Friday, December 07, 2007

A real father. Is this the evil Fascist the Left obsess about?

Unlike Hillary's interviews, this did not have to be scripted

US first daughter Jenna Bush appeared nervous when Ellen DeGeneres asked her to call her parents during a taping of DeGeneres's talk show on Tuesday. The show aired on Wednesday. "They're going to kill me," the 26-year-old daughter of President George Bush told DeGeneres. "I'm going to be in so much trouble."

All was well, though, when she reached her parents on speakerphone. "I'm just sitting here with daddy," Laura Bush told her daughter, to which DeGeneres chimed in: "Oh hey! It's Ellen. I wanted to say hi to daddy." So the president got on the line: "How's my little girl doing?"

"Oh, she's great. She's scared she's going to get in trouble because I just said, 'Is it easy to just pick up the phone and call your dad anytime'?" DeGeneres said. "And now she's scared she's not going to get any Christmas presents."

Bush said he was not angry. "I do want to say Merry Christmas to your audience and I want to tell my little girl I love her," the president said. "I love you too, Dad," Jenna responded.



Meet the neo-cons' neo-con

Occasionally you recognise that you are in the presence of human greatness. I had that experience this week in Jerusalem when I went to interview Natan Sharansky. Sharansky was one of the most famous dissidents and refuseniks of the Soviet Union. Refuseniks were Russian Jews who wanted to live as Jews and migrate to Israel. They were prevented from doing either of these things by the harsh, totalitarian Soviet system.

Sharansky spent nearly 10 years in Soviet prisons and labour camps, frequently on hunger strike, always defiant, insanely brave. Many people across the world campaigned for the refuseniks' freedom and, of course, Americans were critical. But Australians also played a distinguished role in this campaign, especially Bob Hawke and Jewish leader Isi Leibler. Then, on one incredible day in 1986, Sharansky went from a KGB prison in the morning to a plane to Germany in the afternoon, then on another plane to Jerusalem in the evening. "I went straight from hell to paradise," he recalls. "The rulers of Iran can only imagine such a journey. I went from hatred to love, from the darkness of prison to the bright sun. Of course, if you go straight to heaven, you can only go down from there. I still live in paradise, but paradise needs a few repairs."

He seems a man very much at ease in his own skin. He smiles frequently. A satirical cartoon of himself adorns one wall, across from a picture of another great Soviet dissident, Andrei Sakharov. I seek enlightenment from Sharansky on two questions: why does Israel get such a bad press in the West, far worse than it deserves, and can democracy work in Arab societies? Sharansky agrees that Israel consistently gets a far worse press than it deserves. He accepts that there are many reasons for this, from the power, money and influence that flow from Arab oil to the recrudescent anti-Semitism of recent years.

But he also nominates, especially in the case of European hostility to Israel, a particular ideological factor. He says: "Israel is at the centre of the struggle between the totalitarian and the ideological, between the fundamentalist and the unfaithful. It is an assertive nation-state at a time when the leading ideology in Europe is post-nationalism and multiculturalism, especially in respect of the EU, and building post-state institutions. So the Europeans see Israel as nationalist and the last outpost of colonialism.

"But Europe now is in a much more difficult situation ideologically than Israel. They tried to build their new society only on human rights. They believe the nation-state has human rights but no commitment to identity. They find a minority (part of the Muslim population) which has a strong identity and no commitment to human rights. "Europeans find themselves helpless in the face of this and I believe that Europe will have to go back to national identity. "Democracy must have a connection with identity. There must be a national, democratic state. Israel can only survive in this region as a democratic, Jewish state. This is anathema to Europe."

The same syndrome of disdain for religion and civic-national identity informs much European hostility to the US as well, Sharansky believes. Because the French Revolution was against religion, Europeans have mistakenly come to the view that religion is the enemy of democracy. But the US and Israel were both founded with strong religious identities and have become thriving democracies. "America is a country tolerant to both faith and identity," Sharansky says. "Muslims come to America and accept the rules of democracy. They come to Europe and don't accept the rules of democracy because it was never demanded of them."

More here



Unrealistic "realists": "Washington pundits have an odd way of ridiculing the Bush administration's grandiose plans for remaking Iraq, while at the same time embracing ambitious designs for bringing peace to the Holy Land. Hence many Middle East hands urge the United States to take a cautiously realistic approach to achieving ethnic and religious reconciliation in Mesopotamia. But these same Realpoliticos become born-again idealists in insisting that American leaders could and should help resolve the conflict between Arabs and Jews. As in Iraq, these peoples have been fighting since the British invaded in World War I. But, hey, Americans needs to show some faith to get the peace process moving ahead, right?"

A religious country: "An overwhelming majority of Americans believe in God and signicant numbers also think that UFOs, the devil and ghosts exist, a new poll shows. The survey by Harris Online showed 82 per cent of adult Americans believed in God and a slightly smaller percentage - 79 per cent - believed in miracles. More than 70 per cent of the 2455 adults surveyed between November 7 and 13 said they believed in heaven and angels, while more than six in 10 said they believed in hell and the devil."

MPs say BBC should be more accountable: "The BBC is not properly accountable and should be open to investigation by the Auditor General, an investigation by the Commons Public Accounts Committee has concluded. The successor to Sir John Bourn, guardian of the public purse at the National Audit Office, who leaves his post next month, should be given access to the BBC’s accounts, MPs said. The report into the BBC’s risk management concluded: “There is still no satisfactory regime under which the BBC is accountable to Parliament for its value for money.” It should also do more to protect employees working in hostile environments, the report said, citing the Gaza abduction of its correspondent Alan Johnston. A survey of BBC staff with risk management responsibilities found that 29 per cent had never looked at the BBC’s guidance."


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


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