FOUAD AJAMI: R.I.P.- A TRIBUTE FROM BRET STEPHENS

Fouad Ajami would have been amused, but not surprised, to read his own obituary in the New York Times. “Edward Said, the Palestinian cultural critic who died in 2003, accused [Ajami] of having ‘unmistakably racist prescriptions,'” quoted obituarist Douglas Martin.

Thus was Said, the most mendacious, self-infatuated and profitably self-pitying of Arab-American intellectuals—a man whose account of his own childhood cannot be trusted—raised from the grave to defame, for one last time, the most honest and honorable and generous of American intellectuals, no hyphenation necessary.

Ajami, who died of prostate cancer Sunday in his summer home in Maine, was often described as among the foremost scholars of the modern Arab and Islamic worlds, and so he was. He was born in 1945 to a family of farmers in a Shiite village in southern Lebanon and was raised in Beirut in the politics of the age.

“I was formed by an amorphous Arab nationalist sensibility,” he wrote in his 1998 masterpiece, “The Dream Palace of the Arabs.” He came to the U.S. for college and graduate school, became a U.S. citizen, and first made his political mark as an advocate for Palestinian nationalism. For those who knew Ajami mainly as a consistent advocate of Saddam Hussein’s ouster, it’s worth watching a YouTube snippet of his 1978 debate with Benjamin Netanyahu, in which Ajami makes the now-standard case against Israeli iniquity.

Today Mr. Netanyahu sounds very much like his 28-year-old self. But Ajami changed. He was, to borrow a phrase, mugged by reality. By the 1980s, he wrote, “Arab society had run through most of its myths, and what remained in the wake of the word, of the many proud statements people had made about themselves and their history, was a new world of cruelty, waste, and confusion.”

DOROTHY RABINOWITZ: A GLIMPSE OF HILLARY AS PRESIDENT

It is hard to imagine Margaret Thatcher complaining, as Mrs. Clinton did, that ‘it was all about my hair.’

The past few weeks of Hillary Clinton’s book tour have given Americans more than a modest whiff of what a future Clinton presidency would bring. Nothing has brought home with more immediacy the role we can expect gender to play in that administration—or more to the point, the focus on anti-women bias about which we would evidently be fated to hear a great deal.

That would come as a change, after what will by then have been eight years of a different ruling focus in the White House—that being, of course, the president’s race. Years in which Obama administration staff members, congressional allies and advocates in the political culture regularly nurtured the view—when they weren’t making outright accusations—that vociferous opposition to this president, and his policies, was largely fueled by white racism. Jay Rockefeller (D., W.Va.) just last month declared that opposition to ObamaCare came from people who don’t like the president “because maybe he’s the wrong color.”

Attorney General Eric Holder in turn delivered himself of bitter complaints to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in April about the lack of respect accorded him by a House committee. “What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?” Barack Obama had barely taken office, which he could not have won without the vote of white America, when his attorney general charged that the American people were “a nation of cowards” in their dealings with race. Mr. Holder would go on to attack states attempting to curtail voter fraud, to refuse prosecution of members of the New Black Panther Party who had menaced white voters at a Philadelphia polling place, and to become, in all, the most racially polarizing attorney general in the nation’s history.

A Hillary Clinton administration would bring change, yes, but much about the change would feel familiar. We were given a small foretaste last week in a statement by Lanny Davis, former special counsel to Bill Clinton and indefatigable Hillary supporter. Mr. Davis had taken offense at the press description of Mrs. Clinton’s performance on a National Public Radio program—one that had not gone smoothly for her. He was offended at certain language that had been used to describe Mrs. Clinton’s reactions when the NPR interviewer questioned the consistency of her support for gay marriage. Reporters had described her as “testy,” “contentious” and “annoyed.” Mr. Davis opined that “had it been a man, the words ‘testy’ and ‘annoyed’ would not have been used.”

Cloward-Piven Everywhere : By Tom Blumer…..see note please

After the end of the Vietnam War and the abrogation of the draft, the radicals of the New Left of the sixties turned their attention to careers in academia, law, journalism, and “community action” projects in religious, environmental, anti-nuclear energy, and social service institutions. Stanley Kurtz in his book “Radical in Chief- Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism” writes that on April one 1983… a twenty one year old senior at Columbia University named Barack Obama attended the “Socialist Scholars Conference” in New York City’s Cooper Union, which had been touted as a meeting “In honor of Karl Marx’s centennial (1818-1883).” This conference became the catalyst for Obama’s future political agenda. The opening remarks of the 1983 Conference were tellingly delivered by City University’s radical professor Frances Fox Piven, described by the author as “…..preeminent theorist, strategist, and historian of community organizing, with a keen sense of the roots of community organizing in America’s early communist and socialist movements.”…rsk

The Obama administration-driven calamity at this nation’s southern border is no naiveté-caused accident. Instead, it’s the latest manifestation of what clear-eyed observers must recognize is just one of many concerted attempts to overwhelm this nation’s institutions and its social, psychological and physical infrastructure for the apparent purpose of leaving it permanently weakened and fundamentally changed.

Conscious or not — and I would argue in most cases that it is quite conscious — what we’re seeing is a comprehensive application of the left’s long-championed Cloward-Piven strategy.

The folklore behind the strategy claims that its enunciation by Richard A. Cloward and Frances Fox Piven “only” involved collapsing the welfare system to create a political climate receptive to the idea of a “guaranteed annual income,” and — presto! — “an end to poverty.” [1]

The idea advanced in the couple’s May 1966 column [2] in The Nation was to have those whom they saw as naively self-reliant recognize that they were legally entitled to receive benefits and to have them apply for public assistance en masse. This would “produce bureaucratic disruption in welfare agencies and fiscal disruption in local and state governments,” thus requiring a federal solution which would, in their fevered minds [3], “eliminate poverty by the outright redistribution of income.”

The folklore also contends that the strategy didn’t work. That’s not really true. It really did collapse the system in one city, and it permanently changed national attitudes towards public assistance. As James Simpson observed [4] at American Thinker in September 2008 (still-working links are in the original):

Capitalizing on the racial unrest of the 1960s, Cloward and Piven saw the welfare system as their first target.

Greenhouse Gasbags :Proposed Carbon-Emission Cuts Would Hobble the U.S. Economy But Do Nothing For Global Levels: By Kevin D. Williamson

Act Locally, Wish Globally-Proposed carbon-emission cuts would hobble the U.S. economy but do nothing for global levels.

The Environmental Protection Agency has won a victory at the Supreme Court, with a solid majority of the justices, including Antonin Scalia and John Roberts, signing off on its regulation of greenhouse gases emitted by power plants and other entities already subject to its permitting process. In a separate ruling, the Court forbade the EPA from extending its scope to entities not currently under its jurisdiction based solely on expected greenhouse-gas emissions. President Barack Obama’s plan to issue a presidential fiat requiring that states reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 percent will not affected by the rulings. Justice Scalia warned the EPA not to get ahead of itself: “Our decision should not be taken as an endorsement of all aspects of EPA’s current approach,” he wrote, “nor as a free rein for any future regulatory application” of the so-called Best Available Control Technology (BACT) rules. Instead, “our narrow holding is that nothing in the statute categorically prohibits EPA” from implementing its contemplated greenhouse-gas controls.

So, a limited victory, but a victory nonetheless on the fundamental matter of using the Clean Air Act — a piece of legislation intended to fight air pollution in the form of ground-level ozone, sulfur, lead, particulate matter, and the like — to empower the agency to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases on the theory that doing so will help prevent or reduce global warming, an issue that is separate from the questions of smog and industrial toxins that the Clean Air Act was written to address.

When the administration’s emissions-reduction rules were announced, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy described the issue in the habitual progressive language of crusade: “We have a moral obligation to act,” she said.

Do we?

Global warming, or global climate change, if you prefer, is, as the name indicates, a global phenomenon. The United States is, according to the Department of Energy’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, responsible for about 14 percent of the world’s carbon-dioxide emissions, not bad for a country that produces 22 percent of the world’s economic output. The generation of electricity, according to the EPA, is the source of just under one-third of U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions — 32 percent, to be precise. Given the trends in the rest of the world, especially in China and India, this reduction, if achieved, would be minuscule by global standards, 30 percent of 32 percent of 14 percent of global emissions, or about 1.3 percent.

NRO EDITORIAL ON THE PRESBYTERIANS AND ISRAEL ” A WICKED ACT” ****

The world’s organized hostility to Israel would be kind of funny if it didn’t have such serious consequences, or potential consequences. There are some 200 nations in the world. Many of them are very bad actors: dictatorships, terror states. And it is tiny, democratic Israel that is the focus of the world’s hostility.

The latest is that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) — not to be confused with the Presbyterian Church in America — has voted to divest from Israel. Thus does a major American church join the worldwide BDS movement. (“BDS” stands for “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” — against one country, Israel.)

If Israel did not exist, the United Nations might not have much to do. Last year the General Assembly adopted 25 resolutions against particular countries. Twenty-one of those resolutions were against Israel; the other four were against Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Burma. Not since the apartheid regime in South Africa has a country been so stigmatized by the world. And foes of Israel, of course, promote the lie that Israel is an “apartheid state.”

Consider a few steps in the effort to delegitimize Israel. Stephen Hawking, one of the most famous scientists in the world, joined the academic boycott of that country. He has been happy, however, to go to Iran and China. The American Studies Association voted to boycott Israel. In Scotland, the West Dunbartonshire Council forbade local libraries to carry books printed in Israel. Israeli athletes are often harassed, and prevented from playing; same with Israeli musicians.

It used to be that, when a performer refused to perform in Israel, it made news. Now it makes news when a performer has the nerve to show up in Israel. A few years ago, Elton John shouted from an Israeli stage, “Shalom! We are so happy to be back here! Ain’t nothin’ gonna stop us from comin’, baby!”

One consequence of anti-Israel boycotts is that they harm Arabs. They do so by perpetuating two myths, related. The first is that the Arab–Israeli conflict is Israel’s fault, instead of the fault of people who refuse to coexist. The second is that the Arabs’ lamentable condition is Israel’s fault, instead of the fault of people who refuse to reform, liberalize, or democratize.

By the way, one opponent of anti-Israel boycotts is Yasser Arafat’s successor as the PLO chairman, Mahmoud Abbas. Maybe he could have a word with the Presbyterians?

The Federal Octopus Federal Agencies Now Exist Not For Public Good But For Their Employees’ Benefit and Obama’s Agenda: Victor Davis Hanson

When IRS Commissioner John Koskinen arrogantly told Congress that he had no apologies for an agency that has targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny, had a top-ranking bureaucrat take the Fifth Amendment, and destroyed its own correspondence, he meant it. Nor did Lisa Jackson, the former head of the EPA, offer any apologies for concocting a fake persona, replete with false e-mail identity (“Richard Windsor”), to hide her own communications. Kathleen Sebelius was likewise unapologetic after presiding over the ruined initial implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Nor did she pay any consequence for campaigning for Democratic candidates while a cabinet secretary, in violation of the Hatch Act.

Government always grows, sometimes even more rapidly under Republican than under Democratic presidents. But under President Obama we are seeing something a little different — the creation of a partisan, semi-autonomous government that seems to exist for the benefit of its employees and the larger ideological agenda of the present administration.

The common theme of many of the Obama scandals is that expansion of government is a good thing (e.g., more employed constituents, more redistributive regulations on individuals, higher taxes to pay for it all), that government employees should be partisans of those politicians who favor more government, and that what a government agency was constituted to do is not necessarily what it will do.

Take the Veterans Affairs scandal. Delays in providing care were covered up by false record keeping. This criminal fraud contributed to the death of several veterans. The falsification of records also meant both that the scandal would not quickly come to light and that veterans would continue not to receive needed care. No matter: 65 percent of VA executives nevertheless received merit bonuses, among them those at the dysfunctional Phoenix VA Health Care System, where the largest number of veterans died. Overall, 80 percent of VA executives received very high performance rankings for overseeing a scandal-plagued agency. An outsider might conclude that the Veterans Affairs bureaucracy existed not so much for its client veterans as for the fossilized bureaucracy that so poorly runs the hospitals.

That would not be an unreasonable deduction. The General Services Administration, which provides supplies, office space, and so on for federal agencies, supposedly to ensure that they conduct operations efficiently, is likewise out of control. In 2012, videos emerged of lavish GSA junkets to Las Vegas and bizarre government-funded amateur skits and movies. It appeared that federal employees were not only exempt from the law, but sneering about their immunity from accountability.

HILLARY CLINTON’S WAR ON WOMEN: DANIEL GREENFIELD

When the Roman Polanski rape case resurfaced, Whoopi Goldberg coined the term “rape-rape” to describe the difference between the kind of rape she opposed and the kind she was okay with because it had been perpetrated by someone she liked.

In the political world the cases of Clarence Thomas and Bill Clinton showed how liberals delineated between the sexual harassment of men they approved of and disapproved of. Now the “Rape Rape” distinction is back with Bill’s wife.

Last week liberal activists were denouncing George Will for questioning the lack of due process for accused rapists on campus. Then the Washington Free Beacon posted a tape in which Hillary Clinton had a good laugh discussing how she freed a child rapist that she knew was guilty from prison.

Hillary had become the Democratic Party’s official “Role Model for Women” through her willingness to stand by her powerful husband during his affairs, cover up his sexual harassment of other women and even target those women for daring to speak out against her husband.

Now the face of the Democratic Party’s bid to make feminist history in 2016 was caught on tape cheerfully recollecting how she accused a 12-year-old girl, in formal legal language, of being a mentally ill slut. Or as the Washington Post’s Melinda Henneberger put it, “The ‘little bit nutty, little bit slutty’ defense has a long, ugly history. It’s jarring to see it trotted out against a kid by a future feminist icon.”

Suddenly the social justice warriors who were denouncing due process, such as access to legal counsel, for campus rapists being tried by student committees, became big fans of due process for rapists.

As with Whoopi Goldberg, it was all about who was doing the raping and who the rapist’s lawyer was.

Amanda Marcotte, of Slate and The Daily Beast, as well a blogger for John Edwards, another noted defender of women, had called critics of the Duke Lacrosse case “rape-loving scum” and suggested that George Will was a “rape apologist” for questioning some questionable rape cases.

Nine Nations Have Nukes — Here’s How Many Each Country Has: Amanda Macias

THANKS TO JAN POLLER…..

http://www.sipri.org/media/pressreleases/2014/nuclear_May_2014

According to a new report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), nine nations — the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — possess approximately 16,300 nuclear weapons. in total.

Under the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START), Russia and the United States have reduced their inventories but still account for more than 93% of all operational nuclear warheads.

SIPRI notes that “all five legally recognized nuclear weapon states — China, France, Russia, the UK and the USA— are either deploying new nuclear weapon delivery systems or have announced programs to do so.”

Here are nine countries with nuclear weapons (and here is the full report):

JED BABBIN:Brothers’ Keepers, Thugs, and Weepers New blood libels against Eretz Israel.

On June 12, three Israeli teenagers — Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaer (both age 16) and Eyal Yifrah (19) — were kidnapped near the town of Gush Etzion, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. They were taken, apparently by Hamas terrorists, while hitchhiking to their homes. Frankel holds dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has blamed the kidnappings on the terrorist network Hamas, which has a long track record of kidnapping Israelis. Hamas’s raison d’être, explained in its charter, calls for the destruction of Israel by violent jihad. In the crackdown on Hamas that Netanyahu ordered, almost 300 Hamas suspects have been arrested, including some of its senior leaders.

Called “Operation Brothers’ Keeper,” the Israeli sweep against Hamas appears to be more than a brief exercise. The Israelis are employing drones, anti-terrorist raids and putting pressure on known Hamas operatives and officials to reveal where the boys are. They have reportedly searched over 1,000 homes and other buildings. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who only a few weeks ago presided over the “reconciliation” between his Fatah party and Hamas said, “Those who kidnapped the three teenagers want to destroy us. We will hold them accountable.” But his Hamas partners-in-government don’t take Abbas seriously.

According to senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil, Hamas is ready to ignite a third “intifada,” i.e., a terrorism campaign against Israel, if it continues its “occupation” and searches of the West Bank area don’t end quickly. Two Palestinians were killed resisting Israeli searchers. And, in no coincidence, an Israeli teenager was killed in a cross-border attack from Syria into the Golan Heights.

The Hamas/Fatah reconciliation is not enough for some Americans to look askance at the Palestinians’ agenda and their terrorist activities. Just this weekend the Presbyterian church of the United States adopted by a narrow vote a measure requiring the church’s $21 million dollars in stocks of three American companies — Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard, and Motorola Solutions — to be divested because those companies supply products and technology that abets Israeli actions in Palestinian territories.

Although the Presbyterians’ decision included a last-minute effort to refuse alignment with the global BDS Movement, the decision speaks for itself. The BDS Movement, an ideological attack on Israel, is intended to make it a pariah among nations equivalent to North Korea. BDS Movement activists had lobbied heavily in favor of the decision because one of the primary goals of the BDS Movement is to have companies, governments, and academic institutions boycott Israel.

The BDS Movement said of the Presbyterians’ decision:

Islamic Hatred: The Foundation of the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict Jerrold L. Sobel See note please

This truth has been overlooked even by Israel’s supporters….The great historian/writer Bat Ye’or, Professor Moshe Sharon, the late Professor Saul S.Friedman (” Land of Dust”) saw this decades ago, and, more recently Dr. Andrew Bostom in his book “The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism” have documented the faith driven hatred of Israel by Arab/Moslems. rsk
The beauty, more aptly stated, the ugly in writing about the Middle East is nothing really changes. You could do a piece in 2007 about a homicide bomber, or “peace talks” being broken off for some reason or other, or Fatah turning down two unprecedented offers of peace. The dictates fueling this contention remain the same.
The following is a summation according to Dennis Ross, the senior advisor to President Clinton at the Taba negotiations in 2000:

1. Yasser Arafat presented no ideas at Camp David.

2. The Taba talks would have happened in late September if not for the outbreak of violence. Arafat knew the US was ready to make a proposal and thus promised to control the violence, but didn’t. (I think he was hoping that he could leverage the violence into political gain.)

3. All of Gaza and a net of 97% of the West Bank were offered at Taba.

4. The West Bank area offered was contiguous, not “cantons”.

5. The Jordan valley would be under Israeli patrol for only 6 years.