The Closing of the Jewish Mind is spectacular example of Arab drivel that poses as ‘Arab intellectualism.’ Published in that beacon of Arab progressive thought, Egyptian government controlled Al Ahram, Oxford educated Issa Khalaf seriously expects his readers to believe that Jews and not Arabs, are burdened with psychosis. Seriously.

In Khalaf’s (delusional) mind, it is the Jews that display psychotic tendencies. In his alternate universe, it is the Arabs that are the picture of mental health. He sees some of the most dysfunctional cultures that ever inhabited our planet as noble ‘victims.’

Never mind that it was the Jews that arose from the ashes of the Holocaust. Never mind the reality that it was the Jews that went on to build a functioning democracy and world class, cultural, scientific and educational institutions. In Khalaf’s mind, it is the Jews that are psychotic.

The Arab world has failed in every endeavor they have attempted, with the singular example of Jew hatred. Indeed, if there were a Jew hatred Olympics, the Arab world would sweep the medals. Try this magnificent example of Khalaf’s bigotry on for size:

There is also that Jewish political tribalism, one whose roots extend deep into the past, whose fundamentalist holy men justify the taking of Arab life, the killing of Arab children, in juxtaposition to the superior sanctity of Jewish life and Jewish children.

(Talk about Khalaf’s hubris. It isn’t Jewish ‘tribalism’ that is threatening Christians. See this, this, this and this, for starters)

With the brazenness and pomposity of the true bigot, Khalaf brushed aside real Jewish religious expression. All over the world, cities with sizable Jewish populations built world class medical schools and hospitals to serve the communities in which they lived. There are Jewish founded hospitals in Australia. Canada has seven Jewish founded medical facilities. In the United States, there are in excess of fifty medical facilities founded by Jews to serve their community. That number does not take into account the hundreds of nursing home facilities founded by members of the Jewish community or the hundreds of non Jewish medical facilities substantially supported by members of the Jewish community. The same realities can be found all over Europe.

There is not a single example of an Arab funded community hospital.

Incredibly, Khalaf goes on to note that

The Palestinians are strikingly unburdened by the pathologies of their oppressors, not least of all because they do not reciprocate their occupier’s widespread racism…Yet unlike their tormentors, they’ve not lost their humanity and essential decency, their acceptance of their enemy’s humanity, their cultural generosity of spirit and life, their respect for the sacredness of all life, their sanity. I can’t imagine that Palestinian soldiers would cruelly and coolly remain unmoved — devoid of an abiding sense of rescue — by a Jewish mother dying in her house as her children watched in fear and horror.

(What immediately comes to mind are the images of frenzied Palestinians, dancing with joy, holding the entrails of two Israelis after they were lynched and butchered.) WARNING: graphic images.

Rusty Shackelford of The Jawa Report has more on Palestinian beheadings (WARNING: graphic images).

Let’s further examine Khalaf’s remarks- and complete detachment from reality.

Does Khalaf really believe that institutionalized hate in the Arab world has no effect in the Arab world? If that were really the case, why keep on endorsing hate? Why is there a concerted effort by Arab and Palestinian media, educational curricula and religious authorities to vilify and demonize Jews? Does Khalaf believe that calls uttered daily to ‘SLAUGHTER THE JEWS!’ or SLAUGHTER THE CRUSADERS!’ is an appropriate form of political expression?

Of course, criticism of Israel is not necessarily anti Semitic. On the other hand, criticism of Israel that hold that nation to a different standard from other nations is very anti Semitic. It is very easy to classify Khalaf as a racist, using the following criteria:

  • Examine the source. Does the author have a track record and history of anti-Jewish attitudes?
  • Do the critics habitually single out Israel for condemnation while ignoring far worse actions by other countries (especially other Middle Eastern countries)? Without exception, they can be labeled anti-Semitic.
  • Do the authors who delight in comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, or to traditional anti-Jewish stereotypical behavior, ignore at all costs even worse behaviors (especially by the dysfunctional Arab regimes)?
  • Do the critics of Israel attacks on the merits and/or worthiness of of Israel’s existence rather than individual government policies?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, the author or critic that is anti Israel is also anti Semitic- and there is nowhere for Khalaf to hide when it comes right down to it.

The argument that the Palestinians are not dysfunctional and share the same moral standards of civilized nations is laughable. As we have noted before, ‘Who in their right mind then, would agree that a society as corrupt, broken, dysfunctional, racist, bigoted and violent as the Palestinians, deserved their own state? While that kind of bestial behavior is not noteworthy in the Arab world, it is behavior that is repulsive in the civilized world.’ No amount of dancing by Issa Khalaf can change that reality.

In Khalaf’s defense, he himself is contaminated with the leprosy of hate. He cannot see what the civilized world sees. He finds no reason to condemn Arab hate, racism and bigotry. A Mickey Mouse derivative calling for the slaughter and annihilation of Jews by ‘martyrdom’ is not a problem. Children attending summer camps where they learn to kill is not a problem. In Khalaf’s world, Zionism is the problem. In Khalaf’s world, that Mein Kampf is a perennial best seller in the Arab world, second in ownership only to Quran, is not noteworthy.

What Khalaf and his ilk do not comprehend is that no amount of dancing or obfuscation can hide the reality that environment helps to shape values. The values found in free societies are very different than the values taught in dysfunctional, oppressive and repressive regimes.

The values of free societies are passed on to free citizens. We engage in free dissent, debate, argue and we are free to challenge each other, our government and especially, ourselves. We are free to formulate our own opinions and if we wish, we are free to change those opinions.

The values of repressive and dysfunctional societies become the values of citizens living in those societies. Subjugation, repression and hate are a part of everyday life in those societies. When it is all said and done, broken societies that espouse bigoted and broken ideologies will produce bigoted and broken people.

When we compare the values of the western free societies with the dysfunctional and oppressive values that are force fed in the Arab world, we have to ask ourselves a question: Are those values lacking, or are they absent from the Arab societies of today? There is a big difference between lacking values and the absence of values. If the values are simply lacking, they can be replaced fairly easily. If those values are absent, well, that is a whole other matter.

Arabs societies are at a loss as to why we are not ‘just like them’ as they would like us to believe. They cannot understand why we reject many of their values and bigotry. They cannot understand the magnificence of a pluralistic society. They seek a class based society where Islam dominates- forcefully, if necessary- and Arab influences are at the top of the that heap. With western rejection of those values comes frustration, and with that frustration, violence often follows. They see the rejection of their values as a rejection of themselves- they do not see or understand that by rejecting the ugly values they have had forced upon them, they can only elevate themselves.

We have noted many times that ‘When nations that are that are led by or are under the influence of tyrants or dictators, attempt to justify those actions, we can rightly assume that justification is false. Tyrants and dictators do not make moral choices, because moral choices can only lead to the demise of the tyranny.

Anyone that comes to the defense of tyrannical regimes and their leaders, have themselves made a conscious choice to defend and stand by what is immoral. They themselves consciously adopt an immoral posture.’

Adopting a particular moral posture does not happen in a vacuum, without cost or influence. Mark Silverberg, author of Quartermasters of Terror, noted that

The unfortunate historical truth remains that the costlier war becomes, the sooner conflicts end. While this offends our Western sensibilities of tolerance, compromise, negotiation and accommodation, it is nevertheless the tragic truth that lies behind victory. War involves the infliction of pain and sadly, the greater the pain inflicted upon an enemy, the greater the likelihood the conflict will end. From any perspective, war is sordid business, made worse by human imperfections as we have seen at Abu Ghraib and Haditha. It is neither pleasant nor desirable, but in an environment where Palestinian suicide bombers are trained from infancy to hate Jews and are revered as “martyrs,” where Palestinian children play soccer with the decapitated head of a fallen Israeli soldier and have an orgy in the blood of their Israeli victims, where Palestinian mothers celebrate the “martyrdom” of their children, and where Palestinian children are taught a culture of death in their textbooks and summer camps, in their mosques and marketplaces, in their radio and television programs, and on the Internet, war becomes necessary to eradicate the culture that bred that pathology.

We concur. We wrote in The Moral Economics Of War

War works because of moral economics.

Europe isn’t a Muslim dominated continent today, because the Islamic invaders that were stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1683, could no longer pay the price of advance. European defenders were extracting too high a price from the invaders. When it became clear to the invaders that war was no longer the smart way to go, the Muslim world found a way to live in peace with their Christian neighbors. The same thing happened when the Crusades failed. Christan Europe found a way to live with the Levant.

The vast majority of Germans and then the nations that chose to join the German alliance under Hitler’s National Socialist regime, were willing to pay a very high price for the Thousand Year Reich.’ The nations that opposed the vision of National Socialism and the Thousand Year Reich, were more numerous and were willing to pay an even higher price to stop National Socialism and everything it stood for. When it was all over, the cost to Germany for their aggressive war was astronomical. There is little chance of future German misadventures.

Wars begin and end because of the various costs of waging war. That is as true today as it has been in the past, and that will be true in the future.

Wars have economic costs and moral costs. Sometimes, the moral cost of war passed forward from one generation to the next. The Germans are the perfect example. They are paying for the moral failures that led to the implosion of a nation, and they are paying to be the conscious of modern Europe.

What Khalaf and every other phony Arab intellectual want you to believe is that Zionism is the heir to Nazism. These pseudo-intellects want to portray the Arabs as pre war Jews, fighting a war of a sorts, defenseless and and persecuted, made even worse because their ‘oppressors’ are Jews themselves.

Well, Arabs are not the equivalent of pre war Jews. Prewar Jews were not engaged in wholesale violence. Prewar Jews were not engaged in bigotry and racism that targeted minority groups. Prewar Jews did not threaten to blackmail the governments of the nations they lived in with violence if their demands were not met. Prewar Jews did engage in acts of terror and prewar Jews were not rioting and committing criminal acts, encouraged by their religious leaders. Prewar Jews were not living off government largesse and refusing to adapt to the values of their new home nations.

And the rationale for all this dysfunction? Israel and Zionism, of course.

We noted

Often repeated is that ‘Zionism is racism.’ In fact, that shibboleth is a case of ‘He doth protesteth too much.’ More often than not, it is apparent and clear that ugly kind of behavior is more common of Israel’s accusers. In fact, there have been far fewer deaths under ‘brutal Zionism’ than there has been under ‘enlightened’ Arab regimes…

What is often lost in any discussion of Zionism, is that clearly, Israelis- including Israeli Arabs- are far better off than they would be if they lived in any other country in the region. Israelis, under Zionist principles, have created a free, tolerant and productive society in a sea of bigotry, hate and dysfunction.

Zionism served as the catalyst for the only free and democratic regime in the regimes. Zionism also serves as a foundation of the most vibrant economy in the region. It was Zionist ideals that enrobed the cold and numbed victims of the hottest hell of evil, that were to serve as the petri dish for some of the most significant and important educational institutions in the world.

Had the Arab world done for itself only 10% of what Zionism did for Israel, that Arab world would not be the greatest assemblage of failed nation states in the modern world. A clear and final case for the morality of Zionism is the racism, that permeates the region and every level of society in the Arab world. As we have noted, hatred of Jews, America and Israel are the achievements of note in the Arab world.

With few exceptions, Arabs and the Arab world are a living and breathing testament to the cancer of self inflicted failure.

As we have noted before,

What could Jews- or anyone else, for that matter, anywhere, do to Arabs what their own dysfunctional political and ‘religious’ leadership haven’t already done to insure the failure of Arab society?

For more on pretend Arab ‘intellectuals,’ see our post, Pig Pen.

Yesterday, Fausta hosted fascinating BlogTalk Radio interview with the Baron and Dymphna of the Gates of Vienna and ourselves.

We talked about the Hazelton PA, initiatives and the frustrating, circular policies that make up our immigration policies. It should come as no surprise that there is an underlying dissatisfaction with the state of affairs.

We also discussed the EU economics, politics and that other great European sport, anti Americanism. We also discussed recent events in Libya and the French, and why the Europeans might have a very different agenda when it comes to supporting  a real Middle East peace settlement.

As an aside, two readers at the Gates of Vienna left interesting comments about our podcast. One reader took us to task for believing the EU was formed in no small measure as an economic counterweight to the American economic engine, instead believing that EU was formed as a noble effort to prevent war.

Isn’t that what treaties are supposed to do? Why a new constitution that nobody wants?

The commenter rightly notes that many southern Europeans like the idea of the EU and a common currency. That should come as no surprise. The Greeks and Portuguese never had it so good.

Another reader was more sanguine when talking about the EU:

Well, from a Nordic perspective the EU is a “dead man walking”. As it should be.

A quote from Prof. Roland Vaubel in The Wall Street Journal, 30 July 2007

The European Union’s democratic deficit is notorious. [...] On top of all this, consider last week’s launch of the so-called Intergovernmental Conference to hash out the details of a “Reform Treaty” based on the agreement leaders reached at a summit in June. It’s pretty much the same as the Constitutional Treaty that French and Dutch voters rejected two years ago. [...] The Reform Treaty is nothing but the old draft in a new guise to avoid another round of referendums. And as a result, the EU’s democratic deficit is not narrowing but widening.

Also at GOV, read ‘They celebrate the massacre that is still vivid in my eyes,” an account of how some European Muslims celebrate the events of 9/11/.

Listen to Fausta’s BlogTalk Radio interview. It’s a keeper.

It’s All About Jesus

July 30, 2007

The Anchoress is a lot like my daughter. She asks, tilts her head a bit and I deliver. Kind of like a pizza guy.

After having been tagged with a ‘5 Reasons Why I Love Jesus‘ meme, it was clear that 5 reasons could barely contain the idea of Jesus Christ.

Reason 5: How could you not love a guy that has been the cause of so much debate, argument, frustration and outrage? Jesus made people think. Jesus challenged mankind not to be ‘all they as they could be,’ but rather, he challenged all of mankind to be better than they ever thought they could be. He overturned more apple carts than any other person in history. Christianity is a living, breathing and ever growing faith that has positively impacted the lives of billions. There have been false starts and missteps, to be sure, but so what? Those cultures and nations that have embraced the true meaning of Christianity have evolved into free and productive nations and will continue to evolve into an ever more profound spirituality and faith.

Reason 4: Jesus is as easy to talk to as a favorite uncle. For believers, he is always there, always listening and never gives up on you. He is with you when you laugh and more so when you cry. He never abandons you, no matter how hard you curse at him or try to cast him from your life. The great lesson we learn from Jesus is clear: ‘God treasures our spiritual achievements. He treasures our failures along the way even more, because in facing and overcoming our failures, we have shown that we are indeed worthy of the humanity He bestowed upon us. We are not meant to become perfect in our struggle and search for meaning and faith- we are meant to overcome the limitations, imperfections and obstacles along the way.’ He is there to accompany us on the journey, to offer us the map we must follow and act as a support when we stumble and fall. When we think we have no more strength, he offers respite and nourishment until we can gather ourselves again. Jesus is a kind of spiritual, prepaid credit card with no limit.

Reason 3: Nuns. Jesus inspired generations of women to teach those who would otherwise be lost. Legions of kids finished High School and went on to trade schools, colleges and universities only because nuns made them believe in themselves. Sure there were good nuns and not so good nuns- so what? The bad nuns were weeded out, the good ones stayed and flourished in schools, hospitals and missions. The really cool nuns, like Sister Wendy, went on TV to teach the rest of us about art. Mother Teresa, no less beautiful than her contemporary, Diana, Princess of Wales, went on to teach us how to live.

There are legions of parents today that want their kids to go to Catholic school. Says something, you know?

Reason 2: Jesus made faith easy and less mysterious. Union with God was to be within the purview of every man, saint and sinner alike. Jesus made the ground rules easy. I always thought a closer listen to the lyrics to the Four Tops ‘Reachout, I’ll Be There‘ hit the mark.

Now if you feel that you can’t go on (can’t go on)
Because all of your hope is gone (all your hope is gone)
And your life is filled with much confusion (much confusion)
Until happiness is just an illusion (happiness is just an illusion)
And your world around is crumbling down, darlin
reach out come on girl reach on out for me
reach out reach out for me
I’ll be there with a love that will shelter you
I’ll be there with a love that will see you through

When you feel lost and about to give up (to give up)
Cause your life just ain’t good enough (just ain’t good enough)
And your feel the world has grown cold (has grown cold)
And your drifting out all on your own (drifting out on your own)
And you need a hand to hold, darlin
reach out come on girl reach out for me
reach out reach out for me
I’ll be there to love and comfort you
And I’ll be there to cherish and care for you

I’ll be there to always see you through
I’ll be there to love and comfort you
I can tell the way you hang your head (hang your head)
Your not in love now, now your afraid (you’re afraid)
And through the tears you look around (look around)
But there’s no piece of mind to be found (no piece of mind to be found)
I know what your thinking,
You’re alone now, no love of your own, but darling
reach out come on girl reach out for me
reach out reach out………. just look over your shoulder
I’ll be there to give you all the love you need
And I’ll be there you can always depend on me
I’ll be there to always see you through
I’ll be there to love and comfort you

Sometimes, one size really does fit all- and yes, here’s the video. Feel free to crank up the volume and get up and dance.

Reason 1: That’s personal and I won’t tell you because you only watched and listened to the video once.

Shame on you.

Call letter calamity!

17 seconds of fame

Sublime grace

How to spice up a family reunion

Man, sheep, court… 

The Order Of Failure

July 30, 2007

Freedom and rights do not originate or function in a vacuum. Like art, our understanding and perceptions of what freedom means, change. The American Founding Fathers understood that truth and crafted a constitution that has stood the test of time.

In fact, freedom and rights are the most visible of the necessary ingredients of the complex recipe that comprise a functioning and productive society. They are the visible part of the iceberg that draws our attention. What lies beneath the surface is of greater consequence. As with any complex expression, it is the interchange and interaction of necessary ingredients that produce the desired result.

Alongside those visible basic freedoms and rights, there must also be an exchange. In exchange for those rights and freedoms, there must also exist law and order, social and cultural norms for all and not just the privileged few. Most importantly, there must be be a sense of obligation, commitment and duty to society. If any of those things are lacking, and the emphasis remains focused on the ‘self‘ and individual ‘rights,‘ that society will self destruct.

The evolution of free societies is a natural state of affairs, not unlike the evolution of mankind. Once there are established societal and cultural ‘Laws of Nature,’ that enshrine freedom, political evolution is inevitable. The freedom of the individual to make choices remains sacred. Still, no matter the direction that evolution takes, we retain certain characteristics and qualities of our origin that was there at the beginning of our political consciousness and before.

The original hardwiring within each of us that served as the basis of free societies had less to do with the self and a lot to do with the society and community. Man did not succeed because of singular or selfish expressions. man succeeded because when he created a community with others, he created an environment where survival and progress were interdependent.

What causes societies and communities to be be founded and succeed, is the abiding focus on the welfare of that society and community, as a whole. It is true that great emphasis in free societies is placed on the individual, but in the end, that focus is really about the place the individual has within society. Every individual is accorded certain rights and privileges and in exchange, certain contributions and obligations are expected. Drivers must be licensed and insurance must be had, for example. Those contributions and obligations to society as whole take precedence, as they must, if functioning societies are to succeed. A free society places those demands on it’s members. Those who do not wish to comply, are free to live in their cherished freedom- in isolation and as hermits.

Both Dr Sanity and The Anchoress address the issues pertaining to our obligations to society, in two very different posts. The Anchoress discusses the constant attacks on the communities of faith. Dr Sanity  discusses various psychological mechanisms that are used to obviate appropriate behavior and and

In It’s all Ugly And That’s Easy. Let Us Pray, The Anchoress notes,

I find it interesting that – in my world – these people are entitled to their thoughts and opinions, and even to full respect for them, while in their worlds I am entitled to no thought or opinion that dissents from theirs, and I should not be allowed to speak – hell, I’m barely human to them. And they think they’re the liberals, eh? Not by any definition I ever learned.

There is a name for people who hold such views, but liberal is not it.

Newsflash, people, when you are making bigoted sweeping generalizations about Christians, when you’re incapable of moving beyond sneering snark and name-calling and you’re writing lines like “you…[conservatives and Christians] are not human to me,” well…you’re not a liberal. You’re very, very far away from liberal thinking. And you should be afraid of where you’re permitting yourself to go, because it’s a bad, restricting, joyless and stagnant sort of place that has absolutely no connection to liberty or individuality. I wish better for you.

Of course, The Anchoress addresses a bigger issue. There are those for whom the self and their beliefs trample over the beliefs of others. Believe what we believe they say, or be ostracized by the community, expelled even.

Now, to be clear, we are not talking about the right to dissent or challenge. We are talking about ‘ultimatum politics,’ that new genre of expression that is the equivalent of playing ‘chicken’ on a highway. That of course is derived from ‘ultimatum agendas,‘ the ‘in for a penny, in for a pound‘ idea that you must accept a particular agenda in it’s entirety, or you are the enemy.

It is ironic that such kind of rigid dogma is found more in the anti religious establishment than in the faith based communities.

Secular extremists pontificate about religion and spirituality as a disease that will forever damage the human race unless it is completely eradicated. God and science, they insist, cannot exist in the same space. They would have you believe that science has rejected God. That of course, is absurd. There are many world class scientists that are believers. Albert Einstein was one of them. Was he less of a scientist because he believed?

The Anchoress also noted that

Art and religion have the capacity to expand narrow hearts and minds…

Art and religion are both community activities that endeavor to bring man closer to his fellow man. Religion does not exist solely for the purpose of focusing our attention to the heavens. The purpose of religion is to keep our attentions focused on the kinds of behaviors that make us better citizens and thus, create better societies.

The exact same thing is true of art. Man’s creative expression does not exist to draw attention to the artist. Art’s greatest expression is how we are touched and inspired by art.

We left a comment and noted

Those two things [art and religion] are indeed similar- and for good reason.

They are each a manifestation of our ability to create ‘ex nihilo’ [creating something from nothing] and to appreciate Creation. As we having been created ‘In His image,’ to create art and beauty that inspires and challenges is incumbent upon us.

Each of us have within us a consciousness and imagination that allows us to imagine beauty and ugliness, truth and fiction and the ability to contemplate the past, present and future.

No other creations have this kind of interactive and free will consciousness, this ‘connection’ to our creator.

We have been endowed with great gifts. The least we can do is use those gifts in the way they were intended to be used and in ways that elevate us as individuals and as a society.

That is our singular obligation to Him, our only responsibility- to be good to ourselves and each other and to elevate ourselves.

Imagine, a God that wants us to exceed and excel and has given us the unique abilities to do just that.

Faith is never restraining or restrictive. Real faith is liberating.

Our post, Mundane Sanctity has more on man’s relationship with God.

What happens when God and art are used to enslave, rather than liberate?

Dr Sanity’s Psychological Symptom Or Mature Adaptation, is an outstanding effort in cogently explaining the mechanisms and consequences of how communities implode.

She sets the stage:

The purpose of all psychological defenses, whether mature or not– is to assist the individual in coping with sudden changes; or severe internal or external conflicts that threaten to overwhelm the sense of self. Such changes or conflicts may relate to the people in our lives; to factors or behavior which challenge our values or our emotional capabilities; or to changes in reality that shake the foundations of our view of the world.

All such defenses– to a greater or lesser extent– distort reality. The less mature distort reality greatly; while the most mature allow for the expression of the inner conflict in socially appropriate–i.e., civilized– and psychologically healthy ways that at least conform to reality, even if they don’t necessarily acknowledge it.

The key to understanding psychological defenses is to realize that all of them–no matter how infantile or immature–are attempts to adapt to a difficult situation. What matters is not that an immature defense is being used, but how long the individual uses it before it becomes maladaptive, dysfunctional, pathological and/or potentially dangerous and life-threatening to the individual and/or group using it.

Conflict with others- or ourselves- is inevitable. It is how we choose to manage, or not manage conflict that comes closest to defining our relationship with our community. It is also true while the definition of conflict may change, managing conflict appropriately remains unchanged.

For example, Americans were aghast and outraged at Richard Nixon’s ‘department of dirty tricks.’ Nevertheless, his political sins pales in comparison to those of Hillary Clinton, for example. She oversaw private detectives prying into the lives of Clinton critics. She kept an ‘enemies list‘ and had almost a thousand FBI files in her possession. If we choose not to hold her accountable, does anyone believe she will abandon that kind of behavior? In fact, there is so reason she should abandon that kind of behavior. Clearly, it has paid off handsomely. What does it say about us that she is a front runner presidential candidate?

Of course, Dr Sanity is right when she say that

it is not at all healthy for either an individual or a group of individuals (i.e., a culture) to distort reality for very long..

As the repairman says, “You can pay me now or you can pay me later.”

Dr Sanity asks us to look into the mirror, as jumping off point for a look into our relationship with our community:

Thus we come to our fundamental question. How does one assess if someone is using a maladaptive defense that is a symptom of an underlying pathology? Even more importantly, how can you tell when YOU YOURSELF are using maladaptive defenses to disguise your own biases and unacceptable feelings?

The answers (and they are inter related) are nuanced. First of all, your feelings don’t count.

Even with all the training; and even with self-awareness and a keen insight into one’s own motivations and interpersonal dynamics, when it comes to implicitly trusting one’s feelings above and beyond all other data; one has to be very cautious. All too often, mistakes are made; feelings can simply be wishes that have nothing whatsoever to do with the reality. If we are lucky, we discover this before too much damage is done.

The key to gaining control over behavior that is motivated by maladaptive, unconscious defenses is to make them conscious. This requires that a person be able to reflect on his or her behavior or feelings and on the contents of one’s mind; and with honesty and forthrightness develop some insight into why one feels, thinks, or acts a certain way. This is particularly important if the way one is thinking, feeling or acting is causing serious problems to one’s self or to others.

Pay attention here. Just because you belong to a certain group or are affiliated with a certain community and you want to stay connected, does not give you the right to substitute your feelings for critical analysis. If you do that, you ought not be surprised if you are looked at as less than credible. The choices you make as an individual impact society as a whole- and you will be held accountable for your behavior.

Dr Sanity notes,

In response to a few innocuous cartoons published in a Danish newspaper a while back, we have international riots and violence. Leaders of Islam announce fatwas and put bounties on the lives of hapless cartoonists. Iran announces an ingenious “contest” to encourage the publication of “holocaust” cartoons, which they imagine equals the outrage they feel has been perpetrated on them; and which they consider an expression of their “free speech” (which in some ways it certainly is, but I am more interested in the psychopathology that underlies such “speech”)…

Now, I ask you to compare and contrast using the criteria I outlined above. Consider the affect/emotion and how it is presented–positively or negatively? Are unpleasant truths or shameful feelings are being confronted or avoided? Is the response a “key” or “sledgehammer”? Is the amount of affect generated appropriate to the circumstances?

Look again at the Mohammed cartoons that started all the fuss. Then look at these cartoons that are typical of what is regularly published in the Arab world about Jews.

Which cartoons are truly offensive and clearly demonstrate an intense hatred toward the subject depicted by all objective criteria?

Clearly, there is no case that can be made for an agenda or ideology that is designed to destroy a community and replace values that elevate man with values that are evil and values that enslave entire peoples.

Just as clearly, there is no way to legitimately defend the perpetrators of that and similar evils. (To be clear as to what they are defending, see this- h/t Fausta). There may be those who do just that- and they are of course, free to do so, but in the end, they are advocating the destruction of our society. They are no different than smokers in a closed room. They are impacting the lives of those around them- and they know it. Nevertheless, they choose to smoke. What does that say about those kind of people?

Individuals fail, communities fail and societies fail, in that order.

Parts of this post have been previously published.

Group Session Insights

July 29, 2007

MHNN (New York)- Correspondents for the Mental Health News Network (MHNN) were present for both the inaugural session of Dr Sanity’s group therapy session of dysfunctional Arab leaders as well as the follow up group session of that august body of psychopaths. MHNN will present the final session, led by the author of Carnival of the Insanities, Patrica M Santy (PMS), is a former NASA organic waste in space disposal specialist. Dr Sanity is the first western trained mental health specialist to attempt to deal with the world renowned dysfunctions of Arab leaders.

As is customary, MHNN will not directly identify the Arab and Middle Eastern leaders of the group by name to protect patient confidentiality and patient rights. This kind of anonymity in no way diminishes what happens in these group therapy sessions- secret video recordings of each session can be found on Ebay.

PMS: Group, settle down. This week we are pleased to announce that the dysfunctional Shia leader from Lebanon that was responsible for starting a conflict last summer that left much of southern Lebanon and Beirut in a lunar landscape is with us today. We also have the leader of the only Jewish state in the region with us as well. Introduce yourselves to the group, gentlemen.

Unidentified Shia Leader from Lebanon: Hello, losers and cowards that are afraid ro fight and kill Jews.

Unidentified Leader from Palestine: It’s not just me. He wants to kill Jews, too. He said so. We are kindred spirits, true Arab visionaries.

Unidentified Leader from Jewish State: Hello, fellow semites and neighbors…

Unidentified Leader from Palestine and Unidentified Shia Leader from Lebanon: Shut up you Jew bastard and son of monkey and pig!

Unidentified Leader from Jewish State: Can’t we all just get along? Can’t we discuss literature, art, science and philosophy?

Unidentified Shia Leader from Lebanon: We kicked your ass last summer and proved once and for all you were not invincible.

Unidentified Leader from Palestine: Yeah, that worked out real well. I’ve seen the cement parking lot that is southern Lebanon. There isn’t a functioning toilet in the area.

Unidentified Shia Leader from Lebanon: Look who’s talking. At least you have Jews that will build you toilets quickly and efficiently. If it wasn’t for them, you’d still be crapping in the streets. The Arab world had a good laugh when the cesspool the Israelis built for you collapsed because you morons were stealing material that weakened the structure. Real smart. Well, we don’t have Jews that will build us a sanitation infrastructure.

PMS: Certainly, discussing toilet habits and rituals is always a productive endeavor in my line of work, I do believe that our time would be spent more productively if we talked about other things.

Other Unidentified Leader from Palestine: The doctor is right. Any civilized person could see that. Clearly, Dr Sanity, you can see what we face. I do believe it is time to suggest to the Americans that they fund and arm us, so that we may stand between the beasts that are in this room and democracy.

(Loud clamoring)

Unidentified Leader from Iran: Listen up, you phony successor to that pedophile that dies of AIDS. Who do you think you are? What makes you think we will support any efforts that will not include killing Jews?

Unidentified Leader from Palestine: Yeah, you tell him. We kicked his ass out of Gaza!

Unidentified Leader from Syria: That worked out well. Now who are you going to blame for the increased honor killings and unemployment? I’m a western trained physician, so I see things the way civilized people do. That’s why I’m sticking with the Unidentified Shia Leader from Lebanon. Did you hear him the other day? ‘We have missiles that can reach all of Israel!’

Unidentified Leader from Jewish State: Unidentified Shia Leader from Lebanon and Unidentified Leader from Syria, if we are attacked, let me remind you that we have missiles that can reach all of Lebanon and all of Syria.

Wouldn’t you rather we all just get along? Wouldn’t you rather discuss literature, art, science and philosophy?

(Loud clamoring)

Unidentified Leader from Palestine: Do you need any more evidence of just how blood thirsty these Jews are? They have threatened us with violence if we attack them! These cold hearted murderers think nothing of the terror they will inflict on our children if they retaliate! These Jews really deserve death. I’m glad the Saudi Sheikhs said we are entitled to rape their women and children.

Unidentified Leader from Iran: I want my shot at Natalie Portman!

Unidentified Leader from Syria: Well, I’d grab Helen Hunt!

(Unidentified voices, in unison) Helen Hunt is Jewish?

Unidentified Leader from Syria: Yes, she is- and I’m not a real Muslim. There are a lot of people that think Alawites are hot!

Unidentified Leader from Palestine: Unidentified Leader from Iran, I suggest you keep those thoughts to yourself. Every tine you open your mouth you draw attention to you short stature, small hands and small feet. Know what I mean?

As for me, I just want to kill Jews.

PMS: You know, Unidentified Leader from Palestine, you really are a sick bastard.

Unidentified Leader from Palestine: Shut up, you Jew, I am going to kill your smart, educated ass.

PMS: Here’s a news flash, psycho. I’m not Jewish, I’m Italian. I can have Tony Soprano rip your little balls off and force feed you a special falafel sandwich. The fact of the matter is, I, or even my daughter could beat the shit out of you and stuff you with prosciutto where the sun don’t shine, followed up with a nice Italian salami- and there is nothing you could do about that.

Naturally, as a Board certified psychiatrist, I would not do that. Beatings leave marks. On the other hand I could prescribe all kinds of pills and hormones and medicines that would turn you into a an ugly, bearded woman. I have other drugs that will keep you crapping for weeks on end, so shut your pie hole.

Unidentified Leader from Palestine: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. Please don’t tell my mother. I have nothing but respect and fear for strong Italian women that might expose what a real loser I am.

Unidentified Leader from Syria: I have father issues. I also have issues with my masculinity. That’s why I have a mustache. Can I tell you a secret? I’d really like to wear women’s clothing.

PMS and Unidentified Leader from Palestine: No one cares. Shut up.

PMS: You know what, pipsqueak Leader from Palestine? If I hear you threaten Jews again, I will come back and kick the shit out of you. In fact, I’ll have the Israelis do it. I have implanted a secret tracking and monitoring device in your anus. It only works on Arabs. I will give the Jews the frequency of your ass and bowel movements. I have also released a whole group of psychologically trained Jewish squirrels into your country to monitor your every movement, bowel or otherwise.

Unidentified Leader from Palestine: But what about Jihad? What About killing Jews? We need to stand for something!

PMS: You already do stand for something, don’t you see? You are among the world’s most abhorred, corrupt, failed, bigoted and hate filled nations. Isn’t that enough?

Unidentified Leader from Palestine: Well, when you put it that way…

PMS: And when you are ready to become civilized, functioning human beings, the world will be there to help.

Unidentified Leader from Palestine: But there is no rush, right? We can be as dysfunctional as we like for as long as we like, right?

PMS: I hope the rest of you misfits have been paying attention. There are lots more implants.

I must say that even I, a NASA organic waste in space disposal specialist have never sen so much crap in one place at one time. If there were ever a good argument for ECT therapy, you guys are it.

Start the healing. Read Carnival of the Insanities, now.

Faith And Toys

July 27, 2007

Atheism
There is no toy maker.
Polytheism
There are many toy makers.
Evolutionism
The toys made themselves.
Capitalism
He who dies with the most toys, wins.
Communism
Everyone gets the same number of toys, and whoever is caught selling his toys will go straight to hell.
Buddhism
He who dies with no toys, wins.
Confucianism
Once a toy is dipped in the water, it is no longer dry.
Branch Davidians
He who dies playing with the biggest toys, wins.
Hinduism
He who plays with bags of plastic farm animals, loses.
Jehovah’s Witnesses
He who sells the most toys door-to-door, wins.
Mormonism
Every boy can have as many toys as he wants.
Muslim
He who plays only with solider toys, wins.
Satanism
He who plays with fire, wins.
Judaism
He who plays without following the rules, loses.
Anglican
They were our toys first.
Greek Orthodox
No, they were OURS first.
7th Day Adventist
He who plays with his toys on Saturday, loses.
Baptist
Once played, always played.
Catholicism
He who denies himself the most toys, wins.
Pentecostalism
He whose toys can talk, wins.

Pretty insightful.

Lots more Lemonette on YouTube (see this, too).

 

So you think the ‘root cause’ of Middle East problems is the Israel Palestinian conflict? Do you believe the dysfunctional Middle East regimes cares deeply about the Palestinians?

Think again.

Shias Order Palestinians To Leave Iraq Or ‘Prepare To Die’

BAGHDAD — Palestinians living in Iraq have been warned they will be killed by Shi’ite militias unless they leave the country immediately.

Iraqi police say the immigrants, who are mostly Sunni Muslims, are the target of a backlash by hard-line Shi’ites, including members of the Mahdi Army led by Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Yesterday, the United Nations refugee agency said more than two dozen Palestinians were seized by armed men wearing police uniforms in Baghdad. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said 17 Palestinians taken from a Baghdad house rented by the agency have apparently been released, but there were reports that another group of 13 Palestinians were seized in another part of Baghdad.

In the first case, witnesses said men dressed in Iraqi security force uniforms broke into the Palestinians’ apartments in the Hay el Nidal area of Baghdad, smashing doors and windows, UNHCR spokeswoman Astrid Van Genderen Stort said in Geneva.

“It is a very worrisome situation,” Reuters news agency quoted her as saying.

More than 600 Palestinians are believed to have died at the hands of Shi’ite militias since the war began in 2003, including at least 300 from the Baladiat area of Baghdad. Many were tortured with electric drills before they died.

Now the Shi’ite militias are stepping up their campaign to drive out Iraq’s 15,000 remaining Palestinians — less than half the estimated 40,000 living in the country at the start of the war, all of whom were welcomed by Saddam Hussein and provided with housing, money and free education.

Hundreds of Iraqis were forced to leave their homes to make way for the migrants, many of whom joined the ruling Ba’ath Party.

Sheik Mahmoud al-Hassani, a spokesman for the Mahdi Army, said the Palestinians had brought their suffering on themselves. He said Shi’ites believed the Palestinians were in league with Sunni extremists and al Qaeda.

“We are sure that all the Palestinians in Iraq are involved in killing the Shi’ite people and they have to pay the price now,” he said. “They lived off our blood under Saddam. We were hungry with no food and they were comfortable with full bellies. They should leave now, or they will have to pay.”

Kareem Zakia, a 61-year-old Palestinian, said his son, Yeha Ahmed, was kidnapped and killed in the Karada area of Baghdad two weeks ago.

“The kidnappers called me and told me that they had taken my son because he came from Palestine and all the Palestinians support the Sunni terrorists. I found my son’s body the next day with many holes in his belly made by a drill,” he said.

Mr. Zakia told his two other sons to leave with his wife and two daughters, but neighboring Jordan refused to allow them to cross the border — as it has with many Palestinians trying to flee Iraq.

Ahmed Mahmood, 26, a Palestinian in Baladiat, said he had paid a ransom of nearly $6,000 to free his brother, Murad, 38.

The kidnappers in Sadr City, a Shi’ite area of Baghdad, told him where to collect his brother, but he arrived to find his brother had been killed.

“We found him dead with signs of torture on his body,” Mr. Mahmood said. “They called us the next day and said, ‘We killed your brother because all the Palestinians in Iraq love Saddam Hussein and this is what will happen to you and all your families.’ “

Capt. Sary Farhan, a police spokesman, said people had been arrested for the killings but later released.

“All these criminals belong to Shi’ite militias and were released a few days after. They have strong backing in the government,” he said.

The Iraqi interior ministry said 7,700 police officers have been fired for suspected membership in death squads. Of those, 665 are in jail awaiting trial.

Gethin Chamberlain in London contributed to this article.

For more on the Arab world Palestinian love-fest, see this.

While the MSM breathlessly reports on every car bomb, IED and terror attack, for some reason, stories like these don’t seem to make the front page.

The Anchoress is facing the loss of a close relative, from this world to the next. Her most recent remarks can be found here. Earlier observations and reminiscences of a beloved brother can be read here.

There are really no words that can assuage the feelings of fear, despair and the dread of an impending loss- and that is a good thing. The cycle of life and death are meant to make us more whole and to strengthen us. They are tests and challenges we must endure and from which, we may come out bruised and battered. We also come out stronger. Through it all, many of us ask God to guide us, or to hold us in the palm of His hand, as we endure the hard journey that we will all take.

Our relationship with God, or even our inner selves, if one is not a believer, will very much define how we will endure the trials of life and how we will emerge.

When we know God in simplistic and general terms, we referred to as a servants of God. As a servant of course, we are meant to obey God’s word. A servant has limited interaction with his master. Certainly, a servant does not have the right to question his master nor search through his master’s records.

If one however, is a a child of God, the paradigm changes dramatically. A child of God has a very different relationship with his Father. A child of God’s is on intimate terms with God, and is free to ask the why’s of life. The child of God is welcome to know and search the records of his Father, so that he too, may better understand and live a just life.

In fact, we must each be a slave and child of God’s. At some moments were are one or the other. At other times, we are both.

The power of a moment in time can never be underestimated, because the events and experiences that help shape our lives are comprised of brief moments. Some of those moments are profound and other moments are romantic and magical. What they have in common is that they are all fleeting moments in time.

It is also true that some sad and tragic events and losses we experience are anything but fleeting. When we recall those times, they seem to last much longer. There are events and tragedies that mark and scar our very souls, for a lifetime. Nevertheless, the events themselves lasted but moments. The collection of those moments become a part of you. They may not always be front and center, but they are a part of who you are.

As we watch a loved one march that ‘last mile’ of life as we know it, it is easy to forget and be blinded to the new chapter that soul’s journey. We see an empty vessel that housed a soul, the essence of the person we loved and cared for- and then the soul is gone. That soul is longer a part of our reality, or so it seems. When we can longer interact with that soul, when we can no longer demand that particular soul respond to us immediately, we see the soul as lost to us forever. It all happens in two short moments. The soul we know and love is here, and a moment later, it is gone.

Human beings, ever flailing in loss, ask themselves: Does a soul live in our memories? Can we keep a part of the soul here, with us? Does the soul still respond to our needs when called upon, albeit in ways that are different? Do the words shared in a lifetime, speak to us in meaningful ways, again? Can those words heal us and inspire us?

Memories are funny things. They are at once simple in the comfort they provide and strengthening in their awareness and insight.

Anyone who has held and comforted a child, remembers a parent or loved one that did the same. Anyone that has made a child laugh by being silly, can remember a parent or loved one- and still smiles or laughs at the thought of that. Sharing an ice cream, a walk, or a dance with a loved, conjures up memories, and emotions that come to the surface. Moments in time become real and meaningful. Moments in time become opportunities to tie the present with the past. Moments in time can bind generations of families. Moments in time in time fuse us with friends that we have chosen and teachers that have taught us well and true.

This is the power of the soul, if we choose to call out to it. The power of the soul yearns to be be connected with life, in the same way a parent yearns to remain connected to a child- and in the same way God asks to be connected with our lives.

The nature relationship between parent and child changes over time of course, and the exchanges between parent and child change. The love too, becomes more profound. Children come to know and understand their parents when they have children of their own. New grandparents recall their grandparents, and the cycle of life goes on. There is always a connection. In fact, we cannot escape the souls of those we love and of those who have loved us, if we only care enough to continue to love them and everyone else we love- moment by moment.

There are times we are children and servants, and there are times we are parents and servants.

That is a very good thing. That is life.

This post has been previously published.

Why isn’t there a single example of a successful ‘People’s Paradise’? How is it that the best of intentioned revolutionaries was never able to produce a functional society? Why is it that societies that espouse economic equality and predicated on well meaning ideals, either secular or religious, have proved to be abject failures?

Leftists mistakenly believe that a collective ‘unity’ of beliefs, thoughts and ideologies empower a society. Their strength, they believe, are in the numbers of those who share their ideologies. Leftists also believe that they have every right to design a society based on what they believe is in the best interest of that society. They also believe that an unwillingness to conform to their ideals, poses a threat, and quite possibly, a danger to the society of their creation.

Capitalism, as Dr Sanity points out, is predicated on the diversity of beliefs, thoughts and ideologies.

For example, the Leftists state takes a dim view of anyone or group that might demand lower taxes, changes in the state welfare benefits, or demands any kind of accountability, because less of burden on the individual and less control of the individual by the state, might empower that individual. In the Leftist state, any kind of individualism and real self expression, empowered or otherwise, represents a threat to the state.

Last year, millions of Frenchmen turned out to protest an employers right to fire them from their jobs- even if their job performance was sub par. They demanded that the French government protect them from being held accountable to their employers. There are business owners in France that are afraid to initiate the complex procedures for firing employees, out the fear of retribution and violence.

Despite the leftist of stated disdain for capitalism and materialism, we have noted that

For today’s leftist, it is about ‘the color of one’s skin’ and not the ‘content of character. It is about image and not substance. The deliberate obfuscation continues and the blurring of reality continues. As the left indicts America as self absorbed and drunk with materialistic inclinations, they ignore yet another truth

…the most self absorbed and materialistic regimes are the leaders of the most tyrannical regimes in Africa and the Arab world, where greed, corruption, excess and deceit are the defining adjectives of those regimes. Those levels of greed, excess, corruption and self serving attitudes rival the most fanatical religious extremists in their tenacious expressions by citizens of all strata in those countries- and these are the leaders the left reveres.

Of course, progressives naturally see themselves as forward thinking. They believe their way of viewing the world is an improvement over the ‘old way’- hard work for greater personal gain, for example.

(it is interesting to note how ‘progressives’ have aligned themselves with Hollywood- the most narcissistic and self centered group of people on the planet. They are also among the most removed from the real world, believing themselves to be a kind of aristocracy, entitled to material things others would have to pay for. There is much truth to the old saying. ‘You are known by the company you keep.’ The ‘progressives’ have made clear their attachment to the phony aristocracy of Hollywood trumps the relationship they might have with the rest of us, ‘the little people.’)

The only agenda the left have refused to endorse is the only agenda that has succeeded and the one agenda that is gaining ground, worldwide- capitalism. The real revolutions today are not for socialism, but rather, for political and economic freedoms.

‘People’s Revolutions’ today aren’t about failed Marxist or socialist agendas. Leftist revolutionaries cannot hide the truth any longer. Today’s revolutions are about power and the exercise and abuse of power in any way they see fit.

Of course, the ‘progressives’ cannot and will not acknowledge the truth that the greatest philosophers and thinkers were free to think and present their cases to the population. It is the progressives, that want to present their own versions of history, religion and ideologies, without having to explain or defend themselves. Disagree with them and the wrath of the State will come down on you.

It is clear that many ‘progressives’ are actually regressive. The ‘my way or the highway’ kind of thinking is devolutionary, as if any and all disagreements are always invalid. The vitriol and visceral hatred of the current administration is a good example. No difference of opinion will be tolerated. Disagree and the well oiled machine of personal destruction comes out. The shameful display of that truth was evident during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Tens, if not hundreds of millions have died because of leftist ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies. Disagree with the powers that be or want to be, and there are calls of, ‘Death to…! Disagree loud enough and you are marked for death. We all got a taste of that as the cartoon riots unfolded. That was a clear case of ‘my way or the highway’ unleashed on democratic societies.

‘My way or the highway’ is a nothing more than a regression to a more barbaric time, when disputes, disagreements and different ideas were settled only when blood was spilled. That was an earlier incarnation of ‘my way or the highway.’

What leftists desperately want you to forget is that we are morally obligated not to get along with those whose ideas are and beliefs espouse violence, hate and evil. We are morally obligated not to give them a platform to preach their hate and we are morally obligated not to equate their values with our own. While we cannot stop anyone from believing what they will, we are morally obligated to deny them credibility.

(It is astonishing to note that while most people would agree that Adolph Hitler would never have been allowed a platform to preach his hate here, there are still those who believe that Josef Stalin, the man responsible for one hundred million deaths, would have rightfully been a allowed a platform.)

Mankind evolved and political expression advanced when societies came to tolerate those with different ideas and beliefs. We advanced because we allowed each of us the freedom the opportunity to achieve whatever it was we were capable of in any endeavor we chose. No one told us what to do, what to think or what to invent. In free societies, possibilities were open to all, irrespective of their political persuasion.

The Soviets produced engineers by the millions. They built the world’s largest hotel, the Rossiya, in Moscow, meant to be showcase of Soviet superiority. When you get up close and inside, it is hard to miss the walls that are crooked and floors that are uneven. It is true the Russians led early on in the space race. It is also true that many hundreds of thousands, if not millons, died over the years because money that was spent on the space race was diverted from providing food to Soviet citizens. That malaise infected Communist eastern Europe. Once a net exporter of grain, Poland reached a point where she could barely feed herself. To put that in perspective, at one time Poland grew more grain than France or Canada.

The Judeo-Christian ethic is just that- an ethic, an ideology that was to serve as the basis and foundation upon which a free nation might be built. The Judeo-Christian ethic is not an endorsement of religion- it is an endorsement of ideas, not the least of which is the validity and importance of freedom. The Judeo-Christian ethic has been the blueprint, revised over time, that has come to be a definition of freedom. The ideas contained in those ethics have come to define the boundaries of our freedom and our obligations to out society. We have been blessed with freedom and democracy as a way of life.

It is also true that free societies not only exist, but they prosper and progress as well. If there were no free societies and democracies, our world would look exactly like much of the Arab world today- failed states torn apart by internal strife and political mayhem, with hundreds of millions of people languishing in a netherworld, where their only purpose is to serve the needs and whims of a regime that cares nothing for them and attaches no value to their life.

For the most part, progressives do not want to acknowledge that there is not a single example of a regime they have endorsed that has not resorted to murder, oppression and repression. There are some regimes are authoritarian, caring only about controlling behavior. There are other regimes are totalitarian, seeking to control not only behavior, but thought as well. The only regime ever supported by the left (only to be later abandoned) that made a success of itself was Israel.

Real freedom represents the highest political and ethical expression and aspirations of the human condition.

After witnessing the spectacular and bloody imposition and failures of ideologies embraced by leftists, one can only conclude that those ideologies have proved to be a monumental failure on the scale of political evolution. Leftist ideologies cannot be made to adapt to the real world environment that places freedom atop the evolutionary that scale, because leftist ideologies refuses to adapt and acknowledge that people are best served when free to choose for themselves.

Leftists have failed to adapt and evolve to the reality that accelerating freedom is the destiny of mankind. We are meant to be free choose, free to believe, and free to express themselves in any way they see fit, free of interference.

That is the equivalent of debating the merits of the wheel.

From Dr Sanity, Paranoia and Projection In The Arab World: The Externalization Of Blame For Arab/Islamic Dysfunction:

They are indulging in group projection and paranoia–deliberately developed and encouraged by their dysfunctional leaders–in order to maintain their dysfunctional identity, as well as their dysfunctional political and pseudo-religous agenda.

There doesn’t seem to be any limit to the self-delusion that is rampant in the middle east.

Psychologically, it is very difficult to abandon a delusion, particularly when that delusion serves the purpose of accounting for an unacceptable status quo. For too long the so-called leaders in the Middle East have –in a manner similar to Jim Jones–been quenching the thirst of their people with poisoned Kool Aid. They have made it easy to believe that all their problems and troubles are caused by the Jews (or America or the West). Maintaining the delusional system and nourishing it regularly is crucial to their identity as individuals and as nations–otherwise it would be necessary to look inside their own hearts and souls for the underlying causes of their political, economic and spiritual stagnation…

…the Arab world is not really about pride…indeed, what do they have to be proud of? They have perverted beyond all recognition a religion that once upon a time could compete head-to-head with Christianity and Judaism in what it contributed to the whole of humanity. They long ago abandoned the ability to create, and now only possess the capacity to destroy. Their people live in poverty and oppression, controlled only by the belief that their situation is the fault of “the Jews” or America.

This is the legacy of psychological projection and paranoia. The unacceptable thoughts or feelings are denied (“not owned”) by the person or group experiencing them, and instead are projected onto another individual or–as in this case–a group (racism, anti-semitism etc. are all projections). Thus, the person who originally had the offensive thought or feeling becomes the helpless victim of the evil “other” and they do not have to cope with the fact that the evil lies wholly within themselves

Shrinkwrapped notes how continual Arab world dysfunction fuels the flame of never ending failure. In The Non-Sense Debate Over The NIE Estimate, he writes,

There are several points that must be kept in mind when debating whether our responses to 9/11 have worsened the terror threat or lessened the threat.  The worst point is that, again, almost nothing we have done or could do will meaningfully lessen the terror threat long term, until we decide to treat the threat as an existential threat, a point I will return to.

Jihadi extremism is a growing ideology.  Sunni extremism and Shia extremism are merely different manifestations of an underlying supremacist ideology which has grown in response to the failures of the Muslim world in the face of modernity.  Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, al Qaeda in Iraq are all different franchises and brand names.  Franchises are successful when there are markets for their products, consumers, and workers to support the enterprise.  Financial support, an eager population ready to consume the product, and an army of willing workers are all required for a franchise to thrive.  Al Qaeda, the McDonald’s of Islamism, and Hezbollah, the Burger King of Islamism, have been growing their franchises for years.  It is only post-9/11 that the West has begun to offer alternatives.  Unfortunately, the alternatives the West offers are completely incompatible with the cultures in which we are attempting to gain market share.  We offer Sushi (democracy backed by the US military) and Tofu burgers (Western “soft” power) and as a result find few takers.

The Muslim world contains a combustible mix that is amenable to Jihad and inimical to modern liberal capitalist democracy.  There is an extremely large cohort of young men with very little opportunity to achieve status, huge sums of money that have been generated by their parasitic perch on the primary source of the world’s energy supplies, a culture that supports a supremacist ideology, and an information environment that facilitates the spread of Jihad propaganda (See also Jihad: Sadistic Sexuality, for an excellent overview of the current day context of Jihadism, and of those who support and excuse the Jihadi agendas and ideologies).

It is with this mind, we are publishing A World Without Israel, by Josef Joffe:

Imagine that Israel never existed. Would the economic malaise and political repression that drive angry young men to become suicide bombers vanish? Would the Palestinians have an independent state? Would the United States, freed of its burdensome ally, suddenly find itself beloved throughout the Muslim world? Wishful thinking. Far from creating tensions, Israel actually contains more antagonisms than it causes.

Since World War II, no state has suffered so cruel a reversal of fortunes as Israel. Admired all the way into the 1970s as the state of “those plucky Jews” who survived against all odds and made democracy and the desert bloom in a climate hostile to both liberty and greenery, Israel has become the target of creeping delegitimization. The denigration comes in two guises. The first, the soft version, blames Israel first and most for whatever ails the Middle East, and for having corrupted U.S. foreign policy. It is the standard fare of editorials around the world, not to mention the sheer venom oozing from the pages of the Arab-Islamic press. The more recent hard version zeroes in on Israel’s very existence. According to this dispensation, it is Israel as such, and not its behavior, that lies at the root of troubles in the Middle East. Hence the “statocidal” conclusion that Israel’s birth, midwifed by both the United States and the Soviet Union in 1948, was a grievous mistake, grandiose and worthy as it may have been at the time.

The soft version is familiar enough. One motif is the “wagging the dog” theory. Thus, in the United States, the “Jewish lobby” and a cabal of neoconservatives have bamboozled the Bush administration into a mindless pro-Israel policy inimical to the national interest. This view attributes, as has happened so often in history, too much clout to the Jews. And behind this charge lurks a more general one—that it is somehow antidemocratic for subnational groups to throw themselves into the hurly-burly of politics when it comes to foreign policy. But let us count the ways in which subnational entities battle over the national interest: unions and corporations clamor for tariffs and tax loopholes; nongovernmental organizations agitate for humanitarian intervention; and Cuban Americans keep us from smoking cheroots from the Vuelta Abajo. In previous years, Poles militated in favor of Solidarity, African Americans against Apartheid South Africa, and Latvians against the Soviet Union. In other words, the democratic melee has never stopped at the water’s edge.

Another soft version is the “root-cause” theory in its many variations. Because the “obstinate” and “recalcitrant” Israelis are the main culprits, they must be punished and pushed back for the sake of peace. “Put pressure on Israel”; “cut economic and military aid”; “serve them notice that we will not condone their brutalities”—these have been the boilerplate homilies, indeed the obsessions, of the chattering classes and the foreign-office establishment for decades. Yet, as Sigmund Freud reminded us, obsessions tend to spread. And so there are ever more creative addenda to the well-wrought root-cause theory. Anatol Lieven of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace argues that what is happening between Israelis and Palestinians is a “tremendous obstacle to democratization because it inflames all the worst, most regressive aspects of Arab nationalism and Arab culture.” In other words, the conflict drives the pathology, and not the other way around—which is like the street fighter explaining to the police: “It all started when this guy hit back.”

The problem with this root-cause argument is threefold: It blurs, if not reverses, cause and effect. It ignores a myriad of conflicts unrelated to Israel. And it absolves the Arabs of culpability, shifting the blame to you know whom. If one believes former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter, the Arab-Islamic quest for weapons of mass destruction, and by extension the war against Iraq, are also Made in Israel. “[A]s long as Israel has nuclear weapons,” Ritter opines, “it has chosen to take a path that is inherently confrontational.…Now the Arab countries, the Muslim world, is not about to sit back and let this happen, so they will seek their own deterrent. We saw this in Iraq, not only with a nuclear deterrent but also with a biological weapons deterrent…that the Iraqis were developing to offset the Israeli nuclear superiority.”

This theory would be engaging if it did not collide with some inconvenient facts. Iraqis didn’t use their weapons of mass destruction against the Israeli usurper but against fellow Muslims during the Iran-Iraq War, and against fellow Iraqis in the poison-gas attack against Kurds in Halabja in 1988—neither of whom were brandishing any nuclear weapons. As for the Iraqi nuclear program, we now have the “Duelfer Report,” based on the debriefing of Iraqi regime loyalists, which concluded: “Iran was the pre-eminent motivator of this policy. All senior-level Iraqi officials considered Iran to be Iraq’s principal enemy in the region. The wish to balance Israel and acquire status and influence in the Arab world were also considerations, but secondary.”

Now to the hard version. Ever so subtly, a more baleful tone slips into this narrative: Israel is not merely an unruly neighbor but an unwelcome intruder. Still timidly uttered outside the Arab world, this version’s proponents in the West bestride the stage as truth-sayers who dare to defy taboo. Thus, the British writer A.N. Wilson declares that he has reluctantly come to the conclusion that Israel, through its own actions, has proven it does not have the right to exist. And, following Sept. 11, 2001, Brazilian scholar Jose Arthur Giannotti said: “Let us agree that the history of the Middle East would be entirely different without the State of Israel, which opened a wound between Islam and the West. Can you get rid of Muslim terrorism without getting rid of this wound which is the source of the frustration of potential terrorists?”

The very idea of a Jewish state is an “anachronism,” argues Tony Judt, a professor and director of the Remarque Institute at New York University. It resembles a “late-nineteenth-century separatist project” that has “no place” in this wondrous new world moving toward the teleological perfection of multiethnic and multicultural togetherness bound together by international law. The time has come to “think the unthinkable,” hence, to ditch this Jewish state for a binational one, guaranteed, of course, by international force.

So let us assume that Israel is an anachronism and a historical mistake without which the Arab-Islamic world stretching from Algeria to Egypt, from Syria to Pakistan, would be a far happier place, above all because the original sin, the establishment of Israel, never would have been committed. Then let’s move from the past to the present, pretending that we could wave a mighty magic wand, and “poof,” Israel disappears from the map.

Civilization of Clashes
Let us start the what-if procession in 1948, when Israel was born in war. Would stillbirth have nipped the Palestinian problem in the bud? Not quite. Egypt, Transjordan (now Jordan), Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon marched on Haifa and Tel Aviv not to liberate Palestine, but to grab it. The invasion was a textbook competitive power play by neighboring states intent on acquiring territory for themselves. If they had been victorious, a Palestinian state would not have emerged, and there still would have been plenty of refugees. (Recall that half the population of Kuwait fled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s “liberation” of that country in 1990.) Indeed, assuming that Palestinian nationalism had awakened when it did in the late 1960s and 1970s, the Palestinians might now be dispatching suicide bombers to Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere.

Let us imagine Israel had disappeared in 1967, instead of occupying the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which were held, respectively, by Jordan’s King Hussein and Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Would they have relinquished their possessions to Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and thrown in Haifa and Tel Aviv for good measure? Not likely. The two potentates, enemies in all but name, were united only by their common hatred and fear of Arafat, the founder of Fatah (the Palestine National Liberation Movement) and rightly suspected of plotting against Arab regimes. In short, the “root cause” of Palestinian statelessness would have persisted, even in Israel’s absence.

Let us finally assume, through a thought experiment, that Israel goes “poof” today. How would this development affect the political pathologies of the Middle East? Only those who think the Palestinian issue is at the core of the Middle East conflict would lightly predict a happy career for this most dysfunctional region once Israel vanishes. For there is no such thing as “the” conflict. A quick count reveals five ways in which the region’s fortunes would remain stunted—or worse:

States vs. States: Israel’s elimination from the regional balance would hardly bolster intra-Arab amity. The retraction of the colonial powers, Britain and France, in the mid-20th century left behind a bunch of young Arab states seeking to redraw the map of the region. From the very beginning, Syria laid claim to Lebanon. In 1970, only the Israeli military deterred Damascus from invading Jordan under the pretext of supporting a Palestinian uprising. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Nasser’s Egypt proclaimed itself the avatar of pan-Arabism, intervening in Yemen during the 1960s. Nasser’s successor, President Anwar Sadat, was embroiled in on-and-off clashes with Libya throughout the late 1970s. Syria marched into Lebanon in 1976 and then effectively annexed the country 15 years later, and Iraq launched two wars against fellow Muslim states: Iran in 1980, Kuwait in 1990. The war against Iran was the longest conventional war of the 20th century. None of these conflicts is related to the Israeli-Palestinian one. Indeed, Israel’s disappearance would only liberate military assets for use in such internal rivalries.

Believers vs. Believers: Those who think that the Middle East conflict is a “Muslim-Jewish thing” had better take a closer look at the score card: 14 years of sectarian bloodshed in Lebanon; Saddam’s campaign of extinction against the Shia in the aftermath of the first Gulf War; Syria’s massacre of 20,000 people in the Muslim Brotherhood stronghold of Hama in 1982; and terrorist violence against Egyptian Christians in the 1990s. Add to this tally intraconfessional oppression, such as in Saudi Arabia, where the fundamentalist Wahhabi sect wields the truncheon of state power to inflict its dour lifestyle on the less devout.

Ideologies vs. Ideologies: Zionism is not the only “ism” in the region, which is rife with competing ideologies. Even though the Baathist parties in Syria and Iraq sprang from the same fascist European roots, both have vied for precedence in the Middle East. Nasser wielded pan-Arabism-cum-socialism against the Arab nation-state. And both Baathists and Nasserites have opposed the monarchies, such as in Jordan. Khomeinist Iran and Wahhabite Saudi Arabia remain mortal enemies. What is the connection to the Arab-Israeli conflict? Nil, with the exception of Hamas, a terror army of the faithful once supported by Israel as a rival to the Palestine Liberation Organization and now responsible for many suicide bombings in Israel. But will Hamas disband once Israel is gone? Hardly. Hamas has bigger ambitions than eliminating the “Zionist entity.” The organization seeks nothing less than a unified Arab state under a regime of God.

(See The SC&A Idiots Guide To Zionism: What It Is And Why It Matters and “What could Jews do to Arabs that their own dysfunctional political and religious leadership haven’t already done…“)

Reactionary Utopia vs. Modernity: A common enmity toward Israel is the only thing that prevents Arab modernizers and traditionalists from tearing their societies apart. Fundamentalists vie against secularists and reformist Muslims for the fusion of mosque and state under the green flag of the Prophet. And a barely concealed class struggle pits a minuscule bourgeoisie and millions of unemployed young men against the power structure, usually a form of statist cronyism that controls the means of production. Far from creating tensions, Israel actually contains the antagonisms in the world around it.

Regimes vs. Peoples: The existence of Israel cannot explain the breadth and depth of the Mukhabarat states (secret police states) throughout the Middle East. With the exceptions of Jordan, Morocco, and the Gulf sheikdoms, which gingerly practice an enlightened monarchism, all Arab countries (plus Iran and Pakistan) are but variations of despotism—from the dynastic dictatorship of Syria to the authoritarianism of Egypt. Intranational strife in Algeria has killed nearly 100,000, with no letup in sight. Saddam’s victims are said to number 300,000. After the Khomeinists took power in 1979, Iran was embroiled not only in the Iran-Iraq War but also in barely contained civil unrest into the 1980s. Pakistan is an explosion waiting to happen. Ruthless suppression is the price of stability in this region.

Again, it would take a florid imagination to surmise that factoring Israel out of the Middle East equation would produce liberal democracy in the region. It might be plausible to argue that the dialectic of enmity somehow favors dictatorship in “frontline states” such as Egypt and Syria—governments that invoke the proximity of the “Zionist threat” as a pretext to suppress dissent. But how then to explain the mayhem in faraway Algeria, the bizarre cult-of-personality regime in Libya, the pious kleptocracy of Saudi Arabia, the clerical despotism of Iran, or democracy’s enduring failure to take root in Pakistan? Did Israel somehow cause the various putsches that produced the republic of fear in Iraq? If Jordan, the state sharing the longest border with Israel, can experiment with constitutional monarchy, why not Syria?

It won’t do to lay the democracy and development deficits of the Arab world on the doorstep of the Jewish state. Israel is a pretext, not a cause, and therefore its dispatch will not heal the self-inflicted wounds of the Arab-Islamic world. Nor will the mild version of “statocide,” a binational state, do the trick—not in view of the “civilization of clashes” (to borrow a term from British historian Niall Ferguson) that is the hallmark of Arab political culture. The mortal struggle between Israelis and Palestinians would simply shift from the outside to the inside.

My Enemy, Myself
Can anybody proclaim in good conscience that these dysfunctionalities of the Arab world would vanish along with Israel? Two U.N. “Arab Human Development Reports,” written by Arab authors, say no. The calamities are homemade. Stagnation and hopelessness have three root causes. The first is lack of freedom. The United Nations cites the persistence of absolute autocracies, bogus elections, judiciaries beholden to executives, and constraints on civil society. Freedom of expression and association are also sharply limited. The second root cause is lack of knowledge: Sixty-five million adults are illiterate, and some 10 million children have no schooling at all. As such, the Arab world is dropping ever further behind in scientific research and the development of information technology. Third, female participation in political and economic life is the lowest in the world. Economic growth will continue to lag as long as the potential of half the population remains largely untapped.

Will all of this right itself when that Judeo-Western insult to Arab pride finally vanishes? Will the millions of unemployed and bored young men, cannon fodder for the terrorists, vanish as well—along with one-party rule, corruption, and closed economies? This notion makes sense only if one cherishes single-cause explanations or, worse, harbors a particular animus against the Jewish state and its refusal to behave like Sweden. (Come to think of it, Sweden would not be Sweden either if it lived in the Hobbesian world of the Middle East.)

Finally, the most popular what-if issue of them all: Would the Islamic world hate the United States less if Israel vanished? Like all what-if queries, this one, too, admits only suggestive evidence. To begin, the notion that 5 million Jews are solely responsible for the rage of 1 billion or so Muslims cannot carry the weight assigned to it. Second, Arab-Islamic hatreds of the United States preceded the conquest of the West Bank and Gaza. Recall the loathing left behind by the U.S.-managed coup that restored the shah’s rule in Tehran in 1953, or the U.S. intervention in Lebanon in 1958. As soon as Britain and France left the Middle East, the United States became the dominant power and the No. 1 target. Another bit of suggestive evidence is that the fiercest (unofficial) anti-Americanism emanates from Washington’s self-styled allies in the Arab Middle East, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Is this situation because of Israel—or because it is so convenient for these regimes to “busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels” (as Shakespeare’s Henry IV put it) to distract their populations from their dependence on the “Great Satan”?

Take the Cairo Declaration against “U.S. hegemony,” endorsed by 400 delegates from across the Middle East and the West in December 2002. The lengthy indictment mentions Palestine only peripherally. The central condemnation, uttered in profuse variation, targets the United States for monopolizing power “within the framework of capitalist globalization,” for reinstating “colonialism,” and for blocking the “emergence of forces that would shift the balance of power toward multi-polarity.” In short, Global America is responsible for all the afflictions of the Arab world, with Israel coming in a distant second.

This familiar tale has an ironic twist: One of the key signers is Nader Fergany, lead author of the 2002 U.N. Arab Human Development Report. So even those who confess to the internal failures of the Arab world end up blaming “the Other.” Given the enormity of the indictment, ditching Israel will not absolve the United States. Iran’s Khomeinists have it right, so to speak, when they denounce America as the “Great Satan” and Israel only as the “Little Satan,” a handmaiden of U.S. power. What really riles America-haters in the Middle East is Washington’s intrusion into their affairs, be it for reasons of oil, terrorism, or weapons of mass destruction. This fact is why Osama bin Laden, having attached himself to the Palestinian cause only as an afterthought, calls the Americans the new crusaders, and the Jews their imperialist stand-ins.

None of this is to argue in favor of Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, nor to excuse the cruel hardship it imposes on the Palestinians, which is pernicious, even for Israel’s own soul. But as this analysis suggests, the real source of Arab angst is the West as a palpable symbol of misery and an irresistible target of what noted Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami has called “Arab rage.” The puzzle is why so many Westerners, like those who signed the Cairo Declaration, believe otherwise.

Is this anti-Semitism, as so many Jews are quick to suspect? No, but denying Israel’s legitimacy bears an uncanny resemblance to some central features of this darkest of creeds. Accordingly, the Jews are omnipotent, ubiquitous, and thus responsible for the evils of the world. Today, Israel finds itself in an analogous position, either as handmaiden or manipulator of U.S. might. The soft version sighs: “If only Israel were more reasonable…” The semihard version demands that “the United States pull the rug out from under Israel” to impose the pliancy that comes from impotence. And the hard-hard version dreams about salvation springing from Israel’s disappearance.

Why, sure—if it weren’t for that old joke from Israel’s War of Independence: While the bullets were whistling overhead and the two Jews in their foxhole were running out of rounds, one griped, “If the Brits had to give us a country not their own, why couldn’t they have given us Switzerland?” Alas, Israel is just a strip of land in the world’s most noxious neighborhood, and the cleanup hasn’t even begun.

Josef Joffe is the publisher of Die Zeit, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, and distinguished fellow at the Institute for International Studies, both at Stanford University.

Harry Reid (of all people) believes that George W Bush is the worst American president in history. In speaking of Russ Feingold’s lonely effort to censure the  president

…he’s the worst president we ever had. I don’t think we need a censure resolution in the Senate to prove that…

In truth, being resented by Harry Reid is like being resented by corrupt Arab world leaders. We noted in the Culture Of Corruption And Playing In The Mud that

Mr Ethics, Harry Reid (who happily took money from Jack Abrahamoff, then denied it, then admitted it and then refused to return the money) is backing what promises to be one of Nevada’s largest real estate development proposals. In fact, Mr Reid wanted the feds to part with valuable federal lands for nothing. When that came to light, the developer- without a peep- agreed to pay ten million dollars for the land.

In fact, the developer and Mr Reid have ties that go back a long way. The developer/lobbyist, Harvey Whittemore, is a longtime friend and financial backer of Harry Reid. Of course, lawyers are always the front people for deal of this magnitude. ‘Leif Reid, who is Whittemore’s personal lawyer, has represented the developer throughout the Coyote Springs project, including in negotiations with federal officials.’ What a good daddy.

To put things in perspective, the size of the deal must be appreciated. The Coyote Springs Valley project calls for ‘as many as 159,000 homes, 16 golf courses and a full complement of stores and service facilities. At nearly 43,000 acres, Coyote Springs covers almost twice as much space as the next-largest development in a state famous for out-sized building projects. ‘ The project has been referred to as being of ‘historic proportions.’

Harry Reid also referred to former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan “one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington.”

Bill Clinton approval of the Greenspan policies that led this nation through it’s greatest period of extended growth was unequivocal. In 2000, Mr Clinton had this to say at Greenspan’s renomination to the Fed:

Wise leadership from the Fed has played a very large role in our strong economy. That is why today I am pleased to announce my decision to renominate Alan Greenspan as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

One has to wonder why the Senator from Nevada with spectacularly questionable ethics is so antagonistic to Mr Bush and Mr Greenspan- unless of course, Mr Reid resents anyone with real ethics that might highlight his own moral bankruptcy.

It is a good thing to be hated by those who are corrupt. It is a good thing to be hated by those for whom amassing political power at the expense of serving their constituents and  the nation is a way of life. Being excoriated and vilified by hypocrites and self serving politicians only highlights their own corruption. Notwithstanding the Democrat win in the 2006 mid term elections, Congress under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi (her ethical standards can be noted here) and Harry Reid is barely above single digit approval rates. That should come as no surprise. Despite MSM determination to keep Democrat corruption of the front pages, you can’t hide the stench.

With the Dow Index hovering at the 14,000 level, the Democrats are desperate to focus economic attention to the minimum wage hike due to go into effect. Even that is not what it appears to be. We noted in the SC&A Idiots Guide To The First One Hundred Hours Of The 110th Congress

…Why then, is federal minimum wage legislation such a priority for the democrats?

The answer is simple: Union support and union votes.

Many union collective bargaining wage agreements are based on the federal minimum wage. In many industries, union wages are calculated as multiples of the federal minimum wage.

Suppose the minimum wage is $7.00 an hour. If the collective bargaining agreement calls for a 3 times minimum wage base, that means the union employee would be paid $21.00 an hour.

If the minimum wage is raised to $8.00 an hour, the same union employee would see his or her wage raised to $24.00 per hour. The additional cost to the employer union would be $6,000 per year for each employee. There are many union employee contracts that call for wages at 5 and even 6 times federal minimum wage levels.

Lets do the math. At 5 times the minimum wage set at $7.00, the union negotiated hourly wage is $35.00 per hour. At 6 time the minimum wage, that negotiated wage is $42.00 per hour.

If the minimum wage is raised by $1.00, those hourly rates rise to $40.00 and $48.00, respectively.

(Some pertinent facts about Congressional pay can be found here. The current wage package paid to Congresspersons is about 12 times that of the minimum wage.)

Even though almost 90% of all Americans earn in excess of the minimum wage, the cost of new minimum wage legislation is astronomical. Who do you think pays for all that ‘feel good’ legislation in the form of higher costs for goods?

It is the almost 90% of Americans that earn above the minimum wage that benefit most from new wage legislation- and union members with collective bargaining agreements stand to gain the most- and that is why unions support the Dems.

The Dem commitment to minimum wage legislation has never been about ‘helping’ or ‘compassion’ or even the poor. It has always been about money and votes.

The stock market is at record levels and almost 70% of Americans are directly benefiting from our strong economy. Home ownership is at record levels and the loudly talked about home mortgage failures represent less than 2% of all mortgages written (Naturally, we can only assume that the Dems that are complaining so bitterly take no issue with anyone stupid enough to take out a 110%, no money down, interest only repayment mortgage).

Now there are some Dems that want to censure the president and that’s got them all breathless. Before that, it was Scooter Libby. Before that, it was something else and before that, there was something else that was sure to ‘indict Karl Rove’ or ‘bring down the White House.’

That’s the Harry Reid/Nancy Pelosi legacy. They, like their phony and corrupt agendas, will be forgotten.

It was inevitable. Fake doctor notes for employees, students and anyone else who might need an excuse for under performing, over performing and mediocrity.

Medical, psychological and veterinary  excuses available- and for only $10.

Can letters from funeral homes, gravestone photos and grief counselors be far behind?

The Failed State Index

July 24, 2007

By the numbers…

“Show me the money.”

That loaded expression has surfaced as the mantra for a generation, but not for the reason many people think, because in fact, “show me the money” is the embodiment of part of the extremes of either side of the the value system that is our own.

The center of conservative ideology revolves around morality and ideas. Behavior, responsibility and accountability are the foundations of society.

The center of leftist (as opposed to classical liberal) ideology revolves around wealth- or rather, the redistribution of wealth. As far as leftists are concerned, responsibility and accountability are one way street. Government and the approved ideologues are responsible and to held accountable for the redistribution of wealth. Further, leftist ideologies abhor restraints on behavior. There are no behaviors that are unacceptable- none. The only constraints are the claimed justification of those behaviors. Some are acceptable, some are not. To kill a political/religious opponent in the name of leftist ideologies is good. To kill defending oneself from those ideologies is bad.

Leftist believe that consuming wealth is the same as creating wealth. They also believe that a consumer society is the same kind of society that facilitates the creation of wealth. To that end, those to whom redistributed wealth is apportioned, are good. Those who create the wealth, are bad. That in a nutshell, is the definition of populism- a government says ‘We will take care of you, cradle to grave. We will give you what we take from others.’

Leftists see the redistribution of wealth and materialism as an expression of values. That is why they believe they can buy their way out of any confrontation of evil. They cannot accept the truth that evil is defeated by defending and insisting upon a set of values and behaviors from everyone and standing firm.

Leftists do not want to acknowledge that evil is defeated by values and not by sharing wealth. That is why leftists are comfortable with taking the sides and defending some of the most dysfunctional and despicable tyrants to be found anywhere. They believe that their ‘enlightened’ ideas of wealth distribution will change pathological behaviors.

For example, they believe that Arab misogyny, homophobia and racist hate will abate, once there is a ‘redistribution’ of wealth (and ideological values) from the west. In the event that doesn’t happen, leftists believe they and their ‘values’ will be excluded from persecution. After all, they have proved themselves to be a useful part of the ’cause.’ The dysfunctional Arab world leadership is only too happy to keep this generation of ‘useful idiots’ under the ether.

One might be tempted compare the leftists of today of today to the Jews of prewar Germany, blind to the horror and the inferno that was about to engulf the world.

The Nazi era German Jews desperately wanted to believe that German racist ideologies were really expressions of political rjetoric. The German volk were a civilized lot, cultured and well educated. The social, cultural and political elite, those who filled the Berlin salons with progressive ideas and discussions that centered around sophisticated philosophy, art, literature and the new kultur would in the end, never allow for such brutality. They would never turn their backs on the persecution and wholesale slaughter, predicated on racialism.

We all know how that turned out.

Leftists today believe that in the end, the redistribution of wealth, will ‘enlighten’ the tyrannies they support and bring them into line with their own relativism, multicultural and a value system that honors nothing but the self. Unlike the Jews of prewar Germany, the left are supporting regimes that already have a track record of evil. The Nazis attempted to hide and deny their evil- the darlings of the left, the Arab world, cannot be bothered. The left cannot say they knew nothing of the misogyny, racism and bigotry, because in fact, those behaviors are in plain view. Nevertheless, they choose to support and defend the tyrannies.

Leftists have failed women because they have chosen to embrace regimes and causes that oppress and betray women. Leftists have failed the gay community because they will ‘out’ a gay person if and when it suits their needs.

The leftist dance is reminiscent of the Nazi era, with German government officials denying their atrocities by taking Red Cross workers to ‘show camps’ where Jews and other minorities were portrayed as ‘happy guests’ of Reich generosity and largesse, even as the gas chamber and ovens were going at full tilt just down the road.
Why the leftists go to extremes to defend evil isn’t hard to understand.

There is a phenomena of the self hating Jew, an individual who denies his or her own identity, culture and faith, and seeks to identify and support those who make no secret of their own pathological agendas, directed against Jews.

The pathology of the self hating Jew is not new. Jews were attracted to communism and socialism, because someone said, “We are all equal. You are a comrade.” For the first time, Jews believed they were to be ‘free.’ After centuries of relentless oppression the idea was intoxicating.

After the horrors of the Second World War were made clear, there were a whole sub culture of Jews, even the children of Holocaust survivors that migrated to the self hating brigades. Why? Because those Jews believed that if they could be unlike the Jews (and more like their oppressors), then no one would come for them. They would be safe and secure. Surely the oppressors would see there were ‘good Jews’ too, noted just evil and hated Jews.

The same is true today of leftists (Jews included) who believe that siding with the racist, bigoted and dysfunctional oppressors might save them from the destiny of those their new friends promise. They are the Kapos of this generation, willing to sacrifice their own so as to save themselves.

Prewar German Jews could at least hope against hope that there would be no Holocaust. Leftists of today cannot argue ignorance.

Leftists today hate freedom and democracy because those ideas have created the environment for success. Assistant Village Idiot recently noted in a comment that Arabs don’t hate us because we have succeeded, but rather, because they have failed. The same is true for the leftists- their burning hatred of democracy stems from their failure to create a single instance of a functioning society that isn’t a least a generation behind our own. Not even the redistribution of wealth can make up for the values and freedom that create an environment that allows for the creation of wealth.

For the left, it is the appearance that becomes the brass ring. Iran, like North Korea, wants the ‘materialism’ of nuclear technology so that they might be perceived as equals. They do not understand that materialism has nothing to do values. Free western nations can easily have more in common with nations that share our values than with nations who enrich uranium.

Appearance is not a substitute for substance. Religious garb is often spoken of as a sign of religiosity that must be respected, as if appearance alone were to be regarded as sacred. When it is all said and done, religiosity is not measured by what goes on the head, but rather, what goes in the head. That ‘magnificent’ Mohammed Atta spent the the night of September 10, 2001 in a strip club, paying for lap dances with a Quran at his side. So much for his religiosity.

The left will support the redistribution of ‘nuclear wealth’ to unstable totalitarian regimes that threaten their neighbors and other- especially if they hate American and western freedoms. In their mind, that gives these regimes the appearance of equality with the west. The believe that appearance of equality, precludes us from noting their hypocrisy and their failures.

(On the other hand, the very suggestion that a non nuclear western and democratic nation go nuclear is sure to set the leftists off into a wild frenzy.)

Of course, it is only by managing behavior of those who threaten us or our allies that we can ensure our security. When values and beliefs are shared, we do not need to ‘manage’ behavior. We do not need to manage our relationships with other free nations because free and democratic nations do not go to war with each other. Free and democratic nations do not need to institutionalize racism, bigotry and religious hate.

In the end, it is not the redistribution of wealth that will ensure our security. Rather, it is the redistribution of principles, values and beliefs of free nations that will make all the difference.

Portions of this post have been previously published.

Congressional leadership clearly hold the American people in little regard and in great contempt. What else can one conclude when there is an overt attempt to hide and and obscure what is crystal clear in the Arab world, when it comes to Iraq?

In an article published in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa and in the English-language Kuwaiti daily Arab Times, the editor-in-chief of both papers, Ahmad Al-Jarallah, wrote that Iran was increasingly taking control of countries in the Middle East – including Gaza, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt and the Gulf states – in order to strengthen its position in future negotiations with the U.S. over its nuclear program. In his article, he said that Arab countries must convene a summit to counter this threat, and must “hit the head of the snake in Tehran.”

The following are excerpts from the Arab Times article, in the original English: [1]

“Tehran Will Gain Complete Control Over Iraq When the U.S.-Led Coalition Forces Leave Iraqi Soil”

“The entire Arab world is in danger, after becoming the epicenter of Iran’s policies. Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s aggressive policies confirm our fears. Many issues which concern only Arabs have now fallen into the hands of Iran. After Hamas, using weapons, separated Gaza from the West Bank, the Palestinian issue has become a property of Tehran.

“By seizing control of Nouri Al-Maliki’s government, Iran has made Iraq a pawn in its hands. As a result, Iran is in a position where it can match the presence of the Unites States in Iraq. In other words, Tehran will gain complete control over Iraq when the U.S.-led coalition forces leave Iraqi soil.

“The issue of Lebanon, which is fighting for freedom, sovereignty and independence, has also become a trump card for Iran due to Hizbullah, which played the role of a Trojan horse in allowing Tehran’s influence to sneak into the Lebanese fort.

“Currently, Iran is trying to extend its aggressive policies to all the Gulf countries and to Egypt, in a bid to use this economically vital region as an ace up its sleeve in its negotiations with the United States, when the time comes. This raises the question: Why are Arab countries not taking any steps or holding a summit to wrest control of these issues, which essentially belong to them? Arab countries have not done anything except send the secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, to Lebanon, where he achieved nothing.”

“The Battle is No Longer [Only] Between Iran and the U.S. – It Now Includes… All Arab Countries”

“Leaders of all Arab countries should hold a summit to prevent Iran from stealing Arab issues. They should tell Tehran to focus on its internal affairs instead of interfering in the affairs of other countries.

“The battle is no longer between Iran and the United States. It now includes Iran, Israel and all Arab countries… Whenever the U.S. forces Iran into a corner over its nuclear program, Tehran works hard to shift this battle to Arab countries.

“All Arab countries, except Syria, are convinced that Iran has stolen their issues. Iran’s policies, which were active in Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon, are now expanding to Egypt and the Gulf states. We cannot forget the three islands which rightfully belong to the United Arab Emirates; the recent assault on a Kuwaiti diplomat in Tehran; or who made the Palestinians die twice – once at the hands of the Israelis and a second time at the hands of their own brothers. Are these not reasons enough to hold an Arab summit, and hit the head of the snake in Tehran without any fear?”

There is a clear potential for general mayhem, sectarian murder and outright genocide in Iraq that would be facilitated by an early American and Coalition Forces withdrawal. Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and a few Republicans have made clear their preference for 50 pieces of voter silver over the gold threads of loyalty to democratic values and the belief that all men are worthy of freedom.

In what has to be the height of hubris, Barack Obama declared that ‘preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn’t a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there.’

Obama noted that

…by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now — where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife — which we haven’t done”

Obama absolutely missed the point. It is to the shame of America and other free nations that we do not have troops in the Congo. It is to the shame of America and the free nations of the world that we not have troops preventing the genocide in Darfur and a hundred other places. It is to our shame we did nothing as the genocide in Rwanda took place and it is to our shame that dysfunctional, racist and bigoted regimes can threaten us and other free nations with impunity and without fear of retribution.

The fact is, we need more hatred of evil. We need to be outraged at the slaughter in Iraq and the genocide in Darfur and other places like it. We must be so outraged that we must be ready to inflict a pain so great and a punishment so profound, that the evil doers will take note and cease their brutality…

The evil doers must tremble in fear from the thought of our hate for them, and at the thought of retribution.

Barack Obama is right to note that we have not stopped the slaughter in the Congo- but he is wrong in what that implies. While we indeed cannot be the ‘world’s policeman,’ in every place at once, or change realities overnight, we can stand firm in the places we are.

It took almost 2o years to clean up Times Square and return that bit of geography to the people of New York. What was arguably the most dangerous, crime and drug infested area of the greatest city in the world is now the healthy heart of the city, a place where no one fears to go.

No one will be surprised if it took an even longer amount of time to clean up the filth that is today’s Congress.

To bring freedom to the Middle East nations, led by bigoted, racist and dysfunctional regimes, will take time. Nation building does not come about in TV time. To build a free and democratic nation can take generations and even then, we must be ever vigilant, so that we protect and defend the values of freedom.

If we, as a nation, are unwilling to pass on the values of freedom and democracy to our children and others, we are unworthy of the blessings that have been bestowed upon us.

Tyrannical regimes that are critical of democracy and freedoms are not equal in stature to free and democratic nations. Regimes where hate, bigotry and dysfunctionality are institutionalized are not morally equal to free nations.

In the end of course, we must attempt to engage in dialogue with all nations, even the most repulsive and evil, before we act in defense of our way of life. Nevertheless, it bears remembering that it is a good thing to be hated by those who hate freedom and democracy. It is a good thing to be hated by those for whom bigotry and racism are a way of life and it is a good thing to be feared by tyrannical regimes who worry that we will hold them accountable for their behavior and oppression of others.

Walking upright does not make all men moral equal, anymore than lines on a map all nations moral equals.

From the Smoking Gun:

JULY 21–Meet Patrick Tribett. The Ohio man was nabbed yesterday morning for “abusing harmful intoxicants” as he attempted to make a purchase at Bellaire’s Dollar General Store. The 41-year-old Tribett, it seems, had been huffing spray paint and needed a refill. According to a Bellaire Police Department report, Tribett’s pupils were constricted and he replied slowly to their questions. Oh, and “officers observed the paint on face and hands,” as can be seen in the below mug shot. Tribett, who was previously busted for assault, domestic violence, and inhaling harmful intoxicants, was booked into the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office lockup. His booking photo immediately joins TSG’s pantheon of favorite kooky mug shots like this one, this one, this one, and, of course, this one.

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