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Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Quasi - socialist hell

When Israeli soldiers retaliate against rocket firing or sniping Palestinians in Gaza or the West Bank, it makes the front page of the Times and engenders the wrath of the academic left. But how many of you know that Syrian tanks and gunboats this week shelled a Palestinian refugee camp of 40,000 in the Syrian port city of Latakia, killing four and prompting thousands of residents to flee for their lives? This according to the Wall Street Journal, perhaps the only paper left in this country where the line between the editorial page and the news pages is still respected.

This is a pretty complicated situation. It has been well known for decades that Arab nations are happy to have Palestinians cause agitation against Israel but would never lift a finger to help them themselves. Syria and Iran are known Hezbollah patrons and have some sympathy for Hamas in its rivalry with Fatah. However, right now, the Assad government is under pressure from the Arab Spring rebellion and so they are concerned about the Palestinians in their midst. It's a natural instinct for bullies like Assad to strike at weakness.

The fact is, no Arab country wants Palestinian refugees in their country. This has been true since 1948. The misery of the Palestinians is caused more by their Arab brothers than it is by Israeli's. This does not go down well with Islamists of all stripes, and you won't find the truth in any Arab school textbooks.

One question is, why aren't our own students learning the truth? For that, you have to understand the attitude of our academic progressives and their contempt for our traditional values. Go to the progressive websites and you will see what I mean. Or ask your kids who are subject to anti-American propaganda in high school and college here at home. The garbage they are subjected to, presented to them as fact, is shocking. We have to work full time to make sure they hear both sides. Even, intelligent, skeptical kids have a hard time coming out of our colleges with a balanced view. Imagine how difficult it is for the unfortunately vast majority of our kids who are not well read and lack the chops to challenge their left wing professors.

There was a very good letter this week in the Wall Street Journal, written by a reader, Jonathan Kahnoski, who finally had enough of the overreaction to the concept of American exceptionalism:

What Mary Rosenthal (Letters, Aug 10) calls America's acting "aggressively around the world for over 100 years," others may cite as our saving the world. The U.S. tipped the balance for Great Britain and France in World War I; we forced unconditional surrender on Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II; we defended South Korea from communist invaders and held the Soviet Union at bay until that last great empire's collapse. When America didn't act "aggressively," millions died in places like Cambodia, Rwanda, Somalia, and the Balkans. No question, America is not and cannot be the world's policeman, but we should remember when we do not bring our strength and values to a situation, people often die by the thousands and tens of thousands.
There is nothing noble or even realistic about denigrating one's own country in the name of giving due respect to other nations. And some of us are quite capable of simultaneously maintaining two thoughts: love of our own country and respect for other countries.

Well said, Mr. Kahnoski. To your list, I would add that we removed one of the real nasty tyrants of the Middle East, Saddam Hussein, and given the evidence of his atrocities that continues to be uncovered, I make no apologies for that. And that has unleashed a chain of events that ultimately will remove Khaddafi, Assad, and the Mullah's in Iran. That is, unless the likes of our current President lose their nerve yet again. One can only hope that voices like the Clinton's and the loyal opposition leaders will overcome the progressive appeasers.

A lot of folks on this side of the pond are having trouble making sense of the riots in the UK, which they assumed was a happy quasi-socialist island with a popular National Health Service, enlightened race relations, and a population well behaved despite a largely unarmed police force. Progressives assume that conservative policies causing higher youth unemployment, particularly among immigrant non-whites, have caused a purely rational reaction. Of course this is bunk. Those actually reading about what has gone down and paying attention will understand that what we are seeing is the logical consequence of socialist entitlement policies, where youth has learned that's what really rational is to avoid work, violently take what you want, and fear no lawful response. Consider these observations (WSJ op ed excerpts):

From Theodore Dalrymple (the pen name of a British physician): The youth of Britain have long placed a de facto curfew on the old, who in most places would no more think of venturing forth after dark than would peasants in Bram Stoker's Transylvania. Indeed, well before the riots last week, respectful persons would not venture into the centers of most British cities or towns on Friday and Saturday nights for fear - and in the certainty - of encountering drunken and aggressive youngsters...The rioters...had a thwarted sense of entitlement that has been assiduously cultivated by an alliance of intellectuals, governments and bureaucrats. "We're fed up with being broke," one rioter was reported as having said, as if having enough money to satisfy one's desires were a human right rather than something to be earned. "There are people here with nothing," this rioter continued: nothing that is except an education that has cost $80,000, a roof over their head, clothes on their back and shoes on their feet; food in their stomachs, a cellphone; a flat screen TV, a refrigerator; an electric stove, heating and lighting, hot and cold running water, a guaranteed income; free medical care; and all of the same for any of the children that they might care to propagate...(Meanwhile), Britain was importing labor to man its service industries. You can travel up and down the country and you can be sure that all the decent hotels and restaurants will be manned overwhelmingly by young foreigners; not a Briton in sight (thank God)...The young unemployed Britons not only regard fixed hours as a form of oppression, they are also dramatically badly educated. Within six months of arrival in the country, the average young Pole speaks better, more cultivated English than they do.

From George Mason University professor Joyce Lee Malcolm: Great Britain's leniency began in the 1950's with a policy that only under extraordinary circumstances would anyone under 17 be sent to prison. But the alternative to incarceration has been simply to warn them to behave, maybe require community service, and return them to the streets. There has been justifiable concern about causes of crime such as poverty and unemployment, but little admission that some individuals prefer theft to work and that deterrence must be taken seriously. Victims of aggression who defend themselves or attempt to protect their property have been shown no such lenience. Burglars who injured themselves...have successfully sued homeowners for damages. In February, police in Surrey told gardeners not to put wire mesh on the windows of their garden sheds as burglars might hurt themselves when they break in. Tony Martin, an English farmer, was sentenced to life in prison for killing one burglar and wounding another with a shotgun during the seventh break-in at his rural home in 1999. While his sentence was later reduced to five years, he was refused parole in 2003 because he was judged a danger to burglars. In 2008, a robber armed with a knife attacked Tony Singh in West Lancashire. During the struggle the intruder was fatally stabbed with his own knife. Although the intruder had a long record of violent assault, prosecutors were preparing to charge Mr. Singh with murder until public outrage stopped them.

And finally, London's City A.M. editor Allister Heath: Fear. Debilitating, widespread fear. The country held ransom by feckless youths...The cause of the riots is the looters; opportunistic, greedy, arrogant, and amoral young criminals who believe they have the right to steal, burn and destroy other people's property...The context was two-fold: first, decades of failed social, educational, family, and microeconomic policies, which means that a large chunk of the UK has become alienated from mainstram society, culturally impoverished, bereft of role models, permanently workless and trapped and dependent on welfare or the shadow economy.
For this the establishment and the dominant politically correct ideology are to blame; they deemed it acceptable to permanently chuck welfare money at sink estates, claiming victory over material poverty, regardless of the wider consequences, in return for acquiring a clean conscience.

If any of this sounds familiar, well, it should. This is where our politically correct elite would take us too. They admire the European socialist model. They would impose the health, unemployment and other entitlements that foster dependency and entrench their political favorites. They believe that it is only they who have the intellectual chops to organize the economic, social and intellectual climate. They are unwilling to allow the rest of us the freedom to pursue our own path. They don't believe that desire for success and fear of failure are necessary to motivate kids to learn, young adults to work, mature adults to stay with and raise families. They don't accept that the world evolved as it did because it works better that way. Allowing it to evolve further will allow mankind to further progress. There are no short cuts. Marx and all the others who believed they could impose their will to accelerate progress only proved the futility inherent in their arrogance.

But don't expect the academic left to ever agree with such common sense. They are the geniuses; they know it all; the rest of us need their guidance. Right.

Meanwhile those of us on the political Right have our own little problem. We've got an incumbent President set up for an electoral defeat and no candidate so far who seems even remotely suitable for the job. Believe me, all we want is someone with Conservative chops who can avoid saying stupid things, refrains from belief in flying saucers and the like, has never advocated secession, witchcraft, converting homosexuals, loyalty oaths, etc. In short, just give us someone who can win. The reason Romney is leading is he's the closest thing to such a candidate, but Romneycare unfortunately calls into question his conservative chops. So here I am, once again in the position of hoping for a deadlocked convention that would draft a hand picked candidate who can win. Someone like Governor Daniels of Indiana for example. This is a quaint, 19th century notion, I'll admit.

The Obama folks are dying to run against a far Right candidate. Their dreams of running against Palin are now supplanted by a desire to run against Bachman or Perry. It won't be them. But who it will be is very much a question, and that's why Romney remains the presumptive candidate, despite his obvious flaws.

The deficit commission has been named and the inescapable conclusion is that they will agree to nothing and we will have across the board cuts, a much less than ideal result. At least the GOP tried to name people capable of compromise, and I have to give credit to Harry Reid for doing the same (as much as it hurts to do so). But the Pelosi picks were brutal, coming from her leadership group and including the noted class warrior Clyburn. At least Boehner resisted naming Ryan, who really wanted in, knowing his lines in the sand could not be breached. Forget about the House Dems; they are incapable of compromise.
Preseason football is only for junkies, the folks who are actually interested in seeing the rookie draftees and free agents play even though most won't actually make the team. This year's pre-season is accelerated because of the lockout, and the usual desire to avoid injury is exacerbated by the inescapable conclusion that the players are not yet in shape. So I hope the gridiron powers that be won't mind if I just ignore these games that don't count. Please wake me up when the bell really rings.


On 8/10, we bought 400 shares of Boyd Corp.(BYD), a zero buy and a sinkhole so far, I might add. The price was 6.02. On 8/12, we paid 24.78 for 100 shares of MetLife Preferred (MET.PR.B) for the IRA. Yesterday, we bought 100 shares of Manpower (MAN) at 41.99, a value buy at these prices.

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