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Victor Davis Hanson on What Went Wrong for Obama
: "After Van Jones, Anita Dunn, the Skip Gates mess, the "tea-bagger" slurs, the attacks on Fox News, the Copenhagen dashes, the bowing, the apologizing, the reordering of creditors, the NEA obsequiousness, the lackluster overseas-contingency-operation front, the deer-in-the-headlights pause on Afghanistan, the pseudo-deadlines on Iran, Guantanamo, and health care, the transparency and bipartisanship fraud, and dozens of other things, Obama simply does not have the popularity to carry unpopular legislation forward. Indeed, he is reaching a point where he may poll more negatively than his agenda does. "Let me be perfectly clear" and "make no mistake about it" are now caricatures."
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Martin Luther King on Loving Your Enemies
: "Oh God, help us in our lives and in all of our attitudes, to work out this controlling force of love, this controlling power that can solve every problem that we confront in all areas. Oh, we talk about politics; we talk about the problems facing our atomic civilization. Grant that all men will come together and discover that as we solve the crisis and solve these problems "the international problems, the problems of atomic energy, the problems of nuclear energy, and yes, even the race problem" let us join together in a great fellowship of love and bow down at the feet of Jesus. Give us this strong determination. In the name and spirit of this Christ, we pray. Amen."
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Anne Applebaum: "Not the Wretched of the Earth"
: "In recent years, the emergence of this international jihadi elite has often been blamed on European immigration and assimilation policies or, rather, the lack of them: Several of the Sept. 11 bombers were radicalized in Hamburg; the 2005 London Tube bombers were born in Britain. There are other European examples. But the case of Bayrak, who was educated in a secular Muslim society -- and that of Hasan, who is American -- suggests that this elite has a much broader base and radical Islam potentially a much wider appeal."
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George Will on 2009
: "In 2009 the two most important unelected policymakers in Washington were put in their offices by George W. Bush: Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. In December there were more U.S. troops deployed in the two wars than there were in January. Iran, threatened with economic sanctions, announced plans to sharply increase its uranium enrichment. "North Korea," said Barack Obama in December, "must live up to its obligations." Must?"
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Bill McGurn on Obama and Tyrannies' Dissidents
: "For a man whose whole appeal has been wrapped in powerful imagery, President Obama appears strikingly obtuse about the symbolism of his own actions: e.g., squeezing in a condemnation of Iran before a round of golf. With every statement not backed up by action, with every refusal to meet a leader such as the Dalai Lama, with every handshake for a Chavez, Mr. Obama is defining himself to foreign leaders who are sizing him up and have only one question in mind: How much can we get away with?"
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What Doctors & Patients Lose in Reform
: "Mr. Obama promised that under his plan people wouldn't have to change their doctors. But it's clear that doctors will be forced to change how they make their medical decisions."
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The NEA & Political Contributions
: "The Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in State Politics recently released data showing that the NEA topped the chart as the number one national donor during the 2007-08 election cycle, shelling out $57.6 million in combined federal and state contributions. The American Federation of Teachers was number 25, with more than $13 million in contributions.
"...the NEA’s and AFT’s 2007-08 contributions meant that ‘America’s two teachers’ unions outspent AT&T, Goldman Sachs, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, General Electric, Chevron, Pfizer, Morgan Stanley, Lockheed Martin, FedEx, Boeing, Merrill Lynch, Exxon Mobil, Lehman Brothers, and the Walt Disney Corporation, combined’.”
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Bill Bennett on Cultural Surrender
: We've spoken of battlefields at home and abroad and I received a lot of feedback on my commentary about our culture and our national mindset yesterday when it comes to terrorism here--you can read that commentary at BillBennett.com.
Today we have an update on the most important battlefield we face, the homeland. The Washington Post reports: "Federal authorities unsealed terrorism-related charges against eight men Monday, accusing them of recruiting at least 20 young Somali Americans from Minnesota to join an extremist Islamist insurgency in Somalia."
On another aspect of our cultural problem when it comes to home grown recruits for terrorism, I've long-quoted Melanie Phillips who has written of "pre-emptive cultural surrender." She says western societies suffer from a growing "funk," defined as "a profound loss of cultural nerve which means that we become paralized by the terror of being thought racist, Islamophobic, or xenophobic if we criticize a minority religion, and are further paralized by the terror that any actions against Islamist extremism may provoke civil disorder or more terrorism."
This was clearly the case with Nidal Hasan and Ft. Hood. And it looks like much of the case with the American immigrants from Somalia who were, painful as this is to say, "settled in a gang-ridden enclave of Minneapolis." Minneapolis!
Why is it African immigrants can come here, escaping a forsaken place, for the hope and dream of America and become some of our most patriotic citizens only to see their children sign up for al-Qaeda and its affiliates? We see it, too, with second and more generation Americans like Adam Ghadan and John Walker Lindh. As I've said, youth thirst for a strong medicine, they will seek things like the Boy Scouts or the Gangs. Here they sought the gangs, with inspiration from local mosques. There are today more gang members in America than there are Boy Scouts. I said yesterday we are in danger of losing the idea of what we are fighting both for and against in this war on terror. That's actually only true of the good guys. The bad guys, the terrorists, know what they are fighting against. But what have we done with our teaching about America and what it stands for?
When we constantly run down our country, when our leaders run it down both on the domestic and international stages, when we think we have to apologize to Europe, when our schools instill an ethic of feeling good and promote self esteem over and above a sense of national pride, purpose, and greatness, the vacuum in the soul will be filled with whatever manna is fed our youth. We don't feed them ourselves, so whoever does satisfies the hunger. You want to know the danger of American history being our worst subject, this is it?
Yes, MOST Americans are okay--but how many people does it take to upend this country? One Army major? 19 foreign born Arabs? Well, today's story is about 20 American youth who were recruited for terrorism. We can stop teaching about America in our schools, we can allow leaders to run down the country, we can--in the name of political correctness--refuse to report on suspicious colleagues in uniform who speak of pouring hot oil down the throats of disbelievers, we can bow to foreign leaders, we can make apologies to Europe, we can denigrate democracy movements abroad, and we can stop using the word "terrorism," but there really is only one phrase to describe all that and it is "pre-emptive cultural surrender." And when you surrender the culture, just as when you surrender in war, you lose. When you do it preemptively, it means there was no need for it.
Leon Wieseltier on Obama and Berlin & Iran
: "Obama declared that 'the work of freedom is never finished,' which is true enough, but the urgent question is what he means by “work.” Consider an example. A few days before the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the wall in Berlin, there occurred the thirtieth anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The dictators’ commemoration of that happy day in the history of their dictatorship was ruined by rallies of democrats and dissidents.
Obama’s response was to intone wanly that 'the world continues to bear witness to their powerful calls for justice.'
So does “witness” count as “work”? Was the Soviet Union brought down by “witness”? We did not, on our own, bring the Soviet Union down--it collapsed, pathetically, on itself; but we assisted keenly in its collapse. Are we assisting in the mullahs’ collapse? I think not. Our Iran policy seems not to have discovered the connection between Iranian nuclearization and Iranian liberalization. The only sure solution to the former is the latter. It is no longer a fantasy to contemplate a new Iran.
For this reason, American support for the democracy movement in Iran (he sounds like Bush! and he calls himself a liberal!) is not only a moral duty, it is also a strategic duty. Such support might indeed be “destabilizing,” but there is no stability in Iran anymore, there is only a vicious tyranny fighting for its life against a popular uprising that explains itself with principles that we, too, espouse. It makes sense that the man who takes no side in that fight did not make it to Berlin."
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Andy McCarthy on the Meaning of the KSM Trial
: "So here's the message to terrorists: If you kill thousands of civilians, we will give you better rights than if you attack military assets. That is dangerously irresponsible."
A. Lincoln, To Former Slaves In Richmond Who Kneeled To Him
: "Don't kneel to me. That is not right. You must kneel to God only, and thank him for the liberty you will hereafter enjoy....Liberty is your birthright. God gave it to you as he gave it to others, and it is a sin that you have been deprived of it for so many years."
The Brotherhood of the Ropes
: "Men banded together in a common effort of will and strength--not against this or that imagined foeman of the instant, but against their only true enemies: inertia, cowardice, greed, ignorance, and all weaknesses of the spirit." --Charles Houston
Harry Jaffa on Reclaiming the West
: "It would certainly seem that the salvation of the West must come, if it is to come, from the United States. The salvation of the United States, if it is to come, must come from the Republican Party. And the salvation of the Republican Party, if it is to come, must come from the conservative movement within it. And the salvation of the conservative movement, if it is to come, must come from the renewal and reaffirmation of the principles of the American Founding, embodied above all in the Declaration of Independence, such a reaffirmation as happened in the events that led to the election of Abraham Lincoln."
A Modest Proposal-Victor Davis Hanson
: "I think the president could improve his poll ratings markedly if he simply took all the things he has said about Limbaugh, Hannity, Fox News, the town-hallers, and his domestic critics and instead applied that invective to Iran, radical Islam, Russia, and Venezuela, and, in turn, took all the outreach things he's said the latter and applied them to the former."
Chesley Sullenberger's Advice
: "We need to try to do the right thing every time, to perform at our best, because we never know what moment in our lives we'll be judged on."
The Nobel Peace Prize Isn't That Funny--Peter Kirsanow
: Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama will surely provide lots of material for comedians and joke-writers. But here's a partial list of folks who may not see the humor: — Iranian dissidents — Tibetans — Cuban dissidents — Honduran democrats — Venezuelan dissidents — Georgians — Israelis — Chinese dissidents — Eastern Europeans. Let's hope the list doesn't grow over the next three years.
President Obama to the VFW, 8/17/2009
: "The insurgency in Afghanistan didn't just happen overnight and we won't defeat it overnight. This will not be quick, nor easy. But we must never forget: This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is a -- this is fundamental to the defense of our people."
Michael Ledeen on Negotiating with Iran
: The Obama administration's talks with Iran—set to take place tomorrow in Geneva—are accompanied by an almost universally accepted misconception: that previous American administrations refused to negotiate with Iranian leaders. The truth, as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said last October at the National Defense University, is that "every administration since 1979 has reached out to the Iranians in one way or another and all have failed."
After the fall of the shah in February 1979, the Carter administration attempted to establish good relations with the revolutionary regime. We offered aid, arms and understanding. The Iranians demanded that the United States honor all arms deals with the shah, remain silent about human-rights abuses carried out by the new regime, and hand over Iranian "criminals" who had taken refuge in America. The talks ended with the seizure of the American Embassy in November.
.... In 2007, the Security Council banned all arms exports from Iran, froze Iranian assets, and restricted the travel of anyone involved in the Iranian nuclear program. The following year, it called for investigations of Iranian banks, and authorized member countries to start searching planes and ships coming or going from or to Iran. All to no avail.
Thirty years of negotiations and sanctions have failed to end the Iranian nuclear program and its war against the West. Why should anyone think they will work now? A change in Iran requires a change in government. Common sense and moral vision suggest we should support the courageous opposition movement, whose leaders have promised to end support for terrorism and provide total transparency regarding the nuclear program.
Irving Kristol on Art, Pornography, and Censorship
: "Was anyone ever corrupted by a book? This last question, oddly enough, is asked by the same people who seem convinced that advertisements in magazines or displays of violence on television do have the power to corrupt. It is also asked, incredibly enough and in all sincerity, by university professors and teachers whose very lives provide the answer. After all, if you believe that no one was ever corrupted by a book, you have also to believe that no one was ever improved by a book. You have to believe, in other words, that art is morally trivial and that education is morally irrelevant."
From Justice Robert Jackson's Closing Argument at Nuremberg
: "They stand before the record of this Trial as bloodstained Gloucester stood by the body of his slain king. He begged of the widow, as they beg of you: 'Say I slew them not.' And the Queen replied, 'Then say they were not slain. But dead they are...' If you were to say of these men that they are not guilty, it would be as true to say that there has been no war, there are no slain, there has been no crime."
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