Californians have been experiencing ten days of the wettest, snowiest weather in recent memory. In the usually arid San Joaquin Valley, flooding is ubiquitous. The high Sierra passes are locked in snow well before the first of the year. If the United Kingdom is dealing with the irony of its elites’ recently warning of an end to snow on a now snowy island, out here our version of that embarrassment is water everywhere after Energy Secretary Chu warned us that our farms would blow away and that he could envision an end altogether of California agriculture — logically, he asserted, given that 90 percent of the annual Sierra snowpack would soon disappear.
While the state struggles with flooding and blizzards, Governor Schwarzenegger is advertising himself to the Obama administration as a possible post–Van Jones green czar, to regulate energy for the country as he has done for a now insolvent California. But then, once global warming morphed into climate change, too much rain, snow, and cold could become as symptomatic of too much man-made carbon being released as too little rain, snow, and cold once were. Start that engine, and thou shalt both burn and freeze in hell.
This week Attorney General Holder was warning about the threat of terrorism — but not terrorism in the usual liberal Timothy McVeigh, “even Christians can be terrorists” sort of gobbledy-gook. Rather, Eric Holder, as this Christmas’s new Dick Cheney, is warning about U.S. citizens who are stealthy radical Islamists. Holder fears that they wish to succeed where the would-be Times Square, subway, Portland, and Christmas airliner bombers all failed. He assumes that the terrorists among us for some reason did not read the Al-Arabiya interview, fully appreciate the Cairo speech, see the famous bow to the Saudi king, or hear of administration pressure on Israel. In short, “All religions produce terrorists,” is now followed by “But some religions produce more terrorists than others.”
So, gone for the moment at least are we “cowards” who racially stereotype, oppose the Ground Zero mosque in Neanderthal fashion, and fail to appreciate Holder’s own commitment to shutting down Guantanamo and trying KSM in a New York federal court. Much like his colleague Harold Koh (who, as an Obama State Department justice official rather than a Yale law dean, is no longer suing to put an end to waterboarding at Guantanamo, but is instead opposing those who are suing to stop Predator assassination missions), Holder in a blink of an eye went from trashing the Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism protocols to sighing that it is almost a matter of when, not if, home-grown Islamic radicals will kill lots of us. Holder’s road to Damascus is eerily reminiscent of the sudden conversion in 1938 of British intellectuals, who, as Czechoslovakia was swallowed, abruptly went from 15 years of trumpeting League of Nations pacifism to calling for British military deterrence against fascism. Unlike Holder, however, they at least explained why they had made their about-faces.
To be fair, the Obamaites are simply channeling their commander-in-chief, who spent a near decade, from 2001 to 2009, pontificating on the illegality or superfluousness of the Patriot Act, renditions, tribunals, Predators, Guantanamo, and overseas wars, and then as president embraced or even expanded all of them — with not a word of remorse that his earlier demagoguing might have done great harm both to the efficacy of the programs and to the reputations of those involved in them, as well as to his country’s image abroad. I suppose we are all Orwell’s farm animals now, mystified but quiet as we wake to see the commandments on the barnyard wall crossed out and written over#.