Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Reality triumphant: Cuban/Jewish/Americans

There is a long but very good-humored article by Stephen Steinlight about attitudes to immigration among American Jews which is well worth reading in full. But I particularly liked the excerpt below. The article overall is primarily about retired Jews in Florida. Steinlight finds them much less Leftist than the official Jewish leadership:

The differences between it and the typical Florida Jewish retirement community are substantial. These include such significant factors as: a very different recent history as well as a different one going back hundreds of years; the use of a different primary language at home and when they go out to dine or party; a personal style, even body language that is marvelously vital in contrast to the staid one of the more typical retirees; a far more conservative politics and a long-time involvement in the Republican Party; a tremendously powerful and thoroughly unashamed patriotism; and great pride as Jews, Americans, and Hispanics.

I'm speaking of course about Florida's large Cuban-Jewish-American community. Though in some respects its history and culture are sui generis, as previously noted, some of the elements that make it special are also equally true of members of my audiences in many other parts of America, and those commonalities strongly influence how people, Jewish or Christian, place themselves within the immigration debate. Their commonalities make them powerful allies of the immigration philosophy espoused by CIS: they came to America as refugees from tyranny; are profoundly patriotic; know American Exceptionalism is real; despise post-American attitudes; believe passionately in the rule of law; strongly oppose illegal immigration and amnesty; maintain a high level of civic engagement; feel strongly protective of America; and fear that massive immigration will change the character of America for the worse, both economically and socially.

Like most Americans who are Jews, some of the Cubans have roots in East/Central Europe, but the majority trace their pre-Cuban history to Spain, especially Catalonia, Portugal and France. Forced out by the Inquisition and Expulsion of 1492 into the Sephardic diaspora that included many of the lands that once belonged to the Ottoman Empire – the families of congregants lived for centuries throughout Turkey, Greece (mostly Thessalonica), the Middle East, the Balkans, the Maghreb – many returned to Spain and France only to escape to Cuba during the rise of fascism and Nazism – when no Western power, including the United States, would admit Jewish refugees. Those who survived the Holocaust that wiped out most of their families and communities joined relatives and friends in Cuba. Arriving destitute, thoroughly traumatized, and in deep mourning, the community prospered there until Castro came to power when almost all fled to America with nothing, starting over once again from scratch, a familiar pattern.

Many now in the learned professions or successful businesspeople remember their early years in Miami, knocking on doors asking for work hauling trash, cleaning garages, repairing cars, doing whatever they could do to support their families. Over time the community again prospered, and its descendants form one of America's model minorities: groups who began in poverty but arrived not only with a strong work ethic but also with deep respect for learning that provided the engine of rapid upward social and economic mobility. With little help from the wealthy Florida Jewish community, they achieved their success with their own hands, a source of great pride (and some resentment). What they dreamed of America provided in full measure: a tolerant free society, a level playing field (they were white, after all, and the hindrances associated with being Jews caused minor irritants compared to what they had experienced elsewhere), opportunities for higher education, and plenty of scope for their exceptional entrepreneurial abilities.

Like many other immigrants, their strong traditional values and powerful sense of religious and cultural roots enabled rather than impeded the desire to become full members of their new country. A result of growing up under communist tyranny and having a strong entrepreneurial spirit it is hardly surprising that their politics were and are predominantly conservative and their attraction to the Republican Party was and is natural. Sometime, as happens occasionally with Eastern European refugees from communism, there is a tendency to project fears of communism onto garden variety American liberalism, but if that prior life experience can sometimes be a source of hasty over-determined political judgment, it has been and remains a source of strong dedication to individual liberty, belief in the reality of upward social mobility, the defense of private property, and their suspicion of the danger represented by the power of the government, even when it appears to be wielded in the interest of the common good.

Some of the mainstays of American leftwing politics and culture are simply intolerable and inexplicable to them, a result of growing up in the worker's paradise. Having lived under tyranny and now living in freedom, they cannot understand post-Americanism, which they see as blind ingratitude or treason. Having suffered under and escaped societies and systems – whether Nazi or communist – whose power in large measure was enabled and then justified by the extinction of constitutional and statutory law and its replacement by prerogative law – that is to say, the "law" being whatever the Party or political class finds politically convenient – they are appalled at the wholesale violation of the rule of law in the context of immigration, and stunned that the federal, state, and municipal governments and law enforcement wink at it.



Islamists and Leftists co-operate because both idealize collectivism

The history of Islam and the modern Left is one of cooperation when there is some obstacle to their divergent concepts of “social justice” and the perfect society. These are always marriages of convenience, enduring no longer than the enemy that drives them into each other’s arms. But, reliably, it is they — the Islamists and the leftists — who come together when there is a third party in the mix. Rarely will one collude with a common enemy against the other. Today, the common enemy of Islamists and leftists is individual liberty, especially the social, economic, and political freedom guaranteed by the American Constitution, as conceived by the Framers. Conceived, that is, by men who saw government as a necessary evil to be rigorously limited lest it devour true freedom — not as an essential good to be empowered for the very purpose of enforcing servitude.

Collaborations between Islamists and leftists — past examples and those happening right before our eyes — are numerous, so much so that I admit to being dumbfounded by the frequency of the question of whether they really happen. That there is collusion is undeniable.

That collusion is a major theme of my book, The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America — “grand jihad” and “sabotage” being the Islamists’ own terms for what they describe as their plan to “destroy Western civilization.” By the time the book was published last spring, the Center for Constitutional Rights, a New Left flagship created by radical lawyer William Kunstler in the 1960s, had spent nearly a decade spearheading the representation of jihadists captured making war against the United States.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) — whose founders were ardent admirers of Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, and whose current executive director said, right after the 9/11 attacks, that “we should put the State of Israel on the suspect list” — was at the forefront of Islamist organizations then campaigning for the enactment of Obamacare, when MPAC wasn’t otherwise occupied by the numerous executive-branch agencies that regularly seek its input on any number of issues.

This should have been no surprise, for history is littered with Islamist/leftist confederations — e.g., the Muslim Brotherhood’s support of the military coup led by Soviet puppet Gamal Abdel Nasser to overthrow the British-backed Egyptian monarchy; the avowed “Islamic socialism” of the Pakistan People’s Party; the blend of Islamists and leftists that has always composed the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The interesting question is not whether it occurs, but why. To anyone who studies the matter, as the liberty-loving Muslim reformer Zuhdi Jasser has, the Islamist enthusiasm for statist schemes like Obamacare is easy to decode. Islamist organizations are collectivist groups, Dr. Jasser explains. They fall squarely in line with the socialist platform of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is, as Dr. Jasser puts it, to “increase the power of government through entitlement programs, increased taxation, and restricting free markets whenever and wherever possible.”

That platform is the legacy of Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, and of Sayyid Qutb, the Brotherhood’s most formidable theoretician. Decades after their deaths, both these men remain required reading for budding Islamist activists in Brotherhood-inspired redoubts like the Muslim Student Association, the Islamic Society of North America, and the International Institute of Islamic Thought.

An animating goal of these organizations is to have Islamic principles recognized by government and enforced through the state’s coercive power. These principles needn’t be known as “Islamic” any more than leftist pieties are advertised as “leftist.” They need only reflect what Islamists, like leftists, call “social justice.”

This is perhaps most clearly illustrated in Qutb’s tract, Social Justice in Islam. The book teaches that Islam is about the collective, and that those who resist the Muslim ummah must, as Rousseau would have said, be “forced to be free.” According to Qutb, “integrating” humanity in “an essential unity” under sharia is “a prerequisite for true and complete human life, even justifying the use of force against those who deviate from it, so that those who wander from the true path may be brought back to it.”

Islamists and leftists have several significant differences. Qutb saw communism as far preferable to capitalism but too obsessed with an economic determinism that discounted the spiritual. The two camps part company on the equality of women and of non-Muslims, on matters of sexual liberty, and on abortion. If the world were populated only by Islamists and leftists, they could not coexist. Their marriages of convenience can have savagely unhappy endings once the common enemy that has drawn them together has been overcome. In Egypt, the Islamists were brutally persecuted by Nasser; in Iran, the secular leftists were routed by Khomeini.

Nevertheless, for all their differences, what unites Islamists and leftists is stronger than what presently divides them. They both support totalitarian systems. They would both attempt to recreate mankind, intending to perfect us by indenturing us to their utopian schemes. Their general will cannot abide free will. They both abhor individual liberty, unfettered reason, freedom of conscience, equality of opportunity rather than result, and bourgeois values that inculcate a devotion to bedrock Western principles and traditions.

That is why Islamists and leftists work together. It is why they will continue working together as long as there is resistance.



ObamaCare's March Madness

After one year as the law of the land, mayhem abounds

Sports fans relish this time of year for the NCAA Championship Basketball Tournament, aka "March Madness." But this year the tournament has a serious contender for that title. March is also ObamaCare's anniversary month.

Last year, President Obama gave Congress an arbitrary deadline to pass his health-care takeover legislation before the Easter recess at the end of March. This forced lawmakers to hurry their votes on a deeply flawed bill that very few of them had read. Worse, many made false promises to secure final passage.

We're already seeing ObamaCare's madness in its first year of implementation, which is why the American people continue to call for defunding, repealing and replacing it with more sensible reforms. Here are a few examples of the mayhem.

* More than half the states—28 and counting—are challenging the law in court, saying that it violates the constitutional rights of their citizens and the sovereignty of the states. A new study from the Senate Finance and House Energy and Commerce Committees found that as a result of ObamaCare, budget-strapped states face at least $118 billion in unfunded mandates during the first 10 years after the law takes effect.

* Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has handed out nearly 1,000 waivers to allow select companies, unions and states to escape, at least temporarily, some of the burdensome new insurance rules she has created. This is a continuation of the trend of the "Cornhusker Kickback" and the "Louisiana Purchase" that Senate Democrats used to get the law passed in the first place, and that so disgusted the American people.

* Independent experts have shown that the cost of health insurance will rise faster than it would have without the law. The Congressional Budget Office expects the price of a family policy in the individual market to be $2,100 higher by 2016 than it would have been had the law not passed. In at least 20 states, it's now impossible to buy child-only health insurance because of Ms. Sebelius's onerous new rules.

* Seniors are at risk of losing access to physicians and medical care. Medicare actuaries say that the cuts built into the law will force as many as 40% of providers to eventually stop seeing Medicare patients or go bankrupt.

* Many thousands of people are already losing the health insurance they have now as companies are exiting markets for individual, small group and Medicare Advantage coverage.

* The former director of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, says that the costs of ObamaCare are set to explode when employers opt to drop coverage and send their workers to the new, federally subsidized health exchanges for coverage. He estimates that this will drive up the cost of the law by $1 trillion or more in the first 10 years.

The list goes on and on. It's time to stop the ObamaCare madness before it becomes another entrenched entitlement program.

To protect taxpayers and our health sector, Congress can begin by defunding ObamaCare at every opportunity. Next we need a president and a Congress that will vote to repeal the law and start over with sensible reforms. The stakes are high for the capacity of patients and doctors to choose and control their medical choices, and for all Americans' freedom and prosperity.




Obama restarts Guantanamo trials: "President Barack Obama reversed course Monday and ordered a resumption of military trials [sic] for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, making his once ironclad promise to close the isolated prison look even more distant. Guantanamo has been a major political and national security headache for the president since he took office promising to close the prison within a year, a deadline that came and went without him ever setting a new one."

France: Chirac faces corruption trial: "Jacques Chirac today became the first French President since 1958 to go on trial on criminal charges. The 78 year-old former Head of States is accused of embezzlement, breach of trust and conflict of interest, based on allegations linked to his tenure as Paris mayor — before he began his presidency (1995 to 2007). It is however unclear whether the trail will in fact go ahead since one of Mr. Chirac’s co-accused has filed a complaint based on procedural issues and the judge could adjourn the proceedings until further notice. The trial is being held in the same court where Queen Marie Antoinette was tried in the aftermath of the 1789 French Revolution (she was later beheaded at the Place de la Concorde)."

Social Security's "trust fund" was robbed long ago: "In a recent column, I noted that Social Security is often 'middle-class welfare' that bleeds the country. This offended many readers. ... Some argued that Social Security, with a $2.6 trillion trust fund, doesn't affect our budgetary predicament. Wrong. As a rule, I don't use one column to comment on another. But I'm making an exception here because the issue is so important."

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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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