Who’s Guilty of Inciting Violence, Mr. President?

Who’s Guilty of Inciting Violence, Mr. President?

January 11th, 2011

Victor Davis Hanson, The Washington Times

Very few Americans are fans of both The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf, as 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, the purported Tucson killer, apparently was. Fewer still post on the Internet fears about “brainwashing,” “mind control,” and “conscience dreaming”; have long records of public disruption and aberrant behavior; were expelled from community college; or were rejected summarily for military service.

No matter. Almost immediately following Mr. Loughner’s cowardly killing of six and wounding of 14, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, pundits and some public figures rushed to locate his rampage, together with his paranoid rantings about government control, within the larger landscape of right-wing politics – especially the rhetoric of the Tea Party and Sarah Palin.

Apparently, we are supposed to believe that Mr. Loughner’s unhinged rants about the “government” indict those who express reasonable reservations about the size of government as veritable accessories to mass murder. The three worst offenders were Paul Daly of the New York Daily News, who claimed just that in an essay with the raging headline “The blood of Congresswoman Giffords was on Sarah Palin’s hands”; the ubiquitous Paul Krugman, who connected Mr. Loughner to the supposedly Republican-created “climate of hate”; and Andrew Sullivan, who thought he saw yet another avenue through which to further his own blind antipathy toward Mrs. Palin and “the Palin forces.” In their warped syllogism, the Tea Party unquestionably creates hatred; a congresswomen was shot out of hatred; ergo, the Tea Party and/or the Republican Party all but pulled the trigger…

There is much talk that Mrs. Palin’s “cross hairs” ad pushed Mr. Loughner over the edge. But if sloppy use of gun metaphors can drive anyone to shoot congressional representatives, think what we are up against when the president of the United States invokes violent imagery to galvanize his supporters. What are we to make of President Obama’s warning of “hand-to-hand combat” if the Republicans take over or of his comment that one of his supporters could “tear [Sean Hannity] up” or his “Untouchables” boast that “if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun” or his advice to supporters of his presidential campaign to argue with Republicans and independents and “get in their face”?

Why would a president boast about figuring out “whose ass to kick” or, in a climate of fear about terrorism, call his opponents “hostage takers”? In a post-Sept. 11 world, is it prudent for the commander in chief to say of his political opponents, “Here’s the problem: It’s almost like they’ve got – they’ve got a bomb strapped to them and they’ve got their hand on the trigger. You don’t want them to blow up”? What about, “But you’ve got to kind of talk to them, ease that finger off the trigger”?

Also, in a political twofer, Mr. Obama once not only evoked gun imagery, but did so in a context of relegating Republicans to second-class citizenry: “We can’t have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”

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Alinsky’s rhetoric

Alinsky’s rhetoric

K.E. Campbell

Leftist journalists, politicians, and activists have made much of conservatives’ use of certain symbols or metaphors, targets and crosshairs in particular. Weaponry and military metaphors are part of political campaigns and political discourse and probably always will be. Think “battleground states”, “targeting for defeat”, “kill the bill”, even the word “campaign” for that matter.

Before the Left goes too far down this road of casting aspersions at the language of their political opponents, they might want to take a fresh look at the president’s own community organizing playbook, Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, a book the author dedicated to Lucifer.
Using Amazon.com’s search inside the book feature, I cursorily noted the use of the word “target” 12 times, “attack” 26 times, “enemy” 32 times, and “weapon” 11 times. The Prologue includes the following: “you can miss the target by shooting too high as well as too low.” Alinsky’s Rules include the following (bold added):
Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.
Whenever possible, go outside the experience of the enemy.
Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.
Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
A good tactic is one your people enjoy.
Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.
The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside… every positive has its negative.
The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
In his book Alinsky also wrote, “Before men can act, an issue must be polarized. Men will act when they are convinced their cause is 100 percent on the side of the angels, and that the opposition are 100 percent on the side of the devil.”

The Last Best Hope–We can see November from our house !!!!!!!!!

The Last Best Hope

Posted By Dennis Prager On May 26, 2010 @ 12:01 am In FrontPage | 3 Comments

One of the many beliefs — i.e., non-empirically based doctrines — of the post-Christian West has been that moral progress is the human norm, especially so with the demise of religion. In a secular world, the self-described enlightened thinking goes, superstition is replaced by reason, and reason leads to the moral good.

Of course, it turned out that the post-Christian West produced considerably more evil than the Christian world had. No mass cruelty in the name of Christianity approximated the vastness of the cruelty unleashed by secular doctrines and regimes in the post-Christian world. The argument against religion that more people have been killed in the name of religion than by any other doctrine is false propaganda on behalf of secularism and Leftism.

The amount of evil done by Christians — against, for example, “heretics” and Jews — in both the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity — was extensive, as was the failure of most European Christians to see Nazism for the evil that it was. The good news is that Christian evils have been acknowledged and addressed by most Christian leaders and thinkers.

But there were never any Christian Auschwitzes — i.e., systematic genocides of every man, woman and child of a particular race or religion. Nor were there Christian Gulags — the shipping of millions of innocents to conditions so horrific that prolonged suffering leading to death was the almost -inevitable end.

The anti-religious Left offers two responses to these facts: The first is that modern technology made the Nazi and Communist murders of scores of millions possible; had the church been technologically able to do so, it would have made its own Auschwitz and Gulag. The second is that Nazism and Communism were religions and not secular doctrines.

The response to the first is that technology was not necessary for the Communist murders of over a hundred million innocent people in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia and elsewhere. In Cambodia, millions were murdered with hammers, in Rwanda with machetes.

The response to the second is that Communism and Nazism were secular movements and to deny that is to tell a gargantuan lie. Even if one argues that Nazism and Communism were religions, they were nevertheless secular religions. That too many Christians morally failed when confronted with Nazism is true, but irrelevant to the fact that Nazism was in no way a Christian movement.

And now the post-Christian world is getting worse.

The moral news about the world in which we live is almost unremittingly negative.

Russia

Russia is devoid of a moral values system. Whatever moral role the Russian Orthodox Church played was largely extinguished during the seven decades of Communist suppression of religion. Today, pockets of religious morality notwithstanding, Russia is essentially a nihilistic state. Under the leadership of a former KGB director, Russia now plays a destructive role in world affairs. Russia today is characterized by major arms shipments to Syria, protecting Iran while it becomes a nuclear power, forcing its will on Ukraine and other neighboring states, and the violent suppression of domestic critics who shed any light on the organized crime syndicate that rules the geographically largest nation in the world.

Turkey

The Ataturk Revolution is being undone. Turkey, the country long regarded as the bridge between the West and Islam, is rapidly moving away from the West and to an increasingly anti-Western Islam.

Iran

Iran is ruled by the heirs of Nazism, if that word still means anything after being cheapened by the Left for decades, most recently by the Left’s comparison of Arizona to a Nazi state. The rulers of Iran boast of their desire to initiate a second Holocaust against the Jews, all the while denying that the first Holocaust took place. And the country’s treatment of Iranians who seek elementary human freedoms and of Iranian women is among the worst on earth.

Congo

According to all reports, nearly 6 million people have been killed in the Congo in the last decade. The great secular liberal hope in “humanity” and “world opinion” has once again been shown to be the false hope it is. World opinion and “humanity” have rarely done anything to help the truly persecuted.

But there is more to the Congolese genocide — the absence of reporting about it in the world’s media and its being a non-issue at the United Nations. If an Israeli soldier kills a rock-throwing Palestinian, or even worse, makes plans to build 1,600 apartments in east Jerusalem, the U.N., world opinion and the world media cover it as if it were the primary evil on earth. But the Congolese deaths are barely worth a mention.

Mexico

Mexico is fighting for its life against narcotics gangs that compete with Islamists in their sadism. Mexico could become the largest narco-state in the world. To be a good person in Mexico today, i.e., to oppose the drug lords in any way, is to put oneself in danger of being slowly tortured to death.

Europe

Europe long ago gave up fighting for or believing in anything other than living a life with as much economic security, as many days off and as young a retirement age as possible. World War I killed off European idealism. And whatever remained was destroyed by World War II. What I have written about the Germans is true for nearly all of Europe: Instead of learning to fight evil, Europe has learned that fighting is evil.

Other consequences of European secularism and the demise of non-materialistic ideals include a low birthrate (children cost money and limit the number of fine restaurants in which one can afford to dine), and appeasement of evil. Thus most European nations are slowly disappearing and nearly every European country has compromised Western liberties in order to appease radical Muslims.

Radical Islam

Polls taken in the Muslim world regularly report that about 10 percent of the world’s Muslims say they support radical Islam — meaning Islamic totalitarianism as practiced by the Taliban and terror as practiced by Al-Qaida. That means at least one hundred million people. Add to that the unspecified number of Muslims who support the Nazi-level and Nazi-like anti-Semitism promulgated in much of the Middle East and you have an enormous body of people committed to the death of the West.

China

As in Russia, traditional Chinese virtues were largely destroyed by Communism, and China, too, is essentially a nihilistic state whose government spends its vast sums of foreign currency in buying influence in some of the cruelest places on earth (Zimbabwe, for example) and protecting the genocide-advocating regime of Iran.

The United Nations

The net result of the United Nations is an increase in evil on earth. Whatever good is performed by some of its institutions, like the World Health Organization or UNICEF, that good is outweighed by the amount of evil the U.N. either abets or allows. It has supervised genocide in Rwanda, done nothing to stop genocide elsewhere (e.g., Congo and Sudan), gives a respectable forum to tyrannies, and is preoccupied with vilifying one of its relatively few humane states, Israel. Its contributing to human suffering is exemplified by Libya being elected to its Human Rights Commission and Iran’s election to its Commission on the Status of Women.

The United States

The United States was described by President Abraham Lincoln as The Last Best Hope of Earth. Most Americans agreed then. However, with the ascent of the Left in America — in our educational institutions, news and entertainment media, and arts world — fewer and fewer Americans believe this. On the contrary, the Leftist view of America, which pervades American life, is of a country deeply morally compromised by endemic racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, militarism, imperialism and a rapacious capitalism, leading to immoral levels of economic inequality.

As in Europe, these views are leading America to avoid offending its enemies. The American attorney general recently refused to answer a congressman’s repeated question about whether he believes that radical Islam might have been one factor motivating recent Muslim terrorists in America.

With America more interested in being like Europe and being liked rather than in fighting its enemies, more and more countries are identifying with America’s enemies than with America. Last week’s three-way hug among the leaders of Brazil, Turkey and Iran was a clear example of such.

Meanwhile, America is rapidly accumulating unpayable debts that will render it not very different from Greece. Indeed, California, once the grease of the American economy, has become the Greece of the American economy.

As the Left’s power increases, America’s power recedes — and the world further deteriorates. Under Democratic Party rule, the Last Best Hope of Earth has decided that the United Nations and Western Europe deserve that title, not the United States.

Those of us working to remove Democrats from power regard this November’s election as not only a referendum on the direction of America, but of the world itself.

Dennis Prager hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show and is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is the author of four books, most recently “Happiness Is a Serious Problem” (HarperCollins). His website is http://www.dennisprager.com.

Obama’s Thugocracy

Obama’s Thugocracy

May 22nd, 2010

By Andrea Tantaros  – FOXNews.com

This past Sunday, in one of the most aggressive and offensive intimidation tactics to date, hundreds of members of the largest union – the SEIU – stormed the front yard of Bank of America deputy general counsel Greg Baer’s home. The angry mob had bullhorns, signs and even broke the law by trespassing to bully Baer’s teenage son, the only one home at the time, who locked himself in the bathroom out of fear.

This is what unions do. They pressure politicians into spending too much. They push government into bad policy decisions. They sacrifice the private sector for the public sector. And now, they trespass and break the law only to scare the children of private citizens to get their way.
If you think the unions are working along, think again.

These protests, the ones storming Wall Street bank lobbies and now the private homes of bankers, are likely being carefully coordinated with the White House to increase their profile against the financial fat cats and help pass disgraced Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd’s financial regulatory bill.

Remember, when the White House visitor records were finally made public, it was SEIU boss Andy Stern who was the most frequent guest.

There are also no coincidences in politics. The bill passed the Senate last night.

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Obama’s Grotesque Move to Join the “Alliance of Civilizations”: “the dhimmitude syndrome”

Obama’s Grotesque Move to Join the “Alliance of Civilizations”: “the dhimmitude syndrome”

Obama plans to announce as early as this week that he will begin a formal relationship with the Alliance of Civilizations, the 5-year-old, UN-backed stealth jihad, Islamic supremacist organization.

What’s next? How long before Obama joins the bloc of 56 countries in the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference)? The Alliance of Civilizations is an arm of the OIC. Bat Ye’or, after hearing Obama’s submission speech to Islam in Cairo last June, said this:

“The president’s speech is similar to many such declarations by European leaders. The question it raises is how much the West is ready to forgo truth and its basic principles in its supplication for obtaining peace with Islam. Clearly, the full Islamization of the West is the quickest way to obtain it. Obama’s political program in connection with the Alliance of Civilizations conforms to an OIC strategy that has already been accepted by the EU. In history, this policy has a name: the dhimmitude syndrome”

And this from Bat Ye’or:

The Alliance of Civilizations [was] created to oppose the clash of civilizations, that is jihad.  On 13 November 2006, the High-Level Group of the Alliance of Civilizations presented its report which sums up the request of the OIC at its Mecca Summit 9, in 2005, after the Cartoons affair. First, it adopts the Islamic view of history and politics by claiming that everything was fine between the three monotheistic religions until the 19th century, when the evil of European colonialism and Zionism destroyed this harmony. Then it affirms that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the main source of Christian-Muslim antagonism, not the jihadist war and ideology that deny for others the right to exist. It proclaims that this conflict “remains one of the gravest threats to international stability” and formulates recommendations that again echo the OIC requests. Such views mirror Hitler accusing the Jews of fomenting World War II, or the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, praised in the Hamas charter, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood which denies Israel’sright to exist. (Bat Ye’or)

 

US to join group previously shunned for anti-Israel stances By ASSOCIATED PRESS

13/05/2010 04:10

The Obama administration is preparing to join an international advisory group that the United States generally has shunned due to fears it would adopt anti-Israeli and anti-Western positions, US officials said Wednesday.

The officials told The Associated Press the administration plans to announce as early as this week that it will begin a formal relationship with the Alliance of Civilizations. The 5-year-old, UN-backed organization aims to ease strains between societies and cultures, particularly the West and Islam.

The Bush administration boycotted the group when it was founded in 2005 over because it feared the group would become a forum for bashing Israel and the United States. Those concerns were magnified a year later when the alliance released a report that officials in Washington said unfairly blamed Israel and the United States for many of the world’s problems.

The decision to join grows out of Obama’s desire to broaden US participation in international groups and improve its standing among Muslims. The officials said they had consulted closely with Israel on the decision to join the alliance. Israel has no plans to join, diplomats said.

The Left Hopes for a Tea Party Terrorist

The Left Hopes for a Tea Party Terrorist

Posted By Rory Cooper On May 6, 2010 @ 6:00 pm In Ongoing Priorities, Protect America | 1 Comment

Last week, someone tried to detonate a roadside car bomb [1] in Times Square. And while investigators were searching for the guilty terrorist, some liberals in this country had already found a culprit – you.

That’s right. We’ve entered an era where some on the left expressly hope that when terrorist attacks occur, the guilty parties are their fellow Americans, not Islamic jihadists.

It’s crazy, but true.

After Times Square attack, a narrative quickly emerged that the bomber was a lone wolf and may be a conservative, probably a tea partier. It didn’t begin among the fringe, but from names and faces you know. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer, alike, purposefully attempted to immediately convict a domestic political ideology – the Tea Party movement – rather than waiting for evidence to be uncovered.

To recap, on Saturday evening, thanks to an alert street vendor, New York City authorities discovered a 1993 Pathfinder SUV loaded with explosives parked in Times Square [1]. On Sunday, television reports started showing a possible suspect in grainy footage who appeared to be a balding white male in his 40’s [2]. By Sunday evening, the authorities easily tracked the car back to its original owner [1], who informed them that a 30-something male of Middle Eastern origin bought the vehicle.

It was during that brief period of investigation that accusations and false assumptions started to fly. First out of the box were Secretary Napolitano and Mayor Bloomberg, who appeared on television shows to offer theories based on absolutely no evidence.

In her now famous way of casually dismissing terrorist attacks, Napolitano stated on ABC This Week that it was probably a “one-off [3]” event, or essentially a lone wolf. She offered this view after the host, Jake Tapper, actually clued her in [4] that the plot looked similar to other bombings in London and Scotland, which were hatched by small groups of connected Middle Eastern terrorists. But Napolitano underplayed the incident, and her “one-off” theory [5] supported — intentionally or not — the narrative that this could be a domestic incident. She repeated these claims on NBC’s Meet the Press [6].

Then there’s Mayor Bloomberg, who on Katie Couric’s show on Monday opined that the suspect could be “a mentally deranged person or somebody with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health-care bill or something [7].” While government authorities were quickly tracking down the owner of the Pathfinder, Mayor Bloomberg was on TV saying the guilty party may have been someone merely upset with Obamacare.

Cue the fringe. Daily Kos [7] wildly said there are only two types of terrorists, jihadists or tea partiers. Then Robert Dreyfuss, an “investigative journalist” for the leftist site The Nation, railed against media outlets that correctly analyzed the possibility that this could be a jihadist attack. He concluded that it was “far more likely” that the perpetrator was “a member of some squirrely branch of the Tea Party [8].” Now that’s what we call investigative journalism.

In Politico’s Arena, Washington and Lee University Law Professor Timothy Stoltzfus Jost said it was much more likely “the bomb was placed by a right-wing lunatic [9]” and that the right-wing media “bears some responsibility.” So now it’s all Fox News’ fault. At least Professor Jost had the courage to apologize the next day [10] for his liberally drawn conclusions. Oh the irony of a law professor from liberal academia presuming guilt, rather than innocence, and moving for conviction with no evidence.

No sooner had the left firmly staked out ground that the terrorist was a conservative, a tea partier, a right-winger, than the authorities arrested Faisal Shahzad on Tuesday [1]. Shahzad reportedly admitted to the crime, and his vast contacts with known terror networks in Pakistan were revealed almost immediately. Not too many mea culpas from the left. But at least nobody was still making the claim about conservatives, right? Wrong.

Enter Contessa Brewer, anchor for MSNBC [11]. Brewer went on the liberal Stephanie Miller radio show on Tuesday and said: “There was part of me that was hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country.” She further said: “…There are a lot of people who want to use terrorist intent to justify writing off people who believe in a certain way or come from certain countries or whose skin color is a certain way. I mean they use it as justification for really outdated bigotry.”

Who did Contessa Brewer hoped had committed this act? There are a lot of things Brewer could have wished for – that the attempted attack never happened, that innocent American Muslims are not treated unjustly, that America would never see attempts like this again. She didn’t.

Instead, Brewer lifted the curtain on what many Americans already suspected. When the left talks about tea party violence, it isn’t because it actually occurs. It is because they hope it occurs so as to corroborate their skewed worldview that the tea party is a fringe political movement, rather than a peaceful congregation of Americans of all political stripes who don’t like the direction their country is headed.

The Times Square bomber was a jihadist. He was Middle Eastern. He trained in Pakistan. These are the facts of the case. The great hope of conservatives is not to rush to blame one group or another for an attack. Our hope is to have a federal government that will prevent these attacks rather than awkwardly respond, as we saw this week. We also hope to engage in respectful political discourse without being called a bigot.

We are in a war on terror, even if the White House is uncomfortable using those words. Our enemy in this war is more often than not going to be Middle Eastern, even if the left is uncomfortable knowing this. However, there will be times when instances of terror will not fit this profile, which is why reasonable people need to wait for the facts before commenting, even if that makes some uncomfortable.

Obama: Work Should Start on Immigration Bill This Year

Obama: Work Should Start on Immigration Bill This Year

May 6th, 2010

by Mark Knoller, CBS

 Obama wants to push through his immigration agenda so he can get some more voters

President Obama said at an event in the Rose Garden Wednesday afternoon to celebrate Cinco de Mayo that he wants to begin work on comprehensive immigration reform legislation this year.

The president acknowledged that the U.S. immigration system is broken and said Americans are right to be frustrated, including those in Border States.

“But the answer isn’t to undermine fundamental principles that define us as a nation,” he said, taking an apparent shot at the controversial immigration bill signed into law in Arizona, which critics say will result in racial profiling. “We can’t start singling out people because of who they look like or how they talk or how they dress.”

Added the president: “We can’t turn law-abiding American citizens or law abiding immigrants into subjects of suspicion and abuse.”

Mr. Obama again said he’s instructed his administration to closely monitor the Arizona law.

“That’s why we have to close the door on this kind of misconceived action by meeting our obligations here in Washington,” he said.

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Obama Freezes Budget for Program Designed to Stop Terrorists from Getting U.S. Visas

Obama Freezes Budget for Program Designed to Stop Terrorists from Getting U.S. Visas

May 7th, 2010

By Penny Starr, CNSNEWS

 what could go wrong?

Four months after the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit and nine years after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, only 14 of the 57 U.S. consulates identified as being at “high risk” for potentially providing visas to terrorists have been furnished with units of the Department of Homeland Security’s Visa Security Program (VSP).

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, is planning to freeze the program’s budget for fiscal 2011.

The VSP, established by the Homeland Security Act of 2002, puts Department of Homeland Security officials in the field at U.S. consulates to vet the backgrounds of people applying for U.S. visas. DHS uses a broader range of databases than the State Department to review the backgrounds of visa applicants. Also, many policymakers believe DHS officials tend to be more security-minded than State Department consular officers when reviewing visa applications.
While administration officials have said publicly that five additional VSP units should be in place at high risk consulates by the end of 2011, President Barack Obama’s fiscal Year 2011 budget for DHS–submitted almost two months after the Christmas Day bombing attempt—does not increase funding for the program from its fiscal 2010 level.

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San Francisco’s Unconstitutional Arizona ‘Boycott’

San Francisco’s Unconstitutional Arizona ‘Boycott’

By Bruce Walker

San Francisco and other city governments have jumped on the bandwagon of formally “boycotting” business with Arizona in response to that border state’s new law to assist the enforcement of federal immigration laws. Boycotts are an honorable way to influence governments or citizens. When the Nazis came to power, millions of Americans boycotted German imports. Blacks in Mississippi boycotted the Montgomery Bus System for its discriminatory practices toward blacks five decades ago. American patriots boycotted British goods prior to the Revolutionary War. Conservatives prior to our toppling Saddam Hussein called for boycotts of French goods. 
Boycotts have been used against conservatives like Dr. Laura and against leftists like Rosie O’Donnell. In a world in which we have enough “stuff,” there is a compelling case to be made that all of us should use our votes in the marketplace to support values we treasure instead of just getting the best economic bargain. Many of us do that. I have not watched new television programming for decades. Millions of us boycott Hollywood.
The term “boycott” derives from a British officer, Captain Charles Boycott, who zealously enforced the legal but draconian rights of British landlords against Irish tenants in 1880. The Irish people voluntarily decided to have absolutely nothing to do with Captain Boycott. They neither offered nor threatened violence. They acted as a group, but as a group of private individuals. Within a fairly short period of time, the captain and his family left Ireland and returned to England.
Those cities threatening to “boycott” Arizona, however, are not threatening a boycott at all. Instead, as governments under our Constitution, these leftist city councils are creating an embargo. This is wrong, and it is unconstitutional. Under our federal system, state governments and their political subdivisions may not impose undue burdens on interstate commerce. Moreover, states and cities have no right to punish private citizens in other states for the actions of the state governments. Citizens have the right, within our federal system, to be treated equally and fairly.
Arizona, for example, could not pass a law preventing any business with San Francisco until that city modified its ordinances on sexual relations or gun control. It would not matter if an overwhelming majority of Arizonans thought this embargo was good. Political majorities and politicians backed by those majorities may not discriminate against citizens or states which displease them. 
Likewise, San Francisco could not refuse to carry merchant traffic from its port facilities to Arizona. Likewise, Arizona could not stop interstate commerce traveling from San Francisco through Arizona. If state and city governments begin to exercise an extra-constitutional power to obstruct interstate commerce by imposing political filters, then there is no logical ending point to a feud between politicians from one part of the country and those in another part of the country. State and local governments throughout the nation have duties to each other. Apolitical and open trade is one of those duties.
Who is hurt when the City of San Francisco “boycotts” (i.e., embargoes) trade with the State of Arizona? The injured parties are the citizens of San Francisco and the citizens of Arizona. Commerce between those governments would exist only if that commerce made economic sense. In other words, the only time in which the prohibitions enacted by San Francisco government would go into effect would be when it makes economic sense to do business with Arizona. Ordinary citizens — who have always had the private right to boycott those they dislike — lose. 
Who wins from an embargo when leftist run cities artificially substitute politics for market value in investments? Politicians with an almost insatiable appetite for power and praise win politically — after all, it is not their businesses hurt by an economically irrational embargo against Arizona. Who wins financially? Shrewd investors who buy undervalued assets in places like Arizona! The effect of an utterly political embargo is to reward those who ignore it. 
An unconstitutional embargo could also easily cause economic blowback. What if Arizona passed a retaliatory embargo on commerce with the City of San Francisco? How short a step would that government-to-government embargo be from an Arizona embargo that precluded commerce with any business licensed by the City of San Francisco? Such businesses, after all, must largely conform to San Francisco municipal laws, and those laws would formally discriminate against Arizona. What argument would there be against such a discriminatory embargo by Arizona — particularly when the underlying rationale for a San Francisco government embargo on business with Arizona is explicitly to hurt Arizona businesses? 
The underlying problem reflects a concern which I expressed in a recent article: The gravest problem in America today is not government, per se, but the use of government as a sock puppet for an angry, relentless partisan or interest group movement. When those groups seize governments, then the general welfare, as opposed to the welfare of special groups, melts into limp glop. The welfare of the citizens of the several states, even the welfare of ordinary San Franciscans, is abandoned so that political bosses can kowtow to particular interests.
America has an excellent mechanism for punishing those who follow the law but behave badly. It is called the free market. Nearly all of us make our consumer choices based upon complex factors which include more than pure economics. Just as we give our money to churches and to synagogues and we give our time to charities and to community activities, so we buy goods and services, in part, because we approve of the values of those selling. The danger of substituting brute state force for persuaded consumer opinion is that there is no end to the cycle of action and reaction — and no resolution to any of the underlying problems.
Bruce Walker is the author of two books: Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie, and his recently published book The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity.

Failure-in-Chief

Failure-in-Chief

Posted 05/05/2010 ET

 

The controversies over the Arizona immigration plan and the Obama Administration’s response to the oil spill in the Gulf may not seem related, but they have a key common characteristic: both originate in the failure of Washington.

In both cases, President Obama faces a real danger of a political backlash from which he will be unable to recover.

More importantly, they are both part of a rapidly evolving pattern of big government failure that will be a fundamental challenge to our country over the next quarter century.

Federal Failure on Immigration and Border Control

Before anyone criticizes the citizens of Arizona who are worried about their lives and their safety, they should focus on the abject failure of the federal government to control the border and enforce our immigration laws. 

Consider the facts on the ground:

• 15% of Arizona’s state prisoners are illegal immigrants;
• The number of kidnappings in Phoenix, Ariz., has exploded as the Mexican drug cartels have brought their violence North of the border;
• Two Phoenix police officers have been killed in recent years by illegal immigrants;
• A cattle rancher near the Mexican border was recently killed by a drug smuggler;
• Just last week a deputy sheriff was wounded in a gun battle with men suspected of being drug smugglers from Mexico.

In response to the dangers they perceived from Washington’s failure, 64% of Arizonans overwhelmingly support their new immigration law.

Nationally, 51% of Americans who have heard of the law support it, with 39% opposed

This is despite the frequent distortions and flat-out lies about the facts of the bill being reiterated in the mainstream media (Byron York and Andy McCarthy have been especially good at setting the record straight.)

The Obama Administration will alienate the vast majority of Americans if it insists on attacking the Arizona law instead of solving the problems of an uncontrolled border and a failed immigration system.

The right answer for Washington is to meet its responsibilities: 1) Control the border; 2) Pass common sense immigration reform, including a guest worker program and intense enforcement aimed at illegal employers (without whom there would be no magnet to draw in people outside the law); and 3) Ensure that all Americans can live in safety in a law abiding country.

At that point the Arizona law would become moot and unneeded.  Let’s solve the problem, not the symptom.

Federal Failure in Louisiana…Round 2

President Obama faces another challenge in the controversy surrounding the federal government’s response to the oil spill in the Gulf.

Of course, this controversy has echoes of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, which was enabled by government, both in the failure to maintain the levee and pumping system and in taking too long to respond. 

The Bush Administration’s inability to recognize these failures and fix them was a major factor in its loss of public support (which never recovered to pre-Katrina levels).

Today, it is not yet clear what degree of responsibility the federal government has for the oil spill disaster.  But every day we get new pieces of information that suggest this spill could have been contained if the federal government had acted swiftly and competently.

We know that Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes said the Deepwater Horizon was inspected less than two weeks before the explosion.  However, without knowing the cause of the accident, it is impossible to know if something was missed that would have prevented the explosion or failure of the “blowout preventer” that should have shut off the oil flow.

We also know that it took over eight days for federal government to deem the spill a disaster of “national significance” and fully devote federal resources to the problem.  In fact, on April 23, the Coast Guard was still claiming there was no leak.

Last week, Louisiana lawmakers including Gov. Bobby Jindal pointedly criticized the federal government’s slowness in committing quantifiable resources to containing the spill. 

Furthermore, Ron Gouget, who formerly managed the oil spill recovery department of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has made the point that there has been an oil spill clean-up plan on the books since 1994, but federal officials took a full week before attempting to execute that plan.  This is partly because, despite this standing plan, the federal government did not have a single fire boom on hand to execute it.

Even the liberal New York Times has called the timetable of the government’s response “damning”.  

The Obama Administration now faces dual challenges in the Gulf and in Arizona. If it misunderstands and fails to respond effectively to these challenges, it could suffer an equally serious loss of public support.
 
The Future of Offshore Development

This analysis does not in any way exclude British Petroleum (BP) from responsibility.

Even though the rig was owned and operated by a private contractor and the cause of the explosion and equipment failure is not yet known, BP has rightly pledged to pay for the Gulf spill’s cleanup. 

The spill will cause enormous environmental and economic damage to the Gulf region.  Worst case estimates suggest that the spill could reach the East Coast.  Millions of Americans who make their living from the ocean will be affected. 

However, despite this disaster, it is clear that offshore development must continue. 

In fact, it must expand.

The spill, while tragic, does not change any of the underlying facts about America’s current or future energy and national security needs:

• Offshore drilling is still a viable source of new jobs for a struggling economy.  One study shows that expanded offshore drilling could create as much as a million new jobs a year over the next three decades
• Offshore drilling is still a key source of potential revenue for states struggling to balance their budgets.  In 2009, offshore drilling generated more than $2.7 million for Gulf states, as well as nearly $1 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund;
• Offshore drilling is still an essential component of a strategy to supplant the 11 million barrels of oil per day ($935 million) we import from other countries, including dangerous dictatorships that fund terrorism.

This is why the cynical attempts from the left to use this disaster as an excuse to stop all development in the Gulf and elsewhere are so misguided.

There are over 3,500 oil platforms in the gulf producing 1.2 million barrels a day.  They support tens of thousands of jobs, with about 35,000 workers engaged in Gulf offshore activities at any one time.  At the current price of $85 a barrel, shutting down all offshore drilling in the Gulf would force us to send an additional $102 million every day to foreign countries.  That number will only increase as the summer approaches.

Those analysts who note this was the first American offshore well disaster since 1969 indirectly make the case for continued development. A once in 41-year event is something to be prepared for, not something that should be allowed to increase our dependence on foreign dictatorships for energy.

Similarly, those who point to the Exxon Valdez spill often fail to note that shipping oil is more likely to lead to a spill than drilling.

Investigate. Fix.  Move Forward.

Ultimately, this is a question about the character of America.

Will our response to this disaster be to stop, litigate, and lose our nerve?

Or will it be the historic American response to challenges such as these: investigate, fix, and move forward with a safer system than before? 

When two airliners collided over the Grand Canyon in 1956 with disastrous fatalities, followed by two similar accidents in 1958, the answer was not shutting down the commercial airline industry.  The answer was developing the air traffic control system which has made commercial air travel much, much safer than driving a car.

After the 1979 incident at Three Mile Island nuclear plant, an independent commission was appointed to investigate exhaustively the cause of that event.  The response was not to abandon nuclear power, which produces 20% of electricity in the United States.
After the levees failed in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, an independent investigation determined that new levees should have specific engineering upgrades, more erosion protection, and that there should be better communication between the federal and local governments. The response was not to force residents to abandon New Orleans forever.

Similarly, we should take the BP disaster very seriously.  Yesterday, American Solutions called for an independent commission to investigate the spill, paralleling the commissions that investigated Three Mile Island and the Challenger explosion.

Those who favor offshore development must respond with greater intensity than those who oppose development and have the luxury of unthinking opposition with no thought to the economic and national security consequences.

We should support a vigorous investigation that determines what investments could have avoided it and what the most effective cleanup system would have been.  And then we should support a lean, effective government to implement those findings.

Effective Government, not Big Government

The Founding Fathers were for limited but effective government.

Peter Drucker, the great information age management expert, warned again and again that big government was inevitably bureaucratic and ineffective.

Alvin and Heidi Toffler have repeatedly warned that government is getting slower while the modern world is getting faster.

I have written and spoken before about how government has become the fourth recent bubble (after IT, housing, and the derivatives market — it is overleveraged, underperforming, and fundamentally dishonest about its underlying stability. The collapse of the government bubble will be even more disruptive than the previous three.

More and more, we are seeing that ever growing government is no longer just a threat to our wallet; it is a threat to our personal safety. Both in Arizona and the Gulf, we are being reminded that a massive federal government has been massively ineffective.

A limited federal government can better focus attention and resources on its core responsibilities, which absolutely include controlling the border and large scale disaster recovery.

It is time to reform Washington by returning power and responsibility back to the state and local governments. 

Your friend,

Newt