A Further Perspective

A Further Perspective

Pelosi’s Syriana Versus Boehner’s Bibi Invitation

By 1.26.15

“I don’t believe I’m poking anyone in the eye,” House Speaker John Boehner asserted Wednesday. That was after His Speakership told the media that he had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress about “the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life.”

Of course it was a poke in the eye. Boehner admitted he did not consult with the White House before inviting Bibi. Netanyahu wants Congress to threaten tougher sanctions against Tehran. During his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Barack Obama warned Congress he would veto any such legislation.

Boehner’s gambit stunned the White House. Press secretary Josh Earnest called the move a breach of protocol. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the invitation was “out of order.” When she was speaker, Pelosi argued, she coordinated with GOP leaders before inviting heads of state. Netanyahu’s speech was moved to March 3, so Pelosi criticized Boehner for inviting a head of state within two weeks of Israel’s March 17 elections. “It’s hubris,” Pelosi charged.

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Big Man on Campus

By 1.23.15

Expecting it to be another campaign speech, I sent this to several friends ahead of Tuesday’s State of the Union address:

Recipe for Watching Obama’s State of the Union Speech Tonight:

1—Build and light a fire in the fireplace
2—Put some Mozart on the stereo
3—Pour a highball or a glass of wine
4—Open a good book

We spent a pleasant evening and, as it turned out, President Obama ran true to form.

After six years we know that the only thing he enjoys doing and at which he is good is making campaign speeches. When he gets restless dealing with issues that require statesmanship, he goes on a campaign swing, getting friendly audiences to smile and laugh at his jibes at Republicans, whom he despises.

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No-Go Subjects

By 1.21.15

The Arabist historian Bernard Lewis, who is considered safely mainstream by the media, didn’t receive much flak from it for saying several years back that the prospect of Eurabia was real. Lewis predicted that the continent would be majority-Muslim by the end of the century. They “seem to be about to take over Europe,” he said. The only question, he said, is, “Will it be an Islamized Europe or Europeanized Islam?”

But the media isn’t interested in hearing such sober points raised these days. In the wake of the Paris attacks, it has been policing discussion of Europe’s obvious Islamic immigration problem. Woe to the politician who dares broach the subject, as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is learning.

CNN has been browbeating him for discussing de facto “no-go” zones in European cities that non-Muslims and police tend to avoid. Jindal’s remarks haven’t been refuted, but the media treats them as unhinged anyways and demands to know when he will “walk them back.” For the media, the existence of such places is of less alarm than that politicians would talk about them.

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‘Diversity’ in Action

By 1.20.15

Islamic terrorist attacks in Europe, and European governments’ counter-attacks are more than just a passing news story.

Europe is currently in the process of paying the price for years of importing millions of people from a culture hostile to the fundamental values of Western culture. And this is by no means the last of the installments of that price, to be paid in blood and lives, for smug elites’ Utopian self-indulgences in moral preening and gushing with the magic word “diversity.”

Generations yet unborn will still be paying the price, whether in large or small installments, depending on how long it takes for the West to jettison Utopianism and come to grips with reality.

Meanwhile, in the United States, no one seems to be drawing any lessons about the dangers of importing millions of people from fundamentally different cultures across our open border. In America, “diversity” has still not yet lost its magical ability to stop thought in its tracks and banish facts into the outer darkness.

Perhaps here, as in Europe, that verbal magic can only be washed away in the blood of innocent victims, many of them yet unborn.

A Further Perspective

Goodbye Charlie

By 1.16.15

Eighty years ago, a Jew approached the saintly rabbi of the Gerer Hassidic dynasty and asked him for spiritual guidance. “Rabbi, where can I go to find true fear of sin?”

“Paris,” answered the rabbi.

“Why Paris?”

“Because so many good people have left their fear behind in that city.”

Paris has earned a sleazy reputation over centuries. It represents the notion that luxury and style can be achieved without restraint. In many ways London and Paris were opposing symbols in this regard. The English capital stood for the principle that humanity achieves its greatness through limiting indulgent impulses while the French capital scoffed at that assertion. As a general rule, London emerged stronger in head-to-head battles and its empire ranged further and lasted longer.

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After Paris Attacks, ‘Experts’ Say All Religions Are Violent

By 1.16.15

Two events recently transpired that forced mainstream media to address a question they habitually dodge: Is Islam intrinsically violent? First, on New Year’s Day, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi—a world leader, and a Muslim—did the unthinkable when he publicly asserted that Islamic texts and thinking have made the Muslim world a scourge to humanity. The MSM ignored it until, as if to prove his point, Muslim gunmen shouting “Allahu Akbar” killed a dozen people in its attack on the offices of a satirical newspaper in Paris.

Two separate editorials—by the New York Times and CNN—responded by purportedly tackling the question of whether Islam is inherently violent in the context of the Paris attack and Sisi’s speech.  Both quoted me as responding in the affirmative—and both instantly dismissed my partially presented views in “straw-man” fashion.

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Je Suis Charlie et Je Suis Juif

By 1.12.15

The theme of this past weekend was one of solidarity. 

On Saturday, I went to the French Cultural Center of Boston where I attended a tribute to the journalists and cartoonists from Charlie Hebdo who were murdered on January 7. The tribute took the form of a slideshow featuring the work of the slain Charlie Hebdo cartoonists as well as cartoons that have been drawn in their honor in the days following the attack.

On Sunday, I made my way to Boston Common where I attended a rally sponsored by the Consulate General of France in Boston. The rally coincided with the one that took place in Paris which was attended by an estimated 1.5 million people featuring 50 heads of states (President Obama not among them).

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After the Charlie Hebdo Murders

By 1.9.15

The puckish French newspaper Charlie Hebdo was attacked by Islamic thugs on Wednesday, and the West’s reaction brought to mind the spirit of NATO: an attack on one is an attack on all. There was a hiatus in the usual Internet slashing as nearly everyone was united in a commitment to liberal values. The hash tag “#JeSuisCharlie” was devised to show solidarity with the murdered journalists.

The translation is “I am Charlie,” which seems both excessive and fitting. Excessive because even most of us who work in media are not Charlie Hebdo; we’ll never be mutilated by gunfire over something we write. And yet fitting because what Charlie’s assassins were trying to snuff out was a value we all hold dear: freedom of expression, even if that expression is deemed offensive.

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Are Facts Obsolete?

By 12.31.14

Some of us, who are old enough to remember the old television police series Dragnet, may remember Sgt. Joe Friday saying, “Just the facts, ma’am.” But that would be completely out of place today. Facts are becoming obsolete, as recent events have demonstrated.

What matters today is how well you can concoct a story that fits people’s preconceptions and arouses their emotions. Politicians like New York mayor Bill de Blasio, professional demagogues like Al Sharpton, and innumerable irresponsible people in the media have shown that they have great talent in promoting a lynch mob atmosphere toward the police.

Grand juries that examine hard facts live in a different world from mobs who listen to rhetoric and politicians who cater to the mobs.

During the controversy over the death of Trayvon Martin, for example, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus said that George Zimmerman had tracked Trayvon Martin down and shot him like a dog. The fact is that Zimmerman did not have to track down Trayvon Martin, who was sitting right on top of him, punching him till his face was bloody.

A Further Perspective

Here’s the Real Case for Normalizing Relations

By 12.24.14

In his move to normalize relations with Cuba, some conservatives complain that President Obama has thrown a lifeline to the enemy—in this case, potentially prolonging the life of a tyrannical regime that is careening toward a richly deserved bankruptcy.

As a strong believer in the potency of what the execrable Paul Krugman calls “free market fundamentalism,” I am all in favor of ending the 54-year U.S. embargo against Cuba as quickly as possible. I believe this would be much more likely to hasten rather than delay the demise of the Castro regime.

I only wish that Obama—in one more didactic if wrong-headed display of his progressive biases—had not presented such a misleading and (from the U.S. perspective) self-damning picture of the relationship between the two countries.

An end to the embargo—requiring Congressional approval—would not mean an immediate end to Cuba’s isolation from the rest of the world (excluding communist or terrorist states) for the simple reason that Cuba’s isolation is not the result of the U.S. embargo. Rather, it is self-imposed.