Saturday, June 12, 2010

Obama’s Tough Talk Is a Real Kick

Any day now, the Standing Committee for Posterior Selection will release a working list of targets for POTUS to kick with an OSHA-approved shoe.

By Jonah Goldberg
June 11, 2010

In the movie The Andromeda Strain, scientists discover an alien bacteria with the potential to destroy humanity. Immediately, government protocols snap into place. The nation’s greatest experts drop everything and race to their lab to work on the problem.

However, in a scene that was cut from the movie, these top-flight experts don’t race to a remote installation beneath the Nevada desert. Rather, they fly to Washington to coordinate strategy with the hands-on commander in chief.

The nation’s greatest minds nervously assemble in the Oval Office. The can-do president, all business, asks the first question. “So, whose ass should I kick?”

Okay, that didn’t happen. But it would have if Barack Obama had written the script.

By now you’ve heard what he told NBC’s Matt Lauer. “I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar,” Obama said. “We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick, right?”


A creature of elite universities with a progressive’s love of technocrats, Obama is most comfortable leading colloquia of perfect-SAT-score propeller heads.

He once explained to an interviewer: “I would have loved nothing better than to simply come up with some very elegant, academically approved approach to health care. . . . But that’s not how it works in our democracy. Unfortunately, what we end up having to do is to do a lot of negotiations with a lot of different people.”

Ah, yes, damnable democracy, if only we could get that out of the way, we could really get things done. Where have I heard those arguments before? But I digress.

It’s like a Tonight Show joke.

Leno: “The president is so dorky . . . ”

Audience: “How dorky is he?”

“He’s so dorky, when he gets angry he convenes a panel of experts to tell him whose ass to kick.”

And speaking of The Tonight Show, let me reassure both editors and readers of family newspapers everywhere about my use of the word “ass.” Historian Steven Hayward reminds me that in 1979, Jimmy Carter responded to Ted Kennedy’s primary challenge by declaring he would “whip his ass.” It was one of those moments of presidential lameness that conjures the same bile of pity, schadenfreude, and heebie-jeebies one feels upon seeing a middle-aged balding dude with a long gray ponytail dancing at a rave.

Anyway, Johnny Carson repeated Carter’s ass-whipping remark in his opening monologue, without any punch line, explaining that he simply wanted to aggravate the network censors. After all, you can’t get in trouble for quoting the president of the United States accurately.

Much like the ass-whipping Jimmy Carter, Obama is in danger of becoming a figure of ridicule, which is particularly ominous for a presidency that runs almost entirely on high-octane rhetoric.

For instance, Obama recently told high school students in Kalamazoo, Mich., “Don’t make excuses. Take responsibility not just for your successes; take responsibility where you fall short as well.” As many immediately noted, this was odd advice from a man who would put the blame for the hitch in his golf swing on eight years of George W. Bush.

In that same interview with Lauer, the president said he hadn’t bothered talking to Tony Hayward, the CEO of BP, because he knew Hayward would “say all the right things to me. I’m not interested in words. I’m interested in actions.” This from the man who swore that words were magical and thought it was worth sitting down to talk with the president of Iran?

The Washington Examiner’s Chris Stirewalt says the president is caught in a “hypocrisy trap.” Obama dug a massive rhetorical hole for himself, and now anything he says amounts to digging deeper. Among his promises: He’d end partisan bickering, make the world swoon, and convince the oceans to halt their attacks on the land of George W. Bush. Instead, he’s made Washington more partisan. The world did swoon for a minute but quickly moved to shrugging and laughing. And as for the receding oceans, well, they’re filling with light-sweet crude — just one more thing the president blames Bush for.

But there is good news. Any day now, after thorough interagency review, the Standing Committee for Posterior Selection will have given provisional approval for a working list of asses for POTUS to kick with an OSHA-approved shoe. Alas, final environmental-impact statements are pending. But once that hurdle is cleared, the president will focus like a laser on ass-kicking.

— Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. © 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

The myth of Iran's 'isolation'

By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post
Friday, June 11, 2010; A19

In announcing the passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Iran, President Obama stressed not once but twice Iran's increasing "isolation" from the world. This claim is not surprising considering that after 16 months of an "extended hand" policy, in response to which Iran accelerated its nuclear program -- more centrifuges, more enrichment sites, higher enrichment levels -- Iranian "isolation" is about the only achievement to which the administration can even plausibly lay claim.

"Isolation" may have failed to deflect Iran's nuclear ambitions, but it does enjoy incessant repetition by the administration. For example, in his State of the Union address, President Obama declared that "the Islamic Republic of Iran is more isolated." Two months later, Vice President Biden asserted that "since our administration has come to power, I would point out that Iran is more isolated -- internally, externally -- has fewer friends in the world." At the signing of the START treaty in April, Obama declared that "those nations that refuse to meet their obligations [to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, i.e., Iran] will be isolated."

(L to R) Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the Islamic republic inked a nuclear fuel swap deal in Tehran, May 17. The accord commits Iran to depositing 1,200 kilograms (2,640 pounds) of low enriched uranium (LEU) in Turkey in return for fuel for a research reactor.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Really? On Tuesday, one day before the president touted passage of a surpassingly weak U.N. resolution and declared Iran yet more isolated, the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran gathered at a security summit in Istanbul "in a display of regional power that appeared to be calculated to test the United States," as the New York Times put it. I would add: And calculated to demonstrate the hollowness of U.S. claims of Iranian isolation, to flaunt Iran's growing ties with Russia and quasi-alliance with Turkey, a NATO member no less.

Apart from the fact that isolation is hardly an end in itself and is pointless if, regardless, Iran rushes headlong to become a nuclear power, the very claim of Iran's increasing isolation is increasingly implausible. Just last month, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hosted an ostentatious love fest in Tehran with the leaders of Turkey and Brazil. The three raised hands together and announced a uranium transfer deal that was designed to torpedo U.S. attempts to impose U.N. sanctions.

Six weeks ago, Iran was elected to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, a grotesque choice that mocked Obama's attempt to isolate and de-legitimize Iran in the very international institutions he treasures.

Increasing isolation? In the past year alone, Ahmadinejad has been welcomed in Kabul, Istanbul, Copenhagen, Caracas, Brasilia, La Paz, Senegal, Gambia and Uganda. Today, he is in China.

Three Iran sanctions resolutions passed in the Bush years. They were all passed without a single "no" vote. But after 16 months of laboring to produce a mouse, Obama garnered only 12 votes for his sorry sanctions, with Lebanon abstaining and Turkey and Brazil voting against.

From the beginning, the Obama strategy toward Iran and other rogue states had been to offer goodwill and concessions on the premise that this would lead to one of two outcomes: (a) the other side changes policy, or (b) if not, the world isolates the offending state and rallies around us -- now that we have demonstrated last-mile good intentions.

Hence, nearly a year and a half of peace overtures, negotiation, concessions, two New Year's messages to the Iranian people, a bit of groveling about U.S. involvement in the 1953 coup and a disgraceful silence when the regime's very stability was threatened by peaceful demonstrators.

Iran's response? Defiance, contempt and an acceleration of its nuclear program.

And the world's response? Did it rally behind us? The Russians and Chinese bargained furiously and successfully to hollow out the sanctions resolution. Turkey is openly choosing sides with the region's "strong horse" -- Iran and its clients (Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas) -- as it watches the United States flailingly try to placate Syria and appease Iran while it pressures Israel, neglects Lebanon and draws down its power in the region.

To say nothing of Brazil. Et tu, Lula?

This comes after 16 months of assiduously courting these powers with one conciliatory gesture after another: "resetting" relations with Russia, kowtowing to China, lavishing a two-day visit on Turkey highlighted by a speech to the Turkish parliament in Ankara, and elevating Brazil by supplanting the G-8 with the G-20. All this has been read as American weakness, evidence that Obama can be rolled.

The result is succinctly, if understatedly, captured in Wednesday's Post headline "U.S. alliance against Iran is showing new signs of vulnerability."

You think?

This job, too, is beneath Obama

By Mark Steyn
The Orange County Register
June 11, 2010

So a man swept into office on an unprecedented tide of delirious fawning is now watching his presidency sink in an unstoppable gush. That's almost too apt.

Unfortunately, in the real world, a disastrous president has consequences. So let me begin by citing the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition in Canada. Whoa, whoa, don't stampede for the exits!

The Canadian thing's just a starting point, I promise. If I'm still droning on about inside-Ottawa stuff five paragraphs down, feel free to turn the page to our exclusive 12-page pictorial preview of "Sex And The City 3," starring Estelle Getty as Kim Cattrall.

Anyway, a couple of years back, Michael Ignatieff, a professor at Harvard and previously a BBC late-night intellectual telly host, returned to his native land of Canada in order to become prime minister, and to that end got himself elected as leader of the Liberal Party. And, as is the fashion nowadays, he cranked out a quickie tome laying out his political "vision." Having spent his entire adult life abroad, he was aware that some of the natives were uncertain about his commitment to the land of his birth. So he was careful to issue a sort of pledge of a kind of allegiance, explaining that writing a book about Canada had "deepened my attachment to the place on Earth that, if I needed one, I would call home."

Gee, that's awfully big of you. As John Robson commented in The Ottawa Citizen: "I'm worried that a man so postmodern he doesn't need a home wants to lead my country. Why? Is it quaint? An interesting sociological experiment?"

Indeed. But there's a lot of it about. Many Americans are beginning to pick up the strange vibe that for Barack Obama, governing America is "an interesting sociological experiment", too. He would doubtless agree that the United States is "the place on Earth that, if I needed one, I would call home." But he doesn't, not really: It is hard to imagine Obama wandering along to watch a Memorial Day or Fourth of July parade until the job required him to. That's not to say he's un-American or anti-American, but merely that he's beyond all that. Way beyond. He's the first president to give off the pronounced whiff that he's condescending to the job – that it's really too small for him, and he's just killing time until something more commensurate with his stature comes along.

And so the Gulf spill was an irritation, but he dutifully went through the motions of flying in to be photographed looking presidentially concerned. As he wearily explained to Matt Lauer, "I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain, talking..." Good grief, what more do you people want? Alas, he's not a good enough actor to fake it.

So the more desperately he butches up the rhetoric – "Plug the damn hole!," "I know whose ass to kick" – the more pathetically unconvincing it all sounds.

No doubt my observations about Obama's remoteness from the rhythms of American life will be seen by his dwindling band of beleaguered cheerleaders as just another racist right-wing attempt to whip up the backwoods knuckle-dragging swamp dwellers of America by playing on their fears of "the other" – the sophisticated worldly cosmopolitan for whom France is more than a reliable punchline. But, in fact, my complaint is exactly the opposite: Obama's postmodern detachment is feeble and parochial. It's true that he hadn't seen much of America until he ran for president, but he hadn't seen much of anywhere else, either. Like most multiculturalists, he's passed his entire adulthood in a very narrow unicultural environment where your ideological worldview doesn't depend on anything so tedious as actually viewing the world. The aforementioned Michael Ignatieff, who actually has viewed the world, gets close to the psychology in his response to criticisms of him for spending so much time abroad. Deploring such "provincialism," he replied: "They say it makes me less of a Canadian. It makes me more of a Canadian."

Well, yes, you can see what he's getting at. Today, to be an educated citizen of a mature Western democracy – Canada or Germany, England or Sweden – is not to feel Canadian or German, English or Swedish, heaven forbid, but rather to regard oneself as a citoyen du monde. Obviously, if being "more Canadian" requires one literally to be a Harvard professor or a BBC TV host or an essayist for The Guardian, then very few actual Canadians would pass the test. What he really means is that in a post-national, post-modern Western world, the definition of "Canadian" (and Dutch and Belgian and Irish) is how multicultural and globalized you feel. The U.N., Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Bono: these are the colors a progressive worldly Westerner nails to his mast.

You don't need to go anywhere, or do anything: You just need to pick up the general groove, which you can do very easily at almost any college campus.

This Barack Obama did brilliantly. A man who speaks fewer languages than the famously moronic George W Bush, he has nevertheless grasped the essential lingo of the European transnationalist: Continental leaders strike attitudes rather than effect action – which is, frankly, beneath them. One thinks of the insistence a few years ago by Louis Michel, then the Belgian foreign minister, that the so-called European Rapid Reaction Force "must declare itself operational without such a declaration being based on any true capability." As even the Washington Post drily remarked, "Apparently in Europe this works."

Apparently. Thus, Barack Obama: He declared himself operational without such a declaration being based on any true capability. But, if it works for the EU, why not America? Like many of his background here and there, Obama is engaged mostly by abstractions and generalities. Indeed, he is the very model of a modern major generalist. He has grand plans for "the environment" – all of it, wherever it may be. Why should the great eco-Gulliver be ensnared by some Lilliputian oil spill lapping round his boots? He flew in to Cairo to give one of the most historically historic speeches in history to the Muslim world. Why should such a colossus lower his visionary gaze to contemplate some no-account nickel'n'dime racket like the Iranian nuclear program? With one stroke of his pen, he has transformed the health care of 300 million people. But I suppose if there's some killer flu epidemic or a cholera outbreak in New Mexico, you losers will be whining at Obama to do something about that, too.

In recent months, a lot of Americans have said to me that they had no idea the new president would feel so "weird." But, in fact, he's not weird. True, he's not, even in Democratic terms, a political figure – as, say, Clinton or Biden are. Instead, he's the product of the broader culture: There are millions of people like Barack Obama, the eternal students of a vast lethargic transnational campus for whom global compassion and the multicultural pose are merely the modish gloss on a cult of radical grandiose narcissism. As someone once said, "We are the ones we've been waiting for." When you've spent that long waiting in line for yourself, it's bound to be a disappointment.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Interview: Andrew C. McCarthy

Posted by Jamie Glazov on Jun 11th, 2010

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and a columnist for National Review. His book Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad (Encounter Books, 2008), has recently been released in paperback with a new preface. Check out a description from Encounter Books. His newly released book, which has just become a New York Times bestseller, is The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.

FP: Andrew C. McCarthy, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Tell us about your new book and what inspired you to write it.

McCarthy: Jamie, as always, it’s a pleasure to be here.

My first book, Willful Blindness, which you kindly allude to in introducing me, was really focused on the terrorist aspect of the Islamist threat. Although I did argue that terrorism was the direct result of Islamist ideology, based undeniably on an accurate and mainstream construction of Islamic doctrine, my main purpose was to explain why prosecution in the criminal justice system, standing alone, was an inadequate response to a profound national-security challenge.

The Grand Jihad is an effort to dig deeper into what that national security challenge is, and in particular, to stress that terrorism is only a small subset of it. Islamists consider themselves to be in a “civilizational jihad” — their words, not mine — against the West. They use terrorism to great effect, but the battle proceeds on every conceivable front in our society: the media, the academy, and our politics, law and culture. And their aim is nothing less than the “destruction of the West” — as Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual guide (and probably the most influential Sunni cleric in the world), puts it, “to conquer America” and “conquer Europe.”

FP: Why is a book like yours necessary?

McCarthy: The reason a book like this is necessary is that, in the U.S. and the West, we don’t seem to grasp — some of us expressly deny — the dimensions of the threat facing us. When they hear someone like me talking, they tend to dismiss these warnings as some sort of far-fetched theory: “He says they plan to destroy the West — how crazy that is!” So it’s important to be able to point out that I am not theorizing here. I am reporting to you what they are saying about what they are so obviously doing. You can ignore it, at your peril, but to deny it is happening is just preposterous.

FP: And the origins of your very title shows that denying it is just preposterous, right?

McCarthy: Exactly. The very title of the book, “The Grand Jihad” and the invocation of “sabotage” in the subtitle, is taken from a 1991 internal Muslim Brotherhood memorandum in which the group’s leadership in the U.S. explains to its global leadership in Egypt that the Brothers (or the Ikhwan) consider their work in North America as a “grand jihad” aimed at “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within” by “sabotage.” They are telling us outright what they are about. And while this 1991 memo is quite blunt, it’s not materially different from what they’ve been saying outright for 80 years. The Brotherhood’s motto remains, to this day, “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope. Allahu Akbar!” It doesn’t get much less subtle than that.

FP: Why is emphasis on the Muslim Brotherhood so important?

McCarthy: The Brotherhood is the font of modern Islamist ideology, which is deeply rooted in Islamic doctrine and scripture and which is far more mainstream among the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims than we’d like to acknowledge. To hear the official government fairy tale, we are confronted by a fringe handful of “violent extremists” who just happen to be Muslims and are so unrepresentative of Muslims that we must not refer to them as “jihadists” or “Islamo-fascists” or “Islamic terrorists” or make any connection whatsoever between their atrocities and what we are incessantly told is one of the world’s great religions.

In point of fact, Islamist ideology is the dominant and dynamic belief system among the world’s Muslims. It is true that support for terrorism is a minority position in at least some (but by no means all) of its uses. But what we need to grasp is that this represents a disagreement among Muslims about tactics, not about the bottom line. The desire to convert free societies into sharia societies is a majority position, not a fringe position.

FP: Why is this fact so rejected in our media and culture?

McCarthy: It is sometimes difficult to decipher this because:

(a) the doctrine of taqqiya, or deception, encourages Islamists to lie about their aims in order to achieve their aims (obviously, you can’t use a sabotage strategy without that), and

(b) when Islamists and Westerners speak about “freedom,” they are not speaking about the same concept.

In Islam, “freedom” means perfect submission to Allah and His law (sharia). So an Islamist has no trouble looking you in the eye and saying he is all for freedom. It owes to our own ignorance that we don’t grasp that he really means the antithesis of the concept we think we are hearing.

Same thing with “terrorism”: Islamists do not accept that what they call “resistance” – which includes mass-murder attacks against people they have decided are threatening or insulting Islam, or “occupying” territories they have decided are Islamic – is “terrorism.”

So they have no trouble looking us in the eye and saying, in all apparent earnestness, and telling you they condemn “terrorism,” even though they know full well that they don’t believe suicide-bombings in Israel constitute terrorism.

As I relate in the book, this also explains how Qaradawi could “condemn” the 9/11 attacks but then issue a fatwa calling for the murder of American troops operating in Iraq. The former, a sneak attack targeting civilians – including Muslims – in a non-Muslim country is, for him, a tactical blunder because it provoked a forcible response that was a net loss for the Islamist project. The latter involves a Western military force “occupying” an Islamic country; Islamist ideology demands violent jihad to drive them out – and it doesn’t matter a wit that the Westerners view themselves as doing humanitarian work to make life better for Muslims; Islamists view the planting of Western ideas and Western institutions in Islamic lands as an act of war.

FP: You mention “violent jihad.” What do you think of the fact that John Brennan, President Obama’s top counterterrorism advisor, just explained to us that jihad is an “internal struggle” and a noble calling?

McCarthy: Ah, yes, the internal struggle to “purify oneself or one’s community.” It is remarkable that we’ve been under jihadist siege for 17 years – and you could say it’s a lot longer than that, but I’ll count from the WTC bombing – and we still hear this blather.

At the highest levels of government, we don’t want to come to grips with what jihad is. It is a very simple concept. In Islam, jihad is always and everywhere the divinely ordained mission to establish, spread or defend sharia, the Muslim political and legal system. Sharia is deemed to be the necessary precondition to Islamicizing societies – the central, supremacist imperative of Islam being to place all the world under the dominion of Allah and His law. Thus jihad can be, and often is, violent. But it can also be nonviolent, though not in the syrupy way Brennan and other apologists suggest. To hear them tell it, jihad is totally benign – the internal struggle to brush after every meal, or to rid one’s neighborhood of drug-dealing, etc. That’s not it at all. When Islam speaks of jihad as the command to “purify oneself or one’s community,” it does so in a very narrow sense. The idea is not to become a better person but a better Muslim – i.e., to be more faithful to sharia. And to “purify one’s community” does not mean to make it a better place in some objective sense; it means to rid one’s community of non-Muslim influences.

If we understand the elemental fact that jihad is, in fact, a bedrock tenet of Islam and that it is entirely about establishing sharia, then we are on road, finally, to understanding the civilizational threat we face.

FP: How is Sharia a threat to us and our way of life?

McCarthy: Sharia, in many salient particulars, is antithetical to Western culture and American constitutional republicanism. Sharia rejects our foundational premise that people have a right to make law for themselves, irrespective of any religious code (and sharia is not just a religious code but a full-scale socio-economic and political system that has spiritual elements). Sharia rejects freedom of conscience (apostasy from Islam is a capital offense). It denies equal protection before the law to women and non-Muslims. It denies private property (it claims to protect private property but it really doesn’t – all property is deemed to belong to Allah and its human “owner” is regarded merely as a custodian who is obliged to use it for the good of the umma). It abhors capitalism. It endorses violence as a means to settle political disputes. In short, it cannot tolerate individual liberty, which is the building block of our society.

FP: Sounds like something the Left would embrace. That’s why you argue that Islamists work together with the Left to sabotage America, right?

McCarthy: Correct, that is a huge part of it.

I should be clear about what I mean by “the Left.” I would have thought this obvious – a subtitle is always something of an overgeneralization – but I am not talking about all liberals or all progressive people any more than I am talking about all Muslims. There are hundreds of millions of Muslims who do not subscribe to Islamist ideology (the problem, of course, is that there are hundreds of millions who do, and they appear to have the better case in terms of fidelity to Islamic doctrine). And not all of what might generally be called “the Left” is part of what I am homing in on: the hard Left – in America, the Obama Left or the Alinskyite Left – pushing to change our society radically. I think they are a minority, but they are a dynamic, effective minority – just as Islamist ideology (which I suspect is not a minority if you take the tactic of terrorism off the table) is the dynamic and assertive movement among the world’s Muslims.

Nor am I saying, as someone asked in one of my first interviews, that Barack Obama wants to impose sharia. This is an alliance, not a merger. Islamists and Leftists have significant points of departure – mostly on civil rights. If it were just the two of them, they would fight to the death. Indeed, that historically is what has happened: the two sides join in marriages of convenience that always end badly once they have achieved the goal that pushed them together in the first place. After taking help from the communists to topple the Shah, Khomeini repressed them. After Nasser’s socialists aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood to overrun the British-backed Egyptian monarchy (an entente in which Nasser personally solicited a skeptical Sayyid Qutb), Nasser declined to install sharia, the Brotherhood tried to kill him, and Nasser responded by brutally suppressing the Brotherhood – such that Qutb was ultimately executed and the Brotherhood was driven into the arms of the Saudis (the unintended deadly consequence we are still living with today).

I’ve been surprised, Jamie, that when I’m asked about this aspect of the book, people imply that I am concocting a theory. I would have thought that not only the historical instances of Islamist/Leftist collaboration but the innumerable examples all around us (e.g., the radical Center for Constitutional Rights jumping in to become al Qaeda’s lawyer after 9/11; the collaboration between the ACLU and CAIR against the post-9/11 national-security measures; the Muslim Public Affairs Council taking a lead role in the push for Obamacare; the Muslim Brotherhood’s very easily accessible economic and social program – you can glean it from their website, – which is plainly socialist; etc.) would have made the fact of the alliance undeniable. Yet I am constantly asked, “Doesn’t the Left have as much or more to lose than anyone if Islamists come to power?” Sure, as I’ve said, they’d have a lot to lose if there were a situation where all that was left were themselves and the Islamists. But we’re not in that situation. We are in the situation where, historically, they are most apt to confederate: namely, where they have a common obstacle that makes their differences seem less important. To me, the interesting question is why the two sides collaborate, not whether they collaborate. There’s no question that they’re collaborating.

FP: So, in your view, why exactly do they collaborate?

McCarthy: Well, it’s mostly about the common enemy. But I argue that, their significant differences notwithstanding, they are in harmony on a few big-picture matters. Both ideologies are authoritarian, in the sense that they want a powerful central government to impose their alternative utopias. Both are totalitarian, in the sense that each of those alternative utopias involves controlling life down to its granular details. And, again, neither can tolerate a freedom culture: if individuals are free, Leftists and Islamists must fail. As I demonstrate in the book, Rousseau, who is the father of all modern radical movements and despised the notion of individual liberty, was an admirer of Islam – especially its holding that the spiritual and secular realms are indivisible. And when one compares Rousseau’s thought with that of Qutb (who, along with Banna, is the most important Brotherhood thinker), the similarities are startling.

FP: In describing the Obama Left, you invoke David Horowitz’s notion of “neocommunism.” Tell us why.

McCarthy: I am obviously very influenced by David’s insights about the radical Left, and, with respect to the themes in this book, by his Unholy Alliance, which I think is one of the most important – and too often overlooked – books of the last several years. David’s description of neocommunism seems to me a perfect analysis of the phenomenon we’re seeing. When the Soviet Union collapsed, many on the Right heaved a sigh of relief and though, “Thank God that’s over.” But it wasn’t the end of communism at all. Indeed, it turned out, as David points out, to be a boon for Leftists. In arguing for their utopia, they no longer had to explain away a huge, execrable, concrete example of what happens when their lofty ideas get applied in the real world. Now it’s all “social justice” – and who doesn’t want social justice, right? – without the inconvenience of the gulags, the purges, the mass-murders, the collapsed economy, the resulting degradation and hopelessness.

FP: Andy McCarthy, thank you for joining us today.

McCarthy: My pleasure Jamie.

FP: And to all of our readers at Frontpage, if you would like the threat that faces us painted and spelled out for you in clear-cut and full color authoritative terms, backed up by first-rate scholarship by a first-rate scholar, this is the book you have no choice but to read. It’s a dire necessity to have in your hands in these perilous times.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


By Ann Coulter
June 9, 2010

Sarah Palin endorsed three dark-horse candidates in Republican match-ups this year, and all three won their primaries yesterday: Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Carly Fiorina in California. No wonder Sarah's being stalked by Joe McGinniss.

Now, she's got to endorse Rob Simmons for U.S. Senate. Otherwise, Republicans can kiss the possibility of a major upset in Connecticut goodbye.

I wouldn't ask, but the country is at stake. We have a mere 100 senators; only 16 Senate seats currently held by Democrats are up this year; and only about six of those could possibly go Republican, even in Newt Gingrich's wildest fantasies.

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Rob Simmons arrives at the Connecticut Republican Convention in Hartford, Conn., Friday, May 21, 2010.
(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Republicans have done a fantastic job predicting a landslide in the November elections, but not such a good job of doing anything that will actually help them achieve victory.

Which may explain why Connecticut Republicans rolled the dice and said: Let's run a professional wrestling "impresario" for the U.S. Senate! ... You never know.

Except in this case, you know. Running a professional wrestler in the richest, most highly educated state in the nation is going to force voters to hold their noses and vote for the Democrat, Richard Blumenthal (who's already been endorsed by a leading group of Connecticut men who lied about serving in Vietnam).

Until recent revelations about Blumenthal's boasting of his nonexistent service in Vietnam -- and the Harvard swim team -- Republicans didn't have a snowball's chance to pick up Chris Dodd's old seat anyway.

But now The New York Times has splashed on its front page the news that Blumenthal has been lying about his Vietnam War service. Even knee-jerk Democratic partisans, such as Chris Matthews and Bill Press, refused to defend him.

Blumenthal immediately resigned and pulled out of the Senate race ... ha ha, just kidding! That man will never voluntarily stop annoying us. Blumenthal is so churning with ambition that he probably had his first ulcer at age 9.

But no matter how much the local press flacks for Blumenthal, people won't soon forget that he lied about his Vietnam service. It's like finding out he likes to wear diapers or he cheated the Girl Scouts out of cookie money -- but enough about Frank Rich.

Connecticut Republicans have done nothing to deserve this gift. All they need to do is field a candidate who isn't inextricably linked to professional frigging wrestling.

Instead, last month, a majority of Republican caucus-goers voted for professional wrestling impresario Linda McMahon, based on her offer to spend "up to" $50 million of her own money on the campaign.

McMahon would be a fantastic choice if money were associated with electoral victory. But it's not.

We know this because rich dilettantes are constantly thinking to themselves: "I have $300 million, I've bought everything I can buy ... I think I'd like to be a senator!"

In 1994, Michael Huffington spent $30 million in his bid for a Senate seat from California against Democrat Dianne Feinstein. He lost.

In 2002, Tom Golisano spent more than $74 million of his own money running for governor of New York. He received 14 percent of the vote. That same year, Democrat Tony Sanchez spent $60 million of his own money trying to become the governor of Texas -- and lost to Rick Perry.

In 2004, John Kerry spent $6.4 million of John Heinz's money on his presidential race, and still lost.

Last year, Jon Corzine, then-governor of New Jersey, spent about $24 million of his own money trying to hold onto his job. Despite outspending Republican Chris Christie 3-to-1, Corzine lost 49 percent to 44 percent. (Corzine also out-slimed Christie in that race by an whopping 106-to-1.)

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Linda McMahon, right, and husband Vince McMahon, left, wait for delegate totals to be tallied during the Republican nomination at the Connecticut Republican Convention in Hartford, Conn., Friday, May 21, 2010.
(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

In all, 20 candidates for the House or Senate in 2002 spent at least $1 million of their own money on their campaigns; 19 of the 20 lost, generally to more experienced candidates.

Even in the rare cases when the deep-pocket candidate wins, it's not a novelty candidate -- unless it's Minnesota. Michael Bloomberg, the sitting mayor of New York City, spent an astronomical $100 million last year just to win his own office back, outspending his opponent 15-to-1. He squeaked in with 51 percent of the vote -- and that was only after Bloomberg passed a massive new tax on voting for his opponent.

So Republicans better have a more impressive reason for picking Linda McMahon than "She'll spend up to $50 million of her own money."

But they don't.

Any half-wit knows Connecticut will not vote for a professional wrestling "impresario" for the U.S. Senate. So unless Republicans have secret information that Blumenthal does enjoy dressing up in diapers, Republicans are forfeiting a Senate seat for no reason.

By contrast, Rob Simmons, who recently suspended his primary campaign against McMahon for lack of money, is a Haverford College graduate, a former Yale professor and an Army colonel. Unlike fantasist Blumenthal, Simmons really did serve in Vietnam, coming home with two Bronze Stars.

And Simmons, who remains on the Aug. 9 primary ballot, can win even in moderate-Republican Connecticut. He's good on taxes, he's good on defense -- and he's the best Connecticut is ever going to get.

Simmons was elected to Congress three times from a very liberal Connecticut district, beating an incumbent Democrat in his first run. As a result, he had the distinction of representing the largest number of Democrats of any Republican in the House of Representatives. Even in the dark Republican year of 2006, Simmons lost to his Democratic challenger by only 83 votes.

Instead of sitting around, idly predicting massive Republican landslides this fall, how about Republicans work on running candidates who might actually win?

If only we had some popular former governor, preferably a moose-hunter, whose endorsements are gold ... Then we'd show 'em.


Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champions

Hockey finally comes in from the cold in Chicago

By Michael Farber
Inside The NHL
June 10, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 09: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks hoists the Stanley Cup after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 and win the Stanley Cup in Game Six of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA -- The Stanley Cup-winning goal should be a transcendent moment, engraved in memory and history, a glorious conclusion to the pursuit of one of the most arduous trophies to win.

Alas, this overtime goal needed subtitles.

Patrick Kane scored the goal for the Blackhawks, on a play off the left wing that was vaguely reminiscent of the Olympic-winning goal that Sidney Crosby scored in overtime for Canada a little more than three months ago. Kane fired the puck with a quick release, there was an odd sound, Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton looked like someone had slashed his tires, and a few of the 'Hawks started celebrating. But other than a disheartened Leighton and a few giddy Blackhawks, there was no definitive sign the puck had gone in.

No red light. No emphatic signal for the referee. The money shot of the 2010 playoffs was proving to be as awkward as a pimply eighth-grader trying to ask a girl for a dance.

The stunned Flyers stayed on the bench as the referees asked for a video review of the most muddled Stanley Cup-winner since Brett Hull scored the controversial skate-in-the-crease goal for the Dallas Stars in Buffalo 11 years ago.

The Blackhawks, happily expectant, waited for confirmation. Why not?

After 49 years, Chicago could hold on another minute.

Blackhawks 4, Flyers 3. Joy, infinite.

Shortly after 11 p.m. EDT, Chicago got off the schneid that had lasted a nearly half a century. This was the longest current streak of futility in the NHL, but it was not a record. (The Rangers suffered a 54-year Cup drought until winning it in 1994.) But the Blackhawks did set an unofficial NHL milestone for the quickest turnaround from irrelevance to champions in hockey history.

Now, there are sudden reversals in the sports entertainment business all the time, but they generally involve a wrestler taking a length of lead pipe out of his tights and going to town. The 'Hawks ... well, this was strictly legit.

Led by captain Jonathan Toews, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, and defenseman Duncan Keith, who would have been a more inspired choice -- Toews didn't score a goal in the six-game final -- Chicago resurrected a grand franchise in what elsewhere might be called a New York minute. Patrick Sharp, who scored a four-on-four goal to tie the game midway through the second period -- understands this better than any Chicago player. He was traded from the Flyers to the Blackhawks in December 2005, a deal that, given the Stanley Cup parade set for Friday on Michigan Avenue, is tinged with a certain irony. This, of course, is the blessing of hindsight. On that distant winter day, the Sharp trade -- he cost the Blackhawks basically a bag of pucks and a dozen coupons for Subway -- was barely more than lines of agate in North American newspapers.

Sharp's first game in the distinctive Blackhawks jersey was against the Rangers, a nominally attractive Original Six match-up. Not that Chicagoland seemed to notice.

"I remember looking around and seeing 9,000 people," Sharp, the second-line center, recalled early in the final. "I had come from a first-place team in Philly, and now this. Years ago I would have never expected (our franchise) to turn around so quickly. (The Cup) means a lot to everybody, but especially to guys like (Keith and defense partner Brent Seabrook) and myself, who have been here through some pretty tough years ... I challenge anyone to find a better place to play in the league than Chicago."

Mark it down. June 9, 2010 is the day Hawkeytown officially came in from the cold.

Rocky road to redemption

In truth, a 'Hawks renaissance always had been low-hanging fruit. After years of irrelevance and incompetence, Chicago sifted through the rubble of past mistakes, rebuilt on the ice and off, and etched its name on a 35-pound trophy while engraving its brand into the hearts of formerly disaffected fans. As the party swirled around him on the Wachovia Center ice, owner Rocky Wirtz conceded that the franchise had severed a sacred bond with fans, sponsors, media, even the city. The 'Hawks were out of touch, even as they usually were out of the playoffs.

So what was the primordial moment when the franchise started on the long road back to relevance? You can argue it was actually in 2002 when the 'Hawks drafted Keith, a Norris Trophy-caliber defenseman, a prescient choice that predates the selections of captain Toews in 2006 and Kane in 2007, a pair of high-end picks. (Keith, who lost seven front teeth in the clinching win against the Sharks in the Western Conference Finals, said after the game that he doesn't worry about teeth, that he would have them all knocked out to win a Cup.) But for many embittered 'Hawks fans, the rebirth began with the death of Blackhawks chairman Bill Wirtz, Rocky's father.

Wirtz was an NHL colossus, one of its great power brokers and a man with a heart that was often in the right place even if his mind was back in the 1960s. You could land at O'Hare, mention the Blackhawks to a stranger and within 90 seconds, as guaranteed as death and taxes, you could hear a complaint about the 'Hawks' absence from local TV. Former general manager Dale Tallon, the architect of this Cup team as surely as Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Robie House in Oak Park, regularly used to moan that Wirtz's recalcitrance was costing the 'Hawks a 2½-hour infomercial every time they played a home game. Wirtz would not be moved. He was as intractable as the Blackhawks were invisible.

But with the surprising ascension of Rocky to chairman -- most in the hockey world assumed that Wirtz's younger son Peter, who had been a Blackhawks vice-president, would succeed his father -- the Blackhawks were slingshotted into modernity.

The 'Hawks skipped the 20th century and went directly to the 21st in November 2007 when they hired the man who was most responsible for turning Wrigley Field into a baseball theme park. John McDonough, the ex-Cubs president, is a tall, patrician fellow who, using an approach he called "a bulldozer on steroids," pounded on the reset button. In his first 11 months on the job, he made 27 changes to the business office, doubled the front office staff, hired a receptionist -- no, the 'Hawks hadn't bothered previously - started a midsummer Blackhawks convention, rehired popular play-by-play man Pat Foley and courted estranged ex-Blackhawks stars like Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita.

The season ticket base was 3,400 in 2007. Now there is a waiting list of as long as Toews' accomplishments -- Olympic gold medal, Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe.

Captain Serious?

How about Captain Spectacular?

"I think Rocky Wirtz lay awake at night thinking: 'I can't wait to get the reins of that hockey club because it's going to change when I get it'," Hull told SI earlier in the finals. "And he did everything right. He got rid of (longtime executive Bob) Pulford. He brought in McDonough, the smartest marketing guy in the history of the game. He hired Scotty Bowman [as a senior advisor]. He put the games on TV, and he decided to dive into his past. Because he knew with what we had, if he couldn't be proud of his past, they wouldn't have much of a future. And bringing back (Hall of Fame goalie Tony) Esposito and Hull and Mikita was the icing on the cake. The engine was Rocky. The engineer was McDonough and the two boilermakers were [marketing director] Peter Hassen and [senior vice president] Jay Blunk. They made the train run, and it's running very smoothly."

The 'Hawks made an extended playoff run in 2009, reaching the conference finals and settling on a burrow-in-your-brain ditty called Chelsea Dagger to celebrate goals, a reminder that it wasn't going to just be the same old song in Chicago. This season the growing 'Hawks fever enjoyed the ancillary benefit of the 2010 Olympics in which Kane, Toews and Keith played brilliantly.

For every home game in the final at the United Center, a shot of the Mount Rushmore of 'Hawks' hockey -- Hull, Mikita, Tony O and Denis Savard sitting together in a luxury suite -- would appear on the Jumbotron. Now it is easy to imagine that in 2059, 49 years from now, there will be a new Blackhawks trinity -- Toews, Keith, Kane -- that waves down to the crowd at whatever hockey palace holds one of the NHL's heritage teams.

The ending was most uncomfortable -- "I tried to sell the celebration," Kane admitted -- but it did provide closure if not the climax that a quirky, engaging, sloppy, riveting and goal-filled final deserved.

Now the 'Hawks can really paint their Cup-starved city red.

After 49-year drought, Hawks win for one reason: They're the best

Chicago Sun-Times Columnist
June 10, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 09: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks is awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy after the Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 to win the Stanley Cup in Game Six of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA -- Above the ice, the Stanley Cup gleamed and sparkled as it moved from new owner to new owner.

From Jonathan Toews, who was named most valuable player of the playoffs, to Marian Hossa, who had come so achingly close to a championship twice before, to Patrick Sharp, who had started his career in Philadelphia.

Now Brent Sopel and John Madden. Now Duncan Keith, the guy missing seven teeth, and his mate on defense, Brent Seabrook. And so on.

Finally Hawks owner Rocky Wirtz, the man who saw to the franchise's turnaround, handed the Cup to coach Joel Quenneville, who actually smiled. No, really. He did.

Pardon us if we're a little wide-eyed here. Many of us have never seen the Cup like this, in the hands of Blackhawks.

It looked different carried by men in Hawks jerseys. For Chicagoans who had experienced 49 years of desert dryness, it might as well have been space invaders hoisting the Cup.

When Patrick Kane knocked the puck under the legs of Philadelphia goalie Michael Leighton four minutes, six seconds into overtime Wednesday night, it gave the Hawks a 4-3 victory and handed the rest of the NHL a message.

Submit to the Indian.

The Flyers did, finally and inevitably. The Hawks were the more talented team, and that was obvious for long stretches of Game 6. Their skating and passing were a thing of beauty, and in the end, there was nothing Philadelphia could about it.

Well, it could boo, which Flyers fans did loudly as the Hawks carried the Cup around the ice. You can't teach that kind of classiness. You're born with it.

For the Hawks, Wednesday's celebration was the culmination of a whirlwind three years.

''We've really come from not being very good a couple years ago to winning the Stanley Cup,'' Seabrook said. ''I was joking around with a few of the trainers that you'd never think it would actually happen. I never did.

''It's unbelievable to bring the Cup back to Chicago's great fans. We're going to have some parties with them.''

There were stretches of frustration in this one. At times, the Hawks seemed intent on not making this easy for anyone except the Flyers.

With a 3-2 lead in the third period, they went into the hockey equivalent of the prevent defense. The damsel in distress was tied to the railroad tracks, and the hero was pacing over what to do.

It cost the Hawks. The Flyers' Ville Leino skated between two defenders and dumped the puck in front of the net. From there, it deflected off Hossa and onto the stick of Scott Hartnell, who knocked it past goalie Antti Niemi. Tie game. Silly.

Now the Flyers and their fans were totally engaged, their belief in manifest destiny total. The Hawks had allowed them to believe.


No problem. A little pain to go with your pleasure.

Kane's goal set off a delayed celebration. For a few seconds, no one seemed to be aware that the puck had gone in the net. Kane dropped his stick and gloves, and skated to the other end of the ice. The rest of the Hawks caught up with him and mobbed him.

''I saw it go right through the legs,'' Kane said. ''Sticking right under the pad in the net. I don't think anyone saw it.''

''It was kind of an awkward celebration,'' Toews said. ''We didn't know what to do. We were all standing around for the official call.

''It didn't matter how it happened, how it went in.''

There was a year of hard work and sacrifice in the wild celebration, and almost a half-century of frustration being released in it as well. The last time the Hawks won a Stanley Cup was in 1961. Were the 21-year-old Kane's parents even alive in 1961?

The Hawks came out blazing Wednesday night, as if all 49 of those years were fueling them.

There can't have been many other periods in which one team outplayed another so badly and still was locked in a 1-1 tie for its efforts. No offense to our friends in Philly -- no, none at all -- but the Flyers looked overmatched from the first faceoff. The Hawks' top line of Toews, Hossa and Tomas Kopecky was all over the place, and the energy seemed to set the tone for the other three lines.

The Hawks looked faster, stronger and better, probably because that's what they are. When Quenneville split up the line of Toews, Kane and Dustin Byfuglien before Game 5, it spread out the talent throughout the lines, and it quickly became apparent the Flyers couldn't keep up.

The first period Wednesday was simply an extension of that. The Hawks outshot the Flyers 17-7 and looked every bit that dominant.

It was the craziest game. For all the Hawks' decided advantages, the Flyers took a 2-1 lead on Danny Briere's second-period goal. It was made possible when Keith tripped on Hartnell's skate. The Hawks came back to score on a Sharp goal when both teams were down a man.

It was a 2-2 game that felt like a 4-2 Hawks lead. They knew they were the better team, even if the scoreboard didn't know it yet.

That finally changed when Andrew Ladd deflected a Niklas Hjalmarsson slap shot past Leighton to make it 3-2 in the second period.

That set up the maddening third period. And the third period set up the inevitable.

For Keith, all the struggles were worth it. So was the pain. He had lost seven teeth after being hit by a puck in the conference finals.

''I'll knock out all my teeth to hoist that thing again,'' he said, smiling that empty smile of his.

Before the game, the Flyers had handed out orange T-shirts with the slogan ''Unfinished Business'' printed on them. If, by unfinished business, they meant that sock drawers needed organizing in Philadelphia, well, yes, the city now has plenty of time to finish that business.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Today's Tune: Toni Childs - Stop Your Fussin'

(Click on title to play video)

An irrational, obscene hatred

Israel is a cartoon villain, beyond sympathy, beyond even redemption. What is shocking – and frightening – is that the narrative the world accepts is always that of Israel as the evildoer.

The Jerusalem Post
06/07/2010 22:11

‘Shut up. Go back to Auschwitz.” That was the response from the “peace flotilla” when Israel broadcast a radio message warning the Turkish flotilla that it was about to enter an area under naval blockade. In another response, someone on board the “humanitarian aid convoy” replied: “We’re helping the Arabs go against the US. Don’t forget 9/11, guys.” After these exchanges, IDF commandos landed on the ships. On the Mavi Marmara they were attacked by pro-Palestinian activists wielding iron bars.

Turkish papers have now published photographs of soldiers bleeding badly as they are assaulted by thugs.

Eventually the commandos shot back in self-defense and nine activists were killed. It was a disaster for Israel and a triumph for those who hate Israel, Jews and the West. Bulent Yildirim, head of the Turkish Islamist organization IHH, which organized the flotilla, exulted in a speech to an audience he called “people of paradise.” “Last night, everything in the world has changed, and everything is progressing toward Islam,” he said.

Demonstrators burn the flag of Israel during a protest in front of the Israel embassy in Manila's Makati financial district June 2, 2010. Israel, facing mounting international outrage at its raid on an aid convoy sailing to Gaza, said on Tuesday that it would expel all activists seized on the ships and dropped threats to prosecute some of them.

THAT IS the reality today. Consider these words from Sheikh Hussein bin Mahmud, a pseudonymous but apparently popular commentator in the global jihadist community: “Everyone who has had contact with the Jews and lived alongside them, in the East and in the West, has spurned them, loathed them and detested them, to the point where Hitler said, ‘I could kill all the Jews in the world, but I left a few alive so that the entire world will know why I killed the Jews.’”

Such raw hatred of Jews, let alone Israel, is commonplace in the Middle East, even without an excuse such as last week’s deadly incident. The “peace flotilla” was no such thing. It had some peaceful people aboard, but its organizer, IHH, is a part of the Muslim Brotherhood, an openly terrorist organization pledged to the destruction of Israel and the triumph of Shari’a law everywhere. Scores of the “peace passengers” were Islamic militants pledged to kill Jews and secure martyrdom for themselves. Hence the confrontation with the Israeli commandos and the tragedy of the deaths on board.

That was not enough for Sheikh Hussein. He declared that the Turks should “kill every Jew in Turkey.” Moreover, “Gaza does not want ‘freedom ships’ bearing blonde women with Muslim, Christian, Jewish and atheist men; it wants a naval fleet and a land army bearing black Islamic banners... Gaza will not agree to a cease-fire with the Jews. On the contrary, it is thirsty to drink the blood of the sons of apes and pigs, and it is hungry and longs to devour the body parts of these cowards.”

Western critics of Israel often say that they are not anti-Semitic, merely anti-Zionist. No such distinction occurs to commentators such as Sheikh Hussein – Jews, Israelis, they are all “the sons of apes and pigs.”

It is not surprising that such racist loathing creates a siege mentality in Israel. Worse is the fact that Israelis know it’s not just “the black Islamic banners” with which they have to contend, but also the irrational hatred of much of the rest of the world

The realities of Gaza, Israel and the West Bank – where, with Israel’s assistance, the Palestinian economy is booming – are deemed irrelevant to the conventional narrative. Israel is a cartoon villain, beyond sympathy, beyond even redemption. What is deeply shocking – and frightening – is that the narrative the world accepts is always that of Israel the evildoer.

It was true with the so-called Jenin massacre allegedly committed by the Israelis in 2002. There was no such massacre. It was a lie that was widely and uncritically propagated by the UN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the BBC. It is true today. The hatred that Israel arouses is absurd, even obscene. One senior military source was quoted last week as saying it did not matter what his country did; however carefully it responded to such events as the “peace flotilla,” it would always be condemned in the UN, on the BBC and almost everywhere else.

The bien pensants of the Western world are never prepared to give Israel the benefit of any doubt. The UN has become more of a lynch mob than a constructive debating chamber. Israel’s right to defend itself is ignored. So is the fact that Iran has threatened to obliterate it, and that the Hamas rulers of Gaza are Iranian agents also pledged to its destruction.

LAST WEEK, the UN, as always, jumped instantly to the conclusions most damaging to Israel. The UN Human Rights Council, of which Iran is a member, instantly denounced Israel for its “attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance.”

Similarly, the Israeli ambassador to the EU was harangued and abused in the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. No one was interested in his explanation, and when he showed images of IDF soldiers being beaten with iron bars on the Mavi Marmara, MEPs asserted the film was faked propaganda. The only person to defend Israel at all was Charles Tannock, the Conservative MEP. (Unlike the Israeli ambassador, the Iranian ambassador was treated with courtesy.)

Israel is an imperfect society (like any other), but it has extraordinary social, scientific and scholastic achievements. Despite living under endless threats, it is far closer to the liberal ideal of a free society than any other in the Middle East. But it gets scant credit.

Europe prides itself on its tolerance of gay rights, free speech and feminism. These are all integral to Israeli society also, but Israel gets scant credit for that. Radical Muslims, on the other hand, stone women, hang homosexuals and kill to deny free speech. Do Europeans protest that? Not many, not often.

Israel is held to a far higher standard than any other nation. Few people seem to care much about North Korean atrocities, at home and abroad, let alone its terrifying nuclear defiance of the world. No one marches or calls emergency meetings of the UN and the EU to protest the vicious Muslim brutality against other Muslims that takes place every day throughout the Islamic world – and beyond. No one demonstrates on behalf of Christians murdered in the Middle East, their churches burned. Such horrors are waved away. Only Israel merits such constant abuse.

The Muslim world and the Western Left are in an unholy alliance; they do not want to improve the Jewish state, they want to remove it. Israel has come to expect double standards from Europe and assault from the UN.

Much more serious is the loss of support from the Obama administration.

In his attempts to reach out to the Islamic world, Barack Obama has abandoned the US tradition of whole-hearted support for one of its principal allies.

He has showed himself far more tolerant of (or unconcerned by) abuses of power in the Muslim world than by mistakes of Israel.

Most recently, Obama backed a Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty conference statement that singled out Israel in calling for a nuclear-free Middle East. No other president has ever done that, and Israelis are understandably concerned. What Obama does not seem to understand is that his lack of support for Israel not only saps Israel, it emboldens its enemies.

The Middle East and the world are now a much more dangerous place as “the sons [and daughters] of apes and pigs” are delegitimized once again. On their way back to Auschwitz, if their enemies succeed.

- William Shawcross is a British writer and journalist. In 2003 he wrote Allies – Why the West had to remove Saddam. He is now working on a book about the implications of the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to be published by Public Affairs Press, NYC.

Helen's Hate-Filled Exit

By Brent Bozell
June 9, 2010

The last two presidents have been elected on the very dubious campaign promise of "changing the tone" of Washington. Either could have proven his sincerity by shredding the credentials of the White House press corps Dean of Mean, Helen Thomas. Her tone was nasty, and her "questions" usually meant more as insults than as requests for information. Still, presidents and journalists alike bowed and scraped before her, as if she were the Queen of All Media.

Her reign ended with an implosion. A rabbi and two high-school kids in yarmulkes exposed Thomas as not merely anti-Israel, but anti-Semitic. Asked her opinion about the Jews at a Jewish heritage event at the White House, this daughter of Lebanese immigrants said they should "get the hell out of Palestine," and when asked where they should go, she snapped "home" to Germany and Poland, where so many were massacred in the Holocaust.

Thomas apologized quickly, then retired from her Hearst column after these remarks. Whether it was voluntary or mandatory is unclear. What is clear, however, is that some in the press returned immediately to kissing her ring. "Few White House correspondents ever achieved her high profile and respectability," raved Jeremy Peters in The New York Times. "From her coveted seat in the front row of the White House briefing room to her ability to cow even the most hardened White House press secretary, Ms. Thomas was a legend in Washington."

The Helen Thomas "legend" devolved over the last decade after she left UPI, from annoying liberal Reagan-bashing scold to fire-breathing ogre. She bluntly admitted she was a hater in 2002: "I censored myself for 50 years. ... Now I wake up and ask myself, 'Who do I hate today?'" Is that the sound of rarified respectability, New York Times?

She clearly hated anyone who would wage a war on Islamic radicalism. Thomas sneered at press secretary Ari Fleischer in December 2001 about President Bush: "I'm taking note of his wide-swinging threats in speeches recently. What makes him think that he has the right to go into a sovereign country and bomb the people?" Before the Iraq War in 2003, she demanded to know "Why does he want to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis?" In her questions, the Americans were always psychotic killers of innocent civilians.

Those who awarded her respect often did so because she was one of the first women in the press corps. But honoring this accomplishment came with a hefty price: ignoring the blatant bias of her questions and rudeness of her conduct. Media liberals offered her more than respect. They clearly enjoyed her ranting outbursts from the hard left. When she mocked Bush and American military action, this hater spoke for them, saying the ugly things they wanted said.

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank is a good example. He disparaged her hateful Palestine remarks, but then hailed Thomas for offering "a ferocity to her questioning that has eluded too many in subsequent generations. At a time when others were getting cozy with sources, her crabby, unrelenting hostility was refreshing." Journalists cherish ferocity and unrelenting hostility -- when it comes from journalists.

Milbank still fondly recalled how Thomas yelled at President Obama just two weeks ago. "When are you going to get out of Afghanistan? ... Why are we continuing to kill and die there? What is the real excuse? And don't give us this Bushism, 'If we don't go there, they'll all come here.'"

Milbank did not note the irony from his own newspaper on June 7, with the front-page story about the two aspiring jihadis who were nabbed by the feds in New Jersey as they attempted to travel to Somalia to join the terrorist group al-Shabab. One had said to an undercover cop he would be "doing killing here, if I can't do it over there." Thomas thought her opponents were relentlessly dogmatic, but her unjust-war-on-terror narrative never acknowledged some jihadis want to kill us. In fact, they've already killed more than 3,000 of us.

The coverage of her retirement was sickening. ABC, CBS and NBC all marked her retirement in a very narrow way. There was the offensive clip, and CBS and NBC allowed Obama flack Robert Gibbs to distance the White House from those remarks. But beyond that, the only sound bites came from sympathetic media colleagues, wishing her well.

ABC reporter Dan Harris even suggested Thomas should get a break for her Jew-hating because she's approaching senility: "After all, many of us have elderly relatives who have lost their verbal filter." So we should feel sorry for this hater?

Helen Thomas is leaving the White House with all the hate she's been bringing to the grounds for decades. Despite their ill-advised adoration, the White House press corps has been improved by her retirement.

- Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.

Just a hint of Stephen Strasburg's top capacity is simply stunning

By Thomas Boswell
The Washington Post
Wednesday, June 9, 2010; D01

Washington has had more important events than Stephen Strasburg's 14-strikeout big league debut, games for enormous stakes, like a trip to a Super Bowl or battles in the NBA Finals. And the return of baseball here five years ago was the most emotionally charged night the sport has provided us so far in the new Nats era.

But this town has never had one game, one packed-house party, one continuous night-long celebration of possibility, one obliterate-all-expectations career launch that could even remotely approach the electric future that Strasburg's 5-2 victory instantly foretold.

Before Tuesday night, the 21-year-old rookie's first game was a must-attend event or, at least, a must watch TV moment. His talent and the unprecedented hype surrounding his arrival demanded it. Now, hard to believe, that's utterly changed. The anticipation, if anything, will go even higher. After allowing no walks, two runs and four hits in seven innings, while coming within one whiff of Karl Spooner's all-time strikeout record in a big-league debut, what on earth comes next?

After the destruction the Nationals rookie wreaked on the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup, every one of his games now falls into that can't-miss category. The excitement that started two hours before the game, then extended through warm-ups with fans craning over the Nats bullpen to smell the Strasburg smoke, to the standing-room-only crowd's curtain call for the town's new star, will be recreated with vast variation many a time.

In fact, with luck, once every five days throughout the baseball season for many years to come.

"We were having a lot of fun in the bullpen," said rookie reliever Drew Storen as his friend struck out six of the first nine hitters he faced, then finished his 94-pitch effort with a star-is-officially-anointed crescendo of eight strikeouts in the last 10 hitters. "We had a TV, so we saw replays, too. It was kind of an unfair laughing reaction to some of the swings."

After some early wildness, Strasburg found command of his fastball and, having tortured the Bucs by throwing almost every curveball of the game for a strike, simply pounded every corner of the strike zone to close like Secretariat, fanning the last seven Buc hitters in a row. That's K-K-K-K-K-K-K to end his night with a W.

"Even the players on the other team were coming up saying to me, 'This guy is unbelievable,' " said Hall-of-Fame-bound catcher Iván Rodríguez. "Everybody was impressed with the way he attacked, got ahead, used all four pitches."

After just one night among us, it's clear that, like only a couple of dozen pitchers with names like Koufax, Ryan and Clemens, any Strasburg start might make history. Will his whole career approach theirs? Will he be durable and consistent? Those hardball questions can't be answered. But now we have a hint of Strasburg's maximum capacity, and it is stunning.

As a result, no other Nats game has remotely approached the energy level and constant noise of this one. The game's great strikeout artists, and the potential no-hit pitchers have always roused crowds, joining the cognoscenti and the casual fan in the shared bliss of "Strike one, strike two, strike three!"

"I haven't played before a crowd like that before," said left fielder Josh Willingham who, along with Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn (upper deck), homered to give fans a best-of-Nats highlight film. "The crowd wasn't just yelling for a strikeout. They were yelling on almost every pitch. An absolutely really cool game to be a part of."

For fans, entertainment choices are suddenly redefined. When does Strasburg pitch next? What excuse suffices to miss him? When he's allowed to throw 100 or 110 pitches, like normal folk, what happens next?

"I hope that I am faced with some tough decisions on when to take him out of games," said Manager Jim Riggleman on Sunday. "I hope there'll be times when fans say, 'Should Jim have taken him out?' because that will mean he's having some great games."

After one start, that doubt is removed. There are shutouts, high-strikeout games and, almost certainly, no-hitters ahead for this man. Not that he will have a clear memory of them.

"I remember the first pitch -- a ball inside. Everything else is just a blur. I didn't even know what inning it was at one point," said Strasburg, who used no scouting report, but will next time. "It's like getting married. You want to remember everything. But once it's done, you can't remember a single thing."

Don't worry, everybody else can.

If it hadn't been for the inconvenience of that artificial but wise pitch-count ("he probably could have throw 195 pitches tonight," said Riggleman), Strasburg would have cut up Spooner's record with his knifing curveball and pitchfork of a fastball that lit the scoreboard with a "100" reading several times.

So what if Strasburg never struck out more than nine men in a game in the minors and said that, as a pro, he wanted pitch-saving ground balls, not whiffs. Remember his days at San Diego State and the 23-strikeout game we all wore out on YouTube? "It felt like that game and the no-hitter [in college]," said Strasburg. "Early, I was a little bit all over the place. . . . But as the game went on, the adrenalin kicked in and everything was working."

On 93 of his 94 pitches, Strasburg allowed only three singles and walked no one -- a 14-0 ratio. Except for one pitch, Strasburg might have pitched shutout ball and had one of the highest "game scores" in the history of all debuts as computed by He wouldn't have rivaled Juan Marichal's 12-strikeout, one-hit shutout -- the top-rated game ever -- but he'd have been within sight of anybody else, held back from the top by the contemporary aversion to complete games.

But he didn't. And that actually brought extra drama to the night. His worst pitch was still a good one -- a knee-high change-up. But this is the big leagues and in the Show, a change-up, if anticipated, can be smacked into the first row of the right-centerfield bleachers for a two-out, two-run home run.

And that's just what Delwyn Young did in the fourth inning.

Perhaps mildly annoyed, Strasburg retired the last 10 hitters in order. Crank up the myth machine. Or at least the silver Elvis wig and a double-serving of shaving-cream pie in the face.

From beginning to end, this evening's entertainment was guilty of false advertising. On this perfect night, Strasburg was not introduced to the major leagues, as so many said. Instead, the big leagues were introduced to Strasburg.

It was a magnificent mismatch.

Stephen Strasburg turns romance to reality for one magic evening

By Mike Wise
The Washington Post
Wednesday, June 9, 2010; D05

Unless you had religiously followed him to the minor-league towns of Harrisburg and Syracuse -- unless you had seen footage from his college games at San Diego State -- the young pitcher with the howitzer right arm was still very much myth, something to be believed rather than broken down on celluloid.

Because baseball at its sublime best can still be a game of the imagination -- AM radio making you see an inside-the-park home run, excited tales of a kid who could throw more than 100 mph tumbling from an old scout's lips -- Stephen Strasburg, the person, did not take the mound two weeks before his 22nd birthday last night as much as Stephen Strasburg, folk hero with a forkball did.

Hardly interviewed before his first major league start, heard about more than seen in person, he pretty much walked out of a Ken Burns documentary or a Robert Redford screenplay.

"He does have this Roy Hobbs-like quality to him," said, yes, Ken Burns, the great chronicler of American history who took in the game Tuesday night at Nationals Park. "For those of us who haven't seen him, there's so much we take on faith."

Fourteen strikeouts later, on the most pristine night in Southeast Washington imaginable, believe.

Believe big.

Believe in everything you're hearing or they're saying about Strasburg, who incredibly surpassed expectations we almost felt guilty about heaping on him.

Heck, when they tell you he struck out "The Whammer" three weeks ago at a county fair while Robert Duvall called strikes in a meadow, believe that too.

Because when that same kid takes the mound at 7:06 p.m. and pitches almost flawlessly through seven innings -- moving the ball, changing speeds, mastering the moment -- it's not a myth anymore. It's the future.

"It's not just good, it's amazing what I see from him," Liván Hernández said, surveying Strasburg sitting by his cubicle in the Nationals' clubhouse late Tuesday night. "I might never see a pitcher that young pitch like that in my life in his first game."

He froze hitters. He discombobulated Lastings Milledge with a curveball that went sideways, straight and then sideways again.

Fourteen strikeouts is one shy of any kid in major-league history making his debut. It's two more than the electronic 'K' line at Nationals Park could display. "I had no idea it only went to 12 strikeouts," Stan Kasten, the Nationals team president, said after the "It never occurred to me that we needed more."

And the noise, growing in decibels as each batter was sent back to the dugout.

"Let's go Strasburg! Let's go Strasburg!"

They chanted his name as he reared and fired that last strike and fanned the Pittsburgh side in the seventh, a 95 mph, high, blazing heater that brought 40,315 to their feet.

"I was able to talk to John Smoltz the other night, and he just reminded me to soak it all in," Strasburg said. "I went out earlier to stretch and really looked at everything around, looked at the fans. It's just a great experience, but once they said 'play ball,' it was go time."

WASHINGTON - JUNE 08: Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals talks with Ivan Rodriguez #7 after leaving the game in the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park on June 8, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

When he trudged onto that field more than a half hour before his first start, he had this almost affected jocular walk, cowboy-like, as if he had been roping cattle and breaking stallions in the bullpen. Then came those bullets sailing toward home plate, two-seamers and four-seamers and that baffling curveball.

This is the most majestic part of a young phenom making a city stand and roar -- the beginning.

We love our agents of hope and change in this town, especially the young ones. John Wall will soon see. Bryce Harper, too.

Of course the romance gradually turns to reality. In sports and life, myth gives way to man. And we soon lump the messiahs in with the establishment -- Hello, Mr. President -- and the search for the next chosen one begins anew.

But the hope here is that comes way down the road for the rookie right-hander who sent everyone home happy and in awe on Tuesday night. That he paused for a moment of reflection and gratitude before the first pitch, just like John Smoltz told him to, says everything.

Nice, no? Strasburg took the time for at least one glance into the stands to see all the red, to see the euphoric faces from different generations filled with hope and possibility looking back at him.

It was the first night, the best night, and nothing that follows, good or bad, can take that away from him and the people who chanted his name.

Photo Credits: Getty Images

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

What Helen Thomas Missed

[Click on article title to see video of Helen Thomas' comments on Jews and Palestine. - jtf]

By Richard Cohen
The Washington Post
June 8, 2010

Ah, another teachable moment!

This one comes to us from Helen Thomas, the longtime White House reporter and columnist who announced her retirement on Monday. Thomas, of Lebanese ancestry and almost 90, has never been shy about her anti-Israel views, for which, as far as I'm concerned, she is both wrong and entitled. Then the other day, she performed a notable public service by revealing how very little she knew. Asked if she had any comments about Israel, Thomas said, "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. ... Go home. Poland. Germany. And America and everywhere else."

Helen Thomas

Well, I don't know about "everywhere else," but after World War II, many Jews did attempt to "go home" to Poland. This resulted in the murder of about 1,500 of them -- killed not by Nazis but by Poles, either out of sheer ethnic hatred or fear they would lose their (stolen) homes.

The mini-Holocaust that followed the Holocaust itself is not well-known anymore, but it played an outsized role in the establishment of the state of Israel. It was the plight of Jews consigned to Displaced Persons camps in Europe that both moved and outraged President Truman, who supported Jewish immigration to Palestine and, when the time came, the new state itself. Something had to be done for the Jews of Europe. They were still being murdered.

In the Polish city of Kielce, on July 4, 1946 -- more than a year after the end of the war -- rumors of a Jewish ritual murder triggered a pogrom in which 42 Jews were killed. All were Holocaust survivors. The Kielce murders were not, by any means, the sole example of why Jews could not "go home." When I visited the Polish city where my mother had been born, Ostroleka, I was told of a Jew who survived Auschwitz only to be murdered when he tried to reclaim his business. In much of Eastern Europe, Jews feared for their lives.

For that reason, those who had struck out for home soon returned to DP camps and the safety of -- irony of ironies -- Germany. Some of the camps were under the command of Gen. George S. Patton, a great man on the screen, a contemptible bigot in real life. In his diary, Patton confided what he thought of Jews. Others might "believe that the Displaced Person is a human being," Patton wrote, but he knew "he is not." In particular, he whispered to his diary, the Jews "are lower than animals."

The Jews, he felt, had to be kept under armed guard, otherwise they would flee, "spread over the country like locusts," and then have to be rounded up and some of them shot because they had "murdered and pillaged" innocent Germans. All of this is detailed by Allis and Ronald Radosh in their book "A Safe Haven."

For the surviving Jews of Eastern Europe, there was no going home -- and no staying, either. Europe was hostile to them, not in the least appalled or sorry about what had just happened. Even the American military, in the person of the hideous Patton, seemed hostile. For most of the DPs, America was also out of the question. The U.S., in the grip of feverish anti-communism and already unreceptive to immigrants, maintained a tight quota. When the Jewish DPs were polled, an overwhelming majority of them said they wanted to go to Palestine. They knew life would be tough there but they would be among their own people -- and relatively safe.

The Radoshes cite Branda Kalk, a Polish Jew who lost her husband to the Germans in 1942. Along with the rest of her family, she fled east to Russia where they remained until the end of the war, when they returned to Poland. There, a pogrom wiped out what remained of her family. Kalk herself was shot in the eye.

"I want to go to Palestine," Kalk told members of a U.N. investigating committee. "I know the conditions there. But where in the world is it good for the Jew? Sooner or later he is made to suffer. In Palestine, at least, the Jews fight together for their life and their country."

Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Md., understandably canceled Thomas' commencement address. It would be wonderful, though, if Thomas could go through with it and tell the graduates what she had learned in recent days. I hardly think it would turn her into a supporter of Israel, but it might lead her to understand why so many others are.

Monday, June 07, 2010

‘Son of Hamas’ Faces Deportation

by Alicia M. Cohn

Born in Palestine to a founding member of Hamas, Mosab Hassan Yousef became a spy for Israel, then a Christian, and now he is seeking political asylum in the United States. According to Yousef, not only did the Department of Homeland Security deny his claim but now they may deport him as a security threat.

Mosab Hassan Yousef

Yousef wrote on his blog last week that the DHS did not even know he was in the U.S. until he told them, seven months after he arrived on a tourist visa.

Yousef believes that his book Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices, released in March, proves he is not a threat. The book details Yousef’s involvement with Hamas—through his father—along with the information he supplied to Israel that helped them arrest leaders of the organization.

At 17, Israeli soldiers snatched Yousef off the street. Held captive and tortured because he is the son of a leader of Hamas, Yousef said the experience gave him personal reasons to hate Israel on top of his cultural predisposition.

Yousef discussed what he called his “crazy transformation” from hatred of Israel to working for the Israeli Security Agency and from Islam to Christianity at an event hosted by author Eric Metaxas in New York City on May 27.

Yousef said he has paid a “high price” for publishing his story. His father, a founding member of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, disowned him earlier this year. He is accompanied by guards at public events.

“Worst case scenario, I run,” he said to a security guard hired for the event. “I keep on running.”

The event was part of a forum series Metaxas calls Socrates in the City: Conversations on the Examined Life. Yousef spoke to a crowd of around 200 people at the Union League Club in Manhattan and answered questions about his years as a spy for Israel, his faith and why he believes Islam drives people to kill.

Palestinian society works on a shame and honor system, Yousef said. If doing something wrong is honored, that is what everybody wants to do. That is why Yousef’s family disowned him for doing what he considered the right thing.

“Our problem is not with terrorists. Many times they are amazing people. But they are deceived. They are victims of their god and their country,” he said.

Examining his own life—and the policies of his family and friends—turned Yousef into an informer. Eventually, his position as a valuable source of intelligence about Hamas allowed him to save his father’s life by keeping him off the terrorist hit list. “He was protected by his enemies. He had no idea, by the way,” he said.

In the book, Yousef reveals that as a spy for the Shin Bet, he helped Israel prove that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was using American aid money to fund terrorism. He helped investigate several suicide bombings which killed dozens to hundreds of Israeli civilians, and the information he provided to Israel led to the arrest of several leaders behind the attacks, such as Ibrahim Hamed, Marwan Barghouti and Abdullah Barghouti. Combined, these men have been sentenced to longer than 70 life sentences.

Yousef said that he worked with the Shin Bet, Israel’s intelligence agency, to arrest high-level targets without killing them. “I didn’t take sides. I took the side of humanity,” he explained.

Although questions at the event focused on political turmoil in the Middle East, Yousef did not take a political stance. “When we have an ideological problem, we need an ideological solution,” he said in the speech. “We cannot have a political solution to an ideological problem.”

The ideology he criticized was the Islamic one. Yousef held up Muhammad and Jesus as the “highest example” of Islam and Christianity, respectively. The first drives people to kill and the other offers only love, he said. “Islam is not a religion of peace,” he said, reminding the audience that he has authority to speak harshly about Islamic culture because he grew up in it. “This is my experience.”

Yousef said that his choice to write a book that reveals the inner workings of Hamas and admits to the extent of his work with Israeli intelligence was not a safe one, and he continues to face the consequences here in the U.S.

“I am at peace because I believe I did the right thing,” said Yousef on going public with his story. Perhaps the best evidence was his attitude throughout the event. He laughed with Metaxas and joked with the crowd throughout his speech, despite learning the previous week that he faces the threat of deportation. According to his blog, Yousef’s hearing before the DHS Immigration Court in San Diego is set for June 30.

“I love this country,” he concluded in his speech. “I’m enjoying my life."