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NEW ESSAYS

 

Return to Reason, my WorldNetDaily.com column, is back on Fridays. 

 

On WorldNetDaily.com, November 11, 2005:  Rah-Rah for Rioters 

 

 

 

BARELY A BLOG

BAB ARCHIVE

 

FRENCH, ROMANS, AND COUNTRYMEN  

 

I’d like to preface what Bill Anderson writes by saying that, as is obvious, my column, Rah-Rah for Rioters, is more than sardonic about the French Welfare State, and about state intervention, in general. Witness the comments about affirmative action. Or that about the state, not German civil society, being responsible for liquidating Jews. Can one be more direct than that? However, the thrust of my writing is not deterministic. Sure welfare destroys. But people’s actions, good or bad, are not reducible to a single cause. Some libertarians take the position that it’s all the state’s fault. More accurately: it’s all the American State’s fault. What an utterly unserious stance. Entitlements are available to all who choose them as a way of life. Ditto violence. People have a good degree of free will. They can choose to reject both. One embodies Left-Liberalism if one has succumbed to seeing human motivation as unidirectional and lacking volition. Cleese’s delicious (and brilliant) “What Have the Romans Ever Done For Us” is a spoof just up my alley. Yeah the Romans were the bad guys, but hell, the Jews could be a handful. Then again not everyone shares my sense of the absurd. —ILANA

 

(Incidentally, Barely a Blog will be going legit—onto a REAL blog format—this weekend.—ILANA)

 

From: WILLIAM ANDERSON

Sent: Friday, November 11, 2005 3:38 AM

Subject: Rah-Rah for Rioters

 

Very, very good.

 

People need to understand—and I think you do—that the French "system" of suffocating bureaucracy and antipathy to private enterprise definitely destroys a real future, not only for the Muslims, but also for everyone else. I had a conversation with a Canadian in Vancouver a couple summers ago and his point was that what was left for people like him were government jobs, something he realized in and of themselves were dead end.

 Now, this hardly counts as "oppression" CNN style, but the insistence that people on the left make that "economic security," as peddled by the Europeans, is a REALLY GREAT THING do not realize the longer term implications of destroying private initiative.

 That, however, was not your point.  Your larger issue was that the so-called CNN reasons for rioting were, to put it mildly, something that emanates from the rear end of a bull, and with that, I heartily concur.

 

—Bill

 

Jay D. Homnick writes this on The Reform Club’s blog. His guiding lights are the prophets of the Hebrew Testament. They are mine too  (it wasn’t always uncool to look up to a prophet, you know.)—ILANA:

 

“CALL ME ISHMAEL (WHILE I BURN YOUR CAR)

 

Is Ilana Mercer an absolute genius or what? What does it say about the conservative movement in America to have this level of passion and talent?

Her article today eclipsed my understanding of the media France coverage, left me feeling like a rank amateur in understanding the depth of the kulturkampf. I had contented myself with the lazy observation that the media was disposed to "excuse" criminality when it wore a liberal-political fig leaf.

Ilana digs much deeper. She explains that the miscreancy is itself cited as "proof of virtue".

Her brilliant insight hit me like an epiphany. I felt like I could actually hear Isaiah (5:20):

 

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who assert that darkness is light and light is darkness; who assert that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. (My translation.)”

 

POSTED by Jay D. Homnick at 10:17 AM  

 

From: Lawren 

Sent: Friday, November 11, 2005

Subject: Rah-Rah for Rioters

 

Thank you for your article on the unbelievable coverage of the French riots. One CNN pundit, with mike clutched to her bosom called the rioters "lads." I immediately sent my monthly email to CNN that they again confirmed they are on the side of chaos and anarchy. Unbelievable.

Thank you again for giving a voice to the unheard.

 

—Lawren 

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, November 11, 2005 (Link)

 

Letters to Barely A Blog in response to Dear (Zarqawi) ... and For the Love of Islam. Joy! Not one of the WorldNetDaily readers who wrote believes any longer in Bush’s war. All agreed that the twin evils—inviting an invasion by foreigners and instigating one against them; loving Islam and leveling an Islamic country—are two sides of the same neoconservative coin. I’m so very happy. I’ve been pelted since 2002, when I first exposed Bush’s will to war. No more, though.—ILANA

 

From: Barbara Grant

Sent: Friday, November 04, 2005

Subject: For the Love of Islam

 

Dear Ilana:

 

Glad to see your commentary back on a regular basis at WorldNetDaily.com. You are one of a very few commentators who combines clear thinking with exceptional insight and fine prose. Your columns are a joy to read.

The neocons' approach to the Islamic world seems to rely on the false assumption that regime change can promote a character change among those upon whom a regime is imposed. This is about as reasonable as dressing up a man as a woman and proclaiming that "he" is now a "she." When the makeup wears off, one still has the same old parts. American Christians' continued support of an administration that grovels before Islam is even more irrational.

 

Sincerely,

 

—BG

 

From: Jim B.

Sent: Friday, November 04, 2005

Subject: For the Love of Islam [From a military man]

 

Thanks for a great article, and for your courage in writing it. I wish I could tell you that those who need to heed its message are listening. I loved your term "recreational war" in reference to what's going on in Iraq. Bush loves to say in his rhetorical speeches that "we will continue aggressive offensive operations against terrorists wherever we find them...." and that "we have the terrorists on the run all over the world." As you so rightly stated, "this is vomit." 

I am a retired naval aviator with 24 years in the Navy, mostly flying as a bombardier/navigator in the A-6 Intruder, our "also retired" medium attack bomber. Why Bush gets the pass for calling the "war on terror" a "war", I can't figure out.  There is NO offensive strategy. We are going on our 4th year in Iraq, where WWII was over in both theaters in 4 years. Why?  There was an offensive strategy in both theaters. Our war is like being at a Disneyland shooting gallery in Frontier land and plinking at a target when it pops up. I mean no disrespect to the troops, they are only following orders, but I believe our troops would rather risk dying in actually fighting the enemy than in "road hunting" and getting blown up by a roadside bomb. As long as we have no strategy, there will be no victory. Our strategy seems to be "as long as terrorists want to come fight us in Iraq, we'll keep killing them there." Iraq is like Vietnam in the sense that we have the same insane strategy for getting out of there. "Train the indigenous Iraqis until they can handle the insurgency and we can go home..." Sounds rather like Nixon's "peace with honor." One million dead South Vietnamese wasn't very honorable. Anyone who believes the Iraqi Army will last any time at all against the terrorists is, in my opinion, dreaming.  So, will America be in Iraq "forever" like it is in Europe and Japan?  I guess so, because the people of America really don't care.

 

—Jim B.

 

From: Benjamin C. P. Jr

Sent: Friday, November 04, 2005

Subject: For the Love of Islam

 

I enjoyed reading your column "For the love of Islam." I disagree on one point: the Shrub ain't conservative!!!  I never doubted that Bush et al. are liberals. At best, Shrub is a Dhimmi; at worst a traitor. If western civilization—life and liberty—is to be preserved, the voting public must be informed of the reality of Islam.  Articles like yours can start the ball rolling.

 

—Benjamin C. P. Jr

 

From: Stephen and Marnee

Sent: Saturday, November 05, 2005 5:20 AM

Subject: Iraq

 

I am a recent reader of your articles. Can you please direct me to those articles (recent or not) you have written arguing against the wisdom of the Iraqi War. [With pleasure; here they are—ILANA.] I consider myself a libertarian/conservative who recognizes the threat of Islam to Western Civilization. I was a firm backer of Bush's war in Iraq, but am having second thoughts now.

 

Best regards,

 

—Stephen S.

    (Toronto)

 

From: Chris L.

Sent: Friday, November 04, 2005 7:03 AM

Subject: For the Love of Islam

 

Ilana:

 

Aside: I have a new baby (5 weeks old) who shares your first name, even the correct pronunciation!!! [My first tiny namesake. Coos to little Ilana—Big ILANA]

I am weary of listening to war cheerleaders tout a couple of elections and the participation of a majority of the populace in Iraq as a sign things are going well. If my family was being held hostage in our home by murderers, and my family voted to put me in charge, and we all voted on a bathroom schedule (even if under threat not to have said vote), all the while every few hours one of us gets tortured and or murdered, is the plight of my family improving with these votes?

I honestly don't know if things are better, worse, or static in Iraq. Some HARD data on Iraqi troop training, restoration of basic civil services like schools and utilities etc., may offer a better glimpse. But, a few dozen guys inside a fortified area of Baghdad calling themselves a government and signing a constitution while Americans and Iraqi citizens DAILY encounter IED's and other tricks and treats is a farce. I'm not advocating a particular course of action, just seeking intellectual honesty in the situational evaluation.

 

—Chris L.

 

From: Mark F.  

Sent: Friday, November 04, 2005 7:57 AM

Subject: For the Love of Islam

 

Hello Ilana-

 

Great column on Islam, and the schizophrenic policies and attitudes toward Islam by the neocons and Bush.  One of your best ever!  You have mastered the topic.

I would also like to point out for your future reference that Bush, the Christian, declared that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. He did this one week before the election on national television (Good Morning America, I believe). No surprise that none of the pro-Bush Christian organizations picked up on that ridiculous statement from the theologian-in-chief. This view is unmitigated heresy, to say the least.

 

Anyway, the best to you.

Sincerely,

 

—Mark F.

 

From: Carl S. 

Sent: Friday, November 04, 2005 1:37 AM

Subject: For the Love of Islam

 

Dear Mrs. Mercer:

 

Wonderful article. It's always interesting how smart and perceptive folks (like yourself) often end up taking very similar positions on this issue. Larry Auster at "View From the Right," one of my very favorite blogs, shares your basic view. I find it quite amazing that Bush, Blair, et al are now Islamic theologians. Despite 1400 years of consistent teaching and action from the "religion of peace," these new self-appointed Imams are now informing us unenlightened peons that jihad doesn't really mean warfare and Islam has always been the one of the world's most tolerant religions. You can tell by all those churches and synagogues being built a stone's throw from the great mosque in Mecca.

As far as Jorge II's supposed love affair with the "Zionists" mentioned by the tin-foil hatter you quoted, Bush the Zionist - pressing for the establishment of a jihadist statelet on the doorstep of the only representative of Western civilization in the region. With friends like the GWB, who needs Osama, or Yasser!

 

Best Wishes,

 

—Carl

 

From: Richard W.

Sent: Friday, October 28, 2005

Subject: Dear (Zarqawi) ...

 

Hi Ilana,

 

It is good to read an excellent column—well thought out and articulated perfectly to get the point across. I especially like the way you reason your view point. Thank you. So many columns today simply ramble on and actually say nothing of importance to further the writer’s viewpoint. [Oriana Fallaci, a hero to my generation of journalists and women, has noted that today’s writers bore the reader. Oh the tedium! There is no sin worse than boring readers to death—ILANA] You never have that problem. Your viewpoints are always explained. That’s the reason I prefer your writings. If we sometimes do not agree at least you have explained why you think as you do.

 

—Richard W.

 

From: Steve L.

Sent: Friday, October 28, 2005 7:13 AM

Subject: Dear (Zarqawi) ...

 

I am a conservative and read your excellent column about Al Zarqawi with great interest. A very well thought out argument, except for the following unfortunate sentence which sounds like a quote from Dan Rather about President Bush's National Guard lack of attendance introduced in a false document.

 

"Clearly, even if the Zawahiri epistle is inauthentic, it is not necessarily untrue."

 

Even if I believe you are correct, I think you owe it to your readers not to use arguments so endearing the socialist left who are constantly using innuendo in place of facts. [My response: I “owe” myself and the readers truth and independence of thought because I’m committed to those, not because of some contract that compels me. In this connection, please read this little entry, The Anatomy of Group Think. Arguments are right or wrong, not left or right. Dan Rather was right about Dubya being a deserter of sorts. He was wrong to use a forgery. Very wrong.—ILANA].

 

Best Regards,

—Steve L. VA

 

—Compiled By Ilana Mercer, November 5, 2005 (Link)

 

Letters to Barely A Blog in response to Bush's Bastardized 'Conservatism'. [Not one of the readers who wrote disagreed with the column.—ILANA]  

 

From: Mark R.

Sent: Friday, October 21, 2005 6:20 AM

Subject: Bush's Bastardized 'Conservatism'

 

IM:  I am an attorney. I am not now and never was a constitutional scholar, preferring the theatrics and gratification of trial practice. I figured out early on that Harriet Miers is dippy. The country deserves better, the Supreme Court demands better. So should we.

 

Thank you for your perceptive and accurate piece.

 

—Mark R.

   Hollywood, FL

 

From: Michael E. L. 

Sent: Friday, October 21, 2005 8:36 AM

Subject: Bush's Bastardized 'Conservatism'

 

Ilana,

 

WOW!  OH WOW!  You took my breath away when I read your latest commentary.  ESPECIALLY the title "Bush's Bastardized Conservatism." I'm so thankful that more people are getting disgusted with this "Christian" President as I am. I thought Bill Clinton was trash but Bush makes Clinton look desirable in some ways. WHY can't this nation WAKE UP to what this moron is doing! The man can hardly express himself without a prepared speech or cue cards!

 

Keep up the good work in telling it like it is while we can. Unless this nation has a major spiritual awakening I feel we're headed for martial law with ole W being in charge.

 

—Sincerely,

    Michael E. L.

    Dallas, TX

 

From: Dave

Sent: Friday, October 21, 2005 7:58 AM

Subject: Bush's Bastardized 'Conservatism'

 

You wrote:

 

"New New Deal" for New Orleans, for which there is no constitutional authority."

Finally someone has the fortitude to put it in writing. You are to be congratulated; it needs to be discussed at much greater length [as we libertarians have been doing since the absolute ruler ascended to the thrown,” to quote the column].

 

Again good work,

—Dave

 

—Compiled by Ilana Mercer, October 27, 2005 (Link)

 

THE ANATOMY OF GROUPTHINK 

 

As I pointed out in Bush’s Bastardized Conservatism, the anti-intellectual tribalist is easy to spot. He’s a, “You are either with us or against us” kind of a guy (or gal). Adherents of this tradition judge ideas and opinions not on their merit but according to whether they comport with preordained positions. Or according to who originated them. These sorts usually have a High Priest or two from whom they take their cues. They seldom deviate. They even blog in boring unison on almost every topic.

The skirmish over Harriett Miers typifies this group think. No sooner had a welcome conservative opposition arisen to this comical crony than “establishment Republicans” endeavored to crush it. While quite a few libertarians cogitated alongside conservatives over substantive issues—the dangers of cronyism, the patent lack of qualifications and a discernable judicial philosophy in Miers—others argued along tribal lines, a-la GOP groupies.

Their first proposition: we hate neoconservatives-cum-conservatives. Their second proposition: we hate Coulter and Krauthammer. Their Third: Coulter and Krauthammer hate the idea of Harriet for judge. Ergo, we like the idea of Harriet for judge. Talk about succumbing to a non sequitur.

Not that reasoning by default doesn’t have its place, but as a habit it’s plain slothful. For example, from Nancy Pelosi’s left-liberal credo, it follows that, in general, when she opens her mouth to speak, out will come gibberish. But her political stripe doesn’t necessarily mean everything she says will be silly. “It’s a fine day,” for example. More seriously, her accurate assessments of Bush (“the emperor has no clothes”) and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (it’s “not over occupation, and never has been: it is over the fundamental right of Israel to exist”).

The point being, libertarians should consider the issues, not the individuals involved. Sitting on the sidelines and hooting derisively might make an already marginalized group feel superior. Nevertheless, to feel superior isn’t necessarily to be superior. Intellectual superiority is impossible without substantively and persuasively addressing issues and winning debates. A good start is to think outside the tribe.

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, October 24, 2005 (Link)

 

THAT ELUSIVE JEWISH GENE

 

I’m getting sick of the determinists who whittle down Jewish thinking and achievement over thousands of years to oppression-generated genetic mutations during the Middle Ages, or something. This article in the New York Magazine puts paid to such reductionism:

 

“To say that the Jews have a history of emphasizing scholarship is not just the fantasy of ethnic chauvinists and Woody Allen fans. To look at a single page of the Talmud is to understand this, with its main text at the center, its generations of rabbis arguing around the rim. The dialectic and critical reasoning are at its core.”

 

At the secular, Israeli secondary school I attended, not enough Talmud was taught, unfortunately. Still, the process of reasoning, called pilpul, captivated me; it’s marvelous—magic, really. The Talmud is calisthenics for the mind, for sure, but also sagacious.

 

Jay Homnick writes insightfully about the topic:

 

“In fact this analysis is not only demonstrably incorrect, its blind-man-and-the-elephant methodology doomed it from the start. Let's ask this: is it logical to say that the people who produced the world's greatest literary work in the 24 books of Scripture, the most powerful (and unprecedented) poetry in history in the Psalms and Song of Songs, and the most ingenious legal compilation, the Talmud, did not have these smarts? That by the merest coincidence their offspring fell into an ironic social anomaly two millennia later and only then achieved a belated smartening?”

 

He follows up with equal bite in an e-mail exchange:

 

“As for that rubbish about Jews suddenly getting smart because they had to suddenly figure out that 8 percent of a hundred dollars was 8 dollars, while in the old days they could just farm without having to figure out their overhead and the necessary profit margin to make it profitable, how crass is that?!”

 

True, “Jews make up a mere 0.25 percent of the world’s population and a mere 3 percent of the United States’, [yet] they account … for 27 percent of all American Nobel Prize winners, 25 percent of all ACM Turing Award winners for computer science, and 50 percent of the globe’s chess champions.” But if this Jewish menace upsets you, take comfort in the knowledge that there are plenty of stupid Jews to go around.

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, October 20, 2005 (Link)

 

Letters to Barely a Blog in response to Plamegate: A Storm in a Cesspool, Miers, and Justice for All:

 

From: Ben Knobel

Sent: Sunday, October 16, 2005 7:19 AM

Subject: Blame Ilana [I woke up today to two bits of poetry. My thanks to Ben and Dan.—ILANA]

 

                                                                                                                  

Ilana, Ilana

I can't rhyme your name

I'll just call you

Jefferson or Paine

Rejecting the call for us to kill

This poem was born

From the spirit you instill.

 

PS: I have written you a few times but not for a while. I just thought you should take some blame for its production. Thanks again for the work that you do.

 

—Ben Knobel

    Conrad, MT

 

From: Daniel Doron

Sent: Sunday, October 16, 2005 4:13 AM

Subject: Plamegate

 

"The web of our life

  is of a mixed yarn

  ill and good woven together".

 

                                               Shakespeare

 

This is also true for politics, Ilana

 

—Daniel

 

From: Bob McGovern 

Sent: Sunday, October 16, 2005

Subject: Plame-sational!

 

Ilana,

 

I'm frankly flummoxed by the fanfare in the Plamegate penumbra. IF and WHEN Actual charges are proffered, I'll be more than cranky regarding the disclosure or compromise of any Actual covert operatives, but thus far, the only evidence of anyone wishing to conceal anything has been on the part of Judith Miller, (who seems to want to shield a source which released her a year before her contrived martyrdom). 

The sincerity and genuineness of the reclusive Plame-Winston team, (clandestinely slipping about Alexandria in discreet Jaguars, known only to anyone with a copy of last years Who's Who before looming onto the covers of non-descript magazine covers), notwithstanding, the case seems to come down to intent. Did Rove, Libby, Miller, Novak, or any of the other non-Covert C.I.A. insiders intentionally and willfully expose Ms. Plame, with the knowledge that she was supposed to be under cover, (the law requires this intent - not that that protects any operatives from being accidentally revealed)? Was this a hostile retribution for the report issued by Joe Wilson? Or are the shy-and-retiring victims of this media outburst, (when not in the solace of monastic flag-pole-sitting or seeking anonymity on the talk-show circuit), really victims at all.

Putting aside how her qualifications for deep-cover work might be compromised by her stunning appearance, (a hold-over from the Tenent-era Agency? -Guess Charo was fairly busy during those years), I wish her safety and security, as well as those operatives seen with her. Clearly this screen-door security for our nations Intel Operatives needs work too.

 

—Bob McGovern

    Atlanta, GA

 

From: Zavisca, Frank

Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2005 7:16 AM

Subject: The Bushies' New Judicial Pick

 

Ilana:

 

I am totally amused how conservative "pundits" have become "legal scholars." One criticism of Miers is her lack of judicial experience and "deep thinking about the Constitution." Miers' inexperience may actually be a virtue [so now conservatives have become populists. How sad—ILANA]. If an amateur like myself can see the plain English of the Constitution without seeing the "hidden meanings," perhaps Miers can do the same. And I just LOVE the distress of liberals at being concerned about "She doesn't have a track record" - I just can't get enough of this distress.

 

—Frank G. Zavisca, M.D., Ph.D.

 

From: Larry Wood

Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2005

Subject: The Bushies' New Judicial Pick

 

I think you are correct in your assessment. In the instance of the Miers nomination, the issue is not so much a matter of judicial qualifications or ideological considerations as it is a question of whether or not this President knows the candidate. The greatest failures are the failure to challenge the liberals by presenting a qualified, demonstrated constitutional constructionist. This failure is an act of unmitigated cowardice on the part of the President and the Republican Congressional majority. 

 

    Best regards,

—Larry Wood, Gen. Mgr.

 

From: Stephen Browne

Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2005

Subject: Justice for All

 

"Answer: Libertarians (I prefer “classical liberal”) haven’t a hope in hell of being taken seriously if they can’t distinguish reality from utopia; what is from what ought to be."

 

Bravo! Living in the post-communist part of the world drastically changed my reading patterns, from modern libertarian polemicists to classical writings of men who actually had something to do with the founding and maintaining of free states: Jefferson, Madison, Burke, etc. Don't tell me how it should work, could work or would work, tell me how it works dammit!

 

"Out of chaos, freedom will flower, as Americans face government’s failure and choose self-reliance."

 

Would be nice. An answer was suggested to me once upon a time when I worked in a mental institution. I was told to simultaneously 1) not argue with the patients and 2) not to humor their delusions. [How wonderfully apropos.—ILANA]

"Disorder is the least tolerable of social states" (Barbara Tuchman). Experience suggests that people prefer tyranny to chaos.

 

—Stephen W Browne

    Norman, Oklahoma

 

—Compiled by Ilana Mercer, October 16, 2005 (Link)

 

PLAMEGATE: A STORM IN A CESSPOOL

 

Writes Dave Lester:

 

“Hi Ilana, I am a bit surprised you have said nothing about the Valerie-Plame situation. I have found myself more and more irritated by the way the talking heads treat this as a sort of inside-the-Beltway joke with everyone betting on what will happen if Karl Rove is outed. [When do they ever address principle? This aspect of the talking twits’ thinking I addressed here, here, and in so many other essays.—ILANA] So little is said about the impact on those who work undercover in foreign countries—of their identities becoming a political football. As someone who spent a little time undercover 40 years ago in Europe with the Army, I can tell you that your sanity hangs on the notion that those in your chain of command regard your identity as essentially sacred. If those sent on such missions cannot have absolute confidence in those who sent them keeping the faith, there is no possibility that people will volunteer. I, for one, think that whoever okayed the release of this information should spend 20 years in the nastiest prison we have with much of it in solitary. Let them find out what it means to feel you have been utterly cut loose and deserted by those you trusted.”

 

I did mention the affair, but only in passing: I celebrated the incarceration of Mrs. Judith Chalabi. But Dave is generally correct: this storm-in-a-cesspool doesn’t much interest me—and I suspect I speak for most classical liberals-cum-libertarians. To understand why, consider a fictitious, but true-to-life, criminal gang. To settle scores, its assassins regularly kill people. In one anomalous instance, these crooks confine themselves to merely kneecapping their victims. That’s how libertarians view Karl Rovegate in the grand scheme of government corruption: breaking the bones of a single foot soldier hardly stacks up against the War, Katrina, deficit spending, and so on. If anything, had this scandal been the government’s worst offense, libertarians would rejoice. Instead of killing, stealing, and counterfeiting currency, it has only outed one undercover agent.  What  restraint!

Libertarians are astounded when, irrespective of its unfailing treachery over the years, Americans continue to bawl about their government’s betrayals. Most of what government does is either unconstitutional, immoral, illegal, or all of the above. In this respect, Demopublicans, Republocrats; they’re interchangeable, although the current band of brigands has set a new Gold Standard for criminality and corruption. The Founding Fathers were classical liberals too. Their thinking was animated by the same understanding of the evils of unlimited power, which is why they sought to limit and delimit it. By all means, if he’s guilty, incarcerate Rove, but how about chocking these (and future) chickens for once and for all by going to the source, and repealing the 16th Amendment? Such a course of action would spell the difference between temporary and long-term solutions to government corruption.

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, October 15, 2005 (Link)

 

WORDLESS ABOUT THE WAR

 

I attempted to explain to conservative Australian writer, Rob Stove, why, after chronicling the invasion and occupation of Iraq, I’d fallen silent:

When my daughter was seven-years old, her school assigned her the task of describing her parents. On her father, daddy’s darling heaped unrealistic praise (the tables have since turned. Excellent!). For her affection-starved mother, the little lady reserved a matter-of-fact appraisal. “My mother,” she wrote in her girly cursive, “is a quiet woman who speaks mainly when she has something to say.” (Rob’s riposte: “if everyone rationed speech thus, the entire mainstream punditocracy would cease to exist.” Amen.)

Pinpointed by my perceptive chatterbox of a child, this economy explains the lack of gush on Barely a Blog (soon to receive real-blog formatting). And it explains why I’ve not written much lately about “Mess-opotamia.” I’ve nothing new to say. Few have. This is not to say there’s no place for repetition. But it’s not my place. I’ve said what I have to say, starting in September 2002. And here and here.

Fine, I’ll elaborate on a fresh observation Lawrence Auster originated: Bush and his devotees showcase their underlying hate of America by continually comparing the carnage in Iraq to the constitutional cramps of early America. As The Wall Street Journal put it, “There were a few glitches 200 years ago in Philadelphia too.”

Yes, the hoots, hollers, and blasts emanating from members of Iraq’s tribal troika capture to a tee the tone of the debates in, what’s that document called? The Fedayeen Papers?

Jalal (Talabani), Muqtada (al-Sadr), and Muhammad (Bahr al-Ulum) are just like James (Madison), John (Jay), and Alexander (Hamilton). Why didn’t it occur to me? Only a fool would fail to trace the philosophical link between the warring Mohammedans and the followers of John Locke and Baron de Montesquieu. Mr. Auster is right: what a hateful comparison.

The war is even more hateful. And everything that needs to be said about it has been said—to no avail. Words have failed to bring us closer to a moral reckoning. So watch Do You Ever Wonder What 2000 Looks Like—and weep (link courtesy of antiwar.com).

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, October 12, 2005 (Link)

 

A must read today in The Walls Street Journal is Cronyism: Alexander Hamilton wouldn't approve of Justice Harriet Miers by Randy Barnett. Smart-alecky comments about Hamilton being a centralizer are not germane to Randy’s argument, of course. I’m only preempting the perennial libertarian red-herring harangues. 

 

—Update by Ilana Mercer, October 4, 2005 (Link)

 

THE BUSHIES’ NEW JUDICIAL PICK

 

Bush’s new Supreme Court nomination may turn out to be the cathartic event to push his loyalists over the edge. Yes, some still imagine Bush is a conservative rather than a radical, faithless to tradition, constitutional or other. After taking a handbagging from Laura Bush, the president appointed Harriet E. Miers to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The woman is a veteran administrator, and the president’s personal lawyer and confidante (cronyism? You don’t say!) As ominous: Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid is also hot for Harriet. To say she hasn't a discernable judicial philosophy is an understatement. But why would Bush care whether she can tell Blackstone from Bentham when he can’t? The president simply wants to ensure his appointees vote as he expects them to. Left-liberals, like Catharine Crier of Court TV, believe a judicial activist is someone who reverses precedent. George Bush thinks a judicial activist is someone who disobeys the President.

P.S. Striking down unconstitutional laws is not judicial activism. Judicial activism means 1) minting new rights not in the Constitution 2) striking down laws to comport with these freshly minted unconstitutional rights.

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, October 3, 2005 (Link)

 

BENNETT, DOWD, AND THE DAMES FROM YALE

 

The good news first. Following “careful” capitalistic considerations, The New York Times has curtailed accessibility to its mundane columnists. If you want to read Maureen Dowd, you must sign up and pay. Yippee. About this woman’s simpering, cutesy prose the potent (Camille) Paglia said this: “Maureen Dowd—that catty, third-rate, wannabe sorority queen. She's such an empty vessel. One pleasure of reading The New York Times online is that I never have to see anything written by Maureen Dowd! I ignore her hypertext like spam for penis extenders.” Now even if Paglia happens to click on the Dowd hypertext, it goes nowhere, unless one is willing to pay for the flaccid fluff.

Speaking of the best of distaff America, the newspaper of record reported  that

 

“Many women at the nation's most elite colleges say they have already decided that they will put aside their careers in favor of raising children. Though some of these students are not planning to have children and some hope to have a family and work full time, many others … say they will happily play a traditional female role, with motherhood their main commitment.”

 

Girls at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton interviewed for the piece said they expected to enjoy perhaps a 10-year career, and then quit to tend their tots. Some would go back to work part time only; others not at all. The data’s reliability has been questioned, although the emerging trend is supported by “several surveys of Yale alumni and Harvard Business School graduates,” which show “the majority of women were not employed full-time 10 to 20 years after graduation.”

Parroting the individualist-feminist bromidic line, Cathy Young begs us not to ask women “to sacrifice their personal aspirations to a feminist vision of parity.” That would be “a peculiar kind of liberation.” Young pumps out banalities, but fails to get to the crux: As talented as these women are, for every one accepted into the Ivy League, an equally—or better—qualified man is rejected. That’s the way equal-opportunity admissions operate. The rejected men need the education because they’ll be working a lifetime to support women who can choose not to. Ever wonder why doctors are in short supply? Half the students admitted to medical schools are women. When kids come along, women give up the practice. Thereafter, they resume work on a part-time—or on some other highly personalized—basis. This and not discrimination is why men are frequently paid more: they’re more likely to have maintained an uninterrupted continuum of employment. Naturally, the experts at Gender Studies blame society for this “aberrant” traditionalism. They say there haven’t been sufficient social changes to support the endless opportunities given to women.

“Society” is code for the pale patriarchy. That’s you, Bill Bennett. Poor Bill, he entered the lion’s den of demographics! Race baiters duly alighted on him for condemning utilitarian arguments for abortion. On his "Morning in America" radio program Bennett offered this reductio ad absurdum:

 

"If you wanted to reduce crime, you could—if that were your sole purpose—you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down.” That would be an impossibly ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.

 

In response, the cultural cognoscenti hastened to label him a racist. Nobody was prepared to say why Bennett is a racist, though. Was it because he denounced as deplorable the idea of aborting black babies, or because his argument was premised on an unspoken truth about “the color of crime? Instead, those who monopolize discourse in this country quickly stipulated the terms of debate. “It’s about time we discuss race honestly” intoned the consensus keepers. But stick to the Three P's—patriarchy, poverty, and powerlessness. Crime can be discussed as long as it is framed in bogus root-causes terms. Thus even the intrepid Bay Buchanan backed down when Donna Brazile, her CNN boxing buddy, insisted that if blacks were not so horribly and eternally disenfranchised, they would not dominate the violent-crime franchise. (What will it take, pray tell, to get whites to excel in basketball and in the 100-meter dash?)

So far the barraged Bennett is holding up (Bush jumped into the ring too). One doesn’t, however, need to be a prophet to foresee a retraction in the offing. Spare yourself the burlesque and beef up your knowledge of the facts

 

—Written By Ilana Mercer, October 1, 2005 (Link)

 

Letters to Barely A Blog in response to The Everyman Interview  & Bennett, Dowd, And The Dames From Yale

 

From: Ray Greene

Sent: Sunday, October 02, 2005

Subject: Bennett, Dowd, And The Dames From Yale

 

Re: "Poor Bill [Bennett], he entered the lion's den of demographics! Race baiters duly alighted on him for condemning utilitarian arguments for abortion."

 

Bennett’s straightforward association of the black race and crime is hardly a utilitarian argument [his argument against abortion was anti-utilitarian—ILANA]. It's a racist one [as I said, mention the facts and you’re labeled a racist—ILANA]. Let's abort all the white people. They seem to be the main problem anyway. And they've had their innings, time to move aside for peoples with less blood on their collective hands. As ever, you right wingers are neglecting white-collar crime and criminals to a wide degree, who, by the way, are far less likely to be caught in the act than are two-bit street hoodlums under our current wild west system of unregulation [Commerce, I'm afraid, is regulated to the hilt. Here’s the real deal on Enron.—ILANA]

 

From: Dave Lester

Sent: Sunday, October 02, 2005

Subject: Bennett, Dowd, And The Dames From Yale

 

Hi Ilana, This commentary got me going. It ain't "Poor Bill," it’s, "Ego starved, have to have my monthly 15 minutes of fame, Bill."  He is an attention-starved, right-wing phony populist, who periodically inserts himself in the public eye by saying something almost irreducibly stupid, almost always with some sort of racial hook to hang it on. If ever the term "empty suit (actually hat)" applied, it is to "poor Bill." 

Maureen Dowd:  I see her as being to the Bush family as Rush Limbaugh is to Bill Clinton. Someone who just gets under their skin with ridicule and nastiness.  Never any real positive contribution just low concentration acid [good one that—ILANA].

Now to the Dames from Yale: Here I think you have it wrong. Lots of folks go to very good universities and wind up using their education only peripherally in ways associated with their majors. I don't think anyone can argue reasonably that having female physicians and lawyers has not resulted in better care and advice to women in this country. All of my female acquaintances with whom I have talked about these issues say that is the case.  The fact that there are mediocre practitioners among them is only a reflection of the fact that plenty of men and women get into college who are not prepared or suited intellectually or academically for higher education,

 

—Dave

 

From: Koray Erkan

Sent: Friday, September 30, 2005 5:57 AM

Subject: "Radical Ideas from A Fearless Culture Critic"

 

Dear Ilana

 

Your interview with the Everyman magazine contains a very laudable redeeming defense of Martha Stewart, probably convicted of the most B.S. crime in U.S. history. As another "every" man, I can only feel grateful for your clear stance against a corrosive ideology that has denied us, men and women, probably the most emotionally fulfilling aspect of our lives: the complementarity of the union of a man and a woman who thereby make each other feel even more man and woman.

The strength of every man and woman, regardless of time and place, is indexed to their capacity to represent and stand for Truth regardless of the price.

 

Thanks for being a fantastic role model.

 

Cheers

Koray

 

From: Dave Lester

Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2005

Subject: Everyman Interview

 

Hi Ilana, 

 

There have been great benefits from getting more women and minorities into the professions and teaching and law enforcement. Where things have gotten out of control are where quotas are an end to themselves such as at the nearly dysfunctional Post Office and many state and federal bureaucracies. In the private sector, I, as a one-time manager of Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity, got lots of doors broken down and made sure anyone who walked through them was equally qualified as the ones who had previously controlled all the jobs.  It was slow but the results more permanent in terms of opportunity, and productivity stayed high. 

 

Cheers,

Dave Lester

 

—Compiled by Ilana Mercer, October 2, 2005 (Link)

 

JUDGE ROBERTS: SMOOTH OPERATOR?

 

It’s hard not to warm to Judge John G. Roberts Jr. His poised and humble demeanor accentuates the lack thereof in Charles Schumer and Joe Biden. He doesn’t display the two Democrats’ detestable uppityness. He’s also easy on the eye. (So he pancaked his face a bit. That’s nothing compared to Botox Babe, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi). I like that he never gets defensive.

Ditto for what he had to say about the case of Kelo v. the City of New London. As if the public-use clause was not bad enough, The Court, as I understood it (perhaps I didn’t), affirmed the transfer of private property from one invariably reluctant owner to another eager and well-connected one. All for the Common Good. In no way can this decision be framed as deference to Connecticut’s sovereignty. This might have been the case had The Court declined to consider the case. Kelo, to all intents and purposes, has nationalized such unjust takings. In any event, Roberts retorted by reminding Congress of its duty to step in and uphold rights. Not bad.

I liked the way he responded to Republican Arlen Specter’s petulant demand that Congress be coddled. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee asked that Roberts not consider his method of reasoning superior to that of Congress. (From where did that come? Specter’s Inner Child? Maybe it’s an inside joke.) Roberts reverted masterfully to the Constitution, and spoke about “institutional competence,” as opposed intellectual competence (neither of which the Congressional clowns possess).

The overweening Biden was knocked out nicely. He ventured that Roberts owed the electorate more than he was giving up. Roberts reminded blowhard Joe that he was not standing for an election. Rather, if confirmed, he’d be going on the bench to adhere to a judicial process—an impartial one, not predicated on promises made to special interests.

When asked about free speech, he quoted jurist Louis Brandeis’ “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” Again, good move.

But, here's the thing that unsettles: Roberts seems to be all about the moves. Is that good?

Some Senator, whose name I can’t recall, posed The Mother of All Questions (in my decidedly unmainstream opinion). This good fellow asked Roberts whether the Administrative State under which we strain comports with the Constitution and the Founders’ vision. The Managerial State—its endless rules and regulations—whence does it derive its legitimacy? It wasn’t that Roberts was flummoxed by this First-Principles quandary; it just seemed alien to him. It swooshed right by. He answered what was a philosophical question with a legalistic ramble about administrative law. I find it hard to believe such a gifted man would misconstrue so simple a question. So I worry.

William Rehnquist did not believe the procedures governing bureaucracy-stiffened administrative agencies encapsulated the Constitution’s original scheme. In a superb (and stylish) piece in The Wall Street Journal, Randy Barnett elaborated on the late Chief Justice’s “New Federalism.” Case by case Rehnquist had begun to resurrect the eternal verities of limited and delegated federal power and States’ Rights. Lo and behold: in attempting, piecemeal, to revive the notion of a constitutionally limited government, Rehnquist even deferred increasingly to the 10th Amendment, which has been mocked out of meaning. He also did a great deal to reverse "interstate commerce" judicial abominations.

As affable as he is, Roberts, regrettably, is no Janice Rogers Brown. Their devotion (and dotage) prevents President Bush’s lickspittles from realizing that he too considers Rogers Brown “outside the mainstream,” to use the Democrats' demotic line. Let's hope, at the very least, that Roberts is a Rehnquist.

 

—Written By Ilana Mercer, September 15, 2005 (Link)

 

Letters to Barely a Blog in response to Justice for All!, Chronicle of Jewish Community Omits Capitalism, and Gaza Goes to the Dogs (of War):

 

From: Robert Bidinotto

Sent: Tuesday, September 13, 2005 11:50 AM

Subject: Justice for All!

 

Hi Ilana,

 

I saw your column on New Orleans, and wanted to thank you for quoting me on the difference between retribution and revenge.

Of course, a truly proportionate response to the politicians who destroyed New Orleans would be so draconian that Amnesty International would launch a protest.

 

Keep zingin' 'em.

 

—Robert

 

From: STEPHEN MAYFIELD 

Sent: Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Subject: Justice for All!  

 

Excellently spelled out for even the dumbest among us.

Interesting that Ray Nagid has relocated his family to Texas, bought a house, and has enrolled a daughter in school? Nah . . .he needs a dry place to sort out his Caribbean bank accounts.

 

—STEPHEN

 

From: STEPHEN BLOCK JR.

Sent: Monday, September 12, 2005 2:24 PM

Subject: Chronicle of Jewish Community Omits Capitalism [The review Appeared in London's Jewish Chronicle, September 9, where it was ingeniously entitled, “Stars and Stripes of David."]      

 

Ilana: I doubt if anyone really wants to mention Judah Benjamin's role in attempting to keep the CSA afloat during what many down here call 'The Southern War For Independence." [Diner is a Leftist, so she would not have had that dilemma. She also happens to be a historian, so it was incumbent on her to mention Benjamin—ILANA] That is similar to the role the Hessian mercenaries played during the Revolution. We would prefer to mention the fact that the German immigrants were our largest ethnic group and despite Ben Franklin's phobia against them did give us Ike, Nimitz, Eichelberger and not to mention their Jewish component which gave us their talent, and as author Stephen Birmingham notes, "Created American philanthropy."

 

—STEPHEN BLOCK JR

 

From: E.D. Litvak

Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2005

Subject: Gaza Goes to the Dogs (of War)

 

Dear Ms. Mercer,

 

The recent evacuation of Jews from the Gaza Strip will most certainly lead to peace.  A piece of the Golan Heights, a piece of the West Bank, a piece of Jerusalem--the good old salami tactics.

But since it will usher in a period of perfect peace and harmony throughout the Middle East, why not use it as a template to right the wrongs of other people who lost grounds in lost wars?

There is India for a starter, how about letting Pakistan have Kashmir whose people, mostly Muslim, voted overwhelmingly to go with Pakistan in 1947 and but grabbed by Jawaharial Nehru and the democratic rights of Kashmiries be damned when the British lion run away with its tail between its legs at partition time. 

How about the Russian Federation allowing the Germans disposed in 1945 to return to the Kalingrad Oblast at the same time restoring its name to East Prussia and its capital, Kalingrad, to its ancient name, Koenigsberg?

Let’s ask Poland to rename Gdansk back to Danzig?

Dare we ask the People’s Republic of China to evacuate Tibet?

Any chance Italy will return its Tyrolean loot gained in 1919 at Versailles and return it to Austria?

How will Japan react should we demand that they restore the Kingdom of the Ryukyus (a.k.a. Okinawa)?

In Australia and New Zealand let all people of European descent vacate those islands and return them to the Aboriginals and Maoris respectively.

And there is the good old U.S. of A.  How about returning Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and California to Mexico (though the Mexicans are doing quite a good job reclaiming them) and restoring the Independence of the Kingdom of Hawaii?

There are dozens of others I could enumerate but these should suffice.

 

Are the Jews the only people on this planet who are required to relinquish territories won fair and square in battles?

 

In good faith,

 

—E. David Litvak

 

—Compiled by Ilana Mercer, September 13, 2005 (Link)

 

About Classical Liberalism and State Schemes, Norman Singleton (aid to Congressman Ron Paul) writes this: "Ilana Mercer presents one of the best refutations of liberventionism I have read. Mercer demonstrates how support for global crusades for 'human rights' are fundamentally incompatible with a belief in small government, individual rights and a skepticism about state power. Particularly good is Mercer's argument that war is a giant redistribution program."(Thanks Mr. Singleton, and to Tom DiLorenzo, who sent this LewRockwell.com Blog link.)ILANA, September 7, 2005

 

TWIN DECEITS: DENYING SHAKESPEARE AND THE HOLOCAUST

 

Shakespeare too has been the victim of the assault on history and truth. Assorted conspiracy kooks identify “the seventeenth Earl of Oxford, a courtier poet with some twenty fairly conventional lyrics to his name,” as the real deal. Writes Brian Vickers, in the August 19 & 26 issue of the Times Literary Supplement: “There are several insuperable objections to Oxford’s candidature: he died with a dozen of Shakespeare’s sole and co-authored plays unwritten (or at least unperformed); the style of his poetic oeuvre is extremely limited and un-Shakespearean; he led a busy and wasteful aristocratic existence abroad and at home.”

The Oxfordians, says Vickers, have performed all manner of chicanery to get around these difficulties, including to re-date plays and to “invent a new chronology, improbably dating Shakespeare’s early comedies to the late 1570s, and postulating that Oxford left drafts of all the remaining plays for Shakespeare to touch up and pass off as his own, either completely hoaxing everyone connected with the Globe [one of the theatres the busy Shakespeare managed—he worked daily with a host of theatre people], or relying on their connivance.”

“The Oxfordian cause has been vigorously pursued, with perverse enthusiasm…Supporters may sustain themselves with a sense of cocking a snook at official culture, or exposing an evil conspiracy whose existence was unsuspected for 300 years. … But whatever the Oxfordians are producing, it is not scholarship."

Scott McCrea’s The Case for Shakespeare: The End of the Authorship Question is “the latest in an honorable line of books reaffirming Shakespeare’s authorship, of which the most notable are H. N. Gibson’s The Shakespeare Claimants (1962), Samuel Schoenbaum’s Shakespeare’s Lives (1970; revised edition, 1991), Irving Matus’s Shakespeare in Fact (1994) and Jonathan Bate’s The Genius of Shakespeare (1997)." McCrea’s book is said to be of a high scholarly standard.

“In his final chapter, ‘All conspiracy theories are alike,’ [McCrea] suggests that ‘denial of Shakespeare follows exactly the same flawed reasoning as Holocaust denial’ in that it rejects the most obvious explanation of an event, and reinterprets evidence to fit a preconceived idea (‘the ovens at Auschwitz baked bread’). [Curiously, when reporter Johann Hari went “Undercover with the Holocaust Deniers,” he ran into our Shakespeare denier.] Facts that contradict the theory are explained by conspiracy, but this ploy means that ‘conspiracy theories are really not theories at all,’ but faiths, which cannot be proved false. McCrea recognizes that, despite his subtitle, ‘there can never be an end to the Authorship Question,’ [ditto Holocaust denial], a depressing prospect. He maintains a good-humored tone, a pleasant contrast to many works in this field, but one can be too cool. As we survey the never-ending flow of anti-Shakespeare books it is hard not to share the bitterness of Georg Brandes, moved in part to write his William Shakespeare (1898) by the ‘ignorant and arrogant attack’ of the ‘wretched group of dilettanti’ who have ‘been bold enough . . . to deny William Shakespeare the right to his own life-work.’”

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, September 2, 2005 (Link)

 

Letters to Barely a Blog in response to Twin Deceits: Denying Shakespeare And The Holocaust:

 

From: Russell, Kevin (Ruby Hill)

Sent: Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Subject: Twin Deceits: Denying Shakespeare And The Holocaust 

 

Ms. Mercer:

 

I very much concur with the world view presented in your FMNN blogs and am writing simply to encourage you in future efforts. Your comments about the Islamo-fascists (and anti-Israel crowd) are the only ones on the site with complete truth and bite to them. That you're also writing about Shakespeare (and not Oxford) is wonderful. As an aside, I instinctively detest conspiracy theory and always reject any of it unless the preponderance of evidence supports a particular case. 

 

    Good on you,

    Regards

—K. Russell

 

From: Daniel Doron (free market writer, commentator, and author of an essay on The Merchant of Venice)

Sent: Saturday, September 03, 2005 8:15 AM

Subject: Twin Deceits: Denying Shakespeare And The Holocaust 

 

Dear Ilana,

 

Anyone with an ear for music and poetry can recognize a Shakespeare line even after a gulf of several centuries. So why bother with the dumb and deaf "critics" who deny his authorship?!

 

    Best,

—Daniel

 

—Compiled by Ilana Mercer, September 6, 2005 (Link)

 

A KATRINA QUESTION: WHERE HAVE ALL THE NATIONAL GUARDSMEN GONE?

 

I wonder whether we’d see a swifter emergency response and better rescue efforts in the wake of Katrina, “one of the most devastating storms ever to hit the United States,” if so many of the Army National Guard and Army Reservists were not in…Iraq. Just asking a question the cable-news nincompoops can’t (or won’t; but I think they honestly can’t… think, that is). Or if critical questions are eventually asked, it’ll be weeks or months hence.

The Army National Guard has brigade combat teams in Iraq from Idaho, Louisiana, Tennessee, Hawaii, Texas, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Illinois, Maryland, Puerto Rico, Missouri, Virginia, Mississippi—you name it. Recruitment is lagging by approximately 23 percent. In 2003, the National Guard spokesman said there were “presently about 30,500 National Guard troops stationed in Iraq and Kuwait—or about 18 percent of the total 166,000 US forces.” I’ve not been able to locate updated estimates. 

Recently, a spokesman for the 155th, of which 3,500 are Mississippi National Guard soldiers, waxed about the joys of dedicating his life (and American tax dollars) to Iraq (now that’s what I call patriotism): “We are helping establish the essential needs for all people in Iraq. Electricity, water…” blah blah. “We live in a world without borders, and a threat to freedom anywhere is a threat to freedom everywhere.” Hey, what do Americans have to do to get their army reservists to bat, not for Baghdad, but for the homies and the homeland? Climb on their rooftops and yelp for help?  

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, August 30, 2005  (Link)

 

Letters to Barely a Blog in response to A Katrina Question

 

From: Dave Lester

Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2005

Subject: A Katrina Question

 

Hi Ilana, 

 

The only way Bush will have a sense of urgency about anything but his next vacation or bike ride is to put the dipstick on one of those New Orleans overpasses or in the Superdome and make sure he gets no food, drink, or a clean toilet until the last refugee is on his or her way to relief. The turkey has the empathy of a banana slug. Three more years of this is insufferable. This guy and his crowd have turned this country into something I can hardly recognize sometimes. It won't be the end if we can change the majority in congress this midterm election and impeach the useless bastard. We need a serious house cleaning in this country and that includes a bunch of democratic sheep in Congress.  

 

—Dave Lester

 

From: Kathryn Hanes

Sent: Friday, September 02, 2005

Subject: A Katrina Question

                                                  

Hi Ilana,

 

New Orleans and a dozen other Gulf State counties are under water. FEMA is impotent. Bush flew over, kissed a few women, and played golf the next day. Meanwhile, scores of Americans have died in the most undignified and horrifying ways. The stench of Katrina will be around for a very long time, and the "shock and awe" rescue efforts that were expected from "our" government for “The People” were simply not there. I hope folks get a clue as to what is really important to the U.S. Regime. It is not us.

 

    Kindest Regards,

—Kathryn Hanes

    San Diego

 

From: J BILLY VERPLANCK 

Sent: Friday, September 02, 2005

Subject: A Katrina Question

 

Dear Miss Mercer:

 

Thank you for asking the question of, where are all the National Guards who are supposed to protect their homes, yours, and mine here in good "Ole US of A. But are in Iraq.  And your Gaza Goes to the Dogs (of War) is so prefect it refutes the whole rotten travesty.

 

Thank you for the truth and facts, laid out so that anyone can see and learn if they want to.

 

    In Liberty,

—Billy VerPlanck

 

—Compiled by Ilana Mercer, September 3, 2005 (Link)

 

UNEXAMINED LIVES

 

My in-laws have just departed after inflicting on us unimaginable horrors, the last of which necessitated a visit from a 911 emergency team (yes, it got that bad; they turned our home into a hospice). From them I learned what it means to lead unexamined lives. Despite it all, they retained an inordinate amount of compassion…for themselves. Thanks to all my epistolary friends who held my hand throughout the 8 weeks, especially to my mom, and to the gentleman who kept me smiling with lines like, “Even a dog wags his tail when someone serves him dinner” (as opposed to...)

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, August 25, 2005 (Link)

 

DEATH BY THE WEST 

 

The so-called occupied territories are really disputed territory, gained due to acts of aggression by the Arab states against Israel. There was no Palestinian State in 1967 when the territories were captured. What kind of morality is it, then, to return territory to the aggressor? And where's the precedent? It rewards aggression—and guarantees it’ll reoccur. If anything, by returning land to the aggressors—the Sinai first—Israel violated Nullum crimen sine poena, the imperative in international law to punish the aggressor. Writer William Anderson pointed out to me that had the Arabs seized parts of Israel in one of their many failed campaigns, there would be no calls to return the land. Come to think of it, before the brutal Muslim conquest, the land was Christian—Egypt, Libya, North Africa, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Asia Minor were Christian, not so? The West has reclaimed a small spot of sanity in a sea of savagery—Israel—where enlightened Western law prevails, and where Christians and Jews and their holy places are safe. (By the way, not once is Jerusalem mentioned in the Qur’an. Muslim fondness for Jerusalem is almost as recent, and certainly as innovative, as the discovery of Palestinian nationhood.) Yet, what is the West feverishly fighting for? The utter emasculation of Israel. The Bully Bush administration is now talking about Israel’s return to the 1949 “Armistice lines.” Amazing—and all the more so when such “thinking” is applauded by  paleoconservatives (and by many libertarians). Aren’t they forever decrying the Death of the West? Paleocons certainly stood firm behind the Christian side in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Chechnya, Cyprus, Sudan, East Timor and Kashmir. And so they ought to have: Muslims have wiped out entire Christian communities in these places, not that the strongmen in power or the talking twits on television have noticed. Yet you’ll often hear paleoconservatives condemn Condi R. and Genghis B. for leaning on, say, Vladimir Putin; but celebrate when they sunder Israel’s sovereignty. It is becoming apparent that to some, bringing about the end of Israel is well worth the deadly price of reviving and consolidating a caliphate. There’s a word for that (besides insanity).

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, August 23, 2005 (Link)

 

Letters to Barely-a-Blog in response to "Gaza Goes to the Dogs (of War)" (No harsh letters, yet):

 

From: Norman F. Birnberg

Sent: Friday, August 19, 2005 3:44 AM

Subject: Gaza Goes to the Dogs (of War)

 

Dear Ilana,

 

What we witnessed this week, would, if it had been carried out by any other country, been justifiably regarded as an anti-Semitic and racist act. The fact it was carried out by a Jewish army of a Jewish state doesn't render it any less morally odious. Making Jewish land Judenrein will never lead to peace. It will sow the seeds of the next war by emboldening Israel's enemies to conclude that if they step up their murder of Jews and destruction of Israel's infrastructure, they can win. The Islamofascist terrorists have never succeeded until now in destroying a single Jewish community within the Jewish homeland. Israel's government had to do that for them.

And if Israel's leaders thought their surrender to Arab terrorism would win them the world's plaudits, no sooner than Israel pulled out, did America's Secretary Of State demand Israel make more unilateral concessions. It’s not the Arabs that have to change their behavior, it’s Israel that has to prove its committed to peace. Never mind the fact that that under the Oslo paradigm Israel has offered to give up an enormous amount of land and the answer from the Arab side has always been the same: it’s never enough.

Nothing will satisfy the Arabs short of Israel's demise. Then again you and I know peace based on the notion Jews are not welcome among their neighbors is not a lasting one. Then again when it comes to Jews, the world will accept anything. The times haven't changed.

"There can be no peace without truth and no justice without wisdom."

  

—Norman F. Birnberg

 

From: Bruce Hendriks 

Sent: Friday, August 19, 2005

Subject: Gaza Goes to the Dogs (of War)

 

Ms. Mercer:

An outstanding piece of writing. After reading it, I thought of the parallels between what is happening in Gaza and what we are seeing in our own southwest. There we are hearing the strident demand of radical Hispanics, many of them illegal, that this land is really theirs and they will engage in whatever activity necessary to see it returned. This is accompanied by the demographic shift resulting from the Hispanic influx and the Anglo exit. If this trend continues, could we someday expect a Gaza like process in which those who then hold real power through legislative monopoly as well as force of arms will be making similar demands as the Palestinians? And those who disagree will have to leave.

 

Thanks,

—Bruce Hendriks 

 

From: Adina Kutnicki

Sent: Friday, August 19, 2005

Subject: Gaza Goes to the Dogs (of War)

 

Shalom Ilana,

 

This is one of the most lucid articles on the travesty being played out currently in Israel.

While Sharon tries to portray this violent and forcible retreat (surrender) as a "unilateral" withdrawal, and as a national priority to draw defensible borders, all the facts on the ground speak otherwise. His security forces are collaborating/cooperating every step of the way with their "PA counterparts" (Mofaz incredulously refers to the baby killer Dahlan as his "counterpart), AND Israel, according to Bush, has to ask the PA Arabs "permission" to hold onto their capital of Jerusalem. This is all happening while a mostly cheering world applauds the "tenacity" of the Arabs.

I must tell you that I personally feel doubly betrayed. As a Jewish American Republican, I voted and campaigned for Bush twice! In the blink of an eye, during his second term, he has unleashed Condi Rice as his surrogate pitbull. She has commanded the Israelis - even while their people were being terrorized by their own army! - to view this expulsion as Gaza first. Next up for grabs is Judea & Samaria, and then holy Jerusalem. No time to waste. (Hitler's Mufti must be grinning in his grave.) I should not be as shocked, nor as surprised as I am right now. John Loftus wrote all about the perfidy of the Western world in his stunning book, "The Secret War Againt The Jews". The main players were, and still are, the Arabist State Dept, the US Executive Branch, Europe, and of course the Arab failed states.

Bush is implementing with all due alacrity the "Saudi Plan", (and to think I mocked all those who said Bush is in the Saudis pockets. To them I say, "mea culpa") and Sharon, for a host of his own reasons, is handing Bush and the Arab terrorists this victory. He will go down in history as the Haman of his time!

 

Thanks for setting the record straight.

 

—Adina Kutnicki

 

From: Phineas Worthington

Sent: Friday, August 19, 2005 6:12 AM

Subject: Gaza Goes to the Dogs (of War)

 

Ilana,

Great article on the Gaza tragedy. I keep hearing from the news and my Jewish friends and relatives that this is a decision that was made democratically, as if democracy were the moral imperative of government, not the legal protection of individual rights [An excellent point. Author Tom DiLorenzo wrote to say this: “I felt like reaching out to the TV and strangling Barak when he boasted that, because Israel is a "democracy," its government had the "right" to impose "its will" in whatever way it wants. Israeli "eminent domain" on display was a very ugly sight this week”—ILANA ]. The U.S., I am sure, is putting huge pressure on Sharon since it is the American taxpayers who will foot a big portion of the bill to force the settlers out of Gaza. It is also the American taxpayers who have funded and armed the PA directly and indirectly through the detestable U.N. [note how the habitual Israel loathers complain about the former but never the latter. And note how they condemn Condi R. and Genghis B. for leaning on, say, Vladimir Putin, but celebrate when they sunder Israeli sovereignty. The anti-Israel libertarians lack any philosophical consistency.—ILANA] Here we are again arming and funding both sides of another dispute.

I predict that Israel will be plunged into domestic unrest. The terrorists and the governments that support them will go on the offensive as they have said they would. At some point there will be a massive reaction by Israel, like when they invaded Lebanon to eradicate the PLO. Like Lebanon, the U.S. will intervene with troops, saving the terrorists. The poison of anti-Semitism that permeates the universities will spread into the general population. The hysterical anti-Israelites’ claim that Israel determines our foreign policy will be hard to refute when our troops are defending the borders of Israel, or worse, Palestine.

Obviously, if it came to a global democratic vote, Israel would surely be sacrificed for the promise of peace, though that promise has never been kept before by the fanatical Muslims and their supporters in numerous Arab and western governments. Too often, democracy is when voters, their representatives, and their government can violate individual rights, by law. Still, no one dares to even question the moral imperative of democracy, and identify the proper object governments are instituted to protect: individual rights.

What will Bush and Condi say to the budding Arab democracies when fanatical Muslims decide to exterminate the Christians in all the spots [they are already being exterminated, the dhimmi media have just stayed mum.—ILANA], Jews, and Israel by majority vote, "The people have spoken?"

 

Nice work Ilana.  I always enjoy your solid logic and consistent principles.

 

Regards,

—Phineas Worthington

 

From: Judith Keck

Sent: Friday, August 19, 2005

Subject: Gaza Goes to the Dogs (of War)

 

Dear Ms Mercer, 

 

Fantastic piece, and I appreciate your detailed comprehensive explanations and links. I still would like to know Sharon's true motive for his insisting on the expulsion of the Jews from their homes, and livelihoods, plus the agricultural and economic benefits for the whole country, etc. I suspect that the pressure from Israel's only Ally had a lot to do with it. At any rate;  I am furious with the Bully Bush Administration for pushing  this counter productive insanity. Of course, the Participant who made all the concessions, got nothing but grief. No wonder the Palestinians have been so enthusiastically celebrating, and are already saying, "That wasn't enough, we want more." As clueless as they seem to be, Bush & Co couldn't be so stupid as not to realize that the Gaza pullout will facilitate a new Terrorist Haven. (Are some of our US millions helping to finance that?) Another question is: can Hamas, etc hold off on most of their terrorism long enough to get the West Bank handed to them on a silver platter real soon? Then there will be Big trouble. I no longer trust the naive, pandering, globalist Bush Administration, anyway.   

 

Thank you.

—Judy Keck 

 

—Compiled by Ilana Mercer, August 2, 2005 (Link)

 

ON HOUSEGUESTS, HOLIDAYS, AND HOMOSEXUAL RIGHTS

 

My house guests have left for a precious week. At long last some respite. So far The Occupation has lasted six weeks. Another three to go. The first order of the day was to scrub down the house. Olfactory restoration was followed by auditory revival: music is the best antidote to the aftereffects of non-stop carping. And who better than Brahms—the maestro’s Sextets, in particular? So on went the Sextets, and out gushed the tears. Perfection makes me cry, and String Sextet No. 1 in B Flat op 18 is achingly sublime. I’m now almost as good as new, ready with a few updates:

First up: the presenters of Connected Coast to Coast have a message for overworked Americans battling to keep their professional edge in the age of inflation, taxation, never-ending government deficits and wars, and the threat of outsourcing: Don’t Worry, Be Happy. Befitting the season, the convivial—and deeply connected—pundits urged Americans to follow the Commander-in-Chief’s lead and go on holiday—lots of them. Contra the CIC, Americans on average take only 12 vacation days, admonished our TV personalities. Don’t you know that it takes a toll on your health?

One of Connected’s hosts is Ronald Reagan’s son, no less. A liberal, Ron Reagan’s sense of the working world is as sound as his grasp of free market economics. The other presenter is a woman who has always worshipped at the GOP altar, devotion which tends to be very well-rewarded. The commentariat, of course, is a mirror image of the political class, reflecting and reinforcing the opinions—and the reality—of the elites. More often than not, the chattering classes are as privileged—and protected—as their masters.

No wonder, then, that the hosts of Connected Coast to Coast can jest about what compulsive workers Americans are. For your information Monica and Ron, most corporations give their workers ten working days off a year! Americans take so few days off because they get so few days off. If they took more, they’d probably be fired. The market place is competitive. While conformity (“team player” is the private-sector synonym) is as prized, say, in high-tech companies as it is among the punditocracy, ultimately, staying ahead of the game boils down to being capable of producing the goods. Politicians, however, create their own employment conditions, from job description down to the exorbitant pay they extract from taxpayers. The media talking heads are props to the politicos. As long as they play to the “Demopublican Monopolists,” and sustain the respective parties’ constituencies, media “mavens” will retain their perches, their pensions, and their sizeable salaries. Connected? Disconnected is more like it.

Next: Did Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr help the “gay-rights” movement win its most important legal victory? The case was “Romer vs. Evans,” and it “struck down a voter-approved 1992 Colorado initiative that would have allowed employers and landlords to exclude gays from jobs and housing.” That’s The Los Angles Times’ take on a state law that denied special rights and protections to homosexuals. To be fair, Roberts was, at the time, in private practice. He’d have had a hard time refusing his employers. Yes, he offered his services pro bono, but the firm, Hogan & Hartson, expected “partners to volunteer time in community service.” Gay activists consider the decision Roberts helped them win the “single most important positive ruling in the history of the gay rights movement.” Libertarians should consider it in the tradition of 14th-Amendment jurisprudence—a violation of private property and freedom of association and of Coloradans and their constitution. I suspect Roberts would dissent.

 

Written by Ilana Mercer, August 8, 2005 (Link)

 

Many thanks to Dr. Daniel Pipes. He has posted More Fatwa Fibs on his exceedingly popular and highly regarded website, DanielPipes.org.—ILANA

 

Letters to Barely-a-Blog in response to More Fatwa Fibs [Views expressed by readers are not necessarily shared or endorsed by IlanaMercer.com]:

 

From: R. Steinberg

Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2005 8:21 AM

Subject: More Fatwa Fibs (FrontPageMagazine, Aug. 9)

 

Thank you for your clear and cogent analysis showing the hollowness of the recent fatwa issued by Taqiyya-practicing Muslims resident in America. You have made a significant contribution here - people in the West, I know you will agree - need to be made aware of the core beliefs of Islam. Is our government aware of these core beliefs? I wonder. Bless you.

 

—R. Steinberg

 

From: Jamal

Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 12:50 AM

Subject: More Fatwa Fibs [Thanks Jamal for demonstrating how we should interact: with calm and kindness—ILANA]

 

Dear Ilana,

 

I've known about you through your web site—about your work, achievements. I've read a lot of your articles and I'm really impressed with your talent and dedication to your work. What I really don't appreciate are your comments about Islam. All terrorist attacks were condemned by Muslim world [really?—ILANA].

With regards to your article "More fatwa Fibs": We know that you don’t accept explanations or denunciations from the Muslim side. We should talk and have a dialog with an open mind and honesty toward each other. I know you are very intellectual person who will accept reality, once it’s revealed. So, I wish and pray that one of these days you will be one of those who embrace Islam. After September 11 there were lots of non-Muslims who came to be aware of Islam. People read a lot of articles against Islam and they became curious to know what Islam is, what a Muslim is (NOT THE ACTIONS OF OTHER MUSLIMS). With their open mind and honesty, they embraced Islam without hesitation. And they have found IT totally changed their life.

Insha Allah; time will come, and you will do the same. I will read your article writing about Muslims and Islam. Please read the English translation of the Qur'an with open mind and honesty [I think I read the ayah quoted in More Fatwa Fibs most charitably. I stated only the undeniably obvious—ILANA] .

 

Keep up the good work and may Allah enlighten your ways toward Islam.

 

Very truly yours,

 

—Jamal Umpat

Philippines    

 

From: victor gardy

Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 1:16 PM

Subject: non-chronological Quran

 

Your article highlights the non-chronological order of the Quran. Mohammed's early teachings were essentially taken from Hebrew and Christian scriptures. Then, after failing to convert the Jews and Christians he began inserting violence into his previous words, thus explaining the erratic nature of his teachings.

 

Victor 

 

From: Dan Harder

Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 8:45 AM

Subject: More Fatwa Fibs

 

My intent is not to diminish your point of view. But the word "fib", by definition: "a lie about some trivial matter," should be replaced with the word "lie," by definition: "an untrue statement made with intent to deceive". I am sure you will agree this is no trivial matter. This is not a question of semantics. The devil is the father of lies (a great deceiver)

 

—Dan

 

From: JMP

Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 9:06 AM

Subject: More Fatwa Fibs

 

Isn't it nice to know we have such a concerned government? They couldn't get any lower on the knees in deference to these groups! The first Bush, the Clintons, and this President along with 6 judges, the entire press, and the congress need to be hung all at the same time.

 

—JMP

 

From: Zecco, Ralph E

Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Subject: Mean or Moral?

 

I wonder how Muslims would feel if there was a chance that a bomber would walk into their mosque and explode in the middle of one of their get-togethers [the insurgents are doing just that to their coreligionists in Iraq—ILANA]? I sometimes wonder if the people who support terrorists, whether by words—defending their actions—or through money, housing, or in any way, would consider their own possible death to be negligible?  I do mean their death in the sense that a person walks up to them and commits murder like they do in the Middle East to people who help Israel track down terrorists.

 

I guess I'm just a mean person.  I do know that Israel has a right to exist [not everyone agrees, apparently—ILANA].

 

—Ralph.

 

—Compiled by Ilana Mercer, August 2, 2005 (Link)

 

NEOCON TALES OF THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

 

Curiously, those who advocate aggressive and futile wars against Muslims are equally devoted to promoting the Religion-of-Peace pie-in-the-sky, and the attendant misconceptions about Islam. Yes, neoconservatives, led by the Bush/Blair pair, have managed to anesthetize their “subjects” to a faith that defies sanitation. As you know, neoconservatives implicate “Radical Islam” in our woes, by which they mean a splinter of Islam. Indeed, an estimated 100 to 300 million Muslims are active adherents of Islamism: small potatoes, right? Yet to listen to our globalists, you’d think that Jihadists are as alien to Islam as edelweiss is to the Kalahari.

Ad nauseam we hear it chanted that the Religion-of-Peace was doing what it does best—inspire serenity and prosperity—when suddenly, ex nihilo, radicals materialized and derailed it. Of course, this nonsensical incantation is both ahistorical and illiterate—it’s easily corrected with the aid of a good history book and a Quran.

The first will show that the sword has always been integral to Islam, and that conversion has invariably meant conquest and untold carnage. The second will prove that, to be fair to Islam’s alleged “hijackers,” they’ve done no more than act on the dictates of their faith. Bin Laden is an obedient Muslim. He has obeyed the Quran. “The Call to Jihad” instructs Muslims that, “When you meet those who disbelieve smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them.” “Holy war, which is demanded in Islamic law, is not defensive war as the Western students of Islam would like to tell us,” warns Serge Trifkovic, foreign affairs editor of the paleoconservative magazine Chronicles, and author of The Sword of the Prophet.

Islam, moreover, has changed little over 1,400 years. Unlike the Jewish (and no doubt Christian) holy texts which have been reinterpreted by the sages over the centuries, the Quran has not—its decrees are not debatable and are to be taken literally. Bin Laden may not be a perfect Muslim—he prefers bombing to beheading. But the times they have changed. Allowances must be made for technological advances and expediency.

A geopolitical blind spot tops the historical and textual deficiencies characteristic of the administration’s approach to terrorism—and Islam. Agree or disagree with it, an aggressive war, launched against a sovereign Muslim nation—Iraq—was bound to serve as a catalyst for Jihadists. But the policy pinheads who extol Islam refuse to factor American foreign policy into the terrorism equation. Supporters of Bush’s foreign policy would do well to remember that, even if they believe, as Bush expects them to, that war in Iraq and terrorism in America are mutually exclusive conditions, they must at least concede that the president’s domestic positions on immigration, border security, and the imperative to be “minimally observant” about America’s enemies (comedian Dennis Miller’s term for racial profiling), amount to a reckless indifference to the sovereignty and safety of Americans.

But as I’ve previously observed, “Inviting an invasion by foreigners and instigating one against them are two sides of the same neoconservative coin.”

 

 —Written by Ilana Mercer, July 26, 2005 (Link)

 

More letters:

 

From: Stephen Browne

Sent: Friday, July 29, 2005 5:28 AM

Subject: 'Islamikazes' in Our Midst

 

You wrote:

 

"Helping to make the “Islamikazes’” case are countless liberals and libertarians, as well as elements on the American Right. They lay the blame for the killers’ latest actions exclusively on American and British foreign policy: foreign forays begat the suicide bomber, case closed."

 

I've met many such, in Europe and now back here in the US. Attribution of motive is always speculative, but my impression is that this position is comforting to them because it means that the terrorists' attitude towards us lies within our control. Hey, the realization that someone hates you enough to kill you for reasons you can do nothing about is scary - ask anyone who's ever been stalked by a psycho.

 

You wrote:

 

"And there’s the rub: not that our cultural relativists would admit to it, but the concept of truth in Arab culture is extremely elastic."

 

You can say that again. My students in Saudi Arabia were like sweet little children who can smile at you with beguiling innocence and tell the biggest whoppers you could imagine. There was something almost sociopathic about it. Weirdly, it's matched by the most amazing ability to believe things of breathtaking absurdity. You'd think habitual liars would be more cynical about the pronouncements of others.

 

—Stephen W Browne

Norman, Oklahoma

 

Ilana:

 

One area where I can't see ANY logic in compromising is the institutional exclusion of Israelis in the new Iraqi constitution, and in the Palestinian State envisioned in the "Road Map" [Indeed: There are over 1 million Arabs in Israel proper; I don’t see Israelis expelling them.—ILANA]

 

So the USA spends billions in the enforcement of civil rights for Black Americans, and spends billions in the opposite direction supporting thuggocracies that exclude Jews. I guess some people are more equal than others.

 

Sincerely,

 

—Frank G. Zavisca, M.D., Ph.D.

 

Letters to Barely-a-Blog in response to 'Islamikazes' in Our Midst [Views expressed by readers are not necessarily shared or endorsed by IlanaMercer.com]:

 

Lili D. feels that truth is a Right/Left affair. She disputed the historical facts concerning the Medina-based Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayzah, which Muhammad accused of colluding with the Meccans. He had first offered to convert them, but when they refused, he opted for decapitation—900 in one day. The women were raped. Lili later replied with her version—the Left’s, I imagine—of the events: the Jews had betrayed Muhammad and hence deserved what they got.—ILANA

 

From: Lili D 

Sent: Thursday, July 21, 2005 10:02 PM

Subject: 'Islamikazes' in Our Midst

 

I started to read your article and then lost it after the beheading and rape accusation. I do believe in freedom of speech, but if you want to write an untruth, call it fiction. I understand WorldNetDaily is a far right deal, but if the far-right has to make stuff up, then obviously they have no validity [see my comment above—ILANA].

 

From: John McGuffin

Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Subject: Islamic truth [There is a great deal about The Other we cannot fathom. But rather than deal with the reality of evil and barbarism, too many people—and policy makers—pretend that what John says is untrue—it’s simply too alien to our rational minds, as is the fact that suicide killers believe they will wed—and bed—bodacious beauties in heaven—ILANA]

 

I read your column on 'Islamikazes'. I agree with the points you make. I worked/lived in Saudi Arabia for 10 years and learned some about Islamic ideas while there. In addition to your points, most of Islam considers Arabic as the only legitimate language, and as such, anything said or written in non-Arabic cannot be considered a lie. Only words spoken and written in Arabic are binding...and even then it is conditional.

 

Thanks for the informative column(s).

—John

 

From: Nitsana Lazerus

Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Subject: Shalom

 

Dear Ilana,

 

I read your article and was hoping many more people would read it. My husband (a news junkie) is the one who sent the link to me. You are very correct. So right. Why can't most of this world see what you see? My husband has been claiming this for years, talking to, arguing with, and emailing all sorts of people.... I do not believe anything fanatic is good. I do not like fanatic Jewish extremists, but I see how Islam is incendiary and dangerous. I also read an article in the New York Times today, July 19, by Alan Cowell: "Blair Meets With Muslim Leaders, Seeking Aid Against Extremism," and I wanted to respond to him by sending him your article. People in our world are blind to the truth. Unlike you, they find all kinds of reasons to believe how Islam is OK and that it is the action of others that makes it "bad". I asked my husband how could I send Mr. Cowell your article, but he answered that if I did, they would say that you are the extremist.

I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your analysis. I may print your article and share it with as many as I can.

One day, it will backfire on Europe [Bat Ye’or’s Eurabia documents Europe’s dhimitude—ILANA]. It has started, but they do not see it.

 

Sincerely,

—Nitsana Lazerus

 

From: Jeffrey J Fox

Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2005 2:27 AM

Subject: Islamikazes: a good piece of work

 

Good piece on the Islamikazes. Once you gain their trust, the true inherent nature of Islam comes out. More people should perhaps read the Quran and discover the truth.  Unfortunately, their "secret" seems safe from most. [Unlike the Jewish and Christian holy texts which have been reinterpreted over the centuries, the Quran has not—its instructions are not open to debate, not by the faithful. And the Quran demands that, “When you meet those who disbelieve smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them.”—ILANA]

 

From: Chris Mitchell

Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Subject: 'Islamikazes' in Our Midst

 

Ilana,

 

"Islamikazes" obliterates the center of the bull's eye. Great shot. The rest of us must hit the periphery. Wonderfully competent command of the English language.

 

Respectful Regards,

—Chris Mitchell

 

Next is Fred: a reader from WND and a patriot. Fred, however, is faithlessly forgetful<g>there is not much about me he remembers. For one, I’ve never been asked on ANY TV program, except for one PBS local show. I wear my ostracization as a badge of honor.—ILANA

 

From: Fred Cummins

Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Subject: 'Islamikazes' in Our Midst

 

Hi Ilana,

 

On target as always. It is sure nice to see your face again on WND. I, of course, go to your site pretty regularly, but find time is speeding up or I am really slowing down.

Americans, as we use to be thought of, are no more, or at least, we are in the minority. Those minutemen of various armed patriot groups are viewed as radicals. We are targeted by the FBI far more than the Arab. Were it left to us older Americans, we would again have Middle Eastern folks sent home. Right or wrong, it is better than watching them bring daily death to our streets.

 They will not stop—they must be stopped by brute force. No amount of debate will ever do a shred of good. Our Government is worthless and GW is a traitor for going global and allowing our borders to swing wide open. I live in Texas and we are quickly turning into an illegal Mexican state.

We have become a nation of sheeple and can not even feed ourselves without being told how. I hate what this country has become. We are finished as a nation until we find a backbone to defy the authorities. I have had the FBI with SWAT at my house for just having a web site (usanvil.com) and being vocal to my senators and congressman.

We have an army now that is becoming an amoral force.

I love your writing as always and still enjoy looking at your picture and imagining what you might be like in person. From what I have seen watching you on various TV shows I would hate to have to debate you. I would like to see you storming the fort over here. Coulter is running out of things to say and the other female writers are not making any waves. We need you to lay down the truth.

Take care of yourself and always know where the back door is. We are getting close to some more attacks by our wonderful Middle Eastern neighbors. All you have to do is go to the grocery and wall mart and when you don't see any ladies with burkas run like hell.

 

See ya,

—Fred Cummins

 

From: Beeli, Pieder

Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Subject: A fine journalist [Another dear reader holds up yours truly as an example to his beloved son. Humbling—and also the most gratifying praise. I know; I’m a parent—ILANA]

 

Dear Son,

 

Please read the article entitled, "'Islamikazes' in our midst". Characteristic of Mrs. Mercer, the article is well-argued in noting contradictions and hypocrisies and written with superb prose (accurate with traces of sarcasm where helpful) and character, as she takes the moral high ground.

You would do well to spend some time with her work and appreciate the excellence she exudes and contrast it with the work of other columnists.

Yes, writing is hard work and is the fruit of much linguistic preparation. Reading fine work provides the inspiration to take the mantle for yourself someday.

 

With love,

—Dad

 

From: Brad Johnson

Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Subject: Islamikazes

 

Dear Ilana,

 

Wow! Great article. A thought I just had while reading your work: First Europe, then America.  By the time our lawmakers (No, not the Supreme Court), figure out that the Muslim faith hates Judaism, Christianity, Secularism, Humanism—all other religions and philosophies, it will be too late. They will be intermingled with us, and able to systematically ruin our country through many different means [Again, Bat Ye’or’s Eurabia documents Europe’s descent into dhimitude. For Jews like me, this will mean a sure death.—ILANA]. They have high aspirations.  It may not happen in 20, 50, or even 100 yrs, but they believe it will happen, and they will not stop until their mission is accomplished.

 

Keep up the great work, Sister.

 

—Brad Johnson

Baptist pastor from Durham, NC.

 

From: Gilbert Berdine

Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Subject: 'Islamikazes' in Our Midst

 

Madam:

 

I am curious why you were absent from WND for a while. I missed your directness and wit. Whatever the reason, I am glad you have returned. I agree with your points that the West does not understand Islam and that misunderstanding prevents rational discussion of the problem.

I think that Islam and Christianity are headed for a great clash.  I have a friend and colleague who is a Muslim. He seems a decent fellow, but his reactions to many current events are different from mine. We talked about the possibility of a nuclear strike in American. He was outraged that Tom Tancredo threw out the possibility of retaliation against Mecca.  I asked him what should our response be, and he replied we should hunt down those responsible and kill them. Not wanting an argument, I didn't point out that was supposedly our policy now and it did not seem to be a deterrent.

[Injustice to innocents, however, cannot save us. Better to rigorously reacquaint ourselves with our values and heritage, including republicanism and limited government (as opposed empire). This will give us the guts to fight smartly. Solutions must encompass foreign policy changes, immigration, border control, culture—expunge the multicultural and cultural relativism creeds from schools, for instance.—ILANA.]

 

Best wishes,

 

—Gilbert Berdine

 

Written by Ilana Mercer, July 23, 2005 (Link)

 

THE TORAH AND THE TLS

 

Here’s a Letter-to-the-Editor of the British Times Literary Supplement. They wanted to publish itI knew they would; Britons like a pedant. But they want private information about me, which I'm unprepared to disclose. What is it about so many private organizations these days that they act like government? On making a purchase, salesclerks will routinely ask for one's address. Are they nuts? And most people comply. My husband takes cover whenever a salesperson dares to so pry.

 

Dear Editor,

 

In his review of Robert Alter’s The Five Books of Moses (TLS, June 24, 2005), John Barton praises the author’s translation of the Torah for “brilliantly imitating the Hebrew without sacrificing intelligibility.”

As someone who greatly admires the biblical narrator, I certainly agree that “welter and waste” does justice to “tohu vavohu” (Genesis 1:1), which Barton or the author transliterated to read “tohu wabohu”. Whence does that bowdlerization come? There’s no “wabohu” in Genesis 1:1—there’s no “wabohu” in the Hebrew language!

The first letter in vavohu is a “vav,” which is never a “w”, and here it’s pronounced “va.” The next Barton or Alter-bungled letter is an unpunctuated “Bet” (B), pronounced “v” too. Its enunciation here is “vo”. Hence, “vavohu”. I’m not sure how better to denote an unpunctuated “Bet” in English, but it’s certainly not a “b”.

So many scholarly writers, who profess to know Hebrew, habitually muck up the English transliteration of Hebrew words. Why?

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, July 18, 2005 (Link)

 

JUST DESERTS FOR JUDITH MILLER

 

At least one good thing has come of Karl Rovegate: Judith Miller is in jail. Yes, the Gray Lady’s prized reporter has been incarcerated, albeit for the wrong offense. She’s being held in criminal contempt for failing to cooperate in “the investigation of who may have unlawfully leaked the name of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame to the media.” But, as I said to talk-show host Robby Noel two weeks back, I’ll take justice when and where I can get it. Ahmad Chalabi and the White House fed the voracious birdbrain with misinformation and lies about WMD. And in response (presumably), Miller shilled for the Iraq war like there was no tomorrow. No tale was too tall for her and no fabrication too fantastic. Clearly, she’s in the business of cultivating sources—a conduit for government propaganda, not for the truth, whose reporting about the dangers Iraq posed to America had the veracity of Sheherazade's Tales of the Arabian Nights. Maybe justice does, on occasion, work in mysterious ways. In any event, I’m not the least bit sorry that Miller, the sycophantic face of American journalism, is being punished... for something.

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, July 17, 2005 (Link)

 

COMING SOON

 

I’ve been preoccupied with guests (I’ve never before fully appreciated the extent to which writing depends on peace of mind). In any case, an essay on the “Islamikazes” and their latest atrocities in London ought to be up shortly. The reader will be spared the perennial libertarian exculpations. Stay tunedILANA (July 16, 2005)

 

REMEMBERING “MAD DOG” SNEDDON’S MENTOR: JANET RENO

 

Without the defense his money afforded (Thomas Mesereau Jr.), Jackson would've probably been imprisoned for 18 years! In all likelihood, he’d have perished in the pokey. People with modest means could not have mustered the resources to win. Think back to the day care child sex abuse witch hunt that gripped the nation in the 1980s. Over 400 children, stoked by hysterical mothers and lethal therapists (most of whom have retained their professional credentials) accused day care workers, parents, and teachers of the kind of perversities that would've made the Marquis de Sade blush. The accusations (also the evidence in court) would've also befuddled the infamous sexual sadist, because they involved copulation with clowns, spaceships, robots, and mythical creatures. Still, children don’t lie, remember? In any case, victims were imprisoned absent corroborative evidence—no blood, semen or evidence of battery was ever produced. Kelly Michaels, Gerald Amirault, and the Breezy Point day school ought to be household names—helpless victims of libel. The name of Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, the “Mad Dog” of Massachusetts, ought to live on in infamy. Janet Reno’s already does: then the Dade County State Attorney, Reno used these cases as a professional stepping stone, going on to commit even greater crimes.

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, July 8, 2005 (Link)

 

Letters to Barely-a-Blog in response to "Mad Dog" Sneddon Vs. Michael Jackson:

 

From: R J Stove

Sent: Thursday, August 04, 2005

Subject: Mad Dog Sneddon etc

 

Dear Mrs. Mercer:

 

Good points of yours (to my shame, I've only just discovered them) about the Mad Dog Sneddon mindset, especially in the following passage by you:

 

"Think back to the day care child sex abuse witch hunt that gripped the nation in the 1980s. Over 400 children, stoked by hysterical mothers and lethal therapists (most of whom have retained their professional credentials) accused day care workers, parents, and teachers of the kind of perversities that would've made the Marquis de Sade blush."

 

Of course, after that long-profitable racket ceased to be quite so profitable, the racketeers went on to demonize a rather more impressive target ... the Catholic Church. Hence the fantasies about "priestly sex abuse" that form the basis of left-liberal religious scholarship, such as it is.

 

Genuine scholars, such as Philip Jenkins, have demonstrated until they are black and blue in the face (with abundant accompanying documentation) that Catholic priests are no more likely, indeed are less likely, to be guilty of sex crimes than anybody else. Alas, the Philip Jenkinses of this world might as well save their breath, because mere statistics mean nothing to the public culture's Grand Alliance of media liars, ambulance-chasing attorneys, and knuckle-dragging Klansmen. (For those last-named troglodytes, "priestly sex abuse" is simply an updated version of the old KKK ooga-booga stuff about "nuns burying babies under convent floors" and "the Pope sailing up the Mississippi in a submarine.")

 

Moreover, among the most determined upholders of "priestly sex abuse" mythomania are individual lay psychos who want to revenge themselves on specific priests. You can see the line of "reasoning" - I don't like Father A, so if he tries to stop me from doing whatever I want, I'll slap a totally fraudulent sex abuse charge on him, and cry all the way to the bank. Because that's ultimately what the mythomania is about: a get-rich-quick scheme, analogous to the burglar who falls through a skylight and sues the burgled property-owner for his injuries.

 

I await with interest the day when, per impossibile, our "fearless" media "crusaders" start whining about sexually abusive imams.

 

Yours in admiration,

 

R. J. (Rob) Stove, Melbourne, Australia

 

From: Zavisca, Frank

Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2005 7:39 PM

Subject: "Mad Dog" Sneddon Vs. Michael Jackson

 

Ilana:

 

This is about a crime of public opinion—not facts. The DA just couldn't resist the chance for a "day in the sun." That only comes once in a lifetime. When will he be "front and center" again? NEVER. Prosecutors are like most politicianslooking for "high profile" cases that have no meritthey can grandstand, money changes hands, and little physical damage is done. Accused may go to jail for a while, then resume "the rich" lifestyle (Martha Stewart). [Not quite: see "'Mad Dog” Sneddon’s Mentor: Janet Reno."—ILANA]

 

—Frank G.Zavisca, M.D., Ph.D.

 

From: WILLIAM ANDERSON

Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Subject: "Mad Dog" Sneddon Vs. Michael Jackson

 

Ilana,

 

This was one of your best commentaries ever. I agree with you one thousand percent.  Sneddon is pure, unadulterated, Eliot Spitzerian Evil. (Sneddon and Spitzer are evil.)

 

—Bill

 

From: Paul  

Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 3:30 PM

Subject: Thanks [The best reward…well, almost—ILANA]

 

Just thought I'd send a note of thanks for your efforts in the fight against the Leviathan government. The country (USA) has gotten so bad that I stopped watching TV  completely. (I do rent the odd movie now and then). I've dropped out, tuned out and turned off, to mangle a phrase.

 

I don't know how you look at the dreck that is modern American society and stay sane, much less stay composed enough to write brilliant rebuttals to the rantings of the cultural engineers.

 

I appreciate it. Keep up the good work.

 

—Paul

 

P.S. I followed a link on your site and listen to a sample of Sean's music. That guy is pretty darn good.

P.S.S I am currently enjoying Broad Sides very much.

 

—Updated by Ilana Mercer, August 5, 2005 (Link)

 

CRUISE AND THE SHAMANS

 

The psychiatric peanut gallery has blasted actor Tom Cruise for insisting correctly that there's more voodoo to the profession than veracity. Cruise’s instincts are good: “Psychiatrists don't have a test that can prove that a so-called mental illness is actually organic in origin,” I wrote. Rigorous clinicians—members of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology come to mind—concede that drawing causal connections between "mental illness" and "chemical imbalances" is impossible. That prescription medication often helps misbehaved or unhappy individuals is no proof that strange behavior is an organic disease—placebos or cognitive-behavioral therapy, for example, are as effective. The shameful shamans depend for their livelihood on diseasing every aspect of behavior (and especially bad behavior). And they evince no qualms about “junking free will, responsibility, and agency for an unproven biological determinism, riddled with logical, factual, and moral infelicities.” Cruise, of course, is not a very eloquent spokesman. Actress Kelly Preston is. Her arguments against Ritalin are lucid. Male biopsychology has been demonized in the schools. As I explained in Broad Sides, boys are boisterous. They are also “naturally predisposed to competition. But a "progressive," public-school system, populated by female feminists, forces boys to conform to the feminist consensus about appropriate male behavior. One consequence of the last is that instead of challenging, disciplining, and harnessing their energies, boys are often medicated with Ritalin.” Cruise, however, ought to have arrived at his perspective not via Scientology, but by studying the works of Thomas S. Szasz, MD, the genius who delivered the deductive death knell to the psychiatric house of cards.

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, June 28, 2005 (Link)

 

From: Jeffrey A. Schaler

Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 7:13 AM

Subject: Mr. Cruise and Professor Szasz

 

Jeffrey Schaler, Ph.D., the Owner and Producer of The Thomas Szasz Cybercenter for Liberty and Responsibility, sent along this teaser:

 

“Dear Ms Mercer, how do you know that Mr. Cruise did not study the work and ideas of Professor Szasz?” According to Dr. Schaler, "Tom Cruise is one of Thomas Szasz's greatest fans!" Here is a lovely photo of them both.

 

Indeed, I should not have ruled out the possibility that Cruise might have read Professor Szasz. The chattering classes reported that Cruise relied for his views on a book written by the leader of the Scientology sect. And frankly Cruise never gainsaid them—it was up to him to reference Thomas Szasz's work. Instead he kept repeating robotically, “I know the history of psychiatry; you don’t.” As I said, kudos to Cruise for publicly opposing the Shamans. But I wish he’d be more coherent. And I wish he’d mention Szasz.—ILANA

 

SHARK TALE

 

Fantasy though it is, Steven Spielberg’s magnificent thriller, Jaws, is still a better Guide For The Perplexed on shark behavior than the “experts.” Using anthropomorphism (the practice of attributing human characteristics to an animal), not reason, the shark seers insist that this perfectly designed killing machine prefers feasting on fish than on folks. (“Too tough and chewy,” says a spokesfish for the shark community. “The attacks in the Florida Panhandle were carried out by two rogue members of our society.”) Let’s see: isn’t the alleged feeding preference of sharks a consequence of there being more fish in the sea than people? Hmm... And so we hear that the two teens who were recently savaged were either mistaken for seals or were perceived by Jaws to be jostling for his food supply. (“This is a turf war,” said the spokesfish, otherwise known as “The Mouth.”) A witness—a brave surfer who paddled to the rescue—says Sharky didn’t seem remotely ambivalent, and was doing what powerful, flesh-eating animals with pointy teeth do: tucking in.

“Different species; different cultures,” philosophized MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. That neoconservatives adopt the language of equivalence vis-à-vis man’s relationship with a man eater isn’t surprising. They have embraced many pink perversions (Andrew Sullivan does proud to Greenpeace and the Sierra Club). “Why do you think the Bush administration has such a blind spot on the environment?” Scarborough whinged at actor Robert Redford, who proceeded (with permission) to slime the president for taking pleasure in “shredding” nature. Bill O’Reilly and Joe Scarborough pounce on anyone who repudiates the invasion of Iraq for the moral, legal, and constitutional corruption that it is. But they openly allow liberals to slam Bush on the one issue he’s not that bad on: the environment (for one, his refusal to capitulate to the Kyoto-protocol crazies showed good judgment). Go figure.

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, June 28, 2005 (Link

 

CABLE IS KAPUT

 

If you wondered about cable news lately—don’t. It’s dead. Pushing up the daisies. Six feet under. Today, for example, these news nincompoops were in Utah and Aruba (I’m told Greta Van Susteren has moved there), when they ought to have been in, say, “Eyeraq” (it’s “Iraq,” pronounced eeraq! If you're going to champion razing a country, at least have the courtesy to say it right), documenting how ordinary Iraqis are faring under “democracy.”

In any case, the Aruba story is not news. There has been no news from Aruba since, well, since shortly after the girl vanished and the arrests were made. A half-decent newsman would mention it again only if there were developments in the case. The unfortunate disappearance of Natalee Holloway, however, should never be dominating news broadcasts.

And why are we still hearing about the bug-eyed run-away bride? What kind of a market would support a book detailing her hoaxes and histrionics? “If you find a box labeled American Dry Goods, you can be reasonably sure it will contain nothing but their books,” said Oscar Wilde about an industry that has only worsened since. (For heaven’s sake, someone give Jennifer Wilbanks thyroid medication. Those eyes!)

Utah: Some brainy American parents warned their kid to the point of paranoia not to speak to strangers. They forgot, however, to tell him not to stray from his Boy-Scouts group during an excursion to the Utah Mountains. Consequently, the boy wandered off into the wilderness, but when search-and-rescue came looking, he hid from them for fear of … strangers. If you don’t believe me, here’s proud mama: “We've [sic] also told him don't talk to strangers. ... When an ATV or horse came by, he got off the trail. ... When they left, he got back on the trail." And here’s proud papa: “Brennan continues to amaze us." He amazes me too. My sources tell me the boy abandoned the camp because there were too many strangers around.

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, June 22, 2005 (Link

 

MURDERERS AS LIBERTARIAN ROLE MODELS?

 

I can think of quite a few ordinary and not-so ordinary individuals who exemplify brave resistance to government tyranny. The Iraqi insurgents are not among them. In contrast, some libertarians feel (for they can’t be thinking) that these cold-blooded murderers ought to inspire Americans in their quest to reclaim lost liberties. “The-Iraqi-resistance” is how these libertarians refer to the ragtag entity that is purported to have hitherto, intentionally, taken the lives of 12,000 Iraqis over the past 18 months.

One such libertarian urges (in long compound sentences) “patriotic Americans at home” to “take a lesson from the growing Iraqi insurgency and the response of that nation nearly destroyed by our pretext-laden invasion and the American neo-Jacobin possession of that country” (emphasis added).

Note how the distinction between Iraqis in general and Iraqi insurgents—the murdered and the murderers—is collapsed. Once she messily conflates the Iraqi nation (is there such an entity?) with the insurgents and their offensive, the writer leads her readers, in a text suffused with moral confusion and Lawrenthian romanticism, to conclude that these interchangeable entities are united in common purpose—resisting the occupier under a benevolent, all-encompassing faith.

No doubt there are points of intersection: some Iraqis support the insurgency; and some insurgents don’t support the slaughter of innocent Iraqis. But if Iraqis are united in a decision to “pursue one or more of the countless paths of resistance to the state,” why are ordinary Iraqis being slaughtered by the underground they purportedly support? Have they consented to supply the blood that soaks the streets? Or does the writer simply agree with the creed that innocents can be sacrificed in a greater cause?

Next, the writer holds up the falsely equated Iraqis-cum-insurgents as inspiring role models of resistance to government tyranny. American patriots: meet your new heroes!

Have Libertarians allowed righteous rage against cowardly and corrupt invaders to turn into fawning admiration for killers of innocents? This misplaced deference an interlocutor of mine has characterized perceptively as typical of the Left’s “Rousseauian sympathy for the Symbolic Savage, any savage, wherever he may be, whom they fantasize as fighting nobly against the stifling strictures of Civil (and civilizing) Authority." Ludwig von Mises, a great classical liberal, considered romanticism, which is what this moral miasma reflects, to be man’s revolt against reason. 

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, June 19, 2005 (Link)

 

Letters to Barely a Blog in response to Murderers as Libertarian Role Models, and  Coldplay's Contrapuntal Incompetence:

 

From: Richard Patra

Sent: Sunday, June 19, 2005 8:18 PM

Subject: Murderers as Libertarian Role Models

 

It is amazing what happens to minds that 'feel so much hatred' that their reason takes a vacation. The very last thing we need is to react to an ever-encompassing government with its octopoidal arms by blowing up people and shooting more innocents of this world (and in the USA). You know what has happened in Israel because of the baby-bombers, and I don't think some people will ever see this as barbarism for what it is unless the leg of a six month old baby lands on their head after being too close to an detonation caused by murderers.

 

   Cheerily,

—Richard Patra

 

Re: Coldplay and the meltdown of Western culture

From: Mark Fadiman (my boss at FMNN and a regular Renaissance man)

Chief Web Editor, Free-Market News Network (FMNN)

 

Dear Ms. Mercer,

Esteemed Colleague, Chief Blogger, FMNN

 

You recently posted at www.FreemarketNews.com a fine article about Coldplay and the poor quality of modern rock and roll (and the meltdown of Western culture in general) – and I am responding with what you may find to be an overly simplistic and amusing-sounding response, but one, still, that I think deserves an airing:

Here is my simplistic response: Public schools are to blame [spot on!—ILANA].

Perhaps it is the libertarian in me, but from my point of view our public school system, nationwide, is a disaster and responsible for many of the bad things that afflict this nation. Even in our "best" schools, education is being regularly devalued and learning reduced to propaganda. I try to track these things.  When I am at friends' houses, I take the time to look at their children’s school texts, and they are almost always a horrible mush of politically correct information and misinformation. I read the news, also, often angrily, about these so-called zero tolerance programs where five-year-olds are placed on powerful drugs and small boys are arrested for active play and sent home. 

I have also read a good deal about the evolution of our current public school system. Here at FMNN, one of our columnists is Marshall Fritz who has virtually made a career out of trying to get rid of public schooling in the US. I won't go through the US’s educational history, as he and others have related, except to remind you - and I know you know - that our current disgraceful system of segregating children by grade under state control was invented in large part by the military leader Bismarck in the 1800s. It was not to make education more efficient either. He was interested in creating better soldiers and figured those who were to be drafted together would fight hard for each other because they had bonded by age throughout their schooldays!

What the public-school system itself does not accomplish, the public-school teachers' union does. How can a classic-liberal education be produced by insulated, fearful, unionized workers? The culture in America - real culture of art and science, of adult pleasures of the mind and heart - is now passed furtively from generation to generation, in my experience, relayed almost in whispers - since familiarity with what is "other" is never entirely safe. Me, I've had some experience on both sides. When I look back on my own education, which was spent in both public and private schools, I can recall mostly that it involved endless struggles with subjects I had little interest in [it’s not necessarily bad to make a child struggle with subjects that aren’t all pleasing and fun. A core curriculum is part of an all-round education. Math didn’t come naturally to me. I had to work hard to get an A in my final matriculation exam. It did me good, and I was perfectly capable of achieving this, although I had to work like mad. What a shock it was to discover that my daughter’s Canadian school didn’t require a pass in math for graduation. Why, calculus was optional in this school! The learn-only-what-you-like ethos is a public school creed—ILANA] Yet eventually I found something I liked - writing - and started to change. I had to build from the ground up – and I did because I was motivated. I learned about grammar and I added to my vocabulary and I got up every morning very early to write any number of bad novels. In doing so, I learned discipline, and how to work hard and gradually I became more literate. Even though I didn’t accomplish all my goals, I made myself far more desirable as a worker, employee and entrepreneur – and laid the foundation for whatever I have been able to accomplish later in life.

There, Ilana, is the only remedy I can think of. Parents and “significant others” must simply encourage their children to find what is most pleasing or interesting and then make it a focal point around which the child can organize a healthy personality and, eventually, competency. Is there another way? Not in my humble opinion. A genuine love of learning (some kind of learning) is the only defense against the great black holes of our public schools which suck all the oxygen out of the building and leave our kids gasping and resentful.  (No child left intact, you could say.)

The problem is the system, and evil men and women who have worked hard - with full knowledge - to build it and sustain it. Hopefully, as good people like yourself begin to educate others – using the power of the Internet - things will change in many areas. And I believe public education will be one.

 

From: Chris Lenegar 

Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2005 9:35 AM

Subject: Coldplay's Contrapuntal Incompetence

 

Ilana:

 

Having just read your Coldplay and Evanescence comments, I wanted to try and point out something I see commonly in day to day conversation, and sometimes written commentary. First though, let me say that I agree with your analysis and that the comment by the Coldplay front man is delusional silliness. Neither the lyrics nor the "rifts" will be immortalized beyond (if they are lucky) the next in the endless stream of self promoting MTV/VH1 music "awards".

My point has to do with the futility of debating "taste" [I’m not debating taste; we are debating objective standards of competence and ability. One needn’t share tastes, but there are certainly salient features in a work of art that make it objectively good or bad. See comments here and here.—ILANA] Perhaps it’s not your intention to convince, but rather to simply analyze. But all too often I hear one person attempting to explain to another why they MUST enjoy the flavor of a particular food or beverage (or the sound of a certain music), based on an analysis of the complexities and nuances of aroma, flavor, or sound. The ability to enjoy something isn't necessarily directly proportionate to that something being "complex and/or accomplished". The amalgamation of the 3 chords, the simplistic piano, and the predictable changes makes the blend in Coldplay's music palatable to many. Sometimes it’s relaxing to relax. [See Mark Fadiman’s explanation for dumbed-down tastes. Also, why would rubbish be relaxing? It annoys the hell out of me. And simple isn’t necessarily bad. The Beatles’s songs were not complex, but they were often brilliant. In addition, a skillful synthesis of simple elements may be easy on ear, but it is far from easy to accomplish.—ILANA]

 

—Chris

 

—Updated by Ilana Mercer, September 16, 2005 (Link)

 

Jurors delivered Justice for Jackson! More later—ILANA

 

GAGA FOR GAIA

 

Two bears have been prowling my neighborhood—out and about, high-spirited after hibernation, looking to have a Teddy Bear's Picnic. Or so you’d believe if you dropped by from deep space and heard the well-coached mantras people repeat like automatons: “We have encroached on their habitat; they mean us no harm; don’t be such a speciesist; let them feast in peace; let’s live in harmony with nature.”

The problem is that the bears haven’t heard of these theories. Neither has the robust cougar population. The managerial state and its wild-life emissaries are responsible for breeding out healthy human habits—self defense, for one. But the hooey-spreading propagandists have failed to achieve similar results with the wild-animal population, now out of control. The proverbial wolf doesn’t yet dwell with the lamb nor does the leopard lie down with the kid. While Western man works to rid himself of the most basic ethical and sensible instincts, like defending his kinfolk, animals remain true to their nature. As surprising as it may seem, wild beasts still believe their pointy teeth and sharp claws are meant for ripping flesh—any flesh, the easier the better.

It makes perfect animal sense to attack a thing that is docile, slow, and passive, like the not very sapient Homo sapiens. It’s been decades since animals were aggressively repelled from human habitat, and they now “brazenly make themselves at home in manicured suburbs.” An unafraid animal is a dangerous animal; an unafraid human is an endangered fool.

And so, the casualties of animal attacks are shrugged off. There is nothing to learn. The only lessons learned, à la the odious Oprah, are a victim's lessons of survival: plaudits to you for living to tell how you lost half your face. What a hero you are for curling up in the fetal position and pretending to be a porcupine! You punched Ursus americanus with your powder puff?! You go girl! A real man who greets a bear on the balcony with blazing guns is investigated. Did he Mirandize the bear? Was it a justified “homicide”?

Honest experts admit attacks are up because pinko policies—the kind that have placed animals and their haunts above humans and their habitat—have bred fearless critters. It used to be that men killed and hunted encroaching creatures. Thanks to decades of cultural queering and legal emasculation, men no longer have the urge to protect home and hearth. Instead, they now robotically spew the Sierra Club’s subliminal propaganda: as the true homesteaders of the planet, animals should inherit the earth. Humans come second.

Human beings should care for and be kind to animals. That’s ethical. But people’s safety and survival must always precede that of animals. A society that reverses this ethical order is philosophically primitive, base, and immoral. Indeed the antediluvian, wild-animal worship is thoroughly pagan, down to its human sacrifice.

Although our local wild-life officials admit that “there are increasing problems related to cougar and bear,” and that they “need to meet the increased calls for service,” they will not be preempting a bear attack in my neighborhood any time soon. Pulverizing far-away lands is the closest government comes to fulfilling its obligation to protect the people.

 

—Written by Ilana Mercer, June 11, 2005 (Link)

 

Letters to Barely a Blog in response to Gaga for Gaia:

 

Tom DiLorenzo, author of The Real Lincoln, writes: relatives in Massachusetts tell me that, since they banned the trapping of coyotes in the state, the beasts have become so emboldened that they have attacked small children playing in their back yards.  Thanks, Sierra Club.

 

From: Tibor R. Machan

Sent: Sunday, June 12, 2005 3:47 PM

Subject: Gaga for Gaia

 

As the author of Putting Humans First, Why We Are Nature's Favorite (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), I enjoyed this comment a lot. I might add a point by noting that animal "rights" advocates hang a great deal on the claim that human beings are not all that different from other animals, merely on a continuum farther along the line in the direction of complexity. Yet they routinely select human beings as their audience for their moralizing, certainly not addressing other animals that, for example, inflict horrendous pain on their prey and, if they had any moral sensibilities (as people are admitted to have, at least implicitly, by these activists via their advocacy addressed to people) they would certainly be worth imploring to desist. Alas, that is clearly beyond the pale—they lack a moral nature. Yet it is just this moral nature that gives rise to the rights that human individuals have, namely, to giver direction to their lives, for good or ill. So animal "rights" advocates and activists are in a conceptual and practical quandary—both denying significant differences between man and beast and affirming such differences.

One way they try to escape this is by noting that some human beings—like those in a coma or infants—lack moral agency too. Alas, this calls to mind the motto, "Hard cases make bad law." Such exceptions aren't what rights are based on and they are taken to have rights in view of being much closer to normal human beings in their attributes than to anything

else.

 

—Tibor R. Machan

 

Machan is the R. C. Hoiles Professor of Business Ethics at the Argyros School of Business & Economics, Chapman University, Orange, CA, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and advises Freedom Communications, Inc., on public policy issues.

 

—Compiled by Ilana Mercer, September 16, 2005 (Link)

 

From: My Mother-in-Law Replies to Reader Ryan’s Rosy take on South-Africa

Sent: Monday, June 13, 2005 7:46 AM

Subject: Another take on SA

 

Dear Ilana,

 

Sounds to me as though Ciaran Ryan is wearing rose-tinted specs! Even we, who have unfortunately been here for well over 40 years, would not choose to live in JHB these days. Having said that, other parts of the country are fast catching up—crime is on the increase everywhere. In addition to our homegrown population we now suffer from a big influx of Nigerians, Zimbabwean’s and countries north—no control over this. One would imagine our local Mayor would possibly galvanize the powers that be to protect the locals, but with only a Standard Four education [affirmative action? Say it’s not so]… Need I say more?

 

Without exception, people we speak to would be out of this country tomorrow were it at all possible—including ourselves, I might add. Let’s hope Ryan remains “lucky” and does not see the business end of an AK47 or find herself gang raped by pseudo policemen as a recent case was (miraculously) reported (given the ban on reporting crime).

 

—Mom

 

From: Ciaran Ryan

Sent: Friday, June 10, 2005 2:01 PM

Subject: A reader with a different, and interesting, perspective on South Africa

 

Dear Ilana, I have been reading your columns with great admiration on antiwar.com. Your latest on voters in France and Holland giving the EU the boot was one of your best in my humble opinion. Well done for cutting through the nonsense. I also see your web site gives the ADHD and “mental illness” boys a toasting, something I hold dear to my heart having studied Thomas Szasz and Peter Breggin et al quite extensively.

We find ourselves at opposite poles of the Earth, both no doubt in pursuit of liberty, happiness and – yes - security. I choose South Africa because it gives me all three in reasonable dosages. I lived in Florida, California, London, Dublin and spent an enjoyable few months in Australia. Great places, all of them, but Johannesburg is home. That’s right, crime capital of the world and all that [Baghdad is—ILANA]. Hang on, you say, you choose Johannesburg for security? Not entirely, that would be a lie, but I’ve never been assaulted or robbed. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen violent crime here. I read about it in the press and know a few people who’ve been mugged [the ban on crime statistics might have something to do with it. Three of Sean’s colleagues were murdered and his uncle and cousin were kidnapped at gun point from their front gate—ILANA], but other than that it’s a wonderful, eclectic and dynamic city.

After the apartheid years, there is a new flowering of national pride, regardless of race. Racism exists but it’s not that visible. In fact, race relations are pretty good relative to other places I’ve lived. White South Africans continue to prosper [that’s not what Andrew Kenny reports—ILANA], Indians are now the wealthiest ethnic group and the black middle class is growing in leaps and bounds. From a libertarian perspective, the notion of affirmative action is an abomination, but I support it for a short period.

This is a little longer than 200 words, but I must make a mention of liberty. This is the first country in the world to enshrine protection for gays into the constitution [also utterly unlibertarian—ILANA]. I know of only one case where children were removed from their parents on spurious grounds, and yes, involuntary incarceration in psych wards does occur, again, rather infrequently. The liberty we enjoy here is partly constitutional, and partly bureaucratic lethargy [a very interesting and quite plausible point—ILANA]. This, of course, verges on anarchy at times, as no-one seems to stop at red lights at night. This was a shock to me when I returned from the US – I was told it was out of fear of car hijackings, which incidentally, one doesn’t hear much of these days [again, that ban on crime stats...—ILANA] I’d like to see better observance of the law, but rather this than the serfdom Europeans and Canadians (and Americans?) call freedom.

And the weather here in Joburg is just the best…

Anyway, I’m glad you are flying the flag of liberty from abroad. It’s clear you have studied broadly and know your subjects well.

 

—Ciaran Ryan

    Johannesburg

 

Backtalk: Letters to Antiwar.com:

 

June 13, 2005

Adieu to the Evil EU

 

I read through the above article with very little hope of finding any useful information, since I know that Ilana Mercer is not a supporter of the ideas of socialism. I was not much surprised with what she said, pretty obvious stuff given her bias (let's not forget that Americans are the only ones who still consider the label "communist" an insult).

However, she concludes that the Europeans realize that "Liberty is associated with a dispersion of political power, never its concentration and centralization." And decides that this is the reason that the French and Dutch voted against the EU.

She might be right about what the right wing in both of those countries voted against; however, that is hardly a summary of the reason the left wing in both countries voted against the Constitution. The reason they voted the way they did is simple: they are against the "Anglo-American" economic model. The model that pushes free-trade, reduction of social grants, limits laws against companies, and reduces worker protections. Of course, Ilana Mercer didn't mention that because she believes wholeheartedly in the Anglo-American economic model!

Americans will have to get used to the idea that Europeans are not willing to let go of their socialist state. They want to keep their generous social benefits and worker protections and don't want to see companies able to move around at will and destroy the wages of the workers in Europe. The problem with the EU Constitution is nothing less than a clash of differing ideas of what the EU should represent: either the Anglo-American model or the European socialist model. Both France and Holland (and Germany with their vote against Schroeder's party) have made it very clear that they do not want to go the way of the American worker – underpaid, easily fired or retrenched, and overworked.

I can see that, and I live in South Africa. I'm surprised that Ilana Mercer cannot put her obvious bias aside to report on what is really happening, not what she thinks is happening.

 

~ Lilly White, Johannesburg, South Africa

 

Ilana Mercer replies:

 

Dear Lilly,

 

From the fact that I detest socialism (I recommend The Black Book of Communism), you concluded I have no information to impart? Who is biased here? Incidentally, I'm not a reporter, so I am allowed my "biases," as you call the belief in freedom from the state and the power of voluntary civil society.

Moreover, the EU is not remotely related to the "Anglo-American" economic model, as I explained in the essay. I did, however, mention that the French voted against the EU for the wrong reasons – because they perceived it to be free-market friendly. Overall, however, they did the right thing.

It is indisputable that all factions rejected the EU for the same underlying reason: the fear of losing sovereignty and national identity. How can you dispute that, and how exactly does it contradict what you say?

It doesn't!

It remains a fact that the Europeans – the followers of Rousseau and Descartes and their "wise legislators" – are teaching us – the ostensible philosophical descendants of Adam Smith and his "invisible hand" – a thing or two about freedom. That many have done so by default doesn't change this fact.

 

**

After reading Ilana's insightful assessment of the reasons for the French and Dutch no to the EU constitution, one wishes the people of Virginia and Massachusetts would have done the same when they were asked. But then, the constitution of the U.S. was more stealthily designed for a transfer of power from the individual to an ever more remote and unaccountable federal bureaucracy. It seems that a parasitic class of politicians and other public servants, whether in Brussels or D.C., always finds a way to subdue and enslave the productive members of society, no matter how well thought-out the safeguards are.

 

~ Werner Hoermann

 

On Flakes and Fetuses

 

It’s on the White House’s website for the world to witness: “The President Discusses Embryo Adoption” at a gathering (or coven, rather) that honored representatives of the “Snowflakes Embryo Adoption” Agency.

But let the POTUS  explain: “I have just met with 21 remarkable families … The families here today have either adopted or given up for adoption frozen embryos that remained after fertility treatments. Rather than discard these embryos created during in vitro fertilization, or turn them over for research that destroys them, these families have chosen a life-affirming alternative. Twenty-one children here today found a chance for life with loving parents.”

The Adopt an Embryo spectacle was the White House’s display of displeasure at a vote in the House to ease restrictions on federal financing for embryonic stem cell research. These undifferentiated embryonic cells can grow into any kind of cell—heart, brain, etc.,—hence their therapeutic potential. The proposed bill would allow under federal auspices the use of stem cells derived from "unadopted" embryos. Explained the president: "Research on stem cells derived from human embryos may offer great promise, but the way those cells are derived today destroys the embryo."

Would that the ferment over fetuses—and “the culture of life”—extended to the many, fully formed, innocent human beings dying daily in Iraq. (I can’t imagine why the land of chaos and carnage comes to mind as a synonym for the administration’s contempt for life.)

The bill is historic, if only because it’ll occasion the president’s first ever veto. Finally a spending bill he can’t get behind. But don’t rejoice; it’s premature. The president is pushing a similar, $79-million bill, one that’ll be spent on harvesting the less versatile umbilical cord stem cells.

As is the case with a Congress and Executive that operate outside the Constitution (the judiciary is a partner in this knavish confederacy), the debate is framed deceptively. Over to the hysterical Carolyn B. Maloney, a New-York Democrat: “How many more lives must be ended or ravaged? How much more unimaginable suffering must be endured until government gives researchers the wherewithal to simply do their jobs?"

Silly me, I guess government-giving-researchers-the-wherewithal-to-do-their-jobs was what the Founders had in mind when they bequeathed a central government of delegated and enumerated powers. Intellectual property laws are the only constitutional means at Congress’s disposal with which to “promote the Progress of Science.” (About their merit Thomas Jefferson, himself an inventor, was unconvinced). Research and development (R&D) spending is nowhere among Congress’s constitutional legislative powers.

(A word about the Constitution is in order here, considering the tendentious criticism it receives from libertarians: to the extent the Constitution is compatible with the natural law, it's good; to the extent it isn't, it's not good. Murray Rothbard's preference for the Articles of Confederation, usurped in favor of the Constitution at the Philadelphia convention, is well taken. Still, the case for liberty is better made with reference to the American Revolutionaries, the followers of John Locke, than with reference to tribal Africans (who've always existed in a murderous state of nature), or Medieval, Viking-Age, Icelandic people. Why adopt a stark, un-American—and in that sense, ahistoric—philosophical framework? I thought that was the neoconservatives’ bailiwick.)

In any case, there is no warrant in the Constitution for most of what the Federal Frankenstein does. Social Security, (“Today’s senior citizens blithely cannibalize their grandchildren because they have a right to get as much “free” stuff as the political system will permit them to extract,” said Justice Janice Rogers Brown), “civil rights,” predicated as they are on grotesque violations of property rights, Medicare, Medicaid, elaborate public works sprung from the general welfare and Interstate Commerce Clauses—you name it, it’s likely unconstitutional.

Implied, moreover, in Maloney’s petit mal is that if the House didn’t mulct taxpayers of R&D money, there’d be no R&D. Not according to the United States Department of Health & Human Services:

“Based on 2002 data, one study reports that private sector research and development in stem cells was being conducted by approximately 1000 scientists in over 30 firms. Aggregate spending was estimated at $208 million. Geron Corporation alone reported that it spent more than $70 million on stem cell research by September 2003. In the Stem Cell Business News Guide to Stem Cell Companies (Feb 2003), 61 U.S. and international companies are listed as pursuing some form of research or therapeutic product development involving stem cells.”  

What do you know? The private sector has already been beavering away, for some time now, exploring the promise—or lack thereof—of stem cells.  

 

Written by Ilana Mercer, May 31, 2005 (Link)

 

From: KidistDesigns

Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Subject: Free TV

 

Ilana,

 

I agree; the “make-over” shows are really a lot of fun. Divine Design's Candice Olson, who is a Canadian, is surprisingly unafraid of color. Unlike the (Toronto) City TV-City Line team who always come up with variations of beige. Also, I think Candice Olson is quite a talented designer, superior to the much more popular UK transplanted Debbie Travis [oh, I agree; she’s a pain, and what busy homeowner is capable of executing those petty papier mâche techniques of hers?—ILANA], or even the reigning Canadian interior designer Linda Reeves – who is also into beige and plain “modern” objects.

 

But equally interesting are the many magazines. There is a beautiful one coming out from the Atlanta Georgia called Veranda, where each issue is a book in itself. But my favorite is the practical but very creative Better Homes and Gardens – also coming out of the US. Canadians still insist on beige and postmodern steel.

 

—Kidist

 

THE QURAN DEFILED?

 

Newsweek’s Quran-down-the-crapper allegations, published after a suspicious sourcing process, now a media staple, sparked deadly riots from Jakarta to Jalalabad—17 dead so far, presumably Muslims killed by their co-religionists. Just for good measure, 200 Qurans were likely burned when a library was set on fire. How did the neoconservatives respond? As “committed cultural and religious relativists who firmly believe a good democratic heart throbs in every thorax,” they groveled obsequiously—“Any desecration of the Koran would not be tolerated,” kvetched Condi. And they pretended there was nothing deviant about the Islamic response—and its devastation. Can you imagine contemporary Christians reacting so savagely to the perennial disrespect their teachings elicit? (The ACLU would need to relocate to an undisclosed bunker.) A prominent Rabbi is beaten to a pulp in Moscow (currently a regular occurrence around the world). Do his followers go on a rampage? From Buddhists to Bahá’ís—such barbarism is almost unheard of in this day and age among peoples of other faiths. This reaction is yet another reminder why we have no place in those parts of the world (although, to be fair to the administration, the riots were a response to putative wrongdoing in Guantánamo). The storm alleged to have begun in a toilet bowel is also a testament to the impotence of American empire. If one wants to transform the Muslim world—something I’ve opposed on ethical, pragmatic, and historical grounds—one must have a core. Multiculturalism and majoritarianism are no match for fundamentalist fanaticism.

 

Written by Ilana Mercer, May 16, 2005 (Link)

 

From: Anon

Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2005 1:38 PM

Subject: bloggin' & the Koran

 

Admit it. You're a blogger. There's no "barely" about it! [I hang my head in shame.—ILANA]

 

Hilarious comments on the Koran-down-the-toilet episode. Next time some gay activists throw condoms at people emerging from a Catholic church service, I think I'll go on a rampage and kill a couple of dozen people! 

 

—Disturbed Christian Zealot

 

LET PRIVATE PROPERTY PREVAIL

 

A new right may soon be minted by the nation’s “representatives”: the right to have one’s birth-control prescription filled. As a pro-life protest of sorts, pharmacists across the country are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth-control and day-after pills. In response to their posturing—and the bleating by “reproductive rights groups”—The Great Centralizers in the House and Senate have proposed a bill that’ll allow a pharmacist to refuse to fill a prescription only if a co-worker is on hand to pick up the slack. It goes without saying that a federal law, if passed, would further corrode the cornerstone of civilization: private property. The keys to the store belong with the owner of the pharmacy. The decision is his as to what goods he distributes. If an employee—the pharmacist—refuses to sell goods the owner stocks, the latter has every right to sack the saboteur. One doesn’t possess a right to have a prescription filled, but, equally, one also has no inherent right to stay employed while refusing to peddle the boss’s wares.

The market—not the meddlers—has the best solution: pharmacies that cater to women who use the pill and apothecaries that don’t. The former will employ people who’ll supply these clients; to the latter will flock workers who have an aversion to certain dispensing duties. (My guess is that preachy pharmacists—be they employers or employees—will have a negligible niche market.)

Inhabitants of the land of the free forget that criminalizing behaviors entirely licit in natural law legalizes the use of force against these innocents. (One consequence of the last is that hundreds of thousands of Americans languish in jail for ingesting, injecting, inhaling, or exchanging  “unapproved” substances.)

By the same token, Weyco, a medical-benefits provider in Michigan, is just exercising its property rights by refusing to employ anyone who smokes. Inherent to private property is the right to include or exclude; associate with or dissociate from. States that “have passed laws that bar companies from discriminating against workers for lifestyle decisions” are infringing a proprietor’s property rights.

Companies (Investors Property Management in Seattle is another example) who don’t hire smokers are responding to the costs of having to provide workers with another bogus right: healthcare coverage. Their reaction is an example of the perfectly predictable consequences of regulation. It also showcases the immortality of those who clamor for regulation—American workers are all for compelling companies to pay for their healthcare, but want to ban businesses from screening out high-risk candidates. 

 

Written by Ilana Mercer, May 15, 2005 (Link)

 

IMMIGRATION OCCLUSION

 

The exclusive emphasis of late on border security in the immigration debate has helped open-border advocates immensely. Everyone (and his dog) currently concurs that we have no problem with legal immigration, only with the illegal variety. It's now mandatory to pair an objection to the invasion of the American Southwest  with an embrace of all forms of legal immigration. 

Yet nothing has changed since, “in 1965, with no real debate or voter participation, the U.S. Congress replaced the national-origin immigration criterion (which ensured newcomers reinforced the historical majority) with a multicultural, all-nations-are equal quota system, which effectively resulted in an emphasis on mass importation of people from the Third World. The new influx was no longer expected to acculturate to liberal democratic Judeo-Christian traditions. With family ‘reunification’ superseding all other considerations, immigration became an economic drain—as demonstrated, for example, by Harvard’s George Borjas.”

The sole emphasis on border security has, in all likelihood, entrenched the status quo— Americans will never assert their right to determine the nature of the country they live in and, by extension, the kind of immigrants they welcome. The security risk newcomers pose is the only legitimate conversation. (There’s no dispute, however, as to who foots the bill for immigration.)

 

Written by Ilana Mercer, May 9, 2005 (Link)

 

PUTIN AND SHARON: BRED-IN-THE-BONE PATRIOTS 

 

Vladimir Putin and Ariel Sharon should have made more of their recent meeting. It was Sharon’s chance to get Putin on his side. Unlike George Bush the internationalist, Putin and Sharon are fierce nationalists who care first and foremost about their respective countries. Both, paradoxically, are under pressure from the U.S. for their treatment of terrorists—the two leaders are expected to make concessions to murderers who kill their civilians, while Bush and the international community make no such allowances for al-Qaida. The Murder Inc. of the Middle East (Hamas) and that of Russia (Chechen terrorists) have pan-Islamic aspirations and ties to al-Qaida. That the Left sympathizes with violent societies like Chechnya and the Palestinian Authority (their July-17 election is predicted to be a shoo-in for Hamas) is to be expected. From the Right one expects better, although it's certainly a pleasant surprise to read an article in a libertarian publication which, for a change,  rejects the root-causes rubbish: “[A] high-violence society does not get that way because of any particular cause or condition,” writes James L. Payne in The Prospects for Democracy in High-Violence Societies. “It is better understood as a society mired in the past, a society that has failed to make the transition away from primitive, counterproductive modes of interaction.”

In any case, a better understanding between Russia and Israel might take the pressure off Sharon to keep making concessions to “Hamastan,” and, perhaps, inject a new dynamic into the current imbalance of power in the world.

 

Written by Ilana Mercer, May 9, 2005 (Link)

 

ON SOBER SPIRITS & SPIES

 

What’s there to debate? Lawrence Franklin, a “Pentagon analyst [who] was charged Wednesday with illegally passing classified information about potential attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq to two members of a pro-Israel lobbying group” deserves opprobrium, and worse. What I’d like to offer is some perspective. While it shouldn’t be condoned, all governments spy on each other, friendly governments included. “Russians and Americans still spy on each” (Robert Hanssen anyone?); “peeping” is a time-honored tradition (hey, Canada?). Franklin, moreover, has done his Israeli mates no favors, unless he is unaware that some in America now share with Eurabia, Arabia, and “the executive committee of the Third World dictatorships,” otherwise known as the UN, the “perception” of Israel as the greatest threat to American security and world peace. I know; these are not the most sober spirits. While this gang bangs on about the Israeli Influence, Muslim “Charities” across the U.S. funnel money to terrorists; many of the community’s religious pillars preach war on the West from their pulpits, while pretending to promote peace; and crafty—oh so powerful—Muslim lobbying groups privately defend al-Qaida’s capo di tutti capi, while  posing as moderates, and whispering sweet nothings in naïve American ears. As a softy from Washington’s Council on American-Islamic Relations put it, “Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran . . . should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.” (CAIR claims to represent moderates.) Next time you shake in your socks on an American airplane, as Middle-Eastern men strut up and down the isles unhindered, duck into toilets with cell phones and cameras, flout flight rules and intimidate terrified travelers with menacing gestures, remember to thank Muslim lobby groups for ensuring rational profiling remains illegal. (If only El-Al flew locally). There's another small snag in the theory of Israeli subversives: Israelis didn't attack the U.S. in 1993, 1998, 2000 and 2001; Muslim terrorists did. Journalists who neglect all the above, yet work indefatigably to depict Israel as the source of all evil, are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Worse; they’ve abnegated journalistic responsibilities.

 

Written by Ilana Mercer, May 6, 2005 (Link)

 

INTRODUCING BARELY A BLOG

 

This page has been renamed “Barely A Blog.” No, I’ve not changed my generally unfavorable assessment of blogging, which I expressed in The Importance of Boundaries. And yes, although certain blogs are thoroughly good, I still hold that, “The upshot of populism in punditry … is that bad commentary is promiscuously outed,” and that, “Few and far between are the commentators and conversationalists who have honed their craft.”

Alas, I know when I’ve been defeated. The word “blog” must appear somewhere on the toolbar if a website’s popularity is to be enhanced, hence “Barely A Blog.”

The page’s general function (and simple format) will be retained: it will continue to carry your reactions—good and bad—to my writing. I’ll try, however, to increase the frequency and topicality of my commentary.

 

Written by Ilana Mercer, May 5, 2005 (Link)

 

Letters to Barely a Blog in response to Unlearned Rabbi Rages at Ratzinger, and Judaism the Mother Faith:

 

From: Z. Frank

Sent: Friday, May 06, 2005 12:10 PM

Subject: Unlearned Rabbi Rages at Ratzinger

 

Ilana:

 

I have actually seen more compliments to Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict from Jews than from "Conservative Christians" - but that’s because these "professional Christians" are not representative of "the people", any more than Howard Dean represents the Democratic spirit. Michael Savage interviewed Jerry Falwell. Falwell rambled on about "Unless you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can't get to heaven". Savage, being Jewish, didn't buy it. [My point being that it’s not up to Savage to meddle in Christian theology. Personally, it doesn’t bother me in the least if someone decrees I won’t go to heaven. So what if they think or say so?—ILANA]

 

In Catholic school, we were taught "The Catholic Church is the one true church", unless, of course, you aren't a catholic. I believe this is the spirit of Pope Benedict.

 

And he is less of an appeaser than his predecessor - he has already irritated Muslims by rejecting Islamism and Turkey's entry into the EU - shows a grasp of History.

 

It will take more than the Pope to save Africans. Economist Geroge Ayittey, a conservative African, has summed it up. Only Africans can save Africans - outside "AID" is counter productive.

 

Sincerely,

—Frank G. Z., M.D., Ph.D.

 

From: Bob McGovern

Sent: Sunday, May 08, 2005 1:04 PM

Subject: Barely A Blog

 

 Ilana,

 

Congrats on the at-least-partial surrender to this still-suspect format. As a rather mouthy reader, I promise to try not to use it as the electronic vanity press so many Blog sites are.

 

—Bob

 

From: Lawrence Auster

Sent: Thursday, May 05, 2005 8:51 PM

Subject: West must unite to prevail

 

Ilana,

You wrote at your new weblog:

 

"After reading Paul Sperry's Infiltration, I am more convinced than ever that if Christians and Jews fail to form a united front, our children’s children will be destined for infidel’s dhimitude under the most unforgiving of faiths: Islam."

 

This is a profound point, and it relates not just to Christians and Jews, but to Christians and Christians, to all Westerners.  Over and over in the course of the Islam-West confrontation, it has been divisions within the West that made the West vulnerable to Islamic attacks, for example:

 

Division between the Eastern Church and the Monophysites made the Monophysites more willing to accept Islamic hegemony.

 

Division between Western Christians and Eastern Christians terribly weakened Constantinople and led to its final fall.

 

Divisions created by liberalism and multiculturalism weaken the West today. 

 

There are many other examples. 

 

On the other hand, it was leaders who unified the West, such as the Carolingians and Pope Urban VII, who were successful against Islam. 

 

—Larry Auster

 

Compiled by Ilana Mercer, September 16, 2005 (Link)

 

JUDAISM THE MOTHER FAITH

 

With reference to Unlearned Rabbi Rages at Ratzinger, here’s a thought: Judaism is the Mother Faith—it gave birth to Christianity (Jesus was Jewish). The proper metaphor for the relationship between Judaism and Christianity is that of parent and progeny. Self-anointed Jewish leadership, however, has managed to cast Jews as a mere faction among a multicultural mob, a position Jews (being liberals) love.

After reading Paul Sperry's Infiltration, I am more convinced than ever that if Christians and Jews fail to form a united front, our children’s children will be destined for infidel’s dhimitude under the most unforgiving of faiths: Islam.

 

Written by Ilana Mercer, May 4, 2005 (Link)

 

 

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