Would it not be real 'change' if Obama understood and/or allowed the creativity of small business owners:
Sign over a Gynecologist's Office:
"Dr. Jones, at your cervix."
In a Podiatrist's office:
"Time wounds all heels."
On a Septic Tank Truck:
Yesterday's Meals on Wheels
On a Plumber's truck:
"We repair what your husband fixed."
On another Plumber's truck:
"Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber."
On a Church's Bill board:
"7 days without God makes one weak."
At a Tire Shop in Milwaukee :
"Invite us to your next blowout."
At a Towing company:
"We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows.."
On an Electrician's truck:
"Let us remove your shorts.."
In a Nonsmoking Area:
"If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action."
At an Optometrist's Office:
"If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."
On a Taxidermist's window:
"We really know our stuff."
At a Car Dealership:
"The best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment."
Outside a Muffler Shop:
"No appointment necessary. We hear you coming."
In a Veterinarian's waiting room:
"Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!"
At the Electric Company
"We would be delighted if you send in your payment.
However, if you don't, you will be."
In a Restaurant window:
"Don't stand there and be hungry; come on in and get fed up."
In the front yard of a Funeral Home:
"Drive carefully. We'll wait."
At a Propane Filling Station:
"Thank heaven for little grills."
And don't forget the sign at a CHICAGO
"Best place in town to take a leak."
Sign on the back of another Septic Tank Truck:
"Caution - This Truck is full of Political Promises"
Then there is the plight of this Texas Farmer: "The Texas Department of Employment, Division of Labor Standards claimed a small rancher was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent out to investigate him.
GOV’T AGENT: “I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them.”
RANCHER: ”Well, there’s my hired hand who’s been with me for 3 years. I pay him $200 a week plus free room and board.
Then there’s the mentally challenged guy. He works about 18 hours every day and does about 90% of all the work around here. He makes about $10 per week, pays his own room and board, and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night so he can cope with life. He also sleeps with my wife occasionally.”
GOV’T AGENT: “That’s the guy I want to talk to - the mentally challenged one.”
RANCHER: “That would be me.”
This author suggests time is on Israel's side. I am not totally in agreement as to his time argument but I acknowledge his statements about Israel's economic progress.
I would further add, Israel stands as an embarrassment and public rebuke of what is occurring in the backward systems of most Arab/Muslim nations.
A democratic society resting on a capitalistic base is the best path to betterment for all peoples.
Would it not be nice if our own president and much of the West believed as much? (See 1 below.) (Maybe Ettinger is wrong, as to time, because of 2 below.)
Meanwhile, a long but important read as to what the West faces. Sent by a dear friend and fellow memo reader.(See 1 a below.)
Again I say, wake up America. Don't buy into Obamaism's argument the Arab Spring is benign!
A take on Obama's and Sec.Panetta's misunderstanding of the Middle East mind and Israel's isolation.
This analysis argues why Israel, as well as America, increasingly isolation is due to demands for restraint placed upon Netanyahu by former Sec. Gates and Obama's mistaken support of the rise and encouragement of radical Muslims.
Apparently Panetta seeks to lecture Israel about the position Israel finds itself in when Israel's position is largely due to the abject failure of Obama's mistaken policies and pursuit of unrealistic goals which have backfired.
Most importantly, Gates and Obama continued to demand Netanyahu act with restraint to various Arab/Muslim provocations.
It may be easy to call the kettle black but it was Obama and Gates who supplied the paint. You decide.(See 2 below.)
I read a great deal of reports by analysts, investment firms and some are getting decidedly bullish based on historical valuation assumptions.
I remain more circumspect because:
a) The world economic outlook continues to suggest a slow down in growth.
b) Our own domestic political picture remains contentious and that will only heighten as the nastiest campaign in recent history proceeds.
c) Obama's policies are wrongheaded and could even be purposeful depending upon whether one sees Obama in a more sinister light. Either way, his continued wasteful spending remains a burdensome load for a weakened economy and a barrier to eventual improvement.
d) The Middle East remains a cauldron and could ignite into a serious confrontation.
e) America is down on itself psychologically and with high unemployment I do not see robust consumption.
f) I believe analyst estimates are being revised downward and thus valuations, though cheap, could still be higher than expected.
g) Seasonally, September and October have historically been poor investment months.
h) The market's technical picture has deteriorated and is a reflection of much of the above.
i) Finally, until the issue of a second dip is resolved, I believe the market will remain volatile and the trend negative.
That said, it is always the right time to buy the right stock. The problem is finding one in this difficult environment . Cash remains king for a bit longer but selective nibbling is in order if you believe the issue of a second dip has been resolved - aka Buffett - and is not in the offing because you can argue multiples are low and yields are favorable.
With every significant decline we are approaching a bottoming phase that could well hold if a second dip fails to become a reality and most assuredly if Obama is defeated.
That said, any recovery will be laborious and long in coming because of our debt burden as well as that of the world's developed economies.
(I wrote this before today's market decline and reading the article by Hanson I am posting. Like Hanson (I mentioned this several weeks ago)I do believe when we rid ourselves of the Obama curse the nation's psychology will improve dramatically but I also believe we are in for a long slog back.) (See 3 below.)
A response from a long time friend, great portfolio manager, Marine and memo reader. He was responding to my Tea Party memo: "Hello Dick: Your pithy summation of the case for the Tea Party is right on the money: exactly why I’m a member. When I’m grasping for reasons to be optimistic, and these days who isn’t, the fact that in the US there were demonstrations calling for government to take and interfere less, while everywhere else demonstrators demanded that government do more of both, is one reason to think this country may yet pull through."
Mort Zuckerman throws up his hands regarding Obama and his attitude towards business. (See 4 below.)
1)Time is on Israel's side
By Yoram Ettinger
Time is running in Israel's favor, in contrast to conventional wisdom, as evidenced by the global economic walk and irrespective of the global political talk.
At the outset of the Jewish New Year 5772, Israel's gross domestic product is $240 billion, and the country has a 3 percent deficit, 5.7% unemployment, 3% interest rate and 3% inflation -- compared with $38 billion GDP in 1990 and $1 billion in 1949Israel's credit rating has been recently upgraded by Standard & Poor, ranking it among the top OECD economies.
In 1948, Israel had no sifgnificant exports, compared with a $6.7 billion current account (mostly trade balance) surplus in 2010, with the U.S., Europe and India as the chief trading partners. Notwithstanding disturbing Turkish statements, Israel-Turkey trade volume has surged 140% since the Islamic AKP party assumed power in 2002 -- $3.45 billion in 2010 compared with $1.4 billion in 2002. Irrespective of political tensions, the first quarter of 2011 features a 40% increase in the mutually beneficial Israel-Turkey trade from the first quarter of 2010.
In 2011, Israel takes pride in robust exports, despite the global economic meltdown, due to its highly specialized lines of exports, which correspond to vital global needs in the areas of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, biomed, agriculture, water technologies, energy alternatives, software, laptop computers, telecommunications and defense industries. The latter features Israel as the fifth largest global defense exporter. The New York-based Trading Economics reported a $1 billion Israeli current account surplus in the first quarter of 2011.
Recently, the Houston-based Noble Energy company discovered proven offshore natural gas reserves, which will transform Israel by 2014 from nearly total reliance on imported energy to a major exporter of natural gas. The Jewish state is a shining high-tech city on a hill, attracting leading global companies, venture capitalists and investment banks, which seek unique manpower and cutting-edge innovative technologies. The European Community appoints Israelis to head its high-technology commissions.
Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, calls Microsoft as much an Israeli company as an American company because of the importance of its Israeli technologies, such as the Kinect gaming motion-sensor interface, the fastest-growing consumer electronic product in history. The same applies, increasingly, to Google, Cisco and eBay, and Apple's memory systems for its iPhones, iPods and iPads. According to Intel's CEO, Intel would have been devastated by the competition, if not for its four research and development centers and two manufacturing plants in Israel, which developed its most advanced microprocessors, Pentium, Sandbridge, Atom and Centrino.
Leading American venture capital funds Sequoia, Greylock, Accel and Orbimed have become frequent investors in Israel, and some 400 global high-tech companies have established a research and manufacturing presence in Israel. IBM and Computers Associates just made their ninth and 10th acquisitions of Israeli companies respectively. Overseas investments in Israel's high-tech exceed any single European country and France and Germany combined.
The American defense industry has been a major beneficiary of Israel's unique technological and battle capabilities. Thus, the current generation of the F-16 features more than 600 modifications, introduced by Israel, making it a global success and enhancing the American employment, research and development and export infrastructures. Northrop Grumman's robotics division cooperation with, and sales to, Israel have dramatically upgraded the quality of its products, as has been the case with hundreds of U.S. defense systems employed by Israel.
In retrospect, Arab wars and terrorism, geopolitical constraints and limited natural resources have been nothing but bumps on the path of an unprecedented Israeli economic, technological, educational and defense surge, which has benefited humanity at large.
1a)An Egyptian Jew in Exile: An Interview with Bat Ye’or
By Jerry Gordon
I first encountered Gisèle Littman, better known as “Bat Ye’or,” through her book, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam while browsing through a Judaica section of a Barnes & Noble book store in Westport, Connecticut in 1985. Reading it opened my mind to the historical evidence of the subjugated treatment of Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims under shari’a in the wake of Islamic Jihad over conquered lands. Her book threw into considerable doubt the then fashionable medievalist commentary that Jews and Christians had been well treated in Al Andaluz, Muslim Spain and in the far reaches of the Caliphate of the Ottoman Empire.
Bat Ye’or’s penetrating historical analysis in The Dhimmi was followed by further investigations into the plight of Christians under the system of Islamic shari’a “dhimmitude.” Dhimmitude as an historical concept, was coined by Bat Ye’or in 1983 to describe the legal and social conditions of Jews and Christians subjected to Islamic rule. The word dhimmitude comes from dhimmi, an Arabic word meaning “protected.” Bat Ye’or, through her latter writings plumbed the depths of Islamization of Europe with her major work, Eurabia: The Euro Arab Axis and the recently published, Europe Globalization and the Coming Universal Caliphate. See our review in this edition.
I first met Bat Ye’or and her husband David Littman over a decade ago at a lecture at Brown University arranged by Andrew Bostom, then in the midst of research for his books, The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Treatment of Non-Muslims and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred texts to Solemn History. In 2003, Bat Ye’or spoke at my synagogue in Fairfield, Connecticut. The matter came up about what topic to discuss. Her National Review article, a precursor to Eurabia, had recently been published. Colleagues, Fred Leder, Judith Greenberg, Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein and I agreed it should be about the threat of Islamization to Europe, the isolation of Israel and the Jewish people. When Eurabia was published in 2005, Dr. Rubenstein and I attended Bat Ye’or’s lecture at Columbia University. We next met when she returned to New York in 2007 to give several lectures on her views about Islamization in Europe. She had been invited by a faculty member to lecture on these topics to a class of future staff officers at the US Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Less well known is the saga of Bat Ye’or’s family ejection from Egypt as stateless persons following the first Sinai War in 1956. Deprived of resources they made their way to exile in England. This interview with Bat Ye’or focuses on her experience and that of her family as Jews in Egypt during this tumultuous period following the founding of the State of Israel and the Free Officers Movement coup in Egypt. It touches on her family heritage; her meeting with her future husband while both were students at London University’s Institute of Archeology, their marriage and their little known exploits in clandestinely saving Moroccan Jewish children and enabling their emigration to Israel. Both Bat Ye’or and her husband David Littman were honored in 2009 for this rescue known by Littman’s code name, Operation Mural.
Jerry Gordon: Bat Ye’or, thank you for consenting to this interview.
Bat Ye’or: Thank you for inviting me.
Jerry Gordon: You were born and raised in Egypt. Could you tell us about your family’s heritage?
Bat Ye’or: I was born in a family of mixed heritage. My mother was French and grew up in Paris. Her mother, who was British, had married a Frenchman. They were emancipated and non-observant Jews, well integrated into French culture, counting among their family painters and writers. Members of my mother’s family were also living in Egypt and were prominent leaders of the Alexandrine Jewish community.
The picture was very different on my father’s side. The Orebi were observant Italian Jews, who spoke Arabic, several other languages and were less Westernized. My grand-father received the title of Bey under the last Ottoman sultan. He died when my father was thirteen years old.
Both families were related and belonged to the same educated and wealthy Westernized Jewish bourgeoisie, sharing the same social milieu. My mother loved reading and followed the cultural events in France. She gave us her taste for literature. We always had plenty of books at home. As far as I can remember, I was always reading.
After the Italian racial laws were decreed by Mussolini in 1938, my father requested Egyptian nationality that had been established only in 1924. Usually it was denied to Jews, but he did obtain it. He could hardly guess then, that less then 20 years later he would leave Egypt stripped of everything, including his nationality.
Gordon: What was it like growing up as a Jew in Egypt prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948?
Bat Ye’or: In my childhood we were more worried by the Nazi advance toward Alexandria and the war in Europe. In Egypt we knew about the extermination of European Jewry, my mother worried about her parents living in occupied Paris, wearing the yellow star. Her two brothers and uncles were hiding in the so-called free zone. When the Germans approached Alexandria, the populace around us grew menacing and we left Cairo and hide in the countryside.
Later, after the war, the Muslim Brotherhood and the nationalists triggered a wave of assassinations and violent demonstrations against the British and mainly against Jews. I only knew of the ordeals suffered by the Jews living in the poor quarters from my parents. We lived in a residential area, with many Europeans. We were protected children, going out only with our nannies and chauffeur.
My parents recommended that we never speak of Israel or of any policy even with friends. We had the feeling of being spied upon, even by our Muslim servant. Then when Jews were arbitrarily jailed or expelled from their jobs, or the country, a climate of fear and insecurity shrouded us. Violent pogroms erupted; mobs killed Jews in the street, raped Jewish women, vandalized Jewish shops, and burned Jewish schools and hospitals. All Jewish assets were sequestered, including those of my father. Jews were fired from administrative jobs and liberal professions. We lived with the fear that life could end at any moment.
During WWII, the Jewish Palestinian soldiers in the British army had trained the young Egyptian Jews for self-defense and as Zionists. Hence the Jewish quarter could be defended when attacked and young Zionists could clandestinely reach Palestine.
Gordon: After the Revolt of the Free Officers Movement in 1952 and toppling of the aristocracy under King Farouk I, were restrictions placed on the Egyptian Jewish community?
Bat Ye’or: The restrictions of 1947-48 were never totally removed. Jews could hardly find a job and were under police supervision. The anti-Jewish hatred became customary, especially with the arrivals of numerous German Nazi criminals who organized the anti Jewish policy of the new government. Jews were attacked and humiliated in public places and they could not answer or defend themselves. They found themselves at the mercy of anonymous denunciations. Young people realized they had no future in Egypt and many left for Israel or to study in Europe. The community was already organizing the last phase of its 3.000 years of history.
Gordon: What affect did the Israeli spy scandal, the Lavon Affair of 1954, have on the status of Egypt’s Jews and your family?
Bat Ye’or: It increased the animosity against the Jews, their segregation, isolation and close watch by the secret police.
Gordon: What happened to you and your family after the outbreak of the Suez Crisis and First Sinai War in 1956?
Bat Ye’or: The anti-Jewish apartheid system deepened. Jews were expelled from clubs, forbidden to go to restaurants, cinemas and public places. Many were immediately expelled from the country or thrown into jail. The secret police would come at night to arrest them. Others, like my mother, were under house arrest and their bank assets frozen. Their telephones were suppressed. Many Jews were isolated and could not communicate. Many left the country immediately, abandoning everything. I remember seeing their flats and beautiful villas ransacked. Each one was leaving in secret, fearing to be prevented from leaving their country which had become a jail.
Just before my mother was put under house arrest, I accompanied her to the bank where she quickly withdrew her jewels. We sold our flat for nothing since the pillage of Jewish homes had lowered prices. I choose twenty books among the hundreds we had and we sold all the rest. This was heart-breaking, as I always wanted to be a writer. I had accumulated many diaries since an early age, and later essays and literary criticisms. I realized that I was witnessing the agony of the Egyptian Jewish community and I made notes for a book. One night I burnt them all in the chimney. It was like dying. I knew we could only leave with two cases each and that the censors would read every piece of paper.
Families were dispersed in all directions. One sister went to London with her husband and child, another planned to go to Belgium, cousins went to Brazil, others went to Switzerland and France. As people were leaving secretly, I never knew whether I would be seeing them for the last time. I was living through the death of a world, not knowing if I would survive the next day. While the mob rejoiced in pillaging, I observed closely the inner destruction of family, friendships, bonds, society and the dignity and resolve of the victims.
By then, I had very few friends remaining. For me they belonged to a beloved and disappearing world that was dying with a part of my life, where everything being so transient also became so precious. In the last months preceding our departure, I walked alone throughout Cairo and Alexandria, their old quarters, their museums and every place that now was deserted of friends and family. For years I was fascinated by Egyptology, art and history. I knew I would never see these treasures again.
We left at night in secret. My father and mother could hardly walk. Thanks to a lawyer my father had at last sold a parcel of land. The proceeds from this sale, together with my mother’s jewels were sent out of the country through a clandestine channel. The Swiss consulate gave us a Nansen passport since Egyptian Jews were allowed to leave Egypt only on condition that they renounce their nationality and all their belongings in Egypt and never come back. We all signed such a declaration.
We had reservations on a KLM flight. We were kept at the airport for hours, our bodies searched, our cases emptied on the floor, insulted, humiliated and threatened by an Egyptian Sudanese officer who was cracking a whip (curbash) around us. My meager twenty Egyptian pounds were confiscated. Finally, they let us depart. We stopped at Amsterdam where my other sister came from Belgium, with her husband and baby to see us and tell us that money and jewels were safely deposited in a bank.
It was strange to see them in an Amsterdam hotel. We were now refugees, homeless, stateless, in a world where we knew no one. We were full of apprehension on the threshold of a new life, where we would destroy our past to build the future. It was my first night in exile.
Gordon: After your ejection from Egypt in 1957, how were you and your family able to enter the UK as stateless persons?
Bat Ye’or: Being stateless made it difficult to be admitted into another country. Although we were political refugees, it was not easy for my expelled British brother-in-law, to get us into England on a short term resident permit and on his guarantee that we had enough money to live. I wanted to go to Israel; however, my mother decided that we would go to London where my sister, her four year-old son and her British husband lived as refugees. We stayed with them for a month in their small unheated flat. We started our life as stateless, robbed, homeless refugees in a cold, wet English winter. A life where you hardly had enough to eat and you did not know where you would sleep at night, where time is like an endless dark coldness penetrating soul and body. I had to plan the future of my parents with the little money we saved. My mother had a broken leg and my father had been an invalid since the age of three when he contracted polio. Both never worked, they always had money and servants. They were totally unfit to face such a situation. When we left my sister’s home I found a room for my parents with great difficulty. Doors were slammed in my face, no-one wanted to lodge stateless invalids. I started writing a short novel inspired by our situation. I used to go to museums to write because they were heated. Museums were like my home. I spent months walking throughout London, frozen to the bones in the rain and snow, to find a suitable home for my parents, where they would live comfortably but also rent a few rooms. I thought I would then leave for Israel.
Gordon: How did you and your husband David Littman meet in the UK?
Bat Ye’or: Other Jewish refugees put us in contact with a Jewish organization helping Egyptian refugees. They assisted us in every way, advising and providing us with a card allowing us to get warm clothing from Marks & Spencer. When I found, a house on London’s outskirt, in Ealing Broadway, the Jewish organization gave us small loans. From October when we arrived in London till April, I spent six months walking throughout the London fog and rain or writing in museums. I knew no one and had become a kind of aggressive animal always hungry and cold fighting despair by creating fictional characters totally lost in the fog of life.
The Jewish organization gave me a one year grant to study at the London University, Institute of Archeology. There I met David. He offered me biscuits at the break in the cafeteria. It was often the only thing I ate during the long hours I spent at the Institute. David and I shared a love for archeology, museums, history and art. My teachers were not happy with me because I was writing my novels during their courses, and I was a rebellious student. David immediately felt the need to protect and advise me in spite of my bad character. We met every day at the university and we took the same underground line back home. David’s station was Holland Park, less that half mine, but often he stayed with me till I arrived and went back on the same line. At this time we led the life of penniless students, but we were young, both idealists living in the world of ideas, music and art.
Life in London was harsh. With trepidation, I had to adapt constantly to new situations which were often painful. However, I discovered liberty there and a whole new intellectual atmosphere that I missed so much in Egypt. In England, people were polite, welcoming, warm and helpful. Escaping from Egyptian bondage and racist hatred, I discovered on this grey, cold English island, human kindness and the incommensurable world of culture and knowledge. All while going through misery and distress.
Gordon: Following your marriage in 1959, both you and your husband were involved in Operation Mural, the covert effort to help Jewish children emigrate from Morocco to Israel on behalf of the Jewish Agency. Could you tell us about that undertaking and the recent honors bestowed on your family by the State of Israel?
Bat Ye’or: After the birth of my first child, I wanted to do a mitzvah. I felt I had received so much that I had a debt to pay back to the Jewish people. In Egypt, I felt international and rejected religious belonging. However, in England I realized that I was ejected from Egypt because I was Jewish. In my exiled loneliness, foreigners came to help us because we were Jewish. I then understood where my place was and to which people I belonged.
We lived temporarily in Lausanne, my husband was reading William Shirer’s book on the genocide of European Jewry, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. He was shocked and accepted a proposal that came by chance to go to Morocco and secretly rescue Jewish children. Jews were forbidden then to leave Morocco. We went on a voluntary basis without being paid. My husband did not know how dangerous it was to work for a Zionist organization in a Muslim country, but I knew that we risked death or years in jail. I took my daughter with me, in my student straw bag, and was pregnant with my second daughter.
We went undercover as Christians working for a Swiss organization. There we were contacted by a Zionist underground which we didn’t know, was Israeli. My husband did a fantastic job and in a few months managed to send from Morocco to Israel, via Switzerland and France, 530 children. Their parents followed by other means. However, having accomplished that we had to leave in haste. That was Operation Mural, my husband’s code name. Recently, a film was done on Operation Mural and shown at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival in 2009. (Watch this You Tube Video excerpt). Israeli President Shimon Peres received us as did the whole Israeli and Israeli and Moroccan Jewish clandestine network involved in this operation. In 2009 my husband received the “Hero of Silence” Order from the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Centre. It was a strong acknowledgment of his total dedication to this operation saving Moroccan Jewish children from bondage to bring them to freedom. We liked the Moroccans we met. However, we rejected the Jewish immigration policy of the King that forced us to act in the way we did.
Gordon: What prompted your life long scholarly investigations into Islamic Jihad and Dhimmitude – the treatment of non-Muslim minorities under Islam?
Bat Ye’or: I never expected I would do such research. I was a novelist writing a long historical novel on the Egyptian Jewish community and while reading hundreds of books and researching for this novel, I discovered the dhimmi condition. This book was refused by a publisher because the historical material was too heavy. I extracted it and wrote a short, factual historical book. I thought then that I would go back to my novel, but I developed the historical book for a Hebrew edition. Then I noticed that the ignorance on these topics were so immense that I decided to publish a book of documents. The French political and academic world was totally opposed to my views. It took me three years to find a publisher. I had to be very careful in writing Le Dhimmi. Strangley enough, Christians were more interested than Jews. They requested that I develop and research these same themes and I never went back to my novels. I realized that writing novels on the dhimmi, forced me to examine the documents through other perspectives than just historical, in order to penetrate the humanity, soul, and human experience of dhimmi – a study which I introduced into my writing.
Gordon: What is Dhimmitude and how did the term originate?
Bat Ye’or: The term originated when at the request of Lebanese Christian friends, I extended my research from the condition of the Jewish dhimmi to the Christian. I realized then that I had to deal with a totally different situation. The impact of Islam on Christianity triggered mechanisms in every sector of the Christian state, demography, culture and society that aimed at transforming a Christian country, population and culture into an Islamic society. The phenomenon started always with a Muslim minority within a Christian majority and ended with a Muslim majority governing a Christian subdued minority on the way of its extinction. I studied the religious, juridical, demographical factors of these evolutions over 13th centuries and called these encompassing well structured mechanisms “dhimmitude.” Hence dhimmitude is a complex historical evolution linked to Islam’s relations with non-Muslims.
It is correlated to the jihad ideology and jurisdiction and integrated into the shariah. It is rooted into the Koran, the Sunnah and the biographies of the Prophet Muhammad. In other words it is within the very core of Islam.
While I was doing my research, I was looking for a term that would contain all those complex interactions of correlated factors. I founded the word dhimmitude and I discussed it with my Lebanese friends without daring to write it in articles since I was so much abused just in using the word dhimmi. My friend spoke about this word to Bashir Gemayel who used it in his last speech before his assassination. Years later a Lebanese Christian told me that because Gemayel spoke of dhimmitude, Christians would then accept it, but that they would never had accepted it from me. I thought then that chance favored me because dhimmitude is the most important concept to understand in order to face the XXI century’s challenges.
Gordon: Over four decades you have published seminal works in the study of Dhimmitude, beginning in 1971 with Les Juifs en Egypte and The Dhimmi, translated into English in 1985, that established you as an international scholar. Could you outline the major historical themes of these works on Dhimmitude and the controversies they spawned?
Bat Ye’or: The major themes consist in studying the various and different levels of the process of religious, social and political Christian disintegration linked to dhimmitude. I also added the psychological elements which were not considered before. Countless works analyzed or just mentioned among other topics, the condition of Jews and Christians in Islam. My contribution into this domain was to make it into a special discipline and to give it a name. Naming objects or concepts provides the minds with conceptual tools allowing the classification of elements; they can then be recognized and placed into a structure.
I had already done this work with the dhimmi, and I was attacked because I made of the dhimmi condition a special category. For me it enters into a social, religious, legal category among others developed by human societies because it had a legal structure. It is not happening by chance. The dhimmi condition is integrated into a determined policy with its ideological and legal structure like the system of slavery or apartheid. Its constitutive elements can be recognized unchanged throughout the centuries and the lands where Islamic law is implemented.
Other critics were scandalized because I had put Jews and Christians together into the same dhimmi category. This was of course a political and racist view rooted in the conviction that Christians couldn’t be in the same category of the devilish Jews. The proponents of this opinion militated for a Christian-Muslim alliance against the Jews, whom they accused to cause conflicts between Muslims and them. My view on the dhimmi, a common condition for Jews and Christians together oppressed by the same Muslim law, followed by my conceptualization of dhimmitude, couldn’t be for them more horrific to them.
I also underlined the fact that the so-called protection granted to the dhimmi was a protection against the threats of jihad: death, slavery or forced conversion imposed by Muslim law on non Muslims. Hence the toleration came within a condemnation. Such protection does not deserve any admiration or gratitude from its victims, because it belongs to an unjust system that denies to non-Muslims the right to live. It is tolerant only in the Islamic conception of justice. If we say that it is tolerant, it implies that we agree with the first condition: the condemnation.
My discussion on the specificities of Islamic tolerance clarified the fallacies of this notion and its superficiality. This point also brought me many enemies since the belief in the justice of Islamic law and therefore in the justice of the system of dhimmitude is a religious obligation for Muslims and therefore for the cohorts of their supporters in the West. I recognize of course that my researches are far from being perfect and should be improved and corrected, but the controversies were more spawned by politics or antisemitism than by historical arguments.
My books also demonstrated that slavery was not practiced only by the West; Islam practiced it on a much larger and longer scale. Likewise the wars of conquest, colonialism and imperialism were much more pursued by Muslims than by Christians. Those historical facts were acrimoniously opposed by Europeans. My publications on the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries, raised suspicion and hate from Christian pro-palestinian sectors. All in all, my work couldn’t be more opposed to the European policy of alliances and integration with the Muslim world, based on a common Euro-Arab hatred of Israel. Europe was involved in the creation of Palestine and the weakening, the demise of Israel.
Gordon: You published an essay in the National Review in 2002 that led to a major work, Eurabia: The Euro –Arab Axis published in 2005. Could you tell us the origins of the term, your book’s principal thesis and its implications for the future of the EU, UK and even America?
Bat Ye’or: This term Eurabia was created by European politicians and intellectuals that militated from the late 1960s for the Palestinians and a Euro-Arab rapprochement, and even a Euro-Arab symbiosis around the Mediterranean. This movement was antisemitic and anti-American, it gathered many former Nazis and their supporters and collaborators in European countries. It was supported by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1973 it became an unofficial but organized policy of the European Community and its executive office, the European Commission, together with the Arab League.
My book examines the numerous official texts, policies and decisions generated by the ideology of Eurabia and their consequences in the countries of the European Community, on their domestic and international affairs. I analyze these transformations within the dhimmitude historical framework since the Muslim world’s relations with the non-Muslim world has not changed. The implications for the West are its Islamization and the destruction of the Judeo-Christian civilization, the phenomenon that I have examined in its historical development since the seven century in its various modalities throughout numerous lands.
Gordon: What do you believe is behind the condonment of Islamic doctrine, adoption of shariah, Islamic law, in Western legal systems and the rise of de facto self-governing Muslim areas in the EU and UK?
Bat Ye’or: There are many factors. First, Western demography is weak and our population are aging and rich. Moreover Westerners abhor wars. Two world wars produced genocides, hecatombs and incommensurable sufferings. Our Western leaders know perfectly well the history of jihad and its consequences on non-Muslims. Precisely for this reason, they chose a policy of appeasement and rapprochement with the Muslim world, taking also in consideration the economic and energy factors, as well as tactical alliances against other states. I do not think that the Eurabian project had foreseen the consequences of a massive Muslim presence in the West, but now our leaders cannot conceive another policy than submission, dhimmitude and Islamization of their own countries by multiculturalism and globalization. This policy adheres to materialist and opportunist considerations under the guise of humanitarian aims; it is devoid of any ethic and morality.
Gordon: How dangerous do you believe are those Stealth Jihad threats to the future of Western civilization and Judeo-Christian values?
Bat Ye’or: Stealth Jihad exists in every sectors of Western society, in law, culture, schools, universities, policies, banking, economics, medias. The aim is to destroy the Judeo-Christian values and to Islamize Western societies, following the thousand years of Islamic conquest of Christian lands. They are helped in the West by the promoters of multiculturalism and the Left.
Gordon: Why in your view have EU elites and mainstream media dismissed the threats implied by Eurabia?
Bat Ye’or: Some dismissed them by personal political interests and lust; others because they wanted like the Nazis, to destroy the Christian civilization rooted in Judaism and loved Islam. Christian traitors joining and supporting the Muslim forces against their own people represent a permanent and strong current in the Muslim-Christian interactions and wars throughout history. Now, they are deadly afraid of terrorism if they dare change policy. As for the media, I consider that it obeys the orders of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that represents the Ummah, the universal Muslim community. The OIC is working at all levels with European leaders and Western leaders. The blasphemy laws punishing the criticism of Islam are implemented in the West at the request of the OIC. Likewise European countries adopted a recent decision to teach religions in schools because the OIC insisted upon it.
Gordon: Who do you consider as allies in the EU and America in furthering your Eurabia thesis of the threat of Islamization to the future of the West?
Bat Ye’or: Every European is aware of Europe’s transformation under the pressure of massive Muslim immigration. Some Muslims are perfectly integrated and oppose the Islamization of European school teaching, culture, law, society. No European or American well integrated in its Western and Judeo-Christian culture could possibly welcome its replacement by a Koranic shariah society, imposing its religious conception of history which affirms that jihad is just and resistance to jihad is aggression. Nor could he accept the discriminated condition of the women, the denial of the equality of human beings, and the restrictions on knowledge. Hence, to answer your questions, I would say that this problem, that has been obfuscated by our leaders for so long, is not my problem but a worry to all Westerners.
Gordon: You have developed the term “Palestinism?” Could you explain that term and why it is at the root of Europe’s decline and the isolation of Israel?
Bat Ye’or: Palestinism is a world policy initiated and imposed by the OIC and its Western allies that aims to transfer to Palestinian Muslims the history, and the cultural and religious heritage of the Jewish people. The origin of this belief is in the Koran which states that the Bible is a falsification and that the biblical figures, including Jesus and the apostles were all Muslim prophets who preached Islam. This theory suppresses Jewish and Christian history and legitimacy. Palestinism struggles to eliminate Israel and replace it by a Muslim Palestine since it is based on the Islamization of the Bible.
Palestinism is also a political and theological current working for the Islamization of Christianity by replacing its Jewish biblical roots by the Koranic interpretation of the Bible. The promoter of such theology is the Sabeel Christian Center in Jerusalem that teaches Christians the Islamic interpretation of the Bible.
Palestinism is at the base of the whole Eurabian construct, European dhimmitude and the submission of Western leaders. Palestinism encompasses all Western-Muslim relationships, this is the reason why the West has made the creation of Palestine and the destruction of Israel the most urgent topics of the planet. This is also in obedience to the OIC who made of Palestinism/antisemitism the base of its policy with the West and its subjugation. Support for the Palestinians is the guaranty for Europe’s security. Westerners have paid billions of jizya (tribut) to the Palestinians as a protection from terrorism. The OIC obliges the West to deny Israel’s rights and adopt the Islamic conception of history where Jewish and Christian rights to their history and culture are denied as we have seen recently with the Islamization of the Hebrew Patriarch tombs in Hebron by UNESCO.
Palestinism makes the destruction of Israel a universal duty.
Gordon: In the United States a grass roots movement has arisen seeking to bar adoption of Shariah Law in our American Legal system. Three States, Arizona, Louisiana and Tennessee, have enacted anti-Sharia laws. Other State legislatures are considering similar legislation. Do you view that as a positive sign, despite objections raised by Muslim Brotherhood front groups and civil liberties allies in the US?
Bat Ye’or: It is a positive sign because Shariah Law follows Koranic values that are opposed to ours and applies the Declaration of Human Rights in Islam which are in many ways contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Gordon: Given the eruption of the Arab Spring in the Middle East, what do you see as the ultimate outcome?
Bat Ye’or: I am quite pessimist. There is no base or structure in any Arab country for democratic governments. The extremists and the Muslim Brotherhood will control the whole area and will work to re-establish the 7th century caliphate and its jihadist ideology of world conquest. Shariah and democracy are antinomic.
Gordon: How imperiled do you believe is America’s long term support for Israel in the wake of the Arab Spring?
Bat Ye’or: The enemy Israel is facing is America’s enemy, and if Americans do not understand it, America will disappear.
Gordon: Your new book, Europe, Globalization, and the Coming Universal Caliphate, expands upon your original thesis of Eurabia. Can that dark prospect somehow be reversed, and defeated?
Bat Ye’or: It can if the West understands the complex and various aspects of this confrontation, but we are far from that
2)Israel's isolation rooted in US-imposed military inaction, Arab revolt backing
On the way to his first visits to Israel and Egypt as US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta warned Israel of increasing isolation in the Middle East and said "Israeli leaders must restart negotiations with the Palestinians and work to restore relations with Egypt and Turkey." While Israel is still the most powerful state in the region, Panetta said, “Is it enough to maintain a military edge if you’re isolating yourself in the diplomatic arena? Before meeting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and military and intelligence chiefs in Tel Aviv, the Defense Secretary said:
“It’s pretty clear that at this dramatic time in the Middle East, when there have been so many changes, that it is not a good situation for Israel to become increasingly isolated. And that’s what’s happening."
The Secretary of Defense did not question US commitment to Israel's security, reflecting President Barack Obama's fundamental policy, but his words indicated that the administration would not be able to coordinate its positions with the Netanyahu government for much longer on Egypt, the Palestinians and Turks with the result that Israel would be "increasingly isolated."
But there was another subtext.
“Real security can only be achieved by both a strong diplomatic effort as well as a strong effort to project your military strength,” said Panetta. When the United States invests so substantially in maintaining Israel's military edge over the Arab nations and Iran, why does Israel not use that advantage as leverage to improve its diplomatic performance, he seemed to be saying.
Exaggerated military restraint:
The new position Washington appears to be taking reflects a measure of hypocrisy dating back to a former US administration: In 2007, the Bush White House adopted the National Intelligence Estimate which stated that Iran's nuclear program had halted weapons development and on that false premise held Israel back from a military strike against the Islamic Republic at an early stage of its nuclear development .
By faulting Israel at this late stage for not using its military strength for political gains, is the Obama administration showing impatience with the Netanyahu government for its exaggerated military restraint? In almost three years in power, Netanyahu, Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman have managed to avoid a single military campaign for diplomatic ends – an almost unique demonstration of passivity in the annals of Israeli governments.
Are the Americans now saying this was a mistake?
Panetta seems to be saying that by not applying Israel's military prowess in the dramatically changing times in the Middle East Israeli leaders failed as statesmen.
Military sources find three fallacies in the new American position articulated by Leon Panetta:
1. The Netanyahu government took no part in arousing, causing or taking sides in the ongoing Arab uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya and Yemen.
According to the latest military and intelligence evaluations in Washington, eleven months of tumult have not produced the results the US hoped for. The United States – and not just Israel – appears to be increasingly isolated in the Middle East with the resulting curtailment of its leeway for determining events.
2. The Obama administration and Panetta's predecessor Robert Gates not only objected strongly to Israel taking military action to preempt Iran's nuclear program or even its spreading influence across the Middle East up to Israel's very borders and the arming of its surrogates.
Instead, President Obama repeatedly persuaded Israel to wait patiently for the US and international community to bestir themselves and impose sanctions certain to bring about the Iranian economy to collapse and starve its nuclear program of resources. This was a bad miscalculation because in the event those sanctions failed and the Iranian economy, along with its nuclear weapons program, is thriving.
But meanwhile Washington held Israel firmly back from "projecting its military strength."
3. Like most of the West, Israel praised the "Arab Spring" which claimed to be dedicated to bringing democracy to the Arab world. Israel - even more than the US - should have known better.
By tacitly approving Hosni Mubarak's overthrow as Egyptian president, the Netanyahu government like Saudi Arabia erred badly. It is more than likely that by taking a stand against the revolt, Israel would have won more respect from the Egyptian military led by Field Marshal Mohammed Tantawi who took his place, in consideration of its military strength.
But Israel could on no account afford to sit on its military hands when Sinai veered out of Egyptian control and the pipeline carrying natural gas to Israel was sabotaged six times by terrorists.
This passivity allowed the strategic Sinai peninsula to become the hub of Islamist terrorists dedicated to fighting Israel and be used as the highway for Libyan arms, including anti-air missiles, to be smuggled into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and other unruly Middle East destinations.
US talks with Muslim Brotherhood
It could be said that the Netanyahu government's most signal lapse was dimming Israel's military strength instead of projecting it. This self-inflicted handicap is at the root of the diplomatic problems Israel is encountering with Egypt. Turning to Washington for help is of little avail because the US is also losing traction in Cairo.
This is largely because of the Obama administration's ambivalence on the next chapter of Egyptian history. On the one hand, the US calls on the Supreme Military Council to give Egypt stability; on the other, American officials are holding direct talks with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, without differentiating between its political Freedom and Justice Party and its clerical leadership.
A US diplomat stressed that the Brotherhood's role has grown since Mubarak was ousted and therefore expects the organization to be integrated into future Egyptian government.
This objective is far from the aspirations of Egypt's military rulers - much less by Israel, considering that the Brotherhood is the parent of the jihadist Palestinian Hamas.
In these circumstances, the Netanyahu government should be backing the Egyptian generals to the hilt and work to keep them in power. But because Israel is too afraid of putting up backs in Washington to take this line, Secretary Panetta feels free to accuse Jerusalem of sole responsibility for its growing isolation in the Middle East.
4. The same applies to America's Libyan and Syrian polices. Without comparing the rationales for US military intervention to topple Libya while keeping Bashar Assad in power in Syria, they have a common factor: the Obama administration's policy of promoting the rise of radical Muslim elements. In Libya, it went to the extreme of endorsing ex-al Qaeda elements' seizure of the capital Tripoli and northwest Libya, while propagating the fiction that they are an integral part of the democracy-seeking popular revolt.
In Syria, Washington encouraged Saudi Arabia and Turkey to provide arms, funding and logistic assistance to the Muslim Brotherhood which is spearheading the revolt against Assad.
Erdogan's crisis with Israel is self-serving
The Netanyahu government should never have held silent on these US policies. Israel should have caused a public outcry against an American course that places its most implacable Islamist enemies in positions of power around its borders, menacing not only Israel but the rest of the region as well.
Isolation is the least of Israel's worries from the epic changes Washington is promoting in the region.
President Obama chose to assign Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan the role of bridge to Muslim forces in the region. So how does Panetta square this with his demand that Israel "work to restore relations" with a leader who uses his privileged position at the White House to compete with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the dissemination of hatred for Israel?
After failing to make an impression on the Arab uprisings, Erdogan continues to whip up animus against Israel to conceal his own shortcomings from public opinion at home and in Washington and curry favor with the most radical anti-Israel forces which rejected him.
Panetta's remarks will further encourage him to put the entire onus on Israel for repairing ties although the crisis he generated is in fact entirely self-serving.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------3)The Coming Post-Obama Renaissance
By Victor Davis Hanson
The Parting of the Clouds
In every literary, historical or cinematic masterpiece, times must grow darkest before the sunrise and deliverance. Tolkien worked that classical theme to great effect. A sense of fatalism overtook a seemingly doomed Gondor — right before the overthrow of Barad-dûr and the dawn of a new age of men. The historian Herodotus, in literary fashion, also brilliantly juxtaposed the Greek collapse at Thermopylae (the Spartan King Leonidas’ head impaled on a stake), and the Persian firing of an abandoned Athens, with Themistocles’s sudden salvation of Western civilization at Salamis. In the classic Western film, hopelessness pervades until out of nowhere a Shane rides in.
What Was Hope and Change?
We are living in an age of such morality tales, though the depressing cycle reminds us that the gloom is hardly fiction or artistry. For those with a little capital there is only a sinking stock market. It seems to wipe out more of their 401(k)s each week, as if each month cancels out yet another year of prior thrift. Near zero interest means any money on deposit is only insurance, not any more a source of income. Millions are trapped in their unsold houses, either underwater or facing an end to any dreams of tapping equity by sale.
And for the greater number without savings? Stagnant GDP, 9.1 unemployment, another $5 trillion in debt, $1.6 trillion annual deficits, and sky-high fuel and food prices have combined to crush any notion of upward mobility. (If in 2004 5.7% unemployment was supposed to mark a “jobless recovery,” what exactly is 9.1% called? If Bush’s average $500 billion deficits over eight years were abhorrent, what must we say of Obama’s average $1.6 trillion over three? Really bad?)
In response, the Obama administration — let me be candid here — seems clueless, overpopulated as it is by policy nerds, academic overachievers, and tenured functionaries (cf. Larry Summers’ “there is no adult in charge”). They tend to flash Ivy League certificates, but otherwise have little record of achievement in the private sector. Officials seem to think that long ago test scores, a now Neolithic nod from an Ivy League professor, or a past prize translates into knowing what makes America run in places like Idaho and southern Michigan.
Yes, I know that Steven Chu is “brilliant” and a Nobel laureate. But that means no more than suggesting that laureate Paul Krugman was right about adding even more trillions to the debt. My neighbors know enough not to quip, as the know-it-all Chu did, that California farms (the most productive in the U.S.) will dry up and blow away, or gas prices should reach European levels, or Americans can’t be trusted to buy the right light bulbs, or a failed Solyndra just needed millions more of taxpayers’ money.
Solyndra and Van Jones are the metaphors of these times, reminding us of the corruption of the very notion of “green.” In the age of Al Gore, it has eroded from a once noble ideal of conservation to a tawdry profit- and job-scam for assorted hucksters and snake-oil salesmen. Without the lofty hype and shake-down, most otherwise would have had to find productive jobs. Tragically, “green” is the new refuge of scoundrels.
Costal del Sol Community Organizing?
I fear we have not seen such a divisive president since Richard Nixon. Suddenly there is a new fiscal Rubicon. Those crossing $200,000 in annual income now are to be suspect (“fat cat,” “corporate jet owner,” “millionaires and billionaires” [note how the two are sloppily associated — as if 1/1000 the wealth of one is still approximate to the other ]); those still on the other bank, are far more inherently noble (cf. Michelle Obama’s selfless legions, who, like the first couple, supposedly were to take her advice to turn down guaranteed riches in the abhorrent, but easy, corporate sector, to take on a life of noble service and relative poverty as hard-working community organizers and reps).
When did immigration law become embedded within the racial industry? If millions of Koreans were entering the U.S. illegally, would the National Council of La Raza insist on their amnesty, or be indifferent, or worry that such an influx might tax existing social services that provide for U.S. citizen poor? Did we ever have a president who issued a video (cf. 2010) appealing to constituents by their race, or suggested that border enforcement was equivalent to “moats” and “alligators,” or beseeched his Latino allies “to punish our enemies”? Is the president trying to turn enforcement of a federal statute into community organizing?
The Black Caucus has sadly become a caricature of itself , bewildered that Great Society II has further decimated the black community — now in racial solidarity with a failing president, now lashing out at the Tea Party. Yet the latter’s advocacy of fiscal discipline, greater deregulation, oil exploration, smaller government, and entitlement reform would unleash the private sector — and, to use the administration lingo, really create for the inner cities “millions of new jobs.”
So we are all confused by this new Morgan Freeman-esque (one of my favorite actors) racial illogicality : electing Obama was proof of racial harmony; but criticizing him proof of racialism; wanting to end his policies (that have impoverished black America most of all) borders on racism; expanding what will further harm blacks is proof of racial harmony? So one was supposed to vote for Obama to prove himself not racist, and then to stay quiet to ensure that he was still not racist? *
Readers will add here the end of an investigative media , ObamaCare, the new Solyndra and Fast and Furious scandals, “lead from behind” foreign policy, spread-the-wealth demonization of business, crony capitalism, punitive measures against everyone from guitar makers to plane manufacturers, distrust of oil and gas producers, Eric Holder’s politicized Justice Department, and so on.
OK—So Why the Optimism?
Why, then, do I see blue sky and a break in the present storms? For a variety of very good reasons.
Quite Exceptional, In Fact
The American Constitution remains singular and ensures a stable form of government of the sort absent in a Russia, China, the Islamic world, and even (or especially) the EU. Yes, I know Obama has mused that democracy is suddenly “messy” and he lamented to the La Razistas that he couldn’t quite enact legislation by fiat. And, yes, the governor of North Carolina, in revolutionary fashion, just wondered why we could not suspend congressional elections for a bit, while former budget director Peter Orszag (did he not get his trillions in “stimulus” from a Democratic Congress before he fled to Citicorp?) now dreams of a way of running around democratic “gridlock.” But for all that sudden liberal lamentation that the noble ends cannot be achieved by any means necessary, our system of government remains. And it will ensure us a stability abjectly absent elsewhere in the world.
Second, even Barack Obama cannot stop the oil and gas industries. Their brilliant new technologies and entrepreneurialism may well turn us into a fuel depot like Saudi Arabia, doubling our proven oil and gas reserves. Soon someone is going to see that our own natural gas can power millions of cars, freeing our foreign policy from Gulf authoritarians. We are poised for an oil boom not seen since the age of Texas and Oklahoma wildcatting. With a friendly new administration and more exploration out West, offshore, in the Gulf and in Alaska to augment the Dakotas oil renaissance, we will soon save hundreds of billions of dollars in imported fuel costs, stop subsidizing our enemies, perhaps help to lower energy prices worldwide, create “millions of new jobs,” and give a larger window of opportunity for solar, batteries, and alternative energies to become more efficient and cost competitive in the free market.
Pressure Is Building
Third, private enterprise is hoarding cash, uncertain over the costs of ObamaCare, in fear of more regulations and higher taxes, stung by “at some point you’ve made enough money” harassing bluster, and still convinced that equally cautious consumers are simply not buying. Yet, the country is still growing, still needs new homes, more food, and more energy. There are few strikes. Americans remain more self-reliant than our competitors. We are not a shrinking nation with the demographic crises of a Europe or Russia. Soon the mounting pressure will be released by a new change in government and we will see a recovery that should have occurred more than two years ago when the recession officially “ended” in June 2009 — only all the more enhanced due to its delay. When Obama leaves office, there will be a sense of psychological release in the business community that will lead to a far greater “stimulus” than printing more money.
Tempered by Fire
Fourth, that psychology of catharsis that accompanies the end of this administration will last for sometime. The next time Keynesians lecture us on more borrowing or greater spending  (fill in the blanks), Americans will perhaps ask, “So we need to borrow at least $5 trillion within three years? Keep interest rates at near zero? Vastly inflate the money supply? Extend unemployment insurance to over 100 weeks? Exceed 50 million on food stamps?”
With an inept Carter, the left’s lament was “weak messenger.” With the triangulating Clinton, it was “weak message.” With Obama, despite the recent defections and liberal angst, there were both the messianic messenger and the true-blue message. What’s left? The American people turned on both in less than two years. That change of mood will lead the way to necessary reform in a way a less harmful McCain administration could not have achieved: greater revenue from tax simplification, tax reduction, and greater tax compliance, less regulations, entitlement reform, and budgetary discipline. Obama is doing to liberal politics what no right-wing activist could dream up.
Lead from the Front
Fifth, we tried UN multilateralism. We asked permission from the Arab League to intervene in Libya. We celebrated treating enemies and friends alike as neutrals. It did not quite work. Israel is still a democracy; its neighbors still are not. Europe’s leaders still accuse Obama as much as they did Bush. Hussein as a middle name means nothing to the Middle East. Putin is still Putin, and China still is China. Soon we will return to a quiet sense of American exceptionalism, but this time more so, given that the naysayers have had their naysay. Proper appreciation of U.S. global power and moral international citizenship likewise will restore confidence. I don’t think we will hear anymore that Bush turned off theocratic Iran, that Bush radicalized the Palestinians, that Bush destroyed relations with Turkey or Pakistan, or alienated Russia. In all these cases, things are about the same as in 2008 — or much worse.
Finally, the U.S. military has only improved in the last decade. It secured Iraq against all odds . Its Predator drones, in challenge and response fashion, have outpaced the new terrorism.
The domestic critique of the Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism protocols has been rendered mere partisanship by the Obama embrace or expansion of nearly every element that was once demonized between 2002-8. Obama’s unintended legacy is to legitimize Guantanamo, Iraq, renditions, tribunals, preventative detention, the Patriot Act, and so on. A Barack Obama who demagogued waterboarding won’t again — unless waterboarding three self-confessed mass-murdering terrorists is a “war crime” while blowing up over 2,000 suspected terrorists (and any in their vicinity, including U.S. citizens) with judge/jury/executioner missiles is not. (I think the current administration’s idea is simply that the more we vaporize in Waziristan, the less hassle we have with live suspects at Gitmo — again, on the rationale that a current senator, posing like Obama in 2007, can always have a field day with a captive live person in U.S. custody, but not so much with a dead one on foreign soil.)
I, like many, am worried about the Republican field — as is the custom at this early stage. There is more to be endured in 2012. The Obama decline will spark venomous politics of the sort we haven’t seen in years. This time hope and change will be even more “Bush did it!/’You’re all racists!/“They” will take your Social Security.” The financial crisis is not over. We are not yet at the beginning of the end for statism, but the Churchillian end of its new beginning.
Still, let us cheer up a bit. The country always knew, but for just a bit forgot, that you cannot print money and borrow endlessly. It always knew that bureaucrats were less efficient than employers. It knew that Guantanamo was not a gulag and Iraq was not “lost.” But given the anguish over Iraq, the anger at Bush, the Obama postracial novelty and “centrist” façade, and the Freddie/Fannie/Wall Street collapse, it wanted to believe what it knew might not be true. Now three years of Obama have slapped voters out of their collective trance.
The spell has now passed; and we are stronger for its passing. There is going to be soon a sense of relief that we have not experienced in decades. In short, sadder but wiser Americans will soon be turned loose with a vigor unseen in decades.
*The president — with ratings diving — is now on the attack against Republican candidates, who, he alleges, were quiet (and thus dishonored a U.S. soldier) when some members of the crowd booed a gay soldier.
Yet it is unclear from the audio whether the crowd, or just one or two booers, was jeering — as it is unknown the degree to which the candidates on the stage could hear the booer[s].** If the crowd collectively booed the soldier, and if the candidates heard that, then, of course, their silence was telling. But if the boo came from an isolated heckler or two, and if the candidates either did not hear him, or realized that he was just a lone wolf without crowd support, then once again Obama is demagoguing .
Yet Barack Obama should be reluctant to charge one with guilt by silence, especially in a military context. For example, by his own admission, he attended Trinity Church “every week” (Chicago Sun-Times [11/08/2004]: “Yep. Every week. 11 o’clock service”) and so must have heard — and so kept silent about — the racist hatred of his own pastor.
And, in regards to a presidential candidate’s tolerance for slights against military personnel, more hypocrisy still: when lecturing Gen. Petraeus in September 2008 during the Senate hearings, Sen. Obama took no opportunity to criticize the MoveOn.org ad that had just appeared (“General Betray Us”) or to disassociate himself  from fellow senator and rival presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton’s charge that Petraeus was essentially a liar (“the reports that you provide to us really require a willing suspension of disbelief”).
Obama’s latest charge is perhaps a preview of the campaign to come: he apparently won’t be running on food prices, the housing market, gas prices, unemployment numbers, GDP, the present stock market, the numbers on food stamps and unemployment insurance, the deficit, aggregate new debt, government borrowing, or consumer or business confiden
** Barack Obama: “We don’t believe in standing silent when that happens. We don’t believe in them being silent since. You want to be Commander-in-Chief? You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it’s not politically convenient.”
I have read this a dozen times and have no idea what it means. Is the transcript wrongly transmitted? E.g., He meant to say something like, “We don’t [agree with] [those] being silent, since [it begs the question], ‘You want to be Commander-in-Chief’”?, or “We don’t believe in [tolerating] those who are silent, since they want to be Commander-in-Chief].” Again, presidents have to speak constantly and under trying circumstances, so they deserve some exemption from grammatical nitpicking; but when on the attack and questioning the character of others, their charges should be unambiguous
4)Zuckerman: Why Obama Makes Business Weep
By Julie Crawshaw
Mort Zuckerman says President Barack Obama's anti-business policies are causing business people to despair of recovery ever happening.
"(Consumer confidence) numbers now match the drops seen after the Iran hostage crisis, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the collapse of Lehman Brothers,” Zuckerman writes in the Financial Times.
"This is a modern day depression, only this time soup lines have been replaced by unemployment checks."
"Of course, none of this was helped by a government that lost credibility by predicting that its recovery programs would bring the jobless rate down and growth up," Zuckerman says.
"This was the beginning of the yawning credibility gap between the Obama’s administration and business."
"The gap is being aggravated by Mr Obama’s recent sharp turn to the left," writes Zuckerman, also chairman, chief executive and co-founder of Boston Properties.
Obama’s “resort to divisive populism – laying the blame on ‘fat cats’ and pillorying the president’s favorite villains – ‘millionaires and billionaires’ – is exactly the wrong approach,” says Zuckerman.
“It seeds the suspicion that the administration is more interested in campaigning and undermines the confidence that business needs if it is to invest in the face of new regulations, healthcare costs and an increased bureaucracy,” he said.
“Businesses sense that the administration no longer understands how this perceived hostility saps the animal spirits required for taking risks on expansions and start-ups.”
Weak economic growth is proving disastrous for ordinary Americans, says Zuckerman. Per capita income remains below its 2006 level, while wage-based incomes are declining.
Meanwhile, businesses are trying to enhance productivity, not create jobs, Zuckerman notes. “Polls show that business leaders are growing increasingly pessimistic,” he says. “In the past six months a third of companies have delayed or cancelled plans for capital spending.”
Portfolio.com reports that a quarterly Business Roundtable survey found that its CEO members have dialed back their expectations for sales, capital spending, and job growth for the next six months.
Only 65 percent expect sales to increase, compared with 87 percent who thought so three months ago. Only 32 percent expect to increase capital spending in the U.S., compared with 61 percent in the last survey. Only 36 percent expect to add employees, compared with 51 percent earlier. Nearly 25 percent of CEOs plan to decrease employment, up from 11 percent three months ago.