…I’m just curious as to when we start taking some of them at their word?
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?
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 . . .
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.
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.
“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.
1) The idea that I’ll go to a Twins game and wind up sitting behind a couple of very drunk men in Packers jerseys, who try to pick a fight with me.
2) The chance of going to Walmart and seeing a woman bellowing at her children.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.And SCENE.
…get ready for a bull market. Because I have a strong hunch there’ll be a lot of Greek restaurants opening around the US, sooner than later.
Dig out those Members Only jackets, and crank some Duran Duran. It’s “Back to the 80s” week, all over Europe!
Only not in A fun way:
BODO, Norway — From his command post burrowed deep into a mountain of quartz and slate north of the Arctic Circle, the 54-year-old commander of the Norwegian military’s operations headquarters watches time flowing backward, pushed into reverse by surging Russian military activity redolent of East-West sparring during the Cold War.
“I am what you could call a seasoned Cold Warrior,” the commander, Lt. Gen. Morten Haga Lunde, said, speaking in an underground complex built to withstand a nuclear blast.
Because the Cold War is back in all of its bunkered down, hunkered down glory, in northern and eastern Europe:
Russia has itself fed the scaremongering with bursts of belligerent language, like the recent comment by Moscow’s ambassador to Copenhagen that Danish warships “will be targets for Russia’s nuclear weapons” if Denmark contributes radar to a Europe-based missile defense system planned by NATO. Denmark’s foreign minister, Martin Lidegaard, dismissed the threat as “unacceptable.”
Russia’s muscle-flexing is due in part simply to the fact that the country is spending more on its military and has re-established abilities eroded during the post-Soviet chaos of the 1990s. When Mr. Putin first became president in 2000, Russia spent $9.2 billion on its military, but this has since risen 10 times and will increase again this year despite a slumping economy, hammered by a collapse in the price of oil and also by Western sanctions.
Good thing Pres. Obama hit the “reset” button on US Russia relationships, isn’t it?
Apparently he didn’t know what it was going to reset to.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
The Obama Administration’s Middle East policy is a puzzle, probably because there is no plan, only reaction to crises. Which is a good thing, according to some.
“But amid the confusion, some experts said that there cannot be an overarching American policy in the Middle East at the moment. The best the White House can do, they said, is tailor policies according to individual crises as they flare up. “I would be more concerned if we had some sort of overly rigid policy,” said Barbara Bodine, another former American ambassador to Yemen who is now the director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University. “It is messy. It is contradictory. That’s foreign policy.”
Can you imagine being the next guy:
“Hello, Mr. Prime Minister? Hi, I’m the new President of the United States. I’m calling to invite your country to be allies with mine. What’s that you say — lied to and back-stabbed last time? Well, things will be different under my leadership. How long? The next two years for sure. After that, of course, I’ll have to start campaigning for re-election so certain compromises might have to be made, but . . . hello? Hello?”
We’re going to be paying for this presidency for generations.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
We can’t disarm Iran. We need them to help Iraq take Tikrit away from ISISwhile we watch.Yes, Tikrit. Saddam Hussein’s birthplace. The town we conquered in 2003 and killed all the terrorists, then handed over to the Iraqi government after Saddam was dead.
We took it, we had it, we cleaned it terrorist-free. Obama pulled out the troops in 2011 and the terrorists took it back.
At least Johnson had a rationale for taking the hill to show the Vietnamese we could smash them, then giving it back to show we could be reasoned with. What’s Obama’s strategery?
On the one hand, using proxies to do your dirty work was always how smart emperors handled their foreign policies.
On the other hand, Obama is not smart.
SCENE: Mitch BERG is walking in Fort Snelling State Park, scouting his bike commuting routes.
Avery LIBRELLE rides past on a recumbent bike; large orange flag flutters above, and bright strobe lights on front and rear repeatedly flash.
LIBRELLE: Haha, Merg! You wingnuts are all hopped up over Benjamin Netanyahu and his speech. But he’s lying.
BERG: How do you figure?
LIBRELLE: He predicted Iran would have the bomb by 1999.
BERG: Right. Maybe that’s the information he had. And maybe he was trying to stir some action on a subject that is of great importance to Israel – the idea of a country that continuously publicly pines for Israel’s extinction and death to all Jews getting nuclear weapons.
LIBRELLE: He lied, Merg!
BERG: He said something that turned out not to be true. If you can prove he intended to decieve, sure, then it was a lie. If not, then it was an error.
LIBRELLE: Either way he completely blew his credibility!
BERG: So if a leader ever gets anything wrong, it destroys his credibility forever?
BERG: OK, glad we have that established. So, do you remember this diagram?
President Obama’s prediction for unemployment rates if we just invested trillions of dollars in, as it eventually turned out, giving cash to big banks. He was completely wrong. So – does that destroy his credibility?
LIBRELLE: You’re a racist and you hate women.
Now – can you give me a push up the hill? I have to get to a candle-sniffing.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
In the olden days, honest Democrats praised expertise:
Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz) wrote this about “Terrorism” by Benjamin Netanyahu, released in 1986:
“Few are as well equipped to bring us this message as Netanyahu. He currently serves as Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations. Netanyahu not only distinguished himself as a commander in many operations for his country’s military but served for several years as the executive director of the Jonathan In stitute, a Jerusalem research foundation on terrorism. He has been touched in the most personal way by modern terrorism. His brother, Lt. Jonathan Netanyahu, died leading the historic Entebbe rescue mission and is the namesake of the institute.”
President Obama says Netanyahu lacks credibility because he’s been wrong about Iran before, predicting bad things that haven’t happened yet. Meanwhile, the UN says it can’t finish its inspection because Iran is still lying about its nuclear program
Just has everything Obama says has a shelf date, so this everything in the Democrat past.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Lawyers are required to take Continuing Legal Education. I’m thinking of giving a class on the subject of “Making Minnesota Muslim-Friendly.”
The auditorium would be broken into sections marked by signs: in front, Men; behind them, Women; back row, Menstruating Women; and one small area of standing room right by the door, GLBT.
In the aisle entering the room would be a table with a cardboard box of scarves and another filled with rocks.
As everyone enters the auditorium, I’d tell them “This seminar involves inter-active role playing. Please take a rock from the box. Women should also cover their heads with a scarf.”
To start the lecture, I’d ask people to move to their assigned sections. Nobody would move to the Menstruating Women section, of course, it’d be too humiliating. And probably no GLBT. So I’ll ask for volunteers “just for role-playing purposes” and if I get none, I’ll assign some.
Next, all good Muslims must understand that homosexuality is not only a sin, but a crime. That’s what the rocks are for. Everyone pick up your rocks, turn toward the GLBT section and prepare to throw. Except you Menstruating Women, you’re unclean, you don’t participate, you can sit back down.
I anticipate some vocal objections will arise. Those of you objecting, you’re out of line. God has laws, given to us by his Prophet. I have applied the laws to this classroom, you’re breaking the law. That makes you a heretic. If you don’t fall back into line, you’ll have to join the other sinful criminals in the stoning area to be put to death for your crimes against God.
Not True Islam? Tell me, what is True Islam? Islam isn’t like Catholic, where one guy decides what we all believe. Islam is like Protestant, where every group decides what it believes, all beginning from the same sacred text but spinning off into groups as diverse as Wisconsin Synod Lutheran, Old Order Amish, Shakers, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Methodists and the Salvation Army. There is no more “True Islam” than there is “True Christian” and attempting to discredit my flavor only proves how evil you are, and justifies my religious obligation to kill you lest you corrupt others with your wicked words.
If you don’t want to stone gays, fine, you can come up here in front with me. We’re going on a field trip after class, swing by my house for some guns and off to Temple Beth Israel to kill the Jews. You can help with that.
At that point, I can announce the end of role-playing. Take off your scarves, drop your rocks, sit where you like, take a deep breath and let it out slowly. That was just role-playing. This is still Minnesota.
But remember this: what you experienced for a few minutes in play life, millions of people live in real life under Sharia rule as it’s actually practiced around the world, and not even the strictest form, as I didn’t insist on women wearing shapeless clothing and hiding their faces so they wouldn’t distract the men by their lustful ways, or having a male relative accompany them. In predominantly Muslim countries, women are subservient to men. Gays are killed. Freedom of speech does not exist. Freedom of worship does not exist. And we’re not even going to discuss female genital mutilation, honor killings or gang-rape as punishment for adultery.
There is a massive conflict between Islam and Minnesota that multiculturalism and respect for diversity simply cannot bridge. Either we become like them – which it should now be apparent you would hate – or we drop the pretense of diversity and insist they become like us.
So . . . how much should I charge for the class?
Are you kidding? They’re lawyers. $250 an hour plus expenses.
The rumor spread yesterday that Jordan’s King Abdallah, enraged by the grisly, medieval murder of Jordanian fighter pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, is personally leading, or even flying, combat missions.
It’s apparently not true, causing at least part of the US media to spring into action against an enemy they hate vastly more than ISIS. And I can’t imagine many air forces that’d be too keen on having a 53 year old fighter pilot (even if he were rated on combat aircraft, which according to several Arabic newspapers, he’s not; he’s an infantryman who is rated in civilian aircraft and unspecified helicopters), to say nothing of their chief executive flying directly into harm’s way. .
On the other hand, after six years of a President who can’t be inveigled to condemn extremist Muslim terrorism today without comparing it to Catholic terror from 700 years ago, who equivocates between all sides in every issue (unless it’s Democrat vs. Republican, naturally), who is like hot air in that he equalizes himself across all available intellectual and moral space, I can see why the idea of a leader who leads, who makes moral judgments and personally drops 2000 pound GPS-guided judgment on the guilty, is so seductive.
Gary from Saint Paul emails:
Has anyone in the Twin Cites media asked him if he’s going to Netanyahu’ s speech?
I’d be interested in finding out.
Side-bet: I’ll bet if he skips it, the Twin Cities media will bury that fact, if they report it at all.
Some of my fringe-libertarian, as well as “progressive”, friends are fond of chanting “Anti-Zionism isn’t Antisemitism”.
That’s a little like saying “I endorse the policies that involved the destruction of Native American culture, the near-extinction of their people and the carving of their conquerors’ chiefs’ faces into their holiest piece of real estate – but I sure *admired* the Lakota”.