UPDATE to original post: Obama has lost the left-leaning New Republic. From American Liberals and the Streets of Cairo:
…the Obama administration, and American liberals more generally, have been caught intellectually unprepared for this crisis.
It was a terrible mistake for Obama to make democratization seem like an “imposition,” with its imperialist implications, and to conflate it with military invasion
That’s what Obama did last year when protestors in Iran took to the streets, and the Mullahs crushed them. Egypt more resembles Iran under the Shah in 1979. An Islamist revolution in Egypt could come if the Muslim Brotherhood gains its footing. Will Obama’s lack of support for democratization of Egypt mean a replay of Jimmie Carter and the Khomeini revolution?
UPDATE II: For the view that the uprising in Cairo in 2011 will more nearly resemble that in Paris in 1968 than that in Teheran in 1979, see Bret Stephens in today’s Wall Street Journal, Being Hosni Mubarak.
Bruce Riedel, Obama Administration insider and scholar at the Brookings Institution says, “Understanding the Brotherhood is vital to understanding our options,” and then demonstrates that he doesn’t have a clue about the Muslim Brotherhood. Riedel says, Don’t Fear Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood…why? Well, let’s see…oh yes, “it has an enormous social-welfare program that provides cheap education and health care.”
There are a few clues about the present intentions of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt that even one who is not an Obama insider can glean for themselves. The Iranian regime claims to support the protesters. Mohamed ElBaradei has returned to Egypt in alliance with the Brotherhood and ElBaradei is said to be working for the Iranians. If the Iranian regime wants the Muslim Brotherhood to take control in Egypt it is only because they see that as a path to making Egypt a clone of Lebanon. Anyone think Hezbollah in control of a new government in Egypt would be a good idea? And then, there is the Muslim Brotherhood’s motto:
Allah is our objective, the Prophet is our leader, the Koran is our law, Jihad is our way, and dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope. Allahu akbar!
“What, me worry?” says Riedel.
Andrew McCarthy, with a good deal more understanding of history and present reality, says Fear The Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood’s deep antipathy toward the West and its historical attraction to the Nazis’ virulent anti-Semitism is just a part of the problem that will be faced if a new government in Egypt is dominated by it. Anyone with an interest in this should read all of McCarthy’s article, which appears at National Review Online.
Hillary Clinton talks of an “orderly transisition” and “stability.” A Muslim Brotherhood power position in Egypt will be the very antithesis of stability and order. One of the Brotherhood’s leaders in Egypt has just called for war with Israel.
Mohamed ElBaradei is in Tahrir Square in central Cairo making a speech to protesters. This essentially constitutes an alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood and ElBaradei. Brotherhood members are moving through the crowd while ElBaradei speaks. There are now two clear sides, the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt’s new vice president Omar Suleiman, Mubarak’s choice to try to save his hide. Don’t expect a unity government no matter what anyone says.
Meanwhile, Rachid Ghannouchi is back in Tunisia from exile by the former regime several years ago. He is no moderate. Rashid Ghannouchi was born in 1941 in the south of Tunisia. As a student in Damascus and Paris, he embraced the doctrines of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ghannouchi has urged violence against U.S. interests, and demanded Israel’s destruction.
The King’s Speech by Richard Fernandez at Belmont Club:
“Events are unfolding, but they have not yet run their course; things are still continuing to cascade. If the unrest spreads to the point where the Suez and regional oil fall into anti-Western hands, the consequences would be incalculable. The scale of the left’s folly: their insistence on drilling moratoriums, opposition to nuclear power, support of negotiations with dictators at all costs, calls for unilateral disarmament, addiction to debt and their barely disguised virulent anti-Semitism should be too manifest to deny.
“It will be interesting to see if anyone can fill up their cars with carbon credits when oil tankers stop coming or when black gold is marked at $500 a barrel. It is even possible that within a relatively short time the only government left friendly to Washington in the Middle East may be Iraq. There is some irony in that, but it is unlikely to be appreciated.
“The Left is always correct and when it is not, they will simply rewrite history.”
A diplomatic failure is unfolding before our eyes, and a takeover of Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood appears likely. Read the whole thing: The King’s Speech
I wanted to know what he thought of the Muslim Brotherhood. Was it even possible that they are as moderate as they want everyone to believe?
“They are moderate because they don’t have guns,” he said. “They don’t kill people. It’s true. But most of the armed terrorist groups we see now were born out of the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
You must read the whole thing. The quote above is only a teaser.
Big Pharaoh’s latest post on his blog was in January, 2008. It is rumored that he has been imprisoned but I couldn’t confirm it.
With the impending rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Tunisia, we’re in for some bad times, from sky-high oil prices to gargantuan failures of Obama diplomacy.
Army Air Force crew of a B-29 (12 aviators) was rescued by a U.S. Navy submarine after their plane was shot down, 70 miles off the coast of Japan. The entire rescue was filmed in color, but then sat in a closet until now. This is a story from a Denver TV station of one of those rescued aviators to whom the video was delivered, more than 60 years later.
Ed Driscoll gives a devastating indictment of old media for misreporting and outright lying about violent public shootings and bombings from the Kennedy Assassination to the Arizona Shooting by Jared Lee Loughner. The old media hasn’t realized that with the rise of the internet their mendacious reporting doesn’t work so well anymore. This video essay shines the light of truth in some dark places.
The old media has a narrative that it seeks to advance. It manipulates the facts of these stories to fit the narrative that it wants to present. They got used to never being challenged for what they say and write, which explains how The New York Times could present two opposing allegations of fact on the same page within 24 hours after President Kennedy had been shot — one accurately reported that Lee Harvey Oswald was a communist, and the other that the assassination was a product of a violent culture in America.
From The Detroit News:
State Sen. Mike Green is looking to abolish the limitations concerning concealed weapons and allow those with licenses to carry a firearm essentially anywhere in the state. Green, R-Mayville, said he introduced the bills today in order to prove “there are no places that should be gun free.”
This is a good idea and I hope it gets some traction in Michigan, and then in other states. Anyone with a CCW has already been given a thorough criminal background check and found to be law abiding and of good character. State by state records show CCW permit holders to be extraordinarily law abiding and trustworthy. Typically, less than 1%, sometimes much less, of all currently outstanding CCW holders get involved in anything that results in a suspension or revocation of their permit. In most states it takes only relatively minor offenses (other than traffic infractions) to cause a permit to be suspended or revoked. A high number of suspended permits are reinstated when the matter causing suspension is cleared up.
Gun free zones are danger zones. That is where violent criminals and the mentally disturbed go to commit their heinous acts, knowing there will be no one there to immediately stop them. Jared Loughner was still capable of shooting more people in the Arizona shooting when a lawfully armed citizen helped others subdue him. This man was not in the immediate area but heard the gun shots and ran toward the gunfire. It is often the case that lawfully armed citizens are not only good citizens, they are courageous citizens proving that we do indeed live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. At least when it’s allowed.
UPDATE: Some place restrictions are just absurd. Georgia prohibits permit holders to carry their guns in any place of worship, even if the church gives its permission. This precludes a pastor from having his gun in his own study. The absurd thing about this law is that can be no justification for it. None. It’s just a naked restriction for…what? Churches have been targeted by criminals and nut jobs and making them a gun-free zone increases rather than reduces the likelihood of a massacre. A more reasonable policy is to let the church decide whether it wants to allow its members who are CCW holders to carry their guns, as Utah does. Any church in Utah can prohibit guns in its church by filing a notice with the Utah BCI [Bureau of Criminal Identification] which will then list it on the BCI website. Only one church in Utah has done that: The Church of Latter Day Saints. I don’t know their reason. All other churches allow guns.
For a rundown of complaints that people have about the new low phosphate automatic dishwashing detergent, and to commiserate with others if you are having problems with getting your fine wine glasses to shine again, check out the comments that appear after the article at this site.
It’s no longer possible to say you don’t like politics and to just ignore it. I didn’t like politics until I was in my late thirties and happily ignored it until that time. If I voted at all I wrote in “PInk Floyd” and when anyone asked me who I voted for president I proudly told them I voted for Pink Floyd (which is just a name and not a real person). But how can you ignore something that is so pervasive it is in your bathroom, your shower, your bedroom, all over your house at night with the lightbulbs we will soon be forced to use, and now in your kitchen, your cupboard, your wine glass cabinet, on your dinner table, in your car, on your cell phone, and on and on until it is in every nook and cranny of your life? Even the time of day is political now with the idiotic extension of daylight savings time into winter.
This part was just weird:
”…to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child – become a teacher. Your country needs you.”
Yeah, he needs more teachers so more tax money can be transferred to the teachers’ union who will then funnel it back to Democrats.
He finds more places to increase spending that places to cut spending. He doesn’t get it. He’s hopelessly left wing and can’t think any other way.
“The facts are clear: Since taking office, President Obama has signed into law spending increases of nearly 25% for domestic government agencies – an 84% increase when you include the failed stimulus.
All of this new government spending was sold as “investment.” Yet after two years, the unemployment rate remains above 9% and government has added over $3 trillion to our debt.
Then the President and his party made matters even worse, by creating a new open-ended health care entitlement.
What we already know about the President’s health care law is this: Costs are going up, premiums are rising, and millions of people will lose the coverage they currently have. Job creation is being stifled by all of its taxes, penalties, mandates and fees.
Businesses and unions from around the country are asking the Obama Administration for waivers from the mandates. Washington should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. The President mentioned the need for regulatory reform to ease the burden on American businesses. We agree – and we think his health care law would be a great place to start.
Last week, House Republicans voted for a full repeal of this law, as we pledged to do, and we will work to replace it with fiscally responsible, patient-centered reforms that actually reduce costs and expand coverage.
Health care spending is driving the explosive growth of our debt. And the President’s law is accelerating our country toward bankruptcy.
Our debt is out of control. What was a fiscal challenge is now a fiscal crisis.
We cannot deny it; instead we must, as Americans, confront it responsibly.”
Since 1960 the unemployment rate has exceeded 6% only five times on the date of a presidential election. In all but one of those times the incumbent or the candidate of the party in power lost. The exception was 1984 when the unemployment rate was 7.2% and Reagan won re-election. That can be explained by the fact that it was over 10% when Reagan took office and it had declined by 3 percentage point in the two years leading up to the election. Reagan got the credit for that.
With a current unemployment rate of 9.4%, that has climbed to that height under his watch, Obama is looking at considerable trouble if unemployment remains that high in November, 2012. The rate was 4.3% when Democrats took over Congress in 2006; it was 6.5% when Obama was elected; and it was 8.5% when he was inaugurated.
Obama promised that the stimulus package would lower unemployment below 8%, but the stimulus has been a colossal failure. John Taylor has an excellent article in the current issue of Commentary in which he explains exactly why the stimulus was such a failure. Besides the fact that fiscal stimulus seldom delivers the hoped-for results, this particular stimulus package may have been the worst of all such boondoggles in history because the money was spent in all the wrong places. Even if it had been spent as intended it would only have saved or created government jobs. But it didn’t even do that because the states that received the money just put it in their general fund where they used it to pay off debts. The government jobs, mostly teacher positions, did result in some layoffs but most of the teachers kept their jobs because the state governments did what they always do: They borrowed to make up their deficits. Now we hear talk of finding ways for states to file bankruptcy which is expressly prohibited under current law.
Remember these things as Obama makes big promises of a rosey future tonight. When he talks about “investment” in high-speed rail and renewable energy, think money down a rat hole for another boondoggle (high-speed rail) and a fantasy (renewable energy). Even The New York Times has been putting “investment” in scare quotes as Obama tries to avoid saying the obvious: Another trillion dollars of new and unnecessary spending.
None of what he will talk about tonight will lead to a reduction of unemployment from 9.4% to 6% or below by election day 2012. That’s going to be a huge problem for him that he cannot escape or blame on anyone else. Apparently, this has not dawned on Obama yet. Time is fast running out.
To be sure, the president and the government cannot create any jobs, except government jobs and those don’t equate to economic recovery. It’s the private sector that creates jobs, but employers won’t start hiring unless and until the government adopts pro-growth economic policies. That would mean lowering taxes and getting rid of needless and economically damaging regulations. Listen carefully tonight and see if you hear anything about that. It’s doubtful.
Watching the “show” tonight one might want to remember these words from Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural speech:
In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?
— Ronald Reagan, January 20, 1981
UPDATE: Colorado unemployment rate up to 8.8%, highest in 30 years. Story here.
Unemployment line in the Great Depression
Harry Reid will try to keep Obamacare repeal from coming up for a vote for two reasons: Some Democrats who are up for reelection in 2012 will vote for repeal — they know it’s not popular with their voters and could cost them reelection. Even Democrats in safe seats will be forced to vote against repeal which will hurt them with some of their voters as well. Having a Senate vote on repeal of Obamacare is good for Republicans and bad for Democrats anyway you slice it.
Democrats will rue the day they let Reid and Pelosi put this albatross around their necks, if they don’t already.
Time Enough For Love is the Robert Heinlein novel that gets polar opposite reader ratings on Amazon. All 5-stars and 1-stars, little in between. Readers either love it or hate it, the latter finding it crushingly boring or take offense at the sexual framework (sex between relatives, a man having sex with female clones of himself) in which the main story is set. But all that is the back story for a series of inner stories that are quite good, and full of great thoughts from Heinlein’s Lazarus Long, a 2,000 year old man in the distant future.
I think the book is worth it for the great Heinlein quotes from Lazarus Long, even if you find the story lacking in interest. Examples:
In one of the inner stories Lazarus Long time travels back to Kansas City of 1916 to visit his parents. Heinlein’s slice-of-life realism is that of an accomplished and gifted writer.
It might be because they are tougher. It may be that women are biologically better able to withstand adverse conditions, resistance to disease, trauma, hunger, cold weather, etc. We are conditioned to believe just the opposite, that men are the strong sex and women the weaker. But toughness is not the same as strength. Toughness can make you live longer, strength only allows you to lift heavier objects and unscrew lids.
The survival statistics of the Donner party are that over three times as many men as women died when the party was trapped in the Sierra Nevada during the winter of 1846-47. There were 82 (some accounts say 83) that were trapped, 37 died and 45 survived. Of those that died at least 28 were men and 8 were women. [that leaves one unaccounted for, I know that. Add that one to whichever you like, it won’t matter. Every account I read has a different answer for it.] Twenty men and 25 women survived.
There are all sorts of theories about why so many more men than women died. Some say the men spent all their energy taking care of the women. Others say age differences were a factor. I’m skeptical of those explanations because under those conditions no one gets to take it easy. Survival of that ordeal would have been a full time effort for every individual. Unless you’ve been in the Sierra Nevada in the winter you might not appreciate it. The snow seems to never stop, the temperature seems to never rise a single degree, the wind seems to never slow. It must have been utter hell (without the heat). Of course, no one alive today can fully appreciate being there with only mid-19th century technology.
The Donner party is but one survival story among many in which men die in greater numbers than women. For species survival this makes sense. Male deaths are less threatening to the survival of any species than female deaths. Hardier females ensure the survival of the next generation. Nature can afford to be indifferent as to whether males survive beyond sexual maturity, so it is.
I’m staying alive. Mrs. TeeJaw doesn’t want to be alone. She can’t get the lid off the jelly jar.
I’ve just returned from the SHOT Show in Las Vegas where every kind of gun or gun accessory was on display. I didn’t see all of it because the show only lasts four days and it’s not possible to see it all in that short a time. Besides, one of my days was spent in the Glock Armorer’s class to renew my factory certified armorer’s certificate with the great Dennis Tueller (of “Tueller Drill” fame) as instructor.
These past fews days have caused me to reflect on gun rights today and where we were just ten years ago. In 2001 the Clinton gun ban was still in effect, the Colorado CCW law had been killed in 1999 just as it was ready to go the governor for signature, as a result of Columbine. I lost a good friend over Columbine, not because he was a victim of the madmen who shot up the school but because he became an hysterical anti-gun sort who blamed all gun owners, including me, for the acts of two evil and depraved teenagers. I think that sort of thing was happening in a lot of places. Friendships destroyed over political nonsense.
Since then the Clinton gun ban was allowed to expire in 2003. Colorado got its CCW law enacted in 2003. Later, the U.S. Supreme Court settled the long-standing argument over whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms by holding that it does (Heller v. District of Columbia). Two years later the court held that the Second Amendment is incorporated by the 14th Amendment and applies to the States (McDonald v. Chicago). It would be hard to overstate how these two cases have changed the conversation on gun rights in America. It’s now respectable to say you are a supporter of gun rights, that gun rights are a good thing, and that owning a gun can make a lot of sense for a lot of people. Gun sales have gone through the roof (that’s one reason the SHOT show has got so big) and crime has continue to go down. Widespread gun ownership and gun knowledge is not such a good thing for criminals.
When Barack Obama appeared on the verge of being elected to the Presidency an electric shock went through the world of gun enthusiasts. No friend of guns or gun owners, it was feared that Obama would try to institute new Clinton-style gun bans. The execrable Frank Lautenberg was back in the Senate licking his chops, and Long Island Representative Carolyn McCarthy was in high key for a bunch of new gun restrictions. California Senator Dianne Feinstein and New York’s Chuck You Shumer stood in the ready to take up the fight. But the political climate had changed. No new restrictions of any significance were passed and, lo and behold, the gun restriction in National Parks was lifted.
The Brady Campaign seems not to have noticed this and keeps up their efforts to outlaw guns but they don’t have any juice with enough politicians anymore. The politicians just got tired of losing elections over the gun issue, I think. In fact, some Democrats have clearly got the message and come out in support of gun owners. Witness the complete collapse of the efforts of a few liberals to try to capitalize on the Arizona shooting to get new gun laws enacted.
This is no time to get overconfident but even such lefty websites as The Huffington Puffington Post seem to have a new attitude. A current post on that site by Dan Baum, a former writer for The New Yorker of all things, has a pro-gun piece that is quite good. In After Tucson: Stricter Gun Laws Aren’t The Answer, Mr. Baum says:
Gun control not only does no practical good, it actively causes harm. It may be hard to show that it saves lives, but it’s easy to demonstrate that we’ve sacrificed a generation of progress on things like health care, women’s rights, immigration reform, income fairness, and climate change because we keep messing with people’s guns. I am researching a book on Americans’ relationship to their guns, and keep meeting working-stiff gun guys — people whose wages haven’t risen since 1978 and should be natural Democrats — who won’t even listen to the blue team because they’re convinced Democrats want to take away their guns. Misguided? Maybe. But that’s democracy for you. It’s helpful to think of gun control as akin to marijuana prohibition — useless for almost everything except turning otherwise law-abiding people into criminals and fomenting cynicism and resentment. All the talk of a new large-magazine ban hits gun guys’ ears like liberals using this disaster to trim back gun rights a little. It reinforces the toxic narrative that the Democrats are the enemy of regular guys, which is the last thing we need right now.
I think we’ve won the argument with liberals over guns. So, on to all that other stuff Mr. Baum identifies on the liberal agenda, health care, immigration, income fairness, climate change, etc. Conservatives are just as right and liberals are just as wrong about all that stuff too.
Sargent Shriver, first head of the Peace Corps under John Kennedy, ambassador to France under Lyndon Johnso, George McGovern’s 1972 running mate, and member of the Kennedy family by his marriage to Eunice Kennedy Shriver (who survives him) died Tuesday at age 95.
This makes me feel old. He was 95? Already?
I’m glad I always thought Sargent Shriver was a good guy, even after I lost all respect for the the rest of the Kennedys, excepting JFK.
For some reason, I just learned recently that Shriver and his wife were pro-life. That must have caused some consternation in the Kennedy clan.
An open letter appeared in the New York Times in July 1992, during the Democrat Convention. Sargent and Eunice Shriver were signers of that letter, along with two dozen prominent Americans. Here is the pertinent part of that letter:
The advocates of abortion on demand falsely assume two things: that women must suffer if the lives of unborn children are legally protected; and that women can only attain equality by having the legal option of destroying their innocent offspring in the womb. The cynicism of these assumptions reflects a terrible failure of moral imagination and social responsibility and an appalling lack of respect for women….
We can choose to reaffirm our respect for human life. We can choose to extend once again the mantle of protection to all members of the human family, including the unborn. We can choose to provide effective care of mothers and children.
And if we make those choices, America will experience a new birth of freedom, bringing with it a renewed spirit of community, compassion, and caring.
Sargent Shriver, R. I. P.
I’m not buying many books on Kindle anymore since they are now almost the same price as the hardcover. In that case I’d rather have the book.
For example, Thomas Sowell’s new 4th edition of Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy is $23.97 for the hard cover at Amazon and $19.99 for the Kindle edition. I want every book that Thomas Sowell writes so I’ll buy it (even though I already have the 1st, 2nd and 3rd editions of the same book), but I’ll buy the hard cover not the Kindle. I just won’t shell out nearly the same money for a download even though I’d like to have it. If the Kindle download were offered at a substantial markdown to buyers of the hardcover I’d probably buy them both.
We are told that paper books will soon go the way of VHS video tape, audio cassettes, and kodachrome. I think there might be some resistance to that.
Volume and mark up represent two distinct business plans in retailing. Walmart uses volume and its owners became billionaires. Mark up is a strategy that only works in narrow segments of the economy and makes very few people rich.
There is another phenomenon of retailing that has left a lot products in the dustbin of history. Once something prices itself out of the market it takes a long time, if ever, to recover. People get out of the habit of buying it and aren’t easily lured back. A reputation once earned is hard to shake.
J.R. Dunn, novelist, military historian and frequent contributor to the American Thinker website, wanted to write a definitive book on liberalism. Someone suggested he write “the black book of liberalism,” taking the phrase from the title of another book: The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression.
That’s what he has done, but has given it a different title. Death by Liberalism: The Fatal Outcome of Well-Meaning Policies, is about the unintended consequences of government policies liberals have inflicted on their fellow countrymen by force and effect of law over the last 50 years.
“We have known for years that liberalism is corrupt, wasteful, and futile. Now we know that it is even worse. Liberalism is lethal.” So says Dunn as he recounts the consequences of liberal policies on DDT, ethanol, Federal child protection, gun-free zones, closing of mental asylums, soft-on-crime policies, replacing fathers with welfare checks, and more. Dunn believes all of the terrible consequences that he describes, with much evidence to back up his claims, are not the result of nefarious or dastardly schemes but the unforeseen consequences of good intentions gone awry.
It’s easy to imagine that Dunn is too charitable. Given that those responsible for the policies in the first place are not stupid and that they continue to defend the policies even after it has been shown how lethal they are, Dunn might be giving them the benefit of the doubt where there isn’t much doubt to give.
Just one example: DDT was banned nearly worldwide on thin evidence. Before the DDT ban Malaria had been nearly eliminated worldwide. But without the use of DDT in Africa for over two decades malaria made a comeback and was soon killing no less than one million Africans a year. Have you seen any liberals apologizing for these deaths? It would seem they should be wringing their hands, begging forgiveness, and rushing truckloads of DDT to Africa to kill the Anopheles Mosquito. Well, you won’t see that anytime soon. Instead liberals continue to defend the banning of DDT. They mean well. Their intentions are good. Sure.
And with Obamacare, the beat goes on.