Thursday, August 30, 2007

An Arabist Looks at the Israeli Lobby

David Remnick has an interesting piece on the "friends of Israel" in this weeks New Yorker. He examines the excitement caused last year by the Mearsheimer/Walt affair:
Last year, two distinguished political scientists, John J. Mearsheimer, of the University of Chicago, and Stephen M. Walt, of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, at Harvard, published a thirty-four-thousand-word article online entitled “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” a shorter version of which appeared in The London Review of Books. Israel, they wrote, has become a “strategic liability” for the United States but retains its strong support because of a wealthy, well-organized, and bewitching lobby that has a “stranglehold” on Congress and American élites. Moreover, Israel and its lobby bear outsized responsibility for persuading the Bush Administration to invade Iraq and, perhaps one day soon, to attack the nuclear facilities of Iran. Farrar, Straus & Giroux will publish a book-length version of Mearsheimer and Walt’s arguments on September 4th.

I read this with avid interest as for decades I was echoing the same sentiments, often voiced before in many foreign policy debates, that Israel was pushing the US into areas that hurt American interests elsewhere. I had gained high proficiency in written and spoken Arabic as an FSO and spent two tours in the Middle East as a political officer. The ramifications of the "Palestinian Problem" were everywhere in US relations with our Arab friends. I had contributed to Paul Findlay's book "They Dare To Speak Out," and read dozens of books that promoted multilateral US diplomatic efforts over our bilateral relationship with Israel. Remnick's overview is well done:
Mearsheimer and Walt are “realists.” In their view, diplomatic decisions should be made on the basis of national interest. They argue that in the post-Cold War era, in the absence of a superpower struggle in the Middle East, the United States no longer has any need for an indulgent patronage of the state of Israel. Three billion dollars in annual foreign aid, the easy sale of advanced weaponry, thirty-four vetoes of U.N. Security Council resolutions critical of Israel since 1982—such support, Mearsheimer and Walt maintain, is not in the national interest. “There is a strong moral case for supporting Israel’s existence,” they write, but they deny that Israel is of critical strategic value to the United States. The disappearance of Israel, in their view, would jeopardize neither America’s geopolitical interests nor its core values. Such is their “realism.”

I disagree with Remnick's implication, or my inference from his description, that M/W somehow may favor the "disappearance" of Israel. I also have come around to the belief that Israel does represent one of America's core values, though I agree that it is moot whether our geopolitical interests are BEST served by supporting Israel in the present fashion. But then Remnick cuts to the chase, the charge of anti-Semitism:
The authors observe that discussion about Israel in the United States is often circumscribed, and that the ultimate price for criticizing Israel is to be branded an anti-Semite. They set out to write “The Israel Lobby,” they have said, to break taboos and stimulate discussion. They anticipated some ugly attacks, and were not disappointed. The Washington Post published a piece by the Johns Hopkins professor Eliot Cohen under the headline “Yes, It’s Anti-Semitic.” The Times reported earlier this month that several organizations, including a Jewish community center, have decided to withdraw speaking invitations to Mearsheimer and Walt, in violation of good sense and the spirit of open discussion.

Mearsheimer and Walt are not anti-Semites or racists. They are serious scholars, and there is no reason to doubt their sincerity. They are right to describe the moral violation in Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands. (In this, most Israelis and most American Jews agree with them.) They were also right about Iraq. The strategic questions they raise now, particularly about Israel’s privileged relationship with the United States, are worth debating––just as it is worth debating whether it is a good idea to be selling arms to Saudi Arabia. But their announced objectives have been badly undermined by the contours of their argument—a prosecutor’s brief that depicts Israel as a singularly pernicious force in world affairs. Mearsheimer and Walt have not entirely forgotten their professional duties, and they periodically signal their awareness of certain complexities. But their conclusions are unmistakable: Israel and its lobbyists bear a great deal of blame for the loss of American direction, treasure, and even blood.

I agree that M/W are not anti-Semites. And I had a long discussion with Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg at Columbia U back when I was politically involved concerning the charges that there is some sort of "cabal" which mysteriously manipulates American political decision-makers through various maneuvers to support Israel's interests over perhaps even the best interests of the USA in certain circumstances. Remnick proceeds:

In Mearsheimer and Walt’s cartography, the Israel lobby is not limited to AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. It is a loose yet well-oiled coalition of Jewish-American organizations, “watchdog” groups, think tanks, Christian evangelicals, sympathetic journalists, and neocon academics. This is not a cabal but a world in which Abraham Foxman gives the signal, Pat Robertson describes his apocalyptic rapture, Charles Krauthammer pumps out a column, Bernard Lewis delivers a lecture—and the President of the United States invades another country. Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Exxon-Mobil barely exist.

Remnick wrote a Pulitzer-Prize description of his years in Moscow in the eighties as the USSR crumbled and is not buying any of the hokum that M/W are pumping out.
Where many accounts identify Osama bin Laden’s primary grievances with American support of “infidel” authoritarian regimes in Islamic lands, Mearsheimer and Walt align his primary concerns with theirs: America’s unwillingness to push Israel to end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. (It doesn’t matter that Israel and the Palestinians were in peace negotiations in 1993, the year of the first attack on the World Trade Center, or that during the Camp David negotiations in 2000 bin Laden’s pilots were training in Florida.) Mearsheimer and Walt give you the sense that, if the Israelis and the Palestinians come to terms, bin Laden will return to the family construction business.

I agree that M/W generate more heat than light in their one-sided "prosecutorial brief" against Israel and the Zionist urge to people the land with diaspora Jews. My experiences in every Arab country in the Arab League [I have visited all save Libya and Djibouti] is that there are a lot of Arab politicians who get on the soapbox and preach loudly and even hysterically about Israel, then tell one personally that the Arabs need a lot of the commercial skills and entrepreneurial expertise, plus financing, that clever Israelis and their "American friends" can supply. These same Arab business and political types repeated these tropes to me at two World Economic Forum experiences in Casablanca [I met Arafat & Shimon Peres as an Amoco Representative] and Amman [where I shook Rabin's hand a week before he was murdered] in the mid-'90s, when Oslo was moving forward. Things were looking up. Remnick on the M/W narrative:
It’s a narrative that recounts every lurid report of Israeli cruelty as indisputable fact but leaves out the rise of Fatah and Palestinian terrorism before 1967; the Munich Olympics; Black September; myriad cases of suicide bombings; and other spectaculars. The narrative rightly points out the destructiveness of the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and America’s reluctance to do much to curtail them, but there is scant mention of Palestinian violence or diplomatic bungling, only a recitation of the claim that, in 2000, Israel offered “a disarmed set of Bantustans under de-facto Israeli control.” (Strange that, at the time, the Saudi Prince Bandar told Yasir Arafat, “If we lose this opportunity, it is not going to be a tragedy. This is going to be a crime.”) Nor do they dwell for long on instances when the all-powerful Israel lobby failed to sway the White House, as when George H. W. Bush dragged Yitzhak Shamir to the Madrid peace conference.

Every Arab sympathizer and advocate usually starts with the M/W "bantustan" metaphor. Then, if the interlocutor is honest, he will admit that Arafat refused four-fifths of a loaf for reasons other than mere "justice" and "historical ties." Arafat was supremely unable to give up the predominant position he had in the PLO hierarchy, which would have been threatened had he signed in 2000. More bluntly, he was afraid he would be killed, like Sadat. Arafat was a physical and moral coward. And Prince Bandar was supremely correct, for Arafat to reject the offer on the table with Barak was a "CRIME."

During my strange career path in DC, I worked for companies who were registered foreign agents several times, plus informally I worked for the Greek, Armenian, and Lebanese lobbies. I worked for Denis Neill on the Pakistan front, soon to be a major motion picture in "Charlie Wilson's War" and actually worked with Wilson on a low-level, but important project that netted Pakistan $450,000,000 in much-needed military aid [with the help of Dem. Senators Kerry & Dodd---I personally delivered the check!!!] My wife worked as the Greek representative for Daniel J. Edelman [and for Panama as well] Lobbies are part and parcel of the American way since Gen. Grant sat in the Willard Lobby and De Tocqueville wrote on how difficult American foreign policy would be to enforce because "domestic interests" would interfere with the prosecution of diplomatic initiatives. From the XYZ Affair onwards, the USA has had its foreign and domestic interests intertwined, as Remnick goes on to say:
Lobbying is inscribed in the American system of power and influence. Big Pharma, the A.A.R.P., the N.R.A., the N.A.A.C.P., farming interests, the American Petroleum Institute, and hundreds of others shuttle between K Street and Capitol Hill. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s national-security adviser, recently praised Mearsheimer and Walt in the pages of Foreign Policy for the service of “initiating a much-needed public debate,” but he went on to provide a tone and a perspective that are largely missing from their arguments. “The participation of ethnic or foreign-supported lobbies in the American policy process is nothing new,” he observes. “In my public life, I have dealt with a number of them. I would rank the Israeli-American, Cuban-American, and Armenian-American lobbies as the most effective in their assertiveness. The Greek- and Taiwanese-American lobbies also rank highly in my book. The Polish-American lobby was at one time influential (Franklin Roosevelt complained about it to Joseph Stalin), and I daresay that before long we will be hearing a lot from the Mexican-, Hindu-, and Chinese-American lobbies as well.”

Remnick finishes by accusing M/W of pushing the Israeli Lobby forward as a scapegoat:
Taming the influence of lobbies, if that is what Mearsheimer and Walt desire, is a matter of reforming the lobbying and campaign-finance laws. But that is clearly not the source of the hysteria surrounding their arguments. “The Israel Lobby” is a phenomenon of its moment. The duplicitous and manipulative arguments for invading Iraq put forward by the Bush Administration, the general inability of the press to upend those duplicities, the triumphalist illusions, the miserable performance of the military strategists, the arrogance of the Pentagon, the stifling of dissent within the military and the government, the moral disaster of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, the rise of an intractable civil war, and now an incapacity to deal with the singular winner of the war, Iran—all of this has left Americans furious and demanding explanations. Mearsheimer and Walt provide one: the Israel lobby. In this respect, their account is not so much a diagnosis of our polarized era as a symptom of it

My oil background leads me to believe that American oil and energy interests might also had something to do with it, and a fear that Saddam would be let off the hook by the UN, that feckless monster polluting the East River, and return to developing the nuclear weapon that he was on the way to developint with the help of his French buddy Chirac [Osirak, remember that, blown up by Israeli jets in '81?]. The CIA's general intelligence failures and the unknown fact that Saddam had shipped his chem & bio weapons to Syria [as he shipped his air force to Iran in '90-91, remember that?] also threw dust in the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld troika's grand strategy. Resurrecting the Tarnoff Doctrine [promote democracy in foreign policy, remember that?] by the GWB troika was partly because Rumsfeld fired Gen Garner and some American Arabists who actually knew the region, and Bremer kept Khalilizad from being Joint Pro-Consul [who wants a linguist doing the serious business of Provisional Govt.] [personal anecdotes follow] Rumsfeld was Reagan's Ambassador-at-Large to the Middle East in the early eighties and my best man was his Deputy. My buddy told me that Rumsfeld hadn't the slightest interest in the Middle East except for its effect on the internal dynamics of Beltway politics, and that when Saddam kept Rumsfeld waiting for an hour in Baghdad, this little Dutchman seethed and vowed vengeance. Cobra II quotes him telling Garner "We need fresh ideas" in dismissing two years of a Task Force's work.
Rumsfeld never had an idea in his life, only received opinions and opinionated opinions. And an obsession-compulsion with the political Beltway worthy of a video game freak.

There's a lot of blame to go around for our present situation, and the Israel Lobby has a bit of it. But the M/W thesis simply is overstated and anti-Semitism does exist, just not in their academic world.

For that, look to Jimmy Carter.

Sarkozy Moving Up the Charts with a Bullet!

The Wall Street Journal has a nice Op-Ed on Sarkozy as the Un-Chiraq:

Nicolas Sarkozy made headlines this week by telling his diplomatic corps that "an Iran with nuclear weapons is for me unacceptable." But the French President did more in his speech than name the gravest current threat to global security, itself a feat of clear thinking. He also signaled that France means to be something more on the international scene than an anti-American nuisance player.

That's worth applauding at a time when the conventional wisdom says the next U.S. President will have to burnish America's supposedly tarnished reputation by making various policy amends. In Germany, under the conservative leadership of Angela Merkel, foreign policy views have been moving closer to the Bush Administration's, not further away, while new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has made clear he will not depart significantly from the pro-American course set by Tony Blair.

But it is Mr. Sarkozy who, true to his reputation, has been the boldest in stepping up to his global responsibilities. On Afghanistan, he told the assembled diplomats, "the duty of the Atlantic Alliance as well as that of France," is to "increase efforts." He then announced he would be sending additional trainers to assist the Afghan Army. On Israel, he said he "would never budge" on its security. He warned about Russia, which "imposes its return on the world scene by playing its assets with a certain brutality," and he cautioned against China, which pursues "its insatiable search for raw materials as a strategy of control, particularly in Africa."

Of course, this sort of thinking goes four-square against the prejudices of Sarkozy's predecessor and the anointed hair-and-makeup paragon of poetaster pomposity, the grandiose Foreign Minister, then PM Dominique Villepin [LNU], whose deft work with the epee into the back of Colin Powell was the highlight of the 2003 Security Council Jousting and Listing in the runup to the US/UK freeing of Iraq from its nasty dictator Saddam Hussein. The WSJ goes on to say in a masterful piece of understatement:
It's hard to imagine Jacques Chirac, Mr. Sarkozy's predecessor, speaking this way. (Mr. Sarkozy has also reportedly described French diplomats as "cowards" and proposed "[getting] rid of the Quai d'Orsay." Imagine the media uproar if President Bush mused about doing the same to Foggy Bottom?) No less a departure from past practices at the Élysée Palace is his stance on Iran. In January, Mr. Chirac had mused that an Iranian bomb would "not be very dangerous." Mr. Sarkozy, by contrast, has previously insisted on the need to "leave all options open" when dealing with Iran's nuclear programs.

In his speech this week to the diplomats, Mr. Sarkozy warned of the need for tough diplomacy, including "growing sanctions," to avoid the "catastrophic alternative: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran." That doesn't sound far from Senator John McCain's useful formulation that "There's only one thing worse than the United States exercising the military option; that is a nuclear-armed Iran." The important point is that Mr. Sarkozy has put on record that he won't let Iran develop a bomb under cover of feckless Western diplomacy.

One test of his resolve will be how much France assists the Bush Administration as it seeks to round up votes in the U.N. Security Council for a third round of sanctions on Iran next month. The Administration has had a hard time moving the diplomacy beyond symbolism in part because of the economic ties that other permanent members of the Council, including France, have with the Islamic Republic. The French say they've already pulled out some of their investments in the country, and in recent months France, Germany and other European countries have in fact cut back their export credits to Iran.

Mr. Sarkozy could now demonstrate real seriousness by forcing French energy giant Total from its $2 billion investment in the huge South Pars natural gas project. A corruption probe into the decade-old project could give him the leverage to do so, as could rising pressure in the U.S. Congress to start enforcing sanctions against companies that do business with rogue regimes.

Whatever Mr. Sarkozy does, however, he has plainly set a new tone for French foreign policy. That's not to say we agree with him on every point: He reiterated France's opposition to the war in Iraq and called for a "horizon" for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Yet even that puts him well to the right of every U.S. Democratic Presidential candidate. And he warned against the "risks of an antagonistic multipolar world," the very world Mr. Chirac seemed to strive for by opposing the U.S. at every turn.
In a speech last year in New York, Mr. Sarkozy noted that "I've always favored modest effectiveness over sterile grandiloquence. And I don't want to see an arrogant France with a diminished presence." With his remarks Monday, Mr. Sarkozy has given the best evidence to date that his presidency will attempt to enhance French influence not by opposing the U.S. but by working with it.

Sarkozy, Merkel, Brown all appear ready to deal with a lot of intractable problems with a serious sense of purpose. This is for France a welcome departure from the posing, strutting and puffery of Sarkozy's predecessor & Chirac's page-boy Dominique.

Condi and Nancy On Election in Iraq

David Ignatius has an interesting piece today in the Washington Post on the Jan 2005 elections in Iraq. In the run-up, the US initiated a finding to authorize the CIA to counter heavy Iranian funding of extremist Shi'ite parties. But after a large sum had been distributed to moderate" Shi'ites, the CIA found the "finding" abrogated and went to the moderates to ask for their money back.

It appears that the dynamic duo behind the turn-around of the finding were none other than Nancy Pelosi and Condoleeza Rice.
They were afraid of "appearances" that the US was supporting moderate Shi'ites while evidently not afraid of Iranian-backed Shi'ites.

Wasn't it Condi Rice who also the same year had the bright idea of including Hamas in the elections on the West Bank and Gaza, in order to keep "balanced elections?" We all know what happened to that brainstorm of the new US SecState.

David Ignatius politely calls the Iraqi election a "mixture of hubris and naivete."

With Hamas, Condi has leaped far above hubris and won the Guinness Record for naivete, IMHO.

And our allies in Iraq and Israel are both scratching their heads, as are the Fatah factions in the Palestinian Authority we are now forced to support, after a coup d'etat in Gaza.

I for one wished Condi had got her "Dream Job" of NFL Commissioner and had Michael Vick to deal with rather than Hamas and Hezbollah and the Iranian Mullahcracy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

LA TIMES: Mystery Solved

Raymond Chandler could not have written a story this completely noir.
For the last 15 years, California authorities have been trying to figure out what happened to a businessman named Norman Hsu, who pleaded no contest to grand theft, agreed to serve up to three years in prison and then seemed to vanish.

"He is a fugitive," Ronald Smetana, who handled the case for the state attorney general, said in an interview. "Do you know where he is?"

Hsu, it seems, has been hiding in plain sight, at least for the last three years.

Of course, this is in the LA Times, so reason and accountability figure nowhere in the picture.

No questions about what the "authorities" are going to do now that the mystery "grand theft" perp has surfaced.

Hillary, in keeping with her husband's presidential library pardons, will keep the money.

Don't look for the MSM to make a big deal out of this. Only criminals evading capture and punishment by contributing to Democrats. Happens every day.

Welcome to Bill and Hillary, Part II.

New Orleans: Sodom & Gomorrah Rolled Into One

New Orleans was a disaster fifty years in the making, according to an ex-Green Beret Army Officer friend who told me the following story.

From the late 1940s to the late '60s, this friends great-uncle was a senior Army officer in the Army Corps of Engineers and was involved and in the latter part of his career, in charge of bolstering the levee system protecting New Orleans. He had more than fifteen years on the job there and was intimately involved in the construction, repair, and enlargement of the vast system enclosing the city and its suburbs.

His great-uncle told my friend that as the years progressed, the city government of New Orleans became much more involved in contracting out and the bidding process for repairing the levees. The Democrats in charge of New Orleans began consistently lobbying for more control of this process and finally, over the protests of the professional military engineers, was able to have almost complete control over who got the contracts. The due diligence the Corps made after the repairs found more and more often that shoddy workmanship and materials were weakening the dykes, and reported this up their command chain to Washington [the military don't run to newspapers like the Times-Picayune who often side with the Democratic politicians].

After years of non-improvement of the process, the COE finally resigned itself to overseeing a politicized kickback and underperformance ritual with the levees. My friends uncle told him that sooner or later the "Big One" would knock over the levees. His uncle died before the "Big One" arrived in 2005.

And when it happened, whose door did the MSM lay the broken levees and subsequent disaster in front of?

The real culprits, which were the Democratic administrations Moon Landriau and his crooked relative Sen. Mary and their political ancestors and allies?

Or a fake bogus made-up smear, which blamed the Republicans?

Take one guess.

My Take on Slate's Take on Craig's Lust

Slate has an intermittently thoughtful and hilarious editors' squabble-session on the ethics of "catching" someone in an airport loo trying to pick someone else up. My take on gay liaisons is the old Natural Law argument that anything dogs don't do is unnatural. [But perhaps, like a black swan, somewhere goes a gay dog?] Best line:
Plotz, my cubicle-mate, asked why Craig would want to have sex in an airport. Then, channeling Saletan, he said, "Oh, it was a layover."

Personally, I think Sen. Craig looks too much like Donald Rumsfeld to be let off the hook. And there's a lot of smoke in the Idaho Statesman's investigation of Craig's back pages. Plus Craig showed no mercy on the Packwood proceedings a decade ago.

Here is the observation of one astute commenter to Ann Althouse:
Let's see - Ted Kennedy committed intoxication homicide against his female employee but is considered a model supported of womens rights. Gerry Studds actually committed statutory rape yet was considered a model of support for gay people. William Jefferson had 90 grand of bribe money in his freezer and yet is considered a model of support for his impoverished constituents. Oh, wait - President Clinton was credibly accused of sexual assault, but he's considered a champion of womens rights as well.

Larry Craig is the hypocrite, though. Go figure.

They used to tell a joke about Gerry Studds - the reason he didn't used bookmarks was that he bent over the pages. But Larry Craig is the nasty pervert who should lose his job. Blaahhhh!

Point of fact: My straight brother-in-law has features that might be judged a bit effeminate. He was one of Gerry Studds' Legislative Assistants and more than once, while they were doing "research" for Gerry's Maritime Affairs Committee, Gerry would softly knock on my b-in-law's door in the middle of the night. Don would shoo him away like the silly pest he was. I once met Studd's AA who went on to become SecState Madeleine Albright's speech-writer.

Just a class act all around, like his fellow Bay Stater Fat Teddy and that other Senator with the hair-and-makeup issues who got three Purple Hearts from one scratch.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Gutless Post Refuses to Run Cartoon on Islamists

Those brave and intrepid "journalists" at the Washington Post who mocked Jerry Falwell in his grave and attack Christianity on a weekly basis are too FRIGHTENED to showthis inoffensive cartoon about Islamists.

Your guess why is as good as mine, but perhaps they're afraid someone will explode themselves in the Post Lobby, to demonstrate the quiet spirituality of THE RELIGION OF PEACE.

Wouldn't want to offend those pious Muslims with our manifestations of free speech, would we?

Sarkozy Reverses French Meddlesome Triangulating

Saddam Hussein's Hunt for Nukes began with his trip to France in the early Seventies when Chirac was his guide as Junior Minister for Nukes & Nuclear Power. SH kept Chiraq on his payroll and Osirak, bombed by the Israelis in '81 was the first rotten fruit of their cooperation.

In the '90s SH kept the Napoleons d'Or coming to Chiraq in diplomatic pouches from his half-brother Ambassador to the UN in Geneva. Remember that hundreds or thousands of Americans died through Chiraq's crooked perfidy.

Sarkozy knows the French are ashamed, at a deep level, of Chirac & not stupid enough to buy into Socialist absurdities. So he now can strap on a set and proceed to steer his country back into the mainstream of sanity that Merkel has also accomplished.

To permit Iran to develop the bomb is as absurd as the Hidden Imam's forthcoming arrival at Tehran International Airport. Can't happen & hopefully, sanity will prevail and Chirac's buying into mass psychosis was a mere episode in French history.

Sarkozy is also making demarches toward Syria:
Breaking with the policy of his predecessor Jacques Chirac, Sarkozy said he was prepared to hold high-level talks with Syria if it backed French efforts aimed at ending the political crisis in Lebanon. "If Damascus committed itself to this path, then the conditions for a Franco-Syrian dialogue would be in place."

But on Iraq he will keep the NYT and its pilot fish off his back[for a while]because:
he stuck to his predecessor's stance in demanding that a timeline be drawn up for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

Also, on Turkey, he has a new approach:
Sarkozy said the only option for Turkey's accession talks with the European Union was a form of privileged partnership short of EU membership, and said he wanted a Mediterranean Union to take shape next year. Turkey has said that project should not be an alternative to Ankara joining the European Union.

Sarkozy proposed setting up a "committee of wise men" to consider the future of Europe, including the Turkish question.

And Sarkozy takes the US Treasury line on Chinese currency:
He criticized Beijing's management of its currency, which he says is too low and gives it an unfair advantage on export markets. He said China and other developing powers Mexico, South Africa, Brazil and India should eventually join the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations to become the G13.

GWB must be thinking, better late than never.

Democrats Start Pushing Panic Button

The clueless Dhimmitude of the Democrats is not solely due to their foreign policy shortcomings. A weirdo from Emory named Drew Westen has now been elevated to guru status by the meth brigade at Firedoglake, which does not accept comments from people who disagree with their ultra-left fever-swamp hallucinations. David Brooks elaborates:
Between 2000 and 2006, a specter haunted the community of fundamentalist Democrats. Members of this community looked around and observed their moral and intellectual superiority. They observed that their policies were better for the middle classes. And yet the middle classes did not support Democrats. They tended to vote, in large numbers, for the morally and intellectually inferior party, the one, moreover, that catered to the interests of the rich.

How could this be?

Serious thinkers set to work, and produced a long shelf of books answering this question. Their answers tended to rely on similar themes. First, Democrats lose because they are too intelligent. Their arguments are too complicated for American voters. Second, Democrats lose because they are too tolerant. They refuse to cater to racism and hatred. Finally, Democrats lose because they are not good at the dark art of politics. Republicans, though they are knuckle-dragging simpletons when it comes to policy, are devilishly clever when it comes to electioneering. They have brilliant political consultants like Lee Atwater and Karl Rove, who frame issues so fiendishly, they can fool the American people into voting against their own best interests.

This literature was never taken seriously by sophisticated Democrats, but it thrived nonetheless. Still, you’d think it would be pretty much extinct now that Democrats are winning and Republicans are in the midst of a historic meltdown.

But I worked for two Democratic National Presidential Campaigns on the National Staff level. The Democrats have an emotional instability gene built into their political template, and a credulous belief that their own good intentions trump common sense. So now they're going for the jugular, believing that the American people can be conned into thinking Far Left is the middle----as the KKKossacks propound---or that Hollyweird is full of thoughtful social commentators like Harry Shearer and Alec Baldwin, as the Puffington Host keeps intimating. Brooks slaps this Westen fellow silly:
This thesis raises some interesting questions. First, why did someone with so little faith in rational inquiry go into academia, and what does he do to those who disagree with him at Emory faculty meetings, especially recovering alcoholics?

Second, the states of upper New England and the Pacific Coast regularly used to vote Republican in presidential elections but now they generally vote Democratic. Did people in those states become less emotional, and therefore more amenable to the Democrats’ rational appeals over the past few decades? If so, has this led to a drop in Valentine’s Day purchases, at least compared with people in passionate states like Nebraska?

Third, how did John Kerry beat Howard Dean in the Democratic primaries? Was it because of his Oprah-esque displays of emotional intensity?

Fourth, is it possible that substance has something to do with the political fortunes of parties? Could it be that Democrats won in the middle part of the 20th century because they were right about the big issues — the New Deal and the civil rights movement? Is it possible Republicans won in the latter part of the century because they were right about economic growth and the cold war? Is it possible Democrats are winning now because they were right about whether to go to war in Iraq? And if substantive policies correlate with political fortunes, what does that say about the human mind?

Finally, if voter decisions are driven by the sort of crude emotional outbursts Westen recommends, and if, as he writes, “a substantial minority of Americans hold authoritarian, intolerant ideologies driven by fear, hate and prejudice that are fundamentally incompatible with Democratic (and democratic) principles,” then shouldn’t we abandon this whole democracy thing? Shouldn’t we have a coup, led perhaps by the Emory psychology department, which could prevent the brutish and hate-filled from ever gaining control?

It’s rare that one comes across a book that raises so many questions. Of course it’s rare that one comes across a book that so avidly flatters the prejudices of its partisan readers.

The dim bulbs of the fever swamp think their meth-fueled delirium tremens will carry the day, because they translate their grandiosity and hysteria into superiority on a moral and intellectual level. This is called mass psychosis by most social observers with a modicum of objectivity. McGovern & Co. believed a "student body left" Hail Mary pass would gain the White House, as the student movements totally misread their influence on the American body politic. Brooks ends with a soothing lullaby to the squalling kiddie-korps running Kossack/firedog/HuffinPuff:
emotions are produced by learning. As we go through life, we learn what cause leads to what effect. When, later on, we face similar situations, the emotions highlight possible outcomes, drawing us toward some actions and steering us away from others.

In other words, emotions partner with rationality. It’s not necessary to dumb things down to appeal to emotions. It’s not necessary to understand some secret language that will key certain neuro-emotional firings. The best way to win votes — and this will be a shocker — is to offer people an accurate view of the world and a set of policies that seem likely to produce good results.

This is how you make voters happy.

Don't count on the far-left to get any messages from people who disagree with their apodictic manifestoes. Like firedoglake, they don't take outside calls.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Greek Fires Might Have Political Origin

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has declared that the spate of forest fires breaking out all over Greece might be criminal arson:
"So many fires breaking out simultaneously in so many parts of the country cannot be a coincidence," Karamanlis said a nationally televised address. "The state will do everything it can to find those responsible and punish them."

Indeed, elections are just three weeks away, and
the devastating fires are certain to become a political issue. The government has come under criticism for its response to previous fires, which killed 10 people.

Given the fact that the ultra-leftist PASOK Party was put out of power because of widespread unpopularity of the incumbent PASOK government led by Costas Simitis (a party that had been in power between 1981—1989 and from 1993—2004)partly because PASOK was caught by the EU faking Greek economic statistics in order to join the Eurozone and get the economic boost such assession would bring. PASOK has no problem resorting to illegal methods in order to return to power. I had dinner with a member of the Papandreaou family long ago who told me he hoped to help cure PASOK of its criminal ways.

But Karamanlis is clearly implying that the fires responsible for the Greek deaths are possibly being set for political motivation, and given the shady ethics and dishonest practices of Simitis and PASOK in the past, many Greeks might tend to agree.

I'm looking forward to see what Christopher Hitchens has to say about these fires.

Russia Threatens Georgia: 8000 lb Elephant is Oil Pipeline

Russia is reverting to its old bad habits, although alcoholism and AIDS no longer drive Russian paranoia and grandiosity. Its booming economy should start to sober up the regime of Vlad the Empoisoner and his putative successor Ivanov. But in the meantime, Russia is lobbing missiles and making night attacks into Georgia using its traditional brutal tactics to blackmail Georgia into submission.

Without getting into details, the WSJ article does bury the lede in para 20 or something:
"When Russia cut off gas supplies, we had to work on developing new sources. So we're developing hydro-power and coal and nuclear energy. Next year, we'll be fully supplied by Azerbaijani power. . . . Everyone said we'd never survive but our success gives confidence to everyone else."

Mr. Saakashvili notes that his country had to diversify its markets anyway. "Georgia's natural strength is its role as a crossroads both culturally and geographically. It was always a kind of bridge on the old Silk Road. So we're building up our highway system; we're completing our rail link from Batoumi to Istanbul through to Europe; we've got the new international airport there.

"Eastwards we're connecting all the way to China via a ferry across the Caspian. It will offer an alternative to the trans-Siberian railway. And of course, the same goes for pipelines such as the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline which goes through Georgia."

Energy and its availability from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan is the chief motive driving Russia's strong-arm tactics, and its traditional "light-touch diplomacy" as with the threat last week on Czech anti-missile installations will remain the Russian style as long as pint-size czarovitch Putin is in command---which will be beyond his stepping down as president next year.

If he does.

Friday, August 24, 2007

John Edwards Vows to Sell His Foreclosure Fund Assets

The New York Post has a nice article on the biggest fraud to run for President since.....John Kerrey! Instead of three fake Purple Hearts, this "populist" makes money on kicking poor flood victims of Katrina out of their homes.
The populist candidate - who has denounced such lenders - invested $16 million of his $30 million in assets in Fortress Investment Group. The Wall Street Journal reported that 34 New Orleans homeowners struggling to overcome Katrina's aftermath faced foreclosure suits from subprime-lending units of Fortress.

Yesterday, the red-faced Democratic candidate vowed to remove from his portfolio any Fortress funds that have a stake in those lender units.

"I will not have my family's money involved in these firms that are foreclosing on people in New Orleans," he said while on the campaign trial in Des Moines, Iowa.

When Fortress' connections to subprime lenders were reported in May, Edwards said he was unaware of it and would ask the company to help Katrina victims faced with losing their homes.

Let's see, we're supposed to entrust the presidency to a fellow who claims he was UNAWARE of Fortress' subprime policies, after the same fellow
worked for the firm as a senior adviser after his losing 2004 race as Sen. John Kerry's vice-presidential running mate. He was paid $479,512 for part-time work last year, records show.

Uh, huh. Maybe he was "kept out of the loop" and invested $16 million in ignorance, in the which case, should he be running for anything other than dunce of the year? How do you get paid half-a-mil for "part-time work" and not know anything about the predatory loans the company made? And there's this tiny asterisk:
Fortress executives also have donated more than $150,000 to Edwards' campaign during the first six months of the year.

To help him study poverty, fo'sho'. John just has no shame, perhaps.
Asked yesterday if his investments damaged his image as a poverty fighter, Edward's said: "No. Everyone knows I am completely committed to eliminating poverty in this country." [Especially his own, Ed. note]

The mortgage flap was the second embarrassing disclosure this month involving Edwards and his finances.

Edwards demanded that his Democratic rivals give back any money they received from Rupert Murdoch and boycott Murdoch's Fox News.

But two weeks ago it was disclosed that Edwards had been paid $800,000 for a book published by a subsidiary of Murdoch's News Corp., which also owns The Post. In response, Edwards said he gave $500,000 to charity and used the rest for researchers and other expenses, although he did not provide records.

Or perhaps, could John Edwards be overseeing the death throes of a campaign conceived in hypocrisy, suckled by hedge funds soaking the poor, and fueled by populist rhetoric repeatedly contradicted by his own sharp practices and misleading disingenuous statements? Does anyone believe anything he says anymore?

My guess is yes and no.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

UPDATE: Illegal Alien Crime: the Biggest MSM Cover-Up of All

Heather MacDonald has a piece in the City Journal on alien perps. The media keeps saying [creepy liar Geraldo Rivera AKA Jerry Rivers bleats this daily on FoxNews of all places] that the illegals commit less crime than average. Duh... They commit no white collar crime to speak of and the crimes they do commit are usually very violent, given their nasty temperament---[Mexicans, anyway, who refuse to shake hands after being defeated in national sporting events with other countries, which is virtually ALL THE TIME for these inbred low-life LOOOZERS]. Guatemalans and other Central Americans, including Cubans here in FL, are generally not associated with crime gangs like MS-13---so it is Mexicans and El Salvadoreans who are the nastiest of the nasty. Jamaicans are also a nasty violent sub-group---I found five of them in our living room last year at mid-day. They were a gang doing our entire neighborhood, The Colonnade here in Boca. The Boca cops refused to do much, as they're generally scared of Jamaicans, but a couple of detectives who are very brave tracked them down in Liberty City in Miami-Dade.

One of my gentle readers requested some information on crime among illegal aliens. Of course, the Feds and DOJ have stopped collecting such info [GWB & his WSJ pals using brain-dead AG Alberto Gonzales to cover up crime] and here's a note from my native state of Wisconsin:
In fact, the MSM seems to go out of its way to hide criminal activity committed by illegal aliens. Here in Wisconsin, it's no secret that the vast majority of Hispanic/Latino residents are residing here illegally. In my area, their population has doubled in the past five years, because the mantra here is "Celebrate Diversity!"

When a crime is reported in the local newspaper, committed by someone with an obviously Hispanic/Latino name, no mention is made of the culprit's immigration status. When I phoned the local police station, to ask about statistics relating to crimes committed by illegal aliens, I was told that they don't keep such statistics. When I asked why not, I was told that they were not asked to do that, when filing crime reports at the state level.

I went to the next level and contacted the state law enforcement authorities in Madison, in order to pursue my inquiry there. It turned out that they didn't gather information on crimes committed by illegal aliens, either, because it wasn't requested by federal authorities.

In fact, they no longer collected data on crimes committed by Hispanics/Latinos, because that had been determined to be an ethnic group, not a racial group. Hispanics/Latinos were now counted as whites. The other racial group classifications are black, Asian, and native American Indian. (I couldn't help thinking that people way up the law enforcement organizational chart must have decided they want that kind of information buried.)

Fortunately, a number of congressmen requested that the General Accountability Office (GAO) investigate and report information on criminal aliens incarcerated in federal and state prisons and local jails. The resulting GAO report, published in April 2005, revealed that illegal aliens make up 27% of the prison population. (The oft-cited figure of 12 million illegal aliens in the country means that they make up just 4% of the general population.)

Since illegal aliens are unlikely to be committing white-collar crimes, that figure likely underestimates the amount of violent crime committed by illegal aliens. Using the GAO report, Representative Steve King of Iowa points out that 25 Americans, on average, are killed by illegal aliens every day (about evenly split between motor vehicle accidents and outright murder).

Do the math: That works out to more than 9,000 deaths per year, or more than 36,000 deaths over the past four years. That's more than ten times the number of Americans killed in Iraq over the past four years!

Oddly, I've seen people in my hometown protesting against the war in Iraq, but I've never seen anyone protesting against the illegal alien invasion that is killing tens of thousands of Americans right here on our own soil.

Here in Florida, an especially heinous crime was committed in Delray Beach by an obviously foreign dude, raping and attempted-murder on a local girl, and all the local media dodged any questions about his status, until a local TV reporter noted parenthetically that the perp had "recently arrived from the Bahamas" and had been hiding among the local black community. I'm sure this criminal didn't go through customs, probably was dropped off by a fishing boat, and yet the MSM didn't mention it in dozens of stories both local and national---it was especially brutal.

This crime spree, especially from our narco-state kleptocrat neighbor Mexico, has got to be recognized and stopped. And sanctuary cities have got to be punished for being scofflaws. And get a new AG, GWB!
UPDATE The Collection of Criminals Known as the Mexican Senate rebuked the US for tossing back the trash that had ended up somehow in Chicago. There should be a RICO-statute for failed-state legislative bodies that derive the largest part of their income from bribes and kickbacks----but then we'd have to look closely at the collection of creeps led by Harry '"My kids are lobbyists living in my basement" Reid, or Mitch McConnell, who vies desperately to keep up the Republicans' rate of peculation at least even with the Dems. Ditto Hastert and Pelosi, and good riddance to Hastert, the crookedest Speaker of the House in the history of Congress until Nancy came along!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sarkozy Gets Mixed Reviews from FT, A+ from Amir Taheri

The Financial Times gives French President Sarkozy generally good reviews, damning him with faint praise a bit.
....for France’s long-starved reformers, who saw Mr Sarkozy as the country’s best hope for a redynamised economy, the first three months have been something of a disappointment. He may have tried to free the labour market by abolishing tax on overtime, but he has bought peace with unions by compromising on a pledge for minimum service in public transport during strikes. He has given France’s flagging university system much-needed autonomy, but has surrendered to union resistance on student selection and fees. For the critics, such compromises bode ill for the dramatic rupture Mr Sarkozy himself said was needed to put France’s over-regulated economy back on the path of strong growth.

Amir Taheri in the Gulf News is much more positive towards Sarkozy and takes a backhand slap at Chirac:
[Foreign Minister] Kouchner's visit, full of symbolism, shatters one of the key points in Al Qaida's analysis: that the Western powers will never find enough unity to develop a common strategy against terror.

At one point, when Chirac invited German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Russian President Vladimir Putin to a gathering to forge an anti-American triple alliance, Al Qaida's analysis appeared to have some basis in reality.

Now, however, both Chancellor Angela Merkel and Sarkozy understand the stark fact that the perception of Western disunity may be one of the factors that prolongs the conflict in Iraq.

Taheri also refers to one of the worst kept secrets in Europe, that Chirac was in the tank with Saddam Hussein, who paid him handsomely for Chirac's backstabbing the US policy through Saddam's half-brother who was Iraq's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva:
One of the key promises that Nicolas Sarkozy had made during his presidential election campaign last spring was to "correct" foreign policy "mistakes" made by his predecessor Jacques Chirac.

Chief among these was Chirac's desperate efforts to prevent the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussain's regime of terror.
Chirac failed to save his friend's regime but managed to do serious damage to relations with the US, Great Britain and more than 40 other nations that joined the coalition of the willing to liberate Iraq in 2003.

Sarkozy's moves to correct the mistake started even before his election when he met President George W. Bush at the White House in 2006 and described Chirac's policy as "arrogant".

The surprise visit paid to Iraq by France's new Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner this week is another move by Sarkozy to shed Chirac's disastrous legacy.

No better man than Kouchner could have been chosen to signal France's change of policy. For Kouchner is one of a handful of people in the West who recognised the murderous nature of Saddam's regime and called for its overthrow as early as the 1980s.

It will be interesting if Chirac's peculations and behind-the-scenes treachery will ever be revealed by the US foreign policy community, dominated by the Bush-hating CFR and Carnegie Soros-oriented rags like Foreign Policy. Gold Napoleons d'or buys a lot from Chirac who first hooked up with Saddam during his first and only trip to Europe, when Chirac was a young nuclear affairs minister. It was Chirac who was behind Osirak, the Iraqi reactor that the Israelis bombed in '81, thus preventing Iraq from eventually building a nuclear device.

Supposedly the bags of gold French coins came to Chirac via the diplomatic pouch from Geneva's Iraqi UN mission.

Who says the UN doesn't play a role in Middle East diplomacy?

Russia to Resume Building Civilian Aircraft?

Not that the clueless imbeciles at the world's collection of dumbest journalists, The Guardian, would know about these things, but they are also unintentional humorists.
Mr Putin said Russia would also resume the large-scale manufacture of civilian planes. "Russia has a very important goal which is to retain leadership in the production of military equipment," he said.

The Russian civilian planes might be on the Ilyushin model, and when I was stationed at the American Embassy in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, we were always trying to organize scuba diving expeditions on the several Ilyushin planes in the Red Sea offshore Jidda. Through a baleful combination of Egyptian pilots and Russian aeronautics, at least three Ilyushins were within diving and boat-trip distance from the Saudi city.

I'm sure the Dhimmi-crats and other cowards are quaking at the prospects of Russian civil and military aircraft, but their record since mid-20th century has not been truly world class in either department.

Tenet Gets Heat From CIA Report

The CIA report by IG Helgerson tries to dodge the major issue in the run-up to 911.

First, the reason Israeli officials called Tenet "grease ball" was because he threatened to resign if Clinton released Jonathon Pollard at Netanyahu' behest at Wye.

Tenet was a family friend and gave me his CV back in the mid-90s while he was Senate Intell Cte Chief. He wanted to work for Amoco in Chicago and get out of DC because it was full of a**holes, in his trenchant phrase. Instead, shortly afterward he was vaulted into the NSC job, then DDCI, then DCI.

Tenet detested Sandy Berger, calling him a "trade lawyer" and a shill for the Israelis, among other choice observations. Sandy is hiding the Clinton smoking gun on BJ's feckless efforts to get AQ. Tenet is also responsible, as is CTC under its various chiefs, including Cannistraro, who is now Larry Johnson's pal signing letters of condemnation of Tenet.

Tenet was right. DC is full of a**holes.

Kate O'Beirne at The Corner has the real scoop.

"recounting of the CIA's inexcusable failure to report to the FBI that two known al Qaeda associates (who were 9/11 hijackers) had traveled to the U.S. comes awfully close. The summary concludes: "Informing the FBI and good operational followthrough by CIA and FBI might have resulted in surveillance of [the "UBL associates"]. Surveillance, in turn, would have had the potential to yield information on flight training, financing, and links to others who were complicit in the 9/11 attacks." The review team recommends assessing the performance of two chiefs of the counterterrorism unit with respect to their management of the watchlist program and of three managers for failure to ensure prompt action on the known al Qaeda members in the U.S. "

No amount of CIA bobbing and weaving and juking will avoid its inexcusable oversight/turf-war crime in not sharing the two AQ operatives' arrival in San Diego in the late '90s. Read Lawrence Wright for how Ali Soufan almost caught AQ despite the CIA attempt to cover AQ's operations in the USA---unintentionally, of course, but as effectively as if the CIA were an arm of Islamic terrorism.

Pat Schroeder Weeps About Books

Pat Schroeder is one of those airheads that give even liberals a bad name. This creature used to put smiley-faces next to her name when in Congress. She gained notoriety when she wept as she gave up an ill-considered attempt at the Presidency. What happened to empty-headed liberals happened to her---a faineant job for an incompetent idiot who never did do a decent day's work in her life. Wonder what they pay this ancient fossil for insulting readers of conservative books? But then, this association probably has zero influence anywhere and is now in the minus-column as to leadership with this bozette in charge.

This prattling smiley-face LOOOOZER says liberals read a lot more than conservatives---citing exactly one poll to back up her errant nonsense. Mary Matalin gently lets this PMS gasbag off the hook:
"As head of a book publishing association, she probably shouldn't malign any readers," said Mary Matalin, a GOP strategist who oversees a line of books by conservative authors, Threshold, at Simon & Schuster. Matalin said conservatives and others aren't necessarily reading less, but are getting more information online and from magazines.

Schroeder, like many other preening ninnies who style themselves "liberals," get high sniffing their own flatulence.

And Schroeder, best known for her fatuous tears, now also is known for bashing part of her own constituency as the head of a non-profit.

And getting high sniffing her own farts.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Or We'll Send You Shipments of Polonium Tea?

With their characteristic light touch, the Russians employed the 39th anniversary ofPrague Spring to warn the Czech government not to erect anti-missile defenses against "rogue states" on its soil.

I don't know about the average Czech, but I'd take offense if that were someone coming to my country and saying that. Of course, maybe the Russian military czar is counting on liberal Democrats to be elected states-side. Remember Jimmy Carter and Teddy Kennedy in '83 sneaking off to Moscow to get help opposing Ronald Ray-gun?

Didn't think you did, as the media covered up both episodes for their Dhimmi-crat clients.

Hope the Czechs have more spine than liberals.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Mark Steyn: Where Our Sanctuary From Criminals?

Leftist hypocrisy is excoriated by Mark Steyn in this excellent screed on the two Left Coasts' relentless indifference to REAL CRIMES if they are committed by exempt, protected categories of the MSM pantheon of legitimate crimes. Steyn starts by noting the killing of a gay kid in Wyoming's getting Frank Rich and other illuminati incensed.
By contrast, there's been a succession of prominent stories with one common feature that the very same pundits, politicians and lobby groups have a curious reluctance to go anywhere near. In a New York Times report headlined "Sorrow And Anger As Newark Buries Slain Youth," the limpidly tasteful Times prose prioritized "sorrow" over "anger," and offered only the following reference to the perpetrators: "The authorities have said robbery appeared to be the motive. Three suspects – two 15-year-olds and a 28-year-old construction worker from Peru – have been arrested."

So, this Peruvian guy was here on a green card? Or did he apply for a temporary construction-work visa from the U.S. Embassy in Lima?

Not exactly. Jose Carranza is an "undocumented" immigrant. His criminal career did not begin with the triple murder he's alleged to have committed, nor with the barroom assault from earlier this year, nor with the 31 counts of aggravated sexual assault relating to the rape of a 5-year-old child, for which Mr. Carranza had been released on bail. (His $50,000 bail on the assault charge and $150,000 bail on the child-rape charges have now been revoked.) No, Mr. Carranza's criminal career in the United States began when he decided to live in this country unlawfully.

Jose Carranza isn't exactly a member of an exclusive club. Violent crime committed by fine upstanding members of the Undocumented-American community is now a routine feature of American life. But who cares? In 2002, as the "Washington Sniper" piled up his body count, "experts" lined up to tell the media that he was most likely an "angry white male," a "macho hunter" or an "icy loner." When the icy loner turned out to be a black Muslim named Muhammad accompanied by an illegal immigrant from Jamaica, the only angry white males around were the lads in America's newsrooms who were noticeably reluctant to abandon their thesis: Early editions of the New York Times speculated that Muhammad and John Lee Malvo were being sought for "possible ties to 'skinhead militia' groups," which seemed a somewhat improbable alliance given the size of Mr. Muhammad's hair in the only available mug shot. As for his illegal sidekick, Malvo was detained and released by the INS in breach of their own procedures.

The Orange County Register should soon overtake the lagging LAT in circulation, seeing as the OCR actually addresses the main threat to Southern California---Mexican criminals aided and abetted by MSM journalists playing ostrich. More Steyn on how Newark is an eastern outlier of the crime-zone called LA County:
Newark is the logical end point of these policies. It is a failed city: 60 percent of its children are being raised in households without fathers. Into that vacuum pour all kinds of alternative authority structures: Mr. Carranza is alleged to have committed his crime with various teenage members of MS-13, a gang with origins in El Salvador's civil war of the 1980s that now operates in some 30 U.S. states. In its toughest redoubts, immigrants don't assimilate with America, America assimilates to the immigrants, and a Fairfax, Va., teenager finds himself getting hacked at by machete wielders.

One could, I suppose, regard this as one of those unforeseen incremental consequences that happens in the darkest shadows of society. But that doesn't extend to Newark's official status as an illegal-immigrant "sanctuary city." Like Los Angeles, New York and untold others, Newark has formally erased the distinction between U.S. citizens and the armies of the undocumented. This is the active collusion by multiple cities and states in the subversion of U.S. sovereignty. In Newark, N.J., it means an illegal-immigrant child rapist is free to murder on a Saturday night. In Somerville, Mass., it means two deaf girls are raped by MS-13 members. And in Falls Church, Va., it means Saudi Wahhabists figuring out that, if the "sanctuary nation" (in Michelle Malkin's phrases) offers such rich pickings to imported killers and imported gangs, why not to jihadists?

If the Repubs can get away from the Bush-WSJ immigration debacle and address these issues, perhaps they can brave the charges of "racism" and "nativism" and clean up the cities of America by tossing out the human sewage like Carranza & the gangs of MS-13.

That would require testicles far larger than any on the scurvy crew running for POTUS.

Pilgrimage toward Sanity: Andrew Anthony

Christopher Hitchens was my drinking partner when he first arrived in DC in the early '80s, and he was at our home for many occasions, including one Christmas, while his first marriage started to disintegrate [we had met him through Eleni Meleagrou, his first wife]. He filled me with endless anecdotes of the British left, plus his own elaborate explanations of Watergate and the Greek CIA that sometimes still make sense....[when I'm under self-administered medication!]

But he was to the left of Trotsky back then, and a committed leftist, as I was myself. I introduced him to the Mondale Campaign, where I worked at National HQ back in '84, and the Dems were too straight for CH.

However, 9/11 and the relentless anti-Semitism of the liberal left removed the scales from Hitchens' eyes. At the same time, another committed leftist who had been my renter after I moved into my wife's condo, Fouad Ajami, began a pilgrimage to the sanity of real-world Realpolitik. I was his landlord, but he helped me realize much earlier than Hitchens that the left hates America and works against the US national interest on many levels. Here is Andrew Anthony in the Guardian on his metanoia as the cocoon began to split and his flight toward reality began:
The scale of the suffering, the innocence of the victims and the aims of the perpetrators barely seemed to register in many of the [MSM]comments [on 9/11]. Was this a sign of shock or complacency? Or was it something else, a kind of atrophying of moral faculties, brought on by prolonged use of fixed ideas, that prevented the sufferer from recognising a new paradigm when it arrived, no matter how spectacular its announcement?

In the end I reached the conclusion that 11 September had already brutally confirmed: there were other forces, far more malign than America, that lay in wait in the world. But having faced up to the basic issue of comparative international threats, could I stop the political reassessment there? If I had been wrong about the relative danger of America, could I be wrong about all the other things I previously held to be true? I tried hard to suppress this thought, to ring-fence the global situation, grant it exceptional status and keep it in a separate part of my mind. I had too much vested in my image of myself as a 'liberal'.

The Soros sub-contractors, the KKKossacks, and the Puffington Host should avail themselves of this Pilgrim's Progress from the Slough of Despond of liberalism to a Peggy Noonan vision of morning in America. Ha Ha! Fat Chance! More on "the mugging of 9/11 and how it didn't sink into sick minds here and here.
Kudos for the Guardian for publishing such a thoughtful memoir-in-the-making.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Identical Quads Born in Montana: Oops, Parents are Canadian!

The AP Buries the Lede in a story about identical quads born to a Canadian couple. About a dozen paras into the article is the tiny paragraph:
The Jepps drove 325 miles to Great Falls for the births because hospitals in Calgary were at capacity, Key said.

How Sicko!

KKKossacks Eat Democratic Young

Steven Colbert humiliated diminuitive chest-thumper Markos Moulitsas the other night on TV when he tricked him into giving a Nazi salute to an improvised triskele made out of a K that looked close to being a swastika. "How high is a dog, a pony, a horse? And MMZ raised his hand to get caught in a simulated Sieg Heil.

Kimberley Strassel notes today that the Kossacks are making another pass at nominating a McGovern rather than a Clinton. But 2006 belies the Nutroot contention that they are the edge of the wedge in Democratic gains, as Henry Cuellar avows at length to WSJ. However, Strassel warns:
Don't take this to mean that the liberal juggernaut hasn't shifted the debate. Some moderate Democrats, while reticent to admit it, are tacking left in hopes of dodging further assaults. Ms. Tauscher, long known for her national security credentials, has toned down her hawkish impulses, voting against the recent surge and taking a harder line on missile defense. Even Mr. Ford's DLC these days seems a little more comfortable talking about "trade enforcement" than it does "free trade." Mr. Cuellar admits that while some centrists are willing to say "who the . . . blank-blank do [these Internet groups] think they are," others don't want "to be the center of the attraction."

In a match-up on "Meet the Press" this past weekend, the Daily Kos's Mr. Moulitsas extolled those who use his site to trash thoughtful folks such as Mr. Cuellar as a shining example of "democracy." In the same breath he then commanded the DLC's Mr. Ford to "control" his moderate members, and force them to stop disagreeing with liberal Democrats. If you get that logic, you might just be a Daily Kos reader.

Mr. Cuellar, for his part, doesn't show much of an inclination to be controlled by anything other than his own principles. And he's trumped the hungry liberals--so far.

Anyone who peeks at the loathesome garbage this tiny martinet purveys on his hate-site knows that civil discourse is abandoned once the far left [and very occasionally the far right] enter the fray. Be prepared for F-bombs and bad grammar, and the thinking is worse than the language and syntax. Luckily, most leftist sites do not permit comments from other than committed crazies, through elaborate vetting procedures to weed out sane commenters.

So I'm not tempted to do anything except observe, as Londoners used to do in the 18th century with diversionary trips to Bedlam.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Catching Predators: Good Ratings Trump Bad Journalism?

To Catch a Predator was riveting TV when it first came out, but recently Chris Hansen's international fraud ID theft series has been much better. ABC 20/20 is now investigating "Predator" and may find that there was a very cozy relationship between Dateline's producer[s] and law-enforcement & On-Line Crimestoppers. Or Both.

I for one believe that online entrapment is GOOD when it concerns catching child molesters, but like any procedure, is itself in danger of being overdone. Still, it does give me some guilty pleasure to see the monotonously similar statements made by the same silly goof-ball losers when they get caught.

"This is the first time I ever tried this."

[When caught with condoms and booze] "I didn't come here to have sex, only companionship...."

"This will ruin my career, family life, reputation, [pick one or more]"

And the rabbi who was nabbed did show a bit of spunk, but then ruined it by afterwards actually threatened Hansen, perjured himself and got a much longer sentence, or so Hansen says. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy!

Immaculate Conception Quake Nothing like Lisbon 1755

The deaths from a Church collapse in Peru during a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics reminds one of the horrific event of November 1, 1755 when All Saints Day was being celebrated in Lisbon, the capital of a vast world empire largely spread by a mixture of commercial greed and religious zeal. The churches of Lisbon shook for ten minutes at 10AM and 70,000 people were killed, many during the Holy Day High Mass, as a British observer notes as he:
climbed over the ruins of St. Paul's Church to get to the river's side, where I thought I might find safety. Here I found a prodigious concourse of people of both sexes, and of all ranks and conditions, among whom I observed some of the principal canons of the patriarchal church, in their purple robes and rochets, as these all go in the habit of bishops; several priests who had run from the altars in their sacerdotal vestments in the midst of their celebrating Mass.

Like San Francisco, much of the damage came from later fires, but a huge tsunami also caused extensive fatalities in Lisbon. Wikipedia hardly exaggerates the immense influence the Lisbon catastrophe had on European thought:
The earthquake strongly influenced many thinkers of the European Enlightenment. Many contemporary philosophers mentioned or alluded to the earthquake in their writings, notably Voltaire in Candide and in his Poème sur le désastre de Lisbonne ("Poem on the Lisbon disaster"). Voltaire's Candide attacks the notion that all is for the best in this, "the best of all possible worlds", a world closely supervised by a benevolent deity. The Lisbon disaster provided a salutary counterexample. As Theodor Adorno wrote, "[t]he earthquake of Lisbon sufficed to cure Voltaire of the theodicy of Leibniz" (Negative Dialectics 361). In the later twentieth century, following Adorno, the 1755 earthquake has sometimes been compared to the Holocaust as a catastrophe so tremendous as to have a transformative impact on European culture and philosophy.......Jean-Jacques Rousseau was also influenced by the devastation following the earthquake, whose severity he believed was due to too many people living within the close quarters of the city. Rousseau used the earthquake as an argument against cities as part of his desire for a more naturalistic way of life.

Peru's temblor has nothing on Lisbon, but again devout Catholics attending late afternoon Holy Day Masses were punished for their devotions.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Ginger Man & Red Hair

JP Donleavy's Sebastian Dangerfield inspired me back in the '60s when I first read it with its rollicking randy Irishness. Up there with Portrait of the Artist in my 'umble view.

All this random "musing" was spurred by the piece last night on Nightline & then later on the Afterhours News at 2AM concerning people with RED HAIR, which the British call "gingers." There is a strong prejudice against red-haired people, which the ABC piece obliquely mentions might be due to the high ratio of Scottish and Irish genes in the Brit genepool. The old Sassanach/Celtic civil struggle continuing under the sheets.

Of course, even Prince Harry has red hair, as did his aunt Fergie, wildly popular in the USA but frowned upon by the lugubrious Saxon Teutons who comprise most of the snobs in Britain's elites. Harry is called "ginge bullet magnet" by his soldier-mates.

But it's useful to recall that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are of Scottish descent, and Sunny Jim Callaghan & Harold Wilson and a drink-sodden lush named Brown in the mid seventies were all Celtic in background, and some were even of Irish blood---Tony Blair converted to the Papist faith just as he left the Prime Ministership.

The old tug-of-war between Low Church puritans and High Church lushes continues in British life, and the prejudice against redheads simply masks a deeper rivalry between the old Celtic mythology of King Arthur and the triumphant Saxon/Danelaw which makes Britain a northern European nation.

All of which I discovered while living in France, where the Gallic strain is the most anti-English [not British] in that nation.

And the largest percentage of redheads I encountered in the Old World was not in Europe, but driving through southeastern Turkey in the old Anatolian area of Galatia, famous for St. Paul's letters. Plenty of gingers here, remnants of the Celtic expansion which conquered Rome in 390 BC and Delphi, Greece in 273 B.C. Some tribes made it to the edge of the Levant, and their descendants still sport the reddish hair and beard that Irish and Scottish do a thousand miles west.

Don't get me started on Arthur Koestler's Thirteenth Tribe and the Turkic Khazars who converted to Judaism. That's been in and out of the Jewish Encyclopedia more times than pictures of Trotsky were in the old Soviet yearbooks!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

GWB Ups the Ante in Showdown Poker with Pasdaran

Iran's Revolutionary Guards were the spawning grounds of many Iranian terrorists, including the diminuitive President Ahmedinejad, whom several US hostages have identified as one of the original American Embassy takeover terrorists.

The Revolutionary Guards/Pasdaran is a heavily-armed paramilitary organization along the lines of the Saudi National Guard or the Italian Carbonari---only semi-accountable to the elected leaders of Iran. Like other such para-governmental organizations in Iran, it has extensive businesses that operate in-country and overseas. And its Quds unit is instrumental in
the growing flow of explosives, roadside bombs, rockets and other arms to Shiite militias in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Quds Force also lends support to Shiite allies such as Lebanon's Hezbollah and to Sunni movements such as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Pasdaran is also instrumental in developing Iran's nuclear program---which the feckless UN ninnies such as the IAEA's Baradei and American enabler organization outliers keep insisting can be slowed or halted by diplomacy, despite a half-decade of Iranian slithering.

China and Russia are likely to block any UN resolution, but with 323 House co-sponsors and a bi-partisan Senate backing, GWB has a very strong motive for going unilateral, despite the squawking which will predictably emit from the fever swamps of the Far-Left such as Puffington Host and the Kossack horde. Not to mention anti-Semitic haters of Israel in Europe and the Carter Center.

We haven't heard an eruption from the mouth of the sage of Plains for a month or two, so it's time for another gaseous emission, as vulcanologists say.

Understanding Human History, by Michael Hart

Steve Sailer spanks hopeless prescriptivist ideologue Jared Diamond in reviewing Michael Hart's new book Understanding Human History.

Diamond's scrupulously PC screed never allows empirical reality to interfere with his Euro-Marxist take on human development. It's all about sideways variables and has nothing to do with inbred intelligence which theologian Diamond rules as "racist."

But Steve's review linked above says more than I ever could to express the point above. I'm out to get Hart's book tout de suite.

God As a SimCity Webmaster?

John Tierney has an intriguing What If? in today's NYT Science section. Tierney says:
I think it’s highly likely that civilization could endure to produce those supercomputers. And if owners of the computers were anything like the millions of people immersed in virtual worlds like Second Life, SimCity and World of Warcraft, they’d be running simulations just to get a chance to control history — or maybe give themselves virtual roles as Cleopatra or Napoleon.

It’s unsettling to think of the world being run by a futuristic computer geek, although we might at last dispose of that of classic theological question: How could God allow so much evil in the world? For the same reason there are plagues and earthquakes and battles in games like World of Warcraft. Peace is boring, Dude.

I took a Metaphysics Course and a Logic Course in college and the problem of evil always loomed as the ultimate conundrum. "Peace is boring, dude" is as good an explanation as I have ever heard for why things blow up in our faces.

And that explanation that the Big Bang was an explosion in someone's garage in an Alternative Parallel Universe still intrigues me. Wish Richard Feynman was alive so he could explain it all to us!

Narrative on Iraq is Right, but those darn FACTS keep Changing on Us!

The New York Times allows that after preliminary signs that the Surge is having a serious positive effect on diminishing number and scale of the bloody events in Baghdad & Anbar Provinces, some crow, disguised as exquisite haute cuinsine, appears to be in the process of being consumed in a very low-key sotto voce manner. Here is James Taranto's WSJ notations on this process:

For a long time, the media have presented a defeatist narrative about Iraq, and Democratic politicians have obediently followed, demanding that America flee immediately. Now, with a presidential election approaching and Gen. David Petraeus's new strategy showing signs of success, a counternarrative is developing, and the Dems are changing their tune. Consider this astonishing report from yesterday's New York Times:

Even as they call for an end to the war and pledge to bring the troops home, the Democratic presidential candidates are setting out positions that could leave the United States engaged in Iraq for years.

John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, would keep troops in the region to intervene in an Iraqi genocide and be prepared for military action if violence spills into other countries. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York would leave residual forces to fight terrorism and to stabilize the Kurdish region in the north. And Senator Barack Obama of Illinois would leave a military presence of as-yet unspecified size in Iraq to provide security for American personnel, fight terrorism and train Iraqis.

These positions and those of some rivals suggest that the Democratic bumper-sticker message of a quick end to the conflict--however much it appeals to primary voters--oversimplifies the problems likely to be inherited by the next commander in chief. Antiwar advocates have raised little challenge to such positions by Democrats.

What a change from January, when Mrs. Clinton, arguably the least unrealistic of the major Democratic candidates, was petulantly demanding that the president " 'extricate our country' from Iraq by the time he leaves office in 2009," as the Times put it at the time.

What about the Times's statement that "antiwar advocates have raised little challenge to such positions by Democrats"? There is certainly some truth to it. Markos "Kos" Moulitsas, the Angry Left's answer to the Htoo twins, was seen temporizing on "Meet the Press" yesterday:

We're not going to get out while we have George Bush as president. I mean, so if we say we want to be out in three months, clearly we could be out yesterday, I'd want to be out yesterday. I also understand, as a veteran who worked in logistics, that you can't pull out 150,000 troops overnight or even in three months. So, yes, there's an ideal situation, which is let's get them out as quickly as possible, so that the poll questions in that regard I think are very much moving in semantics. But I do agree with Harold [Ford] the, that we, we do need to work together, and I hope you'll be at next year's YearlyKos conference . . .

On the other hand, as blogger Jules Crittenden quips, "NYT, meet Cindy Sheehan." As the Associated Press reported, three days before that Times piece ran, Sheehan announced that she plans to run against Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, because Pelosi has not moved to impeach the president over Iraq's liberation.

It may be said that the Times was right to ignore Sheehan. After all, she is a fringe figure, an America-hating crackpot whose race against Pelosi is utterly quixotic and futile. But all this was equally true in the summer of 2005, when Sheehan camped out in Crawford, Texas, and became a media cause célèbre by issuing a series of demands for the president of the United States.

But back then, as a journalist recently said in another context, the narrative was right, even if the facts were wrong.

Evan Thomas at Newsweak may have invented the liberal mantra of the twenty-first century---narratives are essential, facts are tangential. Or who cares about the baby, the bath water must go and everything with it! Sorta like"we had to destroy the village in order to save it." Or as Taranto puts it:
The narrative was right, but the facts were wrong." This is reminiscent of the "fake but accurate" defense of CBS's Bush National Guard hoax. If Thomas were giving a plainer account of what happened, he would have said something like this: Our reporting was guided by our prejudices, and even though the story turned out to be false, we stand behind our prejudices.

Last night on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, William Kristol was the grinning punching bag for JS on Iraq, not mentioning to JS and his anti-Bush peanut gallery Dick Durbin's half-hearted admission that things might be going better than the Dems thought they would. Kristol might have noted that Harry Reid called the Surge a failure and our mission in Iraq a "defeat" a couple of weeks after it was announced back in the end of March. But he demurred and let Stewart do his rain-dance rant.

But Kristol did finally end by noting that we should let the facts speak for themselves---something the liberals rarely do, even when they on occasion recognize facts for what they are: REALITY.

Let's hope Petraeus has more good news to report when he finally gets back to DC in September. Because facts-on-the-ground have a way of changing during wartime even after Truth has become a casualty.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Plante versus Gergen: Drunk versus suck-up

I worked for ABC TV's 20/20 & Nightline for a while and after our cavorting during the day, we would often retire to Georgetown for a little 19th-hole action at F. Scott's. This waterhole would invariably have a few other newsies, among them Bill Plante, whom I saw lurching for the exit the few times when I actually left before he did. Other times he must have closed the place down.

Now this lush yells at the President about Karl Rove [see link above] and keeps the "Tiffany Network" mired in last place with his vacuous commentary.

Gergen on the contrary was a health nut & I ran across him on the long Virginia bike path on a couple of occasions. He styles himself as "advisor to three presidents," but truth be told, he was more a PR flack than a substance guy like Rove, who actually had INFLUENCE over policy & election strategies, not an "advisor" except in the sense that he was at some meetings where policy might have been discussed.

In DC, flacks come in all shapes and sizes and alcohol contents. Plante is a short Wild Turkey and Gergen a large Chardonnay.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Competitive Birthing

Publix at Regency Square is adjacent to Woodfield & St.Andrew's, two of the wealthiest gated communities in Boca Raton. {German golfer Bernhard Langer lives in Woodfield next to a good friend of GWB, who hosts fund-raisers for the Prez when he's in Boca]. Just yesterday I was there marvelling at the hyper-wealthy mothers with multiple kids, what in Boston are called "Irish twins [kids born a year apart or so]. Here in Boca, the kids pile into the Range Rover for the short ride home.

We moved southward to Boca from Winnetka, where my daughter went to a school with dozens of "Irish twins" born of very wealthy extended families who collectively owned the Tribune, Cubs, Bears, and seemed in a competition to procreate at a very numerous rate [the wife of the owner of Dixie [or is it Solo?] cups had just had her eleventh child before we departed for Boca. The Scholl family of foot fame also had a few kids. My daughter was offered a ride in the Batmobile by Jimmy Murphy, nephew of the O'Donnell who played Robin in a Batman movie of the late nineties. O'Donnell himself had seven siblings, I believe, and numerous relatives going to Faith, Hope & Charity, the school my daughter attended.

I got the link to the NPR article above from a whining liberal, who called these progeny "piglets" because they were born into wealthy families. Liberals are still stuck on class warfare and other Marxist tropes they're too stupid to think their way out of, preferring to wallow in self-pity and nasy aspersions about people smarter than they are.

I'm wondering if the USA is the only country where many rich people have as many kids as they can Is this a trend and what does it derive from? Traditional American optimism, a Christian impulse to fill heaven with souls? Or just the urge once you get a 20K mansion like John Edwards to fill it with kids, lots of kids?

Confessions of a BBC liberal UPDATE

Anthony Jay wrote "Yes Minister" and looks back at his early deformation as a BBC employee. When I was in Lebanon, I listened daily to the BBC based in nearby Cyprus for Middle East news from an unbiased perspective. That was before the BBC began to support Hezbollah and Hamas and any terrorist organization as long as it was against Israel. Living in London years later during the last days of Thatcherism, I watched BBC News and found it tendentious and tilted very far leftward. Here is part of Jay's very arch take on BBC foibles & fibs.

'In the past four weeks there have been two remarkable changes in the public attitude to the BBC. The first and most newsworthy one was precipitated by the faked trailer of the Queen walking out of a photographic portrait session with Annie Leibovitz.

"t was especially damaging because the licence fee is based on a public belief that the BBC offers a degree of integrity and impartiality which its commercial competitors cannot achieve.

"But in the longer term I believe that the second change is even more significant. It started with the BBC’s own report on impartiality that effectively admitted to an institutional “liberal” bias among programme makers. Previously these accusations had been dismissed as a right-wing rant, but since the report was published even the BBC’s allies seem to accept it.

....."The growing general agreement that the culture of the BBC (and not just the BBC) is the culture of the chattering classes provokes a question that has puzzled me for 40 years. The question itself is simple – much simpler than the answer: what is behind the opinions and attitudes of this social group?

"They are that minority often characterised (or caricatured) by sandals and macrobiotic diets, but in a less extreme form are found in The Guardian, Channel 4, the Church of England, academia, showbusiness and BBC news and current affairs. They constitute our metropolitan liberal media consensus, although the word “liberal” would have Adam Smith rotating in his grave. Let’s call it “media liberalism”.

It is of particular interest to me because for nine years, between 1955 and 1964, I was part of this media liberal consensus. For six of those nine years I was working on Tonight, a nightly BBC current affairs television programme. My stint coincided almost exactly with Harold Macmillan’s premiership and I do not think that my former colleagues would quibble if I said we were not exactly diehard supporters.

But we were not just anti-Macmillan; we were antiindustry, anti-capital-ism, antiadvertising, antiselling, antiprofit, antipatriotism, antimonarchy, antiempire, antipolice, antiarmed forces, antibomb, antiauthority. Almost anything that made the world a freer, safer and more prosperous place – you name it, we were anti it.

Although I was a card-carrying media liberal for the best part of nine years, there was nothing in my past to predispose me towards membership. I spent my early years in a country where every citizen had to carry identification papers. All the newspapers were censored, as were all letters abroad; general elections had been abolished: it was a one-party state. Yes, that was Britain – Britain from 1939 to 1945........
So how did we get from there to here? Unless we understand that, we shall never get inside the media liberal mind. And the starting point is the realisation that there have always been two principal ways of misunderstanding a society: by looking down on it from above and by looking up at it from below. In other words, by identifying with institutions or by identifying with individuals.

To look down on society from above, from the point of view of the ruling groups, the institutions, is to see the dangers of the organism splitting apart – the individual components shooting off in different directions until everything dissolves into anarchy.

To look up at society from below, from the point of view of the lowest group, the governed, is to see the dangers of the organism growing ever more rigid and oppressive until it fossilises into a monolithic tyranny.

Those who see society in this way are preoccupied with the need for liberty, equality, self-expression, representation, freedom of speech and action and worship, and the rights of the individual. The reason for the popularity of these misunderstandings is that both views are correct as far as they go and both sets of dangers are real, but there is no “right” point of view.

The most you can ever say is that sometimes society is in danger from too much authority and uniformity and sometimes from too much freedom and variety.

In retrospect it seems pretty clear that the 1940s and 1950s were years of excessive authority and uniformity. It was certainly clear to me and my media liberal colleagues in the BBC. It was not that we in the BBC openly and publicly criticised the government on air; the BBC’s commitment to impartiality was more strictly enforced in those days.

But the topics we chose and the questions we asked were slanted against institutions and towards oppressed individuals, just as we achieved political balance by pitting the most plausible critics of government against its most bigoted supporters.

Ever since 1963 the institutions have been the villains of the media liberals. The police, the armed services, the courts, political parties, multi-national corporations – when things go wrong they are the usual suspects.

But our hostility to institutions was not – and is not – shared by the majority of our fellow citizens: most of our opinions were at odds with the majority of the audience and the electorate. Indeed the BBC’s own 2007 report on impartiality found that 57% of poll respondents said that “broadcasters often fail to reflect the views of people like me”.

There are four new factors which in my lifetime have brought about the changes that have shaped media liberalism, encouraged its spread and significantly increased its influence and importance.

The first of these is detribalisation. That our species has evolved a genetic predisposition to form tribal groups is generally accepted as an evolutionary fact. This grouping – of not more than about five or six hundred – supplies us with our identity, status system, territorial instinct, behavioural discipline and moral code.

We in the BBC were acutely detribalised; we were in a tribal institution, but we were not of it. Nor did we have any geographical tribe; we lived in commuter suburbs, we knew very few of our neighbours and took not the slightest interest in local government. In fact we looked down on it. Councillors were self-important nobodies and mayors were a pompous joke.

We belonged instead to a dispersed “metropolitan media arts graduate” tribe. We met over coffee, lunch, drinks and dinner to reinforce our views on the evils of apartheid, nuclear deterrence, capital punishment, the British Empire, big business, advertising, public relations, the royal family, the defence budget – it’s a wonder we ever got home.

The second factor that shaped our media liberal attitudes was a sense of exclusion. We saw ourselves as part of the intellectual elite, full of ideas about how the country should be run. Being naive in the way institutions actually work, we were convinced that Britain’s problems were the result of the stupidity of the people in charge of the country...This ignorance of the realities of government and management enabled us to occupy the moral high ground. We saw ourselves as clever people in a stupid world, upright people in a corrupt world, compassionate people in a brutal world, libertarian people in an authoritarian world.

We were not Marxists but accepted a lot of Marxist social analysis. We also had an almost complete ignorance of market economics. That ignorance is still there. Say “Tesco” to a media liberal and the patellar reflex says, “Exploiting African farmers and driving out small shopkeepers.” The achievement of providing the range of goods, the competitive prices, the food quality, the speed of service and the ease of parking that attract millions of shoppers does not register on their radar.

"The third factor arises from the nature of mass media. The Tonight programme had a nightly audience of about 8m. It was much easier to keep their attention by telling them they were being deceived or exploited by big institutions than by saying what a good job the government and the banks and the oil companies were doing.

"The fourth factor is what has been called “isolation technology”. Fifty years ago people did things together much more. The older politicians we interviewed in the early Tonight days were happier in public meetings than in television studios.

"In those days people went to evening meetings. They formed collective opinions. In many places party allegiance was collective and hereditary rather than a matter of individual choice based on a logical comparison of policies.

"These four factors have significantly accelerated and indeed intensified the spread of media liberalism since I ceased to be a BBC employee 40 years ago.

"But let’s suppose that I had stayed. Would I have remained a devotee of the metropolitan media liberal ideology that I once absorbed so readily? I have an awful fear that the answer is yes.

We are becoming monads and isolated and narcissistic and subject to Orwellian groupthink.

The genius who wrote Yes, Minister understands the liberal mindset of the BBC & its American cousins all too well. The biggest threat to political freedom in the west are these well-meaning monster-egos who call "fairness in media" depriving talk radio as a forum for discussion while leaving bureaucratic behemoths like the BBC & US TV networks spread socialist twaddle unchallenged.