When two devout Muslims opened fire on a picnic train outside Broken Hill in 1915, officialdom took just a few days to reach the conclusion that the attack had been inspired by Islamic fanaticism. Today, defenders of public safety are somewhat more tardy in recognising the obvious
Things were certainly different 100 years ago. Officialdom moved a lot faster in identifying the obvious.
On January 1, 1915, for example, a disaffected Pakistani, Badsha Mahommed Gool, and an halal butcher and cleric, Mullah Abdullah, opened fire on a picnic train leaving Broken Hill, killing four and wounding seven others. In a note found on Gool’s body all was explained:
“I must kill your men and give my life for my faith….”
Twelve days later, the inquest was done and dusted, with the official finding making no bones about what inspired the murder of innocents. From The Australasian‘s report of the coronial hearing:
In reply to the corner (sic), Captain Hardie said … Gool was evidently a warlike and a very religious man. The case seemed to have been one of Moslem fanaticism….
Inspector’ Miller: Such cases happen in India.
Witness: They frequently occur on-the north-west of India on the frontier. The Mahommedans frequently come out and kill the Christians…
A century later, investigators seem to have lost that sharp focus on religion as a possible motivation for murder. From Andrew Bolt’s interview with a remarkably vague Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs:
Why is the Obama administration silent in the face of Palestinian incitement and depravity?
The wave of terror attacks that Israel has experienced in recent days can be directly attributed to the leaders of the Palestinian Authority, Israel’s supposed peace partner. They are no more a peace partner than the Nazis were “peace partners” to the British Labour government, circa 1938. The person who bears chief responsibility for the sudden surge of violence is self-styled “president” Mahmoud Abbas, the autocrat whose term of office as president of the PA expired six years ago. His banal and vitriolic rhetoric before world leaders at the UN General Assembly on September 26 amounted to nothing more than the acerbic rantings of an old, washed up has-been filled with deep-seated, anti-Semitic hate and bile. What more can one expect from an avowed Holocaust denier.
The Russian line is that they’re in Syria to fight ISIS. But the Russians, like the Turks, Iranians and Europeans, don’t care about ISIS. By declaring itself a Caliphate, ISIS made itself non-aligned. The fighting in Syria isn’t about ISIS. It predated the rise of ISIS as a major player. It’s about Syria.
ISIS has become a convenient excuse for converging on Syria. But no one is there because of ISIS.
The Turks are bombing Syria for their old hobby of killing Kurds. Turkey will occasionally bomb supposed ISIS targets for propaganda purposes, but mostly its air force bombs the Kurdish enemies of ISIS. Russia will do the same thing, hitting ISIS for propaganda purposes, but focusing on Sunni anti-Assad groups.
A few thoughts on a futile project.
One of the weird little facts of life that we don’t think about or talk about very much — and really should when we’re talking about taxes, the minimum wage, welfare spending, and other things related to inequality of income and wealth (and go ahead and picture me here manfully resisting the urge to put sneer quotes around “inequality,” as if a uniform distribution of material resources were the natural state of things and not some daft dorm-room fantasy) — is that we pay for everything (really, everything) collectively.
Let me show you what I mean.
Housing is famously expensive in New York City, especially in Manhattan and the parts of Brooklyn where college-educated young white people live, a fact about which people in Muleshoe, Tex., don’t much care. But they should, because they pay for it. You might think that the people who pay for those $5,000-a-month apartments are all Wall Street jerks or highly paid publishing executives (all the highly paid publishing executives in New York put together wouldn’t fill one medium-sized apartment building) or celebrities who are too cool to live in Los Angeles, but you — you, sucker — you pay for them.
Costs get shifted around.
Unable to address Texas senator Ted Cruz’s questions about “the Pause” — the apparent global-warming standstill, now almost 19 years long — at Tuesday’s meeting of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Sierra Club president Aaron Mair, after an uncomfortable pause of his own, appealed to authority: “Ninety-seven percent of scientists concur and agree that there is global warming and anthropogenic impact,” he stated multiple times.
The relevant exchange begins at 1:39 (though the whole segment is worth watching):The myth of an almost-unanimous climate-change consensus is pervasive. Last May, the White House tweeted: “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” A few days later, Secretary of State John Kerry announced, “Ninety-seven percent of the world’s scientists tell us this is urgent.”
“Ninety-seven percent of the world’s scientists” say no such thing.
There are multiple relevant questions: (1) Has the earth generally warmed since 1800? (An overwhelming majority of scientists assent to this.) (2) Has that warming been caused primarily by human activity? And, if (1) and (2), is anthropogenic global warming a problem so significant that we ought to take action?
John Kasich pointed to his controversial expansion of Medicaid in Ohio today as an example of the type of action government can take to prevent mass shootings.
“Look, part of the reason I expanded Medicaid is so people can get help, so that people can get some help at the community level.” Kasich said Tuesday when asked about the role of government in preventing gun violence. “Yeah, I think it’s very, very important for all of us to think of the things we can do to try to attach ourselves more to building the community from the bottom up.”
Kasich was speaking at an event hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.
After nearly seven years in power under the leadership of President Barack Obama, legatee of both the old and new Left, the Democratic Party has managed to hold on to its base. Despite Democrats’ loss of both houses of Congress, Obama has been successful in using executive, judicial, and regulatory power to deliver subsidies and administrative rewards to liberal interest groups including trial lawyers, feminists, and the Hispanic lobby. Unlike George W. Bush, under whom the first inklings of a Tea Party rebellion first formed, Obama has kept core Democratic voters inside the tent—if not always happily so.
The Democrats have ongoing strengths. The party has shown considerable unity even in the face of landslide losses in the 2014 midterms. On a wide variety of issues, however, the Democratic base finds itself at odds with the country’s so-called “swing” voters. This poses a problem for Democrats in 2016. On issues as varied as crime, environmentalism, late-term abortion, illegal immigration, free trade, and the Iran nuclear deal, serious splits exist among self-identified Democrats. The base’s leftward shift on these issues has party moderates shaking their heads.
Assault Weapons, Aschmault Weapons By Charles C. W. Cooke
With the notable exception of Jim Webb, whose many talents seem better suited to another time and place, every single one of the Democratic party’s presidential candidates is in favor of banning at least some of America’s “in common use” firearms. In her recent gun-control missive, Hillary Clinton contended that “military-style assault weapons” are “a danger to law enforcement and to our communities,” and therefore “do not belong on our streets.” On his campaign website, Martin O’Malley boasts that, while he was governor there, “Maryland prohibited the sale of assault weapons and limited the size of magazines,” and proposes that the federal government, should “adopt similar, commonsense reforms.” In 2012, CBS reports, then–Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee “backed a state measure to ban semi-automatic assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.” And, although he has stayed pretty quiet on the question this time around, Bernie Sanders voted to ban “assault weapons” during the failed Senate push of 2013, and would, he confirmed last week, happily do so again.
All in all, this focus is a little strange, for, as Lois Beckett explained extremely clearly last year in the pages of the New York Times, there is in fact no such thing as an “assault weapon.” Functionally speaking, the term is entirely meaningless. It does not mean “machine gun”; it does not mean “especially powerful rifle”; it does not mean “child killer” or “cop murderer” or “armor-piercer.” Except insofar as it nods to an aesthetic style that is popular among people who have watched a lot of 24, it means nothing much at all. To draw an analogy, it’s the “organic food” of the self-defense world.
Contrary to the principles of American foreign policy of the last 70 years, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry tacitly invited Russia to “help” monitor things in the Middle East. Now they are learning that there are lots of Middle East scenarios far worse than the relatively quiet Iraq that the Obama administration inherited in January 2009 — and soon abandoned.
Russian president Vladimir Putin liked the American invitation so much that he now has decided to move in permanently. Marshal Putin now wants the West to join his new Syria-Iran-Hezbollah-Iraq axis against the Islamic State — or to at least sit back and allow Russia to straighten out the Middle East as it sees fit.
To fight the Islamic State, Putin has called for something similar to the “anti-Hitler coalition” of World War II that saw the Soviet Union and the West unite to defeat Nazi Germany.
Certainly, the Islamic State, like Nazi Germany, is a savage regime. So far, it has grown unchecked at the very center of the Middle East. Yet under the cloak of fighting the Islamic State, Putin has two greater visions.
Of all the Alinsky rules, the most relevant one is, “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” But he simply codified and made pragmatic the most destructive of the left’s rules which is, “Make the enemy live up to his ideals.” Even if those ideals are often the invention of the left.
Ideals are by definition impossible to live up to. Human societies aren’t ideal, they’re real. Ideals are absolutes and an unfliching attempt to live up to them destroys individuals and societies. More subtly, the failure to live up to them justifies hatred and self-hatred toward nations and peoples.
People naturally want to think the best of their creeds and cultures, their societies and their states. This is both the best weapon and the best breeding ground of the left. There is nothing that creates leftists and draws them like the accusation that a nation is failing to live up to its ideals.