Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Canaries in the Coal Mine

Dennis Prager made the claim on the Hugh Hewitt show today that throughout history those nations or institutions which hated the Jews most intensely were also the nations which were responsible for inflicting the greatest evil upon the world.

I don't know enough history to judge the accuracy of this statement before the twentieth century, but it certainly would seem to be true of the last seventy five years. Beginning with the Nazis in the 1930s and early forties, the Stalinists from the forties to the seventies, and the Islamists for the past thirty years, most of the world's most evil regimes seem to have been rabidly anti-semitic. The exceptions would be, perhaps, those regimes which had little contact with Jews either geographically as neighbors or as citizens within their boundaries.

But for those nations which have had Jewish populations in their midst or resided in proximity to Israel, the degree of evil they perpetrate does indeed seem roughly proportional to the degree of their hatred of the Jews. It is such a bizarre nexus, in fact, that one wonders if there is not some supernatural, some demonic, reason for it based on God's election of the Jews as His chosen people.

Dafydd, who is a secularist balks at this conclusion, but is nevertheless struck by the connection.

Dafydd paraphrases Prager as saying that "The curse of the Jews is to be hated by the most evil men of every generation. The Jews are a barometer of hatred, canaries in a coal mine: to find the greatest evil, find the greatest haters of Jews."

This seems to be a very important insight. As Dafydd suggests, it would be interesting to have some historian check to see if it is borne out in centuries before the twentieth.

Plan? What Plan?

Howard Dean on Face the Nation gives us a fine lesson in how to say nothing with a lot of words:

Bob Scheiffer, host: Governor Dean, polls are showing that people are losing confidence in the president's handling of the war in Iraq. A majority now believe it's left us more vulnerable, rather than less vulnerable, to the terrorists. But what do Democrats propose to do about it?

Dr. Howard Dean (Democrat, Former Governor, Vermont; Chairman, Democratic National Committee): Well, I think, first of all, we need a plan. The saddest article, in a series of very sad articles about people losing their lives--the saddest article I saw was in The Washington Post this morning, talking about the insiders of the administration saying, `Well, now we misjudged. We really can't achieve any of the things--or many of the things we said that we were going to achieve when we went.' Eighteen hundred and fifty Americans lose their lives because the president can't figure out what he's going to do, had no plan when we got there and has not plan when we get out.

Note that Dr. Dean has stated that we need a plan to get out of Iraq and that the president is responsible for the deaths of 1,850 Americans. Keep that in mind as you read the rest of the transcript.

Dr. Dean: First thing we need to do have a plan for leaving. And the second thing we need to do is to make sure that to the best of our ability we can influence the writing of the constitution. It looks like today, and this could change--as of today, it looks like women will be worse off in Iraq than they were when Saddam Hussein was president of Iraq. That's a pretty sad commentary on this administration's ability to do anything right.

Schieffer: Well, when you say, `We need to have a plan,' you mean a plan to leave?

Dr. Dean: We do.

Schieffer: A plan to get out?

Dr. Dean: We need to have a plan to leave.

Schieffer: Should we leave now?

Dr. Dean: I think that's going to be very problematic. I mean, I think we've gotten in there, we've made a huge mess in there, we've created a terrorist danger for the United States where one did not exist before. But to pull out before they even have a chance to write their constitution I think is wrong. But I do think that time is coming very quickly. And if it turns out that this constitution really does take away the rights that women have enjoyed in Iraq before, then I can't imagine why we're there.

Schieffer: Well, I'll go back and ask you about that in a minute, but I know the president said, and I think it was just this week, giving a timetable for leaving Iraq would be the worst thing we could do because it would just tell the people who oppose us there, `Look, all we have to do is hang in till they leave, and then we're OK.'

Dr. Dean: We need to leave. We're not going to be there forever, I hope. We're not going to be there forever. So the question is: What is a reasonable way to get out? And that's--we have no answers from the president on that at all. He keeps saying--well, his administration appears to be divided. Some of the generals have said, `Well, we can withdraw some of the troops, perhaps as many as 30,000, after the elections.' We have others saying, `Well, we're not going to leave.' These people do not know what they're doing. They didn't know what they were doing when we got in, they had no plan then. They have no plan now. They do not know what they're doing.

Mr. John Harris (The Washington Post): Governor, you're the political leader of the Democratic Party. As you well know, many of your people in Congress, Democrats in Congress, voted for the war in 2002. Next year, 2006, do you expect this will be a good political issue for Democrats to run on, what you consider the president's failures on Iraq?

Dr. Dean: Well, we don't--I can't imagine using 1,850 lost American soldiers, who have died in defense of their country, using that as a political issue. I think there's a lot of--I think this is certainly going to be an issue of disagreement and it's going to question the president's credibility, the president's competence. But I--you know, using it as a political issue, I think is--I don't think the Democrats are going to do that.

Obviously, Dr. Dean wouldn't dream of using the tragic deaths of 1,850 Americans who died because Bush is an incompetent, whose deaths were unnecessary, as a political issue.

What did he say the number of dead Americans that Bush is responsible for was again?

Schieffer: Why do you suppose it is, though, Governor, that while people are losing confidence in the president's handling of the war that--and every poll suggests that--why do you suppose that people are not buying what Democrats are saying? They don't seem to be taking too much to the Democrats on that.

Dr. Dean: I think they are buying what Democrats are saying. I think people believe that we need a plan to get our troops to come home. I think that people do understand now...

People are convinced we need a plan. Bush doesn't have one. Surely the Democrats do because they're going to lead us out of Iraq. Eventually. When it's safe. When it's prudent. Sometime.

Schieffer: But if I may say so...

Dr. Dean: Sure.

Schieffer: ...I mean, saying we need a plan. I mean, sure, you need a plan, but do you have a plan? Is anybody working on a plan? What would you propose?

Dr. Dean: Well, Bob, the president of the United States is commander in chief. It is up to him to come up for a plan. You can't expect a congressman and senators who don't have the same access to intelligence as the president does to come up with a plan to withdraw our troops from Iraq. We look--the president got us into Iraq 'cause people were willing to trust the president, even some Democrats were willing to trust the president in assuming he knew what he was doing. The problem is now that there's ample evidence to say that they didn't understand what they were getting into and they still don't know what we're doing there. They changed their goals. The troops are still not properly equipped. The constitution looks like it may take away freedom from the Iraq people, at least half of them, instead of added to them. What we need is a plan from the president of the United States. You can't expect a particular senator or particular congressman to have a plan. Only the president can do that.

So. Having run us around several laps of the track, Dr. Dean finally concludes, apparently, that the President doesn't have a plan so we should vote the Republicans out. Of course, the Democrats don't have a plan either, but we should vote them in. The Republicans should come up with a plan if they want our vote, but the Democrats should not be held to same expectation.

It must be a wild, whacky place inside Howard Dean's mind.

ELCA Disses Israel

One of the troubling results of the recently concluded ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) Churchwide Assembly was a resolution voted upon and approved Saturday which contained rather harsh language against Israel for having constructed a wall to keep terrorists out of their communities along the West Bank. The wall has been very effective in reducing terror attacks, but it has also worked severe hardships on Palestinians who have in some cases been cut off from their farms, orchards, and health care by the barrier. Moreover, the wall in some places intrudes into land that until the 1967 Arab/Israeli war had been understood to belong to the Palestinians.

Unfortunately, the language used in the supporting materials for the ELCA resolution is unclear as to whether it is criticizing Israel for building the wall or criticizing the manner in which it is built. There is a significant difference between the two criticisms. The ELCA, in wanting to take a stand for the Palestinians who are suffering because of the barrier, comes across as completely unsympathetic to the right of the Israelis to protect their children from being blown to smithereens by terrorist bombers.

Many of those who rose to support the resolution made it sound as if the wall were erected just to be cruel to the Palestinians. Rarely was there mention of the reasons or need for its existence. Indeed, the most frequent argument heard from the floor was that the speaker had been to Israel and seen the wall and it's really quite awful.

The resolution passed 71% to 29%. A motion Sunday morning to reconsider the action based on its anti-Israeli tenor was defeated. The Assembly would have done well to work toward a more precise expression of its concern, but it chose not to do so.

There was throughout the week a palpable feeling that many of the matters voted upon by the Assembly were little more than opportunities to give many in the hall a frisson of self-affirmation and a sense of their own moral goodness. They seemed to have very little additional purpose.

In the final analysis, there was little actual good accomplished by the Assembly, but it did manage to avoid doing some actual harm. It avoided passing a by-laws change that would have made the ordination of non-celibate homosexual candidates church policy and another that would have made blessing same-sex unions an accepted policy of the church.

How long the Lutheran church will hold out against the cultural tide which favors these changes and which is sweeping through mainline denominations all across the country, is an interesting, and disturbing, question.

Lost Liberty Project Moving Ahead

Here are some highlights from the most recent newsletter of the Lost Liberty Hotel Project. These people certainly appear to be serious. Wouldn't it be interesting to know what Justice Souter is thinking right now?

Logan Clements who is heading the Lost Liberty Hotel project will visit Weare, New Hampshire from August 20th to the 23rd. He will talk to local supporters who are planning to use ballot initiatives to seize the land at 34 Cilley Hill Road (Justice Souter's property) and clear away other local laws that may hinder the project. It appears that an initiative can be placed on the March 2006 Weare N.H. ballot with only 25 signatures and can win with between 1,020 and 2,777 votes. Whoever said this project "will never happen" might find themself sitting in the Just Deserts Cafe eating crow pie next to David Souter.

Freestar Media will hold an open meeting to discuss the Lost Liberty Hotel project on Monday August 22nd at the Radisson Hotel at 700 Elm Street, Manchester NH 03101. Mention "The Lost Liberty Hotel project" for $1 parking. The meeting will go from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm in salon D. Logan will discuss the purpose of the project and why it is an important step in the struggle against statism. Free copies of Ayn Rand's revolutionary capitalist manifesto ATLAS SHRUGGED will be provided to the first 25 people who attend.

Over the last several weeks we have spoken with many experienced real estate developers who are considering taking over the project and leading it to completion. We invite these developers, and any others who are interested, to visit Weare, N.H. this weekend to meet with local residents and consider leading the project.

The advantages are extensive: thousands of people want to finance it, nearly every type of sub-contractor has offered free services during construction, millions of people know about it and thousands more want to support it as customers. You build it, we'll film it, and the 93% of America that was opposed to the Supreme Court's ruling in Kelo vs. City of New London will thank you.

If this project is successful it will send a message to politicians and judges everywhere that the people will not endure their abuses of power forever and that they will not be exempt from the laws they impose on the rest of us. To subscribe to their newsletter go here: newsletter@freestarmedia.com.