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December 2011


Europe’s blithering idiots and their flim-flam treaty

What remarkable petulance and stupidity.

The leaders of France and Germany have more or less bulldozed Britain out of the European Union for the sake of a treaty that offers absolutely no solution to the crisis at hand, or indeed any future crisis. It is EU institutional chair shuffling at its worst, with venom for good measure.

It is risky to reach instant conclusions on a fast-moving story but it looks as if the EU may soon be reduced to a shell, with a new union forming among the core.

Much has been said about whether David Cameron handled this well or badly. I leave that debate to my colleagues. What strikes me as a former EU correspondent is how threatening this is to the EU Project itself.

A country – and a large one – may start to disengage for the first time. The aura of historical inevitability that has swept Europe towards ever closer union for half a century has been punctured. Yes, Croatia will soon join, as Sarkozy chirped triumphantly, but that is not quite the same thing (no offence meant to the South Slavs).

Utter confusion will ensue over the legal structures of the EU. For whom will the European Commission work? For whom the European Court? It will be chaos for a while. This is the nightmare that fonctionnaires have always feared.

And what for? All this upheaval for a mess of pottage, a flim-flam treaty? The deal is not a “lousy compromise”, said Angela Merkel. Well, actually that is exactly what it is for eurozone politicians searching for a breakthrough.

It tarts up the old Stability Pact without changing the substance (although there will be prior vetting of budgets). This “fiscal compact” is not going to make to make the slightest impression on global markets, and they are the judges who matter in this trial by fire.


It is definitely dispiriting for a conservative to watch the circular firing squad now known as the GOP Presidential Debate.

The President and his cohorts must be chuckling now as the sneering grandees are out to trash ABR….anyone but Romney.

“Hume”ongous egos at Fox just sneer and and Kraut “hammer” and invite everybody to dump on the front runner, and Mme. Bachmann and National Review are their cheerleaders. And, nasty and cranky Ron Paul gets a pass.

The establishment GOP…..gall over principle…




For the first time in weeks All-American Muslim is back in the news, not for anything on the show, but over the commercials. A number of sponsors have stopped advertising on the show, including Lowe’s. Muslim groups and their supporters have taken this development in stride by trying to blackmail the home improvement chain into advertising on the failing TLC series.

Is blackmail the right word? California State Senator Ted Lieu threatened boycotts and more disturbingly “legislative remedies” if Lowe’s doesn’t submit. Lieu, who clearly doesn’t believe in the separation of mosque and state, is shamelessly pandering to his Muslim constituents but his thuggery is fundamentally un-American and dangerous. No advertiser should be compelled to sponsor any television show.


The Republican race is more muddled than ever as Gingrich’s numbers fade a little without anyone to take his place. Either Gingrich recovers, Perry surges or it’s Romney all the way. The establishment backing Romney had to damage Gingrich to limit the fallout from their backing of Romney. This way they chose between two evils, rather than choosing the man that they were always going to choose.

Congressional deadlocks continue as neither side can really move their agenda forward. But Obama can still abuse executive orders and he benefits from the appearance of a do-nothing congress. Meanwhile the NJDC has dumped a sputtering press release condemning Congressman West for his “shocking” Goebbels comment about the Democratic Party, complete with an ADL press release.

The comment may be a bit much, but is the party most associated with breaking Godwin’s Law really pretending to be outraged by a Goebbels analogy? Let’s just have a skip and a hop back to January when a Democratic congressman said that Republican criticism of ObamaCare was “a big lie just like (Nazi propagandist Joseph) Goebbels.”

There’s also a difference between a Nazi analogy and a Holocaust analogy. A Nazi analogy is about how totalitarian populism works. A Holocaust analogy is about the mass murder of millions. In some cases it is valid to make Nazi analogies, but not Holocaust analogies. Goebbels’ Big Lie is an obvious example because it addresses the mechanics of propaganda, which is a valid point even when applied to people who are not mass murderers.


Gingrich’s Virtues It is too early to rule out candidates.
I respectfully dissent from National Review’s Wednesday-evening editorial, which derided Newt Gingrich as not merely flawed but unfit for consideration as the GOP presidential nominee. The Editors further gave the back of the hand to the bids of two other prominent conservatives, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann — a judgment that is simply inexplicable in light of the frivolousness of its reasoning and of the Editors’ embrace of Jon Huntsman, a moderate former Obama-administration official, as a serious contender.
The editorial surprised me, as it did many readers. I am now advised that the timing was driven by the editorial’s inclusion in the last edition of the magazine to be published this year, which went to press on Wednesday. The Editors believe, unwisely in my view, that before the first caucuses and primaries begin in early January, it is important to make known their insights — not merely views about the relative merits of the candidates but conclusions that some candidates are no longer worthy of having their merits considered. Like many other voters, I haven’t settled on a candidate. What I want at this very early stage is information about the candidates so I can consider them, not a presumptuous and premature pronouncement that good conservatives do not even rate consideration.


No Credible Case Against Keystone
Republicans force President Obama to decide on the pipeline.

To recap:

Some 160 million Americans will watch their taxes rise about $1,000 each, if the current payroll-tax cut ends on January 1.

Millions of jobless Americans will see their unemployment benefits run out, if the federal government does not extend them by year’s end.

The Iranian government this week threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz and bottle up a key route that oil tankers use to deliver petroleum to an energy-hungry planet.

President Obama could fix the first two problems and ameliorate the dangers of the third, if he would sign legislation to extend the tax cut and unemployment benefits.

The sticking point, of course, is Republican language requiring Obama to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport friendly oil from the Canadian oil sands to refineries in Texas. While America moans beneath an 8.6 percent unemployment rate, the pipeline would create 20,000 well-paying jobs in labor-happy industries. That’s why the AFL-CIO and other unions support Keystone.

Obama and the Democrats claim that Keystone XL is environmentally risky. To hear them speak, Keystone would scar the pristine line separating America from its peaceful neighbor and then despoil sensitive land and habitat across the fruited plains. As this map shows, however, the U.S.-Canadian border and the path the project would take already are swarming with pipelines:



I can’t wait to see what those courageous atheists come up with for Ramadan.
Christmas in America is a season of time-honored traditions — the sacred performance of the annual ACLU lawsuit over the presence of an insufficiently secular “holiday” tree; the ritual provocations of the atheist displays licensed by pitifully appeasing municipalities to sit between the menorah and the giant Frosty the Snowman; the familiar strains of every hack columnist’s “war on Christmas” column rolling off the keyboard as easily as Richard Clayderman playing “Winter Wonderland” . . .
This year has been a choice year. A crucified skeleton Santa Claus was erected as part of the “holiday” display outside the Loudoun County courthouse in Virginia — because, let’s face it, nothing cheers the hearts of moppets in the Old Dominion like telling them, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus — and he’s hanging lifeless in the town square.” Alas, a week ago, some local burghers failed to get into the ecumenical spirit and decapitated him. Who are these killjoys? Christians intolerant of the First Amendment (as some have suggested)? Or perhaps a passing Saudi? Our friends in Riyadh only the other day beheaded Amina bin Salem (so to speak) Nasser for “sorcery,” and it would surely be grossly discriminatory not to have some Wahhabist holiday traditions on display in Loudoun County. (The Islamic Saudi Academy, after all, is one of the most prestigious educational institutions of neighboring Fairfax County.) Across the fruitcaked plain in California, the city of Santa Monica allocated permits for “holiday” displays at Palisades Park by means of lottery. Eighteen of the 21 slots went to atheists — for example, the slogan “37 million Americans know a myth when they see one” over portraits of Jesus, Santa, and Satan.
I don’t believe I’ve mentioned the city of Santa Monica in this space since my Christmas offering of 1998, when President Clinton was in the midst of difficulties arising from his mentoring of a certain intern. My column that year began:
“Operator, I’d like to call Santa Monica.”
“Why? Just ’cause he’s a little overweight?”
Crickets chirping? Ah, how soon they forget. Perhaps Santa Monica should adopt a less theocratic moniker and change its name to Satan Monica, as its interpretation of the separation of church and state seems to have evolved into expressions of public contempt for large numbers of the citizenry augmented by the traumatizing of their children. Boy, I can’t wait to see what those courageous atheists come up with for Ramadan. Or does that set their hearts aflutter quite as much?
One sympathizes, up to a point. As America degenerates from a land of laws to a land of legalisms, much of life is devoted to forestalling litigation. What’s less understandable is the faintheartedness of explicitly Christian institutions. Last year I chanced to see the e-mail exchanges between college administrators over the choice of that season’s Christmas card. I will spare their blushes, and identify the academy only as a Catholic college in New England. The thread began by asking the distribution list for “thoughts” on the proposed design. No baby, no manger, no star over Bethlehem, but a line drawing of a dove with a sprig of olive in its beak. Underneath the image was the following:

What is Christmas?



Whatever comes to pass in this election season — whatever scandals emerge, gaffes are gaffed, turns twisted, figures fudged, wars waged, etc. — what I would I most like to see, even if I don’t get to, is the Gingrich-Obama debates.

Conventional modern liberalism (leftism, Keynesian economics, etc.) is dead in our country, indeed in the world, and yet a sizable portion of the populace clings to it. Like a massive cargo cult waiting for John Frum, these people cleave to an ideology that has been useless for years and is self-destructive even to them, most of them anyway, undermining the lives of the rest of us in the process.

Newt Gingrich is the only person I can think of with the rhetorical skills to explain this in a manner in which at least some of these same people, perhaps even enough of them, would understand the situation and change. He could do so in debate with Barack Obama — those Lincoln-Douglas style debates he so assiduously seeks.



One aspect of the end of the Iraqi War ceremony held in Baghdad that hasn’t gotten a lot of press is that there were no major Iraqi government officials who attended and no Iraqis made any remarks to thank the US for our sacrifices on their behalf.

CNS News:

Fox News Correspondent Jennifer Griffin reports that only a handful of Iraqis were on hand Thursday as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and U.S. military leaders formally ended the Iraq war with a subdued ceremony in Baghdad. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did not attend the ceremony at which the flag of U.S. Forces-Iraq was officially retired.

“You will leave with great pride — lasting pride — secure in knowing that your sacrifice has helped the Iraqi people to cast tyranny aside and to offer hope for prosperity and peace to this country’s future generations,” Panetta told U.S. troops. But even as a U.S. military band played a medley of patriotic American tunes, the ceremony — televised live in the 5 a.m. EST hour — seemed one-sided without Iraqi participation or even a thank-you.

Almost nine years of fighting in Iraq leaves 4,500 Americans dead and 32,000 wounded, according to the Associated Press tally. The cost to the U.S. — more than $800 billion. But it was worth it, Panetta says:

“We spilled a lot of blood there,” the defense secretary said earlier this week. “But all of that has not been in vain. It’s been to achieve a mission making that country sovereign and independent and able to govern and secure itself.”

The BBC reported that in the city of Falluja on Wednesday, Iraqis burned U.S. flags to celebrate the war’s end. Some Iraqis say the U.S. did not live up to its promise to leave behind a secure and stable Iraq.

Only time will tell if the if we have left behind a “secure and stable” Iraq.



US presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich (whose Lazarus-like trajectory to the Republican nomination I flagged up here a month ago) has recently demonstrated yet again Melanie’s First Rule of Modern Political Discourse – the more obvious the truth that you utter, the more explosive and abusive the reaction.

For Gingrich said the Palestinian Arabs were ‘an invented people’ – and the world promptly started hurling execrations at him, as if such a statement proved beyond doubt that Gingrich was indeed a dangerously extreme individual who, when it came to political positioning, was just off the graph altogether.