President Obama needs to wake the hell up regarding the Muslim Brotherhood

No, I don’t expect any “waking up” to happen, as the left’s naive and dangerous tendency to treat established radical public figures and regimes – especially Islamists masquerading as “moderates” – as allies of America is well-documented.  But all the same, National Review editor Rich Lowry sounds alarms bells today in a blistering rebuke of the Obama administration’s fawning admiration of the Muslim Brotherhood, in particular, its President – Mohamed Morsi. Lowry writes:

The great, acerbic 19th-century satirist Ambrose Bierce defined a revolution as “an abrupt change in the form of misgovernment.” He would understand events in Egypt since the fall of Hosni Mubarak very well.

In the signature revolution of the Arab Spring, the country turned its back on a secular dictatorship only to fall into the arms of what looks like a budding Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship. Meet the new pharaoh, same as the old pharaoh. Except Egypt’s old form of misgovernment may soon look progressive by comparison.

Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi’s decree neutering the judiciary is the latest act in his steady consolidation of power. While he assiduously builds a dictatorship, the Obama administration just as assiduously tells itself bedtime stories about his good intentions. It’s a perfect division of labor — he goes about his empire-building with a clear-eyed realism; we consider it through a gauzy lens of delusion.

Since the end of Mubarak, the air has been thick with descriptions of the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi as moderates, as basically no more than Islamic social democrats. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper called the Muslim Brotherhood “largely secular.” If he had been speaking of the Church of England, he might have been right.

Unfortunately, the Brotherhood’s credo is, “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our law; the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.” And it’s not kidding. Morsi summarized his program during the campaign as “the sharia, then the sharia, and finally the sharia.” (Unlike President Barack Obama, at least he had an agenda.)

Eric Trager of The New Republic describes how Brotherhood recruiting emphasizes rigidity. “Throughout this process,” he writes, “rising Muslim Brothers are continually vetted for their embrace of the Brotherhood’s ideology, commitment to its cause, and — most importantly — willingness to follow orders from the Brotherhood’s senior leadership.” In sum, he says, it is “a cultish organization that was never likely to moderate once it had grasped power.” Obviously, Trager would never make it as national intelligence director.

After Mubarak’s fall, we fooled ourselves about the level of support for the Brotherhood. We fooled ourselves about the Brotherhood abiding by its promise not to run for the presidency. We fooled ourselves about what a Morsi victory would mean for democracy. Why stop fooling ourselves now?

Morsi staged his latest power grab on Thanksgiving Day in the immediate aftermath of working with Obama to get a cease-fire in hostilities between Hamas (a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot) and Israel. In a New York Times piece that ought to be preserved in amber as a record of 21st-century liberal naiveté, the paper reported that in his talks with Morsi, “Mr. Obama felt they were making a connection.” How sweet.

“He was impressed with the Egyptian leader’s pragmatic confidence.” And who can resist the lure of pragmatic confidence?

“He sensed,” the paper continued, in a gushing tone, “an engineer’s precision with surprisingly little ideology.”

Disturbing. Make sure to read the whole thing.

(Via Memeorandum)

Secession? No, try federalism

**Posted by Phineas

In the wake of the presidential election earlier this month, a lot of people expressed their disappointment with the results by submitting petitions for secession at the White House web site. Petitions were received from all 50 states, and there were several counter-petitions from progressives urging the government to let them go.

To be honest, and even though I signed South Carolina’s to support my friend Gay Patriot, I looked at these as just blowing off steam after a disappointing election loss, just as liberals fantasized about secession in 2004. I didn’t and don’t take them seriously.

My mistake, in at least one respect. As Prof. Glenn Reynolds points out in an op-ed in USA Today, petitions such as these and more serious secession movements in Scotland, Catalonia, and elsewhere arise from anger at a central government from which they feel alienated for various reasons. While the petitions themselves may not be serious, the resentment and irritation caused by being forced to obey one-size-fits-all laws you hate is very real. And, if left to fester, it can lead to more serious problems.

What’s the answer, if secession isn’t it? Reynolds looks back to the handiwork of a very smart group of men who came up with a solution suited to a large, diverse republic, and suggests we give federalism a try:

So what’s a solution? Let the central government do the things that only central governments can do — national defense, regulation of trade to keep the provinces from engaging in economic warfare with one another, protection of basic civil rights — and then let the provinces go their own way in most other issues. Don’t like the way things are run where you are? Move to a province that’s more to your taste. Meanwhile, approaches that work in individual provinces can, after some experimentation, be adopted by the central government, thus lowering the risk of adopting untested policies at the national level. You get the benefits of secession without seceding.

Sound good? It should. It’s called federalism (1), and it’s the approach chosen by the United States when it adopted the Constitution in 1789. As James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 45, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”

Surely Reynolds wrote this with a wink and a smile, for federalism is the way were are supposed to operate, and our problems have grown as the federal government has usurped more and more of the states’ proper role, turning gradually from a government of limited powers to Leviathan. Consider it another way: the more the federal government tries to do everything, the less it can do anything well.  The national economy and health care systems are too large and too diverse, and there’s too much information coming in, for them to be directed top-down by a few hundred (or even a few thousand) pols and bureaucrats in D.C. The needs of people differ in various parts of the country, and the resources needed to even try to manage everything nationally wind up being diverted from those things only the federal government can do well, such as national security.

The solution, as Reynolds writes, is to recognize those spheres of competence and respect them, something that’s happened less and less since the progressive era. This isn’t to say that the enumerated powers of Article 1, Section 8 are the end all and be all; the Founders themselves recognized that the Constitution would sometimes need amending (2) –including granting the federal government more power– and put in place procedures for doing just that. It’s through ignoring those limits and procedures that we’ve reached a point whereat so many think, with some justification, that the United States Government is becoming a threat to their liberty and prosperity.

Change won’t be easy, and the genie of the progressive administrative state probably can’t ever be wholly put back in the bottle. But for the health of our body politic we have to keep trying.

Footnotes:
(1) Also “states’ rights,” but that term was forever tainted thanks to defenders of slavery and Jim Crow hiding behind it, back in the day.
(2) And I do think several are needed to deal with the progressive-statist tendency to grab more and more power. Professor Randy Barnett’s Bill of Federalism is a great starting point for discussion. Oddly enough, in the wake of their defeat in 2004, progressives themselves were arguing for federalism. Bipartisanship!

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Cult of Personality Watch: “The Gospel According to the Apostle Barack”

**Posted by Phineas

“He walks among us.”

I truly thought this was satire when I read the headline, something Iowahawk would come up with.

But, no. It’s real, and the author is serious:

The book’s premise is God spoke to Professor [Barbara A. Thompson, Florida A&M], telling her that Apostle Barack Obama’s 155 speeches made between February 10, 2007 and January 20, 2009 had the answers to unlock the kingdom of “heaven here on earth.”

And this is from the book’s promo text on Amazon:

Yes, Barack had worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people, especially those who elected him in 2008. His followers needed to re-elect him to a second term, so that he could continue to accomplish the promises he made, thus, realizing his vision of America as a more perfect political union or “heaven here on earth” Then, as I began to contemplate ways to assist Barack in his 2012 re-election bid something miraculous happened. I felt God’s (His) Spirit beckoning me in my dreams at night. Listening, cautiously, I learned that Jesus walked the earth to create a more civilized society, Martin (Luther King) walked the earth to create a more justified society, but, Apostle Barack, the name he was called in my dreams, would walk the earth to create a more equalized society, for the middle class and working poor. Apostle Barack, the next young leader with a new cause, had been taken to the mountaintop and allowed to see over the other side. He had the answers to unlock the kingdom of “heaven here on earth” for his followers. The answers were repeated – over and over – in speeches Barack had made from his presidential announcement to his inaugural address. Those speeches or his teachings contained the answers to the middle class and working poor people living in a “heaven here on earth” For when the answers were unlocked and enacted, Apostle Barack’s vision of America would be realized.

I’ll wait here while you go hurl.

Out of all the observations and arguments over the direction of our culture, it’s the tendency of some, mostly on the Left, to eschew self-government in favor of a Leader who somehow embodies the spirit of the nation and can divine the “national will” that perhaps disturbs me most. Ronald Pestritto describes this in his discussion of Hegel’s influence on President  Wilson in “Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism:”

“People follow the world-historical individual because they see their own spirit in him. This leader has in him the vision of the people’s future. ‘Their fellows, therefore, follow these soul-leaders; for they feel the irresistible power of their own inner Spirit thus embodied.’ Wilson laid out a similar concept of democratic leadership in his essay ‘Leaders of men,’ … As Hegel explains, leadership is necessary in order to uncover and bring to the surface the people’s true will, which become increasingly manifest as history progresses. Underneath the apparent clash of subjective interests and passions, there is a true, unified, and objective will, Leadership finds this true will and points it out to the people.”

(“Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism,” Kindle edition, beginning at location 276)

Adjust for the religious framing of Professor Thompson’s work and Hegel’s talk of “spirit” and “will,” and I think you can see the family resemblance. This veneration of the leader and the paternalistic “knowing the people’s will before the people themselves know” is part and parcel of American progressivism, not just in Wilson’s time (and, to an extent, his predecessor, TR), but in the present day in his modern acolyte, Obama. Goldberg discusses this tendency extensively in his must-read, “Liberal Fascism,” and it’s an unhealthy one in a democratic republic, something far too many succumb to.

While people like Obama cloak their beliefs in words of democracy, at their heart they’re statist, elitist, and anti-democratic. At the extreme end of their politics lies totalitarianism, wherein, as Professor Thompson anticipates as “heaven on earth,” God and the State become one.

RELATED: Some earlier examples of the Obama cult of personality.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Election Day: “Forth, and fear no darkness!”

**Posted by Phineas

Today is it, folks. The day of decision. After four years of being governed by the most left-wing administration in US History, as well as the most feckless since James Buchanan; after four years of suffering under incompetent boobs (save for their outstanding competence at corruption and cronyism) who treat the Constitution and the Rule of Law like a twenty-dollar hooker; after four appalling years that weakened the nation, abased us before our enemies, and caused hundreds of deaths; after all that, we finally get our say.

I’ve been thinking of how to describe my mood this day, a mood of both determination and elation, of standing on the verge of liberation. And it came to me that mere words wouldn’t do, but that a film clip (1) would capture it perfectly:

We have them on the run, folks. They’re nervous, ready to break. But now is not the time to let up. If you haven’t voted yet, then turn off the computer and get off your duff and vote! For Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, a Republican Senate (2), and the Founders’ America. Its time to send the Progressives back howling into the wilderness. An informed and determined freeborn citizen is what they fear. Remind them of why. Go. Vote.

Forth, and fear no darkness!

PS:  I’m sure there are those who will see all sorts of “racist dog whistles” in this post. (“He said ‘darkness!’ I must tweet Chris Matthews about this!”) That’s your problem. I happen to be a big Lord of the Rings fan, and that scene is the greatest cavalry charge in movie history. Ever. And it reflects perfectly how I feel about today.

Footnotes:
(1)The first minute or so can be seen (kinda sorta) as a metaphor of the last four years, starting on election night, 2008. But once the horns blow, that’s today, baby. Charge!

(2) My second worst fear is that the Democrats retain the Senate, leading to another two years at least of gridlock. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen, okay?

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Obama: Upcoming election has “nothing to do” with #Benghazi murders

That’s what you think, buddy (hat tip):

President Obama again on Friday defended his administration’s handling of the attack that killed four Americans in Libya, and said he’s not holding back information ahead of Election Day.

“The election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened,” Obama said in an interview with KUSA, the NBC affiliate in Denver.

“Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do. But we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I’ve made a commitment to the families impacted as well as the American people, we’re going to bring those folks to justice,” he said in one of several interviews with local TV stations in battleground states that he sat for Friday afternoon at Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington.

Pressed twice during the KUSA interview, Obama wouldn’t address a Friday report suggesting that the Americans in Benghazi asked for more assistance as the Sept. 11 attack was taking place, and instead stressed that his administration is engaged in a thorough investigation.

What happened here is that President Obama thought he could avoid having to answer any questions about the Benghazi  murders by allowing local media affiliates to interview him ahead of the election rather than taking questions from the national media/WH press corps – which he has gotten very clever at avoiding. But KUSA had other plans. My hat is off to them for asking tough questions of this President.

And, yes, we know his administration is using one cheap delay tactic after another to stall on answers for Libya in advance of the election because they want the truth to remain hidden. They want so badly for this to blow over, for the American people to forget.  But they wont.   Benghazi will impact on how people vote in November. I know the military was pretty solidly in the tank for Mitt Romney to begin with, but I think his and his administration’s callousness and dodginess on this issue may persuade a not so small percentage of those in the military planning on voting for him to either not vote in the Presidential election at all – or to vote for Mitt Romney.  Not to mention how it may impact independents, who are already leading Romney in key battleground states.

William Teach at Pirate’s Cove writes in response:

Au contraire, it has everything to do with Americans left hanging out to dry, because this is all part of the the pattern of incompetence of the Obama administration, and the incompetence starts at the top. We have the worst economic recovery post-recession ever, with the US economy just malaising around since July 2009, the end of the recession. Two Americans and over 200 Mexicans killed thanks to the guns the Obama administration walked and didn’t bother tracking. Blowing off our allies around the world. Our enemies laughing at the USA. And now this fiasco in Libya.

Simply put, this man has done nothing to earn a single vote for re-election. Let’s hope the American people send that message loud and clear to him on Nov. 6th at the ballot box.

One-percenter #BigBird living large off of untaxed earnings and “offshore nest eggs”

Oh, the suffering:

Far from being a pauper, Sesame Workshop, the company that produces the beloved children’s television program that has become an unlikely point of partisan bickering in the presidential campaign, has put away more than $100 million in investments, including more than $20 million in hedge funds and $9.7 million in a private equity fund.

PBS, the partially publicly funded network that broadcasts “Sesame Street” and its marquee character Big Bird, has come under fire from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who says the government cannot afford to support it anymore. President Obama has leapt to Big Bird’s defense on the stump and in campaign ads.

But according to its 2010 tax returns, the nonprofit Sesame Workshop had so much untaxed earnings from royalties, video sales and merchandising that it had $110 million in investments, including the hedge fund and private equity fund. Big Bird also has some offshore nest eggs. At least some of the income from Sesame Workshop’s hedge-fund investments, which would have been taxable if derived from domestic funds, goes untaxed because it was generated by offshore affiliates of such funds.

Daryl Mintz, Sesame Workshop’s chief financial officer, defended the New York-based production company’s investment portfolio, telling The Washington Times that the nonprofit firm reinvests all of the profits from sales of its products back into educational programming for children.

“Sesame Workshop puts all of the revenues generated from its programs and licensed products back into the development and production of educational programs for children,” he said.

Uh huh.

Remember this at the Halloween costume parties you go to in the next few days that are attended by self-righteous liberals dressed up as Big Bird who believe Sesame Street will effectively “die” if Mitt Romney the “child-hater” is elected President.

Quote of the Day: Rep. Allen West on President Obama’s UN speech

From Rep. West’s Facebook page:

In his speech today to the United Nations, President Obama stated six times that the attacks across the Islamic world are attributed to a silly video. Furthermore, he refused to use the words terrorist attack in referring to what occurred in Benghazi Libya at our US Consulate on the 11th anniversary of 9-11. He continues to offer up apologies instead of defending our hard earned First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression. There is no message to this silly video trailer, and it is beneath the dignity and esteem of the Office of the President of the United States to mention it at all. When tolerance becomes a one way street it leads to cultural suicide. I shall not be tolerant of the intolerant. I know about the UN Resolution 1618 which would make any statement deemed by the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) “offensive’ to Islam a crime…..NOT ON MY WATCH FELLAS!

My statement to the United Nations would have been, “The future does not belong to those who attack our Embassies and Consulates and kill our Ambassadors. The Angel of Death in the form of an American Bald Eagle will visit you and wreak havoc and destruction upon your existence”

Now, that’s leadership.

Any questions?

LA Times op/ed writer argues “Innocence of Muslims” does not pass “free-speech test”

I rarely find myself at a loss for words, but this column pretty much gets me there. Excerpts:

While many 1st Amendment scholars defend the right of the filmmakers to produce this film, arguing that the ensuing violence was not sufficiently imminent, I spoke to several experts who said the trailer may well fall outside constitutional guarantees of free speech. “Based on my understanding of the events,” 1st Amendment authority Anthony Lewis said in an interview Thursday, “I think this meets the imminence standard.”

Finally, much 1st Amendment jurisprudence concerns speech explicitly advocating violence, such as calls to resist arrest, or videos explaining bomb-making techniques. But words don’t have to urge people to commit violence in order to be subject to limits, says Lewis. “If the result is violence, and that violence was intended, then it meets the standard.”

Indeed, Justice Holmes’ original example, shouting “fire” in a theater, is not a call to arms. Steve Klein, an outspoken anti-Islamic activist who said he helped with the film, told Al Jazeera television that it was “supposed to be provocative.” The egregiousness of its smears, the apparent deception of cast and crew as to its contents and the deliberate effort to raise its profile in the Arab world a week before 9/11 all suggest intentionality.

The point here is not to excuse the terrible acts perpetrated by committed extremists and others around the world in reaction to the video, or to condone physical violence as a response to words — any kind of words. The point is to emphasize that U.S. law makes a distinction between speech that is simply offensive and speech that is deliberately tailored to put lives and property at immediate risk. Especially in the heightened volatility of today’s Middle East, such provocation is certainly irresponsible — and reveals an ironic alliance of convenience between Christian extremists and the Islamist extremists they claim to hate.

Sarah Chayes, former special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is a resident associate at the Carnegie Endowment and a contributing writer to Opinion.

Professor William Jacobson:

Empowering the people who start fires to determine what we can and cannot say is how freedom of speech dies in this country.

We already are pretty far down that path.

Should we burn the Constitution now, or …?

Update – 7:30 PM: AllahPundit pwns Chayes. Read it all.

Intelligence source: There was no anti-film demonstration before Libya Consulate attack

Via Fox News:

An intelligence source on the ground in Libya told Fox News that there was no demonstration outside the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi prior to last week’s attack — challenging the Obama administration’s claims that the assault grew out of a “spontaneous” protest against an anti-Islam film.

“There was no protest and the attacks were not spontaneous,” the source said, adding the attack “was planned and had nothing to do with the movie.”

The source said the assault came with no warning at about 9:35 p.m. local time, and included fire from more than two locations. The assault included RPG’s and mortar fire, the source said, and consisted of two waves.

The account that the attack started suddenly backs up claims by a purported Libyan security guard who told McClatchy Newspapers late last week that the area was quiet before the attack.

“There wasn’t a single ant outside,” the unnamed guard, who was being treated in a hospital, said in the interview.

These details appear to conflict with accounts from the Obama administration that the attack spawned from an out-of-control protest. The Libyan president also said Sunday that the strike was planned in advance.
U.S. officials, in response to the claim that there was no demonstration at the time of the attack, told Fox News there was a small protest earlier in the day — but they did not dispute that there was no significant or sizeable demonstration at the time.

Is the “anti-Islam filmmaker” being turned into a scapegoat over what looks to be attacks coordinated to happen on the anniversary of 9-11? Will we ever know the truth?