Articles

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Did Obama Spy on America to Protect Islamists?

After months of denials, the pretext for Susan Rice’s eavesdropping on Trump officials has finally been made public. It had been widely known that Obama’s former National Security Adviser had contrived to unmask the names of top Trump officials who had been spied on by the administration. And the same media that still treats Watergate as the Great American Scandal had claimed that there was nothing “improper” in an Obama loyalist eavesdropping on members of the opposition party.

Every time Obama Inc. was caught eavesdropping on opposition politicians, it presented its spin in a carefully packaged “scoop” to a major media outlet. This time was no different.

When Obama Inc. spied on members of Congress to protect its Iran nuke sellout, it packaged the story to the Wall Street Journal under the headline, “U.S. Spy Net on Israel Snares Congress”. The idea was that Obama Inc. was “legitimately” spying on Israel, that it just happened to intercept the conversations of some members of Congress and American Jews, and that the eavesdropping somehow meant that its victims, Jewish and non-Jewish, rather than its White House perpetrators, should be ashamed.

The White House had demanded the conversations between Prime Minister Netanyahu, members of Congress and American Jews because it "believed the intercepted information could be valuable to counter Mr. Netanyahu's campaign." This was domestic surveillance carried out under the same pretext as in the Soviet Union which had also accused its dissident targets of secretly serving foreign interests.

Obama and his minions had used the NSA to spy on Americans opposed to its policies. Including members of Congress. They did this by conflating their own political agenda with national security.

Since Obama’s spin was that the Iran Deal was good for national security, opponents of it were a “national security” threat.

And its fig leaf for domestic surveillance was that a “foreign leader” was involved.

Now get ready for a flashback.

Susan Rice’s excuse for unmasking the names of top Trump officials in the Obama eavesdropping effort was that they were meeting with the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates. The carefully packaged CNN story, which reeks of the Goebbelsian media manipulations of “Obama whisperer” Ben Rhodes, tries to clumsily tie the whole thing to the Russians. But for once it’s not about Russia. It’s about Islam.

The UAE has become best known for being the first regional Muslim oil state to turn against the Muslim Brotherhood and the entire Arab Spring enterprise. It helped mobilize opposition to the Qatari agenda. The ultimate outcome of that effort was that Egypt was stabilized under a non-Islamist president and the Islamist takeover in Libya is looking rather shaky. The Saudi coalition against Qatar, the sugar daddies of Hamas, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, has its origins in that effort.

When Obama Inc. spied on members of Congress before, it was to protect Iran. This time around, the gang that couldn’t spy straight was trying to protect the Muslim Brotherhood. The Iran Deal was never about stopping Iran’s nuclear program. It certainly does not do that. Nor was it ever meant to do it.

Instead the real goal of the Iran negotiations was a diplomatic arrangement with the Islamic terror state. The fruits of that arrangement can be seen from Beirut to Baghdad. They are written in blood and steel across Syria, Israel and Yemen. And that arrangement had to be protected at all costs.

Even if it meant spying on Americans. Even if it meant spying on members of Congress.

The arrangement that Susan Rice was protecting by spying on top Trump officials was even older and dirtier. It goes back to Obama’s Cairo speech and the resulting bloody horrors of the Arab Spring.

Both times Obama Inc. was caught spying on American officials to protect its dirty deal with Islam.

Obama officials had spied on Americans to protect Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s more than a mere crime. It’s treason. Imagine if Watergate had been about the White House spying on Democrats for the KGB. That is the sheer full scope of what we appear to be dealing with here.

Both high-level eavesdropping incidents involve an effort by Obama Inc. to protect Islamist enemies.

These efforts checked all the right and wrong legal boxes. The orders were carried out by men and women who know all the loopholes. Each decision was compartmentalized across a network. There were always pretexts. And a media eager to fight for the right of the left to spy on the right.

It is as unlikely that Susan Rice will be held accountable for pulling off a crime that makes Watergate into the gold standard of governmental ethics as it is that Hillary will ever go to jail for abusing classified information. The network, which some dub the swamp, has excelled at defending its own. That’s why current National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster protected Susan Rice’s access to classified information and nurtured all the Obama holdovers behind the leaks while purging those who tried to expose them.

It is also why Susan Rice’s testimony did not leak until CNN was able to roll out its carefully packaged spin.

Conservatives excel at zeroing in on abuses like Hillary’s email account, the Rice unmasking and the Benghazi cover-up, but falter when it comes to exposing the motives behind them. And so the investigation of the abuses quickly vanishes into a thorny thicket of alibis, technical legalities, cover-ups and licenses. And a baffled public reads about hearings that delve into acts rather than motives.

It is vital that we understand not only what Rice did, but why she did it. It is important that we expose the pattern of misconduct, not just the individual act.

Susan Rice’s eavesdropping would have remained hidden if Flynn and his appointees hadn’t temporarily obtained the keys to the kingdom. And the network quickly worked to have Flynn forced out and replaced with McMaster. And McMaster has steadily forced out Flynn’s appointees so that there are no more leaks like the one that exposed the Rice eavesdropping. The swamp looks after its own.

Unless there are fundamental changes at the NSC and beyond, we will never know the full scope of the Obama eavesdropping operation. But we still do know a great deal about what motivated it.

Susan Rice and the White House didn’t just eavesdrop on the political opposition. There was an agenda so urgent that they were willing to pull out all the stops to protect it.

Even right down to committing what has become the ultimate crime in the White House.

It was the same agenda that dragged us into a war in Libya. The same agenda that was at the heart of the diplomatic efforts of the administration over eight years. That agenda was empowering Islamists.

The Obama edition of Watergate wasn’t committed merely for domestic political gain. It was carried out for a reason that was encompassed in his address to the United Nations after the Benghazi massacre.

“The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

This foul slogan led to the first arrest of a filmmaker for political speech in almost a century. It led to the sordid betrayal of our national security and our allies. And to domestic espionage against Americans.

The future must not belong on those who spy on Americans to protect Islamism.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Hillary's Anti-Presidential Campaign

Three creatures on earth are impossible to get rid of: lice, cockroaches and Clintons.

Hillary Clinton spent a third of her miserable adult life trying to get into the White House. Now the nation’s failed Harridan-in-Chief is determined to spend her remaining years blaming everyone, from Matt Lauer to the Electoral College, for having to live out the rest of her life in flat broke poverty in the eleven rooms of her Georgian Colonial mansion (and the neighboring mansion in their cul-de-sac too).

Current ‘blamees’ include the FBI, millions of white people, sexism, the Russians, Russian sexism, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, Joe Biden, Matt Lauer and the Electoral College.

And probably the starting lineup of the Denver Broncos. You’ll have to buy the book for the full list.

But What Happened, Hillary’s spiteful magnum opus, does actually answer its titular question.

Hillary happened.

Hillary Clinton is a terrible person. Her politics are terrible. She’s a nasty creature whose hatred, entitlement and greed are in direct proportion to her mountainous avalanches of self-pity.

And What Happened sums up those qualities the way that none of her previous biographies ever did.

What Happened isn’t Hillary unfiltered. The only people privileged to witness that were the Secret Service agents she threw things at and the aides who had to frantically cater to her every whim.

But it’s close enough.

What Happened is still told in Hillary’s treacly insincere voice. But for the first time, its topic isn’t a bunch of insincere platitudes assembled by some combination of aides, staffers, ghostwriters and pollsters.

All that is over.

The carefully constructed machine built to take Hillary to the White House broke down on Wisconsin Highway 14, Florida State Road 20 and Pennsylvania Route 22. Only a skeleton staff of loyalists stayed to help Hillary turn her name recognition and remaining connections into filthy lucre and filthier spite.

That’s what What Happened is. Hillary gets to lash out at everyone and get paid for it. Not only is she upstaging Bernie’s book tour while trying to tie him to Trump, she’s taking shots at another likely Dem 2020er, Joe Biden, not to mention her own badly used DNC and everyone who didn’t vote for her.

If Hillary can’t be president, she’s going to make damn sure that none of her Dem rivals will either.

Hillary will be taking the millions that she had to spend to fight off Bernie in state after state out of his hide piece by piece. And Biden’s vacillation about the entering the race will cost him too.

How much vengeance can Hillary extract with a book? Ask Bernie.

The Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution print edition will be out on September 14. Hillary’s What Happened will be out on September 12.

Two days earlier.

Hillary’s book currently tops Amazon’s bestseller list. Bernie’s is at 39.

Bernie’s book tour will suffer similarly. He’s already being forced to respond to Hillary’s accusations. Instead of being able to position his brand for 2020, the book tour will be a repeat of the primaries.

He sabotaged Hillary’s campaign launch. He cost her time, money and energy that she needed for the general election. Now she’s repaying him in kind.

That is who Hillary is.

Joe Biden will have his own book launch in November. And Hillary will be there playing Tonya Harding. Biden’s efforts to get in the race made some Dem donors delay their funding of her campaign.

And Hillary has not forgotten.

What’s the point? Her political career is over. After the last election, there’s no way that even the Green Party or the Pedophile Cannibal Satanists of America would let her top their ticket.

And doesn’t kneecapping Bernie and Biden help Trump?

But Hillary doesn’t care. This isn’t about politics. It’s spite. And she would rather see Trump win another term than have Bernie in the White House. That’s who she is. That’s who she has always been.

What Happened is a unique post-campaign biography: it chronicles why its author should never have been president.

After a catastrophic defeat, Hillary has spent her political retirement dividing the country by casting doubt on her opponent’s victory. The Russia conspiracy theory was the brainchild of her political operatives and it helped convince Dems to push for impeachment while calling Republicans, traitors. The unhinged ravings of Louise Mensch and Keith Olbermann have their origins in her conspiracy theory.

This wasn’t a gift to the Dems.

The conspiracy theory was wholly self-serving. It excused her from any of the blame and prevented the Dems from figuring out what went wrong. Instead of learning how to talk to the white working class voters they lost, the Democrats reeled further to the left and bet everything on impeachment.

But Hillary didn’t just turn our national politics into Chernobyl and call it a day. Instead she’s obsessed with settling scores with her primary opponents and even, like Biden, potential primary opponents.

Nobody who ran or even thought of running against her should be allowed to become president. Trump, Bernie and Biden are all on the list. So is everyone who ever questioned or undermined her.

They all must pay.

If you want to wake up screaming in the middle of the night, imagine the same twisted spiteful creature orchestrating all this being able to control the entire country, instead of just appear on NBC or CNN.

But while Democrats wish Hillary Clinton would go away, she embodies today’s left better than anyone.

Hillary was America’s First Crybully: the malicious professional victim, the abuser who claims to be the abused, the black nationalist thug throwing cinderblocks at police while shrieking, “Hands up, don’t shoot” and the leftist campus protesters screaming how afraid they are while they terrorize speakers.

What Happened is Hillary’s crybullying text. It’s an attack posing as victimhood.

It’s Hillary pretending to be frightened of Rick Lazio, her Republican opponent in the Senate race, crying in New Hampshire during the first primaries before launching an attack on Obama and exploiting her husband’s infidelity for her Senate run. It’s every low and shameful moment condensed into a post-campaign biography that no one, except the devils on both her shoulders, asked for.

There’s always a vast conspiracy that explains her malfeasance. And her own crimes, corruption and character flaws become weapons to be used against her critics and rivals.

What happened is Hillary.

"Evil destroys even itself," Aristotle observed. “And when present in its entirety becomes unbearable."

The ancient Greek had her number. Hillary destroyed her own campaign. Twice. And as her malice spews out unchecked, even her own former supporters are finding her unbearable.

Hillary failed to build a successful presidential campaign. Now she is building an anti-campaign.

Unable to create, she is following the natural trajectory of evil to destroy. It doesn’t matter to her whether she destroys Republicans or Democrats as she poisons the well of public discourse that we all drink from. If Hillary can’t rule over America, she might as well bring it down in flames.

There’s no political future for the Clintons. Bill is an erratic and faded figure. Chelsea will never evolve beyond a failed internet troll. And Hillary is tethered to them and to her own political disasters.

Nothing awaits her except the inevitable ravages of mortality.

In 2013, I wrote, Why Hillary Will Lose Again which concluded with, “At the Benghazi hearings, Hillary famously demanded to know what difference it made. The same can be said of her life.”

But Hillary will not go gracefully. She will not wander the woods of Chappaqua, appear at occasional fundraisers (at a high fee) and sit on the board of some environmentalist group. As the darkness approaches, she will lash out and harm all those who frustrated her political ambitions. She will rage, wreck and ruin. The only difference she will make will be through her hatred and destruction.

Her presidential campaign is over. Her anti-presidential campaign has begun.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

How 9/11 Made Me What I Am

“In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate,” a terrorist declares on the Flight 93 cockpit recording. That’s followed by the sounds of the terrorists assaulting a passenger.

“Please don’t hurt me,” he pleads. “Oh God.”

As the passengers rush the cabin, a Muslim terrorist proclaims, “In the name of Allah.”

As New York firefighters struggle up the South Tower with 100 pounds of equipment on their backs trying to save lives until the very last moment, the Flight 93 passengers push toward the cockpit. The Islamic hijackers call out, “Allahu Akbar.”

The Islamic supremacist term originated with Mohammed’s massacre of the Jews of Khaybar and means that Allah is greater than the gods of non-Muslims.


Mohammed Atta had advised his fellow terrorists that when the fighting begins, “Shout, 'Allahu Akbar,' because this strikes fear in the hearts of the non-believers.” He quoted the Koran’s command that Muslim holy warriors terrorize non-believers by beheading them and urged them to follow Mohammed’s approach, “Take prisoners and kill them.”

The 9/11 ringleader quoted the Koran again. “No prophet should have prisoners until he has soaked the land with blood.”

On Flight 93, the fighting goes on. “Oh Allah. Oh the most Gracious,” the Islamic terrorists cry out. “Trust in Allah,” they reassure. And then there are only the chants of, “Allahu Akbar” as the plane goes down in a Pennsylvania field leaving behind another blood-soaked territory in the Islamic invasion of America.

Today that field is marked by the “Crescent of Embrace” memorial.

Thousands of Muslims cheered the attack in those parts of Israel under the control of the Islamic terrorists of the Palestinian Authority. They shouted, “Allahu Akbar” and handed out candy.

But similar ugly outbreaks of Islamic Supremacism were also taking place much closer to home.

On John F. Kennedy Boulevard, in Jersey City, across the river from Manhattan, crowds of Muslim settlers celebrated the slaughter of Americans. "Some men were dancing, some held kids on their shoulders," a retired Jersey City cop described the scene. "The women were shouting in Arabic."

Similar Islamic festivities broke out on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, a major Islamic settlement area, even as in downtown Manhattan, ash had turned nearby streets into the semblance of a nuclear war. Men and women trudged over Brooklyn Bridge or uptown to get away from this strange new world.

Many just walked. They didn’t know where they were going. I was one of them.

That Tuesday was a long and terrible education. In those hours, millions of Americans were being educated about many things: what happens when jet planes collide with skyscrapers, how brave men can reach the 78th floor with 100 pounds of equipment strapped to their backs and what are the odds are of finding anyone alive underneath the rubble of a falling tower. They were learning about a formerly obscure group named Al Qaeda and its boss. But they were also being educated about Islam.

Islamic terrorism was once something that happened “over there.” You saw it on the covers of Time or Newsweek back when those were staples of checkout counters and medical offices. But even after the World Trade Center bombing, it wasn’t truly “over here.” But now it was. The war was here.

Each generation is born into history out of a moment of crisis. We are defined by our struggles. By the wars we fight and do not fight. On a Tuesday morning in September, my generation was born into history.

Some of us were born into it better than others.

At Union Square, I passed NYU students painting anti-war placards even as the downtown sky behind them was painted the color of bone. They ignored the crowd streaming up past them and focused intently on making all the red letters in NO WAR line up neatly on the white cardboard.

In the years since, I have seen that look on the faces of countless leftists who ignore the stabbers shouting, “Allahu Akbar” in London or the terrorist declaring, "In the name of Allah, the merciful," among the bloody ruin of a gay nightclub in Orlando. Instead they focus on their mindless slogans.

“NO WAR,” “Stop Islamophobia” and “Refugees Welcome.” The world of the cardboard sign and the simple slogan is an easier and neater one than a sky filled with the ashes of the dead.

On September 11, some of us opened our eyes. Others closed them as hard as they could.

That Tuesday irrevocably divided my generation. Some joined the military, the police or became analysts. Others turned left-wing activists, volunteered as lawyers for terrorists or converted to Islam.

The passengers on Flight 93 who took the lead were in their thirties. But the two firefighters who made it to the 78th floor of the South Tower, Ronald Bucca, who did duty in Vietnam as a Green Beret, and Orio Palmer, a marathon runner, were in their forties. Those men and women had the most meaningful answers to the old question, “Where were you when it happened?”

I was just one of countless people moving upstream away from Ground Zero.

The great lesson of that Tuesday morning was that it wasn’t over. It wasn’t over when we understood that we wouldn’t find anyone alive in that twisted mass of metal and death. It wasn’t over when the air began to clear. It wasn’t over when the President of the United States spoke. It wasn’t over when the planes began to fly again and the TV switched from non-stop coverage of the attacks and back to its regularly scheduled programming. It wasn’t over when we were told to mourn and move on.

It still isn’t over.

After every attack, Boston, Orlando, San Bernardino, New York, Paris, Manchester, London, Barcelona, we are encouraged to mourn and move on. Bury the bodies, shed a tear and forget about it.

Terrible things happen. And we have to learn to accept them.

But Tuesday morning was not a random catastrophe. It did not go away because we went back to shopping. It did not go away with Hope and Change. Appeasing and forgetting only made it stronger.

Everything I needed to know about Islam, I learned on September 11. The details of the theology came later. I couldn’t quote the Koran while the sirens were wailing. But I learned the essential truth.

And so did you.

“Where were you?” is not just a question to be asked about September 11, 2001. It is an everyday question. What are you doing today to fight the Islamic terrorists who did this? And tomorrow?

I found my answer through my writing. Others have made a more direct contribution.

But it’s important that we keep asking ourselves that question.

The 9/11 hijackers, the members of Al Qaeda, of ISIS, of the Muslim Brotherhood and the entire vast global terror network, its supporters and fellow travelers asked themselves that question every day.

They are still asking it.

From the Iranian nuclear program to the swarm of Muslim Brotherhood organizations in America, from the Muslim migrant surge into Germany to the sex grooming gangs of the UK, they have their answers.

Our enemies wake up every day wondering how to destroy us. Their methods, from demographic invasion to WMDs, from political subversion to random stabbings, are many.

A new and terrible era in history began on 9/11. We are no more past it than we were past Pearl Harbor at the Battle of Midway. Its origins are no mystery. They lie in the last sound that came from Flight 93.

“Allahu Akbar.”

We are in the middle of the longest war in American history. And we still haven’t learned how to fight it.

September 11 has come around again. You don’t have to run into a burning building or wrestle terrorists with your bare hands. But use the day to warn others, so you can answer, “Where were you?”


(This article originally appeared at Front Page Magazine)

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Memorials of Grief

It was around the time of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, that memorials stopped being remembrances of virtue, and became therapy sessions. The old statues of determined men gave way to empty spaces to represent loss. Their lessons of courage and sacrifice, were replaced by architecture as therapy session, clean geometrical shapes, reflective pools and open areas in which to feel grief at what was lost and then let go of it.

September 11 memorials have inevitably followed this same pattern, empty spaces, still pools of water groves and names tastefully inscribed in row after row. How do you tell the Ground Zero memorial from the Oklahoma City memorial? The Oklahoma City memorial has one reflecting pool and the September 11 memorial has two pools.

There is no larger meaning to these memorials and there isn't supposed to be one. A hundred years from now they will be nothing more than giant pools surrounded by trees with nothing to say.  These new memorials are not about teaching us to remember... but about helping us to forget.

To find a memorial that actually in some way addresses what happened on September 11. you would have to leave New York to go across the river to New Jersey where the much maligned Teardrop hanging between a torn tower at least represents something concrete, even if it is more grief and pain. Unlike the useless winged shapes of the Staten Island Memorial and the Pentagon Memorial, it at least acknowledges that something terrible happened here and transforms into a symbolic image.

But the abstract symbolism is still the problem. There's an American eagle overlooking the Battery Park World War II memorial a few blocks from Ground Zero, but to find an American eagle on a memorial to the attacks you have to travel 30 miles across the river to Allendale, New Jersey.

The official September 11 memorial has sustainable architecture, but Dumont, NJ with a per capita income of 26,000 dollars managed to acquire and place one of the steel beams from the World Trade Center as their memorial.

The closest to a traditional memorial that tells you what actually happened and why it matters, as opposed to handing you a three acre handkerchief of empty spaces and waterfalls, is across the street from the monstrosity of emptiness. Just turn your back to it, cross Liberty Street and walk up to Firehouse Ten where the FDNY Memorial Wall depicts the events of the day in bronze. You may have to dodge some trucks and search for it underneath the scaffolding, but it's there.

That's more than can be said for the identity of the attackers which is invariably absent, except as a crescent that pops up ominously in memorial design after design, entirely by accident of course. But the memorials are not about history, they exist only to allow us to release our grief and move on by expressing life-affirming sentiments in response to this "tragedy" through community service that helps others.

From cries for revenge to serving soup to the homeless at a community kitchen-- that is the intended trajectory. If it hasn't worked as well as intended, as shown by the people who gathered to loudly celebrate Osama bin Laden's death, instead of sighing at the cycle of violence, this is the long game.

The Pew polls show a steady growth in the number those who believe that American wrongdoing led to the attacks-- from a third after the attacks, to 43 percent today. Give the enemy another decade to do its work and those numbers will be in the sixties. And their game is simple enough, remove the actual history and the images of the massacres-- and replace it with an emphasis on foreign policy. Mix in news stories about Islamophobia, stir the pot a little and you're done.

Numbers like that are why Obama was able to win and why Ron Paul is polling better than ever. When revisionist history becomes mainstream, then people will accept anything so long as it sounds good. So long as it lets them forget.

Alongside the usual Noam Chomsky 9-11 essay collections and conspiracy theory books on display on Amazon and at every bookstore; those who want purely fictional history can get pick up a copy of Amy Waldman's The Submission about a 'secular' Muslim architect's 9/11 memorial and the bigotry he experiences from the right-wing.

Or if they want to dig through the remainders bin, there's John Updike's next to last novel, Terrorist, an overwritten teen novel by one of America's most famous literary authors, who shares his protagonist's hatred for the country. "They can't ask for a more sympathetic and, in a way, more loving portrait of a terrorist," Updike said of his book. 'They' being the literary critics, not the Taliban who don't need to rely on the author of 'Rabbit Run' for that sort of thing.

Finally there's 'Forgetfulness' by Ward Just, whose title encompasses the literary goal of the left in the story of a man who loses his wife to terrorists but avoids the "climate of revenge" and the "anger of the sort that swept all before it... the anger of the American . . . after September 11". Instead he learns to relate to the men who murdered his wife.

Forgetfulness is the underlying theme of everything. Stop being angry. Stop being vengeful. Forget!

It is the commandment that echoes from the empty spaces and the revisionist histories, the slabs of events gouged out and dumped as landfill in Staten Island or sold off in bulk to China. The endless degradation of memory turned into a national ritual. A way to test ourselves to see how much better we feel about it-- how much more we accept what happened on that day as being in the past.

Drown history in enough reflecting pools and it stops mattering. Put up enough empty benches and people will remember to forget. Tell them that they're courageous for moving on and they'll admire themselves for putting it all behind them. And if they won't forget, then fill them with grief until they can't take it anymore and willingly forget.

But by all means avoid outrage, keep messy emotions like anger out of the way. Anger is not part of the healing process, which begins with an empty bench and ends with a visit to a mosque to reconcile with your killers. It retards the process, it says, "Hey wait, we're not done here yet!" It says, "These bastards are still walking around here plotting to kill us." It says, "They're building a mosque right here to look down on your reflecting pools." And all that is most unhelpful.

Let's take a brief detour from all the forgetting and travel up Broadway some eighty or so blocks to Central Park. There at the entrance to the park stands the Maine Monument to the hundreds of dead in the destruction of the USS Maine. There are no reflecting pools or geometrical shapes here. Instead there is a warrior, the figure of justice and the representation of the dying avenged by Columbia Triumphant, standing atop, cast in bronze out of the guns of the lost ship.

The New York Times, being what it always was, sniffed at it as a "cheap disfigurement" and the history of the war has since been revised to American jingoism and the sinking of the Maine is invariably described as an accident. If this goes on, we will no doubt live to see experts promoting the theory that it wasn't the suicide attacks that killed thousands of Americans on September 11, but the flaws of the buildings.

Yet the Maine Memorial is still there towering above them all. In bold text so different from the carefully selected fonts of modern memorials it proclaims unashamedly; "The Freemen Who Died in the War with Spain that Others Might be Free." And of the men who died on the Maine it declaims: "Valiant Seamen who Perished on the Maine by Fate Unwarned, in Death Unafraid."

There are mourning figures on the memorial and there is grief and pain, but it takes place in the context of a larger struggle. The struggle against those who committed the crime and the triumph of a nation against those who would attack it.

It is inconceivable that anything so bold and proud would ever go up at Ground Zero. The culture that represented virtues through the figures of men and women has given way to one that represents abstract feelings in geometrical shapes and reflecting pools. It is why we have no new buildings like the Empire State Building, and why we won't even be able to replace the stark geometry of the WTC with anything but smaller 'green' buildings which exist as a calculated show of ugliness and a rejection of human aspiration.

On the way back from Central Park, stop by the Bank of America Tower, the second tallest building in New York, the most ecologically friendly tall building in the world constructed by Obama's BOA pals. And I defy you to spend more than a minute looking at it and then describe it. It isn't just ugly, it's forgettable. Your eyes move past it even as they look at it. Its peak is a deliberate mockery of symmetry and order.

Then pass by the New York Times Building, the fourth tallest building in the city, in hock to Mexican-Arab billionaire Carlos Slim, built through eminent domain land seizures with money from the Lower Manhattan Development Fund, even though it's firmly in midtown.  Then repeat the same exercise with this glorified apartment building. Again you come away with nothing, because nothing is there.

Finally after you pass by the Bloomberg Tower, even more devoid of personality, the jumbled twin towers of Time Warner Center opposite the Maine Memorial, and the rest of them all, return to the site of the former Twin Towers, and look up at the Woolworth Building, once the tallest building in the city. It hasn't been for a long time, but yet it is. It stands as a monument to human endeavors. And that is what makes it human.

Let us consider what memorials are for and what skyscrapers are for. Are they meant to be empty spaces or are they ways of reminding us who we are?

We don't need more holes in the ground, more places to feel empty and alone. What we need are things to aspire to. The World Trade Center's towers were not targets of convenience, no more than the Saudi and Emirati skyscraper building spree is. Towers are symbols of achievement. They are guardians of the skyline who remind us of what we can accomplish.

The terrorists and the memorialmakers have a common purpose-- to make us forget what we are capable of. To drown us in our own pain and grief, to make us drink of the Lethe waters of reflecting pools until we forget who we are. The terrorists and the memorials have done their best to break us. But it is not in grief that we must remember the day. Grief is for the foregone conclusion. But though thousands upon thousands are lost-- we are not yet lost. And the war is not over.

The holes in the ground are not symbols of grief, or empty places in our hearts, they are open wounds inflicted on us by our enemies. Filling them with water will not change that, only anesthetize the pain of a fatal injury. To forget that is to sink into a mirage and die in delirium that we are recovering.

The attacks of September 11 are not a time for reflection, or personal remembrance, but a sharp reminder that we are bleeding. And we can only bleed for so long before we die. There are worse things out there than four hijacked planes used as missiles. There are actual missiles and suitcase nukes, nerve gas, toxins and whatever else can be dredged out of laboratories by Western trained researchers.

And even worse than these is the endless struggle, the constant waiting for another attack, the security measures meant to keep us safe while imprisoning us in our own security, the waiting for the day when an attack succeeds. The day we die.

September 11 is not the day we cry, it is the day we get angry. It is the day we remember who our killers were, how many have been lost, and how little has been done to bring down the ideology responsible as completely as they brought the towers down. It is the day we remember not to forget. It is the day we remember that the war has just begun and that until it ends, there can be no comfort or solace. The fight goes on.

Friday, September 08, 2017

The Real Victim

Kenny Herring was very angry over a neighbor’s barbecue fire. It was early in the morning in St. Louis. Kristy Lynn Thompson, Kenny’s wife, handed him a large butcher knife.

And then Kenny tried to make mincemeat out of his neighbor.

When the cops came, the neighbor had stab wounds on his face and torso, and defensive wounds on his arms.

Kenny’s butcher knife pierced his left lung.

But Kenny still wasn’t done. He waved the knife around and stabbed an officer in the arm. And was shot and killed. Thompson was arrested and charged with assault and criminal action.

It’s not an unusual story. This is what police officers do a lot of the time when they make “housecalls” in St. Louis, Baltimore, Oakland and Detroit. It wasn’t the first time the cops had been forced to respond to “domestic disturbances” at Kenny’s place. But now it would be the last.

What happened on Ridge Avenue was bad. But it could have been much worse for the victims of Kenny’s violent rampage.

The victim has a collapsed lung. He will spend time in rehab and will probably never be the same again. The police officers who shot Kenny will need counseling. All of them will relive that horrible morning in their nightmares.

But wait. The story isn’t over.

Kenny Herring was African-American and he identified as “Kiki”, a woman. And by the left’s current rules that means that no matter whom he stabbed, the police officers had no right to shoot him.

There is never any excuse for shooting a member of an intersectional “marginalized” group.

Activists claimed that the downstairs neighbors had been “bullying” and “harassing” Kenny for years. These accusations against the victim of a violent crime were never backed by a single shred of evidence. Instead it was assumed that if a member of an oppressed group stabs his neighbor through the lung, the man he stabbed must have had it coming. There were even calls to free Thompson to “mourn” Herring.

The Metro Trans Umbrella Group blamed “systematic racism and white supremacy.” Neither the police officers nor the victim have been named, but considering the neighborhood, the odds are good that Kenny’s victim was also African-American. Some activists suggested that the police might have “planted” a knife on Kenny. But did they also plant the stab wounds on his victim’s face and in his lung?

“If you're a cop & you can't defend yourself against someone with a knife WITHOUT killing them. Don't be a cop,” one activist insisted in a widely circulated tweet.

The “peaceful” candlelight vigil to “honor” a vicious monster didn’t take long to go off the rails. The microphone was supposed to be ”prioritized for black and brown trans and queer people of color.” The protesters seemed angrier about President Trump than Herring’s death. The police had only shot Herring because of racism and transphobia. And Trump was the embodiment of both.

Activists shouting “Get off the sidewalk” crowded a busy street. There were Black Lives Matter signs and rainbow flags. When a driver stopped and honked, they pounded on his car and threatened him. They jumped on the hood. He drove forward. They fell off and were lightly injured. And now he’s under arrest.

Mayor Lyda Krewson sided with the protesters. "Driving into people is totally wrong. People have a right to protest, he should have used common sense and turned around."

While people have a right to protest, do they have a right to block busy streets or to attack drivers who honk at them? The police on the scene should have been allowed to keep order by preventing the protesters from blocking the street. Instead they were reduced to cleaning up the mess afterward.

This is what keeps on happening when the authorities give leftists protesters a blank check.

Drivers, Mayor Krewson insisted, should have taken another route. The protesters had every right to block the street. It was the drivers trying to get home who had suddenly lost their right to the street. Activists accused the driver of being a white heterosexual male. It’s unknown how they figured out his sexual orientation through a windshield. But the accusation speaks eloquently to their prejudices.

And the fallout from Kenny Herring’s stabbing spree shows why we can’t have both justice and identity politics. Either we have one set of laws for everyone. Or we hand out special passes for stabbing your neighbor as long as the stabber has racked up enough intersectional victimhood points. Either everyone has to follow traffic laws or everyone except angry leftists with a cause have to follow them.

The intersectional creed of the left tells us that it’s not our morality, but our oppression that defines us. Victimhood is our inheritance. We are born into it and it sums up all our relationships with other people. Kenny Herring was always a victim. Even while stabbing another man in the face, he was a victim. His death is a call for outrage. It is an indictment of the white supremacy and systemic racism of the police officers who shot him to keep him from stabbing them as brutally as he had stabbed his neighbor.

Police officers are always perpetrators. And the saints of identity politics are always the victims.

But the blood on the floor in a flat on Ridge Avenue tells a different story. It reminds us that our true identity lies in the choices that we make. And that it is these choices that define who we are.

Kenny chose to be a monster. He sealed that decision by planting a butcher knife in a man’s face. And the police officers who shot him down were heroes who put their own lives at risk for a man they had never met before this moment. There are bad police officers out there, but we must never forget the men and women in blue who go into situations like this without ever knowing if they will make it out.

And there lying in a hospital is the real victim of this entire story. He isn’t the victim because of his race, his sexual identity or gender, but because he was stabbed over and over again by a deranged criminal.

Victimhood isn’t something you’re born with in this country. It’s something that happens to you.

The left insists that identity is victimhood. It has built a massive political machine that protects and promotes the victimhood of identity politics. It protects criminals at the expense of the men and women whom they rob and kill. It harbors illegal aliens at the expense of the women whom they rape. It stands up for Islamic terrorists at the expense of the ordinary people whom they shoot and bomb.

But victimhood is not race or orientation. It can be as simple as living next to a crazy person. It isn’t a theory. There are no classes needed to make sense of it. It’s being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The best defense against becoming a victim isn’t to create special classes of the oppressed: a group that includes Kenny and his butcher knife along with the car pounding “peaceful” vigil in his name.

It’s equal laws that protect everyone. It’s only when we privilege some crazy stabbers because of their race or gender, that we devalue the humanity of everyone else and then we all become victims.

Monday, September 04, 2017

All The Statues Must Go

Back in May, a New Orleans statue of Joan of Arc was tagged with “Tear it Down” graffiti.

Why Joan of Arc? Any famous historical figure is by definition controversial. Joan is a French
national symbol, but Shakespeare depicted her as a malicious witch. The French Quarter where the statue stands is a mostly white neighborhood. France was dealing with a controversial election.

This is what happens when you open a can of historical, religious and nationalistic worms.

The war on Confederate memorials quickly escalated into attacks on Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Memorial was vandalized in Washington D.C. and in Chicago, a statue of Lincoln was burned. Abraham Lincoln fought the Confederacy. But from a black nationalist perspective, Lincoln and Lee were both racist white devils. And to the left, they both embody white supremacy.

What began with tearing down General Lee, escalated to vandalizing statues of Junipero Serra.

Serra was an 18th century Catholic priest who set up missions in what is now California. He’s hated by some American Indian activists who accuse him of racism and colonialism. There are statues of Serra all over California. And while most Americans have never heard of him, a pitched battle is underway between Catholics who venerate him as a saint and left-wing activists who call him a genocidal racist.

These leftist activists began by vandalizing Columbus statues and then Junipero Serra. But Serra was also America’s first Latino saint. To Latinos, Serra is a hero. To some American Indians, he’s a villain. And Christopher Columbus is in the same boat. The statues of Columbus spread across America were often put up by Italian-American associations. Italian-Americans marched in Columbus Day festivals. Serra pits Latinos against American Indians. Italian-Americans and American Indians face off over Columbus.

The battle over Junipero Serra is a microcosm of the gaping national and religious fault lines on which so many statues stand. Our towns and cities are full of statues celebrating some group’s version of history. The civil society we used to have allowed different groups to each celebrate the heroes of their history.

It’s not just Confederate memorials that are the controversial remnants of an old war. The Hundred Years War that Joan was part of had its own winners and losers. And if that seems like ancient history, our cities are full of memorials and statues featuring Irish, Italian and Latin American nationalist figures.

Springfield, Massachusetts has a garden dedicated to the 1916 Easter Rising. There's a statue of Irish nationalist Robert Emmet in Washington D.C.'s Triangle Park. Three miles away stands a statue of Winston Churchill near the British Embassy. There is a great deal of national history that separates both men, but they can coexist together in our civic spaces because of mutual historical tolerance.

There can be a statue of James Connolly in Chicago and of Winston Churchill in Fulton, Missouri.

If we have to start picking and choosing between Irish nationalists and British leaders, one set of statues would have to be torn down. And then eventually both sets. Every historical figure is controversial.

New York’s Central Park has equestrian statues of Simon Bolivar, Jose Marti and General Jose de San Martin. All the statues are controversial in their own way. It took years to get the Marti statue mounted. At one point anti-Castro Cuban exiles covertly put up a replica in its place in the middle of the night.

You don’t have to be a politician or soldier for your Central Park statue to be controversial. Dr. J Marion Sims, the father of modern gynecology, was targeted by black nationalist protesters for operating on slave women without anesthesia. Never mind that anesthesia wasn't widely used at the time. To the medical profession, Dr. Sims is a hero. To the black nationalist leftists, he’s a villain.

If the anti-statue protesters get their way, the only statue left in the park will be Alice in Wonderland.

Black nationalists in New York have been allowed to name streets and parks after racists and Nazi collaborators like W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X. The other side of the bargain that allowed black nationalists to have their own heroes, no matter how racist and terrible they were, is tolerance for the other groups exercising that same privilege. The anti-statue campaign violates that bargain. And like breaking the other bargains that maintain a civil society, it begins a civil war.

It’s not just Charlottesville, Baltimore or New Orleans. It’s vandals running around California and vandalizing Columbus and Serra. It’s Lincoln being set on fire and Joan of Arc getting vandalized.

In Glendale, California, Korean and Japanese groups are battling over a memorial to the “Comfort women” who were raped by the Japanese military during WWII. It’s yet another example of how a multicultural society becomes filled with explosive battles over history that can only be resolved with mutual tolerance or centralized censorship. The left has opted for the latter. And that’s dangerous.

Trying to make things better instead often makes them worse.

After the left complained that there were too few statues of female historical figures in New York, Bryant Park got a hideous statue of a squatting Gertrude Stein. While Stein was gay, with points for the LGBT checkbox, she was also an anti-Semitic Nazi collaborator, double points withdrawn.

In a bid to court feminists, gay activists and the artsy crowd, a New York City park got a statue of the woman who suggested that Hitler should win the Nobel Peace Prize for driving the Jews out of Europe.

But that’s also how history works. Every major figure has their negative sides if you go looking for them.

Behind the self-righteousness with which the left vandalizes Confederate memorials is also a great deal of hypocrisy. The double standards immunize comrades on the left from accountability and judgment.

Without a certain degree of tolerance and historical distance, no statue can stand the test of time.

In Philadelphia, the shortage of General Lee statues instead made the statue of Frank Rizzo a target. The former mayor and top cop of Philly suffered a defaced mural and calls to take down his statue. Black nationalists hate Rizzo because of his determination to crack down on Black Panther violence and terror. But gay rights activists have also targeted the statue over accusations of “homophobia”.

But why stop with Frank?

There are thousands of statues of Martin Luther King Jr. across America. The civil rights legend was an ordained minister who believed that homosexuality was a psychological problem that needed to be addressed. People have lost their jobs for less than that.

No, there’s no help for it.

All the statues must come down. Including the huge memorial on the Mall. All the streets named after Martin Luther King Jr must be renamed. If we’re going to hold historical figures accountable for not holding the same civil rights positions that the left adopted 5 minutes ago, why not start with King?

Either that or we can once again learn tolerance by leaving each other alone.

The left’s version of tolerance is just an endless civil war that pits groups against each other. It stirs up division and hatred under the false façade of justice. Its only possible outcome is to force everyone to accept one version of history while prohibiting everyone from having their own versions of history.

That’s not America. That’s Communist China and the Soviet Union.

In America, Churchill can co-exist with Connolly. There’s room for Junipero Serra and Chief White Eagle in California. New York offers a place for a bust of Napoleon III and a statue of Garibaldi (both men had once lived in exile in the city). And there’s also room for General Grant and General Lee.

History is complicated. Tyranny is simple.

A free society isn’t maintained by the brute force of easy answers, but with difficult compromises.

Tyranny offers the easy answer of eliminating all the statues that displease us. History tells us that the statues should stay. If we embrace the easy answer, soon there won’t be any statues left.

Either all the statues must stay. Or all the statues must go.

Friday, September 01, 2017

An Allahu Akbar August

"I thought mad dogs foamed at the mouth, galloped, leaped and lunged at throats, and I thought they did it in August."

To Kill a Mockingbird



In Roanoke, Virginia, Wasil Farooqui had attacked a couple with a knife while shouting, “Allahu Akbar”. His targets, a Muslim man and his non-Muslim girlfriend, had been swimming in the pool and were behaving immorally by Islamic standards. The Pakistani attacker had recently traveled to Turkey and was suspected of trying to join ISIS. His male victim had been cut “all over his body, including his neck.”

Wasil’s lawyer fought hard to keep jurors from hearing about the “Allahu Akbar” part of the attack because it would play on stereotypes. He brought in a professor to testify that, “Allahu Akbar” is used to “express praise or appreciation.” But the judge made his decision and jurors will hear the grim sound of Allahu Akbar in the courtroom just as Wasil’s victims did.

The defense in this case, as in almost every other Muslim terror case, is mental illness. Wasil had been “hearing voices”. Since a homicidal maniac hearing voices is how Islam was founded, that’s not much of a defense against accusations of Islamic terrorism. If antipsychotics had existed in the 7th century, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hamas and the everyday horrors that tourists have encountered this August would not exist.

August isn’t quite over yet, but there’s been quite a few expressions of praise and appreciation this month sung in the same key as the pool hating Pakistani living on the Great Indian Warpath.

Just this weekend, a Muslim from Luton drove up to Buckingham Palace. Her Majesty’s unwilling subject might have been looking for the Queen, but she was over at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. When the police came to have a word with him, he reached for a 4 foot sword and shouted, “Allahu Akbar”. The Bobbies, traditionally unarmed, maced him. He managed to cut up their hands before being arrested.

Earlier, a Somali in Brussels had expressed some praise and appreciation by stabbing Belgian soldiers while shouting, “Allahu Akbar”. They belatedly shot him dead. A Koran was found in his possession.

It’s hard to think of any European events that could better have validated the mayor of Venice’s declaration that anyone shouting, “Allahu Akbar” in St. Mark’s Square would be shot by snipers.

But it’s been a fairly busy Allahu Akbaring August.

Early in August, the Eiffel Tower had to be shut down after a Mauritanian Muslim effusively expressed his appreciation to Allah by waving a knife and shouting that he wanted to kill a French soldier for ISIS.

The authorities claimed that he had psychiatric problems.

Parisian tourist attractions have been special targets of Islamic praise and appreciation. Back in February, an Egyptian Muslim with a machete shut down the Louvre while shouting, “Allahu Akbar”.

Some extremely unappreciative French soldiers shot him.

But at least French Christians and Jews appreciated the break from Allah’s interfaith blades.

Last year, Muslim attackers shouting Allahu Akbar had slit an 84-year-old priest’s throat and a Turkish Muslim teenager had attacked a Rabbi carrying a Torah with a machete while shouting, “Allahu Akbar”.

But this year, a Muslim broke into the apartment of an elderly Orthodox Jewish nursery school director, beat her and then threw her out the window. He shouted anti-Semitic slurs, recited portions of the Koran and shouted, “Allahu Akbar”. Previously he had visited a Jihadist mosque.

So of course the authorities blamed mental illness.

Finland got its first official terrorist attack in August as a Moroccan Muslim refugee shouting, “Allahu Akbar” began stabbing women. The Muslim migrant came to Finland after trying his luck in Germany. His rampage claimed the lives of two women and wounded six women and two men trying to help.

The slaughter appears to be another of Merkel’s presents inflicted on the rest of Europe. It might be Germany’s best gift to Finland since the Lapland War.

The reign of terror in Spain that began with a van attack in Barcelona ended when Younes Abouyaaquob, the driver of the van, was hunted down by police. He yelled, “Allahu Akbar” before he was shot. His five mates in nearby Cambrils had also been shouting, “Allahu Akbar” before police nailed them.

It had been a bloody Allah August in Spain. The terror cell had killed 16 people and wounded over 100. But this terror season in Spain had actually started early in late July when a knife-wielding Muslim, stop me if you’ve heard this one before, attacked a police officer while shouting, “Allahu Akbar.”

After several months of bloody Allahu Akbaring in the UK, the dog days of summer were quieter. At least until a Muslim with a 4-foot sword showed up at Buckingham Palace. Taha Hussain, who had developed the unappreciated habit of driving around the street while shouting, “Allahu Akbar” was found guilty.

In these trying times, no one really wants to hear that sort of thing in their neighborhood.

In Germany, the authorities decided that a man who shouted, “Allahu Akbar” while stabbing people at a train station in Munich last year was just mentally ill and not a terrorist. Meanwhile shortly beforehand, a Muslim refugee had stabbed seven people in a Hamburg supermarket while shouting, you’ll never guess what. One of the supermarket stabber’s victims died. The authorities claim he was mentally ill.

Closer to home, at the start of August, some 400 miles from Wasil’s stalking grounds, a Nashville man named Kaden began shouting, “Allahu Akbar” at a Kroger’s while claiming that he had a bomb. Just as in the case of the Barcelona van driver, there was no bomb. Back in June, a Tunisian Muslim had walked over to an airport police officer and shouted, “Allahu Akbar” before stabbing him in the neck.

But that’s the way it goes. Sometimes August is hotter than usual. Other times it’s cooler. Sometimes the Allahu Akbar stabbings flare up in London and other times in Paris. But like the weather, Islamic terrorism is always there. If it’s not happening where you live, then it’s erupting somewhere else.

Back in Roanoke, once the trial gets properly underway, jurors will be allowed to consider whether Wasil Farooqui’s yell of “Allahu Akbar” indicated that he was a terrorist or just expressing praise and appreciation while stabbing two people who had committed the crime of going swimming.

And, like all the Allahu Akbar stabbers in Germany and France, it’s just madness. The madness that causes the mad dogs of the Jihad to foam at the mouth and leap at infidel throats in the dog days of August. The madness of a mad prophet who commanded his followers to kill all the black dogs before he got around to ordering the ethnic cleansing of the Christians and Jews of Arabia.

August is usually hot. But when the Allahu Akbar shouters come around, it’s best to stay out of the water. If, like Queen Elizabeth, you can retreat to a castle, you should do so. If you can’t, be careful on the sidewalks of resort towns and in cafes. Walk carefully in London and Paris. Stay on guard at the Louvre, Buckingham Palace, London Bridge and the Eiffel Tower. And if you hear a shout of, “Allahu Akbar”, better hope that you’re in St. Mark’s Square and that there are trusty snipers watching.

And if you can get through a European vacation without hearing, “Allahu Akbar”, then thank God.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Great People

We are still a great people. The rescuers remind us of that. But we lack the culture or the politics to reflect that greatness. The noble impulses that lead men to risk their lives in flooding are there. But our society no longer has the vessels to hold and sustain those impulses.

The media doesn't quite know what to make of the rescuers. You can see the itching to return to the stories that it knows and likes. Russia. Trump hit pieces. People punching each other in the street over politics. It swerves at the first sight of a Confederate flag on a rescue boat or Ted Cruz's Sandy vote. It doesn't want to dwell on the best of us. Behavior like that doesn't make sense anymore.

Generations have grown up with leftist protesters as their definition of heroes. Look in a history book and the last 70 years consisted of "heroes" who marched around waving signs until they got everything they wanted. And everyday in the news there are more "heroes" marching for illegal aliens, transgender bathrooms, the supremacy of black lives and any other identity politics cause.

But waving a placard to the adulation of the media isn't heroism. Saving lives is.

Our culture has quickly forgotten that less than two decades ago, men carrying half their weight climbed to the top of the World Trade Center to save lives. They died there.

The America of a hundred or even fifty years ago, would have immortalized them. Ours drowned them out in tantrums, in whines, in anger and outrage, in malicious noise.

They were a dangerous reminder that we were a great people. And our destroyers desperately wanted us to forget. They wanted us to sink to the bottom. Not to rise to the moment.

The secret of so much of our greatness was simply that we tried. We took our best and we made it the cultural norm. Every people tell themselves that they are wonderful and destined to rule the world. The Germans and the Russians believed it and it led them to ruin. But we told each other that we were decent and we became decent. We told our children that the moon could be theirs. And it was.

We told them that we could cure diseases. And we did. That we would prevail over the atom bomb. And we did. That we would change the world. And we did.

But more importantly, we told them about sportsmanship. We told them to stand up for principles. To take pride in hard work. To believe in the future. To tell the truth. To help old ladies across the street. To tie knots well. To sacrifice for family. To see themselves as heroes, however unlikely.

We made all of those things into a culture. That was the secret. Anyone could have done it. You just had to believe.

And that culture has been slowly dying. Some days it looks almost dead.

Our culture and politics exist to give us permission to lie in the mud. That has become their unhidden purpose. Decency is a dead language. Shock value is our entertainment. Contempt and outrage are our national discourse. The Chinese build cities and islands. We yell at each other over the Internet.

It's hard to remember a time when writing the Great American Novel was an ambition. The American novel is dead. Literature, like art, has become segmented into high brow garbage and low brow garbage. The aspirational middle brow culture is dead.

The movie theater is filled with billion dollar adaptations of comic books, Disney rides and cartoons. The handful of teens who can be pried away from their phones long enough to watch something they'll forget five minutes later aren't even the target audience. America is a stopover territory on the way to the real markets in the teeming cities of China.

How does a culture like that deal with heroism? It can't. It doesn't have the vocabulary for it.

We can still marvel at it. But it's not enough to be impressed by good men and women doing the right thing. Cultures that succeed don't just marvel, they preserve it and pass it on. They build dams around virtue. They harness it and plug in the next generation.

We wonder why the Iraqis or Afghans can't stop killing each other. We explain democracy to them, but it's as meaningless as trying to teach a goat how to paint. But behaviors have to be embodied in a cultural language. Otherwise it's just so much noise.

Civilization is written in the language of values. That language tells us how to behave and how to live. Without that language, we're savages. And savages are not that hard to find all around us. And when you spend enough time around savages, you begin to go native.

When doing the right thing isn't rewarded, few will do it. If everyone cheats, then not only will everyone cheat, but the idea of honestly doing the right thing will become a strange and meaningless thing. If principles don't pay, why have them. If decency is dying, why be decent.  If everyone cheats, cheat. If everyone steals, steal. If everyone lies, lie. Anyone who doesn't is weak and worthless.

Heroism is the beacon in the night. It inspires and shocks us. It reminds us of what we can be.

Men and women risking their lives for others is not such a rare thing even in our latter days. Men and women who are honest and decent are not all that rare either. But they are rare in our culture. They exist, but our culture has no room for them. The meaning of their lives isn't written into our culture. And so the moment passes and as a dog returns to its vomit, our culture returns to its vomit.

The extraordinary moment passes. But it doesn't need to it.

Everyone dies. Heroes, victims and villains all perish. But some values live on in a culture. And that is our choice. We can be a great people. But at the very least, we must remember that we are.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Left's Values Are Our State Church

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..."

The First Amendment assumes that the proper sphere of government is policies, not values. And so it protects the right of political participation and prohibits a state church that would define values.

The government had the right to decide to go to war with France. It did not have a right to decide what you should believe. Politics extended into the realm of policies, not beliefs.

But as religious belief declined, politics replaced it as the repository of moral and ethical values. This transformation began on the left. The left was the least religious in the traditional sense. And the most likely to build up an ideology of secular values with which to displace traditional religious values.

The last century witnessed an extensive effort to scrub religious values out of government. But this effort was matched by an equally comprehensive project to replace them with the left’s own values. Unlike the wall between church and state, there were few legal safeguards against writing values into legislation if they were irreligious ones. The church was deemed to be the true threat. Not the state.

But the end result looks very much like an establishment of religion. Even in the church sense.

The values written into the legislation reflect those of certain churches, but not others. When nuns are forced to pay for birth control and Christian photographers with traditional beliefs are compelled to participate in gay weddings, the government is picking religious establishment “winners and losers”.

The winners are roughly on the religious left and the losers on the religious right.

Unitarians win, Baptists lose. Quakers win, Mormons lose. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) triumphs over the Presbyterian Church in America. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America prevails over the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. It’s hard not to see this as an establishment of religion.

This isn’t about doctrinal battles or gay marriage. It’s about the culture war fallout from the left’s power to write its values into law and into the codes of conduct that hold sway in in private organizations.

We take the truth of our values on faith. They are a matter of subjective conviction, not objective fact. To those who believe in them, they appear to be the absolute truths of the enlightened. But they cannot be proven to be true in any meaningful way. You either believe in them. Or you don’t.

Google fired James Damore for questioning a tenet of its beliefs. That is in theory illegal. The search engine monopoly created forums in which employees were meant to discuss these very issues. Damore was not fired for expressing his views at work, but for politely expressing the “incorrect” view.

California law protects employees fired for both religious and political views. But the “hostile workplace” pretext that led to Damore’s firing is an example of how the left’s values are the basis of legislation. Much as “public accommodation” civil rights protect the demand to participate rather than the right of religious dissent, the protection of minority participation is at the heart of the left’s bid for equality. But this has never truly been a matter of law, but of values. The law mandates the elimination of obstacles. It does not demand that values winners and losers be chosen to achieve equality. That is a leftist bias.

The left defends imposing its values by force through outrage at selective “suffering” on the one hand and abstractions about the empowerment of participatory equality on the other. Ultimately though it cannot defend its values without reference to those values. That is typical of belief systems.

The left’s secular religion functions as a theocracy. It promises salvation through Socialism, warns that human sin will destroy the world through global warming and is engaged in a perpetual struggle against those who do not share its values. It wages war on religious freedom because it is a kind of religion.

There can be no political freedom where there is no religious freedom. Religion is more encompassing than politics can ever be. Politics addresses which policy best accomplishes a particular goal. Religion tackles the question of what the goal should be. If you don’t have the freedom to determine your own goals, then your ability to choose policies is as meaningless as some European elections.

Leftist systems seek to create “democratic” arenas in which we are free to disagree on policies, but not goals. They do this by writing values into the system so that only one sort of goal is deemed acceptable.

Deviations from the goal are not acceptable. Questioning the goal is heresy. And leads to sanctions.

Trump Derangement Syndrome, Google’s firing of James Damore and the violent attacks on conservative speakers are all examples of what happens when the goals are blasphemously challenged.

Politics is far more likely to turn violent over values rather than policy. That is why the Founders wanted politics to be confined to policy rather than values. We can rationally debate policy, but we can’t debate values. We can argue over what we feel to be true, but the revelations of our deepest selves cannot be proven. And when they are challenged, anger, hostility and even violence quickly follow.

The First Amendment helped build a system where our representatives debated what we should do, rather than what we should think. Politicians were meant to get things done, not argue dogma. The culture war we are in is less about what we should do than what we should think. The violent confrontations and clashes are not really about campus safe spaces or Confederate memorials, but how we should see ourselves. The confrontations are meant to be both polarizing and clarifying.

They’re a religious war. The left has established its religion. And violence against heretics swiftly follows.

America is in the midst of an ugly conflict because our political system was hijacked by the Church of the Left. The legislative and judicial hijacking of our system has turned our politics into a culture war. To end the conflict we must return to a true understanding of the First Amendment. It is not the role of government to tell us what to think or what to believe. And any government that embarks on such a totalitarian enterprise will tear apart our society and destroy our way of life.

As the left is doing.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

All Roads Lead to Jihad

Cambrils, Spain.

The road to September 11 wended its way through this Spanish town where Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker, met up with Ramzi bin al-Shibh, the former refugee to Germany and current Gitmo inmate, who had been serving as Osama bin Laden’s point man for the attacks that would kill thousands.

The hotel where Atta and Osama’s man met is a few blocks away from where the Muslim terrorists climbed out of their crashed car, drawing knives, axes and machetes, before a police officer working overtime to earn extra money shot most of them dead on the spot outside the Club Nautic.

The distance between where Atta was planning 9/11 and the latest terror attack in Spain is 110 meters. Stroll past a pub, a hair salon and a real estate agency in this seaside resort town and you’re there.

Cambrils hadn’t been the original target of the terrorists. Their dream target was the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona. When their bombs went off prematurely, they went to Cambrils and Las Ramblas in Barcelona because it was likely to have foreign tourists that they could run over, stab and mutilate.

The consistent pattern of the big Islamic terror attacks in recent years, from the Boston Marathon to the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, from Bataclan to the Manchester Arena, from the Champs-Élysées to London Bridge, is to look for nightlife spots or crowds of tourists all packed into the same place.

The Sagrada Familia, which at completion will be able to hold 14,000 people, would have been a target closer to the scale of September 11. When Pope Benedict arrived in ’10, 6,000 people were able to fill the cathedral. Around 10,000 visitors tour the building every day. Had the terrorists been able to move their original plot along, the way that Atta and Al-Shibh did theirs, thousands might have died.

The message of Driss Oukabir had been clear. “Kill all infidels and only leave Muslims who follow the religion”.

That’s always been the “sacred” mission of Islam. The bloody chapters of the plot played out in Cambrils, where the terrorists were gunned down as they tried to butcher pedestrians, Barcelona, where pedestrians were run over in a van, and Alcanar, where the terrorists squatted a house and filled it with gas canisters and TATP explosives before the whole thing was accidentally blown sky high.

But the Jihad didn’t come from these places. It came, as always, from an Islamic population center and its satellite mosque.

Ripoll, Spain.

Like the river that adjoins it, the history of this small Catalan town of 11,000 flows back to the beginning of human history. Dig in the right places and you can find everything from bronze axe heads to Roman tombs. These days you can also find Muslim terrorists squatting in their mosques and plotting murder.

The small Spanish town has a Muslim population of 1,000. Or 9% of the population. That’s far above the national average. It also produced 8 of the 12 suspects in the Barcelona attacks.

Catalonia was once occupied by the Moors. It’s under Islamic occupation again. Half of the ISIS arrests in Spain have been made in Catalonia. In a few decades, Catalonia went from consisting of Catholics and atheists to a 7% Muslim population. That amounts to around 510,000 Muslim settlers in the region.

To put that into perspective, there are more Muslims in Catalonia than in some European countries. From their perspective, Catalonia is Al-Andalus. It’s an ancient Islamic territory that is rightfully theirs.

37.5% of Muslims jailed for terrorism came from Catalonia.

“I tell you, Spain is the land of our forefathers and, Allah willing, we are going to liberate it, with the might of Allah,” an ISIS terrorist had declared.

Muslim demographic migration and settlement has been conquering Catalonia. But the Islamic State has been less patient about swamping Spain through birth rates and asylum requests.

The Jihad in Ripoll came from its mosques which were centered around Imam Abdelbaki Es Satty.

Imam Abdelbaki Es Satty might be dead or alive. Some think he died when the explosives in that squatted house in Alcanar blew up. Others think he might have made it to Morocco where he had told acquaintances that he was bound. Or perhaps he once again made it under the radar to Brussels.

The Moroccan Imam had started out as a drug smuggler. He had reportedly served time with one of the ’04 Madrid train bombers. Links have also been drawn to the Brussels airport bombing last year. The mosques who hired him and whom he was associated with are denying any knowledge of his mission.

One mosque’s president claimed that terrorism was the act of “crazy people”. He insisted that, “Islam is peace.” The latest Islamic atrocities however contradict that tired nonsensical cliché.

Abdelbaki Es Satty was Moroccan. As were most of the terrorists. Four sets of brothers made up much of the Spanish terror cell. Beyond religion, the Jihadists were also a tightly knit clan. A family.

While the Moroccan Muslims were out for blood in Spain, a Moroccan Muslim went on a stabbing spree targeting women in Finland. It’s unknown if there was a connection, but as with Atta and Cambrils, the terror routes are transnational. Catalonia is a perfect Islamic terror hub because of its proximity to France. Satty veered between Morocco and Brussels while plotting terror in Spain.

While Europeans debate about the EU, Muslims already live in a world of open borders. They swarm in on boats from Libya to Italy, they travel from Turkey through Eastern Europe to reach Germany, they move between the emerging terror hubs of Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Sweden. They cross over from America into Mexico and from Canada into America. And then back to Canada.

In Ripoll, Mayor Munell insists there's no integration problem. “There is no problem of living together.”

There are never any problems. Just unexplained explosions. Screams and booms. The sound of bones breaking against a wall and the angry roar of a motor. And, above them all, the cry of, “Allahu Akbar.”

Meanwhile the same lies are told and retold.

The terrorists were irreligious. The Islamic community claims to know nothing about them. Or about Satty. The president of one of the mosques sneered, “I doubt if any of them could tell you the color of the carpet in the mosque.” If only they had come more often, they wouldn’t have turned to terror.

But the names of two of the terrorists are listed as donors to the mosque. And it’s the Imam who turned them on to terror.

Still it’s easier to ignore the terrible truth of Islamic terror. Even when it hits close to home.

In Cambrils, in Alcanar and Barcelona, the world briefly changed. The fifth Jihadist in the Cambrils car managed to stab a woman in the face before he was taken down. In Alcanar, body parts fell from the sky. Younes Abouyaaqoub, the last wanted member of the cell and the driver of the Barcelona van, shouted, "Allahu Akbar."

And then the police shot him.

The dead will be buried. The surviving terrorists will be imprisoned. The families of the victims will grieve. And in the towns and cities of Catalonia, another Islamic cell will start building more bombs.