Preemptive appeasement

January 31, 2008

I wrote last week about the valiant efforts of UK educational authorities to carry out a forward strategy of submission by refusing to publish an award-winning digital version of the Three Little Pigs because it might be culturally offensive to Muslims, even though no one had complained about it.

Yesterday at Pajamas Media, Pam Meister took that same story and expanded it through other examples into a general essay on why appeasement never gets you peace: This Little Piggy Was Banned from Market

Taking the high road to sensitivity may make these culture judges feel good about themselves. But when the self-proclaimed gatekeepers of Western civilization bow and scrape to keep from “offending” every Johnny-come-lately who makes demands of the native population regarding tradition and values – and even when they don’t – what exactly is there to recommend said Western culture? Banks in Britain have already stopped handing out piggy banks to children who open savings accounts, and some British schools are not teaching students about the Holocaust because some in their Muslim population are taking the line from Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and claiming the Holocaust never happened.

Better to ignore history than to offend a handful of Holocaust deniers.

As Meister points out later, appeasing these groups once is never enough: what to us is an attempt at conciliation and compromise is taken by them as a sign of weakness, something to be exploited with further demands. And it always starts with seemingly trivial things, such as a Muslim cabby refusing a fare because the passenger is carrying alcohol, or a checker at a store refusing to scan a customer’s pork chops because pork is against the checker’s religion. In the end, you become so accustomed to appeasing and accommodating that you might not even notice when you give away the big things, such as equality before the law — or democracy itself.

This is how cultural jihad works: demanding special privileges and exceptions as a right because one is Muslim, and therefore superior. (Sura 3:110) It’s a difficult enough threat to face as it is; we shouldn’t make things worse by falling all over ourselves to surrender.

Republican debate

January 30, 2008

OK, I understand why Huckabee is still being invited — he’s there to be McCain’s stalking horse and as an audition as the senator’s running-mate. Fine.

But why in Heaven’s name is that lunatic Ron Paul being invited? Comedy value?

Elmer Gantry moves on

January 30, 2008

John Edwards is quitting the race. Guess he couldn’t find enough suckers.


Farewell, Rudy. Hello, Mitt.

January 29, 2008

As Pepe Le Pew often said, "Le sigh. Le big sigh." Rudy Giuliani’s backup strategy of using Florida as the place to kick-start his campaign failed. John McCain won, Mitt Romney came in a respectable second, and Rudy finished a distant third. I truly did think Giuliani would be the best president, and I still do, but one can’t ignore the hard reality of the final count.

I watched Rudy’s concession speech tonight. Not only was it gracious and, as always, optimistic, but it also had the feel of a swan song, a farewell. Word is that Mayor Giuliani will withdraw tomorrow and endorse his old friend Senator McCain. With respect, yeronner, my vote in California’s primary next week will go to the other guy.

It hasn’t been an easy choice for me. There’s a lot to like and admire about McCain: his war record, his steadfastness on the Long War (my key issue), his bluff manner, his fiscal conservatism, his ability to work with members of the other party to get something done in Washington.

On the other hand….

There’s a lot that seriously troubles me about him, too. His willingness to work with the other party too often leads him to give too much, sacrificing sound principle in the name of bipartisanship. I particularly recall the McCain-Feingold Act, which I regard as a serious breach of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free political speech. I think he’s dead wrong on the camp at Guantanamo Bay, waterboarding, and application of the Geneva conventions to terrorists. He’s pandered to populism by demonizing pharmaceutical companies, and he seems to have bought into the nonsense of anthropogenic global warming.

More importantly, however, I have questions about his temperament. I’ve seen signs over the years that he has an explosive, perhaps abusive temper, and I’m certain that his vanity makes him vulnerable to flattery from the press and Democrats, hence his over-eagerness to compromise on legislation. I’m not comfortable supporting someone with these weaknesses when there are still good choices.

Hence, my decision to vote for Mitt Romney. There are two good essays arguing why he’s the best choice here and here. Those cover most of the bases, so I’ll add only a couple of points.

On the Long War, Mitt has shown he gets it. His speech at Herzliya proved that to me, even if he was more equivocal about the "surge" strategy that I would have liked. I’m comfortable entrusting the nation’s security to him.

But I’d be comfortable with McCain in this regard, too, so what makes the difference? For me, it’s experience in the real economy. America faces continual challenges to its prosperity, and I want someone well-familiar with the global economy setting policy. Having looked at Governor Romney’s performance as a businessman and as a Republican governor in the most liberal Democratic state commonwealth in the nation, I think he’s a better choice than John McCain.

Hence, I’ll be voting for Mitt Romney in California’s February 5th primary, and I urge you to do so in your own. Don’t get me wrong: if McCain is the nominee, I’ll have no trouble voting for him against either Clinton (both of them) or Obama. But he’s not my first choice. Romney now is. To quote Pepe Le Pew once again….

Go, Mitt.


Hitch on the Clintons

January 29, 2008

Christopher Hitchens has a lot of personal demons, but he is a light cutting through the fog when it comes to the Clintons and their serial exploitation of the race card: Fool Me Thrice

I never quite understand how the Clintons’ initial exploitation of racism was overlooked the first time around and has been airbrushed from the record since. After falling behind in the New Hampshire primary in 1992, and after being caught lying about the affair with Gennifer Flowers to which he later confessed under oath, Clinton left the campaign trail and flew home to Arkansas to give the maximum publicity to his decision to sign a death warrant for Ricky Ray Rector. Rector was a black inmate on death row who had shot himself in the head after committing a double murder and, instead of dying as a result, had achieved the same effect as a lobotomy would have done. He never understood the charge against him or the sentence. After being served his last meal, he left the pecan pie on the side of the tray, as he told the guards who came to take him to the execution chamber, "for later." Several police and prison-officer witnesses expressed extreme queasiness at this execution of a gravely impaired man, and the prison chaplain, Dennis Pigman, later resigned from the prison service. The whole dismal and cruel and pathetic story was told by Marshall Frady in a long essay in The New Yorker in 1993 and is also recounted in a chapter titled "Chameleon in Black and White" by your humble servant in his book No One Left To Lie To. For now, I just ask you to imagine what would have been said if a Republican governor, falling in the polls, had gone out of his way to execute a mentally incompetent African-American prisoner.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Quote of the day

January 29, 2008

The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.

Hannah Arendt

Grab the popcorn!

January 28, 2008

The New York state chapter of NOW has attacked Teddy Kennedy for his endorsement of Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton: BETRAYAL!

Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal. Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard. Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, the Family Leave and Medical Act to name a few. Women have buried their anger that his support for the compromises in No Child Left Behind and the Medicare bogus drug benefit brought us the passage of these flawed bills. We have thanked him for his ardent support of many civil rights bills, BUT women are always waiting in the wings.

And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He’s picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list of progressive white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton (they will of course say they support a woman president, just not “this” one). “They” are Howard Dean and Jim Dean (Yup! That’s Howard’s brother) who run DFA (that’s the group and list from the Dean campaign that we women helped start and grow). They are Alternet, Progressive Democrats of America,, Kucinich lovers and all the other groups that take women’s money, say they’ll do feminist and women’s rights issues one of these days, and conveniently forget to mention women and children when they talk about poverty or human needs or America’s future or whatever.

This latest move by Kennedy, is so telling about the status of and respect for women’s rights, women’s voices, women’s equality, women’s authority and our ability – indeed, our obligation – to promote and earn and deserve and elect, unabashedly, a President that is the first woman after centuries of men who “know what’s best for us.”

She didn’t just flame Teddy and the Democratic establishment, she used napalm. But wait! It gets better! In a later press release, Marcia Pappas, the President of NY NOW, accuses Teddy of engaging in a psychological gang-bang of Hillary:

We’ve all witnessed scenarios where, on the playground little girls are being taunted by little boys while both girls and boys stand idle, afraid to speak up or even cheering.  Or, in the workplace males tease young and older female co-workers; make obscene gestures, inappropriate comments, laughing and expecting (often correctly) that everyone will join in. Then there was that movie where Jodie Foster portrayed the true story of woman who was ganged raped in a bar while others looked on and encouraged the realization.  Still others pretended the rape didn’t happen. In short, gang raping of women is commonplace in our culture both physically and metaphorically. 

This past week, we witnessed just such a phenomenon involving men who are afraid of a powerful woman. Hillary Clinton, in her quest for her Presidential nomination, has in fact endured infantile taunting and wildly inappropriate commentary.  Indeed we have witnessed almost comical attacks by John Edwards who in turn sided with Barak Obama as both snickered at Clinton’s "breakdown," which consisted of a very short dewy-eyed moment. Now John Kerry, who should certainly know better after his own "swiftboating," has joined the playground gang.

(Emphasis added.)

Read the whole thing.

Oh, this is going to be good. First the Clintons play the race card, trying to pit Whites and Latinos against Blacks. Now another Clintonista throws down the "you hate women" card. (Pappas only realized now that Teddy is a pig?) And she invoked the image of a Black man raping a White woman. Don’t tell me the Clinton campaign had nothing to do with this. When Teddy and his niece Caroline endorsed Obama, the Clinton "dynasty" was stabbed in the back by an even older, more aristocratic dynasty — the Kennedys. (Next thing you know, the Roosevelts, the Harrisons, and the Adams will rise from the grave to curse them all.) This carpet-bombing by the NOW chapter in Hillary’s home state is nothing less than retaliation. I’m surprised nobody mentioned Chappaquiddick.   

This is only going to get uglier as we come up to Mega-Tuesday on February 5th. And, if neither side decisively defeats the other that day, if these battles go on until and into the convention, it could tear the Democratic Party apart.

I call dibs on the aisle seat.

LINKS: More at Politico, Hot Air, Sister Toldjah, Captain’s Quarters, Bob Krumm.

UPDATE: Politico has more on the brewing civil war between the Clintons and the Democratic establishment, including the surprising (to me) revelation that senior Democrats in 1998 were close to asking President Clinton to resign. (hat tip: Blue Crab Boulevard.)

The depravity of our enemy

January 28, 2008

Al Qaeda is using children as suicide bombers.

(hat tip: Jihad Watch)

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Eh, who needs your endorsements, anyway?

January 28, 2008

Rudy Giuliani may be near the end in Florida, but at least he’s going down with a fight. In this latest ad, he takes all the endorsements McCain has won and turns them into a badge of honor — for Rudy:


Senator, you just got punked.

(hat tip: Captain Ed)

Anonymous strikes again

January 27, 2008

The mysterious anti-Scientology organization “Anonymous” has struck again, this time releasing a video addressed to the news media:


And here’s a link to a London Times article about this guerrilla war on the Internet: Web vigilantes attack Scientology website.

This is going to be entertaining. Freaky, but entertaining.



January 27, 2008

Islam expert Robert Spencer has a weekly series at Hot Air called Blogging the Qur’an. I highly recommend it. The Qur’an can be a difficult read, with its stilted language and incomplete references to people, places, and events that assume the reader has prior knowledge of. Spencer, using only respected Islamic sources, produces his own commentary and explicates the text for Western readers. I consider this an indispensable tool for anyone trying to get a grip on the theological basis for the jihad being waged against us.

The title of this post comes from this week’s essay, which covers Sura 13, “The Thunder.” Here is a link to all the essays posted so far.


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First they came for Piglet….

January 27, 2008

Mark Steyn‘s at his satirical best in this latest article on the multiculturalist, politically correct nonsense gripping official Britain:

So, henceforth, any terrorism perpetrated by persons of an Islamic persuasion will be designated “anti-Islamic activity.” Britain’s Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, unveiled the new brand name in a speech a few days ago. “There is nothing Islamic about the wish to terrorize, nothing Islamic about plotting murder, pain and grief,” she told her audience. “Indeed, if anything, these actions are anti-Islamic.”

Well, yes, one sort of sees what she means. Killing thousands of people in Manhattan skyscrapers in the name of Islam does, among a certain narrow-minded type of person, give Islam a bad name, and thus could be said to be “anti-Islamic” – in the same way that the Luftwaffe raining down death and destruction on Londoners during the Blitz was an “anti-German activity.”

But I don’t recall even Neville Chamberlain explaining, as if to a 5-year-old, that there is nothing German about the wish to terrorize and invade, and that this is entirely at odds with the core German values of sitting around eating huge sausages in beer gardens while wearing lederhosen.

Still, it should add a certain surreal quality to BBC news bulletins: “The prime minister today condemned the latest anti-Islamic activity as he picked through the rubble of Downing Street looking for his 2008 Wahhabi Community Outreach Award. In a related incident, the anti-Islamic activists who blew up Buckingham Palace have unfortunately caused the postponement of the Queen’s annual Ramadan banquet.”

And, if we close our eyes, the elephant in the living room will go away.

Be sure to read the whole thing.


January 27, 2008

Abe Greenwald makes the following observation regarding the Clintons’ sleazy tactics against Obama:

We know the divide-and-conquer approach at work here. If the Clintons can split the vote down black-white lines, Hillary will win through sheer mathematics, as white voters outnumber their black counterparts. But the Clintons have been so thoroughly exposed (and seemingly punished) for exploiting race, one would think Bill would attempt to cloak this strategy. The fact that he didn’t means one of two things: either the Clintons are so cocooned from public sentiment that they exist in a reality of their own making, or they’ve finally admitted that venom is their medium and embraced it without apology. That’s the real Clinton choice. Both options are equally chilling.

I really, really don’t want them in the White House for another four years, or eight, God forbid.

Low blow, Mac

January 27, 2008

Let’s be up-front: I’m a backer of Rudy Giuliani for the Republican nomination. But if, as seems increasingly likely, he does poorly in the Florida primary and has an effectively dead campaign heading into California’s election on February 5th, I might have to consider one of the other candidates, McCain or Romney*.  After this cheap shot, however, McCain’s made my choice quite a bit easier.

Come on, Senator. Let’s leave the slandering to the Democrats.

*(No, not Huck. No way, no how.)

UPDATE: More on McCain from Mark Steyn at NRO’s The Corner:

Personally I find the idea of running explicitly as a "man of
honor" rather unseemly, and more than a little reminiscent of Emerson’s
line that "the louder he proclaimed his honor, the faster we counted
the spoons" – the spoons in this case being campaign finance, illegal
immigration, global warming, Big Pharma demonization, etc.

that aside, there’s something extraordinarily petty about the High
Horseman’s jibes at both Romney and Rummy. Rumsfeld’s tenure at Defense
is for the historians now, but I know this: he was an unusually
far-sighted thinker for a Cabinet official, and his instant strategic
clarity by lunchtime of September 11th was critical to this nation’s
response. The reductive notion peddled by the Senator – that everything
that’s gone wrong in Iraq is Rumsfeld’s fault and everything that’s
gone right is McCain’s – is not only false but weirdly obsessive.

Rot in Hell, you bastard

January 26, 2008

George Habash is dead. Too bad it wasn’t from an Israeli bullet.

Naturally, our "moderate partners in peace," the Palestinian Authority, have declared three days of mourning for this serial murderer.

LINKS: His career is remembered at NRO. More at Power Line.

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Anonymous declares war on Scientology

January 26, 2008

Creepy video. Almost as creepy as the recently leaked Scientology propaganda videos featuring Tom Cruise and David Miscavige.

Pot vs. kettle moment

January 26, 2008

John Kerry attacks Bill Clinton for abusing the truth:

John Kerry, the Democratic Party’s 2004 nominee for president, took aim at Bill Clinton Friday, telling the National Journal the former president does "not have a license to abuse the truth."

The Massachusetts senator, who endorsed Barack Obama’s White House bid earlier this month, said Clinton’s criticisms of the Illinois senator have been "over the top," and suggested the former president is getting "frantic."

Targeting Clinton’s recent spate of attacks on Obama, Kerry said, "I think you had an abuse of the truth, is what happened. …I mean, being an ex-president does not give you license to abuse the truth, and I think that over the last days it’s been over the top.

I’m no fan of Bill Clinton, but this is just rich. John "Christmas in Cambodia" Kerry castigating anyone for playing fast and loose with the truth?

Is he really this clueless?

Why do the people of Massachusetts keep reelecting him?

(Of course, I could say the same thing about my fellow Californians and Barbara Boxer (D-Moron), but that’s another rant.)

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She could tear the Democratic Party apart

January 25, 2008

So writes Ezra Klein of the liberal The American Prospect about the controversy brewing over the seating at the convention of delegations from Florida and Michigan. Those states were stripped of their representation by the Democratic National Committee for holding their votes too early. The DNC also asked candidates not to campaign in either state, something they all agreed to, though Hillary left her name on the Michigan ballot.

Now she wants to rewrite the rules in mid-campaign:

"I hear all the time from people in Florida and Michigan that they want their voices heard in selecting the Democratic nominee.

"I believe our nominee will need the enthusiastic support of Democrats in these states to win the general election, and so I will ask my Democratic convention delegates to support seating the delegations from Florida and Michigan. I know not all of my delegates will do so and I fully respect that decision. But I hope to be President of all 50 states and U.S. territories, and that we have all 50 states represented and counted at the Democratic convention.

"I hope my fellow potential nominees will join me in this.

"I will of course be following the no-campaigning pledge that I signed, and expect others will as well."

Klein rightly points out what a sneaky move this is and how, should it work and the readmitted delegates put her over the top for the nomination, it could shatter the party:

…if this pushes her over the edge, the Obama camp, and their supporters, really will feel that she stole her victory. They didn’t contest those states because they weren’t going to count, not because they were so committed to the DNC’s procedural arguments that they were willing to sacrifice dozens of delegates to support it. It’s as hard as hardball gets, and the end could be unimaginably acrimonious. Imagine if African-American voters feel the rules were changed to prevent Obama’s victory, if young voters feel the delegate counts were shifted to block their candidate.

Not only is the prospect of open conventions for both parties intriguing, but I’ll confess to a bit of schadenfreude when it comes to the Democrats. They’ve spent the last five years putting party ahead of country in a time of war; they’ve spent the last 15 years excusing and defending the wretched personal behavior and destructive politics of the Clintons; and they’ve spent the last 40 years shamelessly exploiting the politics of race and identity. Now all those chickens are coming home to roost.

I have to give the Clintons credit for one thing, however: when they play to win, they spare nothing. Forget "take no prisoners." Hillary and Bill are willing to call artillery fire on their own position if it means they’ll win.

This should be fun to watch. beer

(hat tip: Memeorandum)

LINKS: Q and O, Josh Marshall, Michelle Malkin, Blue Crab Boulevard, Lawyers Guns and Money, and Captain’s Quarters, Riehl World View.

And I thought I was joking

January 25, 2008

Earlier today, I was joking with a friend that John Edwards is really running to be Hillary Clinton’s Attorney General.

Turns out I was half-right: according to Robert Novak, Barack Obama really is considering Elmer Gantry Edwards for AG:

Illinois Democrats close to Sen. Barack Obama are quietly passing the word that John Edwards will be named attorney general in an Obama administration.

Installation at the Justice Department of multimillionaire trial lawyer Edwards would please not only the union leaders supporting him for president but organized labor in general. The unions relish the prospect of an unequivocal labor partisan as the nation’s top legal officer.

I can’t decide if this would be a comedy or a tragedy. Does the Justice Department budget have a line-item for haircuts?

(hat tip: Overlawyered via Michelle Malkin)

Skewering Elmer Gantry

January 25, 2008

Charles Krauthammer nails John Edwards, a man whose deepest conviction is whatever he needs to say at the moment. A man who not only has changed his mind on an issue or two, but repudiates his entire record as a senator and claims he has always been against what he voted for: Losing Ugly

His entire campaign has been an orgy of regret and renunciation.

— As senator, he voted in 2001 for a bankruptcy bill that he now denounces.

— As senator, he voted for storing nuclear waste in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. Twice. He is now fiercely opposed.

— As senator, he voted for the Bush-Kennedy No Child Left Behind education reform. He now campaigns against it, promising to have it "radically overhauled."

— As senator, he voted for the Patriot Act, calling it "a good bill … and I am pleased to support it." He now attacks it.

— As senator, he voted to give China normalized trade relations. Need I say? He now campaigns against liberalized trade with China as a sellout of the middle class to the great multinational agents of greed, etc.

Breathtaking. People can change their minds about something. But everything? The man served one term in the Senate. He left not a single substantial piece of legislation to his name, only an astonishing string of votes on trade, education, civil liberties, energy, bankruptcy and, of course, war that now he not only renounces but inveighs against.

Today he plays the avenging angel, engaged in an "epic struggle" against the great economic malefactors that "have literally," he assures us, "taken over the government." He is angry, embodying the familiar zeal of the convert, ready to immolate anyone who benightedly holds to any revelation other than the zealot’s very latest.

Nothing new about a convert. Nothing new about a zealous convert. What is different about Edwards is his endlessly repeated claim that the raging populist of today is what he has always been. That this has been the "cause of my life," the very core of his being, ingrained in him on his father’s knee or at the mill or wherever, depending on the anecdote he’s telling. You must understand: This is not politics for him. "This fight is deeply personal to me. I’ve been engaged in it my whole life."

Except for his years as senator, the only public office he’s ever held. The audacity of the all-my-life trope is staggering. By his own endlessly self-confessed record, his current pose is a coat of paint newly acquired. His claim that it is an expression of his inner soul is a farce.

I’m not concerned about people who would support Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich; every election has its lunatic fringe. But I truly worry for those who fall for Edwards’ act, otherwise normal people who are evidently suckers for one of the most obvious con-men around.

LINKS: More at Captain’s Quarters.