Irony alert: Eyes finally open, liberals hope for military coup in Egypt

January 30, 2013

From Andy McCarthy’s post at NRO’s “The Corner” blog on commentators rising calls for the Egyptian military to intervene as that country starts to fall apart:

Here’s the really interesting part: The [Egyptian] Left does not have the numbers needed to defeat the Islamists at the ballot box. That is why the latter have won election after election, usually by overwhelming numbers, thus putting Islamists firmly in charge of the government and ensuring passage of the sharia constitution. So what has finally happened: the Left-leaning press in the West is suddenly discovering that maybe popular elections do not equal democracy after all. Maybe there really is something to the notion that democracy is not merely a procedural means by which majorities achieve power; maybe democracy, as us Islamophobes have been contending all along, really is a culture that is committed to equality and respect for such minority rights as freedom of conscience and speech.

The liberal left’s obsession with procedure, seeing elections as synonymous with democracy, is a good portion of what lead to the folly of the Obama administration’s support for democratic-in-name-only “Arab Spring” revolutions in the Sunni Arab world. Instead we cut the legs out from under a friendly but authoritarian regime in Egypt, in the process doing untold damage to 30 years of American policy in the region, and we removed a cruel, crazy, but nevertheless harmless to us dictator in Libya, creating chaos in North Africa. (c.f., Mali)

But, at least, they’d have elections, so all would be good. Majority rule, and all that.

Except that the majority is turning out to be the very groups most hostile to the democracy we hold dear. smiley d'oh!

And now that their Wilsonian unicorn dreams have turned into nightmarish reality, they want a military coup.

Welcome to the waking world, kiddies.

PS: Longtime readers will recall that I supported the liberation of Iraq under George W. Bush, including the effort to help democratic, constitutional government to take root there. I still think it was worth trying –for reasons local to Iraq, I felt it was the one country in the Arab world in which this might work– but, thanks to the Obama administration’s precipitous and premature bug-out from Iraq, my opinion of that country’s democratic future has become much bleaker.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Pat Caddell: the MSM has become an “enemy of democracy.”

September 28, 2012

Harsh words from the former Democratic pollster and analyst in the wake of the massacre in Benghazi:

…but I fear he’s much more right than wrong.

via Legal Insurrection

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


How De Tocqueville foresaw Obama and the progressives, part two

April 7, 2012

Early nineteenth century prose isn’t easy reading (meandering to the point, it seems, was an art form, then), but I’m going to have to knuckle under and read De Tocqueville’s works; the man was obviously  a political Nostradamus. Here he is describing one of progressivism’s defining characteristics to a “T:”

“A man’s admiration of absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him.”

Wilson. Obama. This condescending attitude toward the ordinary man and faith in government experts reeks from the two men who bookend the last century of the transformed presidency.

via Steven Hayward

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Putin claims Hillary responsible for Russian unrest

December 9, 2011

Okay, it’s no secret I’m not a fan of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. I think she’s as much of a Leftist as Barack Obama (if made more cautious by her drubbing in HillaryCare); she was nothing more than a moderately competent senator who carpetbagged her state; she only stayed married to Bill after his serial infidelities because he was her road to power; her conduct of our foreign policy has been mostly incompetent, and she’s given to Biden-esque fantasies. In other words, she is less than the dust on my boots.

And yet I may have to change my appraisal of her.

I mean, she scares Vladimir Putin:

Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin accused Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday of inciting unrest in Russia, as he grappled with the prospect of large-scale political protest for the first time in his more than decade-long rule.

In a rare personal accusation, Mr. Putin said Mrs. Clinton had sent “a signal” to “some actors in our country” after Sunday’s parliamentary elections, which were condemned as fraudulent by both international and Russian observers. Anger over the elections prompted a demonstration in which thousands chanted “Putin is a thief” and “Russia without Putin,” a development that has deeply unnerved the Kremlin.

Speaking to political allies as he announced the formation of his presidential campaign, Mr. Putin said that hundreds of millions of dollars in “foreign money” was being used to influence Russian politics, and that Mrs. Clinton had personally spurred protesters to action. The comments indicate a breakdown in the Obama administration’s sputtering effort to “reset” the relationship between the United States and Russia.

“I looked at the first reaction of our U.S. partners,” Mr. Putin said. “The first thing that the secretary of state did was say that they were not honest and not fair, but she had not even yet received the material from the observers.”

“She set the tone for some actors in our country and gave them a signal,” Mr. Putin continued. “They heard the signal and with the support of the U.S. State Department began active work.”

Oh, that wily Hillary. With just a toss of her poorly-coiffed locks, she can send Russians into the streets to protest against the new Tsars. Such power she has! A former KGB operative quakes before her might! The guy who flattened Chechnya in a brutal campaign reminiscent of Stalingrad now quails before the threat posed by the former First Lady of the United States.

Yeah, right.

I may refer to her as “Lady Macbeth” (and accurately so, I claim), but what’s happening in Russia is a reflection of Russian disgust with yet another corrupt, rigged election. (Our problems are minor in comparison.) Putin is doing what comes naturally to tyrants, especially paranoid Russian rulers: looking for outsiders to distract his people from his own failings.

But, somehow, I don’t think the Russian people are buying it this time.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


A governor turns the table on #OWS — UPDATED, fresh video

November 30, 2011

The Occupiers all like to claim they’re into mass democracy: general assemblies, voting by up and down-twinkles, free speech, and all that jazz. And all while making obnoxious prats of themselves. Prats who don’t understand a thing about real democratic societies… but I digress.

Anyway, it shouldn’t be surprising that I took a special joy in seeing Colorado Governor Hickenlooper (D!) and the crowd he had come to address use democracy against the Occupiers.

Enjoy:

Major up-twinkles.

via Jonah Goldberg

UPDATE: The original video was suppressed after a copyright claim by an Occupier named Michael Clifton. Hey, Mikey! Other people had cameras, too:

Thanks to Moe Lane, who observes…

Suuuuure.  Now they care about private property.  Doesn’t information want to be free, Michael Clifton?

Heh.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Libya: Daffy Qaddafi dead? And the country’s future?

October 20, 2011

Let’s hope so; I can think of few people more deserving of a trip to Hell. What’s certain, though, is that his “hometown” and last major focus of resistance, Sirte, has fallen:

There are unconfirmed reports deposed Libyan leader Moamar Gaddafi has died of wounds sustained when fighters captured his home town of Sirte.

If true, his death, which came swiftly after his capture is the most dramatic single development in the Arab Spring revolts that have unseated rulers in Egypt and Tunisia and threatened the grip on power of the leaders of Syria and Yemen.

“He (Gaddafi) was hit in his head,” National Transitional Council official Abdel Majid Mlegta said.

“There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.”

Mr Mlegta said earlier Gaddafi was captured and wounded in both legs at dawn on Thursday as he tried to flee in a convoy which NATO warplanes attacked.

There was no independent confirmation of his remarks and NATO said it was still checking on the reports, which could take some time to confirm.

“We are checking and assessing the situation,” a NATO official said.

“Clearly these are very significant developments, which will take time to confirm. If it is true, then this is truly a historic day for the people of Libya.”

I’ll say it would be, if true. That sharp-dressing psychopath made the lives of most Libyans a nightmare for over 40 years and was responsible for the murder of Americans and other nationals in acts of terror. In the 70s he was a backer of the Irish Republican Army, as well as the Italian Red Brigades, the Basque ETA, and Peru’s Sendero Luminoso. While it became easy to laugh at his public buffoonery (and here’s the sad truth about his female bodyguards), let’s keep in mind that Muammar Qaddafi was a seriously evil, vile human being. If he has indeed met the fate of Saddam Hussein, Nicolae Ceaucescu, and Benito Mussolini, let no tears be shed for him.

But what of Libya’s future? This morning I caught a few minutes of Fox and Friends and watched Gretchen Carlson interview a reporter from the New York Times (sorry, can’t find a video link) and almost laughed at the man’s naivete: the Libyans were fighting for “democracy” and the “rule of law,” and that they “want the same things we do.” It was the starry-eyed “they’re just like us” argument that’s almost inevitably lead to cries of “what went wrong” a few years later.

“Just like us?” Did this reporter know of the Libyan Jew who went home to rebuild a synagogue in his old neighborhood, only to be told to flee for his life? Or how the rebels would scrawl the Star of David over pictures of Qaddafi, implying he was a Jew and thus an enemy to the Muslims?

“Just like us,” only without the religious tolerance part.

Did the reporter recall that eastern Libya, the Benghazi area, where the rebels originated, was also a hotbed for Al Qaeda recruiting? Or that at least some influential rebel commanders and their soldiers have fought for Al Qaeda? I think the “rule of law” they’re fighting for may mean something a bit different to them then it does in a Western liberal democracy. (hint: Sharia)

“Just like us,” only without that equality under the law part.

I’m not saying all the Libyan rebels are Islamists nor that there are no liberals among them; they’re not and there are. Libya may yet become a recognizable constitutional democracy instead of another Islamic hellhole. Let’s hope so, for the world would be a better place. But no one can predict a revolution’s future, and I’m not nearly so sanguine and indeed positively chirpy about Libya’s as a “sophisticated” reporter from the nation’s fish-wrap of record.

They’re not “just like us.”

RELATED: Some great photos at The Atlantic on the fall of Sirte. (via Stephen F. Hayes)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.: “Time to declare Congress in rebellion”

October 13, 2011

Because they’re acting like seceding states, or something.

Really, this isn’t parody; the idiot really said it.

Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. told The Daily Caller on Wednesday that congressional opposition to the American Jobs Act is akin to the Confederate “states in rebellion.”

Jackson called for full government employment of the 15 million unemployed and said that Obama should “declare a national emergency” and take “extra-constitutional” action “administratively” — without the approval of Congress — to tackle unemployment.

“I hope the president continues to exercise extraordinary constitutional means, based on the history of Congresses that have been in rebellion in the past,” Jackson said. “He’s looking administratively for ways to advance the causes of the American people, because this Congress is completely dysfunctional.”

“President Obama tends to idealize — and rightfully so  — Abraham Lincoln, who looked at states in rebellion and he made a judgment that the government of the United States, while the states are in rebellion, still had an obligation to function,” Jackson told TheDC at his Capitol Hill office on Wednesday.

“On several occasions now, we’ve seen … the Congress is in rebellion, determined, as Abraham Lincoln said, to wreck or ruin at all costs. I believe … in the direct hiring of 15 million unemployed Americans at $40,000 a head, some more than $40,000, some less than $40,000 — that’s a $600 billion stimulus. It could be a five-year program. For another $104 billion, we bailout all of the states … for another $100 billion, we bailout all of the cities,” he said.

There are so many levels of mind-boggling stupidity in this that I don’t know where to begin. “Congress in rebellion?” Um, excuse me, Congressman Jackson, but Congress is a coequal branch of the government and not subservient to a monarch. Under the Constitution (Article 1, Section 1. Try reading it.) it is Congress that has sole law-making power and that includes refusing to pass bills it doesn’t like — including another guaranteed-to-fail Jobs Bill Stimulus Porkulus program.

“Extra-constitutional action?” Seriously? You’re suggesting that the president become a dictator and appropriate money himself, bypassing Congress and Article I? Congressman, let me remind you of your oath:

“I, [Jesse Jackson, Jr.], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Of course, that oath is mandated by Article VI, so I guess it’s irrelevant since you want to suspend the Constitution.

And let’s not even dwell on the odious insult and historical illiteracy inherent in comparing legitimate legislative opposition to secessionists seeking to defend slavery. Don’t bother with economic nonsense that makes up this clown’s “program.” (Bryan Preston points out the huge flaws in the latter.)

No, what really jumps out is that this jackass (and son of an even bigger jackass) is yet another example of anti-democratic Democrats, such as North Carolina’s Governor Bev Perdue, who suggested calling off the next congressional elections. (Click through for even more examples.)

This is the fundamental contradiction that lies at the heart of the progressive elites who dominate the Democratic Party (and their Big Labor and MSM allies): for all their lip service to the Constitution, our founding principles, and the “American Way,” they really don’t like democracy. As historian Steven Hayward wrote recently when talking about liberal anti-democrats:

At the core of “Progressivism,” as it was called then and is again today, was the view that more and more of the business of individuals and society was best supervised by expert administrators sealed off from the transient pressures of popular politics. So at the same time that Progressives championed “more democracy” in the form of populist initiatives, referendum, and recalls, they also developed a theory deeply anti-democratic in its implications. As the famous phrase from Saint-Simon had it, “the government of men is to be replaced by the administration of things.” But this undermines the very basis of democratic self-rule. No one better typifies the incoherence of Progressivism on this point than Woodrow Wilson, an enthusiastic theorist of the modern administrative state who couldn’t clearly express why we would still need to have elections in the future. In Wilson’s mind, elections would become an expression of some kind of watery, Rousseauian general will, but certainly not change specific policies or the nature of administrative government.

And now that popular democracy has gotten in their way, Democratic leaders yearn for “administrative experts” — bureaucratic dictators.

Glenn Reynolds thinks Jackson should resign over this. Resign, hell. “Representative” Jesse Jackson, Jr., should be brought before the House and expelled for violating his oath.

There is a deep, deep, political sickness at the top of the Democratic Party, and it’s up to us to make sure they never have the reins of power again until it’s cured.

LINK: the YidWithLid and I think alike.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The anti-democratic Democrats

September 28, 2011

Governor Bev Perdue (D-NC) said the most amazing thing yesterday:

Speaking to a Cary Rotary Club today, N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue suggested suspending Congressional elections for two years so that Congress can focus on economic recovery and not the next election.

I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that,” Perdue said. “You want people who don’t worry about the next election.”

The comment — which came during a discussion of the economy — perked more than a few ears. It’s unclear whether Perdue, a Democrat, is serious — but her tone was level and she asked others to support her on the idea.

(via Big Government)

Forget for a moment the odd spectacle of a state’s chief executive suggesting that elections be called off at all –something that’s never been done, even during the Civil War and World War II, the two greatest threats to our national existence, ever– the terms of the House and Senate are specified in Article I, Sections 2 and 3 of the the Constitution; before those terms expire, elections must be held. By suggesting elections for Congress be suspended and the term of Congress be extended in defiance of Article I, Governor Perdue was suggesting suspending the United States Constitution, itself.

Naturally, Governor Perdue’s people tried to pull her foot out of her mouth by claiming she was joking and engaging in hyperbole, as reported by my blog-buddy, ST.

Whatever. Whether she meant it as a joke or a serious suggestion, it is a sentiment that should never, ever be uttered by any elected official, because elections are the sole source of legitimacy for a democratic government. To call off elections and extend the term of Congress in defiance of the Constitution would be to destroy utterly that legitimacy. Perdue’s suggestion, joking or not, was madness; I wouldn’t at all blame the North Carolina legislature if it voted to censure her or even consider impeachment. A governor who can so cavalierly suggest doing away with elections is unworthy to hold office.

But Governor Perdue’s Kinsleyan gaffe is really representative of a larger problem within the Democratic Party, a problem with democracy, itself. In this case, I’m not talking about contempt for free speech shown by the 2008 Obama campaign or by the president after taking office, part of what Michael Barone has dubbed the “thugocracy.”

No, the problem is more fundamental and it dominates the thinking of those who are its leaders — they are Democrats who don’t like democracy. It’s messy and it keeps them from doing the things they want to do that they know are best for us. Consider, for example, President Obama’s first Budget Director, Peter Orszag:

To solve the serious problems facing our country, we need to minimize the harm from legislative inertia by relying more on automatic policies and depoliticized commissions for certain policy decisions. In other words, radical as it sounds, we need to counter the gridlock of our political institutions by making them a bit less democratic.

(…)

Virtually all responsible economists agree that we should be aiming to reduce the deficit in the long-term but not in the short-term. We need an even larger deficit in 2011 and 2012, to support a weak economy—but a much smaller deficit in 2020 and 2050, to put the nation back on a sustainable fiscal course. Yet our polarized political system has proved incapable of reaching a consensus on this common-sense approach.

What we need, then, are ways around our politicians. The first would be to expand automatic stabilizers—those tax and spending provisions that automatically expand when the economy weakens, thereby cushioning the blow, and automatically contract as the economy recovers, thereby helping to reduce the deficit.

Or how about President Obama, who lamented having to deal with Congress and a political process and wished he could go around it:

“As I mentioned when I was at La Raza a few weeks back, I wish I had a magic wand and could make [immigration reform and the DREAM Act] all happen on my own,” Obama told a meeting of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “There are times where — until Nancy Pelosi is speaker again — I’d like to work my way around Congress.”

Maybe Governor Perdue was auditioning to replace Biden on the ticket in 2012?

These aren’t the only instances where we’ve seen impatience, frustration, and even contempt for the democratic process coming from Democratic Party leaders. We’ve encountered it in the reaction to the rise of the Tea Party — a loose populist coalition calling for less power for the federal government, more fiscal responsibility, and adherence to the Constitution as written — implying that they’re fascists (1) and un-American, simply for exercising their right to free speech to peacefully oppose a policy proposal. Here in California, where Democratic Party dominance is nearly total, then-Assembly Speaker and now Congresswoman Karen Bass referred to people making their opinions known to their legislators and promising to hold them accountable for their votes as “terrorists.”

This isn’t a new phenomenon by any means. It’s old, going back to the roots of American progressivism in the 19th century, what we now call, incorrectly, “liberalism.” It’s fundamental thesis is that the modern world is too complex for a governing system designed in the 18th century for a rural, isolated republic; that legislatures were too fractious and trapped by partisan interest to do what was best; and that these complexities were best handed off to boards of experts and technocrats who could make the correct decisions with scientific dispassion — Orszag’s “depoliticized commissions.” Woodrow Wilson crystallized this contempt for democratic governance when, before becoming president, he argued in essence that the Constitution was obsolete. (See also Goldberg’s excellent “Liberal Fascism.”)

While initially a bipartisan fad (I’m sorry to say TR, one of my favorite presidents, was a progressive), progressivism and its preference for bureaucratic technocracy over constitutional democracy has become the bailiwick of the Democratic Party. Sometimes it was muted, as under Truman or Carter, sometimes it roared loud and proud, as under FDR, LBJ, and Obama. And the impatience with democracy, usually hidden behind the standard vocabulary of American politics, becomes open when progressives encounter opposition and don’t get what they want. Then we hear the cries of “Washington is broken” and how the nation is “ungovernable.” No longer given their way as the natural governing party (unlike from 1933-1981), Democrats look more and more to activist courts or to bureaucratic fiat — “working my way around Congress” — to get what they cannot achieve through an uncooperative electorate.

To put it bluntly, the elite core of the Democratic Party –its leadership, not the rank and file average voter– is anti-democratic.

Which is why we must defeat them in every election we can, until they either reform or go the way of the Whigs.

LINKS: Ed Morrissey calls Governor Perdue’s comedy act a total bust.

Footnote:
(1) An almost Orwellian misuse of the word on their part.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bill Whittle: What we did right in Afghanistan and Iraq, and my qualified disagreement

September 16, 2011

Bill Whittle returns with another episode of Afterburner, this time with his own retrospective on the ten years since the attacks of September 11th, 2001. In it, he looks at what has happened since in Afghanistan, Iraq, and America and looks at the things we got right, a needed corrective to the constant drumbeat of failure played for us by the MSM:

I find myself both agreeing and disagreeing with Bill. We did indeed liberate over 60,000,000 people from two of the worst tyrannies on Earth, and we did indeed maul Al Qaeda, killing thousands of fighters who might otherwise have found there way to America or Europe. The removal of Saddam’s regime ended a serious strategic threat that would surely have returned once the sanctions regime had finally failed (which it was already doing).  And Iraq has a realistic chance to establish the first genuine Arab representative, constitutional democracy, though Obama is endangering that by pulling out too fast and too soon. And we have been very successful at preventing further catastrophic attacks against us.

None of that is to be dismissed lightly.

But I can’t wholly agree with Whittle. While he’s right that the fall of Saddam and it’s replacement with a democratic regime (albeit flawed) inspired the recent Arab revolts against dictators, much as the French Revolution inspired the liberal rebellions in Europe in 1848, I’m much less sanguine than Bill about the prospects for those revolts. Unlike mid-19th century Europe, the Arab “liberal class” (1) is small and likely to be overwhelmed by Islamist factions, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and its allied Salafi groups in Egypt or the Islamists among the rebels in Libya. I can more easily see this “Arab Spring” turning into a bloody winter.

And while I too take great joy from the killing of bin Laden, unlike Bill (and assuming I’m not misunderstanding him), I don’t see this as the end of anything, except perhaps the end of the beginning. Al Qaeda “central” may be broken and reduced in influence, but it has dangerous franchises around the globe. And beyond Al Qaeda, the broader jihadist movement, one of the keystones of which is Iran, remains a menacing, perhaps even existential threat.

So, yes, while we’ve ravaged Al Qaeda, the struggle with the problem of jihad and the conflict created by the matter/antimatter incompatibility of Western liberalism and Islamic Sharia remain.

RELATED: Commentary’s Abe Greenwald on “What We Got Right in the War on Terror.”

Footnote:
(1) “Liberal” as in the constitutionalist, limited government and free market philosophy that evolved from the 17th-19th centuries, not the progressivism that hijacked the word “liberal” in the 1930s.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Pat Condell: Europe needs a revolution

August 26, 2011

British comic Pat Condell rips into the anti-democratic European political class and the “European Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,” with an aside for some interesting observations about the nature of the American Revolution:

RELATED: At the Telegraph, Peter Osborne argues that the EU debt crisis will finally give Germany the empire it’s always dreamed of.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Quote of the Day… from Warren Harding?

July 7, 2011

One of the last presidents one would expect to be quoted on anything, yet historian Steven Hayward pulls up one on the Congress’ pathetic reputation and doubts about democracy:

In simple truth, I get discouraged sometimes about the stability of popular government. I come in contact with the abject surrender of public men to what appears to be about one-half of one percent of the voters to whom they look to their commission to public service. What the country needs more than anything else is a House and Senate for ten years which give at least as much thought to the welfare of the Republic as is given to individual candidates for re-election. Nothing so disheartens me as to have an extended conference with men in responsible places, hear them admit of the correctness of a policy or position, and then frankly say it is impossible to go through with the policy or maintain the position and be assured of re-election. I have concluded that I would vastly prefer a limited career with the consciousness of having done the right thing than to hold on to the constitutional limit by playing to the favor of those who do the fake work under our political system.

So, when our current situation discourages us (and that’s most of the time these days) and it seems like it couldn’t be worse, that maybe our system just doesn’t work anymore, remember that others were troubled by those same doubts, and yet things got better. I think that’s one of the great lessons of studying American History: that we’ve been through so much –and so much worse– yet always recovered and gone on to greater things. My friends on the far Right muttering about how “it’s just like 1860″ really need to stop, breathe deeply, and check in with reality.

But still… Harding??

PS: Steven Hayward is a great historian, perhaps most well known for his two-volume “Age of Reagan.” He’s recently joined Power Line as a welcome addition.

PPS: Okay, in all fairness to Warren G., whose likeness graces my mouse pad, in recent years I’ve come to suspect that, while no doubt mediocre, his reputation has suffered thanks to historians raised in the era of the New Deal who want to make all those nasty Republicans between Wilson and FDR look as bad as possible.

PPPS: Well, Hoover kind of deserves it, but for different reasons — like being too much like FDR.


America, Islam, and democratic tolerance

June 20, 2011

There’s an interesting post by Roger Kimball at Pajamas Media on Governor Romney’s problem with religion. No, not his Mormonism, though some blockheads might want to make that a problem, but his inability, thanks to the shackles of political correctness, to articulate why Islam poses a problem in America. And it’s not just Romney’s problem, but one shared by most politicians.

In his essay, Roger discusses the principle of religious tolerance and why it does not work when Islam is added to the mix:

Religious tolerance is a nifty idea.  As a Catholic, I’m pleased it exists. But here’s the rub: tolerance only works when practiced by all parties to the social contract.  It’s one thing for a Unitarian and a Catholic to tolerate each other.  They have  some important doctrinal differences.  But they do not endeavor to kill or enslave one another on account of those differences.

The friction of difference works differently when you add Islam to the equation.  Why?  Because Islam does not — in principle as well as in practice  — acknowledge a legitimate sphere of operation for the secular as distinct from the sacred realm.  There is no “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” in Islam because Islam — that’s mainstream, garden-variety Islam, not just its wacko Wahhabist allotropes — regards everything as subordinate to the will of Allah.

Romney, like many well-meaning liberals, wants to regard Islam as a religious phenomenon.  The thought process goes something like this:

  1. We’re in favor of religious toleration.
  2. Islam is a religion.
  3. Ergo, we should tolerate Islam. (Q., isn’t it, e. demonstrandum?)

The problem with this syllogism is what it leaves out of account — namely, as McCarthy puts it, that Islam is a “totalitarian political program masquerading as a purely spiritual doctrine.”

As with all systems of belief in a liberal democratic regime, Islam deserves tolerance to the extent that it extends tolerance. That syllogism really should begin:

  1. We’re in favor of religious toleration for those religions that practice toleration.

And therein, as Shakespeare said, lies the rub. By misunderstanding the mutualism required for genuine tolerance, muddleheaded Westerners turn what originated as a pact into unilateral intellectual disarmament, refusing to think critically about Islam lest they be labelled “judgmental,” “intolerant,” or, worst of all, “Islamophobic.” And that in turn leaves us vulnerable to the cultural or  “civilizational jihad” that the Muslim Brotherhood is waging here and elsewhere through front organizations, the goal of which is the imposition of Sharia law on us all.

While I do sympathize with Romney’s plight (this is delicate, difficult ground for Americans to cover, and rightly so), particularly since he himself was slammed by religious bigotry in the last campaign, it is nonetheless essential for would-be American leaders to grasp, wrestle, and explain to the public then dangers of tolerating the intolerant. Seeing who does it best should be one of our criteria for choosing a nominee and future president.

PS: I urge you to read McCarthy’s article, linked above in the quote, but I disagree with his description of Islam as a political system “masquerading as a religion.” This is a misstatement; Islam is a religion, for it does what any religion does, arranging the relationship between Mankind and the Divine. It is, however, a religion that encompasses a totalitarian and aggressive political program. The distinction may seem minor or semantic, but I think it’s important, for to frame it as McCarthy does would be to ignore the spiritual appeal it has for those who find relief in submission to a higher authority.

PPS: And before anyone asks, no, I am not saying “ban Islam” or “deport all Muslims.” What I am calling for is an open, critical discussion of what Islam is and what its goals are, as opposed to the platitudes we’re fed by politicians and the media. And that includes challenging American Islamic leaders to defend what’s clearly in their scriptures.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


California: Democrats shaft farm-workers’ rights

May 17, 2011

If you want any more proof that the Democratic Party-Big Labor oligarchy that dominates California doesn’t give a tinker’s cuss about worker’s rights, let me present in evidence SB104, by which the state legislature gutted the right to a secret ballot in union elections:

The state Legislature has passed a bill that would give farm workers an alternative to secret ballots in deciding whether to join a union.

The Assembly approved SB104 on a 51-25, party-line vote Monday. It would allow field laborers to organize by submitting a petition to the state instead of holding a secret-ballot election.

Workers would sign and turn in state-issued representation cards. If the state determined the cards had been signed by a majority of workers, the union would be certified without holding an election.

Sounds so nice, doesn’t it? Farm workers have a choice now! Isn’t choice good?

Some choice. Instead of a secret ballot in which each worker can make his or her free choice about forming a union without fear of intimidation or threats, now union organizers can just ask you to sign a card endorsing a union. Maybe they’ll do it in front of your co-workers or other union organizers — or maybe they’ll come to your home. Regardless, they’ll know exactly who supported them and who didn’t. Only the naive would think this won’t weigh on a worker’s choice.

This is the infamous “card check” method, something Big Labor pushed hard for as a payback for their support of Obama and the Democrats in the 2008 election. Regardless of the pieties spouted by union bosses and their Democratic allies, this is nothing less than a means to coerce people into joining unions when they may not want to and regardless of how they see their own best interests. It violates the rights of the individual to free association and leaves him or her vulnerable to thuggery. Even George McGovern opposed it. As the National Right to Work Foundation wrote about the national card-check legislation:

The Card Check Forced Unionism Bill would effectively eliminate workers’ right to a secret ballot in workplace unionization drives and replace it with overt union intimidation:

Under the Card Check Forced Unionism Bill, the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) that refer to the secret ballot election would be rendered a dead letter, even though they are not technically stricken from federal law.

Big Labor spin artists can claim all they want that the workers can still “choose” to have a secret ballot election, but there simply is no way by which workers can force union bosses to file for a secret ballot election – and it is union bosses, not workers, who are in possession of the cards.  Reporters who repeat this union boss talking point owe their readers a correction.

Read the full analysis here.  Union bosses prefer card check instant organizing because it puts all of the power in their hands — free from the meddling interference of government election supervisors and the workers themselves.  

So, since card-check died as a federal effort, union bosses shifted their efforts to preserve their empires to the state level. SB104 is one of their victories, and the problems described in the above quote occur under the state law, too. I have to ask: if unionism is such a good thing, why are labor bosses and Democrats so darned afraid of secret ballots? Maybe there’s another reason

What an irony: after fighting for years for the right to organize, farm workers get the back of the hand — from their own union. And the Democrats? Killing a worker’s right to a secret ballot? The party of the working man? I’d expect them to die from shame, but that assumes they have any sense of shame in the first place.

Oligarchies never do.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Wisconsin has the real “Governator”

March 9, 2011

California’s Governator turned out to be mostly a bad joke, but Wisconsin’s Scott Walker looks like the real deal for sticking to his principles to reform abusive collective bargaining procedures for government employee unions. And the Wisconsin state senate Republican caucus deserves a lot of credit for at last realizing the Democratic minority had no intention of acting in good faith and finally passing those collective bargaining reforms:

Wisconsin’s Senate has been paralyzed on dealing with its budget because it requires a 20-vote quorum to address budget issues. And tied into the governor’s budget bill was the provision that caused all of the Democrats in the Senate to flee the state — a provision diminishing collective bargaining rights for state workers too wages only, leaving benefits and work rules for most state employees to be determined by the legislative process instead.

But Wisconsin’s Senate does not require 20 members to be present to pass non-budget legislation, and some people have asked why the Republicans haven’t simply passed the union provision separately. Well, tonight, they did just that.

The state assembly is scheduled to vote tomorrow. Passage is all but assured, and Governor Iron Man Walker should sign it soon thereafter. Unions are already talking about a general strike, so things should be quite… interesting, tomorrow.

Meanwhile, let me pose an Allahpundit-style exit question: Minority-party legislators have fled the state to prevent a democratically elected legislature from doing its job and instead are trying to impose its own will on the majority — in effect, attempting to overturn the results of the last election. Meanwhile, union members are using extremist language, vile insults, and inciting violence to intimidate those same elected official and, by extension, the voters who put them in office. Now, riddle me this: Who are the anti-democratic fascists here?


Getting it backwards: the legislative veto

December 1, 2010

At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey writes about the efforts of the Republican minority in the Senate to defeat the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to gain via regulation what the environmental left couldn’t achieve via legislation: a cap-and-trade system and other onerous, economy killing “environmental” regulations. Their strategy involves the use of a little known procedure created in the 90s, called the Congressional Review Act. Ed quotes from a Politico article; see if you can spot the problem:

The law lets sponsors skip Senate filibusters, meaning Republicans don’t have to negotiate with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for a floor vote or secure the tricky 60 votes typically needed to do anything in the Senate.

The House doesn’t have the same expedited procedures, but it’s assumed the GOP majority would have little trouble mustering the votes needed to pass disapproval resolutions.

A spate of contentious EPA rules that are soon to be finalized could be prime targets, including the national air quality standard for ozone, toxic emission limits for industrial boilers and a pending decision about whether to regulate coal ash as hazardous waste.

We’re not going to let EPA regulate what they’ve been unable to legislate. And if I’m chairman, we’re going to have a very aggressive, proactive schedule,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the likely incoming chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, told POLITICO.

Note the highlighted portions. What’s being described is a legislative veto, a controversial procedure that was never envisioned in the Constitution by the Framers. Let’s back up a minute for some groundwork. Article 1, section 1 of the US Constitution reads:

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

The power to disapprove laws, the veto, is not part of the powers assigned to Congress: it is assigned to the President (oddly, via Article 1) and is considered an Executive power. Several court cases (such as INS v Chadha), have held that the legislative veto is unconstitutional because it violates separation of powers by encroaching on the Executive’s turf. At the same time, Congress, the lawmaking body, has ceded to the EPA, a part of the Executive Branch, the authority to write regulations (effectively laws; you can be punished for violating them) subject to Congress’ disapproval.

This is a role reversal that violates the Constitution both by ceding too much legislative power* to an unelected body (the EPA) and by blurring the separation of powers by claiming a veto** for the legislature. It upends the intent behind the Constitution and does violence to democratic governance by giving an unelected bureaucracy the upper hand over the elected representatives of the People.

I’m certainly not saying that all regulations are unconstitutional; it’s perfectly reasonable that, within the bounds of  enabling legislation that does not cede too much congressional authority, an administrative agency should write regulations needed to implement Congress’ will. Nor am I saying Congress shouldn’t, at this time, take advantage of the Review Act to rein in an EPA that threatens to go on a regulatory rampage.  But, if a Executive bureaucratic agency has claimed so much power that it has crossed into the realm of legislative usurpation and, because of that, the legislature feels it needs veto authority, then something constitutional is way out of whack.

This resort to the questionably constitutional legislative veto reveals a serious problem in our democracy: unelected, bureaucratic, and largely unaccountable agencies have claimed too much power from the elected representatives of the people. Once this mess with the EPA is sorted out, the next Congress (as if it doesn’t already have enough to do) should look at either amending the enabling legislation for agencies to limit their power or, if need be, eliminating altogether those that no longer serve a useful purpose. It is Congress’ job to make the laws, not to veto a bureaucrat’s diktats.

*The War Powers Act of 1973 has a similar constitutional problem.

**Here, too.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Truth to Power: “Just who the Hell do you people think you are?”

November 27, 2010

First it was Conservative Daniel Hannan shredding then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown in the European Parliament. Now we’re treated to Nigel Farage, Member of the European Parliament from the UK Independence Party, ripping the EU leadership a new one for their statist, anti-democratic arrogance in the Irish financial crisis. Sit back, my friends, and enjoy:

Rock on, Brother Farage!

LINKS: Roger Kimball, who thinks MEP Farage asked an excellent question.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The regulatory dictatorship

November 20, 2010

Back when I took Civics (and back when they still taught it), I was told that the role of making laws was assigned to the legislatures, as their members were democratically elected by the people. In fact, Article I, Section 1 of the US Constitution states:

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Near as I can recall, “all” means “every darned bit of it,” including the authority to rewrite laws.

So where does the Environmental Protection Agency get off rewriting the Clean Air Act to include things never intended, such as carbon dioxide emissions from stationary sources?

This video from Energy Tomorrow talks about this and other examples of EPA’s regulatory power grab. Did you know EPA is proposing ozone standards so stringent that even Yellowstone National Park can’t meet them? Watch, there’s more:

Be sure to read my Twitter-buddy Jazz Shaw’s post on this for other examples of how our EPA is turning into Leviathan, and a link to a paper by Energy Tomorrow that provides an extensive list of EPA’s questionable activities.

You might recall the Left screaming about how the Bush Administration was “politicizing science.” Perhaps, but I suspect it is much worse under the Obama administration. The Progressive Left sees the environmental laws as a way to take control of the economy via regulation, well-beyond the laudable goal of protecting the environment. And we shouldn’t be surprised that this new regulatory imperialism has taken place after Obama came to office; his “Climate Czar,” Carole Browner, is a former EPA chief and was at least closely affiliated with, if not a member of, the Socialist International.

What an odd coincidence.

In any event, EPA’s “reimagining” of its authorizing laws are clearly unconstitutional and the agency needs to be reined in. The new Republican majority will have a lot on its plate when the 112th Congress convenes next year, but, given the damage these new initiatives can do both to the economy and our constitutional order, they should make holding the agency accountable a priority.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Should America have an assassination list?

October 6, 2010

Anwar al-Awlaki is an American citizen. He is also a high-ranking al Qaeda propagandist and spiritual leader who counseled the Fort Hood shooter on his murderous mission. He inspired Feisal Shahzad, the Muslim jihadist who tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square. He approved the Christmas Day attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit. He has called for jihad against his own country.

Not surprisingly, the American government wants him dead.

This troubles Jonah Goldberg, one of my favorite authors. Not because of the orders against Awlaki, himself: Jonah agrees this medieval sociopath needs to be reduced to his component parts as quickly as possible. But  other questions trouble him:

There’s ample precedent — and common sense — to support the claim that the executive branch can kill American citizens when they are sworn members of enemy forces and avowed traitors working with the enemy.

But those precedents start to fray at the edges when the whole world is the war zone and the war doesn’t end until a diffuse, committed, and often camouflaged army of suicidal religious fanatics defy their god and agree to leave the Dark Ages. And the common sense starts to drain away like water through your fingers when you contemplate that we may be facing these kinds of problems for half a century. So while it strikes me as a no-brainer that al-Awlaki should go, what about the next guy? Or the next?

Goldberg’s problem comes not with the targeted-killing policy, per se, but with its secret, ad hoc nature in a society based on democracy and the rule of law. Rather than having this question fought out in the courts (not surprisingly, the ACLU has sued the Obama administration in court to have the order to kill Awlaki blocked), the policy should be debated openly and settled democratically by the elected political branches in a way that meets our traditions: voted on in Congress in agreement with the President. Not the specific targets, mind you, but a set policy on what happens when a citizen joins a non-state actor to wage war against his own country.

I agree, both with Goldberg and with the Obama administration: Anwar al-Awlaki has sided with our deadly enemy and thus needs to die himself, citizen or not. But  we need clear rules for for future cases.

Because we know there will be more.

This is the kind of genuine national issue Congress should be dealing with, the very kind of question for which the federal government was created. Not regulating the air we breathe or the kinds of light bulbs we can buy.

Very frustrating.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Wrath of the Khan-Democrats – Updated

July 23, 2010

It’s sad to contemplate, but there is a not-likely-but-real possibility that, in the wake of a large-scale defeat in the November midterms, the Democrats might try to use the constitutionally mandated “lame duck” session of Congress that comes between the elections and the inauguration of the new Congress to ram through legislation they couldn’t pass before the elections. Charles Krauthammer explains:

[Retiring and defeated members] could then vote for anything — including measures they today shun as the midterms approach and their seats are threatened — because they would have nothing to lose. They would be unemployed. And playing along with Obama might even brighten the prospects for, say, an ambassadorship to a sunny Caribbean isle.

As John Fund reports in the Wall Street Journal, Sens. Jay Rockefeller, Kent Conrad and Tom Harkin are already looking forward to what they might get passed in a lame-duck session. Among the major items being considered are card check, budget-balancing through major tax hikes, and climate-change legislation involving heavy carbon taxes and regulation.

Card check, which effectively abolishes the secret ballot in the workplace, is the fondest wish of a union movement to which Obama is highly beholden. Major tax hikes, possibly including a value-added tax, will undoubtedly be included in the recommendations of the president’s debt commission, which conveniently reports by Dec. 1. And carbon taxes would be the newest version of the cap-and-trade legislation that has repeatedly failed to pass the current Congress — but enough dead men walking in a lame-duck session might switch and vote to put it over the top.

It’s a target-rich environment. The only thing holding the Democrats back would be shame, a Washington commodity in chronically short supply. To pass in a lame-duck session major legislation so unpopular that Democrats had no chance of passing it in regular session — after major Democratic losses signifying a withdrawal of the mandate implicitly granted in 2008 — would be an egregious violation of elementary democratic norms.

Charles doesn’t think even the Democrats are that dishonorable, but I’m not so sure. When in the minority from 2003-2006, the Democrats regularly and shamelessly put the electoral interests of their party ahead of the national interest during the war in Iraq, so much so that they reminded me of their Copperhead ancestors of the 1860s.

Then, having taken control of both Congress and the White House in January, 2009, they rammed through ObamaCare in the face of massive public opposition while freezing the opposition out of the process and making use of dishonest parliamentary maneuvers. While the public wanted them to pay attention to jobs and the ailing economy, the Democrats instead went on a spending binge with a pork-laden stimulus package (that only stimulated the debt) and budgets that bore no relation to fiscal reality or the will of the people. They’ve only recently shelved the latest version of their economy-killing and unpopular cap-and-trade bill – perhaps to rise like a zombie in the lame duck session? And, as Krauthammer points out, that isn’t all that’s on their progressive wish list.

Like all good progressive statists, the dominant wing of the Democratic Party believes government elites know better than the people what’s good for the people and that we “just don’t understand.” They need us to vote them into office but, once there, they have no further need to listen to us. (Remember the resentment they showed at the town-hall meetings in the summer of 2009 -or more recently?) And because they see themselves as an elite that knows better than everyone else what the nation needs, it’s not hard for me to imagine a good number of them acting out of pique at having their mandate withdrawn in November and thinking “Fine, we’ll show you!”

The prospect of a legislative finger flipped at the public in a lame-duck session reminds me of nothing so much as a line from Moby Dick – or the best of the Star Trek movies:

“To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee; For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee”

If that happens, the Republicans should go into total-filibuster mode, blocking everything except the most routine legislation. In the short window of a lame-duck session, they can probably hold the line.

After which the Democrats, like Khan, can enter a well-deserved exile.

LINKS: Power Line thinks the Democrats might feel constrained by the number of seats they have to defend in the Senate in 2012. More from Allahpundit.

UPDATE: I knew it, I just knew it!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


California’s arrogant legislature

July 11, 2010

I’ve often said in recent years that California isn’t a democracy; it’s instead an oligarchy ruled by a corrupt and distant elite in the legislature who only appear before the people when they need our votes for reelection, but otherwise ignore us and treat us as bothersome children at best.

Next November’s election will see a glaring example of that oligarchy at its arrogant best. On the list of ballot propositions sits number 27, which will eliminate the citizen’s commission created to draw legislative district boundaries and give the power to the legislature.

What’s wrong with that, you ask?

Proposition 27 is a ballot initiative that effectively repeals Proposition 11, which the voters passed in 2008 for the express purpose taking the redistricting power away from the legislature. California has long had a problem with “safe seats,” assembly and state senate seats in which the incumbent is almost guaranteed reelection because the district has been gerrymandered to give the legislator a majority of favorable voters. The result was a group of lawmakers who really had no need to listen to the voters and could rule almost as they wished – in other words, as an oligarchy.

Allowing legislators to draw their own districts is like letting corporations create territories in which they agree not to compete with each other: for customers and voters, the lack of genuine competition and choice can only work to their detriment. Proposition 11 was meant to break this corrupt arrangement, and the citizen’s commission being formed now will get its first chance to draw genuinely competitive districts next year.

Yes, that’s right. The oligarchs behind this measure are trying to gut the commission before its been tried even once. So desperate are they to protect their incumbencies (and six-figure salaries, plus hefty perks) that they are going to try to slip this sham through, hoping the public isn’t paying attention. That’s how little they think of us, even as they claim it’s for the good of the state.

And this measure is not only intended to take back for the legislature the power to draw its own districts, but also gut the intent of Proposition 20, a follow-on measure to add the drawing of congressional districts to the duties of the citizen’s commission. Democrats in the California congressional delegation fought earlier combined redistricting reform attempts tooth and nail. But now that Prop 20 looks like it has a good chance to succeed, Pelosi, Berman, and others have joined with their Sacramento colleagues to protect their own safe seats with Proposition 27 serving as a Trojan Horse.

Make no mistake: the arguments in favor of Proposition 27 are bunk. It isn’t about democracy, saving the state money, or making those who draw the districts “accountable to the voters.” (PDF. That last is one of their sick jokes, I’d guess.) It is nothing more than an attempt by the oligarchy to thwart the will of the people and  preserve their legislative fiefdoms. Don’t let them fool you. Vote no on Proposition 27 and yes on Proposition 20.

And tell the oligarchs to go to Hell.

(via FlashReport)


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