Thursday, August 18, 2011

Official: No Israeli apology to Turkey over raid

Israel will not apologize to Turkey over a raid on a Gaza-bound protest aid ship last year in which nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were killed, Israel's foreign minister said Wednesday.

On May 31 last year, Israeli commandos sent to stop a flotilla of protest ships from reaching Gaza clashed with activists armed with knives, clubs and iron rods aboard a Turkish vessel as the Israelis tried to take over the ship. Israel says soldiers acted in self defense after the activists assaulted them on deck, while the activists say they were defending themselves from an Israeli attack.

The flotilla was trying to break an Israeli blockade of Gaza. Activists charged that Israel was depriving Gaza's Palestinians of vital supplies. Israel said the blockade was necessary to keep weapons away from Gaza's Hamas rulers, calling the flotilla a political provocation.

Ties between Israel and Turkey, once close allies, deteriorated dramatically over the bloody raid. Each side blamed the other. Since then, Turkey has also moved closer to Israel's arch-enemy Iran, further souring relations.

Turkey initially said it would reconcile with Israel only if it apologizes and compensates the families of those killed.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israel's Channel 2 TV Wednesday night that the decision to refuse to apologize sends a strong message to Turkey. "It is a just and wise position. A message of weakness is dangerous to Israel at this time," Lieberman said.

An Israeli official added that Israel had an apology ready as well as a compensation package, but then the Turks added more demands. One was shelving a U.N. investigation into the affair, believed to favor Israel's version of events.



The riots are a warning

Thomas Sowell

The orgies of violent attacks against strangers on the streets -- in both England and the United States -- are not necessarily just passing episodes. They should be wake-up calls, warning of the continuing degeneration of Western society.

As British doctor and author Theodore Dalrymple said, long before these riots broke out, "the good are afraid of the bad and the bad are afraid of nothing."

Not only the trends over the years leading up to these riots but also the squeamish responses to them by officials -- on both sides of the Atlantic -- reveal the moral dry rot that has spread deep into Western societies.

Even when black youth gangs target white strangers on the streets and spew out racial hatred as they batter them and rob them, mayors, police chiefs and the media tiptoe around their racism and many in the media either don't cover these stories or leave out the race and racism involved.

In England, the government did not call out the troops to squash their riots at the outset. The net result was that young hoodlums got to rampage and loot for hours, while the police struggled to try to contain the violence. Hoodlums returned home with loot from stores with impunity, as well as bringing home with them a contempt for the law and for the rights of other people.

With all the damage that was done by these rioters, both to cities and to the whole fabric of British society, it is very unlikely that most of the people who were arrested will be sentenced to jail. Only 7 percent of people convicted of crime in England are actually put behind bars.

"Alternatives to incarceration" are in vogue among the politically correct elites in England, just as in the United States. But in Britain those elites have had much more clout for a much longer time. And they have done much more damage.

Nevertheless, our own politically correct elites are pointing us in the same direction. A headline in the New York Times shows the same politically correct mindset in the United States: "London Riots Put Spotlight on Troubled, Unemployed Youths in Britain." There is not a speck of evidence that the rioters and looters are troubled -- unless you engage in circular reasoning and say that they must have been troubled to do the things they did.

In reality, like other rioters on both sides of the Atlantic they are often exultant in their violence and happy to be returning home with stolen designer clothes and upscale electronic devices.

In both England and in the United States, whole generations have been fed a steady diet of grievances and resentment against society, and especially against others who are more prosperous than they are. They get this in their schools, on television, on campuses and in the movies. Nothing is their own fault. It is all "society's" fault.

One of the young Britons interviewed in the New York Times reported that he had learned to read only three years ago. He is not unique. In Theodore Dalrymple's book, "Life at the Bottom," he referred to many British youths who are unashamedly illiterate. The lyrics of a popular song in Britain said, "We don't need no education" and another song was titled "Poor, White and Stupid."

Dr. Dalrymple says, "I cannot recall meeting a sixteen-year-old white from the public housing estates that are near my hospital who could multiple nine by seven."

In the United States, the color may be different but the attitudes among the hoodlum element are very similar. In both countries, classmates who try to learn can find themselves targeted by bullies.

Here those who want to study in ghetto schools are often accused of "acting white." But whites in Britain show the same pattern. Some conscientious students are beaten up badly enough to end up at Dr. Dalrymple's hospital.

Our elites often advise us to learn from other countries. They usually mean that we should imitate other countries. But it may be far more important to learn from their mistakes -- the biggest of which may be listening to fashionable nonsense from the smug intelligentsia.

These countries show us where that smug nonsense leads. It may be a sneak preview of our own future. "Send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee."



The latest fruits of Leftism

Ann Coulter

Like you, I've been horrified by the eruptions of mob violence around the globe this summer. But having spent the last two years researching and writing a book about mobs, I'm also grateful to the ruffians for taking to the streets so soon after my book was released.

Thanks, you dirty animals. I knew you wouldn't let me down.

When I decided to write about mobs, it was a relatively peaceful period. But as long as there is evil in the world, mobs will never be finally defeated. And as long as there are liberals, there will be some people stoking the mobs.

It was only a matter of time, although even I didn't expect it quite this soon.

Mobs are always the same -- destructive, left-wing and without any clear cause. Why were young people in Britain tearing apart their cities, burning down businesses and stealing electronics and designer clothes? Because the cops shot someone? Please.

What has gotten on the last nerve of rioters in Greece, Paris and Vancouver? They're jobless? Their government benefits have been cut? Their hockey team lost? They might as well destroy police cars because they're upset about rainy days. (That's not a suggestion, by the way -- more of a rhetorical flourish.)

Why were public sector union workers in Wisconsin busting up the capitol and physically attacking Republican legislators? MSNBC's Ed Schultz says it was because Republicans were trying to take away the people's "civil rights." (Evidently, research showed the last seven people actually watching MSNBC were Wisconsin public school teachers.)

You have to do some digging to find out the public sector employees were upset that Republicans wanted government unions to engage in collective bargaining only over salary, but not work conditions or benefits -- all funded by the taxpayers.

Why were black and Hispanic gang members looting after the Rodney King verdict? As if you needed to know, a Los Angeles policeman recently told me that the gang members he arrested in the riots said they didn't know or care about Rodney King.

Why were masked hoodlums smashing Starbucks windows in Seattle a decade ago when some bankers came to town? They're against the "global economy"? What does that even mean?

Like Satan, mobs are good only for destruction and chaos. The putative "cause" is always incidental. As Jesus said, "They hated me without a cause."

The French Revolution is the template for all mob uprisings, and the signal event of that lunacy was an attack on a prison housing only half a dozen prisoners.

As best anyone can tell, the storming of the Bastille was instigated by a rumor that the laughably impotent King Louis XVI was about to stage an attack on the National Assembly. Or perhaps they were upset that the inept finance minister, Jacques Necker, had been fired. Or they thought the Bastille was an eyesore.

(The only other possible cause was recently ruled out when it was conclusively determined that France had no teachers unions in the late 18th century.)

No one is sure -- but a good time was had by all! Except the prison administrators murdered in the attack.

Liberals love mobs because rioting and anarchy is their path to power. Making sound proposals based on facts and logic is not their metier. Issuing impossible promises to the easily fooled is their specialty. For more on this, see "The 2012 Democratic Platform."

The entire Democratic Party is currently promising to "save" Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in their present form. According to Obama's own Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, in less than 10 years, spending on those three entitlement programs, plus servicing the national debt, will consume 92 cents of every dollar in the federal budget.

The Democrats are openly lying to voters. It is a mathematical impossibility for these programs to continue without major reform now, or complete bankruptcy later -- and not very much later.

But Democrats' real achievement has been in destroying the family, and thereby creating an endless supply of potential rioters.

When blacks were only four generations out of slavery, their illegitimacy rate was about 23 percent (lower than the white illegitimacy rate is now). Then Democrats decided to help them! Barely two generations since LBJ's Great Society programs began, the black illegitimacy rate has tripled to 72 percent.

Meanwhile, the white illegitimacy rate has septupled, from 4 percent to 29 percent. Instead of a "War on Poverty," it should have been called a "War on the Family."

The vast and permanent underclass created by the welfare state is a great success story for the Democratic Party, which now has a loyal constituency of deadbeats who automatically vote for the Democrats to keep their Trojan horse "benefits" flowing. It's the Democrats' "heroin dealer" model of government.

Apparently, it takes a lot of government workers to minister to the poor, inasmuch as government employment has skyrocketed in tandem with the family's disintegration. As long as Democrats are serving their principal constituency -- recipients of taxpayer money -- they don't care what happens to the rest of society.

They champion any mob that will increase their political power. Liberals promote welfare dependency, class warfare, endless government programs staffed with public sector workers, street protests, coddling criminals and physical attacks on their ideological opponents. This is how they create reliable Democratic voters.

True, government employees are doing jobs we don't want done, can never be fired, are bankrupting the country and periodically break out in mob violence.

True, also, that the children of broken families sometimes burn city blocks to the ground or kill their great-grandmothers with swords. But what a voting bloc!



Making Washington Inconsequential

WHEN TEXAS GOVERNOR RICK PERRY announced his campaign for president last weekend in a speech to the RedState Gathering in Charleston, S.C., he saved his best line until almost the very end. "I'll promise you this," he said to exuberant cheers and applause, "I'll work every day to try to make Washington, DC, as inconsequential in your life as I can."

To a Democrat steeped in the big-government tradition of the New Deal and the Great Society, there could hardly be a greater heresy.

For liberals, perhaps the only thing more absurd and disagreeable than the prospect of a Washington with radically reduced influence in American life is a presidential candidate pledging to make that reduction a priority. MSNBC's Chris Matthews, a former Jimmy Carter speechwriter and aide to Tip O'Neill, characterized Perry's applause line is nothing less than a call for anarchy. The governor is saying "not just that the era of big government is over," Matthews hyperbolically told his "Hardball" viewers on Monday, "he's saying the era of government is over. . . . Let's get rid of the government, basically."

But to countless libertarians and free-market conservatives, it is exhilarating to hear a candidate talk this way. And why wouldn't it be? After all, large majorities of Americans consistently say they don't trust the federal government and have little faith in the ability of Washington's immense bureaucracy to solve the nation's problems. In promising to curb Washington's outsize authority, Perry is responding to an alienation from government that is very much a Main Street phenomenon.

It is also a relatively recent phenomenon, one that has grown in proportion with the federal establishment's self-aggrandizement. As Charles Murray has written, the more Washington has tried to do, the less it has done well -- including the relatively few functions it used to perform competently. It is only natural that there should be such widespread frustration with the intrusive, expensive federal behemoth -- all the more so when efficient and attractive private alternatives (such as e-mail instead of snail mail) make clear just how apathetic and ungainly big government tends to be.

Over the past half-century, Washington has insinuated itself into a thousand-and-one decisions that individuals or local governments are more than capable of making for themselves. Which medicines can you buy? How efficient should your lightbulbs be? Can your children's schoolday begin with a prayer? Who qualifies for a mortgage? When do unemployment benefits run out? Can you pay an employee $5 an hour if that's what his labor is worth? Should abortions be restricted? Is health insurance optional? Do artists or farmers or broadcasters require subsidies? Are you in charge of your retirement income?



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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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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