What A Terrorist Wants

SCENE:  December 8, 1941, in the well of the House of Representatives – in an alternate universe.    President Barack Delano Obama is addressing a joint emergency session of Congress.

OBAMA:  Yesterday, December Seventh, 1941, is a day which will live in infamy.

Now, let me be clear:  this attack did not represent the Real Japan.  Japan is an ancient, honorable culture, dating back over 2,000 years; Shinto is a religion of peace, famous for its pastoral scenes and transcendental poetry.

And this attack does not represent the real Japanese people; a people who invented sushi, and baseball, and the number zero, named after their fighter plane.

We know the attackers were the junior varsity; who even knew the Japanese had aircraft carriers?

The lesson of yesterday?  We must not give in to fear, or bigotry, in framing our response to this attack.  We must not let fear drive us to launching an air raid on Tokyo, or a two-pronged offensive through the Solomon Islands, or an island-jumping campaign through the Central Pacific, because that is exactly what the attackers want.  If they force us to attack them, we are playing their game, their way.

We must respond to the parts we control – to the National Rifle Association, which has, through the intransigence of Congressional Republicans,  made it easier for criminals like the attackers to buy bombs than books in Tokyo.

I urge Congress also to accelerate passage of the Affordable Defense Act.

Thank you, and let’s not waste this crisis.


I’m all for taking in refugees from other countries.

One of the greatest influences on my 18 year old life was a family of Polish refugees who came to North Dakota.  Seeing and hearing about life under Soviet rule was one of the things that set me on the glide path toward voting for Ronald Reagan when I was a few years older.

Anyway – I’m all for taking in people who genuinely have no place else to go. And yep, you can hear a certain fringe of anti-Muslim animosity and, yeah, racism among some opponents of throwing the floodgates open to immigration from the Middle East (and everywhere else), but the fact is that the US has taken in 70% of the UN-designated “refugrees” that have actually been resettled in recent years – and it’s the Obama Administration that has been picking and choosing the refugees it wants to take; out of 3.6 million refugees from Afghanistan, South Sudan and the Central African Republican in the last couple years, the Obama Administration has accepted less than a thousand.

But let’s not focus on the administration for now.  Let’s focus on organic criticism.

Racism is in the minority,  among a lot of people who say “look at what’s happened in Europe” and “have we learned nothing from the Somali influx”, where the government essentially dumped thousands of Somalis here without any support, with thousands of passive Jihad sympathizers and where dozens, maybe more, have gone off to join ISIS and/or Al Shabab,?

At any rate – advocate for immigration if you want. I’m with you. My beef isn’t with immigration, or taking in refugees, or even Islam at large.  It’s with the avalanche of emotional, illogical, logrolling arguments we’re being subjected to by immigration proponents.

So – if you’re passing any of the arguments below, especially with the air of suffocating self-righteousness that seems to be so in fashion with these sorts of arguments these day, we may have to talk.

“We HAVE to take in refugees! There are women and children among them!” Sure – but a disproportionate number are men, especially men who are of military age.

“Have you seen the state the children are in?” So give them a leg up on getting in to countries. Why is this an all-or-nothing proposition?

“But they’re fleeing WAR”! Many if not most of the “refugees” in Europe right now are economic, not war, refugees, from places like Somalia and Sudan that may be pretty miserable, but aren’t war zones.

“It’s just like the WW2 Internment camps!” No – the camps interned American citizens. The refugees are not citizens, and there is no human right to enter this country. None.

“None of them have attacked anyone yet!” Well, that’s just awesome. On 12/6/1941, no Japanese plane had ever attacked American territory. On 9/10/01, it’d been 56 years since any American had been killed by a deliberately-crashed plane. As they say in investing, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

In fact, let’s say, hypothetically, that not a single would-be terrorist infiltrates the US via this wave of immigration. It could happen!

But then let’s say the refugees are resettled in the same manner than the State Department is handing Somali refugees; paying social service non-profits to put them in communities, supporting them for a year, and then washing their hands of them.  This leaves communities of unacculturated immigrants with little skill in English (or, what the hell, Spanish), menial job skills, and little contact in the larger community.  What happens to them?

If they’re lucky, they get a decent job with neighborly Americans who introduce them to American life.  Or they land in a community that has some Somalis that’ve established  themselves, and are among the 85-90% of Somali that are not Jihad sympathizers, and who’ll help them complete the transition as relatively cleanly as possible.

If they’re not?  They’re alone, stranded in a strange country, poor and dependent, speaking the language poorly if at all, and ripe for the picking by the thin film of opportunistic, Jihad-sympathetic imams that are working that population even as we speak.  Which brings us to the next point:

“All of the Paris terrorists were French Nationals!” – Oh, goody – so the fact that people who have been in the west for a while, long enough to gain or be born with citizenship, are blowing up their countrymen is the good news?

If the Administration plans to use the Somali influx as its model – dumping masses of poor immigrants into our communities, unsupported – how do we avoid these new communities turning into the the like of the Arab suburbs of Paris, Lyon, Brussels and Stockholm, which were in fact the breeding grounds for the last few waves of Paris attackers?

“It’s just exactly like when the Jews tried to flee Nazi Germany”: Not even close. The Jews of the 1930s had *nowhere* to go, and no state of their own to take them in. They were excluded from the US due to pure anti-semitism. The VAST majority of this wave of refugees are already someplace safe; Greece, Germany, Jordan, Egypt, wherever. Nobody’s going to ship them to a concentration camp, or kill them (unless ISIS takes over Greece, Germany,Jordan, Egypt or wherever.  The Arab world is chock full of countries with immense wealth and space – but no impetus to take in refugees. We can not forever be the world’s safety valve.

“They’re just looking for a safe place” Some, maybe most, are. But they’re also making beelines for Germany and Sweden and France, as opposed to safe places like Poland or Slovakia or even, for crying out loud, Lithuania, which is rolling out the welcome mat but doesn’t pay welfare benefits to refugees. Why do you suppose that is?

“Look at this photomeme of the Indians and Pilgrims! Ironic!” Well, yeah. I guess you could say it’s ironic that your dimbulb photomeme supports *my* point better than yours, ja?

“Mary and Joseph were refugees looking for a place to stay!” No, they were paying their taxes at the behest of the government. The Judean IRS was apparently even worse than ours.  But let’s say they were refugees; that was a pretty gutsy innkeeper, what with that Judean movement that was beheading Nazarenes in the streets.

“It’s just fear!” – That’s not an argument. That’s bullying. By the same “logic”, owning a fire extinguisher and looking both ways before you cross the street is “fear”. No, “fear” is a chanting point, intended to emotionally bully people into doing what they’re told.

“It’s racist to oppose the resettlement” Look – see above.  Historically and in recent years, we’ve taken in more of the refugees that have been taken in than the rest of the world, twice over.  And that’s on top of the illegals.  America’s Muslim population is on track to exceed its Jewish population – the largest outside Israel – very shortly here. If there’s “racism” out there, it’s taking its sweet time manifesting itself. Beating people over the head with accusations of “bigotry” isn’t an argument; it’s browbeating and bullying.

It’s logrolling – the same cheap emotional bludgeoning that supporters of same sex marriage used to browbeat anyone who said “er, maybe we want to think a little before we fundamentally alter society’s fundamental building block” into compliance. Whether you agree with gay marriage or not (I barely agree with straight marriage), it was depressing, seeing society decide a crucial issue the exact same way the Mean Girls did back in junior high.

And I’ll tolerate none of it.

Cannon Fodder

Jow Doakea from Como Park emails:

Secretary of State Kerry’s remarks about Paris. Revealing quote:

“There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that. This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people. It was to attack everything that we do stand for. That’s not an exaggeration. It was to assault all sense of nationhood and nation-state and rule of law and decency, dignity, and just put fear into the community and say, “Here we are.” And for what? What’s the platform? What’s the grievance?”

The official representative of the Obama Administration says the cartoonists deserved it, but shooting up a rock concert – that’s just wrong. This is a perfect example of the elitist attitude and a perfect explanation why American public policy is so messed up.  

There was no urgency to address terrorism when the people being killed were Jews or ambassadors or cartoonists. There was no problem because it did not involve an elitist, safe in the cocoon of privilege and tucked away in government offices or behind Ivy League walls. But now there is a problem: now, Islamic terror could harm people in Kerry’s strata of society. Now, terrorism is indefensible and intolerable.  

It’s the same elitist attitude towards gun control. 50 young Black men shot in Chicago ghettos is part of their colorfully diverse culture, 100 rural White men committing suicide were probably hateful racists anyway, but one nut with a gun at college or a theatre – that’s indefensible and intolerable because he might accidentally harm one of the elite. 
And swarms of immigrants/refugees aren’t a problem – on the contrary, they provide a ready supply of nannies and gardeners, meat packers and computer programmers, cheap and disposable and if you don’t like it, you should leave – but wait until we suffer a European-style invasion and suddenly there are millions of scruffy people camping on the golf courses, beheading policemen, breaking into gated communities to loot homes for food and clothing – then it’ll be a problem requiring immediate action. Then, Korematsu will be dusted off and acclaimed as binding precedent. Mouthing pious platitudes about diversity and tolerance will become as unfashionable as waving a Confederate flag.
For people like Kerry, society must act when someone threatens their lifestyle, but not before.  
Elitism; it’s an ugly thing.
Joe Doakes

As I pointed out immediately after Sandy Hook, every year the equivalent of several classrooms full of children are killed in Chicago.  But since they don’t look like the children of NPR executives –  being all black and brown and all – nobody pays much attention.least all our “elites”.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Larry Correia writes the Monster Hunter series, which are pretty good SF.  He’s also a Gun Guy, truly one of us.  His column about Paris:

I like this line, talking about the Obama administration failures in the Middle East:

“. . . the western world was literally cheering Putin getting involved. How badly do you have to f**k up that your allies are happy the Russians moved in instead?”

Joe Doakes

Correia’s a sharp guy.

And the answer to the rhetorical question is “Badly.  Very badly.”

Saturday’s NARN Is Today’s Headline

Last Saturday, during my conversation with Peter Johnson of Archway Defense, we noted that 85-90% of Somalis living in the US (and Minnesota has the largest population of Somali expats living outside Kenya) are, most likely, perfectly good immigrants, on their way to being perfectly good citizens.

The remaining 10-15% seem to have some level of sympathy for Muslim extremists.  That sympathy falls in several levels, listed from the most to least common:

  • People who think “the extremists might have a point”, but won’t take any action, and will likely not support much in the way of overt non-rhetorical action by others.
  • People who have sympathy for the cause, and don’t mind if others take some non-violent action.  I’m a pro-lifer, for an example – and I want to win that battle peacefully.  So I would definitely drop a dime if I heard someone was planning on killing an abortion clinic doctor.  But I would likely look the other way at someone vandalizing a Planned Parenthood poster.   That’s the idea, here.
  • People who sympathize with the cause, but would never kill anyone, and don’t want anyone around them killing anyone, but aren’t all that upset that someone is breaking heads for the cause.
  • People who’ll look the other way at people who take more aggressive action around them – for example, someone who’s brother-in-law is collecting lots ammonium nitrate and 7.62x39mm ammo for some unknown purpose.
  • People who’ll take passive roles in more aggressive activities – providing information, hiding contraband, donating money – without taking aggressive action themselves.
  • People who get actively involved in aggressive hostilities.

That last group is a tiny part of the population – but, as we’ve seen in the past couple of years, a tiny part of 100,000 Somalis still adds up to a disconcerting number of Minnesota residents tramping round the Horn of Africa with rifles, or blowing themselves up.

(And let’s be clear on this; most of the information our police and intelligence do have on the people in these categories comes from the other 85-90%).

Anyway – I do urge you to listen to that hour of radio…

…before reading the Strib telling you exactly the same thing.


I’ve recently became aware of “Muggeridge’s Law” – I have an article coming up on the subject.  Muggeridge’s Law states that it’s impossible to be funny, since one’s most hamfistedly satirical “predictions” will inevitably be borne out in fact.

When I first heard the news of the terrorist attacks in Paris, I thought – I kid you not – “some gun grabber group will blame this on the NRA”.

Muggeridge reared his head; the ghouls at “Moms Want Action” struck over the weekend:

I won’t bother asking if “Moms Want Action” is aware that the terrorists used plenty of explosives, or that their guns were the kind of fully-automatic AK47s that are illegal in Wyoming and Kansas, much less France, where the law-abiding citizen can’t easily get permission to own, much less carry, a handgun.   They don’t know the difference, and if they did, they wouldn’t care, because their  goal isn’t to convince people who know what they’re talking about (99% of whom are pro-Second-Amendment), but rather to Lie First, Lie Last, Lie Always to keep the uninformed in line.

I won’t even ask if they’ve noticed that this is the the third major terrorist attack in gun-free Paris involving guns and explosives this year; the death toll among them all is hovering close to 150 – almost as bad as Chicago – and there’s no way we’re done.

The Twin Cities gun grabber groups don’t want a conversation, much less an open debate.  They made this clear last month.

I’m about done waiting for them to come to the debate.

The Next Prohibition

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Obama and Candidate Clinton suggest The Australian plan: ban possession of guns and ammo, buy-back from those who will voluntarily participate, and wait for attrition to eliminate the rest.

How does this plan differ from the federal government’s treatment of cocaine, which has been banned for 101 years but remains widely available and reasonably priced?

Put another way, which is harder to smuggle into the country: a pound of cocaine or a pound of bullets?
Joe Doakes

Obamas inability to learn from world history is legendary.

Why would American history be any different?

Who Knew?

Some European countries aren’t having epochal refugee crises:

Other countries without an extensive welfare state don’t seem to have Sweden’s problem. Reuters reported that Lithuania “is throwing its doors open to refugees fleeing war and hardship in the Middle East, but is finding few takers.” Rimantas Vaitkus, deputy chancellor of the Lithuanian government, told the news agency: “We are prepared to accept refugees immediately, but there are no refugees in Italy or Greece who agreed to resettle in Lithuania. . . . It seems that refugees know about Sweden, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, which either have generous social security or have been actively attracting immigrants.”


There simply must be some mistake.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Wretchard, writing at The Belmont Club:
Just read it.
Joe Doakes

I won’t quote from it; you really just need to read every single word of it.  It really is the most complete indictment of the Obama Administration’s failures I’ve seen in one place – and, more importantly, their most likely consequences from this point on – that I’ve ever seen, from someone who knows foreign policy better than just about anyone in the American media.

Wages Of Charity

A couple of elderly Holocaust survivors assaulted in a genuine hate crime in the Netherlands:

Samuel (87) and Diana (86) Blug, two elderly Holocaust survivors, fell victim to a vicious and violent anti-Semitic attack at their home in Holland a month ago.

According to a Yedioth Ahronoth report on Sunday, the couple were only able to come forward now and recount what happened to them.

The Blugs say two men, who looked to be of Moroccan descent, knocked on the door to their apartment, claiming to be the police and demanding entrance.

As soon as Samuel opened the door, the nightmare began. Two men dressed in black barged into the apartment and started severely beating the couple.

The assailants threw the couple on the floor, kicked them repeatedly and shouted: “Dirty Jews – from now on your property is ours.”

After tying up the badly injured couple, the thieves ripped Diana’s jewelry off her body. At gunpoint, they forced the couple to tell them where the rest of the valuables in the apartment were located.

Samuel was blinded in the assault and suffered a broken femur. Both he and Diana, who were living independently before the attack, are now confined to wheelchairs at a rehabilitation center in Amsterdam.

“Those bastards have destroyed our lives,” Samuel said in tears to Yedioth Ahronoth. “I have severe pain. I’m completely broken inside,” Diana added.

Emmanuel, the couple’s son, has offered a prize of ten thousand euros to anyone who can provide information that will lead to the arrest of the assailants.

He also circulated pictures of the beaten Diana and Samuel, urging “the world to see what they did to my parents.”

Americans are a nation of migrants and, in many cases, refugees.  We tend to be the most generous nation on earth.  Most of us – and I include myself – would love to be able to help the refugees.

But the stories coming from Eastern and Central Europe are in all too many cases not the stories of people coming to free lands for fresh starts.

And before anyone says it – yep.  American natives have said the same thing about pretty much every wave of immigration i American history.  And they’ve been right, to an extent; each wave of immigration changed this country.

And it’s not as if every wave of immigrants came here with clean hands and no grudges; Scots and Irish came here with bones to pick with the Brits; French and Germans came here fresh from innumerable European battlefields; Russians, Poles and Jews – the pogrom thrower and the pogrom victim – all came here, as did the Armenians and the Turks.  And somehow, after a generation or two, most of them pretty well fit in as Americans, and buried their squalid ancestral squabbles and hatreds, and got down to work.

The difference is, every previous wave of immigrants has, inside a generation of two, assimilated to American life.

But at the same time as our government has officially switched from emphasizing assimilation in favor of integration – they’re very different things – we are faced with a wave of refugees that, as their numbers crept well out of the 1-2% range in Europe, have shown no desire to assimilate, and who seek integration on their own terms, making their neighborhoods in London and Stockholm and Paris and Hamburg effectively off-limits to the rest of society.

All of them?  Certainly not.  But enough of them to where “assimilation” looks like a dim prospect, ever.

And with that in mind, I think it’d be just an outstanding idea if Minnesota’s congressional delegation slowly stepped back and thought for a moment; are they being compassionate, or giving into irrational, PC exuberance?


Tumultuous Stability

Of course, it could all change tomorrow.

But at the moment, we are in the most peaceful period in human history:

Knock wood, of course.

And yet people continue to feel as if we’re in one of the most tumultuous times in history.

Side question:  how much of this is the responsibility of “peace movements”, and how much of it the results of a concerted policy of peace through strength?


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This is where I plan to flee after the Zombie Apocalypse.  Because there’s nobody to stop me from moving there and living like a king.



The epitome of the European ideal: welfare for all, retirement at 42 after working a few hard years of 30 hour weeks, universal medical . . . but of course, none of it can be supported if you also defend the country.  So obviously . . .


Joe Doakes

Watching the disarmament of Europe – as if history really did end in 1991 – has been amazing; the typical continental European state, Germany and Norway and the Netherlands, has about 1/6 the military power it had in the Cold War.  Sweden (and Belgium) are worse; France and the UK, better.  Only Poland and Finland – Russia’s neighbor and enemy – and Greece and Turkey, who hate each other, are the exceptions.

It makes 1940 look positively stable.

Doakes Sunday: Strategery

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Hard-line Muslim clergy require women to cover themselves so they don’t tempt men to sin by displaying their feminine wares.  The implication is that women are wicked temptresses willing use their looks to ensnare souls.  That may be true, but what’s the further implication?  That Muslim men have such little self-control, such poor judgment, such short-range vision that glimpsing an ankle or a smile will destroy their will and with it, their society.  Therefore, to protect these defenseless, helpless, socially retarded men from the consequences of their own vain stupidity, women must remain hidden.


Thinking about the photos we see of Muslim men celebrating – chanting slogans, burning flags, shooting guns in the air, I concede the mullahs are correct:  given the slightest excuse, Muslim men will act like exuberant children with an attention-deficit disorder. Therefore, President Obama is wrong to say the only alternative to the Iran Deal is war.  The United States doesn’t need to go to war to defeat Iran, we need to stage the world’s largest panty raid.  Steal all their women’s clothes and the regime will fall overnight.


Joe Doakes

“That’s illogical!”, you might respond.

But in the world of Obama foreign policy, illogic is logic.

It all makes sense, if you stop thinking too hard.

Build It And They Will Come

If you follow Great Britain at all, after a while you start to realize that if there’s one thing they’re short of, it’s enough alcohol in their lives.

And you wonder; if there was only a way Brits could only get more booze, faster.

Well, fear not.  While Britain may be a shadow of its former political, military, industrial and social self, when it comes to finding ways to ingest alcohol, Britannia still rules the waves.

Nothing Here But Us Targets

A longtime friend of this blog (and a different one than this morning) writes:

How bout an blog post asking Al or Amy why no town halls to discuss the Iran deal?  Just thinking…

While it’s no doubt a fine idea, it’ll take away from their time investigating the death of Cecil the Lion.

I think the only town hall meeting we get on Iran will be when they appear at the State Fair.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A pair of graduate students from the U of M came to the office to learn about Minnesota’s system of land title records.  Seems they’re hoping to institute a new system in Kenya where land records are not reliable, making investment risky which discourages entrepreneurship and that leaves people in poverty, dependent on government hand-outs.  The students propose a computerized system (which will reveal changes and who made them) based on GPS coordinates (that can be re-established in the field by any hand-held GPS receiver).

The students are cargo cultists.  They propose a technological solution to a cultural problem.  I’m skeptical.

Kenya left the British Empire in 1963 and for the last half-century: “the use of land as an object of patronage to engender support and consolidate power has been exacerbated by corruption, forced eviction, government backtracking, and lack of redress for those who have lost land through violence.”

Suppose the computer gives me absolute iron-clad proof that the land records clerk altered the records to give my land to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s friend.  Suppose when I show up in court, the President’s friend arrives with a thick envelope of “last-minute evidence” for the judge, then glances meaningfully at his Reece Squad escorts and says “So, judge, how are the wife and kids?  Be a shame if anything happened to them.”  What are my chances of getting my land back?

Technology can’t solve that problem.  It takes a culture of incorruptibility, of self-less devotion to the Rule of Law, and that culture takes hundreds of years to grow.  Kenya threw that away when it kicked out the British.  Americans are letting our own Kenyan throw it away today.

Joe Doakes

Barack Obama’s worst facet?  He’s bringing the worst facets of Third World/Chicago governance to a national stage.

I’m going to say that before the IRS shuts me down.


Track Record

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

What President Obama and his “advisors” seem to have forgotten is that Iranians are not like other people living in the Middle East such as the Palestinians or the Libyans. They’re not a motley bunch of towel-headed A-rabs waving AK’s in the air.

They’re Persians.  They are the physical and intellectual descendants of the people who ruled the known Earth for centuries, under names like Darius, Xerxes and Alexander the Great.  They are the religious descendants of the Umayyad Caliphate that conquered Europe as far North as Tours, nearly to Paris.

Giving them nuclear capability is not a mistake.  It’s a blunder.

Joe Doakesd now mu

One of the reasons that other Arab countries – Syria, Egypt, Iraq and the like – have been such relative military pushovers against the likes of Israel and, in the case of Iraq, the US, is that none of them have a tradition of being anything but beaten senseless at war.  The Egyptians and Syrians are 1-4 since World War II (their only wins coming as they sided with the US against Hussein in 1991); the Iraqis were a Tampa Bay-like 0-7, and seem to be headed for 0-8.

The Iranians – and to a lesser extent, the Jordanians (who are 2-1-2 since 1948 notching a win against Syria and another against Iraq, and a loss and two draws against Israel; they were beaten, but alone among Israel’s Arab foes never humiliated) have no such history.  In addition to their storied history of dominance through history, Iran (fighting via proxies) fought Iraq to a draw in the Iran-Iraq war, and, fighting through proxies, have essentially conquered Yemen, Lebanon, Libya, and are in a good position to be the dominant power in Syria and Iraq today.

We Win When They All Lose

Back in the late eighties, there used to be a joke, especially among radio and nightclub DJs.

Q: If Tiffany and Debbie Gibson got into a knife fight, who’d win?

A: The world

Both Ms. Darwish and Ms. Gibson are alive, well, and unscathed enough.

But the same joke could be applied to the Greek crisis – where two of the most noxious ideas of the past 100 years are duking it out.

On the one hand, you have the Greek people, who yesterday resoundingly proclaimed “We can’t be broke!  We still have more checks!”.  They represent the impulse De Tocqueville warned of when he said (I’ll paraphrase) “a democracy can only survive until the majority discovers they can vote themselves goodies from the public treasury”.   What do we call it?  Populism?  Mob Rule?  Let’s call it “Krugmanism”.

On the other hand, we have the EU – a monolithic bureaucracy which is intending to overturn an elected (if deeply stupid) sovereign government.  Call it the bureaucratic nanny-state.

If they kill each other off in Greece, the world will win.  But I’m not holding my breath.

Oh, just read the piece in the Telegraph by Janet Daley.

The Only Good Muslim…

It’s become an article of faith among some conservatives that Islam is, always and forever, an aggressive, threatening, dangerous faith.

And it’s true that there are aspects of Islam that are giving large swathes of the world headaches (I’m a master of understatement) right about now.

Of course, those critics ignore the broad swathes of the planet where Muslims coexist just fine with the rest of the world.  India, Indonesia, Bosnia, Senegal are all places where Islam is not synonymous with unrest, extremism and anger.

And now, Turkey – a majority Muslim country which many in the west had seen as sliding into the Wahhabi fold in recent years – has staved off the Islamists under Recep Erdogan, dishing out serious electoral losses to his Islamist party and forcing him to moderate is once-concerning rhetoric.

Austin Bay:

It appears Turkey’s experienced voters, the beneficiaries of Ataturk’s vision, gave a would-be strongman a lesson.

Erdogan began as a reformer pursuing free market economic reforms and battling corruption. For a decade (roughly 2003-13), Turkey’s economy grew. He was popular. However, he also used his single-party majority to collect and solidify power for himself and his close supporters.

At times, the reform mask fell, revealing a bully with a penchant for jailing critical journalists and using highly questionable prosecutorial tactics to jail respected senior army officers on vague charges of terrorism.

Erdogan was on the verge of becoming Turkey’s biggest political problem, which is why his loss of majority control has enormous implications.

He sought a two-thirds AKP parliamentary majority. He then could have amended the constitution and imposed a powerful presidency on the political system. Opposition parties feared Erdogan’s goal was imposing by insidious osmosis — “rule by the big man’s whim” — for who would have become this empowered super-president bossing a less democratic and ever-more majoritarian government? Why, the fellow whom critics refer to as Sultan Recep. Prior to the June 7 election, the AKP had 327 seats in Parliament. Based on the most recent count, it now holds 258, far short of two-thirds. Single-party government control in Turkey requires 276 seats.

Erdogan had his positive aspects; he was an economic conservative, by European standards, and Turkey’s economy showed it.

But his drive toward being an Islamist strongman was justly concerning, as was any traction he gained among Turkish voters…

…which, it seems, may have turned.

The lesson for right now?  Islam and secular democracy can coexist, although there are tensions.

Just like in any other democracy.

Trigger Warning

A New York judge has cleared the way for the following bus advertisement:

“Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah,” reads one such ad next to the image of a young man in a checkered headscarf. “That’s His Jihad. What’s yours?”

Mine is the struggle (the English word for one translation of “Jihad”) to keep a relatively free society relatively free, despite the depravity of some of its citizens.

Apropos not much.

Turn This Motherland Out

SCENE:  Happy Hour at the Nomad, in the Five Corners area of Minneapolis’ West Bank.  A group of Twin Cities Ron Paul supporters is having a happy hour before Rep. Paul’s speech at the U of M.  Mitch BERG is enjoying a Jack and Coke.  

Bill GUNKEL, chairman of the Inver Grove Heights chapter of Former Republicans for Ron Paul, notices Berg.

GUNKEL:  I wish Doctor Paul were running for president.

BERG: Well, at least you have Rand.

GUNKEL:  Pffft.  Rand has become a RINO squish.

BERG: Well, there is the little matter of actually having to get something done in a Senate with 40+ members who actively do like big government.

GUNKEL:  I’m surprised Doctor Paul hasn’t disowned him.

BERG: So why the animosity?

GUNKEL:  He’s gone all Warvangelical on foreign policy.

BERG:  Warvangelical?  More like realistic.  I mean, you have seen what Putin’s been doing, right?  Returning Europe to the Cold War?

GUNKEL:  Well, doy.  We make client states of all their former Republics, and we surround them with bases.  I daresay we’d be paranoid, too.

BERG:  Wait – did you just call breakaway parts of the former Soviet Union “their former Republics?”

GUNKEL:  Well, duh.  That’s what they are.

BERG: Well, in a sense.  But outside of Russia itself, the “former republics” were all either absorbed over history by the Czars, or forcibly annexed by the Soviets.  Anyone that spoke for independence, or even autonomy, would wind up in the Gulag.  And if the Soviets felt “their” republics were getting uppity, they’d turn the screws.  The Soviets starved millions of Ukrainians to death in the thirties to enforce their land policy.  They also deported entire ethnic groups from their ancestral homes, and replaced them with Russians – which is why Crimea “broke” from Ukraine last year.

GUNKEL:  Doctor Paul never talked about this…

BERG: …I don’t imagine he did…

GUNKEL:  …so I don’t believe it.

BERG:  Of course you don’t.  There’s a reason places like Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Georgia and many others revere Ronald Reagan; he gave them their chance at self-determination and getting out of the Russian orbit – in some cases for the first time since 1920, in others for the first time in hundreds of years.   To ignore that is either ignorant or intellectually dishonest.

GUNKEL:  Sort of like surrounding the Russians with military bases.

BERG: Yeah – you do know that from 1945 to the late eighties, the Soviets maintained an expressly offensive military posture toward Northern, Western and Southern Europe.  Right?  And those bases were put there to defend against that ?  And honest people can debate whether and how much those bases are still needed against Putin – but they can’t deny the history.

Presuming they knew it in the first place.

GUNKEL:  Hey – was that a shot at me?

BERG:  Not as far as you know.