Crusades VS ISIS: What’s the difference?

The President kicked up quite a ruckus last week during the National Pray Breakfast when in his remarks he compared ISIL to the Crusades. 

No really.  First the warm up:

But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge — or, worse, sometimes used as a weapon.  From a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris, we have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, professed to stand up for Islam, but, in fact, are betraying it.  We see ISIL, a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism  — terrorizing religious minorities like the Yezidis, subjecting women to rape as a weapon of war, and claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions. 

We see sectarian war in Syria, the murder of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, religious war in the Central African Republic, a rising tide of anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Europe, so often perpetrated in the name of religion.

So how do we, as people of faith, reconcile these realities — the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religious for their own murderous ends?

So he is clearly putting his remarks in context with events that are occurring now.  But then, the swerve:

Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history.  And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.  In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.  Michelle and I returned from India — an incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity — but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs — acts of intolerance that would have shocked Gandhiji, the person who helped to liberate that nation. 

So all of you people who are part of the coalition that’s fighting the Islamic State, hey, you’re not so great.  You are really as bad as the people you’re bombing.

Some pep talk huh?

I have to admit, I do find that mindboggling. Moral relativism is for academics and unemployed hipsters, not the President. The only reason to try to compare ISIS today with the Crusades centuries ago is to excuse ISIS. In the same week that a Jordanian pilot was burned alive by ISIS, the President feels the need to make a comparison with the Crusades? How does that help the coalition that he ostensibly leads?  Can you imagine FDR making the same comparisons with Hitler’s Germany?

“Troops, before you storm the beaches of Normandy, risking your lives to liberate France, just remember, you are no better than the people you are fighting.  Sure the Nazi’s are killing and enslaving people, but what do you think our country has done?  Massacred Indians enslaved Africans.  Really, we’re no better than the people I’m ordering you to kill.  So get to it!”

Basically the President is saying his side is no better than their side.

At a time in which the insane overreach of the Islamic State has lead to an opportunity to unify the Middle East against the IS, the President blew a chance to make it clear that the west was going to stand with Muslims and others who wished to support it against barbarians.  Instead he brought up the Islamist’s favorite go-to scare story about the West, the Crusades, and condemned his own side for thinking it was better than they were.

 

 

 

Scott Walker Peaking Too Early?

Scott Walker’s “surprise” win of the Kansas Straw Poll may be a shock to the establishment, but its zero surprise to me. Walker’s win has generated a flurry of articles on Walker as well as an appearance on This Week. But as far back as a year ago, I predicted Walker would probably be the best all around choice for the 2016 Republican primary process. He’s a governor of a purple/blue State who rose to national prominence battling the budget, pension reform, and unions.  He is attractive to both establishment types for a solid record of actually winning, and grass roots types for the ability to take on and wrestle to the ground left leaning special interests; something that’s not seen much these days.Scott Walker

Walker’s national prominence came about with his fight with Wisconsin public sector unions.  I wrote about the skirmish back in 2011 and thought at the time that Walker’s victory could have spelled the beginning of the end for public sector unions.  Alas, so far that victory has remained just Walker’s.   But the enmity he earned from both local and national Democrats and the left in general lead to a recall election, which Walker won handily.

By Republican standards, Walker is a stand out success story.  He battled the left and rather than backing down under a barrage of negative press, which Republicans traditionally do, Walker stuck to his guns and won a pretty substantial victory. Compare that to Jeb Bush, who’s sat out the various political battles since the 1990’s and now expects to ride in on a golden, donor financed chariot to be crowned the nominee based on the divine right of Bushes.

The Republicans do have a deep bench, at least compared to the Democrats.  In fact the Democrat’s bench consists of one person, Hillary Clinton.  If she gets sick, the Dems are in trouble for 2016. But the Republican’s bench consists of establishment types that are anathema to the base of the party, like Jeb Bush, and social conservative types that are anathema to the establishment like Mike Huckabee. The converged area on the Venn diagram of candidates that both the base and establishment can live with is almost as limited as the Democrats presidential bench.

Walker’s major problem with the base is his immigration position.  Walker has tried to be cagey and hold every position on the issue at once.  He has both supported a path to citizenship and made vague comments about fixing the system.”  However the fixing doesn’t seem to include border security or a wall.  In other words, he’s a pro amnesty open borders type, which should please the establishment wing.  Although I would love to make amnesty a disqualifier, the fact is there are no, I mean zero commonly mentioned Republican potential 2016 candidates that oppose amnesty.

In any case if Walker does enter the race, he’ll have to quit being cagy about immigration and speak directly to the issue.

But immigration isn’t even his biggest problem yet.  When I made my prediction on Walker last year, it was based on the idea that the talking heads and establishment media wouldn’t pay any attention to Walker until at least the Iowa Caucuses. But the results of the Kansas straw poll show that plenty of other Republicans were thinking along the same lines as I was.  The media has rediscovered Walker this week and they will remember in short order that they despise him. Walker is like Sarah Palin and Allen West combined, with a little Tom DeLay sprinkled on top. It’s too bad he couldn’t have flown under the radar a while longer, but if there is one Republican who knows how to fight back, it’s Scott Walker.

 

No One Expects the Gay Bakery Inquisition

Of all the myriad ways that the social and political battle over gay marriage could have evolved, I don’t think anyone could have seen coming the gay war on bakeries; cake on cake, icing against icing.  But that’s the current battlefield; make of that what you will.Gay Inquisition

As to the latest battle in the ongoing cake war:

Marjorie Silva, owner of Denver’s Azucar Bakery, is facing a complaint from a customer alleging she discriminated against his religious beliefs.

According to Silva, the man who visited last year wanted a Bible-shaped cake, which she agreed to make. Just as they were getting ready to complete the order, Silva said the man showed her a piece of paper with hateful words about gays that he wanted written on the cake. He also wanted the cake to have two men holding hands and an X on top of them, Silva said.

She said she would make the cake, but declined to write his suggested messages on the cake, telling him she would give him icing and a pastry bag so he could write the words himself. Silva said the customer didn’t want that.

Clearly the guy ordering the cake was a troll trying to make a point, and no doubt the point will soon be made since the case was referred to the Colorado Civil Rights Division, but if you are anxiously wondering what, oh what they will decide, if their response is anything other than the allowing the baker to decline anti-Gay bigotry on her cakes, I’ll have a double helping of gay wedding cake with rainbow icing.  In fact, I’ll have a slice regardless of what the Colorado Civil Rights Division decides, because that sounds delicious.

However it will have to be on a “cheat day.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time this sort of trolling has occurred.  A Christian website called bakeries to see if they would make a cake with “Gay Marriage is wrong” written on it.  You can guess the results, but hey, there are some opinions a business owner can apply to his customers and others that he can’t.

Of course the original troll (of which there have been many copies) was the legal action taken against the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery for refusing to bake a gay wedding cake for a lesbian couple. The shop was run out of business and started a veritable war on bakeries by gays that quickly expanded into other wedding services.

In New Mexico, a photographer who declined a job offer of photographing a same sex commitment ceremony was sued by New Mexico’s Human Rights Commission even though New Mexico didn’t even have gay marriage or civil unions at the time.  The photographer’s defense was on First Amendment grounds, but the First is gradually joining the Second in Amendments the left no longer recognizes. So a totally made up thing; like a “commitment ceremony” becomes not just a civil right, but a demand on everyone else to support it. Now on the list of services that this photographer provides, I rather much doubt “commitment ceremonies” were listed on the price sheet. But someone decided to troll and harass this businessperson anyway.  There is also the more famous Washington State florist case.

These aren’t religious institutions, these are individuals, and it looks like individuals are having their rights peeled away.  I can’t be indifferent to gay marriage, or even merely tolerant of it, the law is gradually going to force me to love, love, love gay marriage.

Religious institutions will eventually get theirs.  The people on the left who say they support religious freedom sure were supportive of the Obama administration’s initiative to force Catholic institutions to provide contraception.  If they can do that, they will eventually force churches to perform gay marriages.  That already happens in Europe and will happen in the US eventually, First Amendment or no First Amendment.

The US has become a strange and confusing place, where “rights” have become a zero sum game. For someone to get “rights” someone else must surrender theirs.

When “rights” start to conflict, then you are no longer talking about rights, you are talking about groups that have political power dumping on groups that don’t; even at the cost of real, constitutional rights. It’s pretty clear in this example whose constitutional rights are being violated.

The battle against gay marriage has long been lost, and it’s inevitable that in time, it will spread out to all 50 states.  If West Point is hosting gay marriages, then the Vatican will eventually.  Marriage went from being a social institution to civil right with benefits and prizes.   But during that battle, I’ve been told over and over that it doesn’t affect me and it doesn’t affect my marriage.

Yet no sooner did the Court ruling tide turned, the story changed, and I was told gay marriage meant there is a new (gay) sheriff in town, and his name is Intolerance.

I knew the promise that someone else’s gay marriage wouldn’t bother anyone would turn out to be a lie, but I admit I’m surprised with how rapidly we’ve gone to, “I just want my partner and I to have what you have,” to “You’re not allowed to ignore me, you must provide services for my over the top marriage extravaganza!  And if you don’t, I’ll see you in court!”

For the record, if I were a baker I would have no problem with taking money to make gay wedding cakes. In fact, that’s probably true for 99.9 percent of bakeries across the US, but then, there would be no reason to troll me or the vast majority of bakeries happy to make fabulous gay wedding cakes would there?  Instead, the hunt would be on to track down and run out of business the few who did have a problem with it.

To me, the common sense solution is that no baker should have to provide services he fundamentally opposes, but that’s too simple an answer now.  One view has to dominate and drive out everyone else who opposes it.

 

 

Free Speech Thoughts by Bill Maher

The post I wrote last week felt naggingly incomplete to me for some reason.  My purpose was to note that President Obama shouldn’t have gone to the Paris march since he of course wasn’t “Charlie” and had a record of being critical of satire aimed at Islam.  And also to note the irony that the world leaders who did show up at the march were not “Charlie” either.  They came from governments that restricted free speech in one way or the other.

It was another grim reminder on how rights can be taken for granted at the same time they are being quietly taken apart.  And this brings me to Bill Maher.

Maher isn’t in any way a favorite of mine, and the last time I watched him with any regularity he had a show on ABC.  Hey I wonder whatever happened to that…  But for someone who is part of the American left in the 21st Century, he still retains a little of the old 20th Century liberal in him.  Gather round children, because you may not believe it, but there was a time when liberals actually favored free speech, even when it wasn’t politically correct!  Even when they opposed the message!  I know, it’s hard to believe huh?

Of course Maher has had more reason than most liberals to care about freedom of expression as a concept, rather than merely as an obstacle that still allows enemies of the left to voice their opinions.  Just a few months ago he was heavily protested by his fellow leftists at a speaking engagement at UC Berkeley.

So it was not quite surprising when I ran across a Daily Caller story about Maher.  The story, written by Daily Caller writer Chuck Ross (who must be single handedly producing ¾ of the Caller’s content), was taken from Maher’s show Real Time in which he criticized  a group trying to organize a boycott of sponsors of the Rush Limbaugh show.  That’s what old time 20th Century liberals would do; defend, in Voltaire-like fashion, speech they hate.  I think Maher would much rather be on the attack Rush side than on the defense, but he’s mad at official liberalism right now so he’s firing back. Wait until he starts defending Palin….

The problem with Maher is that his liberalism hasn’t really evolved since the 1970’s. Liberals used to really care about free speech, and took seriously the Voltarian maxim that I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it. But that’s when they perceived themselves as the underdogs against “the establishment.” Now of course, they are the establishment. And guess what? They don’t like free speech. That’s why they want to regulate the internet, regulate political speech, and that’s why they’ve been pushing the doctrine of political correctness. Whatever speech they can’t make illegal, they want to make it unacceptable.

I’ve been surprised just how quickly the left has abandoned free speech.  Social Justice and Identity politics will not compromise with the Bill of Rights.  They demand total allegiance.

Maher is a dinosaur, and when his kind passes over to…well nothingness since he’s an atheist, the only defenders of free speech will be on the right.

 

President Obama isn’t Charlie

“The Future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

President Obama 2012

Hey, is someone missing in that picture?

The President took a lot of heat this week for not showing up for the Paris March last Sunday.  And by heat I don’t mean talk radio, I’m talking about the President’s own Praetorian Guard, the main stream media.  When you lose both Jake Tapper (CNN) and Andrea Mitchell (MSNBC) you’ve goofed big time. But in retrospect, I think it was probably the right move not to show up.  After a few days introspection, I think that March was dishonest and there wasn’t a clear message that the President wanted to get behind.  Sure, I think it could be safely said that Obama opposes massacres of journalists, but he really doesn’t like satire against Muslims in general and Charlie Hebdo in particular.

In response to the publication of anti Islamic cartoons in 2012 by Charlie Hebdo, this was the White House response:

“We have questions about the judgment of publishing something like this,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said, while adding “it is not in any way justification for violence.”

“We don’t question the right of something like this to be published, we just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it,” Carney said.

This is pretty much in line with the standard American left view of this, although as I’ve documented previously, the left and the First Amendment parted ways many years ago, and in Europe, it was never much more than a talking point anyway.  It would be hard to explain marching in support of Charlie Hebdo after the President’s histrionics about the YouTube video that the administration claimed caused the Benghazi attack. In that case, the administration tried to pressure YouTube to take down the video.

So much for standing up for free speech.  But let’s face it.  Obama is no more on board with the free expression than the rest of the left.

If President Obama marched in Paris, how would he answer a French Muslim that he’s marching to support free speech to insult his religion while at the same time, it’s a crime to question the Holocaust in France, as well as many other countries in Europe?  That’s why free expression is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.  Once you start creating carve outs to protect some group’s feelings, when do you stop?

Answer:  You don’t.  You only have free speech as long as it’s convenient to the government.  Of course that means that with the changing demographics of France, eventually Blasphemy against Islam will probably be criminalized.

And the French will still think they have freedom of expression.

 

 

 

The Media’s Five Steps in Dealing with Islamic Terrorism

I don’t have much to add to the attack on the offices of the Parisian satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.  I don’t want to say that we are exactly getting used to these sorts of things, but who is surprised that a magazine that mocked Mohammed, or as NBC news refers to him, “The Prophet Mohammed,” gets machine gunned?  That’s just the world we live in, a vibrant and confident Islam flexes its demographic muscles in areas where it’s been allowed to settle.  Meanwhile, a weak West, which believes in less and less, goes through its cycle of blame and recriminations.Charlie Hebdo

I don’t know exactly when I noticed it, but since yesterday, following the evolving news coverage of the shooting and aftermath, I was struck by how unsurprised I was at each step of the coverage.  It seemed to follow a fairly predictable pattern that resembles the Five Stages of Grief.  The only difference is that no progress is made when the media does it.  They never seem to get to acceptance.

Step 1:  We don’t know that Muslims did it.

You may think this step is prominent in the early moments of the crisis when we genuinely don’t know for sure who the culprits are, but it continues long afterward to deny who the culprits were.

Step 2:  OK they’re Muslims, but not real Muslims.

This is to separate Islam the religion, from Islam….uh…the religion.  Or at least it’s teachings.  Howard Dean was an especially amusing example of this when he insisted that the attackers were no more Muslim than he was.  Well Assalamu Alaykum Governor!   You’ll notice we’re near the end of stage two when you hear references to the Inquisition, the Crusades and Westboro Baptist Church.

Step 3:  Standing Together

This is where the media exhorts us to “stand together” with the moderate Muslims or with Free Speech, depending on the condition.  Sometimes it’s a mixture of both.  However nothing is more temporary than standing “with” anyone who is a target.  Ask Ayaan Hirsi Ali about that.

Step 4:  Root Causes

I’ve noticed that the root causes never have anything to do with the actual root causes.  In this case, the root causes were that Charlie Hebdo ran insulting Mohammed cartoons.  I mean, that is the real root cause.  But instead we’ll be treated to Islamaphobia, Imperialism, poverty, alienation, or whatever the left oops excuse me I mean the media, want to talk about.

Step 5:  Backlash

This is the real media worry, not continuing violent acts by Muslims, but that someone may actually be upset about it.  The New York Times put it perfectly:

LONDON — The sophisticated, military-style strike Wednesday on a French newspaper known for satirizing Islam staggered a continent already seething with anti-immigrant sentiments in some quarters, feeding far-right nationalist parties like France’s National Front.

This is a dangerous moment for European societies,” said Peter Neumann, director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London. “With increasing radicalization among supporters of jihadist organizations and the white working class increasingly feeling disenfranchised and uncoupled from elites, things are coming to a head.”

A “dangerous moment for European societies?”  “Things are coming to a head?”  You mean more Islamic terrorism?    Ha!  Foolish mortal!

Anti-immigrant attitudes have been on the rise in recent years in Europe, propelled in part by a moribund economy and high unemployment, as well as increasing immigration and more porous borders. The growing resentments have lifted the fortunes of established parties like the U.K. Independence Party in Britain and the National Front, as well as lesser-known groups like Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West, which assembled 18,000 marchers in Dresden, Germany, on Monday.

In Sweden, where there have been three recent attacks on mosques, the anti-immigrant, anti-Islamist Sweden Democrats Party has been getting about 15 percent support in recent public opinion polls.

Yes the real threat is anti-immigrant attitudes!

We can’t have any of that.  So the stages of dealing with Islamic Terrorism do lead to an acceptance of sorts, that the terrorists are the real victims all along.

It’s like an O Henry short story.

Zinger.

And then there will eventually be a new terrorist act, and the process begins all over again.

 

Some Holiday Reads

I’m too lazy to add anything to the commentary during the Christmas season (yes I said it, Christmas!), but frankly, there are a lot of good reads out that I recommend that say much the same thing I would say, if I was twice as talented and had ten times the motivation.  But hey, I’m actually busy with family things, so here are a few reads I recommend

Confessions of a Reluctant Culture Warrior

A good analysis of the year in crazy that this past year has been as political correctness has gone absolutely bedbug crazy.  I would say we’ve hit peak PC and some sanity should return any second, but I’ve thought that for years and we’ve just gone crazier.

And speaking of politically correct nonsense…

Do the Left Thing

My first thought, “Hey a funny parody!”  My second thought, “Am I sure?”  These days, it’s hard to tell.  For example…

“Listen When I Talk To You”: How White Entitlement marred my trip to a Furgeson teach-in

Sadly, not a parody.

For a more serious look at the same mentality, try out this article by Heather MacDonald:

The Microaggression Farce

In the political corruption department:

Ecuador Family Wins Favors After Donations to Democrats

Switch the parties from Democrat to Republican, and this might be the biggest political scandal of the year.  As it is, this will probably be the only story you’ll read about this.

And of course no collection of links would be complete without one from Mark Steyn.

The Real Battle For America is over Culture, not Elections

And in that vein, I’ve been gifted a copy of Mark Steyn’s After America.  I’m sure I’ll be even gloomier for the new year.