April 29, 2013
A Tribal War in Boston, posted by Daniel Greenfield @Sultan Knish blog
Terrorism, like urban crime, is one of those things that you’re not supposed to think about too much. It’s fine to talk about your emotions after a bombing or a mugging. You can even share stories and eventually learn to laugh about it. What you cannot do is talk about where it comes from except in the vaguest terms of social conditions. Like pollution from industry or corruption from government, it’s one of those toxic spinoffs of our modern society. It’s just there and we don’t much talk about it.
Islamic terrorism is considered a social problem in Europe. Ask an expert and they’ll talk your ear off about unemployment, racism, overcrowded housing and the same long list of reasons used to explain urban crime. The United States is slowly coming around to that same point of view.
Forget the great debate between whether people kill people or guns kill people. The conclusion reached by most governments before your grandfather was born is that social conditions kill people.
The Tsarneav brothers are being talked about in the same way that most serial killers are. “They were so nice. What made them do it?” It’s the empty repetition of a question to which no one really wants to hear the answer. “What could have made them do it?” isn’t a genuine question, it’s a ceremonial washing of the hands. A ritualistic statement that we couldn’t have known anything was wrong. How could we? They were so nice. More
April 28, 2013
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian, a prophet and, eventually a spy and conspirator to assassinate Hitler. He visited America as Hitler was gaining power in the German republic and was transformed by the true faith expressed in a church in Harlem. His story touches us now.
April 26, 2013
CNBC aired an even-handed documentary last night on the AR15 rifle, the weapon that has gotten perhaps the most bad publicity since its use by (probably insane) murderer/shooters in Colorado and Sandy Hook. If you watch the show, you would learn that the AR15 is just a rifle – when it’s stripped of its multiple handles, gun sights, extensions and magazine holders, there’s nothing scary there. Take way the crazy shooters, and there is nothing to show that banning this one popular weapon would change the vulnerability of people in crowded, open places.
It’s also not just the “preppers” who are wondering what the Obama administration is up to with gun control.
In fiscal year 2012, DHS purchased more than 103 million rounds of ammunition, to be used by about 70,000 DHS officers who are currently authorized to use weapons. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said Thursday that “the math” didn’t make sense, pointing out that this means an average 1300-1600 rounds per DHS officer – some 1000 rounds more than the average for an officer in the Army.”
Those of us who indulge in reading history understand what the early American colonists liked about the liberty to own guns, as witnessed by their placing it second in the Bill of Rights. Congress is getting some information in hearings on activities of the Homeland Security folks. Read more here.
April 22, 2013
Although most of Winnetka, Wilmette, Glencoe, Northfield and Kenilworth now are the 9th Congressional District, many North Shore voters are continuing to receive fundraising requests from the Bob Dold (not quite yet) for Congress campaign – in the 10th District to the north and west of us. Now Senator Mark Kirk has joined that bandwagon, and we can only wonder if there is some truth to the rumor that Kirk is thinking about resigning from the Senate sooner rather than later.
Although IL Governor “Marshmallow” Quinn (D) has the legal right to appoint a successor to fill out the next four years of Kirk’s term, rumor has it that there was a meeting between the heads of the Republican and Democrat parties in Illinois last weekend to make a deal concerning the succession. Why would Quinn consider appointing a “Republican” like Bob Dold? It might be just what the Illinois Democrats want – a moderate (working across the aisle/compromising) who votes reliably with Harry Reid’s program. That breed of Republican is on the wane, and Mark Kirk might want to resign only on the promise that Sen. Susan Collins et al have a friend in the Senate. Just speculating . . .
Here’s the letter from Mark Kirk, in case you missed it:
The 10th District needs Bob Dold. Bob has shown time and time again his willingness to put partisanship aside and work with Democrats, Republicans and Independents to move our country forward. Bob and I have worked to strengthen the security of Israel and to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. We worked together to introduce the Great Lakes Water Protection Act to ban sewage dumping in the Great Lakes. We have both been strong advocates for protecting access to women’s health care. Bob remains focused and committed to getting our neighbors back to work and reining in out of control spending Since becoming the Congressman of the 10th District, Bob has demonstrated our community’s longstanding tradition of thoughtful, independent leadership, making him the obvious choice in this election. Please join me in strongly supporting Bob Dold.”
And here’s how Senator Kirk describes the process that led to his compromise on gun legislation.
April 20, 2013
What brings two immigrant men, growing up in the fortunate surroundings of suburban Boston, to the breaking point of terrorism?
Following up on five days of gruesome footage on the Boston Marathon bombings, pundits now are filling cable news hours interviewing acquaintances of the Brothers Tsarnaev, airing the opinions of professors touting flimsy social theories, and of political hacks with axes to grind on one side or another. They would be better off to look where Common Core will never look again (Common Core being the newly re-oriented, Obama-nationalized curriculum) – classical literature, namely Count Leo Tolstoy’s penultimate short novel telling the story of the Chechen anti-hero, Hadji Murad.
Set in mid-19th Century Chechnya, Tolstoy tells the true story of Chechen warlord Hadji Murad as only he can – briefly, with concise detail and tragic judgment. Murad is a Muslim chieftain at odds with the local Imam leader; he has defected to the Russian enemy and his family has been captured by the Imam, yet the Russians refuse to help – they are preoccupied with serving their distant Czar. For this mountain tribe warrior there is no going home; he fights for his definition of justice, bravely and hopelessly, against oppression from all sides. For centuries, the Chechens have been a people who do not know peace – they are incessantly beleaguered by their Russian or Turkish neighbors; they just know how to fight.
This is one version of a romantic narrative that could have found its way into the hearts of the terrible young Chechen men who came to Boston. It’s a compelling story that hasn’t much involved Europeans. But more likely, the brothers are not Chechens at heart, but rather disoriented Islamic adolescents without a coherent history or a future in the 21st Century world that is America – a story intruding harshly and more often into our suburban lives. We can welcome them, but so far we don’t have any of the tools to reach inside them.
April 20, 2013
No one can doubt Senator Marco Rubio’s good intentions, both for the Republican Party and his country. But it’s becoming more and more clear that he is falling into the same trap that entangled even most-favored President Ronald Reagan – Democrat promises in the future in exchange for immigration amnesty now.
Schumer’s genius is to have placated Rubio not just with promises, but with new versions of old promises. Rubio touts the bill’s mandate for the creation of an exit-entry tracking system, a key piece of the puzzle of controlling who comes here. Congress first mandated the creation of such a system in 1996 . . . If the Gang of Eight bill becomes law, a natural political dynamic will take over. Denying any undocumented immigrant newly legal status will seem arbitrary and unfair, and so the notionally tough requirements for legal status will be only loosely applied. Pro-amnesty advocacy groups and the business lobby will work to undermine enforcement in the courts and in Congress. And the new argument against Republicans will become that they are alienating Latino voters by insisting on an inexcusably drawn-out process for formerly undocumented immigrants to get a citizenship (and become voters).”
Rubio needs to take a giant step back to the conservative position, and then stick to it: demonstrate border security now, then watch the country come together for immigration reform from the top down. Read more about the Rubio proposal here.