Politics & Policy

Trouble all over, &c.

We speak about a “Global War on Terror,” and “global,” certainly, is not too grand. Islamofascism is all over the place; it should be fought all over the place, too. For years — long before 9/11 — I’ve been struck by how far-flung this problem is: the problem of jihadist terror. You hear reports from Africa, from the Philippine jungle. Practically no part of the globe is immune.

I was reminded of all this by a report of an attack in a Thai town, bordering Malaysia. “Muslim insurgents” bombed a hotel.

I have not yet seen a similar report from Antarctica. But, if one ever came in, I’m afraid that our reaction would be not surprise but a sigh.

‐Romney ran a final ad in Iowa, saying, “I’ve spent my life tackling big problems, helping turn around business, the Olympics, and state government. Together we can grow our economy, stop illegal immigration, defend life, and preserve the values that make America the hope of the earth. It’s time to turn around Washington.”

You know what I’m going to say, don’t you? That phrase “grow our economy” dances on the ear with a spiked boot. That use of the verb “grow” has been in vogue for about ten years now, I think. I suppose it’s here to stay. But it seems to me that Mitt Romney, who has done so well in the economy, should do the economy the favor of saying, for example, “make the economy grow.”

You with me?

‐But am I with you? In yesterday’s Impromptus, I said that I was writing on Sunday for Wednesday — so please forgive material that seemed dated, or the omission of some big event. I say the same today: I am writing Monday for Thursday (am on a strange schedule). So: If forgiveness is necessary . . .

‐Long ago, a hoax was invented: a speech by Benjamin Franklin in which he warned of a “Jewish danger” to America. Of course, Franklin never gave such a speech. But the so-called Franklin Prophecy has long been in circulation. And guess where it’s popular? In the Middle East, of course, where a Syrian cleric just gave a speech about it — on Al-Jazeera TV. (As usual, MEMRI has the goods, here. If you’d like to read about the hoax, go here — where the ADL gives the history.)

To add icing to the cake, our Syrian imam cited Lyndon LaRouche! Shouldn’t he have thrown David Irving into the mix, too?

The Franklin Prophecy is not as famous a hoax as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Egyptian state television aired a series based on The Protocols; is it time for a series based on Franklin, too? And if Egyptian TV made such a series — what would Washington say to its friends in Cairo?

‐Almost nothing in an Arab or Muslim country is as disheartening as a recent story out of Israel. It would be unbelievable — except that we know so much about the America-hating Left in America, especially in academia. Well, Israel has an Israel-hating Left, especially in academia. Brace yourself:

A research paper that won a Hebrew University teachers’ committee prize finds that the lack of IDF rapes of Palestinian women is designed to serve a political purpose.

The abstract of the paper, authored by doctoral candidate Tal Nitzan, notes that the paper shows that “the lack of organized military rape is an alternate way of realizing [particular] political goals.”

The next sentence delineates the particular goals that are realized in this manner: “In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be seen that the lack of military rape merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences — just as organized military rape would have done.”

The paper further theorizes that Arab women in Judea and Samaria are not raped by IDF soldiers because the women are de-humanized in the soldiers’ eyes.

(For the complete news article, go here.)

Arab women are not raped by Israeli soldiers, as helpless women are raped by soldiers all over the world, because Israeli soldiers are bad — racist. This “research paper” has won an academic prize.

As usual with such episodes, you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Some sort of mixture, I suppose, is appropriate.

‐And do you laugh or cry at this? There is a restaurant in Providence, R.I., dedicated to celebrating the Cuban revolution — what Castro and his lieutenants have done since 1959. Here is their website. And this is some of what they say:

The Cuban Revolution is much more than a place to find great food at a great price with great atmosphere. We honor the revolutionary spirit of individuals who struggle against tyranny and oppression, fight big government and corporate greed, while giving their lives in the fight against injustice — where ever it exists.

We provide a spirited counter-culture environment reminiscent of a 1960s coffee house with the passion of a Latin beat. We promote individual freedom and challenging the status quo. . . .

Borne of a desire to rid Cuba of the US supported dictator Fulgencio Batista who ran Cuba as a Mafia-controlled “Latin Las Vegas,” the Cuban Revolution was a popular rebellion of the masses led by the charismatic Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. Athough it’s primary goal was to rid Cuba of decades of corporate and political corruption fueled by the heavy hand of American imperialism, it sought to restore basic human rights and an identity to a beautiful land of proud and distinguished people completely independent of the corporate interests of the United States.

And so on. This is what Cubans in America and elsewhere in the West face every day. This is the sort of thinking, in fact, I grew up with, in Ann Arbor. It is sometimes claimed that the American Left does not support the Castro regime; that the Left merely has differences in how to oppose that regime. I know this is untrue — I have lived its untruth. And you know it isn’t true, either.

The support given by the American Left to this brutal dictatorship, which has imprisoned, tortured, killed, and broken so many, is a deep, deep stain on our national record.

‐But here is some good news: The Cuba Archive made an announcement earlier in the week. Here it is:

In anticipation of the 49th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution on January 1st, Cuba Archive, a non-profit organization based in New Jersey, has unveiled an electronic database of [the revolution’s] documented victims. With cases encompassing all sides of the political spectrum, the magnitude, gravity, and systematic nature of the crimes of the Cuban Communist leadership leave no doubt of its long and profound disregard for human life.

Cuba Archive launched today an online system with thousands of case records assembled over years of research. The comprehensive effort documents cases irrespective of the political or ideological attributes of the victims or perpetrators. To date, over 9,000 records have been entered into the electronic system, which grows as additional cases are entered and research and outreach efforts expand.

These are people dedicated to publishing the truth about a situation that has long been obscured and lied about. Strength to their hands.


‐A reader of Here, There & Everywhere writes,


Read your appreciation of Ben Hogan. Wanted to tell you this: Last October, I was lucky enough to go to Scotland, and play Carnoustie [where Hogan won the British Open in 1953]. Standing at the 6th hole, seeing out of bounds left, and traps and other trouble all along the fairway, I just stopped to take it all in. My caddie simply said, “Hogan’s Alley,” and handed me my driver. He didn’t say anything else. It was obvious to me that all the caddies, young and old, have a special reverence for Hogan. They may not have seen him play, but they understand the stamp he put on that course.


Amazing, huh?

Very nice. And this points up the utility of a hyphen. To my mind, an “aggressive clothing salesman” can be assumed to be a clothing salesman who is aggressive. If you want to denote (we’re just playing here) a salesman of aggressive clothing — write, “aggressive-clothing salesman.”

You know?

‐Finally, a stirring letter from a reader:


My son, a college student, recently took a “history” class with a professor who is against everything American, including my son’s ROTC program, and who spent most of the class time ripping everything my son was brought up to believe in. My son asked me early on whether I thought he should take the guy on and risk his 4.0 average, or keep a low profile.

I told him if he stood up for his beliefs in front of his friends and classmates (several of whom were also in ROTC), when he looked back one day he would be more proud of his B than an A that was earned by avoiding confrontation and keeping his thoughts to himself.

He listened to my advice, and sure enough it cost him his A in class — despite his superior class participation and superior research and writing. (The professor actually told him he would expect more research from him than from others to back up his unsupportable “right-wing” views — and still penalized him for his views.)

But he is proud of what his B represents, and his leadership and defiance in class earned him the respect of his fellow officers-in-training — which will be a helluva lot more important than his GPA when he’s serving in Iraq someday.

A stirring letter, as I said. In my opinion — some may find this namby-pamby — there is a time to lie low, and a time to speak out. A time when discretion is the better part of valor, and a time to throw caution to the wind. We feel these things out by judgment.

In any case, what a glorious young man, and I hope you have an excellent week and weekend. Talk to you soon.


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