Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Has The American Dream Come to an End?

“For generations, parents have told their children about “The American Dream.” Basically it has meant building a life based on the foundational principles that created and have sustained America for more than 200 years.”
Greater than any other country in the modern world, the United States offered, from 1776 to 2010, unprecedented opportunities to the common citizen to manifest the “American Dream.” Every resident enjoys the choices of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
How do you define the American Dream?  Basically, it allows average citizens to enjoy higher education, greater choices and fulfilment of  their personal goals.  Those aspirations allow farm boys to play in the New York Philharmonic, or a Texas kid to sing the National Anthem in Yankee Stadium, or a poor black girl like Oprah Winfrey to become a movie star, fabulously rich and the host of the Oprah Show.  She educates and enlightens millions around the world.  It allows inner-city ghetto kids like O.J. Simpson to gain stardom, money and a mega-wealthy home—only to sit in prison for his transgressions.
It allows men like Bernie Madoff to rise to astonishing wealth only to fall into disgrace and prison.  The American Dream allows a poor white kid like Abe Lincoln to rise to the presidency as well as an illegitimate black kid like Barack Obama to sit in the White House in 2010.  The American Dream allows anyone with fortitude, integrity, drive and creative talents to chase their dreams.
For example: how could a poor boy step off the farm in the 1950s, graduate from college, become a teacher, and move on to live a life of adventure?  How could he jump on a bicycle and ride it 100,000 miles across six continents and seven times coast-to-coast across America?  How could a kid enjoy such an amazing life that Marco Polo or Captain Cook would envy?  How could he write 10 books with more on the way?   How could he speak up against his own government and fight for what’s right and not get thrown into political prison?  I don’t know, but I am that kid.  I must pinch myself because it all gets down to the luck of my birth and country of origin.
If you look around the planet, you will not see the “Indian Dream”; “China Dream”; “Mexican Dream”; “Bangladesh Dream” or “African Dream.”  In those places—poverty, death, disease, famine, few choices and a pretty unfortunate life experience await many human beings.
For that matter in my 40 years of world travel, only about 15 countries allow their citizens the ability to make enough money to travel the planet.  The rest of humanity scratches out a living.
But, I am willing to bet, that for the United States, the American Dream will turn out to be a brief fantasy in the history of our country, ending circa 2010 or so.  Our own leaders bankrupted our government, defrauded future generations with $13 trillion in debt, forced us into useless and immoral wars like Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan; they sold the American people downstream by shipping our entire manufacturing foundation and mercantile goods to other countries.   We suffer a mind-numbing 41.8 million Americans subsisting on food stamps. Another 15 million stand in unemployment lines and seven million cannot procure a full time job.  Our country and its citizens morph into a welfare state.  Personal accountability and personal responsibility—die in the schools of America where Black, White and Hispanic kids flunk out of high school at 7,000 per day—over 1.2 million annually.  A record 72 percent of black teens give birth to children without fathers—and live off the backs of taxpaying Americans—without giving it a second thought as they birth two, three and more babies.
"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'"Isaac Asimov
Is the American Dream dead?  I submit that it staggers on life-support and the final diagnosis may prove unfortunate.
Charleston Tea Party writer KC said, “We have created a new definition of “The American Dream”. It has nothing to do with values and principles, but has everything to do with “stuff”.   Is the goal an accumulation of possessions? If that’s the case, then our nation of bureaucratic welfare recipients should be the happiest, most fulfilled people the world has ever produced. Instead Prozac, valium and therapists abound. Suicide is an epidemic and we are engaged in major sociological soul searching to find fulfilment in this wealthy but empty lifestyle.”
As I learned in my travels—as human numbers climb into the millions and billions in any civilization, human options diminish and degrade.  As human numbers grow—opportunities and freedoms shrink.  As human numbers accelerate, everything degrades from standard of living to quality of life.  And, once enormous populations manifest—everyone lives in tense toleration, intimidation and diminished opportunities.  Can this country survive the next added 100 million Americans manifesting via immigration within 25 years?
Bill Moyers asked the question to writer Isaac Asimov, “What happens to the idea of the dignity of the human species if population growth continues at its present rate?”
“It will be completely destroyed,” said Asimov. “I will use what I call my bathroom metaphor. Two people live in an apartment and there are two bathrooms, then both have the freedom of the bathroom. You can go to the bathroom anytime you want, and stay as long as you want, for whatever you need. Everyone believes in the freedom of the bathroom. It should be right there in the Constitution. But if you have 20 people in the apartment and two bathrooms, no matter how much every person believes in the freedom of the bathroom, there is no such thing. You have to set up times for each person, you have to bang at the door, "Aren't you through yet?" and so on.
“The same way democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn't matter if someone dies. The more people there are the less one individual matters.”
From my world traveling perspective, the American Dream will not survive what’s coming.
In a five minute astoundingly simple yet brilliant video, “Immigration, Poverty, and Gum Balls”, Roy Beck, director of www.numbersusa.ORG, graphically illustrates the impact of overpopulation.  Take five minutes to see for yourself:
“Immigration by the numbers—off the chart” by Roy Beck

This 10 minute demonstration shows Americans the results of unending mass immigration on the quality of life and sustainability for future generations: in a word “Mind boggling!” www.NumbersUSA.org


Chinese Economics and Deflation

Consider how China’s spending of its stimulus propagates wealth to all Chinese.

Many times the US goes to China and Russia complaining about human rights issues, blaming China for not having social programs for the poor, unemployed, etc... In effect, to a large extent, China uses the private charities and Religious charities to take care of the populous needs, because they realize that to use money for non-productive and counter-productive purposes drains the wealth they are trying to foster for the country and its citizens. This sounds like an Adams, Jefferson and Franklin concept for how the poor should be covered, versus being supported by the State! Prime Minister Wen of China and Prime Minister Putin of Russia both lambasted Obama, when the US Stimulus was proposed, as draining the wealth of the nation – the path of Socialism.

What China does is that they both borrow and print cash for their stimulus. The cash is printed as an offset to deflation, because deflation drives down the monetary or paper value on the books of banks creating a paper loss, where there is actually a real value gain. This means that for the US, as Russia and China, there needs to be some printing and spending of electronic cash to offset the deflationary effect on the assets of banks. This was postulated as a necessity for the same reason by Keynes, but where he got it wrong, and China, Singapore and Russia right, is that Keynes proposed that the funds be used to put people on the dole, the New Deal, Great Society, Obama’s Hope and Change to Fundamental Transformation – the New Normal, etc., use for anything at all, not realizing that such spending without a productive means to repay, versus draining the populous through taxes and borrowing, will deplete the wealth created by the people.

So, here’s what they do in China: (see Sun Yat-sen to understand China’s socio-economic-political process)

They select an area, for example, Shanghai, where in 1998 they commandeered by eminent domain 3 sq. km of land upon which there were 2 story old brown and black wooden hovels for poor workers in Shanghai that had been there for 200 years or more. They built a suburban town just on the outskirts of Shanghai with condos, shops, etc, including mass transit above and below ground back into the city. Then moved the entire population of that area to the township. Then they master planned the entire area to be converted into commercial lots for long term lease, upon which would be built ultra modern skyscrapers of 40 to 60 stories, and contracted their Private Sector construction companies, some government owned, to build a modern infrastructure of water supply systems, sewage treatment, electrical supply, roadways, etc..

Within 3 years the area had been demolished and converted into commercial lots having a value several times the cost of construction. This value was then leased to the Private Sector for 50 years, who proceeded to build horizontally and vertically the entire 3 sq.km. within that 3 years of condos, apartment buildings, office space, retail, commercial, medical, etc., which, moreover, had been completely leased up and sold out within that period to the Private Sector, generating an enormous multiplier of jobs beyond those that lived in the hovels, who now lived in quality modern space with modern transport back into the city to work. I know this story first hand, as I went to Shanghai in 1998 looking for investment opportunity and was told that of this plan and returned again in 2001 to see what space might be available for purchase or rent, only to discover that I had been too slow both times in taking advantage of the opportunity. Meanwhile, since then, the government continues to collect a high rate for leasing the infrastructure it created on the 3 sq.km., while the Private Sector continues to convert the debt from the build out into equity, demand continues to drive up rents, property and wages in real terms.

When the US complains that China has to create a welfare fund and food stamp program and unemployment benefits as part of “human rights” for the non-productive, what China does instead is create another ultra modern master planned city and instead of putting people on the “human rights” dole, as demanded by US Progressives trying to get China back to Socialism, the Chinese government tell all the unemployed people that want to work to show up at that next city.

China started with mostly the border cities on their water front and have been moving systematically to the cities throughout China, each time taking underutilized land and converting it into valuable land at a fraction of the cost of the conversion, based on real construction contracts with mostly Private Sector contractors, then letting the Private Sector build ultra modern sky scrapers, as happened in Shanghai. China leads Asia in the construction of Platinum LEEDs skyscrapers. Super highways, toll ways, high speed passenger and cargo railways, water and sewage systems, all to a large extent designed by Western architects and design engineers, leave in their wake an enormous expansion of jobs, for which there are a multitude of job training programs, everything pay as you go, leading to greater salaries based on real productivity.

More than 50% of the entire development in China is for construction. Western economists say that they have no way to repay it and a bubble is forming, but in reality the present value of these converted land leases, enable China, without taxation, to generate astronomical long term income, which, because they rejected the US call for worldwide hold to maturity accounting in the Private Sector, represents an overall value increase to both the people as a whole and to developers. And with low level “Laffer Curve (1)” taxation of workers generating exponential taxes. They practice the same with government investments into Private Sector R&D, where whatever is created is then eased, licensed or sold to the Private Sector, providing, yet again an underlying value to the Chinese people, and those international interests able to invest.

Their idea is not to stifle wealth, but rather maximize revenues to both the government ADD the Private Sector, recognizing that the Private Sector is the Goose that lays the Golden Egg, not government. These are the same concepts as Hong Kong and Singapore have developed to make these island States so enormously wealthy and unrelentingly productive, but now applied to a vast land mass having a population of 1.3 billion. (As government owns all land, it is leased out.)

Just What Is a Ghetto, Really?

In Denmark and elsewhere, there has been a lot of discussion about so-called 'ghetto areas', where out-of-control crime, unemployment and disrespect for the authorities makes for some interesting challenges. Unfortunately, we do not seem to quite understand the nature of the problems yet. This essay presents some alternative views of their nature.

In Denmark, the government as well as the left-wing opposition parties have launched ambitious plans for dealing with the "ghetto problem". These proposals seek to spend a lot of taxpayer money on a wide variety of initiatives, including tearing down what is deemed 'excessive' apartment blocks, assuming that this will eliminate the other problems.

Even the socialists are noting that a serious problem does exist, and that it has to do with upholding law and order. Spokesman of the Danish Social Democrats, Henrik Dam Kristensen, said on October 13th, reacting to criticism from police management:

We have to say it out loud that when we've come to a situation where the police cannot conduct patrols in certain ghetto districts, I cannot understand that the police management cannot see that this is fundamentally and seriously wrong.

The Danish plans are still being debated, but something fundamental is missing: There is no solid understanding of what makes a ghetto a ghetto. This has the implication that root problems are confused for derived problems, and constitutes a temptations for the politicians to focus on expensive initiatives rather than identifying the most effective ones.

A historical perspective The origin of the word 'ghetto' lies quite far from what we understand as a ghetto today. With the normal Wikipedia caveats, here is their definition:

Ghetto was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live. A ghetto is now described as an overcrowded urban area often associated with a specific ethnic or racial population; especially because of social, legal, or economic pressure.

Note the unspecific term 'pressure'. We'll get back to that. An alternative definition is given later:

The definition of "ghetto" still has a similar meaning, but the broader range of social situations, such as any poverty-stricken urban area.

Traditionally, ghettos in Europe have been areas inhabited by Jews for a variety of reasons. One has been to segregate the Jews from the surrounding Christian society, another to provide Jews with a protected – frequently walled – area where they would be safe from riots. A particular nasty variant of the ghetto was that implemented by the national socialist regime in Germany, were Jews were forced to live until they were sent off to concentration camps in Poland, usually never to return.

Not your modern-day kind of ghetto today, this kind of 'hard' ghetto does not exist, and it would probably be sensible to abandon the word as well, rather than giving it a new meaning. For it is being used in a confusing way to categorize problems not made sufficiently clear, as in the 'pressure' mentioned on Wikipedia.

That alleged 'pressure' is a cause of confusion. All human beings suffer different kinds of pressure, from friends, family and colleagues, political and religious authorities, and not least from the fundamental facts of needing food, shelter and other items to conduct a sound and (ideally) meaningful life. Though people living in 'ghetto' areas usually have lower levels of education and of income that does not take away their free choice in choosing where to live. 'Pressure' is an abstraction that distracts from what a modern-day ghetto really is.

As for an area being 'poverty-stricken', that is another misnomer. We have always had quarters of our towns where the less wealthy were living, also long before the welfare states. Working-class quarters of town had smaller, cheaper apartments, fewer parks and gardens, simpler shops, bars etcetera. Less attractive areas, for sure, but still a place where the less wealthy could – and did – lead decent lives.

Modern-day ghettos cannot be defined as strictly ethnic enclaves, nor by the lower average income. Crime is usually higher in ghetto areas, but more important than the crime itself is the attitude to upholding the law of the land: People who are not criminal themselves do nothing to stop crime committed by others. Further, policemen, firemen, ambulance drivers, soldiers in uniform and other holding of authority are frequently assaulted while doing their job in ghetto areas. I hold that the most significant problem of modern-day ghettos is that of upholding the law of the land.

Why do Muslims not live among everyone else? Modern-day ghettos are generally dominated by Muslims, and one should be aware of the reasons for this (Thanks to Nicolai Sennels for collecting these):

1. People like to stay with their kin: That is, those of the same language, appreciate the same food, look similar, have similar culture and the same religion.

2. Economic reasons. Muslim refugees, immigrants and descendents tend to be less well off than others. This in turn is due to lack of education, language skills and less interest in commercial careers, as well as cultural obstacles to full participation in the labour market.

3. Religion and racism. In principle, Islam simply forbids Muslims to befriend non-Muslims, as exemplified in Quran 5:51: O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as friends, they are but friends to one another. Or, as expressed by the modern-day Islamist Reecep Tayyip Erdogan: Assimilation is a crime against humanity.

4. Social pressure. Muslim culture exercises an unbelievable social and religious pressure on any one person seeking to leave their culture and adopt the lifestyle of their host countries. The extreme expression of this is the large number of threats and assaults on Muslims who have converted to a different religion. Even adopting fundamental Western values of equal rights for women, freedom of expression, democracy and freedom of religion are frequently considered apostates in Islamic circles. A hefty price is paid in terms of social and economical welfare, as well as personal safety.

'No-go zones' in France and elsewhere France, which has suffered immigration mainly from the Maghreb area, has officially designated 751 areas as ghettos, or to use the official euphemism, “Sensitive urban areas” (Zones Urbaines Sensibles). Most of these areas consist of public housing projects originally meant to improve the conditions for the poorer classes, but now causing severe trouble for law enforcement, as well as constituting a seemingly never-ending drain on the welfare system.

Daniel Pipes, in his article The 751 No-Go Zones of France, asks the pertinent question:

What are they?

And immediately responds:

Those places in France that the French state does not control.

Or, as stated by the Pakistan-born Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali:

One of the results of [Islamic extremism] has been to further alienate the young from the nation in which they were growing up and also to turn already separate communities into "no-go" areas where adherence to this ideology has become a mark of acceptability. Those of a different faith or race may find it difficult to live or work there because of hostility to them.

A hallmark of a ghetto is the racism, ethnic or religious, that makes the area unattractive to the normal inhabitants of the country, dangerous to the authorities of it, yet in a surprising way just fine for immigrants, largely Muslims. By harassing those of other ethnicities and/or religion, they establish an area – and a hierarchy – of control distinct from the usual law of the land. Police is facing problems conducting even the most ordinary work in these areas:

The problem has been in public debate for some years now. For instance, French President Nicolas Sarkozy made clear promises in his 2007 campaign to clean up the ghettos and re-establish the authority of the French Republic. Paul Belien of Brussels Journal assessed the result in his 2008 article Sensitive Urban Areas: Has France Become a Narco State?:

In May, the French voters elected Mr. Sarkozy as president because he had promised to restore the authority of the Republic over France's 751 no-go areas [...]. During his first months in office he has been too busy with other activities, such as selling nuclear plants to Libya and getting divorced.

Apart from new issues distracting Sarkozy, the situation is unchanged by the end of 2010. Riots and 'Carbecue' (torching of random cars) are standard features of the areas, as are drug dealing and violent crime. As Paul Belien notes, this does not even cause much of a stir in the media:

People get mugged, even murdered, in the ZUS, but the media prefer not to write about it.

And when it does, well-known apologies are readily at hand:

When large-scale rioting erupts and officers and firemen are attacked, the behaviour of the thugs is condoned with references to their "poverty" and to the "racism" of the indigenous French.

Since immigrants, once granted citizenship, have exactly the same rights as the indigenous population, that explanation doesn't make too much sense, unless you are in search of a scapegoat. Poverty is indeed a problem in the ghetto areas, but that is not really new, the situation was the same a century ago, two centuries ago, and before:

Hard-working, disciplined individuals with marketable skills make more money and lead better lives. The political circumstances have changed a lot over time, but the fundamental premises have not. Unless you belong to a political class taking advantage of the situation.

The failure of the left Leftist politicians have routinely been willing to apologize for bad behaviour among the immigrants, but time is changing. Long seeing themselves as 'protectors' of a suppressed minority against evil racists, they are starting to find themselves betrayed by the very persons they defended. Ra Ranunkel is one of the few who spoke out. According to Fyens Stiftstidende, via Islam in Europe:

I always said that I'm proud to live in Vollsmose. I'm starting to get tired of it now. More and more of my neighbors come and say they're being attacked and robbed of their money. Or that their car was burned down. And all ask: 'Ra, can't you do anything?'. I have to admit, I feel powerless.

Ra Ranunkel says that there's a hardcore gang of Somalis who commit attacks that are deliberately directed at Danes. And it's primarily the Palestinians who burn the Danes' cars and control Bøgetorvet (Beech Square).

Those remarks stirred interest at the local news broadcaster TV2, who invited him to give an interview in one of the major Danish ghetto areas, Vollsmose. The interview was interrupted by Palestinians shouting “Dirty Danes!” and throwing rocks.

Ra Ranunkel was taken to task for his statements by his hard left political party Enhedslisten, was forced to resign from his position as chairman of the Cooperation Council, and has taken a sick leave as a consequence of the developments. Which certainly constitute a warning to others who might be inclined to relate their personal experiences of the increasing ethnic divisions in ghetto areas.

A confusing array of solutions Politicians in Denmark, as well as elsewhere, feel compelled to do 'something'. As Villy Søvndal, chairman of the Danish Socialist Peoples' Party, puts it:

The ghettos are one of the greatest problems in our society, and our police has said straight out that they are losing control in some of these areas. Therefore we have to join forces in a national agreement to ensure that our cities are not being controlled by those with the most money and the biggest muscles.

But what actually is to be done, and how it would help, remains unclear. The left wing tends to emphasize poverty as the root cause of ghettos, the right wing more in terms of law and order. But the differences are not that deep, and often contradictory. The socialist side wants to deploy more police; the conservative is looking at letting young criminals have criminal records erased easier.

Both sides, though, are interested in enhancing the “social efforts” and other milder efforts. It is unclear how this will improve the situation. As is the effect of a different and quite popular idea: To destroy some of the houses in the area. Now, it has not been documented that any of the houses commit arson or rob people in the streets, assault policemen or pelt stones at Danes for being Danish. Nor are the buildings particular worn down or ill-functioning, and there are large green areas between them. Nothing indicates that the buildings are causing the problems.

What do the inhabitants say? Before starting extensive initiatives to change the ghettos, it can be instructive to listen to the people who live there. They deserve to have a say before their apartments are destroyed. Frequently, one gets statements like the following from Gellerupparken, a large Danish ghetto area:

We have good apartments. Why should we tear them down? Why should I let my apartment be torn down when I'm happy to live here, asks Helle Hansen, spokesman for the inhabitants of Gellerupparken.

Now, Helle Hansen is ethnically Danish, and thus a minority in the ghetto. For a different take on the situation, this interview (English translation at Gates of Vienna) with Iman Rabeh (18-year Danish born woman of Libanese origin) presents some disturbing attitudes. Most significant is her statement “I feel safe in the ghetto”. The justifications she uses should be quite disturbing for anyone opposed to racism.

Iman Rabeh: All my neighbours are Arabs, and if they’re not Arabs then they are Lebanese, and if they’re not Lebanese then they are – we have that love for one another that you’re an Arab, I’m an Arab. […] Danes as such, they are not like us [...]

Interviewer Mikkel Krause: You’ve said straight out that if you were to one day leave Gellerup, and maybe you will be forced to leave Gellerup because they want to tear down the apartment blocks or whatever, then you’ll just move to another ghetto.

Iman Rabeh: Yes that’s right. I would move to another ghetto. [in the ghetto] I’d be 100 percent certain that no one would lay a finger on me, or steal my handbag or my bicycle, because I’m one of “them”. You know, we all know each other, they would never do that.

Mikkel Krause: There is another, much discussed, solution, which is to demolish some of the apartment blocks in Gellerupparken. What do you think of that kind of solution?

Iman Rabeh: Not at all. That is the wrong solution. You should build something instead of tearing something down. You could make it a nicer place, but why would you tear it down? There is no reason for that.

What she says makes perfect sense, but flies in the face of political correctness, as she openly uses her ethnicity when choosing who to trust, who to live with, and says, as a matter of cause, that Danes don't like her. She likes her ghetto as it is – and sees no sense in destroying perfectly good apartments. But racism isn't the only force upholding the ghetto.

Criminal youth in the ghettos actively work to make their domains into ghettos. They like living in an area where they have power and control, where they are 'respected', and where the law of the land cannot control their actions. As reported in Jyllands-Posten, 21st September 2010:

The society in charge of buildings estimates that children between 6 and 18 are behind most cases of arson.

While the age span is in itself remarkable, so is the reason behind the arson:

According to professor Michael Hviid Jacobsen from the University of Aalborg, a hard core of Danish immigrant youth does not want their domain to become normal residential areas, but intend to “maintain their environment as a dangerous ghetto, and who enjoy the fear caused by setting fire to things in the environment”.

Significantly, other inhabitants in the area do not seem very interested in taking the arsonists to task for their behaviour. Police officer Bertel Heilesen is quoted in the article for saying:

It is very difficult to resolve cases of arson against cars and containers, for there are rarely any clues to work with, and people in the area routinely refused to talk to the police. We resolve these cases with extremely low frequency, probably below one percent.

Upholding the law of the land While many different problems exist in the ghetto areas, including rampant welfare expenses, a recurring theme is the lack of interest in upholding national law in the areas. And, just as in Great Britain, Sharia courts are discreetly starting to operate in Denmark, slowly undermining the central principle of secular law, gender equality and equal rights for all.

Probably the simplest functional definition of a modern-day ghetto is:

An area where the law of the land is fatally weakened.

Not uphold by citizens, destructive youth and criminals act with impunity, and even drug dealers can gain a respect through their wealth that entirely eclipses the contempt they deserve for dealing in harmful substances. This leads to a Law of the Jungle where the strongest have the power, and ultimately such areas may turn into theocracies.

What's compounding the problem is that not only the criminals are to be faulted for the problems with upholding the law. Non-criminal citizens who refuse to speak to the police, cover for criminal friends or relatives, or denigrate the police as being 'racist', all contribute to the vacuum of national law in the area. Understandable in a way, for most refugees come from countries where government and police are corrupt and the law does not work for the benefit of the citizen. We are letting immigrants into our countries without an extensive education in how democracy and secular law works, and we are only seeing the beginning of the problems. Such education programs should have the goal of making immigrants understand and adopt these principles.

The totalitarian Islamic trap Given the vacuum of law in immigrant-rich areas, the next degree of problems is divine intervention. And this is one hard nut to crack. For most immigrants are Muslims, and actually have a backup law to resort to when secular law fails to assert itself. That law has a name: Sharia.

Sharia is the legal aspect of Islam. As Robert Perry pointed out in his interesting book The Closing of the Muslim Mind, the main objective of Islam remains implementing Islamic law. Other aspects of Islam have been debated extensively in the past, including a brief 'Golden Age' of rationality, but the past remains the past. The main objective of Islam today is implementing Sharia, a legal system based mainly on the life of Muhammad.

When Muslims have problems in their lives, they frequently do as Christians would do, they ask their religious leaders, the imams, muftis etc., for advise. And just as the Christian priest will refer to the life and teachings of Jesus, the imam will refer to the life and teachings of Muhammad, which are detailed in the quran, the hadith and the sirat (life story of Muhammad). The only major problem here is that the life and example of Muhammad was radically different from that of Jesus.

Collecting the life of Muhammad into a formalized code of conduct was quite an intellectual challenge, which through the combined effort of many brains crystallized into books like Reliance of the Traveller, books that essentially constitute manuals for how Muslims should conduct their lives, that it can be as similar to that of Muhammad as possible. A core problem of this world view is that it is totalitarian and entirely denies individual freedom.

Now, if Muslims, in deep faith to their religion, ask imams with this world view how to behave, the result is quite obviously incompatible with modern life, secular law and a free society in which men and women have equal rights. Imams usually respond to the secular challenge by severely denigrating secular law and modern life, which puts Muslims in a pinch:

If holding on to their faith requires abandoning a modern lifestyle and the right of individual choice, which is preferable?

In the ghetto, the Islamic world view tends to dominate. If a classical mosque is constructed, the problems become an order of magnitude worse, for the mosque endows the imams with much higher authority, and establishes the ghetto as an area with a viable alternative to secular rule. If things get that far, the ghetto has evaded the rule of the land and become autonomous.

What should we do? Social problems aside, the most urgent issue in the European ghettos is to reassert the law of the land. This can be done in a variety of ways, but none are without risk of severe confrontations between secular and religious authority.


Bad behaviour needs consequences One of the most significant cultural clashes we're facing is that of internal control versus external. A large part of the refugees to our countries have come from societies with strong external control, but little emphasis on internal control and real self-discipline, whereas self-discipline in the West has developed almost into a straitjacket. We have lost the understanding that strict external control is a necessity towards people who do not understand internal control, and are afraid to apply the means required, preferring instead to spend endless resources on "social efforts".

With the influx of persons accustomed to external control, there is a distinct need to adjust accordingly. It is tempting to go easy on first-time offenders, assuming that lenience will be accepted with gratitude and that internal control will prevent further offences. The reality on the ground, however, is that lenience is seen as exploitable weakness, which will be exploited. A wide array of methods does exist, and old ideas such as curfews can be much better enforced with new technology, such as GPS-based devices to monitor the movements of known offenders.

Make welfare payments contingent on proper behaviour One of the standard features of ghettos, and a source of subtle but deep resentment from other parts of the society, is the sheer amount of money absorbed by the various forms of social security systems. This comprises unemployment support, early retirement, child support, extensive use of 'exceptional' circumstances, expenses to social workers, as well as fraud and crime. While non-ghetto areas have single-digit unemployment rates, ghetto areas routinely have unemployment rates of 50 % or more. This is a drain on national resources that seems endless.

One way to make good use of this money is to make them conditional on proper behaviour. We should at least expect recipients to make their children attend and respect school, that their children abstain from violent crime and destruction, and make it clear that they must respect the authorities of the land. If either of those rules are violated, a short-term suspension of welfare payments is sure to be felt clearly and be a lesson to what is Right and what is Wrong.

Don't be afraid of using force In the West, we have partially circumcised our willingness and ability to use force against lawbreakers. While citizens have an important right to file complaints against police and other authorities, this right is being misused extensively by left-wing extremists like Antifa, who file frivolous complaints in large numbers after their encounters with the police. This leads to court cases that are routinely lost, but in the process a shade of doubt is cast over the integrity of our police force, and police management routinely pledge that only minimum force will be applied.

In order to re-establish the Monopoly of violence that state authorities are to hold, there is no way around using powerful methods, trust our police forces and permit them a reasonable margin of error. This will be tough for the politically correct elite to accept, and we probably need to see a severe increase in violent crime in the ghettos before this will be accepted as a necessity.

Build highly visible police stations The disrespect for secular authorities, and in turn direct assaults on them, needs to be countered by a strong display of secular might in the ghettos. We have been using discreet, side-street police stations for a few officers to be in the area and get to know the problems. But what has not been tried, and is most certainly worth it, is a strong display of secular authority. Also let the police stations fly the flag of the land prominently, in order to show that national authority rules supreme.

This will be assaulted by unruly youth, and will need defence. Also the reactions of imams and other Islamic leaders will be illuminating. But as upholding the law is in the interest of all sensible citizens, public support in the area should emerge, and lead to appreciation of the police presence.

Protect the dissidents There are individuals who get fed up with the circumstances in the ghettos, with the religious rules and with the position of women. Women leave their violent husbands, Muslims convert to Christianity, and individuals reject the tribal traditions tied to ethnicity and criminal gangs. These people take serious individual risks, and deserve protection from the various kinds of threats and intimidation they face. Women’s' shelters are important institutions, women in the ghettos need to be informed of their rights, and we need to allocate the resources needed to protect them.

Do not turn Islamic scholars into authorities Solving problems of rampant crimes through religious (read: 'Islamic') authorities is tempting and has been tried. But while it is an easy solution, it is also the most dangerous in the long term. Imams tell Muslims in no uncertain words which authority to ultimately respect: "Allah" (and his representatives), certainly not secular institutions or laws made by man. Respecting man-made laws (that is, democratic laws) is considered heresy in traditional Islam, and imams preach this. In turn, when we depend on immigrant respecting and upholding secular law, we will face severe problems.

But Islamic scholars have little authority on their own. It is us who endow them with that authority by asking them for advise, to settle conflicts and talk to the young. By letting fundamentalist imams appear on television or give interviews to the newspapers, they are presented as authorities in the very ghetto areas we need to get back under the Rule of Law. If we should work with any Islamic authorities at all, they should be certified moderate, for instance by having signed the Charter of Muslim Understanding penned by Sam Solomon.

Running private courts should be punishable under the law Independent courts is a growing problem in ghetto areas dominated by Muslims. By setting up alternative, independent courts and using threats and intimidation to build the jurisdiction among Muslims, a completely parallel society is gradually formed. If we want our societies to gradually fall apart into ethnically and religiously cleansed enclaves, this is a perfect way to let that happen.

Preserving our free societies is well worth it If, on the other hand, we want to preserve our liberal democracies and the freedoms that provides us with historically outstanding living circumstances, we need to use the law, our Constitutions and the associated institutions to protect them. We may need to break some international conventions in order to accomplish this goal, but so be it.

The formation of ghettos can be countered before they turn into autonomous enclaves. The sooner we use the appropriate methods, the less dramatic the confrontation will be. Unfortunately, decades of lax policies and a general lack of interest has already permitted the ghettos to devolve into areas where the law of the land is fatally weakened. For the sake of social cohesion, we need to return these areas to the Rule of Law, and we need to do it now.

It’s the Entitlements, Stupid

It seems that practically everyone wants practically everything from the government. And they're getting it. A budget disaster is sure to follow.

More Americans are getting government assistance than ever before while the number of folks paying federal taxes is dwindling. That withering equation will thwart any effort to solve the federal deficit and could eventually bankrupt the nation, experts warn.
47 Million People on Food Stamps

"We have a very large share of the American population that is getting checks from the government," "And an increasingly smaller portion of the population that's paying for it,”

According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, roughly half of all Americans are part of a household that gets some government assistance — Social Security, subsidized housing, food stamps, jobless benefits, Medicare, or some other federal benefit. Entitlements and federal pensions cost the government an astounding $2.4 trillion in 2010.

That amounts to more than 64 percent of federal expenditures, the highest percentage since Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal first introduced massive government entitlements in 1935.

America's graying population is exacerbating the problem. Over the past two decades, the number of people enrolled in Medicare has risen 38 percent to 47 million. Twenty years from now, more than 80 million will be in the program, according to government estimates.

And within nine years, President Barack Obama's federal healthcare makeover will deliver federal aid to another 20 million Americans to help them buy health insurance, the Congressional Budget Office reports.

Not only will we not balance the budget without fundamental entitlement reform, we'll never get the deficit below $1 trillion without it. The federal deficit is expected to top $1.45 trillion this year and 2.1 trillion in 2011.

In terms of cost, the worst offenders are Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the new healthcare program. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security alone, which made up 8.4 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2007, are projected to reach 18.7 percent of GDP by 2050. To put that in context, a 10 percent increase in share of GDP today would amount to $12,000 per household.

Meanwhile, about 45 percent of households now earn so little in wages, or use so many tax credits and deductions, that they pay no federal income taxes at all. That's up from 39 percent in 2005. And to add to that daunting statistic: More than 13 percent don't even get hit with Social Security or Medicare payroll taxes.

The government doesn't track how many entitlement recipients pay no taxes, but logic would dictate that programs designed to benefit the poor, the elderly, and the unemployed would largely benefit those who contribute little or no income or payroll taxes, experts say.

A comprehensive report from the Congressional Budget Office found that, by the end of 2010, Social Security will take in less money than it pays in benefits. A long-term analysis of estimated revenues indicates Social Security will be able to pay 100 percent of the benefits promised only until 2037.

Afterward, the program will be able to pay about 76 percent of promised benefits unless changes to the system are made. But despite concerns about the federal deficit, American voters and legislators traditionally have been reluctant to cut back on federal entitlements.

Not even the Republican's ambitious "Pledge to America," released with much fanfare in the run-up to the midterm elections, treated the subject with much gravitas or specificity. "We will make the decisions that are necessary to protect our entitlement programs for today's seniors and future generations," the GOP missive reads. "That means requiring a full accounting of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, setting benchmarks for these programs and reviewing them regularly, and preventing the expansion of unfunded liabilities."

In Europe, where government generosity is even greater than in the United States, the sputtering economy has forced deep program cuts, offering undeniable proof that even "untouchable" programs such as pension benefits and unemployment aid can be trimmed.

The public here remains conflicted on the matter. A recent National Journal poll found that 35 percent of Americans want the government to deliver all of the benefits the retired and needy are entitled to, even if it means raising taxes.

But another 34 percent of those polled say entitlement programs should be made "financially sustainable" through a combination of benefits cuts and tax hikes.

Federal entitlements have climbed steadily for 75 years. Today, more than 47 million Americans get food stamps, up 45 percent from 2008. Nearly 10 million now get federal jobless aid, double the number from two years ago. Do the math. Continuing to pay all promised benefits will ultimately require taxing the nation into stagnation and poverty.

Why Democrats Are Obsessed With Race

      Republicans stand for smaller government, a strong national defense, and traditional values. Democrats stand for bigger government, wealth redistribution, and race baiting.

      That’s the conclusion one has to draw from the constant stream of racially tinged comments we hear from some Democrats. If nobody referred to skin color or thought about it, we would have a truly discrimination-free society.

      Instead, we have Sen. Harry Reid saying, “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican, okay? Do I need to say more?”

      Responding to Reid’s comment, Marco Rubio, the Cuban-American Republican candidate for U.S. senator from Florida, said, “The reason why Americans of Hispanic descent should be Republicans is because the Democratic leadership is trying to dismantle the American free-enterprise system — the only system in the world where parents like mine [who] work hard and play by the rules can give their children opportunities that they themselves did not have.”

      When it comes to blacks, some Democrats make even more offensive comments, calling anyone who disagrees with President Obama a racist. From Justice Clarence Thomas to Juan Williams and Bill Cosby, blacks who express conservative views are referred to by black Democrats as Uncle Toms and sellouts. 

      Ron Miller, who just came out with “Sellout: Musings from Uncle Tom’s Porch,” has experienced all this and more. Miller is a black conservative who runs a website called Regular Folks United. At age 19, he realized that his values emphasizing personal responsibility rather than government handouts did not comport with Democrats’ world view. As a result, he became a Republican.

      As he writes in his book, the “only thing the Democrats do for us [blacks] is keep race at the forefront of our minds and promote race-based policies, which stoke our egos but really don’t make our lives better.” While blacks perceive Democrats’ policies as “caring,” they are “really just keeping us angry and frozen in time so we’ll continue to keep them in power,” Miller writes.

      In a interview following his book party at the Army and Navy Club in Washington, Miller, a U.S. Air Force Veteran, tells the interviewer, “Blacks as a group of people are very conservative in terms of their values. But they have been convinced through the years that somehow they can’t survive in an America that is inherently racist and that they need protection presumably from the Democrats in order to make it through.”

      What the Democrats are selling is not true, Miller says.

      “There are many black and Hispanic Americans who have overcome great odds to be successful,” Miller says. “In my experience, most Americans really strive to do the right thing, and if they see that you’re working hard, that you’re playing by the rules, and that you’re trying to be part of the American story, not only will they cheer you on but a lot of them are there to help you, and that’s been my life experience.”

      The way to promote equality is to ignore race, Miller says. Instead, Democrats highlight skin color. In part, that’s to distract voters from problems the Democrats are not solving.

      “The Democrats have an obsession with race because it’s one of their trump cards when they can’t come up with substantive ideas to thwart the opposition,” Miller says. “They honestly believe that by making an emotional appeal based on race, they are going to somehow stir the base of Hispanic and black supporters and get them to the polls in November. But I think increasingly they’re starting to find out that people are pushing back hard against these kinds of tactics.”

      Reid’s comment was an example of that approach, Miller says.

      Calling the Senate majority leader’s remark “condescending,” Miller says, “The idea is, if you are Hispanic or if you are black, there’s only one way that you are supposed to think. That presumes we are all sheep that are being lead around by some kind of a shepherd who is going to lead us to the promised land.”

      Behind Reid’s attitude is a “tinge of racism,” he says. That’s because “the Democrats have a belief that Hispanics and blacks are incapable of making it in what Thomas Jefferson called ‘the boisterous sea of liberty’ without their help.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Obama Using Executive Orders to Implement Radical Agenda

Does President Obama plan to move to the center in response to his overwhelming rejection at the polls on Nov. 2? No way! Instead, he is moving to implement, through executive action, two of the most controversial items in his 2010 agenda, a carbon tax and pollution permit system and a ban on the use of secret ballots in union elections.

Through executive action by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Obama administration is planning to effectuate both policies without asking Congress.

Never mind that he couldn't persuade even a top-heavy Democratic Congress to pass either program. Or that public opinion polls show massive rejection of both measures. Or that each is a sure job killer by itself, and together, they are even worse. This arrogant, ideologically driven radical is determined to have his way, and the public be damned!

The EPA is currently soliciting public comments for its plan to use the Clean Air Act of 1970 to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. The Clean Air Act, as the name indicates, is designed to fight against pollution, unhealthy chemicals that are belched into the air by smokestacks. It was passed to fight sulfur dioxide, particulates, nitrous oxides and other chemicals that cause human diseases. To use it to fight carbon dioxide, which we all breathe without ill effects, because of concerns about global warming is a perversion of the law.

Worse, because the Clean Air Act is designed to protect public health by measuring aggregate pollution in each geographic area, it limits economic development in communities where the pollution levels exceed prescribed standards. But carbon dioxide doesn't poison anyone. It makes no sense to ban factory expansion in areas where the nature of the industries is that there will be high carbon dioxide levels (like oil area of Texas and Louisiana). But that's what the EPA plans to do, virtually making economic growth illegal in large parts of the United States.

Meanwhile, Craig Becker, the former chief counsel of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), now the head of the NLRB, has secured a 3-2 party line majority to repeal the Dana decision, which mandates secret ballots in unionization elections. The NLRB will rule that if a majority of workers check off that they want a union on cards, then the union will automatically be approved without a secret ballot vote of the entire workforce.

Currently, if a majority of the workers sign the cards, a secret ballot vote is then triggered. Frequently, the union loses these elections, proving that the card check-off is subject to coercion and bullying. The Democratic majority in the Senate wouldn't approve the card check change, so the NLRB is planning to accomplish the same objective administratively, trapping workers into unionization they would reject if afforded the opportunity to vote by secret ballot.

Both the pollution permit/carbon tax and the forced unionization proposals will be job-killers. The U.S. has maintained its 25 percent share of global manufacturing by replacing workers with energy-driven machines.

In the past 10 years, the number of manufacturing employees has declined by 33 percent, but our production has risen by 50 percent. But automation takes energy, lots of it, by taxing energy; we are eliminating the strategy that has preserved our jobs. And massive unionization of the private sector will also drive out our jobs. Since 1990, unionized manufacturing jobs have declined by 75 percent. But non-union manufacturing jobs have actually risen over the same period by 15 percent.

After he lost Congress in 1992, Bill Clinton, too, resorted to executive orders to maintain his momentum as president. With Congress unwilling to pass anything he proposed, the president canvassed the administration for ideas that could be implemented by executive orders. A very productive period followed, during which tobacco regulation, higher educational standards, affirmative action reform and other key measures were implemented without asking Congress' permission.

But Clinton's executive orders were on subjects on which Congress had not voted. They did not contradict the express will of the body. Obama is using the strategy to act in direct defiance of congressional action. He is passing ideas Congress refused to pass, even when he had huge majorities.

Obama will live to regret these moves. Republicans in the House will de-fund these actions and insert legislative language making it a crime to spend appropriated funds to implement them. By this strategy, all of the controversial Obama legislation will be at issue during the budget fight, taxes, Obamacare, cap and trade and card check. The more these issues are inserted into the budget fight, the greater the chances of Republican victory.

So President Obama has not learned the lessons of 2010 and likely never will.

Federally Funded Islam?

It’s disturbing that we even need to have this conversation.

It’ll be more disturbing if the Obama Administration doesn’t intervene and stop the process.

The people behind the controversial “Park 51” Islamic mosque project in Lower Manhattan have apparently applied several times for federal grant money with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. LMDC is officially a New York state agency, but the money that this agency doles-out for the purposes of “reconstructing New York city” in 9-11’s aftermath is nonetheless federal tax money.

The money is administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, while “HUD” itself is overseen by President Obama’s hand-picked cabinet officer, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Thus, it is accurate to say that President Obama and his Administration have a very direct connection with this project – and somebody from the Administration needs to take a stand, do the right thing, and put a halt to it.

Much of the debate over the “Park 51” has involved concerns that the intended location of the project would be “offensive.” The “offense” is found in the fact that the would-be mosque is to be built not far from the region formerly known as “ground zero,” and in the fact that ( no matter how much President Obama and his Administration wants to pretend otherwise) those who attacked our nation on 9-11 were self-described Muslims.

Yet President Obama and his friends in the Administration seem to be disconnected from the many ways in which Americans are offended with the building an Islamic mosque, in a region where Americans were killed by Muslims. In fact, President Obama and several of his top Administration officials (include Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano here) seem helplessly enslaved to a far left-wing approach to such moral dilemmas, which leaves the views and sentiments of everyday Americans out-of-grasp for the Administration.

This approach can roughly be characterized in three very simplistic assumptions: A) Religious traditions, cultures, world views, and moral systems are all relative to one –another; none is any better than any of its counterparts. B) The only reason that an adherent to a particular religion or world view, or a member of any particular culture would do harm to anybody else is because of an unjust power struggle –this is to say that those who do harm to others do so simply because they haven’t been given adequate material provision or economic opportunity; and C) If government can be used to “level the playing field” – that is, if the “strong” (or “wealthy” or “majority class”) can be made a bit weaker, and the “weak” (the “poor” or the “the minority class” ) can be made stronger, then some arbitrary definition of “fairness” with ensue and everyone will begin to peacefully coexist.

This is why, despite three terrorist attacks on American soil in the last 12 months, all of which were committed by young men of Middle Eastern descent who identified themselves as “Muslims,” President Obama nonetheless continues to reiterate to the Muslim world that “America is not at war with Islam.” This is also why the Obama Administration pretends that a Catholic Nun, or a 7 year-old child, or an elderly man in his 70’s are all just as likely to be packing explosives adjacent to their genitals, as anybody else who wants to board a commercial aircraft. None among us is any better or any worse than anybody else, so the liberal thinking goes, and if we all get the same treatment, then the occasional bad behavior will cease.

Of course, the world doesn’t actually operate this way. In fact, the “real world” in which we all must live is far different from the theoretical world of American academic elites. But, so far as we can tell, Barack Obama has spent most of his life in the world of academic elites (according to my calculation he is only the second U.S. President to have been raised almost entirely by “intellectuals,”), and abandoning his assumption that American culture and Islamic culture are morally neutral is likely impossible for our President.

Thus, President Obama will likely continue to offend American sensibilities with his bowing to foreign heads of state, his repeated displays of “kindness” and “assurances” to predominantly Muslim nations, and all the rest. Yet he has taken the offensiveness to an entirely new level, with the prospect that our tax dollars (or more accurately, our children’s and grandchildren’s tax dollars) will be spent on an Islamic house of worship.

This proposal runs afoul of the so-called “separation of church and state” that is usually top of mind for liberals. But it also means that American taxpayers could end-up helping to fund the very ideological system that is committed to our nation’s destruction.

Will somebody in the Obama Administration stand up and do the right thing – even if our President is incapable of doing so?

How To Destroy America

      A 2004 speech on the dangers of multiculturalism in the United Stated titled "I Have a Plan to Destroy America” became famous after being frequently forwarded as an email. With the upcoming vote on the stealth amnesty plan – aka The Dream Act - it is time to revisit this speech.]

      We know Dick Lamm as the former Democratic Governor of Colorado. In that context his thoughts are particularly poignant. Last week there was an immigration overpopulation conference in Washington, DC, filled to capacity by many of American's finest minds and leaders.

      A brilliant college professor by the name of Victor Hansen Davis talked about his latest book, Mexifornia," explaining how immigration - both legal and illegal - was destroying the entire state of California. He said it would march across the country until it destroyed all vestiges of The American Dream.

      Moments later, former Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm stood up and gave a stunning speech on how to destroy America. The audience sat spellbound as he described eight methods for the destruction of the United States. He said, "If you believe that America is too smug, too self-satisfied, too rich, then let's destroy America. It is not that hard to do. No nation in history has survived the ravages of time. Arnold Toynbee observed that all great civilizations rise and fall and that 'An autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide.'"

"Here is how they do it," Lamm said:

      "First, to destroy America, turn America into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bicultural country." History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; however, it is a curse for a society to be bilingual. The historical scholar, Seymour Lipset, put it this way: "The histories of bilingual and bi-cultural societies that do not assimilate are histories of turmoil, tension, and tragedy." Canada, Belgium, Malaysia, and Lebanon all face crises of national existence in which minorities press for autonomy, if not independence. Pakistan and Cyprus have divided. Nigeria suppressed an ethnic rebellion. France faces difficulties with Basques, Bretons, and Corsicans.”

      Lamm went on: Second, to destroy America, "Invent 'multiculturalism' and encourage immigrants to maintain their culture. I would make it an article of belief that all cultures are equal. That there are no cultural differences. I would make it an article of faith that the Black and Hispanic dropout rates are due solely to prejudice and discrimination by the majority. Every other explanation is out of bounds.

      Third, "We could make the United States a 'Hispanic Quebec' without much effort. The key is to celebrate diversity rather than unity. As Benjamin Schwarz said in the Atlantic Monthly recently: "The apparent success of our own multiethnic and multicultural experiment might have been achieved not by tolerance but by hegemony. Without the dominance that once dictated ethnocentricity and what it meant to be an American, we are left with only tolerance and pluralism to hold us together." Lamm said, "I would encourage all immigrants to keep their own language and culture. I would replace the melting pot metaphor with the salad bowl metaphor. It is important to ensure that we have various cultural subgroups living in America enforcing their differences rather than as Americans, emphasizing their similarities e s."

      "Fourth, I would make our fastest growing demographic group the least educated. I would add a second underclass, unassimilated, undereducated, and antagonistic to our population. I would have this second underclass have a 50% dropout rate from high. School."

      "My fifth point for destroying America would be to get big foundations and business to give these efforts lots of money. I would invest in ethnic identity, and I would establish the cult of 'Victimology.' I would get all minorities to think that their lack of success was the fault of the majority y. I would start a grievance industry blaming all minority failure on the majority population."

      "My sixth plan for America's downfall would include dual citizenship, and promote divided loyalties. I would celebrate diversity over unity. I would stress differences rather than similarities. Diverse people worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other - that is, when they are not killing each other. A diverse, peaceful, or stable society is against most historical precedent. People undervalue the unity it takes to keep a nation together. Look at the ancient Greeks. The Greeks believed that they belonged to the same race; they possessed a common language and literature; and they worshipped the same gods. All Greece took part in the Olympic Games. A common enemy, Persia, threatened their liberty. Yet all these bonds were not strong enough to overcome two factors: local patriotism and geographical conditions that nurtured political divisions. Greece fell. "E. Pluribus Unum" -- From many, one. In that historical reality, if we put the emphasis on the 'pluribus'. Instead of the 'Unum,' we will balkanize America as surely as Kosovo."

      "Next to last, I would place all subjects off limits; make it taboo to talk about anything against the cult of 'diversity.' I would find a word similar to 'heretic' in the 16th century - that stopped discussion and paralyzed thinking. Words like 'racist' or 'xenophobe' halt discussion and debate. Having made America a bilingual/bicultural country, having established multi-culturism, having the large foundations fund the doctrine of 'Victimology,' I would next make it impossible to enforce our immigration laws. I would develop a mantra: That because immigration has been good for America, it must always be good. I would make every individual immigrant symmetric and ignore the cumulative impact of millions of them."

       In the last minute of his speech, Governor Lamm wiped his brow, profound silence followed. Finally he said, "Lastly, I would censor Victor Hanson Davis's book "Mexifornia". His book is dangerous. It exposes the plan to destroy America. If you feel America deserves to be destroyed, don't read that book."

      There was no applause. A chilling fear quietly rose like an ominous cloud above every attendee at the conference. Every American in that room knew that everything Lamm enumerated was proceeding methodically, quietly, darkly, yet pervasively across the United States today. Discussion is being suppressed. Over 100 languages are ripping the foundation of our educational system and national cohesiveness. Even barbaric cultures that practice female genital mutilation are growing as we celebrate 'diversity.' American jobs are vanishing into the Third World as corporations create a Third World in America - take note of California and other states - to date, ten million illegal aliens and growing fast. It is reminiscent of George Orwell's book "1984." In that story, three slogans are engraved in the Ministry of Truth building: "War is peace," "Freedom is slavery," and "Ignorance is strength."

      Governor Lamm walked back to his seat. It dawned on everyone at the conference that our nation and the future of this great democracy is deeply in trouble and worsening fast. If we don't get this immigration monster stopped within three years, it will rage like a California wildfire and destroy everything in its path, especially The American Dream.

What's so Bad About Exceptionalism?

There is nothing amiss with exceptionalism, never mind the slurs against it by the likes of NYU Law Professor Ronald Dworkin (in The New York Review of Books). To regard the United States of America as a country that's exceptional – meaning the likes of which cannot be found, provided the reason for this is laudable – is no liability, yet some people consider it so. Let's see what is exceptional about the US.

For one, it is has a system of laws, via its constitution, that lays out some rather firm principles according to which the citizenry is supposed to have its individual rights to life, liberty, etc., vigilantly protected. For example, this is probably the only nation in which (government) censorship is explicitly forbidden; one in which religion and government are explicitly kept apart; one in which it is against the law to force someone to testify against himself or herself (the fifth Amendment bans coercing anyone to incriminate himself or herself); one in which at least a reasonable attempt was made to protect private property rights (also in the fifth) even though this has been eroded by a repeated and perversely statistic misinterpretation of the interstate commerce (Art. 1, Section 8, which mostly likely meant to regularize commerce, not have the government meddle with it constantly) and the takings clauses. And let's not forget the fact that America has been relatively hospitable to commerce and came quite close in some periods of its existence to amounting to a fully free market, capitalist economic system. All of these were exceptional when compared to most nations around the globe and are so even today.

Moreover, the country began with a declaration that explicitly demotes the federal government from being a sovereign ruler to that of a hired servant of the citizenry. This is quite exceptional, too.

But even if one leaves aside these somewhat legalistic features of America and simply looks at the country's history, which other country has ever had a civil war that amounted to an adjustment in its laws to conform to its initial revolutionary doctrine of everyone's equality under the law? More generally, few societies elsewhere have nearly completely abandoned rigid social classes the way these have been in America. (Sure there are economic classes but they are always in flux and membership is never legally inherited.) Moreover, which country in the world, other than perhaps Australia, has opened its borders to so many millions who wanted to live there and absorbed the immigrants so readily as has America?

Of course, the country hasn't existed without flaws such as its early unforgivable slavery and its vicious treatment of the natives (who, however, weren't entirely flawless themselves). Even among early African and American blacks some engaged in the slave trade.

Exceptionalism does not mean being pure, only having a markedly better record vis-a-vis justice and liberty compared with other countries in history and around the globe.

When it used to be a struggle to land on America's shores and millions still made the journey, the exceptionalism was nearly self-evident, for many of the reasons listed above. And hardly any intellectuals disputed this, although there have always been some detractors who wanted to demean the country precisely because of its exceptionalism. But in our time, when hundreds of thousands of European intellectuals have come here, many to take up influential positions at universities and colleges and in the media, the values to which exceptionalism had been related have gotten diluted, muddied, obscured and even denounced.

I have personally sat in the audience when a famous British philosopher, just one among many others, who had abandoned the UK for several US positions in prestigious academic institutions attacked nearly everything for which America has been taken to stand over the years and when asked how come he came here anyway, mumbled something about how it was a personal matter.

I am myself an immigrant and often express criticism toward my new country. Mostly, however, this is because of how determined so many are to throw overboard the principles that made the country exceptional, those laid out in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. There is little question, however, that on the whole America has been exceptional – mostly in a good way but in some measure bad, as well. No one should accept the efforts of too many prominent people to deny this.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The 2012 Presidential Match-Up

Wasn’t that the message of the midterms, especially after Barack Obama went out of his way to defend Democrats by warning voters that his agenda was at risk?  In this case, it was the same as waving a red cape in front of a bull — or a whole Pamplona village of them.  Quinnipiac’s latest survey shows that only 43% of voters say Obama deserves a second term, but that number changes a bit when specific alternatives are mentioned:

President Barack Obama does not deserve a second term, American voters say 49 – 43 percent, and he is in a statistical dead heat with possible Republican challengers Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. President Obama leads Sarah Palin 48 – 40 percent.

Romney, Huckabee, Palin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are bunched together when Republican voters are asked who they prefer for the GOP’s 2012 presidential nomination, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey finds.

In trial heats for 2012, former Massachusetts Gov. Romney receives 45 percent to 44 percent for Obama, while the president gets 46 percent to 44 percent for Mr. Huckabee. Matched against Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a virtual unknown to most voters, the president leads 45 – 36 percent.

“At this point, former Alaska Gov. Palin runs the worst against President Obama. Daniels is essentially a generic Republican because of his anonymity to most voters. Obama only gets 45 percent against him while he gets 48 percent against Ms. Palin,” said Brown. “She is very unpopular among independents and although she recently said she thought she could defeat Obama, the data does not now necessarily support that assertion.”

In another potential blow to Obama’s re-election chances, his favorability rating has descended to a 48/48 split — and a 43/52 among independents.  That deals a blow to what had been Obama’s best asset on the trail.  Even when his performance approval slid badly this year, his personal favorables remained relatively strong.  That no longer appears to be the case, and without that, it will take a big economic rebound to get voters to reassess Obama in 2012.

Interestingly, Obama only gets lukewarm support from his own party.  Democrats surveyed in this poll said they didn’t want to see Obama challenged in a primary, but by a relatively unenthusiastic 64/27 split.  That sounds overwhelming on most questions, but in this case it shows that more than a quarter of Democrats want their sitting President to potentially lose the party nomination for a second term.  Less than two-thirds of them want to avoid that outcome.  That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of Obama’s incumbency by Democratic voters, and it points to another cycle of a wide enthusiasm gap in 2012 even in a presidential campaign.

However, it’s still far too early to count Obama out.  Americans tend to re-elect Presidents, even those who have popularity issues within their own party, and two years is a long time.  If the economy catches fire and jobless declines sharply over the next year, Obama could easily rebound to win a second term.  Unfortunately for Obama, it will take the kind of economic policies he opposes to enable that kind of explosive growth in the next year, when it counts — lower taxes, reduced regulation, and deep cuts in federal spending to stabilize the nation’s monetary policy.  Republicans in the House could actually deliver these policies, and if the Senate and Obama don’t get in the way of them, Democrats and Obama could realize their benefit.  Don’t entirely dismiss Obama’s instinct for political survival.

In the same vein, the head-to-head matchups in this poll don’t mean much at all.  Voters haven’t had an opportunity to see any of these candidates in campaign mode for the current environment.  Their eventual head-to-head potential won’t be known until the end of 2011, after a year of explicit campaigning and some defining moments in debates.  We still don’t really know the full roster of candidates yet, for that matter.  The only real indicative value in these poll questions is the weak support Obama gets against any of them, and his inability to muster a 50% rating from a pool of registered voters in any GOP matchup.  The likely voter results, if a likely-voter model for 2012 could be derived at the moment, would probably show Obama doing significantly worse.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Impossible to uphold U.S. Constitution and Sharia at the same time

As terror-linked CAIR wages legal jihad to force Islamic sharia law on America,  at least one Muslim is warning Americans.

Some may argue that Sharia can be accepted in US courts as there are many interpretations of Sharia Law. This naïve approach ignores the fact that differences in Sharia interpretations are not about the acceptability of violent edicts but rather about details of their implementation. For example, the four main schools of Jurisprudence in Islam are Shafii, Maleki, Hanbali, and Hanafi. Without exception, including in contemporary times, none of these schools of Islamic jurisprudence have ever condemned the punishment of stoning. The views of the four schools of jurisprudence differ only with regard to insignificant issues such as the size of the stones that must be used.

Those who promote the acceptance of Sharia Law in the US need to realize that, not one single approved Sharia Law book clearly rejects the Redda Law (Killing of Muslims who convert to other faith or deny a fundamental part of the religion). Islamic Sharia texts rejecting this inhumane practice does not now exist, and has never existed. The Redda Law is still taught as fundamental part of Sharia, practiced by radical Islamic groups, and is considered the law of the land in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Others may argue that Sharia in the US should be allowed only to influence American courts with regard to regulation of family matters. While this arena may sound innocent, the family practices that Sharia allows and even encourages include beating women, polygamy, and forcing underage girls to marry older men. Women and girls within Islam need American laws to protect them from the injustices of Sharia.

In short, it is impossible to uphold the US Constitution and Sharia Law at the same time. It is impossible to accommodate both systems together because the one protects freedom and equality of humans and the second advocates violence and domination.” But unless this is a system you think would be beneficial to the American way of life, then, there's on way this system can be implemented.

Iranian Sharia "Moral" Police Treating Women... by NoShariaInEurope

Obama’s Jeffersonian Muslim Revisionist Lie

Barack Hussein Obama is a practitioner of many nasty and nefarious things as our President, but none are more destructive to our nation and its endlessly fascinating and largely glorious past than his frequent practice of revisionist history.

The term revisionist means actually, well, lying.

The most recent of these was made during a Presidential speech at a White House dinner, hosted by Barack and Michelle Obama, to celebrate the end of the month-long fast on the part of the Muslim world, a practice which is known as Ramadan. The end of the fast, which seems to require some sort of celebratory event, at least in the alternate universe of the Obama Administration, is known as Iftar. In his remarks at this dinner, the second in his two year Presidency, Obama made various claims in his increasingly pathetic attempts to legitimize the world of Islam, the most outrageous of which was that one of our greatest Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, (who Obama fashioned as a fellow admirer of the Muslim world), hosted the first Iftar dinner at the White House.

Both of these claims are patently false.

The truth about Thomas Jefferson and his involvement in the world of Islam in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries is a fascinating tale, and can be described as both romantic and dashing. It involves pirates, known swashbucklingly at the time as ‘corsairs,’ international intrigue and ultimately acts of astounding military courage on the part of the newly-created United States Marines.

The truth had nothing to do with Jefferson being sympathetic to the Muslim world. The opposite is, in fact, the case. As the historian Michael Oren points out:

“Jefferson was typical of the Americans who…viewed the region [the Muslim states of North Africa] as the repository of despotism, depravity, and backwardness, a kind of inverse mirror of their own democracy, probity, and enlightenment. Certainly, to his mind, a band of Muslim holy warriors bent on enslaving innocent American sailors was far more deserving of whiffs of grapeshot than bags of hard-earned gold….But with much of American opinion still opposed to using force, Jefferson had no alternative other than to continue negotiating with North Africa for the hostages’ eventual release.”

To Jefferson, the Muslim corsairs were nothing but “sea dogs,” and a “pettifogging nest of robbers.” He eventually arrived at the conclusion that only an appropriate military response would be effective, in part in reaction to the many ‘heartbreaking’ letters he received from sailors who were cruelly imprisoned by Muslim pirates, many of whom were ‘mortally afflicted by the plague.’ As Jefferson made known, he “suffered perpetual anxiety” for the innocent American captives.

In December 1790, Jefferson recommended that America go to war against the Muslims: “The liberation of our citizens has an intimate connection with the liberation of our commerce in the Mediterranean,” he explained to Congress. “The distresses of both proceed from the same cause, and the measures which shall be adopted for the relief of one…may…involve the relief of the other.” This was indeed an uncharacteristically hawkish position on the part of Thomas Jefferson, in that he would ordinarily have preferred the payment of tribute to taking military action. This reflects the seriousness of the situation at the time.

Numerous diplomatic efforts were made on the part of Jefferson, as well as his fellow American diplomat, John Adams, to try to quell what had become a crisis on the high seas for the U.S. since losing its British maritime protection following the Revolutionary War. After certain of these efforts, the stunned Ambassadors made the following report to Congress providing the Muslim response to the American request that they stop their aggressive and violent activities:

The Tripolitan Ambassador to Great Britain, Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adia, had informed Jefferson and Adams of the following: “…that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

During these and other drawn out negotiations, Jefferson reached the conclusion that the ‘purchase of peace,’ i.e., appeasement, worked only temporarily with the Muslims, and that history proved that they would always break whatever agreement they reached with the young nation of America, later blame the Europeans for whatever acts of piracy that had occurred, and then demand a higher ‘tribute.’ In Jefferson’s classic fashion, he reached this conclusion through considerable study, much of this an examination of the history of militant Islam. And contrary to yet another false claim made by Obama, though Jefferson did indeed possess a copy of the Koran in his library of over 3,000 volumes, it was an English translation and thus not eligible to be called the ‘holy book’ to which the historical illiterate Obama refers. Jefferson was not a particular devotee of Islam, as Obama infers; Jefferson was interested in all religions, in fact he was interested in just about everything. He was both a ‘curious and cultivated’ man.

Not included in Obama’s reference to the contents of Thomas Jefferson’s library was that Jefferson also owned a much read copy of the work about Muslims entitled “The True Nature of the Impostor Displayed,” by Humphrey Prideaux, an inveterate critic of Islam at the time.

It was not until 1801, when Jefferson was President, that the U.S. went to war against Islam, a conflict that lasted just over 4 years, after which the Barbary pirates backed down, then of course rapidly resumed their nefarious activities. Not until 1830 was terrorism on the high seas, (which was not so much acts of piracy, as Muslims ‘encouraged to prey on Christian shipping’), by the practitioners of Islam finally stopped.

While embroiled in the war with Islamic terrorists in his day, Jefferson commented, “Too long, for the honor of nations, have those Barbarians been suffered [permitted] to trample on the sacred faith of treaties, on the rights and laws of human nature!” Mr. Jefferson, in numerous of his later writings, seemed to have reached the conclusion that the ‘religion’ of Islam was based on ‘nothing the likes of which Jefferson had ever seen.’ To him, it was based on “supremacism” “…whose holy book condoned and mandated violence against unbelievers.” Jefferson understood that what the Koran commanded its followers, among other things, was that peace with Islam could be achieved only through submission by non-believers, as “submission to Islam is peace.”

Jefferson’s opinion of Islam notwithstanding, during his Presidency he did as Presidents do, and maintained contact with diplomats and others of the other nations of the world who were in the U.S. Capital representing their country. One of these representatives, Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, had been sent from the Bey of Tunis to negotiate with the American government, which the Muslims had finally agreed to do only after Muslim ships had been captured by American frigates. Contrary to Obama’s claim that Mellimelli was the first Muslim Ambassador to the U.S., the ‘exotic gentleman’ (as he was regarded in Washington at the time) was a temporary envoy sent for a short time to deal with this specific issue. The envoy, along with his 11 attendants, stayed in a Washington hotel for the six months of their stay, which was paid for by the American government, and it was said that they lived lavishly. It was not until the delegation’s request for ‘concubines’ that Jefferson balked. Never one to miss an opportunity to absolve himself when any sort of thorniness arose, Jefferson turned the issue over to Secretary of State Madison to ‘attend to the matter.’

During his brief tenure, Mellimelli had been invited to several dinners by President Jefferson, and was considered to be quite a man about town. It was in 1805 that the Tunisian envoy responded to one such invitation, which happened to coincide with the Muslim event of Iftar, by saying that he could not attend due to having to abide by the fasting rule during the month of Ramadan as commanded by his faith. During this religious observance, no Muslim is permitted to eat anything until sundown, and as dinner was served normally around 3:30 p.m. in that time, Mellimelli was forced to decline the President’s invitation. No one in the world of early 19th Century America was aware of what Ramadan was, nor did anyone care. Jefferson, as he was a courtly and courteous man, simply moved the hour for dinner a few hours ahead. The President did not change the menu, nor did he change anything else.

What, if anything, has changed since Thomas Jefferson’s involvement with the world of Islam? In late 18th and early 19th Century America, we saw ‘Jihad against the West, obfuscation regarding Muslim history, spouting violent orders from the Koran as justification for Muslim murder and mayhem, and abrogating signed international treaties.’ That about covers it for 21st Century America, doesn’t it?

There is one major difference, however. While Jefferson dealt with our Muslim enemies in a realistic and determined fashion, with the point of the exercise being the protection of American citizens, our current clueless President glosses over these and every other Muslim atrocity in his continued attempts to appease our most violent, and centuries-old, enemy.