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The White House has set up a Twitter account through which it is praising our Dear Leader in a style befitting the megalomaniacal leader of a one-party state. You really have to see it to get a fuller understanding of the Age of Obama, though I should warn readers that, as in the case of New York Times editorials, you may lose brain cells scrolling through the thing.
Our North Star found a good way to celebrate Mother’s Day yesterday. Our Dear Leader honors himself for providing “free” birth control. It’s a versatile way to celebrate, suitable for Father’s Day as well.
— The White House (@whitehouse) May 10, 2013
The revelations of the IRS investigations of conservative groups, and the incredible explanations of why this should be regarded as an “innocent” mistake, summons to mind Churchill’s campaign speech of June 1945, attacking the socialist platform of the Labour Party in that hard fought campaign (which Churchill’s Tory party lost in a landslide). Some of this description may not fit Obamaworld perfectly, but the third paragraph sounds like an accurate parallel to both Obamacare and the IRS scandal:
My friends, I must tell you that a Socialist policy is abhorrent to the British ideas of freedom. Although it is now put forward in the main by people who have a good grounding in the Liberalism and Radicalism of the early part of this century, there can be no doubt that Socialism is inseparably interwoven with Totalitarianism and the abject worship of the State. It is not alone that property, in all its forms, is struck at, but that liberty, in all its forms, is challenged by the fundamental conceptions of Socialism.
Look how even today they hunger for controls of every kind, as if these were delectable foods instead of wartime inflictions and monstrosities. There is to be one State to which all are to be obedient in every act of their lives. The State is to be the arch-employer, the arch-planner, and arch-administrator and ruler and the arch-caucus-boss. . .
A Socialist State once thoroughly completed in all its details and its aspects—and that is what I am speaking of—could not afford to suffer opposition. . . Socialism is, in its essence, an attack not only upon British enterprise, but upon the right of the ordinary man or woman to breathe freely without having a harsh, clumsy, tyrannical hand clapped across their mouths and nostrils. . . Have we not heard Mr Herbert Morrison descant upon his plans to curtail Parlimentary procedure and pass laws simply by resolution of broad principle in the House of Commons, afterward to be left by Parliament to the executive and to the bureaucrats to elaborate and enforce by departmental regulations? . . .
But I will go farther. I declare to you, from the bottom of my heart, that no Socialist system can be established without a political police. Many of those who are advocating Socialism or voting Socialist today will be horrified at this idea. That is because they are short-sighted, that is because they don not see where their theories are leading them.
No Socialist Government conducting the entire life and industry of the country could afford to allow free, sharp, and violently worded expressions of public discontent. They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo, no doubt very humanely directed in the first instance. And this would nip opinion in the bud; it would stop criticism as it reared its head, and it would gather all the power to the supreme party and the party leaders, rising like stately pinnacles over their vast bureaucracies of Civil servants, no longer servants, and no longer civil. And where would the ordinary simple folk—the common people, as they like to call them in America—where would they be, once this mighty organism had got them in its grip?
Where indeed. Footnote: Churchill’s thoughts in this speech were inspired in part by Hayek’s Road to Serfdom.
England’s FA Cup — the oldest soccer competition in the world and open to something like 700 teams — gains its romance from victories by “minnows” over footballing powerhouses. This occurs a time or two almost every year in the early rounds. But in these days of vast financial disparities between clubs, it almost never happens in the Cup final.
Indeed, from 1996 until this year, only Portsmouth had broken the grip of giants Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester City on the trophy. And Portsmouth did so by beating minnow Cardiff City.
Many would point to Wimbledon’s victory over Liverpool in 1987 as the last true giant killing in an FA Cup final. But Wimbledon finished in seventh place that year — hardly minnow status. So for me, one must go back to 1980 when West Ham (playing in England’s second tier league at the time) upset Arsenal. Or, if West Ham is too big-name of a club, back to 1976 when Southampton took down Manchester United.
But on Saturday, the romance returned. Lowly Wigan Athletic, from a town best known for its rugby, defeated mighty Manchester City 1-0. Wigan sits in 18th place in the Premier League and is on the verge of being bounced out of the Premiership altogether. Manchester City has clinched second place after winning the League last year.
At the heart of this improbable tale one finds two broken legs. The first belonged to Wigan owner Dave Whelan. As a Blackburn Rovers player, Whelan was carted off the Wembley pitch during the 1960 FA Cup final with a broken leg. Blackburn lost to Wolverhampton 3-0.
35 years later, Whelan, now a wealthy business man, bought Wigan Athletic. At the time Wigan languished in England’s fourth tier league. The club quickly began its ascent toward the Premier League, which it reached in 2005. Since then, Wigan has staved off relegation every year, usually by the skin of its teeth.
The second broken leg belonged to Ben Watson, a journeyman midfielder who toiled for years in England’s second tier league. Last November, Watson suffered a broken leg against Liverpool. He did not return to action until last weekend when he appeared as a substitute.
This weekend, Watson again came as a sub, this time in the 81st minute of the FA Cup final. Ten minutes later, during stoppage time of the scheduled 90 minutes, he headed home a perfect corner kick from Shaun Maloney to give Wigan its famous (and first) FA Cup victory.
Manchester City wasn’t at its best on Saturday, to be sure. But Wigan’s victory was more about its strong play than about City’s deficiencies. Instead of sitting back waiting to be picked apart, Wigan went right at City. Forwards Arouna Kone and Callum McManaman proved to be handful. And industrious midfielders James McCarthy, James McArthur, and Jordi Gomez — aided by nominal forward Maloney — outnumbered City’s much more heralded duo of Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure, who received less aid than they should have from Samir Nasri.
Everton fans know the drill. Wigan (and McManaman, a former Everton apprentice, in particular) shocked us 3-0 in the quarterfinals, played at Goodison Park where we lost only once all year during League play.
Why was Wigan unable to match this form during the League campaign? I wonder whether even manager Roberto Martinez — a possible successor to David Moyes at Everton — knows.
At a Senate hearing in January, Hillary Clinton responded to questioning from Sen. Ron Johnson about the nature of the Benghazi attack with this rant:
With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?
Given what we now know, the question is best put to Clinton herself. After all, she (through her spokesperson) initiated what the Washington Post has called a “bureaucratic knife fight” over how the attack would be characterized in talking points prepared for Congress and used by Susan Rice.
The original talking points spoke of a “direct assault” and mentioned the militant group Ansar al-Sharia. Clinton’s agents insisted that these references be removed, and they were. So were references to warnings by the CIA about the mounting threat posed by extremists in Benghazi and previous attacks there against foreign interests.
Clearly, these references made a difference to Clinton. I figure it was the difference between a State Department that was criminally negligent and one that justifiably was surprised that anyone would attack the Benghazi facility. As Clinton’s spokesperson said in an email pushing back against the CIA’s version of the talking points, that version “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings.”
If there’s a different explanation for why the talking points made enough of a difference for Hillary Clinton to start a bureaucratic knife fight, she should identify it. In any case, she should explain why she told Congress that the reasons for, and nature of, the Benghazi attacks make no difference, even though she knew her agents had struggled mightily over what the talking points would say about this.
Finally, let’s note that Clinton didn’t simply ask what difference the talking points make; she fairly shouted the question. What was the source of her anger?
I would like to believe that it’s rooted in guilt over not having beefed up security in Libya, as those on the ground there had requested. More likely, though, the anger stems from dislike of being challenged and the sense that her presidential ambitions may have been compromised.
This is the real Hillary Clinton, one suspects — the one we saw back in the days of Whitewater. She even dusted off her old, derisive characterization of questions asking her to explain her actions:
Whitewater news conference, May 1994:
Q. [There was] the suggestion in the R.T.C. memorandum . . . you and your husband knew or should have known that Whitewater was not cash-flowing and that notes or debts should have been paid?
HRC. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. We didn’t.
Senate Benghazi hearing, Jan. 23, 2013:
HRC. Nobody wants to sit where I am and think now about what ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda’ happened in order to avoid this.
The best way for Clinton to avoid future annoying coulda, shoulda, woulda questions is to remain outside of public life.
The Center of the American Experiment is a nationally respected conservative organization headquartered in Minneapolis. Scott and I have both served on its board in the past. The Center’s annual dinners have long been renowned for featuring speakers like Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Bennett, George H. W. Bush, Norman Schwartzkopf, Robert Bork, Rudy Giuliani, Charles Krauthammer and many more. This year the Center has scored a coup by lining up Dr. Ben Carson to headline its annual dinner.
The dinner will be at St. Paul’s Crowne Plaza Hotel on the evening of June 13. You can get the particulars here. For tickets, call (612) 338-3605. I have MC’ed the last six or seven Center annual dinners, and will have the honor of doing so again this year. The event will most likely sell out, so if you live close enough to St. Paul to be able to attend, or if you can afford a plane ticket, I would urge you to call the Center and check on ticket availability. It should be a terrific event.
The most widespread oppression in the world today is the oppression of Christians by Muslims. And yet, for some reason, the world’s foremost human rights crisis is rarely noticed, let alone opposed. Raymond Ibrahim, author of a new book titled Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, has tirelessly tried to draw attention to the catastrophe that has befallen Christians living in predominantly Muslim countries in recent years. Ibrahim offered an overview of the situation at the Middle East Forum:
A mass exodus of Christians is currently underway. Millions of Christians are being displaced from one end of the Islamic world to the other. …
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently said: “The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year.” In our lifetime alone “Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt.”
Most of what we now think of as the “Muslim world” was inhabited by Christians long before Islam came into being. Now, in one country after another, Christians are being exterminated. Syria is the most recent case in point:
In October 2012 the last Christian in the city of Homs—which had a Christian population of some 80,000 before jihadis came—was murdered.
It is notable that the Muslim war on Christianity is not limited to Arab states or the Middle East:
Iraq, Syria, and Egypt are the Arab world. But even in “black” African and “white” European nations with Muslim majorities, Christians are fleeing.
In Mali, after a 2012 Islamic coup, as many as 200,000 Christians fled. According to reports, “the church in Mali faces being eradicated,” especially in the north “where rebels want to establish an independent Islamist state and drive Christians out… there have been house to house searches for Christians who might be in hiding, church and Christian property has been looted or destroyed, and people tortured into revealing any Christian relatives.” At least one pastor was beheaded.
Even in European Bosnia, Christians are leaving en mass “amid mounting discrimination and Islamization.” Only 440,000 Catholics remain in the Balkan nation, half the prewar figure.
Islam is, in its most fundamental teachings, intolerant of other religions. The story is the same, whether in Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Ivory Coast (where, as Ibrahim notes, Christians have been crucified), Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia or Sudan. Ibrahim places today’s oppression in the broader sweep of history:
Often forgotten is that, in the 7th century, half of the world’s entire Christian population was spread across what is now nonchalantly called the “Muslim world.” Then Islam, born in the deserts of Arabia, burst out in a series of world-altering jihads, conquering and slowly transforming these once Christian nations into Islamic nations.
In order to evade sporadic persecution and constant discrimination, over the centuries most Christians converted, while others fled. A few opted to remain Christian and live as barely tolerated third-class subjects, or dhimmis, according to Sharia law.
They eventually experienced something of a renaissance during the colonial and post-colonial era, when many Muslims were Westward-looking.
But today, with the international resurgence of Muhammad’s religion, these remaining Christians are reaching extinction, as Islam’s 1400 year mission of supremacy and global hegemony continues unabated—even as the West looks the other way, that is, when it’s not actually supporting it in the context of the so-called “Arab Spring.”
Maybe next time President Obama holds a press conference, a reporter will ask him whether he is concerned about the Muslim oppression of Christians, and whether his administration’s policies are contributing to that oppression.