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Saturday, December 27, 2008

London: Muslims Promoting Event With Photograph Of New York In Flames

The End Of Time

That's their name for the event, not ours.

That's Islam - Islam is Jihad - Jihad is Islam.


A Muslim group has provoked outrage after inviting an extremist linked to the 9/11 hijackers to speak at a conference which is being promoted with a picture of New York in flames.

The End of Time event at the East London Mosque, which is being publicised on internet sites including Facebook, will feature a videotaped lecture from Anwar al-Awlaki, who is banned from entering the United States after allegedly acting as a spiritual adviser to three of the September 11 terrorists.

Mr Awlaki, who lives in Yemen, has been described as "an al-Qaeda supporter" by the US Department of Homeland Security, which has accused him in recent months of using video lectures to "encourage terrorist attacks".

He is due to deliver a video lecture at the mosque in Whitechapel on New Year's Day. Speeches will have titles such as The sound of the trumpet – the real terror starts.

Other speakers will include Suhaib Hasan, who advocates implementing sharia in Britain, and Khalid Yasin, who has described the beliefs of Christians and Jews as "filth".

The publicity material for the all-day event appears to be a clear reference to the attacks on New York, and features meteors raining down on Manhattan, setting fire to the city and shattering the Statue of Liberty.

It has already drawn comparisons with the "Magnificent 19" poster, which praised the September 11 hijackers and was used to publicise a 2003 event organised by Al-Muhajiroun, whose leader Omar Bakri Mohammed was later banned from Britain.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, said: "I would be extremely concerned if the East London Mosque, which has said it is committed to peace, diversity and interfaith dialogue, is giving a platform to such individuals."

In October, Charles Allen, America's undersecretary of homeland security for intelligence and analysis, described Mr Awlaki as "an al-Qaeda supporter, and former spiritual leader to three of the September 11 hijackers".

He claimed the cleric "targets US Muslims with radical online lectures encouraging terrorist attacks from his new home in Yemen".

A trial in New Jersey this month heard that three men accused of plotting to attack a US Army base had watched one of Mr Awlaki's internet sermons, Constants of jihad, the day before they agreed details of the alleged plot.

An informant told the hearing that the message the three men had taken from the video was that: "The time is now."


On his website, Mr Awlaki says: "We will implement the rule of Allah on earth by the tip of the sword whether the masses like it or not".

Robin Simcox, of the Centre for Social Cohesion, said: "That these extremist speakers are being given a platform by such an allegedly mainstream mosque, in one of the most Muslim-populous areas in the country, should be cause for serious concern."

A spokesman for the mosque said: "We didn't organise this event, they are just using our facilities."

Right. 

We ought to do to that Mosque what the IDF is doing to Gaza today.
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Never Such Pinpoint Bombing In The History Of Warfare, As The BBC Inadvertently Makes Clear


Never Such Pinpoint Bombing In The History Of Warfare, As The BBC Inadvertently Makes Clear 


Here is an account by the BBC, from "the BBC's Rushdi Aboualouf," their man in Gaza (well, Tim Franks is the primary anti-Israel propagandist in Gaza, but Rushdi Abaoulouf  is apparently a member of the local supporting staff), an account meant to be entirely unsympathetic, of course, to Israel and of course meant  to win our sympathy for the "Palestinians" who have done nothing to deserve any of this:

"It's hard to find a secure place in Gaza. Gaza has no shelters, it has no safe places. The Hamas security compounds are in the middle of the city - it's not the kind of place where you see compounds outside the cities.

I have witnessed one of the compounds - which is 20m away from my house - I was standing on the balcony and I have seen the Israeli airplanes hitting the place. "

So what do we learn from his report? That the "security compounds" are deliberately placed "in the middle of the city." It's no different from the anti-aircraft missiles and guns deliberately placed on top of mosques and schools by  the PLO, in Lebanon in 1982, and Hezbollah hiding -- not quite to the extent that the PLO did  -- among civilians as much as possible.

And yet, look what the Israelis did -- the reporter was standing on his balcony, a mere 20 meters from "one of the compounds" and he saw "the Israeli airp[lanes hitting the place" and leaving him, still standiing on his balcony. And why did he stay on his balcony during all this? Because, despite the stories of they wish us all to believe, their own actions and attitudes bespeak their real understanding. They call the Israelis Nazis, but clamor to be treated in Israeli hospitals by those same "Nazis." They call the Israelis murderers, but whenever a group of Arabs wants to flee another group of Arabs -- those "Palestinians" who fled from King Hussein's Bedouin troops during the crackdown on Black September -- they try to ford the Jordan, arms raised, hoping desperately that they will be allowed to surrender to the Israeli "killers."

And here, on his balcony, in the full security of knowing how careful the Israelis are, this Arab reporter stands, and sees the bombing, some twenty meters away, of one of those military targets that the Israelis aimed for, and hit, and once again, showed the world that denounces them -- what other country, anywhere, has engaged in such spectacularly pinpoint bombing designed to spare all but strictly military targets, even with those targets deliberately having been placed smack in the middle of, cheek by jowl with, civilian apartment buildings, schools, hospitals.

Once again the Israeli Air Force amazes.

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Israel Update

Thanks to Michael

As I reported earlier, IDF artillery and crack combat units have been called up in preparation for ground operations in Gaza and to repulse any adventures by Lebanese and West Bank terrorist forces. 

Most of the country remains quiet this evening with Tel Aviv and Haifa being the exceptions. The clubs and bars are full of noisy young people, some in uniform in case they are called up. Undeterred by the threats issued by the terrorist savages, young Israelis are doing what they do best....partying!

The image

IDF mobilizing tanks in event of Gaza ground incursion


IDF prepares to intensify operation against Hamas infrastructure in Gaza, sending tanks and infantry reinforcements southward in preparation for possible ground incursion. Throughout day IAF carried out strikes on nearly 100 Hamas targets; Palestinian health officials putting death toll at 225 people

Hanan Greenberg
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3645272,00.html

The Israeli Air Force struck a total of 100 Hamas targets in Gaza on Saturday with the launching of the operation dubbed 'Cast Lead.' Palestinian medical officials have reported at least 225 people killed in the Israeli strikes.  

Reactions

Mashaal: Launch third intifada / Roee Nahmias

Hamas vows it will not be defeated by IDF operation in Gaza, despite death toll of over 200 in one day. Exiled politburo chief for Islamist group calls on Palestinians to launch another wave of 'resistance' against Israel
Full Story

 

The IDF has also begun mobilizing tanks and reinforcement infantry troops to the Gaza region in the event a ground incursion is ordered. In an interview with the British SKY network, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that ground forces would indeed enter the Strip if the move was deemed necessary by Jerusalem.

 

Barak did not declare outright that there would be a ground offensive, but said that he could not presume to guess what Hamas' next move would be and therefore was preparing the military for any contingency.

 

In a message tailored to the British public, the defense minister said the British government would also not tolerate incessant attacks against its civilian population.

 

"I remember the British government crossing half the globe to protect British citizens that were attacked," he said.

 

In a later interview with FOX, Barak addressed the American public and said that asking Israel to agree to a ceasefire with Hamas would be like asking the US to agree to a ceasefire with Al-Qaeda.

 

Barak, who suspended all campaigning events for the duration of the operation, will brief government ministers on the progress of the strike in Gaza during Sunday's cabinet meeting.

 

Rocket fire continues

One of the targets bombed in the strike was the office of Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who was absent at the time of the strike. Hamas' leadership in Gaza has mostly gone underground in anticipation of an Israeli offensive. Most of the other targets were Hamas warehouses and training centers, at one location a graduation ceremony was in progress for new recruits to the movement's security forces. A number of Qassam-launchers were also hit.

 

During the evening targets in the Gazan neighborhood of Zeitun were targeted, as well as the Jabaliya refugee camp. Palestinian news agencies reported three dead in the strikes.

 

Meanwhile, the rocket fire towards Israel continued throughout the day, and by 9 pm 64 rockets had been fired, of them 44 were fired towards Eshkol and Sdot Negev Regional Council and the rest towards Sderot and Ashkelon.

 

The operation had been planned for many months, during which intelligence was gathered on Hamas' facilities in the Strip. The targets were struck over the course of the day, in which the IAF performed dozens of sorties in Gaza. The IDF has stated that this is only the beginning.

 

In photos released by the IDF many of the targets can be seen clearly, and they include a weapons warehouse and a Hamas training facility. Another target hit by the jets was a Hamas security office, which also held a weapons cache. The building had been previously used by snipers and mortar-launching cells.

 


The central outpost for Hamas' aid forces was also bombed, as well as the former office of the deceased Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.

 

The IAF also attacked a weapons warehouse that held armored cars, two of which were used by Hamas to carry out the terror attack at Kerem Shalom crossing in 2008, in which several soldiers were killed.


-- 

Next: Israel prepares Gaza ground incursion, Hamas gears for suicide terror


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DEBKAfile Special Analysis

December 27, 2008, 11:15 PM (GMT+02:00)


DEBKAfile's military sources assess the next stage of Israel's Gaza campaign as being a ground incursion of the Gaza Strip, to follow up the air bombardment of Hamas compounds Saturday, Dec. 27. Hamas estimates that in four minutes, dozens of Israeli bombers and helicopters flattened 30 "high profile" sites. At least 350 Palestinians were killed, 90 percent of them Hamas operatives, and between 700 and 800 more were injured. Some of the casualties are still buried under the rubble. The blow sustained by the Palestinian Islamist terrorist group was massive by any military standards and severely upset its military equilibrium. Its retaliation against Israeli towns and villages was therefore slower and smaller in scope that Israel expected.


The fifty plus missiles fired into Israel included a small number of 42-range Grad Katyusha rockets made in Iran. One Israeli was killed and several injured in Netivot and three more hurt when Sderot synagogue too a direct missile hit.

Nonetheless, Hamas will not show a white flag, even after losing hundreds of its military and police personnel, including top commanders, and will make a supreme effort to retaliate from the Gaza Strip as well as mobilizing its substantial Hizballah-backed command center in Lebanon. Hamas operatives will be pressed into service as suicide terrorists. They remain active after Israeli units and Mahmoud Abbas' special forces trained by US and British instructors conducted systematic crackdowns to crush them for more than a year. The second blow in the form of a formidable Israeli ground incursion without delay is therefore imperative to prevent Hamas getting its second wind.

While Israel's air attack is counted a success, its war chiefs are taking care not to be trapped by an early achievement into the sort of blunders which led to the Lebanon war's unsatisfactory conclusion in 2006. That campaign was commanded by a former airman, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, who saw no point in a ground operation after Hizballah's command center was razed by air – until it was too late.


The first objective of a ground force in the coming hours will be to destroy "Lower Gaza," the underground city designed by an Iranian general and spread under most of the enclave's area. This subterranean sanctuary kept the bulk of the Hamas army, 15,000 men, their officers and leaders, out of harm's way during the Israeli air offensive Saturday. Their resistance must be broken before Hamas can be brought to surrender. Until then they will fight on.

The second Israeli objective must be to sever the Gaza Strip from Egypt by recapturing the Philadelphi border strip.

These missions are formidable indeed and may take weeks of ups and downs, which is why prime minister Ehud Olmert's goal of restoring normal lives to the people of southern Israel is a lot less simplistic than it sounds. The air operation was indeed just the beginning.

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New York Times: Vast Majority of Those Killed In Gaza Are Hamas Police And Security Men

From Carl in Jersusalem:

... the New York Times is confirming that the 'vast majority' of those killed are Hamas police and security men (Hat Tip:Memeorandum).
A military operation against Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, had been forecast and demanded by Israeli officials for weeks, ever since a rocky cease-fire between Israel and Hamas broke down completely in early November and rocket attacks began in large numbers against Israel. Still, there was a shocking quality to Saturday’s attacks, in broad daylight on about 100 sites, as police cadets were graduating, women were shopping at the outdoor market and children were emerging from school.

The center of Gaza City instantly became a scene of chaotic horror, with rubble everywhere, sirens wailing, and women shrieking as dozens of mutilated bodies were laid out on the pavement and in the lobby of Shifa Hospital so that family members could identify them. The vast majority of those killed were Hamas police officers and security men, including two senior commanders, but the dead included several construction workers and at least two children in school uniforms.

Then, there's this, from Reliapundit at the Astute Bloggers:

SURPRISE COUNTER-STRIKE ON HAMAS: OVER 50 KEY HAMAS TARGETS HIT MULTIPLE TIMES IN UNDER 4 MINUTES
THAT'S WHAT I JUST HEARD ON FOX.

HERE'S HOW THEY PLANNED IT: Disinformation, secrecy, deception: How the Gaza offensive came about
Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public - all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces "Cast Lead" operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.

The disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.

Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas. According to the sources, Barak maintained that although the lull would allow Hamas to prepare for a showdown with Israel, the Israeli army needed time to prepare, as well.

Barak gave orders to carry out a comprehensive intelligence-gathering drive which sought to map out Hamas' security infrastructure, along with that of other militant organizations operating in the Strip.

This intelligence-gathering effort brought back information about permanent bases, weapon silos, training camps, the homes of senior officials and coordinates for other facilities.

The plan of action that was implemented in Operation Cast Lead remained only a blueprint until a month ago, when tensions soared after the IDF carried out an incursion into Gaza during the ceasefire to take out a tunnel which the army said was intended to facilitate an attack by Palestinian militants on IDF troops.

On November 19, following dozens of Qassam rockets and mortar rounds which exploded on Israeli soil, the plan was brought for Barak's final approval. Last Thursday, on December 18, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the defense minister met at IDF headquarters in central Tel Aviv to approve the operation.
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Diversity Means Only Reading Approved Books

Here is an excellent video on how Indiana University student Keith John Sampson was found guilty of "racial harassment" by the university's kangaroo court for reading a book. By the way, Notre Dame Vs. The Klan is in the university library. Better get that bonfire going at IU.



As per usual, the university would only call off its witch-hunt after much public embarrassment and threats of legal action.

Hat tip: Founding Bloggers

Crossposted at The Dougout
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George Bailey’s Wasted Life

Guest Commentary by Edward Cline:

I first saw Director Frank Capra‘s It‘s a Wonderful Life (1946) years ago in New York City, in one of the city’s many “revival“ theaters that featured “oldies,” or movies made before 1965. It was in the Thalia Theater, a small, run-down but comfortable, smoker-friendly Art Deco theater on the Upper West Side. Right around the corner, on Broadway, was the palatial New Yorker Theater, which also featured “oldies,” in which I also educated myself in the art of movie-making and story-telling.

I remember not liking It’s a Wonderful Life (IAWL) that first time, and my animus for it grew every time I saw it after that, chiefly because the life of George Bailey, the anti-hero, was not my life. George, played by Jimmy Stewart, had grand ambitions, but surrendered them to the needs of others. I had grand ambitions, as well, but never surrendered them. For all the American character of the film, I regarded it as distinctly anti-American.

For years I toyed with the idea of writing an answer (or a literary antidote) to IAWL, just as I would someday actually write a literary answer to Dashiell Hammett’s detective novel, The Maltese Falcon (as well as to the Humphrey Bogart film of it). But I had other literary projects to tackle, and an answer to Capra’s film remained far, far in the rear of my priorities, even though his postwar film was becoming something of a cultural “icon” and was being hailed by critics an American “classic.”

In a manner of speaking, Wendell Jamieson beat me to the idea in The New York Times, in his December 18, 2008 article, “Sorry, George, It’s a Pitiful, Dreadful Life.” In it, although he still confesses a fondness for the film, Jamieson projects an alternative destiny for Bedford Falls, George’s home town.

For those who are not familiar with the story, it is about the life of George Bailey, who wishes to become an architect or engineer and build skyscrapers and bridges and planned cities and the like. As a young man, every time he is about to go off to college or see the world beyond Bedford Falls, something happens to keep him home. After his father’s death, he feels obligated to take over the Bailey Building and Loan Association, and so winds up helping the “little people” buy their own homes (echoes of the recent “bailout“ crisis will remain unspoken here). He never leaves town. He is blind-sided by his feckless brother Harry, he marries a calculating, ambition-killing woman (presaging Lillian Rearden from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged) played by Donna Reed, has children, lives in a drafty mansion, and becomes a pillar of Bedford Falls society not because he has accomplished anything, but rather because he is so selfless. He has become a walking vehicle of Kantian maxims.

Then, on Christmas Eve and after VE Day, his chronically sodden Uncle Billy, who also works for the building and loan, misplaces an $8,000 deposit, which is handily snatched up by the “evil” town banker, Henry F. Potter, George’s financial nemesis who wants to “own“ the town. George cannot cover the loss, of course, and never learns who stole the money. But Potter, who is on the building and loan’s board of directors, initiates criminal charges against him. Facing scandal and prison, George snaps, chews out Uncle Billy, his wife, his kids, and others, and contemplates suicide. Then an angel is sent to teach George a lesson. The angel, played as a kind of half-wit, shows George what would have happened to Bedford Falls had he never been born, granting him that wish in answer to a tossed off remark by George to that effect.

Bedford Falls becomes Pottersville, a kind of upstate New York Las Vegas before Vegas was not much more than a literal desert watering hole, alive with gambling and dance halls and raucous taverns. His friends are impoverished by Potter, one of them, a cop, tries to shoot him, his mother doesn’t know him, the town flirt becomes a prostitute, and his wife a spinster working in the town library. George, of course, learns the lesson and is brought back to the present, grateful and full of Christmas cheer. He knows now that he “made a difference” in others’ lives by abandoning his ambition. He reunites with his family, and the whole town comes to his rescue by chipping in to cover the $8,000 loss. He is hailed by his war-hero brother as the “richest man in town” -- “rich” in all his friends.

What astounded me about Jamieson’s article is that he found Pottersville a far more interesting and exciting place to live than sleepy, dull Bedford Falls. “…Pottersville, with its nightclubs and gambling halls, would almost certainly be in much better financial shape today. It might well be thriving.” Thriving, that is, as a competitor of Saratoga Springs, a resort and horse-racing town not very far away from fictive Bedford Falls. “What a grim thought,” Jamieson asks in his article. “Had George Bailey never been born, the people in his town might very well be better off today.”

Jamieson also points out that, after consulting with a county district attorney, George still would have been liable for the $8,000 larceny, regardless of how he made restitution to the building and loan. “I mean, if someone robs a bank, and then gives the money back, that person still robbed the bank, right?”

Right. And Teddy Kennedy should have served time for involuntary manslaughter, and both of the Clintons should have donned prison jump suits for their many and various episodes of malfeasance.

Bosley Crowther, in his review of IAWL for The New York Times on December 23, 1946, was not so forgiving or imaginative. He liked certain aspects of the film, and credited the principal cast for its performance, but “Lionel Barrymore’s banker [Potter] is almost a caricature, and Henry Travers’ ‘heavenly messenger’ [Clarence the angel] is a little too sticky for our taste.” Crowther expresses his main objection:


Indeed, the weakness of this picture, from this reviewer’s point of view, is the sentimentality of it -- its illusory concept of life. Mr. Capra’s nice people are charming, his small town is quite beguiling and his pattern for solving problems is most optimistic and facile. But somehow they all resemble theatrical attitudes rather than average realities.

To Crowther, IAWL wasn’t “realistic” or “naturalistic” enough. Apparently, the theme and moral of the story were too pat, too syrupy, too simplistic, too predictable, and not convincingly delivered. But, then, any story in which an angel appears and determines the course of events cannot be at all realistic. One could also say that about any “happy ending” predicated on the triumph of altruism and selflessness, except in such instances as the fate of Catherine Halsey, Ellsworth Toohey‘s niece in The Fountainhead, and then it is a tragedy. And, like Jamieson, he does not question the altruist moral of the story, but accepts it as an unquestionable measure of the good. While Crowther found the film “emotionally gratifying,” it didn’t “fill the hungry paunch.” Jamieson, on the other hand, concludes his review by recounting his first viewing of the film in 1981:

“Fifteen years old and imagining myself an angry young man, I got all choked up. And I still do.”

The altruistic moral of the story is as uncontroversial to Crowther and Jamieson as having cream with one’s coffee: Others have a moral claim on one’s life; to do the “right thing” is to “give back” to others, to the community, to society, to the nation, now called volunteerism or community service. I regard IAWL as anti-American because it touts the virtue of selflessness, when being free to pursue one’s ambitions without any obligation to serve one’s fellow men was the implied moral cornerstone of this country’s founding.

Altruism is a tenacious, poisonous morality, even for those who do leave their own Bedford Falls to pursue their ambition. Look at billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, who are now devoting their lives and fortunes to “giving back” in the best George Bailey tradition. It is penance for being successful, and an unconscionable crime. Crowther was wrong in his estimate of the film. A nagging compulsion to serve the public remains the “average reality” in too many Americans today, just as it was in his time.

Its journey as a non-blockbuster in 1946 to its current status as a cultural icon could serve as a measure of the continuing loss of the country‘s sense of life and the fading of its vision as a nation of selfish, non-sacrificing, benevolent individuals. In 1990, IAWL was deemed by the Library of Congress as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.” It was nominated for five Oscars but won none, being buried by The Best Years of Our Lives, released also in 1946, and which featured no angels but touted selflessness and sacrifice in a more “realistic” manner. It won seven Oscars. The American Film Institute rated IAWL third only to The Lord of the Rings in the fantasy genre, but definitely ensconced in the top 100 American films.

Ayn Rand, who testified before the House of Representatives’ Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) in 1947 about the Communist influence in Hollywood, wished to testify against The Best Years of Our Lives, but was only given a chance to speak about Song of Russia. What she would have said to the committee appears in Journals of Ayn Rand.* Song of Russia was an obvious wartime propaganda vehicle, but The Best Years of Our Lives was a film about the lives of servicemen returning from the war. Rand considered its collectivist “message” far more insidious and effective than that of Song of Russia.


Nobody has ever been endangered by being offered poison in a bottle bearing a label with a skull-and-crossbones. Poison is usually offered in a glass of the best wine -- or, modern version, in a quart of the milk of human kindness.

That criticism could just as well be applied to IAWL, except that instead of the milk of human kindness, its poison was offered in a tall glass of holiday eggnog. Interestingly, Rand wasn’t the only person to see the communist influence in Hollywood. The FBI regarded IAWL as communist propaganda. A memo to Director J. Edgar Hoover in May 1947 begins:


With regard to the picture "It's a Wonderful Life", [redacted] stated in substance that the film represented rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a "scrooge-type" so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists.

In addition, [redacted] stated that, in his opinion, this picture deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters.

Frank Capra once said that IAWL “was the story I had been looking for all my life. A good man, ambitious. But so busy helping others, life seems to pass him by. Despondent. He wishes he had never been born. He gets his wish. Through the eyes of a guardian angel he sees the world as it would have been had he not been born. Wow! What an idea. The kind of idea that when I get old and sick and scared and ready to die -- they’ll say, ‘He made The Greatest Gift.’”

“In a 1946 interview, Capra described the film’s theme as ‘the individual’s belief in himself,’ and that he made it to ‘combat a modern trend toward atheism.’”**

It was a belief in himself as a capable servant of society that Capra is speaking of, not anything so offensive as individualism and self-confidence. The union of and alliance between left-wing collectivism and religion, a phenomenon we are witnessing today (such as in the presidential campaign, articulated by both major candidates) began longer ago than anyone could have imagined.

Jimmy Stewart in a 1977 article summed up his own estimate of the film:

“…[T]here is nothing phenomenal about the movie itself. It’s simply about an ordinary man who discovers that living each ordinary day honorably, with faith in God and selfless concern for others, can make for a truly wonderful life.”

My own “answer” to It’s a Wonderful Life would have seen George Bailey escaping Bedford Falls and leaving all his hapless, parasitical beneficiaries of his selflessness to their just fates. But, some years ago I realized that I could write such a story only if I made the fate of the residents of Bedford Falls the chief story line, not George Bailey’s life and achievements beyond that “one-horse town.” It was just not interesting enough a story in which to invest any creative energy.

There is, however, one specific episode in my rendition of the film I would have definitely included: George elopes with the town flirt and sex siren, Violet Bick (played by Gloria Grahame), spurning Mary Hatch. I leave the rest of the story to your imagination.

Happy New Year.

*Journals of Ayn Rand, New York: Dutton, 1997. Edited by David Harriman. Pp. 367-386 for a full accounting of her HUAC testimony and her article on The Best Years of Our Lives for the Motion Picture Alliance.
**It’s a Wonderful Life: A Memory Book, by Stephen Cox. Nashville: Cumberland House, 2003.

Crossposted at The Dougout

Update, by Grant:

Over at the Huffington Post there is an incoherent rant posted by has-been actress Jamie Lee Curtis that has to be read to be believed. It's titled "It is a Wonderful Life" and touts the joys of government caused poverty as being good for the super-sized masses.

What this crisis is going to do is bring us into financial alignment. Families may have to live together again! What a concept. Grandparents will live with their grown children and help raise their grandchildren -- even at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Neighbors are going to meal share and carpool and child care for each other and maybe even rent out parts of homes to other families. Less meat, more beans. Might be better for you anyway. Less indoor gym workouts and more walking, more park time, more family outdoor time.

Curtis then goes on to cite the moral superiority of the Joads in The Grapes of Wrath for being poor, humble, "little people" who abandoned their "I" for the collective "we."

The woman personifies naked evil. To only thing worse that Curtis are the mindless fools in the comments cheering for a new Great Depression. Go read her screed if you dare.
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What a Single Nuclear Warhead Could Do


Why the U.S. 
needs a space-based missile defense 
against an EMP attack.


The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have proven how vulnerable we are. On that day, Islamic terrorists flew planes into our buildings. It is not unreasonable to believe that if they obtain nuclear weapons, they might use them to destroy us. And yet too many policy makers have rejected three basic facts about our position in the world today:

First, as the defender of the Free World, the U.S. will be the target of destruction or, more likely, strategic marginalization by Russia, China and the radical Islamic world.

Second, this marginalization and threat of destruction is possible because the U.S. is not so powerful that it can dictate military and political affairs to the world whenever it wants. The U.S. has the nuclear capability to vanquish any foe, but is not likely to use it except as a last resort.

Third, America will remain in a condition of strategic vulnerability as long as it fails to build defenses against the most powerful political and military weapons arrayed against us: ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. Such missiles can be used to destroy our country, blackmail or paralyze us.

Any consideration of how best to provide for the common defense must begin by acknowledging these facts.

Consider Iran. For the past decade, Iran -- with the assistance of Russia, China and North Korea -- has been developing missile technology. Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani announced in 2004 their ability to mass produce the Shahab-3 missile capable of carrying a lethal payload to Israel or -- if launched from a ship -- to an American city.

The current controversy over Iran's nuclear production is really about whether it is capable of producing nuclear warheads. This possibility is made more urgent by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statement in 2005: "Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism? But you had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved."

Mr. Ahmadinejad takes seriously, even if the average Iranian does not, radical Islam's goal of converting, subjugating or destroying the infidel peoples -- first and foremost the citizens of the U.S. and Israel. Even after 9/11, we appear not to take that threat seriously. We should.

Think about this scenario: An ordinary-looking freighter ship heading toward New York or Los Angeles launches a missile from its hull or from a canister lowered into the sea. It hits a densely populated area. A million people are incinerated. The ship is then sunk. No one claims responsibility. There is no firm evidence as to who sponsored the attack, and thus no one against whom to launch a counterstrike.

But as terrible as that scenario sounds, there is one that is worse. Let us say the freighter ship launches a nuclear-armed Shahab-3 missile off the coast of the U.S. and the missile explodes 300 miles over Chicago. The nuclear detonation in space creates an electromagnetic pulse (EMP).

Gamma rays from the explosion, through the Compton Effect, generate three classes of disruptive electromagnetic pulses, which permanently destroy consumer electronics, the electronics in some automobiles and, most importantly, the hundreds of large transformers that distribute power throughout the U.S. All of our lights, refrigerators, water-pumping stations, TVs and radios stop running. We have no communication and no ability to provide food and water to 300 million Americans.

This is what is referred to as an EMP attack, and such an attack would effectively throw America back technologically into the early 19th century. It would require the Iranians to be able to produce a warhead as sophisticated as we expect the Russians or the Chinese to possess. But that is certainly attainable. Common sense would suggest that, absent food and water, the number of people who could die of deprivation and as a result of social breakdown might run well into the millions.

Let us be clear. A successful EMP attack on the U.S. would have a dramatic effect on the country, to say the least. Even one that only affected part of the country would cripple the economy for years. Dropping nuclear weapons on or retaliating against whoever caused the attack would not help. And an EMP attack is not far-fetched.

Twice in the last eight years, in the Caspian Sea, the Iranians have tested their ability to launch ballistic missiles in a way to set off an EMP. The congressionally mandated EMP Commission, with some of America's finest scientists, has released its findings and issued two separate reports, the most recent in April, describing the devastating effects of such an attack on the U.S.

The only solution to this problem is a robust, multilayered missile-defense system. The most effective layer in this system is in space, using space-based interceptors that destroy an enemy warhead in its ascent phase when it is easily identifiable, slower, and has not yet deployed decoys. We know it can work from tests conducted in the early 1990s. We have the technology. What we lack is the political will to make it a reality.

An EMP attack is not one from which America could recover as we did after Pearl Harbor. Such an attack might mean the end of the United States and most likely the Free World. It is of the highest priority to have a president and policy makers not merely acknowledge the problem, but also make comprehensive missile defense a reality as soon as possible.

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George Bush: The Great Liberator

I don't really agree with this article from the Telegraph, but I will post it because it's is a dramatic and well-deserved (deserved by Bush, that is) departure from the Bushitler syndrome that the media has been caught in for the past seven years.

(By the way, just a note. I don't agree with the article, because I think Iraq and Afghanistan will fail, not because they had to, but because Bush allowed Sharia to be enshrined in their respective systems. I hope to God I am wrong, and that this article is a precursor to history books to come.)

From the Telegraph:

George W Bush
Criticism of George W Bush is often driven by a dislike of his personality, not analysis of his achievements Photo: EPA

On much of the world stage, President Bush has been widely reviled as one of the worst U.S. leaders of modern times, and it is hard to think of an American president who has received a worse press since Richard Nixon.

To his critics, who are legion on both sides of the Atlantic, the war in Iraq has been a monumental disaster, at a cost of more than 4,000 American lives and at least $500 billion. They see the war on terror, with the notorious Guantanamo prison camp as its symbol, as a catalyst for radicalizing tens of millions of Muslims that has made the United States a pariah in the Middle East.

The war in Afghanistan, they argue, is going badly in the face of a resurgent Taliban, the cost of Washington pouring most of its resources into Iraq. Bush, the theory goes, failed to keep his eye on the ball, weakening the fight against al-Qaeda through his supposed obsession with Iraq. He is also accused of undermining America's standing in the world, adopting a unilateralist foreign policy and refusing to work with its Allies.

Some of the criticism of Bush's foreign policy is fair. The early stages of the occupation of Iraq were poorly handled and there was a distinct lack of post-war planning. America's public diplomacy efforts have been poor or even non-existent, with little serious attempt to combat the stunning rise of anti-Americanism. More recently, Washington's failure to stand up more aggressively to Moscow after its invasion of Georgia projected weakness and indecision.

Much of the condemnation of his policies though is driven by a venomous hatred of Bush's personality and leadership style, rather than an objective assessment of his achievements. Ten or twenty years from now, historians will view Bush's actions on the world stage in a more favourable light. America's 43rd president did after all directly liberate more people (over 60 million) from tyranny than any leader since Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Widely seen as his biggest foreign policy error, the decision to invade Iraq could ultimately prove to have been a masterstroke. Today the world is witnessing the birth of the first truly democratic state in the Middle East outside of Israel. Over eight million voted in Iraq's parliamentary elections in 2005, and the region's first free Muslim society may become a reality. Iraq might not be Turkey, but it is a powerful demonstration that freedom can flourish in the embers of the most brutal and barbaric of dictatorships.

The success of the surge in Iraq will go down in history as a turning point in the war against al-Qaeda. The stunning defeat of the insurgency was a major blow both militarily and psychologically for the terror network. The West's most feared enemy suffered thousands of losses in Iraq, including many of their most senior commanders, such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Abu Qaswarah. It was the most successful counter-insurgency operation anywhere in the world since the British victory in Malaya in 1960.

The broader war against Islamist terrorism has also been a success. There has not been a single terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, and for all the global condemnation of pre-emptive strikes, Guantanamo and the use of rendition against terror suspects, the fact remains that Bush's aggressive strategy actually worked.

Significantly, there have been no successful terrorist attacks in Europe since the July 2005 London bombings, in large part due to the cooperation between U.S., British and other Western intelligence agencies. American intelligence has proved vital in helping prevent an array of planned terror attacks in the UK, a striking demonstration of the value to Britain of its close ties to Washington.

President Bush, in contrast to both his father, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton before him, had a crystal clear, instinctive understanding of the importance of the Anglo-American Special Relationship. Tony Blair may well have been labeled Bush's "poodle" over his support for the war in Iraq, but his partnership with George W. Bush marked the high point of the Anglo-American alliance since the heady days of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

The decision by Bush, with Blair's support, to sweep the Taliban out of Afghanistan was a brilliant move, one that not all U.S. presidents would have taken. A weaker leader would have gone to the United Nations Security Council and sought a negotiated settlement with Kabul. It was a risky gambit that was vindicated by a stunning military victory in the space of a month, with a small number of U.S. ground forces involved.

Bush also made a firm commitment to defending the fledgling Afghan government, and succeeded in building a 41-nation NATO-led coalition. The notion that the resurgence of the Taliban is America's failure is nonsense. The U.S. has more than 30,000 troops in the country under U.S. or NATO command, making up over half of all Allied forces there. Continental European allies have simply failed to step up to the plate with more troops, with almost the entire war-fighting burden placed on the U.S., UK and other English-speaking countries. Afghanistan is not a failure of American leadership, it is a damning indictment of an increasingly pacifist Europe that simply will not fight.

President Bush also recognized the importance of re-shaping the NATO alliance for the 21st Century, backing an ambitious program of NATO expansion, culminating in the addition of seven new members in 2004. He also had the foresight to support the development of a missile defence system in Europe, successfully negotiating deals with both Poland and the Czech Republic. Bush was right to back the eventual inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine in NATO, and both would be well on their way to membership today were it not for the feckless decision of France and Germany to side with Russia in blocking their path to entry.

Bush began his presidency primarily as a domestic leader. He ends it as a war leader who has left a huge imprint internationally. His greatest legacy, the global war against Islamist terror, has left the world a safer place, and his decision to project global power and military might against America's enemies has made it harder for Islamist terrorists to strike against London, Paris or Berlin.

Bush's decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power will make it less likely that rogue regimes, Iran and North Korea included, will seek to militarily challenge American power. The memory of the invasion of Iraq and the unequivocal message that sent is by far the most effective deterrent to Tehran developing a nuclear weapon.

If superpowers do not demonstrate an ability and a willingness to wield power (as Britain did on numerous occasions at the height of the Empire) their hegemony will be increasingly challenged. President Bush exercised U.S. military power to stunning effect in both Iraq and Afghanistan, an important reminder that America was still a force to be reckoned with after the 1990s humiliation of Somalia and the half-hearted missile strikes against Bin Laden in Sudan. In an age of growing threats and challenges, the projection of hard power matters, and America's next president would be wise to take heed.

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An Obamafied American Idol Christmas

Grow Up!
An Obamafied American Idol Christmas.

By Mark Steyn

I was at the mall two days before Christmas, and it was strangely quiet. So quiet that, sadly, I was able to hear every word of Kelly Clarkson bellowing over the sound system “My Grown-Up Christmas List.” Don’t get me wrong — I love seasonal songs. “Winter Wonderland” — I dig it. “Rudolph” — man, he’s cool, albeit not as literally as Frosty. But “Grown-Up Christmas List” is one of those overwrought ballads of melismatic bombast made for the American Idol crowd. It’s all about how the singer now eschews asking Santa for materialist goodies — beribboned trinkets and gaudy novelties — in favor of selfless grown-up stuff like world peace.

Which is an odd sentiment to hear at a shopping mall.

But it seems to have done the trick. “Retail Sales Plummet,” read the Christmas headline in the Wall Street Journal. “Sales plunged across most categories on shrinking consumer spending.”

Hey, that’s great news, isn’t it? After all, everyone knows Americans consume too much. What was it that then Senator Obama said on the subject? “We can’t just keep driving our SUVs, eating whatever we want, keeping our homes at 72 degrees at all times regardless of whether we live in the tundra or the desert and keep consuming 25 percent of the world’s resources with just 4 percent of the world’s population, and expect the rest of the world to say you just go ahead, we’ll be fine.”

And boy, we took the great man’s words to heart. SUV sales have nosedived, and 72 is no longer your home’s thermostat setting but its current value expressed as a percentage of what you paid for it. If I understand then Senator Obama’s logic, in a just world Americans would be 4 percent of the population and consume a fair and reasonable 4 percent of the world’s resources. And in these last few months we’ve made an excellent start toward that blessed utopia: Americans are driving smaller cars, buying smaller homes, giving smaller Christmas presents.

And yet, strangely, President-Elect Obama doesn’t seem terribly happy about the Obamafication of the American economy. He’s proposing some 5.7 bazillion dollar “stimulus” package or whatever it is now to “stimulate” it back into its bad old ways.

And how does the rest of the world, of whose tender sensibilities then Senator Obama was so mindful, feel about the collapse of American consumer excess? They’re aghast, they’re terrified, they’re on a one-way express elevator down to Sub-Basement Level 37 of the abyss with no hope of putting on the brakes unless the global economy can restore aggregate demand. What does all that mumbo-jumbo about “aggregate demand” mean? Well, that’s a fancy term for you — yes, you, Joe Lardbutt, the bloated disgusting embodiment of American excess, driving around in your Chevy Behemoth, getting two blocks to the gallon as you shear the roof off the drive-thru lane to pick up your $7.93 decaf gingersnap-mocha-pepperoni-zebra mussel frappuccino, which makes for a wonderful cool refreshing thirst-quencher after you’ve been working up a sweat watching the plasma TV in your rec room all morning with the thermostat set to 87. The message from the European political class couldn’t be more straightforward: If you crass, vulgar Americans don’t ramp up the demand, we’re kaput. Unless you get back to previous levels of planet-devastating consumption, the planet is screwed.

“Much of the load will fall on the US,” wrote Martin Wolf in the Financial Times, “largely because the Europeans, Japanese and even the Chinese are too inert, too complacent, or too weak.” The European Union has 500 million people, compared with America’s 300 million. Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain are advanced economies whose combined population adds up to that of the United States. Many EU members have enjoyed for decades the enlightened progressive policies Americans won’t be getting until January 20th. Why then are they so “inert” that their economic fortunes depend on the despised moronic Yanks?

Ah, well. To return to Kelly Clarkson — and Barbra Streisand and Michael Buble and Amy Grant — the striking thing about their “Grown-Up Christmas List” is how childish it is. The concerned vocalist tells Santa that what she wants for Christmas is:

“No more lives torn apart,
That wars would never start…”

Whether wars start depends on the intended target’s ability to deter. As to “lives torn apart,” that, too, is a matter of being on the receiving end. If you’re in an African dictatorship, your life can be torn apart. If you’re in a society that values individual liberty, you’ll at least get a shot at tearing your own life apart — you’ll make bad choices, marry a ne’er-do-well, blow your savings, lose your job — but these are ultimately within your power to correct. The passivity of the lyric — the “lives” that get “torn apart” is very revealing. A state in which lives aren’t torn apart will be, by definition, totalitarian: As in The Stepford Wives or The Invasion Of the Body Snatchers, we’ll all be wandering around in glassy-eyed conformity. “Lives” will no longer be “torn apart” because they’re no longer lives, but simply the husks of a centrally controlled tyranny. To live is messy but liberating: Free societies enable the citizenry to fulfill their potential — to innovate, to create, to accumulate — while recognizing that some of their number will fail. But to attempt to insulate free peoples from moral hazard is debilitating and ultimately fatal. To Martin Wolf’s list of a Europe “too inert, too complacent, too weak,” we might add “too old”: Healthy societies recharge their batteries by the aged and wealthy lending their savings to the young and eager. But Germany is a population of prosperous seniors with no grandchildren to lend to. Japan is a society of great invention with insufficient youth to provide a domestic market. That’s why if you’re Sony or Ikea or any other great global brand, you want access to America for your product. That’s why economic recovery will be driven by the U.S., and not by Euro-Japanese entities long marinated in Obamanomics.

One final thought on “My Grown-Up Christmas List.” The first two lines always give me a chuckle:

“Do you remember me?
I sat upon your knee…”

When was the last time you saw a child sit upon a Santa’s knee? Rod Liddle in the British Spectator reports that at a top London department store Santa sits at one end of the bench while a large “X” directs the moppet to a place down the other end, well out of arm’s reach. For even Santa Claus is just another pedophile in waiting. Naughty or nice? Who really knows? Best not to take any chances. That’s another way societies seize up — by obsessing on phantom threats rather than real ones.

Are free peoples now merely vulnerable infants in need of protection from the pedophile Santa of global capitalism? This is the issue that will determine the future: Euro-style state-directed protectionist sclerosis vs. individual liberty in all its messiness. I know what I want on my “Grown-Up Christmas List.”

© 2008 Mark Steyn


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posted by WC at permanent link# 2 Comments

Because it's a war of the peoples, stupid...Israel finally begins Gaza action

Israeli F-16 bombers have launched a series of air strikes against key targets in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 155 people, medical chiefs say.

Gaza officials and the Hamas militant group said about 200 others were hurt as missiles hit security compounds and militant bases across the territory.

The strikes, the most intense Israeli attacks on Gaza for decades, come days after a truce with Hamas expired.

Israel said it was responding to an escalation in rocket attacks from Gaza.
Hamas will continue the resistance until the last drop of blood,
Fawzi Barhoum
Hamas spokesman
GOOD, you freak.
Negotiations are worthless.

"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. "

"There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."

"After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying." - HAMAS CHARTER

Hizballah the same

Syria the Same

Iran, worse

PLO just a bunch of marginalized gangsters

Egypt, in check only thru American pressure and aid and hatred of Iran

Jordan, petrified of it's freakish arab neighbors and Iran and
not all that different anyway

Bismarck had this backwards

What's going on in the middle east is not politics continued by other means (war), it is war continued by every means

HAMAS is correct

"Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.."


jewish_blood420.jpg
the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Moslem generations until Judgement Day. This being so, who could claim to have the right to represent Moslem generations till Judgement Day? This is the law governing the land of Palestine in the Islamic Sharia (law) and the same goes for any land the Moslems have conquered by force, because during the times of (Islamic) conquests, the Moslems consecrated these lands to Moslem generations till the Day of Judgement.This Waqf remains as long as earth and heaven remain. Any procedure in contradiction to Islamic Sharia, where Palestine is concerned, is null and void.
HAMAS CHARTER

Ideas and actions, pressure over the absurd idea that a peace is possible, all contribute to the weakness of the west and the death of Israel. This dance is to the finish courtesy of the the determination of the other side. When the Muslim peoples themselves reject this idea of Jihad as a 6th pillar of Islam (as the Iraqis did), and the Muslim peoples themselves kill these murdering bastards or turn them all in to be publicly dealt with, there will be a peace, and it will be fast from that moment until resolution, because the issues among us will be political. Until then this world is subsumed in what has never been before, a world wide religious war. It is time to end handing this situation to future generations and accept what we face. Let's force this to a conclusion in our time. Let's use every means in our power to ensure that the Muslim people finally reject this endless war by killing off those who feel what they regard as god's supremacy must be brought about on an ocean of blood.If they will not or cannot do this, don't look to us for respite.
Islam's literal rejection of peace is a choice for war. There are no authoritative public voices in Islam for the end to all this. If they speak they are dead, even if that is what they believe.
That is THEIR conundrum to solve.
But we must recognize the bitter and ugly reality.
Israel is a part, not the cause of what lies between the west and the quran. No action by Israel save all the jews moving to North Dakota will bring the kind of peace you envision to the Middle East. Actions must be in the heart of the arabs, FOLLOWED by political concessions on both sides.There is nothign else
Are you feeling it, Barack?
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