Rapid developments in US politics have prompted the publication of this somewhat slim number of The Penguin Post. Disappointed subscribers may look forward to the next issue, which is planned as a longer, more intellectually nourishing serving of reason and truth.
Five Links To News And Comment You May Have Missed
1. Professional policing, Arkansas style — but outrages like this are not limited to Arkansas, unfortunately. Some police officials belong in prison.
2. The PenPo has warned you about mobile “phones,” compact fluorescent bulbs, and life-shortening vitamin pills. Next: smoking. Yes, you have heard it all, and you say you have the right to smoke. You are correct. That has to be remembered and honored — along with newevidence that your smoke is more harmful to others than was previously realized.
3. The search for and exploitation of energy sources are becoming increasingly painful. Nuclear energy, specifically fusion, is the fond hope of many, but the USA is not sufficiently devoted to its development. One scientist
…foresees a day when every hospital could have its own little fusion reactor churning out oxygen-15 and other isotopes for diagnostic purposes. (Right now they’re created in cyclotrons.)
He said fusion devices could also be used to detect hidden nuclear weapons and buried explosive devices. They could even disable nuclear weapons. ‘We probably shouldn’t discuss that, but there are ways,’ he said.
4. Kelo. The word designates one of the most disgraceful US federal supreme court decisions ever. It’s right up there with Dred Scott. With a single stroke of madness, the Supremes rendered every homeowner’s deed to his property null and void at worst, and conditional at best. And what has been done to correct this threat to the Liberty of the individual and to the authority of the US constitution? Several things that are spelled out on these two websites. It’s still not enough. When the loons on the supreme court manage to bamboozle Souter, the consequences take a tremendous amount of fixing.
5. Along with multiculturalism, political correctness and conspiracism, one of the fundamental weaknesses of contemporary Western Civilization is the mythological doctrine of multilateralism. This pernicious concept refers to the falsehoods by which some people order their politics; these deceits have given rise to a number of “progressive” slogans such as “quagmire,” “torture” at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, the “illegality” of regime change in Iraq, a “monopolar” world, and the USA as “hegemon.” The subject is explained in a powerful piece in Commentary; it’s well worth your time.
Can Muslims Be Moderate, Whatever “Moderate” Means?
More on the peculiar concept of the “moderate Muslim:” a recent article in Commentary presents Kosovar Muslims for our consideration. By all means read the piece and see what well-intentioned folks mean when they claim that Islam can be tolerant, peaceful and well-adapted to the contemporary realities of a diverse world. Note, as well, that the nominal Muslims described in the article do exactly the same thing with the Koran that an overwhelming number of Christians and Jews do with The Old Testament: ignore large parts of it.
Of course that raises two serious questions: first, do the Muslims of Kosovo genuinely consider the Koran to be the commandments of God as given to Mohammed by the angel Gabriel, or do they laugh off at least part of the old hoax? Second, is it up to the individual to decide what to ignore and what to believe when it comes to mandates that are claimed to be divine — or, to put it another way, can each person redefine a faith as he chooses, and somehow remain within the community of the faithful?
Those familiar with fundamentalist Christianity will recognize the issues. The inerrancy of this or that scripture is a question that has been variously resolved, and often by catastrophic bloodshed. Isn’t it absurd that so much suffering can proceed from a debate in which no evidence whatsoever is available?
The problem with “moderate” Muslims is that they tend to support the Koran-believing murderers. Those who claim to be Muslims but refuse to tolerate the terrorists are, of course, decent folks, which is to say their status as genuine Muslims must be doubted. How can you be a believer if you don’t believe? Perhaps everyone should think of Sufism as a distinct religion apart from Islam.
Sam Harris sheds light on this murky subject in a recent article that appears on a “progressive” website. It’s another brilliant contribution from this philosopher-author. Selected quotes:
Muslims appear to be far more concerned about perceived slights to their religion than about the atrocities committed daily in its name. Our accommodation of this psychopathic skewing of priorities has, more and more, taken the form of craven and blinkered acquiescence.
The position of the Muslim community in the face of all provocations seems to be: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn’t, we will kill you.
Wherever “moderate Islam” does announce itself, one often discovers frank Islamism lurking just a euphemism or two beneath the surface.
The connection between the doctrine of Islam and Islamist violence is simply not open to dispute.
Many western scholars, like the much admired Karen Armstrong…. All of their talk about how benign Islam “really” is, and about how the problem of fundamentalism exists in all religions, only obfuscates what may be the most pressing issue of our time: Islam, as it is currently understood and practiced by vast numbers of the world’s Muslims, is antithetical to civil society.
…if anyone in this debate can be credibly accused of racism, it is the western apologists and “multiculturalists” who deem Arabs and Muslims too immature to shoulder the responsibilities of civil discourse.
…there is a calamitous form of “affirmative action” at work, especially in western Europe, where Muslim immigrants are systematically exempted from western standards of moral order in the name of paying “respect” to the glaring pathologies in their culture.
…we need more criticism of Islam, not less. Let it come down in such torrents that not even the most deluded Islamist could conceive of containing it.
These snippets do not suffice. Read the entire article.
What Will She Do? And What Will It Mean, When She Does It?
As this is written, pressure is building on Hillary to give up. She may, and at any moment, rendering this issue of the PenPo largely off-target. One article on the internet claims that Hillary will fight to the last feminist.
Daring prediction: it is not like Hillary to quit. She did not stick with Slick for nothing; she did not live down her failure to figure out how to deliver universal health care in order to retire in disgrace; she did not launch her crusade against the “vast right wing conspiracy” in order to avoid conflict; she did not dismiss her history of corruption with a wave of the hand because she wanted to repent; the fact that Obama will beat her is just another silly idea she can crush, as she sees it. She will soldier on.
Some decry the harm (“nuclear winter”) she will do her party if she does not pull out soon. They say she should place party loyalty above her ambition. After all, she may indirectly help McCain defeat Obama.
They don’t understand Hillary.
If the PenPo’s prediction proves wrong, then it might be said that nobody understands Hillary.
What Really Matters About The Coming Change Of Administrations
Iraq, Iran and the Muddle East. Little else is likely to change much, no matter who wins the White House. The nation will see an attempt to impose some weak-kneed version of socialized medicine. Immigration policy will remain the decades-old disaster it is today. Nobody will do anything significant to improve veterans’ health care and benefits. The fight over who is appointed to the federal judiciary will be bitter and frustrating, education will continue to decline, political correctness will face no determined assault, and the drug trade will corrupt more officials. Domestic commercial airlines will be no safer, and law enforcement will remain almost as big a problem as crime. There will be no rational energy policy.
Things will rattle along more or less as they have, with Congress once again debasing the moral coin of the national government.
Obama or McCain — it won’t matter all that much, because the two men are pretty much alike when it comes to the core issues, and neither has the personal ethical stature to inspire the nation to clean things up.
The next president will be able to write history and do great or terrible things in foreign policy, however. It is on this basis that the voters should make their choice. Informed, rational decisions are required.
An informed electorate is exactly what the Democrats and the news media do not want. This is why “reporting” from Iraq has been so tightly censored: the realization that the USA can pull it off, is winning, and has all the advantages in any conceivable future scenario has been considered pro-Bush (and therefore anathema), and is today believed fatal to Obama’s dreams.
What follows is a sample of the available evidence to support that contention.
1. The battle of Sadr City is going much better than the public knows.
2. Al Qaeda has just suffered a significant loss.
3. Iraqis are increasingly clear about the role Iran is playing in the violence that still exists in some parts of their country.
A weblogger sums up:
GETTING READY FOR A BIG PUSH IN SADR CITY, and a media-related prediction: “This will likely take weeks to complete. Once the battle starts, expect to read and hear plenty of media reports emphasizing civilian deaths, setbacks in the battle, defections in the Iraqi Army, and statements of defiance from Sadr. What we won’t hear is progress by Maliki and the US in finishing off Sadr’s forces until it suddenly becomes impossible to ignore it — and then we will hear about how inept the Iraqi forces were in achieving victory. Call it the Basra Narrative. Just because it failed in Basra doesn’t mean the defeatist media won’t use it again, and again, and again.”
The basic rule of press coverage is that if there’s fighting, we must be losing. All wars produce ups and downs, bad news and good. It’s interesting, though, that our press seems mostly interested in making things look bad, though they’re not even very good at reporting the bad news that matters. Some related thoughts here.
UPDATE: Reader Walter Boxx emails: “The way the Japanese could tell they were losing WWII was that the great victories reported by their media were getting closer and closer to home. Our media problem is like a fun-house mirror version of this – the way we can tell we are winning is that our crushing defeats are happening less often and to different enemies.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader in Iraq whom I regard as reliable says to watch for some bad news from Basra in the next few days, though no specifics are included. Well, war generates good and bad news, so stay tuned. I have little doubt that the big-media crowd will be ever so swift in delivering it once it becomes public.
Meanwhile Iran and its puppet Hezbollah (Link One, Link Two) are doing what they can to make the US electorate uncomfortable with the USA’s presence in the region. The attempt is twofold: first, make US voters see that it’s all Israel’s fault, and second, prove that peace between that nation and its Muslim neighbors is impossible — so the USA should back off and not get burned in the coming destruction of Israel.
Given these realities, one could of course conclude that an immediate withdrawal of US troops from the entire region is the best course of action, and that a neo-isolationist policy must be followed. To some extent, Obama has been leading people to believe that is what he would do.
The press has long crafted its stories and editorials to present current US policy as a failure following on a number of bad decisions. Now the voters must decide whether to allow all the progress made so far to crumble. If they do, or if they are perceived to make that choice, how will bin Laden and the mullahs in Iran react?
Having long preached that the USA is a nation without the courage to fight as long as victory demands, the leaders of the Islamic establishment are a highly predictable lot. Obama’s foreign policy, if it turns out as advertised, would be the greatest gift anyone could possibly give the enemies of Western Civilization.
On the other hand, Obama may simply be saying the things he believes the “progressives” want to hear. Perhaps he does not consider the USA an international criminal, a terrorist state, and the exploiter of the world’s poor. We really don’t know what he thinks. That is something to think about.