BRUCE BAWER: IS THE WEST DOOMED?

http://frontpagemag.com/2012/01/02/is-the-west-doomed/print/

At the beginning of a new year, it’s hard to avoid the question: where are we going? What will our future be like? Does America, does freedom, does Western civilization even have a future?

I date my career as a professional writer to an op-ed I published in the Los Angeles Times in the early 1980s. I was a graduate student in English and was also teaching undergraduate composition courses. One of the challenges I faced in the classroom was this: when, in a search for possible topics for my students to write about, I brought up things that I thought of as falling under the category of general knowledge, I found over and over again that most of my students didn’t know what I was talking about. They didn’t know history. Their knowledge of politics, geography, art, and literature was, at best, extremely spotty.

Yes, a few of them were very well informed about some sport or other, or about this or that singer or rock group or actor or TV show, but there was not much overlap between one kid’s knowledge and another’s. There was, in fact, hardly any knowledge that they all shared – and these were students at what was considered a pretty decent college. So I wrote a piece about it.

DANIEL GREENFIELD: RON PAUL’S SOROS DEFENSE PLAN

http://frontpagemag.com/2012/01/02/ron-pauls-soros-defense-plan/

It was recently observed that Ron Paul was to the left of Obama on national security and the best evidence for that statement can be found when one year ago Ron Paul joined forces with Barney Frank on a proposal to gut national defense via a panel of experts, quite a few of whom were tied to George Soros.

In July 2010, Barney Frank and Ron Paul co-authored a Huffington Post article rolling out their Sustainable Defense Task Force. The Task Force “consisting of experts on military expenditures that span the ideological spectrum” would recommend a trillion dollars in defense cuts. The experts, however, didn’t quite “span the ideological spectrum” — more like float under it.

The panel of experts who would decide how to best gut national defense featured such independent thinkers as William D. Hartung of the New America Foundation. Hartung’s main expertise was appearing in “Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire.”

Then there was Lawrence J. Kolb of the Center for American Progress and Miriam Pemberton of the Institute for Policy Studies. If you want to know what the Center, the Foundation and the Institute all have in common, it’s Hungarian and smells like stale cabbage and the death of nations.

The rather creepy Institute for Policy Studies issued a paper proposing that Obama act as king and rule through executive orders. The New American Foundation is not only backed by Soros but has his son on its leadership council. The Center for American Progress is run by the co-chair of Obama’s transition team and is, for all intents and purposes, the think tank of the White House. All three are Soros funded.

But it doesn’t end there. Also on the panel was Christopher Hellman of the National Priorities Project (NPP). If you are wondering what the NPP is, it’s a think tank whose objective is to “influence national spending priorities.” And if you’re in the mood for a double, Miriam Pemberton is also on the board of the NPP. The man behind the curtain at NPP? None other than our favorite Hungarian James Bond villain.

S. FRED SINGER: ON CLIMATEGATE…..FAKE!FAKE!FAKE!

http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/01/fake_fake_fake_fake.html
Fake! Fake! Fake! Fake! By S. Fred Singer

In discussing the recent release of some 5,000 Climategate e-mails, blogger Anthony Watts uses the clever headline “They are real — and they’re spectacular.” He credits Jerry Seinfeld as the source. Following his example, I choose the headline “Fake! Fake! Fake! Fake!” — also taken from a Seinfeld episode — in discussing the surface temperatures generally reported for the latter part of the 20th century; they form the science basis for prosperity-killing international climate policy.

Here I am using the word “fake” as an adjective, and not as a verb. I mean to say that the scientific conclusions derived from such temperatures are not real, but I don’t imply that the values themselves have been purposefully altered or adjusted. We simply don’t have any information to support such an accusation.

REZA KAHLILI: US DELUSIONAL ABOUT ARAB SPRING, IRAN INSISTS

http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/01/us_delusional_about_arab_spring_iran_insists.html

The Arab Spring is turning into an American Winter, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, believes. Countries from Tunisia and Egypt to Yemen and Bahrain, he insists, are struggling to overthrow ties to the West and embrace Islamist movements, which in the end will look to Iran for leadership.

And the leadership Iran would provide in such a scenario could bring on Armageddon as it amasses nuclear weapons in its quest for Islamic world domination.

“The developments currently unfolding in the world are different than those of the past since they are anti-U.S. and popular in nature,” Khamenei said recently, according to MehrNews, the mouthpiece of the Islamic regime in Iran. “Some assume that the United States is stage-managing these developments behind the scenes, but it is sheer delusion. … Today what we hear in the Arab streets are the same slogans that the Islamic nation of Iran has been saying for the past 30 years.” he said.

BRETT DECKER: FIVE QUESTIONS WITH RICK PERRY

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jan/1/decker-five-questions-rick-perry/?page=all#pagebreak

-Gov. Rick Perry is a candidate for the Republican nomination for president. He has been elected governor three times and served the remainder of George W. Bush’s second term when the latter became the 43rd president of the United States, making Mr. Perry the longest-serving chief executive in Texas history. He also has been lieutenant governor, a three-term state representative and was the Texas Agriculture Commissioner for two terms. Mr. Perry’s life of public service began when he was a pilot in the Air Force from 1972-77. You can find out more about his campaign at: www.rickperry.org.

Decker: What would tax reform look like in a Perry administration?

Perry: Like virtually everything else in Washington, our tax code is broken and must be completely overhauled. The centerpiece of my Cut, Balance & Grow plan is a 20 percent flat tax for individuals and employers. My plan gives every American the opportunity to throw out the current tax code and replace it with a flat tax that is simple enough to file on a postcard. It also cuts taxes on employers and provides strong incentives to use foreign profits to create jobs and build factories here at home. That’s just a quick thumbnail sketch.

JEFF DUNETZ: OBAMA IS CORRECT! HE IS ONE OF THE TOP PRESIDENTS

Hot Air is Wrong and Obama is Correct! He IS One of the Top Presidents

http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2012/01/obama-is-correct-he-is-one-of-top.html?utm_source=The+Lid+List&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=846bd6c269-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN

In a recent interview with 60 Minutes, Barack Obama said he was the “fourth-best president.” The statement wasn’t shown in the broadcast version of the interview because (surprise, surprise) they thought it would make their progressive hero Obama from looking bad.

On Hot Air, Ed Morrissey named the Obama’s 60 Minutes statement the Obamateurism of the Year for 2011. I think Ed is not being fair, there are some areas where Barack Obama has surpassed any other President in us History.

DAVID MAMET: WHY HAVE LIBERAL WESTERNERS TURNED THEIR BACKS ON THE JEWISH STATE?*****

Why have liberal Westerners turned their backs on the Jewish state?
Israel, Isaac and the Return of Human Sacrifice

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204826704577074241213222280.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTTopOpinion

In abandonment of the state of Israel, the West reverts to pagan sacrifice, once again, making a burnt offering not of that which one possesses, but of that which is another’s. As Realpolitik, the Liberal West’s anti-Semitism can be understood as like Chamberlain’s offering of Czechoslovakia to Hitler, a sop thrown to terrorism. On the level of conscience, it is a renewal of the debate on human sacrifice.

As Iran races toward the bomb, many observers seem to think the greater threat is the possibility that Israel might act against its nuclear program. Which raises the question: What should it mean if, God forbid, militant Islam through force of arms, and with the supine permission of the West, succeeds in the destruction of the Jewish State?

1) That the Jewish People would no longer have their ancestral home;

2) That they should have no home.

At the Versailles Peace Conference, Woodrow Wilson stated as an evident moral proposition that each people should have the right to national self-determination. The West, thereafter, fought not for empire, nor national expansion, but in self-defense, or in defense of this proposition. But, for the Jewish State, the Liberal West puts the proposition aside.

Since its foundation Israel has turned the other cheek. Eric Hoffer wrote that Israel is the only country the world expects to act like Christians. Some Jews say that the Arabs have a better public relations apparatus. They do not need one. For the Liberal West does not need convincing. It is thrilled merely to accept an excuse to rescind what it regards as a colossal error.

The Liberal West has, for decades, indulged itself in an orgy of self-flagellation. We have enjoyed comfort and security, but these, in the absence of gratitude and patriotism, cause insecurity. This attempted cure for insecurity can be seen in protestations of our worthlessness, and the indictment of private property.

But no one in the affluent West and no one among the various protesters of various supposed injustices is prepared to act in accordance with his protestations. The opponent of “The Corporation” is still going to use the iPhone which permits him to mass with his like. The celebrities acting out at Occupy meetings will still invest their surplus capital, and the supposed champion of the dispossessed in the Levant will not only scoff at American Indian claims to land he has come to understand as his—he will lobby the City Council to have the homeless shelter built anywhere but on his block.

The brave preceptors who would like to end Poverty, War, Exploitation, Colonialism, Inequality and so on, stop at the proclamation. How may they synchronize their wise fervor with their inaction?

How may they still the resultant anxiety? The Left’s answer is the oldest in the world: by appeal to The Gods. But how may The Gods be appeased? The immemorial answer is: By human sacrifice.

What is the essence of the Torah? It is not the Ten Commandments, these were known, and the practice of most aspired to by every civilization. Rabbi Lawrence Kushner teaches they are merely a Calling Card; to wit: “remember me . . . ?”

The essence of the Torah is the Akedah, the Binding of Isaac. The God of Hosts spoke to Abraham, as the various desert gods had spoken to the nomads for thousands of years: “If you wish me to relieve your anxiety, give me the most precious thing you have.”

So God’s call to Abraham was neither unusual nor, perhaps, unexpected. God had told Abraham to leave his people and his home, and go to the place which God would point out to him. And God told Abraham to take his son up the mountain and kill him, as humans had done for tens of thousands of years.

Now, however, for the first time in history, the narrative changed. The sacrifice, Isaac, spoke back. He asked his father, “Where is the Goat we are to sacrifice?” This was the voice of conscience, and Abraham’s hand, as it descended with the knife, was stayed. This was the Birth of the West, and the birth of the West’s burden, which is conscience.

Previously the anxiety and fear attendant upon all human life was understood as Fear of the Gods, and dealt with by propitiation, which is to say by sacrifice. Now, however, the human burden was not to give The Gods what one imagined, in one’s fear, that they might want, but do, in conscience, those things one understood God to require.

In abandonment of the state of Israel, the West reverts to pagan sacrifice, once again, making a burnt offering not of that which one possesses, but of that which is another’s. As Realpolitik, the Liberal West’s anti-Semitism can be understood as like Chamberlain’s offering of Czechoslovakia to Hitler, a sop thrown to terrorism. On the level of conscience, it is a renewal of the debate on human sacrifice.

Mr. Mamet is a playwright and screenwriter.

DIANA WEST: GOODBYE TO 2011

http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.11141/pub_detail.asp
Taking stock at year’s end, I chose to throw a spotlight onto the “unsolved mystery of 2011″ — what really happened in Smolensk, Russia in April 2010, when the sitting government of Poland and a central swath of its intelligentsia was lost in a stunning plane crash. The 2011 Russian crash investigation report prompts more questions than the it answers, beginning with: Why hasn’t Russia returned the Polish plane’s black boxes to Poland? Why doesn’t the international community, so-called, want to find out? Has the West, once again, become complicit in another Big Lie to come out of Moscow?

Looking past all too obvious top 10 story lists, it’s well worth noting Andrew McCarthy’s timely jeremiad — “The surrender is complete now…”– in a piece today at NRO where he picks up on a recent report in The Hindu claiming that Yusef al-Qaradawi, smoothie sheikh of jihad, is mediating secret talks between the US and the Taliban. I do hope they’re serving tea. It would make a nice bookend, if not homage to the surrender process’s beginnings in “teatime for terrorists,” as noted in a column of mine on the first “secret” talks between the US and jihadists in Iraq going back to July 5, 2005.

DAVID GOLDMAN: HAS THE CONSERVATIVE ELITE REALLY FAILED?

URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/spengler/2012/01/01/has-the-conservative-elite-really-failed/

Ross Douthat at the New York Times (seconded by Rod Dreher at the American Conservative) thinks that Ron Paul plays a salubrious role as truth-teller and gadfly:

The United States is living through an era of unprecedented elite failure, in which America’s public institutions are understandably distrusted and our leadership class is justifiably despised. Yet politicians of both parties are required, by the demands of partisanship, to embrace the convenient lie that our problem can be pinned exclusively on the other side’s elites — as though both liberals and conservatives hadn’t participated in the decisions that dug our current hole.

In this climate, it sometimes takes a fearless crank to expose realities that neither Republicans nor Democrats are particularly eager to acknowledge.

In both the 2008 and 2012 campaigns, Paul has been the only figure willing to point out the deep continuities in American politics — the way social spending grows and overseas commitments multiply no matter which party is in power, the revolving doors that connect K Street to Congress and Wall Street to the White House, the long list of dubious policies and programs that both sides tacitly support. In both election cycles, his honest extremism has sometimes cut closer to the heart of our national predicament than the calculating partisanship of his more grounded rivals. He sometimes rants, but he rarely spins — and he’s one of the few figures on the national stage who says “a plague on both your houses!” and actually means it.

PROCESSING “PEACE” BUT PUTTING ISRAEL UNDER “INTERNATIONAL SIEGE”….THE DEADLY SOAP OPERA CONTINUES

http://bigpeace.com/jxenakis/2012/01/02/2-jan-12-world-view-palestinians-plan-to-put-israel-under-international-siege/

THE HEADLINES:
Israelis and Palestinians to resume non-negotiation negotiations
Palestinians plan to put Israel under ‘international siege’
Saeb Erekat (AFP)
Saeb Erekat (AFP)

Jordan’s government announced on Sunday that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will meet in Jordan’s capital, Amman, on Tuesday for direct talks, for the first time in more than a year. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday welcomed the announcement, saying, “it is essential that both sides take advantage of this opportunity.” However, a senior figure in the Palestinian Authority said that “this is not a resumption of negotiations.” Palestinian chief negotiator Saed Erekat said that the meeting would be “part of ongoing Jordanian efforts to compel Israel to comply with its international legal obligations … specifically its obligation to freeze all settlement construction”. Jerusalem Post
Palestinians plan to put Israel under ‘international siege’

Agreeing to talk (but not negotiate) with Israelis on Tuesday “will be the start of an unprecedented diplomatic campaign on the part of the Palestinian leadership, and it will be a year of pressure on Israel that will put it under a real international siege. The campaign will be similar to the one waged against apartheid in South Africa,” according to Palestinian official Nabil Sha’ath.

According to information that has reached Israel, the Palestinians are considering several steps as part of their campaign: