I was always a huge fan of TOS, and more diligent fan of TNG, but have to admit to agreeing with Timothy Sandefur as he takes a grand sweep through this seminal, SF franchise as published at Claremont of all places.
From the The Original Series (TOS) through the The Next Generation (TNG) and a goodly sampling of the movies, he convincingly argues, "the development of Star Trek’s moral and political tone over 50 years also traces the strange decline of American liberalism since the Kennedy era."
After accurately summarizing many examples of Captain Kirk clearly channeling JFK as a bold culture and cold-warrior, and even his ventures through a Hamlet-like conundrum faced in Conscience of the King, he then moves on to the erosion of this moral center with the Kirk/Spock film (the mostly well received) ST VI: Undiscovered Country. This is pretty devastating, and then he moves on to the real meat: what a wimp JL Picard was, continually turning the Prime Directive over and over until it's complete moral mush.
Where Kirk pursues justice, Picard avoids conflict. Just as Kirk’s devotion to universal principles goes deeper than politics, so does Picard’s sentimentalism.
As much as I like Mr. Stewart's acting and enjoyed his portrayal of the captain of NCC-1701-D, I have to agree with his thesis. He does limit the article to politics, leaving aside for now the amusing historical note on how all the odd-numbered ST movies were critical (and sometimes commercial) flops.
I do take some schadenfreude over how the franchise's moral nadir is shown to be the flop, ST:Insurrection. I'd heard it was so bad, that I never bothered to see or rent it. It apparently features a bucolic race who turned back from warp-driven exploration to tend potatoes (in hair shirts, I wonder?), that Picard defends then admits to admiring, to which Sandefuer replies: what is this absurd fetishizing of manual labor—for the fundamentally childish notion that you “take something” from people when you create tools and techniques that feed the hungry and liberate people to explore the galaxy.
What, Kirk would have demanded, could the Federation possibly learn from this village?
How not to "live" I would answer. This bears in mind how the current Progressive zeitgeist idolizes the bucolic (as they see it) past; I seem to recall posing a rejoinder to a long-lost issue: if manual labor is so great, why stop with forgoing backhoes; take their shovels too and make them use spoons! I think it's more an affectation to be seen in opposition to technology, a way of standing out from the rest of the Progressives by attempting to outflank on the left.
I guess I now know why ST:DS9 or the Enterprise series never really grabbed me (I could write my own post of where DS9 jumped the shark), but these offshoots are not addressed. My take is they simply circled the drain that TNG opened.
He does cite the latest "ST:reboot" iteration, the teenagy, popcorn-popping 'morals free zone' reissue under the guise of J.J. Abrams who admits about TOS:
“There was a captain, there was this first officer, they were talking a lot about adventures and not having them as much as I would’ve liked. Maybe I wasn’t smart enough.”
and he produces in true Hollwood-approved fashion, films w/o morals or much purpose through plots that move by "accident and force"
under Abrams’s direction, the fixed moral stars by which the franchise once steered have been almost entirely obscured. No longer the thoughtful, bold captain, the young Kirk (Chris Pine) is now all rashness and violence, taking and breaking everything around him.
It may not be a treatise for helping push the Liberty agenda past the lawless age of Obama, but it is a fascinating slant on the death of liberalism's deities.
Tejas Levantamiento! (or, "American history as reimagined by the Tea Party")
I lived in Texas once - for a year. The year was 1986, which happened to be the Sesquicentennial of the Republic of Texas. I didn't really know what that was all about, except that Texas became a state fifty years before Colorado.
As a product of Colorado, educationally and culturally, my opinion of the Lone Star State was mediocre at best, being the source of a great influx of temporary and permanent visitation to my home state and preceding "Californicans" as the great scourge upon the Colorado countryside. Yet with age came wisdom and a new appreciation for the fiercely independent western nature of the people of Texas.
During my short residence there I did journey to the Alamo, and toured the old fort inside and out. But that's as far as my curiosity took me at the time. And so I was captivated by the early promos for History's 'Texas Rising' which said, "the Alamo wasn't the end, it was the beginning." I've now watched the first two of five episodes in this "epic series event" that aims to bring the fight for Texas independence to life.
It didn't take long for me to recognize that the portrayal of events would be unpopular in some circles. After all, the Mexicans and the Commanches "were there first." How could white men defeating those indiginous groups ever be considered "winning independence?" It's European colonialism, pure and simple, right?
"This movie isn't just bad -- the politics are dubious too," the liberal newspaper the Guardian wrote in a piece called "Texas Rising: American history as reimagined by the Tea Party." "Texas Rising is a movie that glorifies the campaigns of white settlers in land that technically belongs to Mexico and was initially settled by Native Americans. There is not an inkling of post-colonial reflection about what that means in the great scope of history. The line between good guys and bad guys is drawn as simply and thoughtlessly as it is in a backyard game of Cowboys and Indians."
But the charge of white-colonial bias fell flat during last night's segment. Portilla, one of Santa Anna's lieutenants [spoiler alert] was addressing Texian Colonel James Fannin. "You are a filthy wetback. You swam across the Sequin River, illegally. You are in my country now." Then Portilla murdered Fannin with a gunshot to the front of his head. One can almost imagine the NRA and Tea Party patches on Portillas sleeves as he parrots this modern nativist sentiment, in reverse.
Still, I am captivated. The story is compelling and the history captivating, whatever liberties may or may not be taken. It is a good background for future learning of the true history which, being from a time and place prior to internet and cloud storage, remains quite murky to this day.
All the world is but a stage. And we are watching theatre of the highest caliber play out.
"The play? A tragedy called 'man' and it's hero: the conquerer worm."
The actors should know how it ends and never forget that this is a union house and they are not to touch anything with out a member of the local stage hands guild. Just do as you are told and everything will be fine.
It is sundown in America tonight. Are we brave enough, smart enough, humble enough and committed enough to renew her promise so the next generation can greet the morning in America once again?
Thus ends today's pointed, potent, and defeatist commentary on the Baltimore "race riots" by Glenn Beck who asks, "When will we stand up against the madness?" At least one Baltimore mother did exactly that on Monday. But before ending the madness like what is now transpiring in Baltimore, and previously occurred in Ferguson and other cities this year and last, more of us need to clearly understand its cause. To paraphrase one tweet of the current news cycle:
"White America needs to understand - until we get justice, we be thuggin."
Months ago we were told by a hip hop activist what "justice" is, when she said that capitalism "is the oppressive force."
"And the police are actually in my opinion - and we have a lot of theory that proves this - are that force that are keeping us as particularly working class people from achieving this idea of, you know, economic justice."
Today I found the best possible rebuttal to this idea, and it is over 100 years old - in the words of African-American spokesman and leader Booker T. Washington (not to be confused with Booker T. Jones and the MG's, as Rush Limbaugh inexplicably did today.) In 1895, Washington addressed the "Cotton States and International Exposition" in Atlanta. Please read every inspiring word but I will highlight the preamble to his conclusion:
The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing. No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized. It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercise of these privileges. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera-house.
Before King. Before Rand. Before jk and this blog, Washington's conclusion shows that he was the first Prosperitarian. But instead of building on Booker T's message, the NAACP has taken the alternate path advocated by its founder W.E.B. Du Bois that was less "accomodating to white interests."
W. E. B. Du Bois advocated activism to achieve civil rights. He labeled Washington "the Great Accommodator". Washington's response was that confrontation could lead to disaster for the outnumbered blacks. He believed that cooperation with supportive whites was the only way to overcome racism in the long run.
More than 100 years later, how is Du Bois' plan working out? Not so well for overcoming racism. Just fine though for career activists.
this collection may be engaged at any number of points. The oversharp distinction between theoretical reflection and practical activity was alien to the leading members of the Founders' generation. They usually thought and acted as though theory and practice should inform each other rather than remain in separate compartments. The arrangement of this collection is meant to foster that kind of free movement and interchange.
This is a red letter day. I don't remember the last time I linked to an old BerkeleySquareJazz blog post. And I didn't remember it being that long ago, but I did recall this post (and its awesome photo of a young woman holding the paramount sign from the protestwarrior.com collection) when our president refused to link arms with the rest of the political leaders of the free world last weekend.
Time will tell whether it is the France of Joan of Arc or of Petain of Vichy that becomes dominant in the global war on terror. But right now, the French get credit for clear thinking. Just as the Resistance made little distinction between Vichy and the Nazis, Le Drian correctly sees no difference between the gunmen killing editorial cartoonists in Paris, claiming affiliation with al-Qaida in Yemen, and the British Jihadi John beheading innocent captive journalists within IS territory.
They, and the Taliban and the Islamofascist regime in Iran, are all components of the same enemy of Western civilization.
At the White House, unfortunately, an attack on a magazine or a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi elicits withholding use of the "T word" for as long as possible.
Our objective in fighting IS isn't victory as soon as possible; it is to "degrade" it and only destroy it "ultimately" -- because the president, our commander in chief, is dead set in his refusal to "involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil."
Our missions against terrorists can't be part of the "global war on terror"; they must be "overseas contingency operations," a defanged term the Obama administration began insisting on soon after coming to power.
It is all a devious attempt to disguise that Western civilization faces another world war.
The French, for now at least, have rekindled their recollections of the Nazi occupation: those who pretend it isn't really war are cursed to lose it.
So to France I say, "Thank you, for protecting civilization." At least, for now.
(And I can't resist reposting the pic. Imagine this saying "Hey Obama" and being carried by a Parisienne.)
Long-time blog readers will recall the historical corrections here and here explaining that FDR did not end the Great Depression, he extended it. But not previously told is the story about how he was elected, following a Republican incumbent with a spending problem. Here is the short version. Holler if any of this seems familiar.
It was socialist Norman Thomas, not Franklin Roosevelt, who proposed massive increases in federal spending and deficits and sweeping interventions into the private economy - and he barely mustered 2 percent of the vote. When the dust settled, Warburg shows, we got what Thomas promised, more of what Hoover had been lambasted for, and almost nothing that FDR himself had pledged. FDR employed more "master minds" [a term FDR had used derisively while campaigning] to plan the economy than perhaps all previous presidents combined.
After detailing the promises and the duplicity, Warburg offered this assessment of the man who betrayed him and the country:
Much as I dislike to say so, it is my honest conviction that Mr. Roosevelt has utterly lost his sense of proportion. He sees himself as the one man who can save the country, as the one man who can "save capitalism from itself," as the one man who knows what is good for us and what is not. He sees himself as indispensable. And when a man thinks of himself as being indispensable . . . that man is headed for trouble.
Was FDR an economic wizard? Warburg reveals nothing of the sort, observing that FDR was "undeniably and shockingly superficial about anything that relates to finance." He was driven not by logic, facts, or humility but by "his emotional desires, predilections, and prejudices."
"Mr. Roosevelt," wrote Warburg, "gives me the impression that he can really believe what he wants to believe, really think what he wants to think, and really remember what he wants to remember, to a greater extent than anyone I have ever known." Less charitable observers might diagnose the problem as "delusions of grandeur."
UPDATE: Speaking of White House accounts, here is one of the first - by SecDef Robert Gates. WaPo My summary: Gates loved the military and its troops, detested the "truly ugly" culture in Congress, and thorougly mistrusted and disliked the President and his staff.
A day late but still worth posting, I have a personal mistrust of "Presidents" Day. The Wiki entry says it is a combination of Washington and Lincoln's birthdays, and was pegged to a Monday by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. I see it as a diminishment of America's greatest president, her first. While George Washington's Birthday was a federal holiday dating to 1879, Lincoln's birthday was never a federal holiday. The diluted, homogenized and de-personalized "Presidents" Day holiday was born in the 1980's, a result of an initiative begun in 1951 Compton, California "not to honor any particular President, but to honor the office of the Presidency." Why not then call it Oval Office Day?
But now back to Lincoln. Here is a character of two sides if ever there was one. One is almost shunned for speaking poorly of him, however. My first negative exposure came, as an adult, reading about his history with the so-called "Robber Barrons" a brief glimpse of which is found here. Coincidentally, our current president is fond of quoting, citing and championing the ideas of the Sixteenth. Yesterday I found a well done Presidents site, which includes a brief quote from each of America's presidents.
Lincoln: "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
Lincoln likely referred to domestic rather than foreign enemies, but this does dovetail with the 44th president's stated and practiced foreign policy.
Obama: "It's easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward. [!] It is easier to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path."
A bit rambling and disjointed - poorly veiled criticism of his predecessor. Not quite as inspirational as Washington's "Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God."
Long live, the office of the President of the United States.
It seems to me that most of us Three Sourcers had a pretty good idea that the election of Mitt Romney was not going to "solve" America's problems. We didn't talk about it much, explicitly, but deep in our hearts I think this extraordinarily bright collection of humans knew that this is the way things really are.
He gives it the catchy title "The Dark Enlightnement" but I might just call it reality. If you have a few minutes, read the piece and let us discuss our next move. I don't think mine will be to research whether Rubio, Ryan or Jindahl is the best choice for 2016...
Me and little Ellis, Jr. have very much enjoyed The History Channel's The Men Who Built America. One gets gets a real sense of where Rand was coming from in her "hero worship" of American industrialists. If the Three Sourcers have time for television, I highly recommend we all watch it as inspiration and for discussion at future meetings.
I do have a concern that perhaps certain events are given the Hollywood treatment. The assassination attempt on Henry Frick portrayed in the movie bears little resemblance to real life. Still, the fact that these men are shown as giants, without too much emphasis on how they were all racist, sexist, xenophobic homeophobes is reason enough in today's media landscape to celebrate!
Have you read the Book of Isiah lately? As we head into tomorrow and the Most Important Election of Our Lifetimes, I recall what the great Albert Jay Nock had to say in The Atlantic Monthly back in 1936:
It was one of those prosperous reigns, however — like the reign of Marcus Aurelius at Rome, or the administration of Eubulus at Athens, or of Mr. Coolidge at Washington — where at the end the prosperity suddenly peters out and things go by the board with a resounding crash. (...)
"Tell them what is wrong, and why and what is going to happen unless they have a change of heart and straighten up. Don't mince matters. Make it clear that they are positively down to their last chance. Give it to them good and strong and keep on giving it to them. I suppose perhaps I ought to tell you," He added, "that it won't do any good. The official class and their intelligentsia will turn up their noses at you and the masses will not even listen. They will all keep on in their own ways until they carry everything down to destruction, and you will probably be lucky if you get out with your life." (...)
Why, if all that were so — if the enterprise were to be a failure from the start — was there any sense in starting it? "Ah," the Lord said, "you do not get the point. There is a Remnant there that you know nothing about. They are obscure, unorganized, inarticulate, each one rubbing along as best he can. They need to be encouraged and braced up because when everything has gone completely to the dogs, they are the ones who will come back and build up a new society; and meanwhile, your preaching will reassure them and keep them hanging on. Your job is to take care of the Remnant, so be off now and set about it." (...)
As the word masses is commonly used, it suggests agglomerations of poor and underprivileged people, laboring people, proletarians, and it means nothing like that; it means simply the majority. The mass man is one who has neither the force of intellect to apprehend the principles issuing in what we know as the humane life, nor the force of character to adhere to those principles steadily and strictly as laws of conduct; and because such people make up the great and overwhelming majority of mankind, they are called collectively the masses. The line of differentiation between the masses and the Remnant is set invariably by quality, not by circumstance. The Remnant are those who by force of intellect are able to apprehend these principles, and by force of character are able, at least measurably, to cleave to them. The masses are those who are unable to do either.
One may, if one has actually had a semblance of an education, recall that the Founders made sure the masses would not have a real voice in how the United States was to be run. As in every Republic in history, this gradually broke down. 1913, 1933, 1965...each step in the process seemed right at the time. There were good reasons; all the best professors at America's finest universities taught them.
And so we have come to this pass. Tomorrow, I expect that the masses will reelect the President and accelerate the time whent he Remant must again rebuild a failing society. Take a deep breath, Three Sourcers. We are a piece of the Remnant and better put on our armor and sharpen our swords, for truly the Scheiss is coming.
The (?) because I am of two minds about celebrating someone's death date. As a Christian it seems wrong--every human contains the imago dei, no? Yet, it seems undeniable that the world is a better place after the deaths of certain individuals; when Stalin went to Hell the wholesale murder of Soviet citizens slowed to a trickle.
Ernest "Che" Guevara certainly falls in this group. This little sicko, POS "revolutionary" took great joy in looking out his office window and watching defenseless men and boys shot down by firing squad--when he wasn't down there himself shooting them in the head.
Humberto Fontova gives us a nice concise summary on this, the 45th anniversay of "Che's" inglorious death. Indeed, his manner of death was particularly fitting:
His pathetic whimpering while dropping his fully-loaded weapons as two Bolivian soldiers approached him on Oct. 8 1967 ("Don't shoot!" I'm Che!" I'm worth more to you alive than dead!") proves that this cowardly, murdering swine was unfit to carry his victims' slop buckets.
A sickeningly "nuanced," at times even fawning Wikipaedia article actually tries to make his ironically painful execution by the Bolivian Army into some kind of last heroic stand, and includes this:
An array of notable individuals have lauded Guevara as a hero; for example, Nelson Mandela referred to him as "an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom", while Jean-Paul Sartre described him as "not only an intellectual but also the most complete human being of our age".
Well, this goes out to Mandela, Sartre, the Castro brothers, and every other "revolutionary" who saw human beings as objects of a World-Historical drama to be used, tortured and murdered: "Che's" end was cosmic justice; some of you will die in bed in your comfortable old age but I'd be awfully worried about what happens after that!
So yeah, I will raise a cold one tonight and think about the sorry dirty end of a sorry dirty bastard, and the drink will taste just a little better.
My wise and dear father caught me at a loss this morning when he asked if I know what ended the Great Depression? "WWII production?" I knew it was wrong as soon as I said it, but I must confess his answer was more correct and succinct than any I've ever heard: "FDR died."
Some may argue that Obama took office in the midst of an epochal financial crisis, with an economy hurtling downhill. Fair enough -- as far as it goes.
But after four years, that excuse rings hollow. Obama's record suggests he won't put into place policies that foster economic growth and job creation.
Even worse, Obama gives us scant hope for better times on his watch. He's the godfather of big government policies that burden the economy -- a new health care system that will add punishing costs to hiring and small business and financial regulations that will stifle lending.
Obama promised change. And indeed the economy has changed.
But President Obama is young and healthy, so America is fortunate that he is Constitutionally limited to two terms of office. Better yet, we can elect a businessman with a proven track record of rescuing failed enterprises to replace him.
Declaration of Independence for the iPod Generation
One of the problems with teaching American History and the Founding Fathers is the "crusty old white dude" barrier. Here, Soomo Publishing blends a new teaching tool with a cover of a popular song to teach a little good old revolutionary history.
I heard an interesting young blogger on the Mike Rosen Show today. Tina Trent was describing the anti-GOP protests outside the convention, including "Code Pink" activists dressed in vagina costumes. A caller asked for her blog address so I decided to check it out. I found a very involved story about three college history professors rewriting history for consumption by grade-schoolers. Allow me to condense Tina's smart but lengthy History Mystery: How Fast Can PBS and the NYT Destroy a Generation of Young Minds?
In his first campaign speech as presumptive vice-presidential nominee, Paul Ryan related advice from his late father: "I still remember a couple of things he would say that have really stuck with me. 'Son, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution.' Regrettably, President Obama has become part of the problem, and Mitt Romney is the solution."
Soon thereafter, NYT published an article by ADAM GOODHEART, PETER MANSEAU and TED WIDMER which attempted to credit a former Black Panther with coining the phrase and all sort of innuendo about what that says about Ryan.
Tina then looks further and discovers that these three "historians" are part of Washington College's "Historically Corrected" program and contribute to a PBS feature called "History Detectives."
Think of it as replacing a dull slog through facts about the Revolutionary War with a bunch of equally dull (yet far less challenging) anecdotes about the time your mom’s brother smoked a bunch of pot while watching the Washington Monument levitate (Yes, I know, it was really the Pentagon. But aren’t facts bourgeois?).
Mary Grabar and I wrote about this PBS-fuelled erosion of learning about history in a report for Accuracy in Media, titled PBS: Re-Educating America’s Schoolchildren, Thanks to Your Contributions. In it, you’ll find our take on another History Detectives lesson plan, one that curiously parallels this lunatic New York Times piece. In “Hot-Town: Pigs on the Streets” (yes, that is the title), children are led through a fun, a-historical exercise in which they “investigate” the origins of a poster denouncing the police; contemplate police brutality at the ’68 convention, and then hear from a former Black Panther “client” about all the great lunch programs the Panthers used to run.
There's more after this, including a timely expose into Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver's admission of raping white women as a revolutionary tactic. (No word yet on whether or not it was "legitimate" rape.)
I watched the Dinesh D'Souza film 2016-Obama's America yesterday with family and friends. My brother and father were the driving force and dad thought it so important we all see it that he paid for all of us. Having been cautioned by JK's distaste for D'Souza's conspiratism I was eager to see and hear for myself what evidence Dinesh presents, and what hypothesis he has formed.
As a starting point I read this critical review by Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan. His instinct is to dismiss it as a rehash of prior Obama hatred, but some of his dissmissals ring hollow.
As readers of the Forbes article know, the central thesis of "2016" is that Obama's worldview -- his "compass," as D'Souza calls it -- was largely shaped by the anti-colonialist, anti-white and anti-Christian politics of Obama's supposedly radical Kenyan father. Never mind that Obama, growing up, spent precious little time with the man, who for most of his son's early life was estranged from Obama's mother. D'Souza trots out a professional psychologist to speculate on how the senior Obama's absence reinforced his influence, rather than weakened it.
D'Souza makes it all sound almost plausible, but only if you're predisposed to believe that Obama hates America. It's bashing, all right, but with a velvet-gloved fist.
What is glossed over here is how he makes it sound plausible. That explanation is omitted and replaced with a cautionary "almost" to convince readers they need not bother to evaluate the plausability on their own. D'Souza explains that Obama's worldview was constructed not in the image of his absentee father, rather in the idealized image of him portrayed by his mother. Ann Dunham, an almost completely overlooked component of Barack's formative years, was as anti-American, or at least anti-capitalist and anti-"colonialist" as they come. So says D'Souza. He supports this claim with multiple facts. He concludes that diminishing America's influence in the world, in effect punishing America for its colonial heritage, is fully consistent with many of the previously inexplicable acts of President Obama: To repair America's "plunder" of foreign resources he gave billions of American taxpayer's dollars to Brazil and others to build up those nations' oil industries; to push back present-day colonialism he has sided with Argentina over Great Britain in the Falklands conflict; his mideast policy arguably reflects a prejudice against western influence in favor of native rule, whatever that may happen to become. Actions as seemingly unimportant as returning a bust of Winston Churchill and presenting gag gifts to the Queen of England also betray a lifelong hatred for that country, the once great colonial power which had colonized and "exploited" his father's native land - Kenya.
In the film D'Souza also shows how then candidate Obama diverted attention from these beliefs and tendencies by suggesting his goal was a racial reconciliation within America. When longtime mentor Reverend Jeremiah Wright's anti-Americanism threatened to derail his campaign, Barack gave a nationally televised speech on race relations and distanced himself from the anti-colonialist values. And when other formative influences were called into question his campaign skillfully portrayed them as good-ol American leftists rather than the world socialists they would likely call themselves. When the President lectures America about the unfairness of the "one percenters" Americans think of wealthy corporate titans standing unapologetically on the shoulders of the working or "middle" class. But to a world socialist, EVERY American is a one-percenter, right down to the homeless shelter or overpass dweller who may freely beg for change and sleep opon the paved streets of American cities, free from scourges like disease, garbage dumps and open sewage running through the streets of a typical third-world village, always with ready access to medical treatment-on-demand in the shiny hospitals of the most prosperous nation on earth.
My opinion of the validity of D'Souza's original conclusions is buttressed by Elizabeth Reynolds' 'D'Souza's "Rage" a Middling Psychoanalysis' in The Dartmouth Review. After labeling Dinesh as an "ultra-conservative member of the Dartmouth Class of 1983" and praising Obama's book 'Dreams From My Father' she presents a fair, perhaps more fair than she intended, interpretation of the facts in D'Souza's book. Her conclusion:
Perhaps D'Souza's anti-colonial theory does help explain, as the Weekly Standard put it, Obama's omnipotence at home and impotence abroad. It is a matter of the reader's opinion. Regardless, D'Souza brings something new to the table with his latest book. It seems clear to me that D'Souza has done his research, with his extensive history of colonial Africa and insightful background information on Obama's early life. His concept of investigating the impact of Barack Obama's father had potential, but I'm afraid that D'Souza's conclusion, that Obama is trying to essentially destroy America, ultimately takes it too far.
Ironically, it is Reynolds who takes it too far for "essentially destroying America" is not D'Souza's claimed goal for Barack Obama. He merely wants to diminish our nation, not destroy it. The call to action at the end of the film? Every American must decide for himself if America should be diminished - and vote accordingly.
He's already garnered Otequay of the Ayday. Perhaps Quote of the Day also, some time before the morrow. And on this auspicious day, the 280th anniversary of General and President George Washington's birth, I share news that author and historian John White leads a 3 year-old campaign to award General Washington the Medal of Honor. Soldier, statesman and patriot, George Washington was also the very definition of bravery in battle.
Washington's willingness to lead his troops from the front, while shots from British sharpshooters and his own men flew across the battlefield around him, inspired the American forces to hold together throughout the war. A young officer who observed Washington in combat at the Battle of Princeton wrote, "I saw him brave all the dangers of the field . . . with a thousand deaths flying around him." The sight of his commander in chief, he said, set an example of courage such as he had never seen.
One may wonder where else a commander would lead but "from the front" although other styles are fashionable of late.
Awarding the Medal of Honor to Washington would accomplish three objectives. First, it would properly recognize his bravery in battle. Second, it would bring public attention to that fact, which in turn would encourage greater public awareness of American military history in the Revolutionary era. Third, it would elevate Washington as a role model for young people, showing them the courage that defines a true hero, as distinguished from entertainers and other celebrities.
I made a cursory search to see if this had been posted on these pages since the first of the year. If it has never been so in the blog's history we should all consider ourselves ashamed for the oversight.
Ronald Reagan, interviewed by Manuel Klausner in Reason Magazine, July 1975:
REASON: Governor Reagan, you have been quoted in the press as saying that you’re doing a lot of speaking now on behalf of the philosophy of conservatism and libertarianism. Is there a difference between the two?
REAGAN: If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.
Now, I can’t say that I will agree with all the things that the present group who call themselves Libertarians in the sense of a party say, because I think that like in any political movement there are shades, and there are libertarians who are almost over at the point of wanting no government at all or anarchy. I believe there are legitimate government functions. There is a legitimate need in an orderly society for some government to maintain freedom or we will have tyranny by individuals. The strongest man on the block will run the neighborhood. We have government to insure that we don’t each one of us have to carry a club to defend ourselves. But again, I stand on my statement that I think that libertarianism and conservatism are travelling the same path.
So what Reagan lovers should be asking is, it seems to me, which of the GOP presidential nominees are hostile to libertarian thought and which are the very embodiment of it?" Ron Paul for President. Do it for the Gipper.
Monday, October 10, 2011, the 3-day weekend observation of that well-known holiday traditionally observed on October 12 every year because of something noteworthy that happened on that day in 1492: Discoverer's Day!
Yes, my Scenic Hawaii calendar actually uses this term. I'm gonna have to throw out this politically correct piece of ... wait a minute.
This post legitimately spans multiple categories. I don't recall it being discussed here when it was first released, last May I believe, so I'll immortalize it in the 3Srcs/EatOurPeas archives now.
For the youth of America who don't remember the economic resurgence that came about under the policies of President Ronald Reagan Mike Huckabee offers a new animated American History series to give them the pro-America version of events they may or may not have ever heard of. Here's a clip from the Reagan Revolution episode.
Mike Huckabee calls it an unbiased telling of history, while those more inclined to a politically-correct worldview see the religion boogeyman as they quote from the video's website: "We recognize and celebrate faith, religion and the role of God in America's founding and making our country the greatest place on Earth," the site reads.
I had attributed this reflexive anti-religion attitude to a majority of the one-third of American voters who are unaffiliated with a party but I'm ready to concede it may be yet another form of extremism that's been made to appear mainstream by the Dominant Liberal Establishment Mass Media. In defense of his product Huckabee claims that, "Ninety-one percent of liberals who were shown the videos said they not only learned something they would buy them for their kids."
New commenter "PoppaGary" (welcome!) explains that Washington State's defeated "income tax for the rich" was distrusted, in part, because "in Washington, most initiatives can be changed after 2 yrs by a simple majority of the Legislature" and "based on their past behavior, in 2 yrs they would have forced it on everyone." This reminded me of the way the federal income tax was foisted upon Americans in 1913. It was justified as a tax "only on the rich."
Beginning in 1913 the income tax was levied against "adjusted gross income" as it is today. Considering just the personal exemptions the tax was zero on the first $3000 of earnings for single persons or $4000 for married couples. Adjusted for inflation from 1913 to 2010 these tax floors are equivalent to $66,193.64 and $88,258.18, respectively.
The tax on adjusted incomes up to $20,000 ($441,290.91) was just 1 percent, or a maximum of $200 ($3,750.97).
The top tax bracket was for adjusted incomes over $500,000 ($11,032,272.73) and was just 7 percent.
These numbers make today's argument that individuals earning over $200,000 are "the rich" pretty da_n laughable: $200,000 today is equivalent to $9,064.32 in 1913 dollars, resulting in a tax of $90.64 ($1999.93.) I don't make anywhere near 200K but I'd gladly trade my tax burden for that of 1913's version of "the rich."
JK recently heralded America's Petrosesquicentennial, the 150th anniversary of the first American oil well. We are quite enamored of the "black gold" on these pages. And why not? 3.8 gallons of oil derived gasoline (you may have heard of it - it's been used as a primary motor fuel for nearly a hundred years) which can be purchased on any street corner for about ten bucks, produce as much energy as an average lightning bolt (about 500 megajoules.)
And the safety of this miracle fuel is such that anti-industrial zealots like those on Dateline NBC have had to use remotely detonated explosives to recreate accidental fuel tank explosions.
But there's more to oil than gasoline. Much more. Modern necessities made from oil include jet fuel, propane gas, plastics, asphalt, and dozens of petrochemicals essential to hundreds of industries we could hardly imagine living without. (Paints, fertilizers and textiles to name just a few.)
I went searching for the historical significance of the Petrosesquicentennial and found the following graph of world population and income since 1500. It shows a precipitous rise in population around the time of the Industrial Revolution. But the per capita world GDP rose only 31 percent in the early decades of the Industrial Revolution (1820 to about 1870). In the next 30 years however, inflation-adjusted individual incomes went up another 45%, and 20 years later nearly doubled from there. Finally, by the end of the 20th century, individuals earned a whopping SEVEN TIMES what their ancestors did at the time commercial oil production began.
(Click on graph to enlarge)
While the Industrial Revolution began in the early 1800's without oil it "centered on improvement in coal, iron and steam technologies." The truly modern developments "steel, electricity and chemicals" were hallmarks of the Second Industrial Revolution which, though not clearly delineated from the first, roughly coincided with the commercialization of oil in America.
So if you love iPods, cell phones, jet planes, mass transit, modern medicines, supermarkets, artificial light, white collar jobs ... and the income to pay for all of these and more ... you'd best come to grips with your closet love affair with oil.
UPDATE [10:43a EDT]: As often happens, I omitted a key argument in the thread. The point of all this was to set up the assertion that the advent of cheap and abundant oil was not only coincident with the Second Industrial Revolution, but catalyzed it. Try to imagine the course of the industrial age without it. Certainly a gallon of gas could have been replaced, say with 121 cubic feet of natural gas or 9 pounds of coal, but extracting and using a liquid fuel proved far more practical and economical than those gaseous or solid ones, at least for some uses. And I contend those uses were - and remain - important. Add to this the less obvious fact that many chemical uses of oil may be irreplaceable.
Oil has clearly fueled prosperity. Not only that, it did so for everyone.
Most of us, I'm sure, are familiar with the idea that "left" vs. "right" or "liberal" vs. "conservative" are imprecise definitions of political philosophy. What I've promoted instead is that political structures are organized along a continuum from fully collectivized to complete individual liberty.
This excellent video presentation by YouTube's "notdemocracy" describes the balance as one between "total government" and "no government." Five basic types of government cover the spectrum: monarchy - oligarchy - democracy - republic - anarchy. But only two of these are "stable" forms of government: oligarchy and republic. The other three naturally evolve into one of those two. (Hint: Everything becomes an oligarchy except a republic.)
Readers who watch this will understand why I consider it so important to fight for the integrity of the original Constitution, which means removing antithetical amendments to it such as the 16th.
The absence of any statutes creating a specific liability for subtitle A income taxes means, quite simply, that federal income taxes are totally and completely voluntary, in the common everyday meaning of that term. Liability only begins when Form 1040 is signed.
So it would seem that refusing to complete a tax return, or even completing it and refusing to sign it, may legally absolve an individual of any federal income tax liability. I met a man who actually adhered to this strategy in the early 1990's. At the time I thought he was a madman. Now I believe I've found his justification.
Further stunning proof that these taxes are truly voluntary can be found at IRC section 3402(n). Here, Congress has authorized a form called the “withholding exemption certificate” abbreviated “WEC”. The term “withholding exemption certificate” occurs a total of seventeen (17) times in that one statute alone.
However, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has never created an official form for the WEC.
I haven't yet found any information on the status of the legal action since the date of this press release. (Is there an honest judge left anywhere in the United States Federal Government?) Here, however, is Counselor Mitchell's brief essay "Let's Dismantle the IRS: This Racket is Busted"
Let’s Dismantle IRS:
This Racket is Busted
Paul Andrew Mitchell
Private Attorney General
All Rights Reserved without Prejudice
It’s time to dismantle the Internal Revenue Service. This organization has outlived its usefulness.
The hunt was on, several years ago, when activists like this writer confirmed that IRS was never created by any Act of Congress. It cannot be found in any of the laws which created the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
The U.S. Supreme Court quietly admitted as much, at footnote 23 in Chrysler Corp. v. Brown. In a nation governed by the rule of law, this omission is monumental.
The search for its real origins has taken this nation down many blind alleys, so convoluted and complicated are the statutes and regulations which govern its employees rarely, if ever.
The best explanation now favors its links to Prohibition, the ill-fated experiment in outlawing alcohol.
The Women’s Temperance Movement, we believe, was secretly underwritten by the petroleum cartel, to perfect a monopoly over automotive fuels. Once that monopoly was in place, Prohibition was repealed, leaving alcohol high and dry as the preferred fuel for cars and trucks, and leaving a federal police force inside the several States, to extort money from the American People.
All evidence indicates that IRS is an alias for the Federal Alcohol Administration (“FAA”), which was declared unconstitutional inside the several States by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1935. The result of the high Court’s decision in U.S. v. Constantine confined that FAA to federal territories, like Puerto Rico, where Congress is the “state” legislature.
Further confirmation can be found in a decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Used Tire International, Inc. v. Manual Diaz-Saldana, which identified the latter as the real “Secretary of the Treasury.” The Code of Federal Regulations for Title 27 also identifies this other “Secretary” as an office in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
This is ominous data. It serves to suggest that IRS has no authority whatsoever to mail envelopes from the “Department of the Treasury.” Such obvious deception is prohibited by federal mail fraud statutes, and defined as a predicate to racketeering.
Moreover, the vagueness now proven to frequent the Internal Revenue Code forces a legal conclusion that the entire Code is necessarily void, read “no legal effect.” The high Court’s test for vagueness is obviously violated when men and women of common intelligence cannot agree on its correct meaning, its proper construction, or its territorial application.
Take, for instance, a statute at IRC section 7851. Here, Congress has said that all the enforcement provisions in subtitle F shall take effect on the day after the date “this title” is enacted. These provisions include, for example, filing requirements, penalties for failing to file, and tax evasion.
Title 26 has never been enacted into positive law, rendering every single section in subtitle F a big pile of spaghetti, with no teeth whatsoever. Throughout most federal laws, the consistent legislative practice is to use the term “this title” to refer to a Title of the United States Code.
To make matters worse, conscientious courts (an endangered species) have ruled that taxes cannot be imposed without statutes assigning a specific liability to certain parties.
There are no statutes creating a specific liability for taxes imposed by subtitle A of the Internal Revenue Code. This is the set of statutes that impose the federal income tax.
Look at it this way: if Congress imposed a tax on chickens, would that necessarily mean that the chickens are liable for the tax?
Obviously not! Congress would also need to define the farmer, or the consumer, or the wholesaler, as the party liable for paying that tax. Chickens, where are your tax returns?
Without a liability statute, there can be no liability.
This now opens another, deeper layer in this can of rotting worms. If IRS is really using fear tactics to extort an unlawful debt, then it qualifies for careful scrutiny, and prosecution, under the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act aka “RICO”.
How fitting, and how ironic, that IRS is legally domiciled in Puerto RICO.
When we get down to brass tacks, we find that Congress encourages private Citizens to investigate and bust rackets, mainly because it perceived a shortage of public prosecutors talented enough to enforce RICO statutes against organized crime syndicates.
This shortage is the real reason why the RICO statute at 18 U.S.C. 1964 awards triple damages to any party who prevails, using the civil remedies it provides. And, happily, State courts like the Superior Court of California also enjoy original jurisdiction to litigate and issue these remedies.
All of this would approach comedy in the extreme, were it not also the case that IRS launders huge sums of money, every day, into foreign banks chiefly owned by the families that founded the Federal Reserve system.
Did you think the Federal Reserve was federal government? Guess again!
One of the biggest shocks of the last century was an admission by President Reagan’s Grace Commission, that none of the income taxes collected by IRS goes to pay for any federal government services.
Those taxes are paying interest to these foreign banks, and benefit payments to recipients of entitlement programs, like federal pension funds.
So, the next time your neighbors accuse you of being unpatriotic for challenging the IRS, we recommend that you demand from them proof that IRS is really funding any federal government services, like air traffic control, the Pentagon, the Congress, the Courts, or the White House.
Don’t hold your breath.
Honestly, when all the facts are put on a level table top, there is not a single reason why America should put up with this massive fiscal fraud for one more day.
It’s now time to dismantle the Internal Revenue Service.
Keeping all those laundered funds inside this country will result in economic prosperity without precedent in our nation’s history.
Let’s bury IRS beneath the Titanic, where it can rust in peace forever along with the rest of the planet’s jellyfish.
America deserves to be a living, thriving Republic, not another victim of Plank Number Two in the Communist Manifesto.
About the Author:
Paul Andrew Mitchell is a Private Attorney General and
Webmaster of the Supreme Law Library on the Internet:
“U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Falls Silent in Face of SUBPOENA for Tax Liability Statutes”
“31 Questions and Answers about the IRS”
“What Is the Federal Income Tax?”
“Electronic Censors Found at U.C. Berkeley’s Law School”
“Private Attorney General Backs UCB’s Graduate Instructors”
“Paul Mitchell Blasts Clinton, Rubin for Racketeering”
“Paul Mitchell Applauds House Vote to Kill IRC”
“Paul Mitchell Urges Nation to Boycott IRS”
“The Kick-Back Racket: PMRS”
“Congresswoman Suspected of Income Tax Evasion”
“Our Proposal to Save Social Security”
“Charitable Contributions by the Federal Reserve”
“Legal Notice in re Withholding Exemption Certificates”
Quoting Larry Grathwohl, an FBI informant and member of the Weather Underground, in a 1982 documentary on the group:
"I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.
And they were dead serious."
I wonder if McPalin's last week of TV ads will include anything from this list. Though I suspect it may require pictures of Obama and Ayers building pipe bombs together to get through to some people.
Despite Stalin's record, recent polls have shown many young Russians have a positive view of the former Soviet leader and there have been attempts this year to play down his excesses, which have found an echo among the country's youth.
Fifty-four percent of Russian youth believe that Stalin did more good than bad and half said he was a wise leader, according to a poll conducted in July by the Yuri Levada Centre.
John Karol is an independent filmmaker whose latest film is sure to please jk. He discusses his latest film in the NY Sun:
"Make a film on Calvin Coolidge?" When the idea was first suggested to me I barely could muster a yawn. As a "liberal" filmmaker, what little I knew of Coolidge came from New Deal historians who view him as a somnambulant "capitalist tool" whose presidency served only as a prelude to disaster.
"Read his autobiography — 250 pages, large print."
I did, and was intrigued. I moved on to his speeches, all of which he wrote himself. A master at delegating duties, Coolidge was not one to delegate beliefs. His speeches read like lay sermons to the American public, revealing fundamental values and ideals any small "d" democrat should embrace. I was hooked.
Coolidge on taxes and farm subsidies:
Harding, Coolidge, and Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon sought to kick-start the economy by reducing the top marginal tax rate to 25%. They did. Revenues increased dramatically, presaging Arthur Laffer by half a century. Both presidents ran surpluses in all their annual budgets. By the time Coolidge left office, the national debt had been cut by one-third.
New Deal historians maintain that the tax cuts of the 1920s reversed the progressive tax policies of Woodrow Wilson. Far from it. Exemptions increased so much that by 1927 almost 98% of the American people paid no income tax whatsoever. When Coolidge left office in 1929, wealthy people paid 93% of the tax load. During Wilson's last year in office they had paid only 59%.
Less remembered, and less appreciated by contemporary politicians, was Coolidge's aversion to farm subsidies. At great political risk, Coolidge twice vetoed the popular McNary-Haugen farm subsidy bill. As Coolidge put it:
"If the government gets into business on any large scale, we soon find that the beneficiaries attempt to play a large part in the control … and those who are the most adroit get the larger part of it."
Many, myself included, believed that American appeasment of mideastern terrorists began with the Iranian hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979. Examination of this historical timeline shows that it began at least as early as July 26, 1956.
7/26/56 Suez Canal nationalized; Egypt blockades Straits of Tiran. France, Britain and Israel take the canal. US pressures them to withdraw (November).
This wasn't, however, the worst example of surrender on the part of America's government, nor was the aforementioned hostage crisis. But this one is in the running.
(I can't effectively excerpt this article. There's just too much valid information. I have copied it all to "continue reading" to make sure it doesn't get lost.)
Is it too late to try President Nixon for treason?
With the quiet release of a 33-year-old US State Department cable, a good chunk of the edifice of the longest-running big lie was destroyed
By Caroline B. Glick
Time for world to admit it was duped to the tune of billions of dollars
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Yasser Arafat was a master of the big lie. Since he invented global terrorism with the founding of the Fatah terror organization in 1959, Arafat successfully portrayed himself as a freedom fighter while introducing the world to passenger jet hijackings, schoolhouse massacres and embassy takeovers.
To cultivate the myth of his innocence Arafat ordered his Fatah terror cells to operate under pseudonyms. In the early 1970's he renamed several Fatah murder squads the Black September Organization while publicly claiming that they were "breakaway" units completely unrelated to Fatah or to himself.
In 2000, as he launched the current Palestinian jihad, he repeated the process by renaming Fatah terror cells the Aksa Martyr Brigades and then claiming that they were completely unrelated to Fatah or to himself. This fiction too, has been successful in spite of the fact that all Aksa Martyr Brigades terrorists are members of Fatah and most are members of Palestinian Authority official militias who receive their salaries, guns and marching orders from Fatah.
Last week, with the quiet release of a 33-year-old US State Department cable, a good chunk of the edifice of his great lie was destroyed.
ON MARCH 1, 1973, eight Fatah terrorists, operating under the Black September banner stormed the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan during a farewell party for the US Embassy's Charges d'Affaires George Curtis Moore. The terrorists took Moore, US ambassador Cleo Noel, Belgian Charges d'Affairs Guy Eid and two Arab diplomats hostage. They demanded that the US, Israel, Jordan and Germany release PLO and Baader-Meinhof Gang terrorists, including Robert F. Kennedy's Palestinian assassin Sirhan Sirhan and Black September commander Muhammed Awadh (Abu Daud), from prison in exchange for the hostages' release.
The next evening, the Palestinians brutally murdered Noel, Moore, and Eid. They released their other hostages on March 4.
Arafat denied any involvement in the attack. The US officially accepted his denial. Yet, as he later publicly revealed, James Welsh, who served at the time of the attack as an analyst at the National Security Agency, intercepted a communication from Arafat, then headquartered in Beirut to his terror agents in Khartoum ordering the attack.
In 1986, as evidence of Arafat's involvement in the operation became more widely known, more and more voices began calling for Arafat to be investigated for murder. As the New York Sun's online blog recalled last week, during that period, Britain's Sunday Times reported that 44 US senators sent a letter to then US attorney-general Edwin Meese, "urging the American government to charge the PLO chief with plotting the murders of two American diplomats in 1973."
The article went on to note that the Justice Department's interest in pursuing the matter was making senior State Department officials uneasy: "State Department diplomats, worried that murder charges against Arafat would anger the United States' friends in the Arab world, are urging the Justice Department to drop the investigation."
As late as 2002, in spite of President George W. Bush's pointed refusal to meet with Arafat, the State Department continued to protest his innocence. At the time, Scott Johnson, a Minneapolis attorney and one of the authors of the popular Powerlineblog weblog, inquired into the matter with the State Department's Near Eastern Affairs Bureau. In an emailed response from the bureau's deputy director of press affairs Gregory Sullivan, Johnson was told, "Evidence clearly points to the terrorist group Black September as having committed the assassinations of Amb. Noel and George Moore, and though Black September was a part of the Fatah movement, the linkage between Arafat and this group has never been established."
So it was that for 33 years, under seven consecutive presidential administrations, the State Department denied any knowledge of involvement by Arafat or Fatah in the execution of its own people.
Until last week.
THE CABLE released by the State Department's historian states, "The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasir Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, (PLO), and the head of Fatah. Fatah representatives based in Khartoum participated in the attack, using a Fatah vehicle to transport the terrorists to the Saudi Arabian Embassy."
Although clearly skilled in the art of deception, Arafat could never have succeeded in creating and prolonging his fictions and with them, his crimes, without the cooperation of the US government and the media.
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In this vein, the release of the State Department cable raises two daunting questions. First, how is it possible that the belated admission of a massive 33 year cover-up of the murder of senior American diplomats spanning the course of seven consecutive presidential administrations has been ignored by the US media? A Google news search for Cleo Noel brought up but a handful of stories - none of which were reported by the major news networks or national newspapers.
On the face of it, the released cable, which calls into question the very foundation of US Middle East policy for the past generation is simply stunning. The cable concludes, "The Khartoum operation again demonstrated the ability of the BSO to strike where least expected. The open participation of Fatah representatives in Khartoum in the attack provides further evidence of the Fatah/BSO relationship. The emergence of the United States as a primary fedayeen target indicates a serious threat of further incidents similar to that which occurred in Khartoum."
The media's silence on the issue does not merely raise red flags abut their objectivity. By not availing the American public to the knowledge that Fatah and the PLO have been specifically targeting Americans for 33 years, the media has denied the American people basic knowledge of the world in which they live.
The media's abject refusal to cover the story raises an even more egregious aspect of the episode. Specifically, what does the fact that under seven consecutive administrations, the US government has covered up Arafat's direct responsibility for the murder of American diplomats while placing both Arafat and Fatah at the center of its Middle East policy, say about the basic rationale of US policy towards Israel and the Palestinians? What would US Middle East policy looked like, and what would have been the results for US, and international security as a whole, if rather than advancing a policy that made Arafat the most frequent foreign visitor to the White House during the Clinton administration, the US had demanded his extradition and tried him for murder?
How many lives would have been saved if the US had not been intent on upholding Arafat's big lie? How would such a US policy have impacted the subsequent development of sister terror organizations like Hizbullah, al-Qaida and Hamas, all of which were founded by members of Arafat's terror industry?
Sadly, the release of the cable did not in any way signal a change in the US policy of whitewashing Fatah. In contravention of US law, for the past 13 years, the State Department has been denying that Fatah, the PLO and the Palestinian Authority are terrorist organizations, and has been actively funding them with US taxpayer dollars.
This policy went on, unchanged even after Fatah gunmen murdered three US embassy employees in Gaza in October 2003. This policy continues, unchanged still today, as Fatah's current leader, Arafat's deputy of 40 years Mahmoud Abbas works to form a unity government with Hamas. Indeed, the central component of the US's policy towards the Palestinians today is the goal of strengthening Fatah by arming, training and funding its Force 17 terror militia.
In a November 14, 2006 interview on Palestinian television, Ahmed Hales Abu Maher who serves as Secretary of Fatah in Gaza, bragged of Fatah's role in the development of international terrorism. In his words, reported by Palestinian Media Watch, "Oh warrior brothers, this is a nation that will never be broken, it is a revolution that will never be defeated. This is a nation that gives an example every day that is imitated across the world. We gave the world the children of the RPG [Rocket Propelled Grenades], we gave the world the children stone [-throwers], and we gave the world the male and female Martyrdom-Seekers [suicide bombers]."
Imagine what the world would have looked like if, rather than clinging to Arafat's big lie that he and his Fatah terror organization were central components of Middle East peace, the US had captured and tried Arafat for murdering its diplomats and worked steadily to destroy Fatah.
Imagine how our future would look if rather than stealthily admitting the truth, while trusting the media not to take notice, the US government were to base its current policies on the truth, and the media were to reveal this truth to the world.
I've been thinking about how to blog this story since it broke: Megabillionaire Warren Buffet recently donated (evading the estate tax in the process) $37 billion of his $44 billion in personal wealth to a charitable foundation established by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda. Combined with the $29 billion already under foundation control the resulting $66 billion is five times the wealth of the next largest, the Ford foundation.
I fully agree with many points made in this editorial. For example:
"Surely there are better reasons to embark upon the world's biggest grant-making program than to salve the conscience of a guy who has no business feeling guilty in the first place."
And, "If Mr. Gates views his foundation as a vehicle for guilt riddance, chances are his grants will fail often and spectacularly. Yet if he views it as a way of furthering his already enormous contribution to society through nonprofit rather than for-profit means, then perhaps he will make a positive difference in the areas where he is focusing his efforts: global health and American education."
But Mr. Miller's principal point is not just that a charitable foundation should be used to further the values of its benefactor(s), but that it must necessarily be constrained to shut itself down after some arbitrary number of years for fear of the "harmful trend" of "an organization that exists in perpetuity, clinging tightly to its assets and ever further removed from its benefactors and their intentions."
It seems to me that if you want your wealth to live on and contribute in your image after your passing, you'd want it to do so for as long as possible. The trick here is to build something that can't be highjacked by others for their own purposes after your passing. This is exactly the problem that faced the founders of the United States government. So here we have another instance of resignation that nothing can retain its original nature and purpose against the pressure of revisionism.
The irony here is that the Gates Foundation, which has chosen to make a positive difference in the areas of global health and American education, has an opportunity to counteract such pressures. The reason the American Constitution, the American government and the American way of life are under threat today is precisely because of revisionist pressures endemic to modern American education. If the Gates Foundation threw even a fraction of its weight behind a return to accurate and objective teaching of American history and civics it could single handedly save the nation from apathetic disintegration.
Alas, such an effort is unlikely from a man who says, "We really owe it to society to give the wealth back."