Saturday, January 10, 2009

The virtues of Christianity -- one tiny example

There are lots of people -- atheists, Leftists, foolish Jews etc. -- who say horrible things about Christianity. And I find that very unbalanced.

In my early life I was steeped in Christianity so I think I know a little about it. And although I have been an utter atheist for all my adult life (I am now 65), I still enjoy reading my Bible on occasions and I still have a lot of time for those whom I once called "brothers". So I think I do have some standing to defend Christianity.

Social scientists and statisticians hate it (and I am of that ilk too) but for most people examples are more persuasive than generalizations and averages so I just want to give here one tiny example of why I still heart the Protestant faith into which I grew up.

My old church in Brisbane is Ann St Presbyterian. In the 60s I was a communicant member there. Nowadays I pop in very rarely, maybe at Easter or some other day of special significance. And I always feel most at home there and love singing the old hymns.

But what I want to mention on this occasion -- at peril of embarrassing him -- is one of the elders there. Presbyterian churches are very democratic and are governed by elected elders rather than by Bishops and suchlike. And whenever I walk into my old church for a service, the elders are there by the door to greet people as they arrive -- a thoroughly admirable custom in my view.

And one of the elders who seems always to be there must have been -- in my guess -- a butcher at some stage. He has lost most of his fingers on his right hand. Butchers regularly sacrificed fingers to the bandsaw in the old days and I guess some still do. So is the elder concerned embarrassed to do what elders do -- shake hands with people as they arrive? Not at all. He holds out what is left of his hand with perfect good cheer and we are all glad to shake it. He always looks as spruce as can be, dressed in an old-fashioned but immaculate suit, and is an example to us all not to be ground down by adversity.

The church has given him a respected role and self-esteem and he has given back inspiration and a lesson to all who shake his hand. How can I not respect a faith and a church that has done that? Maybe I am just a sentimental old fool but I will take that risk.

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Yes, Israel Can Win in Gaza

Israel is significantly weakening Hamas - with Palestinian help

It seems that most of the West's news reporters and pundits agree with Islamists everywhere that an Israeli victory in Gaza is impossible. They decry Israel's defensive attack on Hamas, prophesying an inevitable strengthening of Islamism among Palestinians and a dark future for the Jewish state. How do our commentators come to this conclusion? They point, most frequently, to Israel's war with Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, and echo Hezbollah's claim that it won a great victory. Indeed, this narrative goes, in launching their rockets at Israel, Hamas leaders were imitating Hezbollah's winning strategy.

In fact, Hezbollah was thoroughly shocked by the Israeli bombing campaign, and its supporters, who mostly live in southern Lebanon, are not likely to tolerate another wave of destruction caused by another Hezbollah attack. Even the inconclusive Israeli ground actions in Lebanon, which never involved more than six companies (roughly 600 men), resulted in the loss of some 400 Hezbollah fighters in direct face-to-face combat while Israel suffered only 30 casualties.

Of course, none of this prevented the Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah from claiming that he had won a great victory for God. Had his victorious claims actually been true, Israel should have been deterred from attacking Hamas. And by his logic, Israel would have cowered in fear of thousands of more rockets from Hamas, and the even more powerful rockets that Hezbollah would launch in tandem. Nasrallah certainly encouraged Hamas to attack Israel in language that implied he would intervene if a war ensued -- a credible promise had he really won a victory in 2006.

But as soon as the fighting started in Gaza, Nasrallah reversed the terms of his declarations -- threatening Israel if it attacked Lebanon (which of course nobody in Israel would want to do). When three rockets were fired from inside Lebanon on Thursday, Hezbollah wasted no time assuring the Israelis that it had nothing to do with it, and that it did not even have that type of rocket in their inventory. This is a familiar trope of the Palestinian experience. There is always some extremist leader ready to instigate the Palestinians to fight, implicitly promising his valiant participation -- until the fighting begins and the promises are forgotten in fear of Israeli retaliation.

Another familiar Palestinian experience is that the extremists can always prevail politically over the moderates, but in so doing they split Palestinian society. A key metric of this disunity is, in fact, the success of Israel's current war against Hamas. Consider: According to Gaza sources, until the ground fighting started some 25% of the 500 dead were innocent civilians. The Israelis claimed that 20% of the casualties from the aerial attack were civilians. Either way, this was an extremely accurate bombing campaign. (Even in the 1991 and 2003 U.S. air campaigns against Iraq, when most of the bombs were already precision-guided, gross targeting errors killed many civilians.)

A targeting accuracy of 75% -- by the lowest estimate -- cannot have been merely obtained by overhead photography from satellites or reconnaissance aircraft, because few Hamas objectives were classic "high-contrast" targets such as bunkers or headquarters. Most targets were small groups of people in nondescript civilian vehicles that blend in with traffic, or inside unremarkable buildings. Nor could telephone intercepts have yielded much intelligence, because all Palestinians know that the Israelis have long combined voice recognition with cellular-grid location in order to aim missiles very accurately at single vehicles in traffic, or even at individuals standing about with their cellphones switched off.

So how did Israel do it? The only possible explanation is that people in Gaza have been informing the Israelis exactly where Hamas fighters and leaders are hiding, and where weapons are stored. No doubt some informers are merely corrupt, paid agents earning a living. But others must choose to provide intelligence because they oppose Hamas, whose extremism inflicts poverty, suffering and now death on the civilian population for the sake of launching mostly ineffectual rockets into Israel. Hamas completely disregards the day-to-day welfare of all Gazans in order to pursue its millenarian vision of an Islamic Palestine.

Some in Gaza must also resent Iran's role in instigating the barrage of rockets fired on Israel. And all must know that the longer-range rockets are supplied by Iran along with money for Hamas leaders, while ordinary Palestinians languish in poverty. Senior Hamas leader Nizar Rayan, killed on Jan. 1, was a poorly paid academic, yet he died with his four wives and 10 of his children in spacious quarters. He obviously had enough money to heed the Quranic injunction against marrying more wives than one can afford. That too must arouse bitter opposition among poor Palestinian civilians, inducing some to help Israel target Hamas. Perhaps these informers include Fatah members, further antagonized by persecution. Last week alone, some 50 were reportedly tortured by Hamas.

Hamas won the 2006 election because it was the only available alternative when a majority of voters were disgusted by Fatah's blatant corruption. Since then, many nonfundamentalist Palestinians have been oppressed by the puritanical prohibitions imposed by Hamas, while all Gazans have been greatly impoverished. There is no evidence that support for Fatah has therefore increased, or that its surviving leaders could still rally their followers. This reality sets an upper limit on what Israel can achieve by ground combat -- it cannot change the regime.

What Israel can do is weaken Hamas further in its current ground operations by raiding targets that cannot be attacked from the air -- typically because they are in the basements of crowded apartment buildings -- and by engaging Hamas gunmen in direct combat. Simply reducing the combat strength of Hamas is crucial, as it was in 2006 against Hezbollah, because while many like to parade dressed in the robes of martyrs, when there is actual fighting enthusiasm rapidly wanes.

With few exceptions, Israeli ground forces are not advancing frontally but are instead mounting a multiplicity of raids. If their target intelligence remains as good as it was during the air attack, they will run out of targets in a matter of days. That is when a cease-fire with credible monitoring would be possible and desirable for both sides as the only alternative to renewed occupation. Hamas will claim a win no matter what happens, but then so did Hezbollah in 2006. And yet, for the most part, Hezbollah remains immobile and the Israeli northern border with Lebanon remains quiet. If Israel can achieve the same with Hamas in Gaza, it would be a significant victory.

Source

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ELSEWHERE

Public works only exacerbated the Great Depression : "Contrary to common misconception, interference did not begin with Roosevelt's New Deal but rather with Herbert Hoover, who took office in March 1929. As one historian put it, Hoover, an engineer by profession and part of the Republican Party's progressive wing, was not the last of the old presidents but the first of the new. In previous depressions, the federal government typically cut spending and taxes and let the market liquidate bad investments. As a result, the depressions were relatively brief. This time around Hoover moved quickly to raise government spending and taxes of all kinds (the top marginal income-tax rate went from 24 to 63 percent); subsidize banks, railroads, industries, homeowners with mortgages, local governments, and farmers; and sign the infamous Smoot-Hawley Tariff. Even with the tax increases, the budget deficit ballooned to record levels. Hoover urged the nation's governors to increase public-works spending substantially and had the federal government join the effort. He favored new rounds of inflation, but the Fed's efforts were offset by factors beyond its control. Egregiously, Hoover personally pressured major corporations not to cut wages. (As commerce secretary, he had long been an advocate of government-business-labor "partnership," i.e., cartelization.) When wages are rigid while all other prices are falling, unemployment goes up. The result of Hoover's program? Unemployment went from 3.2 percent in 1929 to over 25 percent in 1933. It remained in double digits until 1941, a year after the military draft started. GNP shrank 44 percent from 1929 to 1932."

Change is coming, to benefit trial lawyers: "Obama promised change, and it's already happening, at the expense of the poor, consumers, and small business. `Regulations set to take effect next month could force thousands of clothing retailers and thrift stores to throw away trunkloads of children's clothing.' That's the result of a law championed by Obama and trial lawyers, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which imposes draconian requirements and penalties on sellers of childrens' toys and clothing. As a result, used clothing stores for poor kids, like Kid to Kid, are going out of business. Price increases in children's toys and clothing will also likely result."

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here

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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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Friday, January 09, 2009

How Israel is making progress

Israel has already demonstrated that it has learned the principal lessons from the war with Hezbollah. It did not wait too long to begin the ground campaign. It resisted the lure of a premature cease-fire, engineered by others. It did not promise ambitious goals at the war's outset only to walk away from them amid military and diplomatic complications.

On the contrary, the stated goal of a "quiet" border with Gaza has the dual advantage of suggesting a degree of restraint while allowing Jerusalem to preserve its options as the battle unfolds. "Quiet" does not require the destruction of Hamas. But neither does it exclude it.

In other words, instead of being forced publicly to ratchet its aims downward, as it did in Lebanon, Jerusalem can now ratchet them upward, putting Hamas off-balance and perhaps tempting it to cut its losses by accepting a cease-fire on terms acceptable to Israel. Doing so would not quite amount to a defeat for Hamas. But it would be an unambiguous humiliation for a group whose greatest danger lies in its pretension of invincibility. Burst balloons aren't easily reinflated.

It is precisely for this reason that Hamas will likely fight on, in the hopes that Israel will flinch. Critics of military action point to this damned-if-Israel-does, damned-if-it-doesn't scenario as evidence of the folly of the war.

Yet by no means is it obvious that the Israeli army needs to walk directly into a Gaza City G”tterd„mmerung in order to achieve its military aims. Hamas has been able to arm itself with increasingly sophisticated rockets thanks to a vast network of tunnels running below its border with Egypt. Israel found it difficult to destroy that network prior to its withdrawal from Gaza and will not easily do so now. But by bisecting the Strip, as it has now done, it will have no trouble preventing these rockets from moving north to their usual staging ground, thereby achieving a critical war aim without giving Hamas easy opportunities to hit back.

Israel also has much to gain by avoiding a frontal assault on Gaza's urban areas in favor of the snatch-and-grab operations that have effectively suppressed Hamas's terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank. A long-term policy aimed squarely at killing or capturing Hamas's leaders, destroying arms caches and rocket factories, and cutting off supply and escape routes will not by itself destroy the group. But it can drive it out of government and cripple its ability to function as a fighting force. And this, in turn, could mean the return of Fatah, the closest thing Gaza has to a "legitimate" government.

All this will be said to amount to another occupation, never mind that there are no settlers in this picture, and never mind, too, that Israel was widely denounced for carrying out an "effective occupation" of the Strip after it imposed an economic blockade on Hamas. (By this logic, the U.S. is currently "occupying" Cuba.) If Israel is going to achieve a strategic victory in this war, it will have to stand firm against this global wave of hypocrisy and cant.

Israel will also have to practice a more consistent policy of deterrence than it has so far done. One option: For every single rocket that falls randomly on Israeli soil, an Israeli missile will hit a carefully selected target in Gaza. Focusing the minds of Hamas on this type of "proportionality" is just the endgame that Israel needs.

More here

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Stop This Vicious Slaughter! England Must Stop Waging War On The Nazis!

Dateline: January 3rd 1944

Fury continues to mount worldwide about the senseless loss of civilian life in Germany caused by England's callous bombing of German cities including Berlin, Hamburg and Dresden. As of today many innocent German women and children have died in these utterly brutal bombing missions. And now there are ground offensives starting on mainland Europe.

The English have claimed that they are merely retaliating against the V-1 flying bombs being launched indiscriminately by Nazis at their civilian population in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Coventry and other cities. The English point out that their enemy is sworn to its utter destruction and has used the missiles and flying bombs against its civilians without any regard to English loss of life. Moreover it makes the case that their own bombing missions are specifically directed to military targets that the German army has intentionally planted in the heart of civilian populations to try and deter English counter-attacks.

These points may of course be true - but they are utterly besides the point. Of course England has a right to exist. Of course England has a right to defend itself. But it should ensure that its responses are PROPORTIONATE. Since many more Germans are dying than English - the English should either tone down the success and accuracy of their bombing - or allow the Germans to catch up on the death count. To be honest - if more English women and children were dying - we wouldn't feel quite so bad about the number of Germans dying. But it's just so UNFAIR that more Germans are dying...

Perhaps some English people could arrange to kill themselves to match the number of Germans dying as a result of the English retaliation bombing? It would be so considerate - and it might help England's critics feel less miserable about the number of Nazis dying. Something that is causing them so much concern. It would also put paid to that wretched proportionality argument.

Alternatively, perhaps the English could arrange to be less effective in their bombing? Or only bomb military targets that are nowhere near civilians - even though the vast majority of the V-1 rockets are intentionally being launched from the heart of civilian population centers.

Now the English will argue that the Germans have INTENTIONALLY positioned all their launch pads for the V-1 rockets in the middle of civilian populations to inhibit the English from bombing those launch sites. Well - tough noogies to the Brits! Sorry - but if the Germans are smarter or more skillful at cynically using their civilians as human shields than you - tough luck!

You can't have it both ways. If you truly wish to save your nation from being annihilated by Nazi missiles you'd better stop looking to win a popularity contest. The Nazis are waging this war to win and to utterly destroy England. If all you Brits care about is popularity - then you may as well resign yourself to speaking German...

It's about time that little nations who wish to defend themselves wised up to their responsibilities. Otherwise the same stupid complaints will be made at some point in the 21st Century when some little nation finds itself under constant attack from rockets fired at its civilian population by a terrorizing enemy that has sworn to destroy it....

Source

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BrookesNews Update

Obama's stimulus plan heading for trouble before it even starts: By completely misunderstanding economic history Obama has come to believe that state spending is the road to prosperity - never mind the lessons of history, especially the embarrassing fact that this policy failed Roosevelt and also recently failed in Japan. And yet this 'brilliant man' and a leader of the 'reality-based community' genuinely believes otherwise
Economic commentators still clueless about the recession: Manufacturing is drowning and the economic punditry blame consumption. The real problem is the manipulation of interest rates by the central banks and how this affects the production structure and relative prices. It is the manipulation of interest - and this alone - that is at the root of the business cycle
Even now the outgoing US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson cannot get it right : Hank Paulson is a depressing reminder of how deeply rooted many economic fallacies are. According to him the fault for the financial crisis does not lie with domestic monetary policy but with those lousy Chinese who insist on saving instead of whooping it up on over-extended credit cards. That the fed's criminal monetary policy had something to do with never occurred to this genius
Government spending makes recessions worse : Laissez-faire economic ideas are currently out of favor but the fact remains that the Krugman and Keynesian policies of bailouts, deficit financing, and public works have never really worked. They didn't work in the U.S. in the 1930's; they didn't work in the 1990's in Japan
Communist Cuba: 50 Years Of Failure : After 50 years of socialism the Castro brothers' gangster regime has succeed in turning Cuba, once one of the world's most prosperous countries - into a slagheap that self-opinionated, callous, Hollywood intellectualoids like Soderbergh, del Toro, Robert Redford, Ed Asner, Oliver Stone, etc., can gloat over while they excoriate America
America tolerates preaching overthrow of government; we didn't before : American tolerance for even the sort of dissent that calls for the violent overthrow of the government and for racial hate is unique. If Americans want to preserve independence and freedom, they better wake up and recognize Islam for what it is; it's not a religion of peace
Green fanatics vs. genetic science: The real Frankensteins are greens fanatics and their media mates who have tried to create a monster out of a life-saving technology so they can get it banned. What does this say about them? Plenty, is the answer
Obama's spending spree won't rescue the US economy from recession: By setting his face against this policy of expanding capacity and to rely entirely on monetary expansion to promote recovery while at the same time promising higher energy prices in the future and a huge tax hike in 2010 or 2011 Obama will be fuelling uncertainty as well as inflation

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here

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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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Who Are the Real Nazis?

by Jonah Goldberg

"Go back to the oven! You need a big oven, that's what you need!" This is what one young woman thought passed for acceptable discourse during an anti-Israel rally last week in, of all places, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Other chants were similarly unlovely. You can watch it on YouTube if you like.

But why bother? The Fort Lauderdale outburst is just one window on the upside-down world of Israel hatred. Across the Islamic world, and in too many points West, it is still considered a penetrating and poignant insight to call Zionists the "new Nazis." For instance, in Sunday's Gulf News, Mohammad Abdullah al Mutawa, a sociology professor at United Arab Emirates University, penned an essay titled "Zionists are the new Nazis." He began: "Today, the whole world stands as a witness to the fact that the Nazi Holocaust was a mere lie, which was devised by the Zionists to blackmail humanity."

At a Saturday protest in New York against Israel's military assault on Gaza, some carried signs that read: "Israel: The Fourth Reich," "Holocaust by Holocaust Survivors," "Stop Israel's Holocaust," "Holocaust in Gaza" and "Stop the Zionist Genocide in Gaza." Type "Israel" and "Nazi" into any news search engine and you'll be rewarded, or punished, with a bounty of such statements from just the last week or so. Gaza is the new Auschwitz, the Israeli Defense Forces are SS troops ... I find myself tempted to simply write "et cetera" because it's all so familiar by now. But to do that is to dismiss, and therefore accept, such grotesqueries as trivialities, when in fact such charges are deeply revealing -- just not about Israel.

First, let us note that if supposedly all-powerful Israel is dedicated to exterminating the Palestinian people, it is doing a bad job. The Palestinian population has only grown since 1948. There are more Arab citizens living in Israel proper today than there were in all of Palestine the year Israel was founded.

Perhaps one reason Israel fails at genocide is that it isn't interested in genocide? That would explain why Israel warned thousands of Gazans by cell phone to leave homes near Hamas rocket stockpiles. It would clarify why, even amid all-out war, it offers aid to enemy civilians. It would even illuminate the otherwise mysterious clamor from Israelis for a viable "peace partner." But no. For millions of Israel haters, the more plausible explanation is that the "defiant" Palestinians have miraculously survived Israel's determination to wipe them out.

Meanwhile, calls for the complete extermination of Israel are routine. The Hamas charter, invoking the fraudulent "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" as justification, demands the destruction of Israel. Hamas exists solely because it is dedicated to the complete obliteration of the "Zionist entity." Remove that "principle" and Hamas is meaningless.

A sick mixture of Holocaust envy and Holocaust denial is the defining spirit of Hamas. Indeed, Holocaust denial passes for a scholarly pursuit not just in Gaza but throughout much of the Arab and Muslim world. The head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, literally earned a doctorate in it. His doctoral thesis became a book, "The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism," in which he denounces "the Zionist fantasy, the fantastic lie that 6 million Jews were killed." In Hamas' eyes, Abbas is an incorrigible moderate. It's Palestinian Islamists who have ideological and political ties to Nazism stretching back to the days of "Hitler's Mufti," Haj Amin al-Husseini, a happy warrior for the Nazi cause.

So why the obsession with casting the Israelis as the new Hitlerites? One answer is surely that critics know such charges are painful to a country largely born of the Holocaust and marked by its scars. It also grabs attention, galvanizes radicals, vents legitimate frustrations and anger, and helps demonize the enemy and, hence, justify the murder of "Zionists everywhere," as Hamas often declares in its communiques.

But I think the desire to cast the Israelis as Nazis is fueled, deep down, by the haters' need to see their own hatreds and ambitions mirrored in their enemy's actions. Hamas has an avowedly Hitlerite agenda. The only way to make such an agenda defensible is to convince yourself and others that the Israelis deserve it. Hence, Hamas and its allies insist that when they aim rockets at grade schools and playgrounds, they are resisting the "new Nazis." It brings to mind Huey Long's reported prophecy that if fascism ever came to America, it would be called anti-fascism. Well, with Hamas, Hitlerism comes to the Middle East wearing the mask of anti-Hitlerism.

Source

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Chicago comment



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ELSEWHERE

The bombed "school": "Allow me to propose a metric for evaluating whether a journalist is behaving responsibly or not: If he reports that Israel bombed a UN school and killed 30 civilians, he is irresponsible. If he reports that Hamas used a UN school as a weapons cache and base of operations for launching mortars at the IDF, and the IDF's return fire killed the Hamas cell along, tragically, with a yet-unspecified number of civilians, then he is behaving responsibly. If he wishes to be particularly scrupulous, he might additionally note that Hamas had rigged the school with explosives which detonated after the IDF took out the mortar team, killing a large additional number of civilians. And he might add that you can go to the IDF's Youtube channel to view footage from 2007 of Hamas using the very same school as a mortar-launching base. Journalists who abjure reporting the vital details of this story should be called what they are - activists masquerading as reporters."

Krugman deceit: "We are certainly used to the fallacious Keynesian `economics' that pours forth from most of Paul Krugman's New York Times columns. That's bad enough. But dishonesty too? What's the excuse for that? In a recent column called `Fifty Hebert Hoovers,' Krugman expressed fear that the nation's governors would follow in the footsteps of Hoover, with devastating consequences for the economy. And what did Hoover do that has Krugman so concerned? . Krugman here leads his readers to believe that Hoover tried to balance the budget by slashing spending. In fact, Hoover did not reduce spending. On the contrary, he increased it."

Speeding? You'll pay higher "taxes": "Watch out, leadfoots: Many strapped cities and towns are trying to fix their budgets by stepping up traffic enforcement. . Cities, counties and other government agencies have found that there's lots of money to be made in stepped-up traffic enforcement. . The simple fact is this: Governments have an incentive to write more tickets, says Thomas Garrett, an assistant vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and a co-author of a recent study, `Red Ink in the Rearview Mirror: Local Fiscal Conditions and the Issuance of Traffic Tickets.'"

Reminder from 2004: FDR's policies prolonged Depression by seven years: "Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt. After scrutinizing Roosevelt's record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years. `Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump,' said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA's Department of Economics. `We found that a relapse isn't likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies.' . `The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes,' Cole said. `Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened.'"

The long road to recovery: "In geopolitics, as in life, things are seldom as bad or good, easy or hard, as they appear at close range. The incoming Obama administration should keep this in mind as it takes the helm of America's ship of state. A swath of Asia stretching from Pakistan and Afghanistan west to Iran and Iraq will likely require the most attention. With some 4,800 American troops dead, eight times that number wounded, and the region still shaken by aftershocks of America's full-scale intervention after September 11, it is hard to say that things are good in Southwest Asia. But it is fair to say they are headed in a better direction than they were eight years ago."

To the dumpsters, go: "We have all heard of `dumpster babies,' abandoned newborns left to die by unfit parents. And now, courtesy of Nebraska's not-too-careful legislature, we have `dumpster teens' - near-adult youngsters left with the state of Nebraska by their parents, following last July's loosening of the state's child neglect statute. The legislature, trying to prevent dumpster babies, weakened penalties to irresponsible parents who at least show the tiniest responsibility by not leaving infants in dumpsters, or the like, to die, but rather leaving them at hospitals for someone else to take up care. Little did they expect parents to abandon growing children, including teenagers."

A brewing storm in Russia: "A year ago, Russia was in an odd place between oppressive stagnation and a glimmer of possible change. The ruling party, United Russia, had just consolidated its hold on the parliament in a rigged election; the presidential transition was revealed as the farcical anointment of a handpicked successor to Vladimir Putin - the docile Dmitry Medvedev, who quickly promised to make Putin prime minister. Yet some Russian liberals, and sympathetic Westerners, harbored at least modest hopes that Medvedev might prove more liberal than Putin and that the division of power between president and prime minister might weaken Russia's neo-autocracy. Today, the winds of change in Russia are blowing again - harsh winds that may yet turn into a storm."

Humans as livestock: "Stefan Molyneux has put out a remarkable video that takes a look at the human condition. It explains why many of us have been feeling like we are being treated like livestock lately. Human society is a farm, with the ruling class as the farmers and the rest of us as cattle. Outside of a quibble about his treatment of religion, I think he has hit the nail on the head. The ruling class may well look at us as cattle; but on the other hand, we look at the ruling class as parasites, don't we?"

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here

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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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Gaza campaign so far

A view from Israel

The first stages were done by the air force, in a pattern first used by the Americans in Iraq in January 1991, but adapted to the conditions of Gaza. The first stage was to kill as many Hamas men as possible, in as many sites as possible. The goal was to throw Hamas into immediate confusion and never allow it to recuperate. Hundreds of dead and many hundreds of wounded - the majority not innocent bystanders, of course - taxing the hospitals, sowing panic and demoralization or at least its potential, disrupting any type of public order, forcing the leadership underground, hopefully severing some of their command and control capabilities.

On the second day we also destroyed some of their tunnels, effectively cutting off, or at least significantly reducing, their logistic hinterland.

By the third day the initial wave of airborne successes had been achieved, and David Grossman, assuming we were still in 2006, called for a halt: the air force had done its best, and from here on there wasn't much left for it to do other than rearrange the rubble and kill civilians. Better to call it a victory and stop. In hindsight, arguably this may have been true by the end of the first week, but it wasn't true on the third day. On days 3 through 7, the air force did something many of us hadn't thought of: it pulverized the middle level of the Hamas fighting machine. The head had been confused frightened and forced underground on day one; the fighting units, to the extent Hamas has them, and the 15,000-some armed men, were mostly unscathed. During those days, however, their immediate hinterland was targeted and apparently seriously hit. These were the dozens of homes of senior Haman figures pulverized, mostly while they were empty of people but still full of weapons. And tunnels. By destroying them, the IDF seriously crimped the ability of the Hamas units to function except where they already were. They couldn't be moved or regrouped. They can't be resupplied. They are where they are, armed as they are, period. They cannot be relieved. They probably have intermittent connections with their commanders at best.

This was achieved with limited loss of Hamas lives, and very few of civilians. True, someday the international media will enter Gaza freely, and they'll show endless footage of destroyed buildings, but by then it won't make much difference, will it. They'll be preaching to the believers, and anyway there will be a new story, somewhere else.

The next stage of the attrition focused on the barriers to a land invasion. The myths told about this stage were endless, even in Israel, and I'm not going to repeat them, but the general idea was that Hamas had created a series of fortifications, barriers and impediments to the advance of IDF ground forces. The Hamas leadership seems to have believed this, too, witness their proclamations as recently as three days ago that the ground forces will never come because the cowardly Israelis know they'll be cut down if they ever try.

In spite of the total fog of war that first evening, it was clear within about three hours that this probably wasn't what had happened. On the contrary: the IDF forces sailed through those lines of defense with very little action, few casualties, and, one might add, not very many dead Hamas fighters, either. My explanation for this is that for an army to slow down an invader on a fortified line, it has to be an army: with training, weaponry, command and control systems, reinforcements on their way, and so on. (The Israeli failures on the Golan and Suez on October 6-7th 1973 demonstrate this, and that IDF was always much more formidable than Hamas). Hamas would never have been able to stop a concerted effort of the IDF to get in, but it expected to bloody them. The attrition of days 3-7 prevented that.

By noon after the invasion Gaza had been bisected, with powerful forces sitting on the hilltops (such as there are in Gaza), or tall rooftops, and lines of supply back to their rear echelons. Casualties can be evacuated, supplies can get in; in the rear, meanwhile, new brigades are carefully and purposefully preparing themselves for battle: the reservists. Experienced veterans of previous campaigns, who flocked to their units when called up two nights ago, irrespective of how inconvenient it was in their regular lives.

Where are we now? The next line of Hamas defense, and its main one, was always the inevitable weakness of an attacking army in an urban environment. Even the most brutal and ruthless armies invade cities at their extreme peril: think Red Army in Berlin, April 1945, taking more than 100,000 casualties (the number of dead Berliners was, of course, much higher). Keep in mind, however, that the commanders of the IDF know that; they don't need to be informed by the media. Keep in mind also that Hamas has to be hit, as explained above. Ergo, a way had to be found, and prepared, trained and prepared for.

I'm no more informed than the rest of you, but allow me to suggest what may be happening (this is pure conjecture). As described above, at this stage of attrition the Hamas men are almost on their own, perhaps in small groups. They're tired and frightened, or at least, tired and very tense. They've been under fire for ten days, most of which were filled with frustrated anticipation: even assuming they've been raring for a fight the whole time, it has been slow in coming and doesn't appear all that imminent even now. Their leaders are out of sight, their closer commanders may also be gone. They realize that the tunnel they intended to use to resupply has been bombed, nor are many reinforcements likely to come. All this would still be alright if only the IDF infantry would walk into their carefully prepared traps. But the IDF isn't doing that. Instead, it's inching forward. Its infantry seems to have excellent intelligence about each building; instead of racing forward like an elephant into a booby-mined trap, it fights for a building, kills some of the defenders but captures others, interrogates them about the other buildings on the street and only then moves forward to the next one.

More here

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ELSEWHERE

Israel, Hamas and I: "When one is bombarded with selective, nearly haphazard information about events around the globe, events that are one's only source of understanding who is doing what to whom and how is it all justified, there is not much one can do but listen very carefully and determine who is making logical mistakes - who is equivocating, who is being evasive and vague, who is being clear and answers relevant questions directly, without obfuscation. By that criterion I have to say that my provisional assessment of what is reported from the Middle East leaves me with the impression that Israel is less responsible for the recent mess than Hamas. That's as well as I can do with the immediate information at hand. Maybe more detail, more history will lead me to alter what I think about the matter but for now I am pretty sure that Hamas is the bad guy here, while Israel, as so often in history, is the victim."

Gaza is not Lebanon: "The conventional wisdom about the incursion by Israeli ground units into Gaza, mirrored in Sunday's Washington Post, is that `Israeli leaders run the risk of repeating their disastrous experience in the 2006 Lebanon war, when they suffered high casualties in ground combat with Hezbollah.' Apparently, reporters and pundits are even more prone to refighting the last war than generals: Gaza is not Lebanon; Hamas is not Hezbollah and, most critically, Israel now is not Israel in 2006. To begin with, the physical and geographical differences between southern Lebanon and the Gaza strip could hardly be greater. And while Hassan Nasrallah and the Hezbollah leadership were under air attack in the outskirts of Beirut in 2006, the Hamas leadership has far fewer places to hide in Gaza city and elsewhere in Gaza."

Pointless peace proposals: "Circumstances change, and so do the names of the leading players. Peace negotiators come and go, and so do the details of their agreements. But in the end, there is one aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that always remains the same: When all else has failed, you can be absolutely sure that someone, somewhere, will issue a statement calling for peace. . the trouble with all of these peace efforts, peace conferences, peace initiatives, and peace proposals is that none of them recognize the most obvious fact about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: It's not a peace process; it's a war. At least at the moment, both parties are still convinced that their central aims will be better obtained through weapons and military tactics than through negotiations of any kind."

Don't cheer Obama's "tax cuts": "Cutting, and ultimately eliminating taxes, is dear to the Libertarian's heart. After all, since taxes are expropriated under the threat of violence, they are in essence State sanctioned theft. Unfortunately, unless tax cuts are accompanied by a concurrent cut in government spending, the tax break is simply accounting magic. In a fiat currency system, if taxes are cut but spending isn't, the government covers the revenue gap by printing money, shifting the burden from direct tax collection in the present to indirect future collection in the form of inflation. (Borrowing the money is no better as it forces future taxpayers to pay not only the principle on the initial program but also interest on the bond.) This explains why I am less than enthusiastic about President-elect Obama's `American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan,' although it includes over $300 billion in tax cuts. These tax cuts are not cuts at all. Taxpayers still pay for the government programs, but the cost is hidden from them."

Will Panetta turn the CIA into Obama's secret police? "In a nation already suspicious of its intelligence agencies, is it wise to appoint a former Clinton crony as Director of Central Intelligence? Well, two Democratic officials leaked the story that President-elect Barack Obama has chosen former Clinton White House chief of staff Leon Panetta to run the CIA, according to Los Angeles' newsradio KNX. Panetta is a surprise pick for the post, with no experience in the intelligence world and a reputation as a `dirty-tricks' maven when he worked for President Bill Clinton."

Life in the clown-car fast lane: "Can you believe it? Barack Hussein Obama II hasn't even been inaugurated yet and he's already been interviewed by federal prosecutors in the ongoing Blago mess; he's seen Bill Richardson immolate himself rather than stand the federal grand-jury scrutiny that would have come with his appointment as Commerce Secretary; his boy Rahm Emanuel is both en pointe, having resigned the House seat that was previously warmed by Hot Rod and Dan Rostenkowski, and, apparently, on Patrick Fitzgerald's tapes too; and he's facing the prospect of the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, standing like a homunculus George Wallace in the schoolhouse door, ready to deny entrance to a black man when Roland `We Are the Senator' Burris tries to take Bambi's hardly-even-used seat tomorrow. And here we Democrats thought the Clinton administration could never be topped!"

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here

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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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A good day to be an Australian

It's always a good day to be an Australian but some days feel better than others and the day just gone by was one of those. That thought came to me while I was reading the official transcript of a Prime Ministerial press conference. Anyone who reads government press releases probably belongs to the legion of the lost, if not the legion of the damned, so my only excuse is that I don't do it very often. But with the situation in the Middle East being at such a turning point at the moment it makes all of us who admire and support the heroic nation of Israel (as heroic in restraint as they are in action) unusually anxious to monitor relevant events. And Australian Prime Ministers of both parties have a track record of firm support for Israel.

Before I found the remarks of Prime Minister Rudd on Israel, however, I also found some other remarks by him in his press conference that also pleased me greatly. In the sidebar of some of my blogs, you will find a statement that I have had there for some time. I repeat it below:
As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

I am conscious that the concept of a military career as a high calling would not be endorsed by all and the concept that a military man wears the uniform of his country would also be seen as objectionable by some. The Left, in particular, would generally mock both ideas. So I was pleased that the Center-Left Prime Minister of Australia endorsed both ideas. From the transcript:
I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan. This brave soldier, wearing the uniform of Australia died the field of duty wearing his nation's uniform and wearing it with pride. On behalf of the Government, I extend my condolences to his family and to his friends and to his loved ones. Our prayers and those of the entire nation are with his family and his friends and his loved ones on this most tragic of days....

I've said before that there is no higher calling for any Australian than to wear the uniform of Australia. And on a difficult and tragic day such as today, we are reminded of the cost of wearing that uniform - and that is to ultimately surrender your life for your country. And that is what has happened.

Hear hear!

But now back to Israel: Mr. Rudd and his deputy have both made a point of always mentioning the rockets raining down on southern Israel every time they mention the conflict. Today was no exception:
Australia is deeply concerned by continued violence in Gaza and in Southern Israel. Australia recognises Israel's right to self-defence, while we call on all parties to avoid any actions which result in unnecessary suffering or increased suffering on the part of innocent civilians. The escalation in the conflict, following the incursion by Israeli ground forces, underlines the absolute importance of bringing about an effective diplomatic solution.

Any solution, any diplomatic solution, must find a way of bringing a halt to rocket attacks against Israel by the terrorist organisation Hamas. Any diplomatic solution much also bring about a halt of arms shipments into Gaza.

Furthermore any diplomatic solution must form part of a longer term compact involving Israel and Palestine, based on a two-State solution.

Mr Rudd has a reputation for speaking gobbledegook at times but I think his words above are plain enough.

And from the Conservative side of Australian politics: The Melbourne Jewish community held a rally on Sunday supporting Israel's obligation and responsibility to protect and defend her citizens. Below is a speech given to that rally by coalition Senator Mitch Fifield:
Firstly can I congratulate you all for coming out on a Sunday to stand up for your beliefs. I was talking to Malcolm Turnbull [Leader of Opposition] on the phone just before the rally and he asked me to convey to you all his very best wishes.

Israel is under attack. Not from the Palestinian people. Not from the Palestinian Authority. But from Hamas. A group known by many names. But we here today know exactly what they are. They are extremists. They are terrorists. And Israel has every right to defend itself against them.

Today is a rally in support of Israel. But today is also a rally for her neighbours and the right of all to live in peace. Today we rally for democracy. We rally for freedom. We rally for the rule of law. It is important that we remind the international community that Israel is being attacked from within the borders of a territory that it did not occupy. That Israel is being attacked from within a territory over which it makes no claim.

Hamas in Gaza cannot claim to have been resisting an occupier. Let us remember that Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. Despite this, Israel has come under attack on an almost daily basis from rockets fired by terrorists linked to Hamas. More than 3,000 rockets in 2008 alone.

Hamas care nothing for civilian populations on either side of the border. Hamas fire missiles randomly at population centres in Israel. Hamas intentionally puts the residents of Gaza in danger by hiding weapons in civilian areas. But if you listen to some commentators you could be forgiven for thinking that Hamas was some sort of benevolent religious organisation - a kind of Salvation Army with weapons. The truth is that Hamas seeks neither peace nor prosperity for Gazans.

Some believe that Israel, as the stronger military entity, should just sit back and absorb the rockets, the casualties and the deaths. That somehow every nation except Israel has the right to defend itself in line with Article 51 of the UN Charter. What lies behind such a view is the belief that Israel doesn't have a right to exist and deserves whatever it gets. The State of Israel has the right to defend herself. But more than that, the Government of Israel has an obligation to protect its citizens. To fail to do so would be a dereliction of its duty.

We should mourn all civilian deaths on both sides and hope and pray for a quick resolution to this crisis. The objective should be a sustained end to hostilities. What should not be accepted, however, is a one way ceasefire that just leads to further attacks on Israel. The rockets must stop. Israel's right to exist in peace with its neighbours must be accepted. Israel is a beacon of hope and liberty in the Middle East. It is a great and robust democracy. The people of Israel are free and always will be. And Australia will stand by them.

I am most pleased to be so well represented by Australia's political leadership in the matters discussed above.

And I think that is all that I want to say here today. Shalom.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or 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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Monday, January 05, 2009

THE RULES OF WAR AND THE RULES OF LOGIC

By Prof. Barry Rubin

A major problem in debating about international issues nowadays is that it is so often hard or even impossible to respect our adversaries. It is quite possible to disagree with someone but to be impressed with their ability in constructing arguments, their grasp of logic and facts, their getting things partly right to the point that it makes you adjust your own thinking. Yet nowadays one is so often confronted with deliberate lies, huge factual errors, and just totally illogical claims.

When I am attacked for something I have written-which happens far more rarely than I expected, I am almost always shocked and genuinely perplexed at how very secondary points are chosen for vicious denunciation. The latest example is one sentence, out of a full article, in which I say that Hamas is worse than the Germans in World War Two because the Nazis did not use their people as involuntarily human shields and place ammunition dumps in residential buildings.

Although I didn't mention this in the article, there was a very specific reason for my making that point. I am writing a book on my family and their town during World War Two. I was reading an account by a Soviet army partisan about a military action in which his unit attacked a small town in eastern Poland. The Germans had taken over the Polish Catholic church and fortified it as a defense post.

The battle happened at night and there were no civilians in the building when the partisans attacked it. Still, for a moment I was taken aback because of my own democratic and moderate upbringing and education. After all, the Germans had massacred thousands of Jews in these villages. And I had just read how they had burnt down a Polish family's home-with the family inside-because the peasant husband had given two partisans some water to drink that day. Yet to use a church as a military fort struck me as a bit shocking.

Then I reflected that this very day a mosque had been bombed by Israel's air force after being identified as a Hamas weapons' depot. I had previously written that Hamas wanted civilians to be casualties because this provided good media coverage and international sympathy. And it is notable that as Hamas goaded Israel into war it made no provision for shelters or civil defense for its own people.

Palestinian Media Watch has reprinted a speech made by Fathi Hamad, one of the top Hamas leaders, on the movement's own Al-Aqsa television station from February 29, 2008. He stated:

"For the Palestinian people death became an industry, at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the Jihad fighters excel, and the children excel. Accordingly [Palestinians] created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the Jihad fighters against the Zionist bombing machine, as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: "We desire death as you desire life.'"

How can one explain that the Nazis never behaved in such a way? This is actually an interesting question and one that tells us something very important about the contemporary world. German soldiers fought bravely and German civilians bore up under tremendous sacrifice mainly because they were patriotic. While their cause was unjust, they supported Hitler mainly out of a belief that Germany should be "over all," as the old national anthem put it. They felt victimized by the victorious allies in World War One.

A secondary motive was in the more specific aspects of Nazi ideology: its view of the Germans as a master race, fighting a global battle with the Jewish enemy, and so on.

As nationalists, though, they had to love their country, at least in their own interpretation of it and excluding all the Jewish citizens of course. They wanted prosperity, happiness, and empowerment for the German people. Consequently, the German army and government viewed it as their duty to protect the people. And if they were the master race, all the more need to protect them.

And that is why-if they had ever thought of it-the Nazis would not have deliberately exposed their people to even more suffering by using them as human shields or stockpiling bombs and bullets in their residential buildings. However chauvinistic and inhumane extreme nationalism can be to others, by definition it has to believe itself to be serving those who it identifies as its followers, constituency, and even subjects.

Of course, Hitler led his people to disaster and in the end inflicted tremendous suffering on them. When they realized this fact, the great majority concluded that their ruler had failed them and surrendered or concluded that they had been wrong and the regime was a mistake.

But radical Islamism is different. Its goal is not to exalt its people-Palestinians or Muslims, as such-but to implement God's will. God is above the people. And the deity must be served no matter how many of the people, even Muslims, die or suffer. Thus we see the massive bloodshed in the Algerian civil war and the terrorist attacks against other Muslims in places like Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Even an anti-Israel demonstration in Iraq was hit by a suicide bomber recently.

Thus, there is this tireless emphasis on martyrdom, and people can be martyred even if they don't choose that for themselves. What is startling-and like so many significant facts gone unnoticed in much of the world-is that Hamas never had any program for social development, quality education, improved health, or anything else but warfare for the Gaza Strip. Its only concern was to wage a war of extermination on Israel, no matter how much time and how many lives it cost.

In this same point, we have a very important clue for the international-albeit greatly exaggerated-reaction against Israel. Unable to comprehend that people would behave in this way, many Westerners assume that Hamas really wants a nice, peaceful state in which Palestinian children play happily. As is often said, doesn't everyone want a good life of material prosperity and happiness for their kiddies?

Yet right at the start, on the success of the Iranian revolution almost thirty years ago, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini warned us that anyone who thought the Islamic revolution was about lowering the price of watermelons understood nothing.

And that is the problem with our adversaries in the Western debate. True, they hate us-meaning Israel or America or the West in general-and despite the very principles and institutions that have brought them freedom and a comfortable life. This is, of course, the basis for a political battle. What is truly disconcerting, however, is that they understand so very little about the world, common sense, logic, honest debate, the nature of democracy and dictatorship, and the nature of the real adversary against-irony of ironies-we are protecting them.

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A SENSE OF REALITY

By Prof. Barry Rubin

When you actually hear what the anti-Israel, anti-American and anti-Western forces say, it reveals just how inaccurate is their analysis, often allowed to be given without contradiction in much of the media. Here are two quotes from Yahoo coverage of anti-Israel demonstrations:

1. Paul Mukerji, 42, from Birmingham, acknowledged Israel had security reasons but called its action disproportionate. "The best way for peace for Palestinians and Israelis is to end the occupation," he said.

Yep! End that occupation and all the shooting will stop. As you know, it was Israel's end of occupation in south Lebanon that led to attacks by Hizballah. And Israel's end of occupation in the Gaza Strip that led to attacks by Hamas. And Israel's agreement with the PLO and withdrawal from part of the West Bank raised the level of terrorism there (at least for about half of the last 15 years). No doubt if Israel withdrew completely from the West Bank....

But in logical terms, of course, if you believe that "occupation" causes violence--rather than, say, revolutionary Arab nationalist and Islamist movements that sought total victory--you MUST argue that these are defensive reactions. Of course, they are aggressive ones.

2. Ali Saeed, 24, from Luton, said Western governments had failed to condemn Israel's actions. "What's going on in Gaza is not right ... It's not a coincidence that it's going on in Iraq, in Chechnya, in Kashmir. It's just about going on everywhere. It's almost a direct insult to every single Muslim," he said.

Iraq: Saddam Hussein has repressive dictatorship, Saddam attacks Iran, Saddam attacks Kuwait, terrorists today kill mostly other Muslims in a Sunni-Shia battle. Yes, so why blame America?

Chechnya: One could argue that this is an occupation issue--the Russians have been there for about 150 years-- but the Chechnya rebels have deliberately targeted Russian civilians and killed their own moderates who tried to work out a deal. At any rate, one can contrast Russian methods-leveling the capital city and killing many thousands of civilians-with Israel's, with Hamas admitting 85 percent of the casualties in the current campaign are its soldiers and most of the rest victims of its policy of turning civilians into involuntary human shields.

Kashmir: Radical Islamists backed by Pakistan murder Indian civilians and carry out terrorism in India. To my knowledge, the Indians never used harsh repression in Kashmir, certainly not before the start of a terrorist war there.

And how about:

Massacres of Christians in Indonesia; of Christians and Buddhists in Thailand; of Christians in the Philippines; and of Christians and Shia Muslims in Iraq; and of Christians and Druze and Sunni Muslims in Lebanon; and of fellow Muslims in Algeria and Egypt and Saudi Arabia; and of course al-Qaida attacks including September 11; and the London subway bombings, and the Bali bombing; and the Spanish commuter train bombings; and the Mumbai attacks; and the murder of animists and fellow Muslims in Sudan; and so on.

Once upon a time in the West there were institutions which challenged and corrected a factually ludicrous world view. Now, alas, they often further it. And of course, this isn't the first time-even in living memory-that the world has faced such movements, such falsehood, such places:
"But ideas can be true although men die,
And we can watch a thousand faces
Made active by one lie:

"And maps can really point to places
Where life is evil now:
Nanking; Dachau."

"In Time of War," W.H. Auden, 1939

And now: Kabul, Tehran, and Gaza under Hamas rule. But common sense does prevail. The truth is that the demonstrations have not been impressive in Europe and America, both in size and in the ability of the anti-Israel forces to mobilize non-Muslims in any serious numbers.

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EUROPEANS EMBRACES EVIL AGAIN

Fortunately only some Europeans, mainly Leftists -- but the media amplify their voice. But as Pamela Geller says below, it is hard to believe that ANY Europeans can support a second holocaust -- which is what HAMAS and their ilk aim at

It is hard to believe that while Shoah victims and holocaust survivors still walk among us, that we would witness an evil so severe and grotesque that it would make the rhetoric of the Third Reich look mild. Yes, the Nazis killed millions -- that was the obvious monstrous result of their campaign.

We have not yet witnessed the "final solution" of Islamic jihad -- but there are incontrovertible facts that are blinding. The Nazis hid their crimes. The Nazis pretended to be doing one thing while subversively carrying out its "extermination" of Jews, gypsies, "undesirables", etc. They engaged in rhetoric and obfuscation.

This time is different. The Muslims are not engaging in rhetoric. They are not pretending. They want the Jews dead and they exult in their wild screams of blood lust. Such joy, such happiness at their Jew hating chants from a joyless people.

The Germans went to war, conquered countries and with the help of those weak governments and people annihilated the Jews. The Holocaust was a German initiative subsequently carried out by every nation the Nazis conquered in Europe, with the exception of Denmark. It's not a national initiative this time. It's global........... a wave of evil has washed over this earth like a veritable tsunami and it has colored everything.

I expect this barbarity and Jew hatred from the Arab/Islamic world. It's what they do and what they have always done. But what was the lesson that Europe learned after the holocaust? It was not that evil is bad and that they behaved like monsters, but, as Caroline Glick said in our interview, that " rather that everything was caused by nationalism and therefore what we really need to do is have a European Union that will obviate our need for nationalism so that we can become this transnational gobbletygook and we'll all get together and therefore we won't have another Auschwitz". But really the lesson the Europeans should have been is that "we were evil and we have to be good. And that is the lesson we have to learn and and we have to be able and willing to make moral distinctions and stand up for the good and fight evil and that is something the Europeans refuse to do."

Once again Europe chooses to embrace madness and evil as its central unifying characteristic. And this time England is leading the way. I believe good will triumph over such overwhelming odds and numbers. I know it in my bones, but one has to look at the global landscape and say, at what cost?
Thousands of chanting, banner-waving demonstrators marched in cities across Europe on Saturday to demand a halt to Israeli bombing in the Gaza Strip. Protests were held or scheduled in Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain as the Israeli offensive entered its second week. Kuwaitis also took to the streets, a day after bigger Middle East rallies.

In Paris, police said more than 20,000 demonstrators, many wearing Palestinian keffiyeh headscarves, marched through the city center chanting slogans like "Israel murderer!" and waving banners demanding an end to the air attacks. Similar protests were planned in some 30 other towns.

London police said more than 10,000 people staged a noisy march and rally to urge an end to an Israeli offensive against Hamas militants that has killed at least 435 Palestinians.

In many European cities people waved shoes -- recalling the action of an Iraqi journalist who hurled footwear at U.S. President George W. Bush in Baghdad last month in a symbolic insult. British demonstrators threw dozens of shoes into the street as they passed the gated entrance to Downing Street, where Prime Minister Gordon Brown lives, and shouted angrily at a line of 40 police officers on guard there.....

Paul Mukerji, 42, from Birmingham, acknowledged Israel had security reasons but called its action disproportionate.

Who dictates the proportion? The jihadis?
"The best way for peace for Palestinians and Israelis is to end the occupation," said Mukerji, who said he had spent six months working with Jewish and Palestinian peace groups.

What occupation? There has not been an Israeli toenail in Gaza since 2005. All lies, lies lies.
Ali Saeed, 24, from Luton, said Western governments had failed to condemn Israel's actions.

Failure to condemn self defense? The will to live?

Source

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Creepy Times

There is something especially nauseating about the latest Middle East war - scenes of worldwide Islamic protests with photos of Jews as apes, protesters (in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida of all places!) screaming about nuking Israel and putting Jews in ovens, parades of children dressed up with suicide vests and fake rockets, near constant anti-Semitic vicious sloganeering, Gaza mosques stuffed with rockets to be used against civilians - all to be collated with creepy Hamas rhetoric about the annihilation of Israel. This is the world in which we now live.

Almost no other issue in recent memory has illustrated the moral bankruptcy of much of the international community. Hamas has no pretensions, like the PA, of being a governing authority; it used violence to rout the PA and then bragged that its charter pledging the destruction of Israel remained unchanged. Israel evacuated Gaza; Gazans in response looted their own infrastructure, alienated both the PA and Egypt,and then sent off more than 6,000 rockets against Israeli civilians, while eagerly becoming a terrorist puppet of theocratic Iran.

Nothing could be more clear: either the fact that a constitutional republic was trying to avoid civilian casualties while a terrorist organization was intent on killing Jewish civilians as it used its own citizens as shields to protect mostly young male terrorists; or the world's craven reaction to all this.

Again all very creepy - the stuff of Tolkien's Mordor. It is now clear that the so-called and much praised "international community," the hallowed U.N., the revered EU, all pretty much are indifferent to the survival of a democratic Israel, or are actively supportive of its terrorist Hamas enemy. Only the U.S. (for now) stands by a constitutional state in its war against a murderous terrorist clique, with annhilation its aim and religous fascism its creed.

Source

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here

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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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

On the Ground in Gaza

Prof. Barry Rubin has emailed the article below with a request for immediate publication

Israel didn’t want to attack the Gaza Strip from the ground or from the air. Hamas, which had long broken the ceasefire, canceled it altogether. Then it began large-scale attacks on Israel. This is a war of defense. And it is being conducted just 30 miles from here, Israel’s main city.

According to the just-released Israeli government statement on the offensive:
“The objective of this stage is to destroy the terrorist infrastructure of the Hamas in the area of operation, while taking control of some of rocket launching area used by the Hamas, in order to greatly reduce the quantity of rockets fired at Israel and Israeli civilians.

“The operation will…strike a direct and hard blow against the Hamas while increasing the deterrent strength of the Israel Defense Forces, in order to bring about an improved and more stable security situation for residents of southern Israel over the long term.”

Even as the 2006 war was continuing, the Israel Defense Force was evaluating the mistakes made in Lebanon—helicopters needed better short-range munitions, improved air-ground coordination, care in using tanks unsupported by infantry, and so on.

But contrary to the insistence of armchair strategists now, it would not be easy to seize control of all the Gaza Strip and govern it for an extended period of time. Hamas is not going to go away. International support for Israel is limited. Fatah and the Palestinian Authority will not react strongly to try to take Gaza back for itself. There are about one million people in the Gaza Strip and Hamas will make every attempt to ensure there are civilian casualties—and pretend there are even more.

So “total victory” is not easy, if it is even possible. The irony is that Israeli policy is based on the idea that there is no military solution to these issues. But since there is no diplomatic solution either, force must be used to protect Israel and its citizens.

It should be remembered that Israel withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip, dismantled all settlements, and wished the Palestinians good luck. The Palestinian Authority (PA) was not up to the challenge. It could and would not change its corrupt and incompetent ways. U.S. policy insisted that Hamas be allowed to run in the elections, even though it did not meet the standard of accepting the 1993 Israel-PLO agreement. Hamas won.

But Hamas invoked the radical Islamist policy of “one man, one vote, one time.” It staged a coup and kicked out its PA and Fatah rivals. Rather than focusing on economic development or even maintaining peace to build up its own power, Hamas pursued its strategy of permanent war against Israel. Children’s programs taught the kiddies that they should grow up to be suicide bombers and kill Jews. Hamas soldiers, or their junior allies, fired rockets and mortars at Israel. And of course Hamas staged a cross-border raid and kidnapped an Israeli soldier.

In spite of this, many in the West think Israel has some kind of choice in this matter, that diplomacy was an option, that Hamas could be reasoned with. Those people have clearly never heard a Hamas leader speak or read anything on the group’s Arabic-language websites. In a real sense, Hamas is more extreme than Usama bin Ladin, who periodically offers his enemy the chance to repent. Hamas’s goal is genocidal.

This has nothing to do with being dovish or hawkish, left or right. For those who are the biggest peaceniks—and this is true in Israel—know that Hamas must be defeated if Israel is ever to make peace with the PA. Even the PA knows it, and that’s what they say in private, no matter what they say in public.

The offensive is only going to last so long. It would be nice to believe that Hamas will be overthrown, less extreme Palestinians will take over, or Israel will just sit in the Gaza Strip for months or even years to come without any major problem. These are not real options.

Hamas wants nothing more than to be able to organize an underground to launch daily attacks on Israeli patrols going through the center of refugee camps. It should be remembered that, for better or worse, it was the Israeli military—not the politicians—who wanted to withdraw from the Gaza Strip for tactical reasons. It was easier to hold a defensive line in strength than to play into Hamas’s strong points by trying to control all the territory.

Clearly, this didn’t take into account the rockets but it is easy to think that if Israeli forces had been in the Gaza Strip every day since the withdrawal, Israeli casualties would have been a lot higher while Fatah and Hamas would be fighting side to side against Israel, and international diplomacy would have been far more hostile to Israel.

No one should have any illusions that this conflict is going to go away. The peace process era, 1993-2000, taught us that Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hizballah, and radical Islamist groups meant what they said. They will never accept peace with Israel. Israel will be involved in a struggle with these extremist groups for decades.
Yet that does not mean Israel cannot—and does not—prevail. It prevails by maintaining good lives for its citizens, developing its economy, and raising living standards, progressing in technology and science and medicine.

In this context, Israel will not listen to those many who counsel it to commit suicide, but it also has no illusions of a victory, of a war that will end all wars. And in a real sense that is Israel’s true strength: it is not na├»ve about either concessions or force. If you have realistic expectations, if you aren’t disappointed, then you never give up.

Often, nowadays, it seems as if all history is being rewritten when it comes to Israel. In World War Two, allied air forces carpet-bombed cities even though there were no military bases in civilian areas. In France alone, tens of thousands of civilians were killed by allied bombs that fell on their intended targets.

Even the Nazis didn’t put ammunition dumps in houses and use human shields. And up until now the blame for doing so would fall on those who deliberately and cynically sought to create civilian casualties in order to gain support for themselves
Up until now, a country whose neighbor fired across the border at its people and even staged cross-border raids had the right of self-defense.

Up until now, there has been a capability of understanding which group is inciting hatred, trying to turn children into robotic terrorists, calling for the extermination of another people, and committing aggression.

Many people, many journalists, many governments, and even many intellectuals still understand the most basic principles of right and wrong as well as of the real world. Unfortunately, too many don’t or at least don’t when Israel is the target.

Finally, it is of the greatest importance to understand that this is not an issue of Gaza or of Israel alone. The great issue of our era, of our remaining lifetimes, is the battle between radical Islamism—whether using the tactic of terrorism or not—and the rest of the world. To isolate this question as merely something about Israel is to misunderstand everything important about the world today.
"Fudging" and treading on dangerous ground

"Fudging" is of course what the English do in order to avoid treading on dangerous ground but I have enough independence in me to be rather un-English about that. I mentioned yesterday some of the points made by Punditarian. One point I did not mention, however, was his comment about "fudging". He cautiously mentioned that Jews are rather good at that too. He must be Jewish as I cannot imagine a gentile daring to say so. It could feed the stereotype of Jews as being devious and dishonest.

So let me start out by saying that Australians do a bit of fudging too. And we even call it that. I imagine that fudging occurs from time to time in a lot of places. An essential point however is that British fudging is primarily used to avoid upsetting community or political applecarts. It is used to keep everyone involved reasonably happy. So whether Jews often do that sort of thing from time to time I will leave unanalysed. My point about the matter is that modern-day Jews certainly overlook large opportunities for doing so -- and overlook such opportunities at considerable loss. The example I gave of a way in which Jews could do some good British fudging still seems to me to be valuable: Jews could declare that fundamentalist Christians are after all just another Jewish sect. Like all fudges, that is only partly true but it would surely warm relationships greatly nonetheless. And the importance of warm relationships between modern day Christians and Jews was the whole point of everything I have recently written on the topic.

An omission:

I note that although I have defined "Jew" in what I think is the most reasonable way, I have not defined "English". As an academic, I see that as a regrettable omission and I think it may have led to some confusion. So: As with the Jews, a number of definitions are possible but not all are equally good. Some sort of rough racial description could perhaps be managed, for instance, but for my present purposes, all I need to do is to define the English as the LINGUISTIC group that first came to England c. 1500 years ago and who still live there in the persons of their descendants -- descendants who still speak an evolved version of the same language. That makes no racial claims and in fact what I say is heavily dependant on a cultural claim, as we will see in a moment.

And the descendants of the original German tribes of 1500 years ago have of course received heavy genetic input from other groups: Particularly the previous Celtic inhabiants of what was once Britannia and various Norse invaders (Danes and Norwegians). So racial purity is in their case, as usual, a fantasy. It is however true that the physical and cultural differences between the three major groups were slight so have left little difference that is now detectable.

What is important, however, is the large cultural change brought about by the last (Norman) invasion of England in 1066. Before that event England was getting invaded all the time, with the previous invasion being only a couple of weeks before, in fact. The Normans represented racial groups (Celts and Norse) that were already well represented in England so the change they brought was not a racial one. What the Norman rulers brought to England was a much larger and cannier political perspective and, for one reason or another (due in part, no doubt, to the Norman struggles for independance from France), that perspective hardened rapidly into the alliance-orientation that has characterized the English ever since. And so it still is. Tony Blair sent 15,000 British troops into Iraq not because Britain had been attacked but because America had been.

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Crush Hamas and brave the backlash

CNN International's coverage of the weekend's fighting in Gaza concluded with a rush of images: mangled civilians writhing in the rubble, primitive hospitals overflowing with the wounded, fireballs mushrooming between apartment complexes, the funeral of a Palestinian child. Missing from the montage, however, was even a fleeting glimpse of the tens of thousands of Israelis who spent last night and much of last week in bomb shelters; of the house in Netivot, where a man was killed by a Grad missile; or indeed any of the hundreds of rockets, mortar shells, and other projectiles fired by Hamas since the breakdown of the so-called ceasefire.

This was CNN at its unprincipled worst, grossly skewering its coverage of a complex event and deceiving its viewers. Yet Israel should not have been surprised. Over the past few weeks, as the tahdiyah ("period of calm" in Arabic, the term similarly preferred by the Hebrew press) unwound and finally dissipated, Israel's policy has been to refrain from responding militarily to Hamas rocket fire. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni went to Egypt and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appeared on al-Arabiya TV to bear the message that Israel did not want war with Hamas; instead, Israel was committed to renewing the tahdiyah. The purpose was to build up a moral case for retaliating against a recalcitrant Hamas and limiting the international fallout that invariably follows any Israeli attempt at self-defence.

But the tactic has never really worked and failed this time as well. Within minutes of the first Israeli air strike, the Arabs were screaming "massacre" and the media had all but forgotten the serial assaults that provoked it. The press once again attached the word "disproportionate" and the term "continuing cycle of violence" to describe a supremely justified and largely surgical (the targets were exclusively military, the victims overwhelmingly Hamas gunmen) operation. At the time of writing, the UN Security Council is meeting and will no doubt find Israel and Hamas equally guilty for disrupting the ceasefire and demand its immediate restoration.

One wonders why Israel even bothers. Instead of undermining the Zionist ethos of defending Jewish lives at all costs irrespective of bad publicity and perilously broadcasting weakness to its enemies, perhaps Israel should simply declare that the slightest violation of the ceasefire - a single Qassam - will precipitate an immediate and disproportionate response. Since it's going to be condemned for it anyway, why shouldn't Israel smash Hamas promptly and massively and reap the benefits in terms of self-respect, deterrence, and a respite for its embattled citizens?

More here

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Moral Clarity in Gaza

Late Saturday, thousands of Gazans received Arabic-language cell-phone messages from the Israeli military, urging them to leave homes where militants might have stashed weapons.

Some geopolitical conflicts are morally complicated. The Israel-Gaza war is not. It possesses a moral clarity not only rare but excruciating. Israel is so scrupulous about civilian life that, risking the element of surprise, it contacts enemy noncombatants in advance to warn them of approaching danger. Hamas, which started this conflict with unrelenting rocket and mortar attacks on unarmed Israelis -- 6,464 launched from Gaza in the past three years -- deliberately places its weapons in and near the homes of its own people.

This has two purposes. First, counting on the moral scrupulousness of Israel, Hamas figures civilian proximity might help protect at least part of its arsenal. Second, knowing that Israelis have new precision weapons that may allow them to attack nonetheless, Hamas hopes that inevitable collateral damage -- or, if it is really fortunate, an errant Israeli bomb -- will kill large numbers of its own people for which, of course, the world will blame Israel.

For Hamas, the only thing more prized than dead Jews are dead Palestinians. The religion of Jew-murder and self-martyrdom is ubiquitous. And deeply perverse, such as the Hamas TV children's program in which an adorable live-action Palestinian Mickey Mouse is beaten to death by an Israeli (then replaced by his more militant cousin, Nahoul the Bee, who vows to continue on Mickey's path to martyrdom).

At war today in Gaza, one combatant is committed to causing the most civilian pain and suffering on both sides. The other combatant is committed to saving as many lives as possible -- also on both sides. It's a recurring theme. Israel gave similar warnings to Southern Lebanese villagers before attacking Hezbollah in the Lebanon war of 2006. The Israelis did this knowing it would lose for them the element of surprise and cost the lives of their own soldiers.

That is the asymmetry of means between Hamas and Israel. But there is equal clarity regarding the asymmetry of ends. Israel has but a single objective in Gaza -- peace: the calm, open, normal relations it offered Gaza when it withdrew in 2005. Doing something never done by the Turkish, British, Egyptian and Jordanian rulers of Palestine, the Israelis gave the Palestinians their first sovereign territory ever in Gaza.

What ensued? This is not ancient history. Did the Palestinians begin building the state that is supposedly their great national aim? No. No roads, no industry, no courts, no civil society at all. The flourishing greenhouses that Israel left behind for the Palestinians were destroyed and abandoned. Instead, Gaza's Iranian-sponsored rulers have devoted all their resources to turning it into a terror base -- importing weapons, training terrorists, building tunnels with which to kidnap Israelis on the other side. And of course firing rockets unceasingly.

More here

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Of Bailouts and Boondoggles: The UAW's Ignominious Anniversary

On this week in 1936, United Auto Workers' members occupied a General Motors plant in Flint, Michigan, staging a "sit-down strike" that resulted in the beginning of a thoroughly destructive exclusive labor agreement between the company and the union. With the eager acquiescence of corporate management, the UAW union bosses quickly set out upon a decades-long policy of bleeding the competitive life out of General Motors (and Chrysler and Ford). That policy helped the union emerge as an unrivaled political force and eminently wealthy special interest. But, the relationship was, if anything, parasitic.

Like a parasite devouring its host organism, the union thugs have finally ended up slaying the goose that laid their golden eggs. In this case, however, it must be noted that the goose willingly laid its head upon the chopping block.

Bowing to each and every union demand with slavish obsequity, the Big Three management all but abandoned even the appearance of focusing on long-term viability rather than the next quarter's profits. As Noel Tichy, Noel Tichy, a University of Michigan business professor and author who ran General Electric Co.'s leadership program 1985-87 and once worked as a consultant for Ford, recently wrote, "There has been 30 years of denial. They did not make themselves competitive. They didn't deal with the union issues, the cost structures long ago, everything that makes a successful company."

And as was all but inevitable, soon, both the union and the host will begin to disappear beneath the waves of a free market reality that American politicians can't bail them out of - no matter how much taxpayer money they throw at the problem.

More here

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Obama will try to fix Africa and will fail

Because he will be ineffectual and irrelevant most everywhere else, one place Zero [Obama] will focus his foreign policy on will be Africa. We could call this drama Zero in Africa. He is going to be spending a lot of our money and risking many of our soldiers' lives in Africa. After all, that's where his alleged father is from. It's what the entire liberal elite expects of him. And it won't do any good.

Endless wars, bottomless corruption, disease, tyranny and dictatorship seem standard operating procedure for Africa. Out of the over 50 nation-states on the continent, one can point to the mild success story here and there - but these are exceptions to Africa's being the bottom of humanity's barrel. The coup last week in Guinea is a fine example.

The former French colony has the world's largest bauxite reserves, lots of iron ore, gold, and diamonds, lots of rich farmland. Most of its 10 million people live on less than $1 a day, it was ruled by a thug for the last 25 years until he died, whereupon some completely unknown army captain staged a coup and took over the country. Guineans are hailing him as "Obama Junior."

Africans will be looking to Zero to end their paleolithic poverty and violence, and he won't be able to - because of a fundamental fact he cannot change. The American Psychiatric Association classifies people with an IQ of 70 or below as mentally retarded. The average IQ of sub-Saharan Africans is 67.

Of course, there are plenty of very smart individual Africans. But the majority population of the entire continent of Africa (excluding North African countries such as Morocco and Egypt, and the whites of South Africa) is suffering mental retardation - or, put another way, has the mental faculties of a pre-teenage child. The average IQ in Guinea is 63.

The world's foremost researcher on IQ is Richard Lynn, professor of psychology at the University of Ulster in the UK. His exhaustive research over 30 years has been compiled in monumental studies entitled IQ and the Wealth of Nations and Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis. His latest study is The Global Bell Curve: Race, IQ, and Inequality Worldwide.

Sifting through 168 national IQ studies covering 81 countries and published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, analyzing the entire body of scientific psychometric (psychological measurement) research for the last 100 years, Lynn has determined that:

*East Asians (Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, but not China) have on average 5 IQ points higher than Europeans and European-Americans.

*East Asian mean IQ is 105, China excluding Hong Kong is 100 (Hong Kong is 107, the world's highest), European/European-American is 100, Inuit Eskimo is 91, American Indian is 87, Mexican is 87, American Black is 85, South Asian (e.g. India, Pakistan) is 84, Middle East/North Africa Arab is 83, Sub-Saharan African is 67, Australian Aborigine is 62. The world average IQ is 90.

The key words are "on average." For while the average East Asian is smarter than the average European or American, the latter have greater variability. Which means, especially for Americans whose culture allows for more flourishing of intelligence, there will be a lot more really smart folks, super-smart individuals with IQs above 130 among them. It is these geniuses of science and business that have enabled our culture, that of Western Civilization, to prosper far beyond any other.

And it is just these folks, the brightest and most talented, that Zero will stifle and sacrifice on his altars of Equality, Fairness, and Redistribution. So a lot of them will give up or leave the US - they will shrug, as we discussed last month in Atlas in America.

More here. (Excerpt from post of 02 January 2009)

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here

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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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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