stop and take it,
Because we see it; but what we do not see
We tread upon, and never think of it.
You may not so extenuate his offence
For I have had such faults; but rather tell me, When I, that censure him, do so offend, Let mine own judgment pattern out my death, And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.

(“William Shakespeare,” Measure for Measure, Act II, Scene I)

ISABELLA: Could great men thunder
As Jove himself does, Jove would ne’er be quiet,
For every pelting petty officer
Would use his heaven for thunder; nothing but thunder—
Merciful heaven!
Thou rather, with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt
Splitt’st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak
Than the soft myrtle—but man, proud man,
Dressed in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he’s most assured,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As makes the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.

(Ibid, Act II, Scene II)

     Earth's population had been stabilized, about the middle of the twenty-first century, at eighteen billion. The Fertility Board, a subsection of the United Nations, made and enforced the birth control laws. For more than half a thousand years those laws had remained the same: two children to a couple, subject to the judgment of the Fertility Board. The Board decided who might be a parent how many times. The Board might award extra children to one couple, deny any children at all to another, all on the basis of desirable or undesirable genes.
     "Incredible," said the kzin.
     "Why? Things were getting pretty tanj crowded, with eighteen billion people trapped in a primitive technology."
     "If the Patriarchy tried to force such a law on kzinti, we would exterminate the Patriarchy for its insolence."

     (Larry Niven, Ringworld)

     The attitude of Angelo, a deputy of Vienna who has argued to a court that Claudio, a Viennese gentleman, must die for the “crime” of fornication, is quite comparable to that of Columbiana Mayor Bryan Blakeman. The attitude upon which this nation was founded is more like that of Speaker to Animals, the kzin in the passage from Ringworld above.

     With which of those attitudes are contemporary Americans more aligned? Have we lost the thread of the Founding so completely that municipal mayors can get away with Blakeman’s incredible arrogance – his bald assertion that the city government can “give” residents the right to garden in their own yards – and inversely, can forbid it merely by choosing not to “give” it?

     It seems incredible yet indisputable. If the Catholic Church, a two thousand year old institution whose Founder was the Son of God, can lose the thread so completely, surely so can American governments, and Americans themselves. Whether we can and will pick it up and defend it as it deserves once again remains to be seen.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Open War On The President

     Scott Adams renders the verdict:

     I saw this quote on today: “The episode is the latest woe for Trump, whose administration is engulfed in a series of scandals linked to Russia.”

     A “series of scandals linked to Russia”? Would it be equally accurate to characterize it as a series of stories manufactured by the media, none of which have been confirmed to be a big deal?

     Today’s headline news is that an alleged Comey memo indicates President Trump tried to obstruct justice in the Flynn investigation by saying to Comey in a private meeting, “I hope you can let this go.”...

     I’m no lawyer, but I can’t see any judge or jury in the United States prosecuting someone for expressing a hope that the future turns out well for his friend.

     Watch the headlines and pundits today transmogrify “hope” into “asked to end the Flynn investigation.”

     That isn’t news.

     That is an assassination.

     Bookworm expands with her usual flair:

     Donald Trump is the perfect antidote to Leftism. A Leftist who knows I’m conservative asked me how I could support Donald Trump knowing now what we do about him. I said I supported him more now than I did when I voted for him. Despite the appalling, libelous opposition aimed at him, he’s slowly but surely fulfilling his promises — including building a virtual wall simply by allowing ICE to enforce existing immigration laws. The Leftist was shocked that I was proud, not ashamed.

     Indeed. Though President Trump has conducted himself honorably and according to his campaign promises, the Left and its media allies will have none of it. We must be made ashamed of the man we elected. They’ll fabricate accusations without limit, and treat them as proven despite a complete lack of evidence.

     The entirety of major-media “reporting” these past four months has been dedicated to the Spaghetti Theory of Political Combat: Fling enough at the wall and eventually, some will stick. Nothing they’ve flung has adhered to Trump yet, but they remain dedicated to their strategy. Worse, supposed conservative luminaries are buying into it as well...on the basis of the media hysteria and nothing else.

     I cannot imagine that Trump foresaw this during his campaign. If he had, would he have wanted the job?

     Remember what the Left did to Sarah Palin after the 2008 election? Their mud-flinging made it impossible for her to function as Alaska’s governor. She was literally harassed into resigning her office. Yet Alaska recovered from the episode, largely because of the stability and good sense of its legislators and Alaskans generally. That’s not in the cards should the Left succeed in its comparable campaign against President Trump.

     The Left’s sole desire is for power. It will do anything that it believes will advance it toward political supremacy. Their program to render President Trump impotent by bombarding him with a host of unsubstantiated accusations will have devastating consequences should it succeed...but leftists can’t see that far forward. Once they’ve regained power, they believe they’ll be able to stabilize things – and to ensure that power remains in their hands forever after, of course.

     The street violence we’ve seen from Antifa and Black Bloc is a minor consideration compared to the likely aftermath of a Trump impeachment. Decent people can defeat thugs so cowardly that they must conceal their faces even though the police have largely stood down. A coup against the legitimately elected president is a far more serious matter.

     If there’s a guaranteed-effective countermeasure to a media-Democrat alliance dedicated to ruining a president by a campaign of slander, I can’t think what it might be. Americans can stop patronizing the calumnious media, which would be a good idea in any case. They can resolve not to believe the accusations and imputations of such low creatures as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, which is even more advisable. But when prominent Republican and conservative spokespersons begin to lean toward the accusations, implying oh-so-gently that “it might be better for the country were Trump to resign,” what then?

     Unless someone comes up with a potent counter-strategy, Trump, his supra-partisan allies, and his supporters will be encircled and isolated. Certain steps are plainly mandatory:

  • Trump must purge the executive branch of all its remaining Obama-era holdovers.
  • He must pursue and prosecute those who’ve leaked against him.
  • He must continue to fulfill his campaign promises.
  • He must ignore the adversary press.

     Even if Trump does everything right and never puts a foot wrong, it will take enormous courage and resolve for him to remain in office. The New York Metro real-estate market, with its accumulation of regulatory, union, and activist excrescences, is certainly trying enough to toughen a man, and no one has negotiated its hazards better than Donald Trump, so perhaps he has the characterological and emotional resources he’ll need. The tragedy is that he should need them at all.