We are dealing with pure evil

taliban-prisoners-of-war

There are tunnels which can have no other purpose than to inflict harm on Israel and its citizens. These are the reports of the intentions behind the building of such tunnels.

Leaks have begun to trickle out on what Israeli interogators are learning from captured Hamas fighters. One plot in particular is getting overwhelming attention.

Hamas was apparently a few months away from conducting a mass attack on Israeli civilians during the upcoming Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana, on September 24. The raid would have been like something out of a movie: hundreds of heavily-armed Hamas fighters would have emerged from over a dozen underground tunnels in the dead of night, jogged 10 minutes to their targets, and then infiltrated a set of lightly-populated and lightly-guarded Israeli communities. Casualties could have reached the thousands, and some of the victims would have been taken back alive as hostages.

The offensive attack tunnels seem to quite literally have been built for this kind of purpose. The IDF recently published a map of how they were dug to spill out on both sides of nearby communities (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BtYjL4mCAAAI6c6.png). Israeli soldiers have been reporting that just inside some of the tunnels were storage units filled with tranquilizers, handcuffs, ropes, and so on.

The reports on this are mostly in Hebrew right now (the original one is here if you want it: http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART2/600/825.html?hp=1&cat=875&loc=1). There are bits and pieces are getting translated on blogs and in think tank bulletins. The Gatestone Institute’s Lawrence Franklin has the best English-language I’ve seen so far, and I’ve pasted it below.

If the reports are confirmed, there are some immediate adjustments that analysts, journalists, and diplomats will all but certainly make:

(1) A ceasefire without at least the destruction of Hamas’s tunnel network would likely becomes a non-starter. It would be militarily untenable – and probably politically impossible – for Israeli leaders to accept anything less.

(2) The inevitable Israeli investigation into pre-conflict failures – and the Israelis always hold these, no matter how well things go – will have to take into account both how so many tunnels got built and why Israeli intelligence failed to crack the tunnel plot earlier. There’s a lot of focus right now on the former, but a lot of the digging and earth moving happened underground. It’s the latter debate, about sigint and humint, that has the potential to cost people careers.

(3) Confirmation of the plot would raise the stakes in the growing controversy over how human rights groups and diplomatic bodies pressured the Israelis into liberalizing restrictions on cement imports. Kilometers and kilometers of reinforced tunnels were being built deep into Israeli territory while Gaza-based offiicals railed against cement shortages. Some critics have already begun to name names, and the debate is already become very granular: TIP held a conference call yesterday in which one expert described how Hamas filled emptied UNRWA relief bags with dirt and then drove them away in UN-painted trucks, so that drones overhead saw what looked like a UN-sanctioned aid convoy.

(4) The public debate over the degree to which Operation Protective Edge was a “war of choice” for the Israelis would become constrained. A full-blown war would be seen as in some sense inevitable, with the only difference being whether it came before or after the Jewish High Holidays this fall.

The picture is there as a reminder of how ISIS-types treat people of their own religion. How much is too much for Israel to protect itself and its citizens?

[From Powerline]

After the IRS the American left thinks it can do anything it wants

What is one to make of this?

The chairman of the Federal Election Commission today blasted Democratic colleagues opposed to his effort to protect conservative media after they imposed rules on the publisher of Rep. Paul Ryan’s new book, opening the door to future book regulations — or even a ban.

“By failing to affirm this publisher’s constitutional right, statutory right, to disseminate a political book free from FEC conditions and regulations, we have effectively asserted regulatory jurisdiction over a book publisher,” warned Chairman Lee E. Goodman, one of three Republicans on the six-person FEC.

“That failure reveals a festering legal uncertainty and chill for the free press rights of books and book publishers to publish and disseminate political books free from government regulation,” he added.

The left in the US no longer even pretends.

Barbarism against Western civilization

Phyllis Chesler is by a long long way my favourite feminist. She has written an article on the traison de clercs which she has titled, J’Accuse whose significance and historical roots will be missed by the dumbed down members of the academy today. This is how it begins:

J’accuse every single Western academic, each intellectual and journalist who has ever circulated and signed a Resolution against Israel and in favor of Hamas is a supporter of Islamist barbarism against Western civilization.

They are the West’s equivalent of suicide (or really, homicide) bombers.

These are the professors and activists who are, essentially, anti-American in their point of view and who, like President Obama (who studied with them), want a de-militarized and diminished America. The 21st century manifestation of this sentiment in academia is the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, whose aim is to starve the Israeli government by bullying even further already indoctrinated academics, artists, and businessmen into not working in Israel and/or into covering the news in only a pro-Hamas and pro-Palestinian way.

Support for Hamas is merely a particular instance of this hatred of our civilisation, not just the most prosperous in history but also the kindest and most open. That others hate us is how things happen. That so many within the citadel hate us as well may yet doom us, but if they are successful they will be responsible for the dark age that will be the successor civilisation to what we have now.

Sleeping on the left or right side of the bed

I wasn’t going to get into this business about Senator Lambie but this story has another dimension which is also about the nature of journalism. It does seem from the way this tale unfolds that reporters who start from the left side are different from the journalists on the right, or at least this seems to be true about the female side.

As is well known by now, our new Senator Lambie has struck a new low in public discourse with her on-air search for some male to bed down with, as discussed here. Speaking for myself, she has lowered the tone of public discourse in Australia. She would only be of interest to a radio audience because she is a Senator, and it is, of course, interesting to find out how her mind works. But it does make trying to find a way through our many social and economic problems more difficult when someone like this has so much political power.

Yet this now seems to be the level of public debate which I am not going to do anything myself to elevate, and indeed, am going to further contribute to its descent. The Spectator in the UK has published an article by a well known lefty – at least well known to them – which is possibly of some interest although I cannot think of much actual social value in what he says. It is mostly prurience that leads me this way. The title, of course, gives away the nature of its content, My secret lust for right-wing women. This will give an idea of what the article is about:

Women of the right will not tolerate sexism; but nor do they have that tendency of some left-wing women always to play the victim of sexism. They have a robust, get-on-with-it attitude to life that makes them less prone to the neurotic, whiney, oh-poor-me melodrama that has infected so much thinking of left-leaning feminists. . . .

I have slept with women who write for the New Statesman and women who write for the Daily Telegraph and I can’t honestly claim that one lot is better than the other. But there are certain post-coital benefits that come with women of the right. They never subject a man to the music of Nick Drake or Nina Simone. As good libertarians, they don’t mind if you smoke in bed or pick up a newspaper or roll over and go to sleep — come to think of it, that’s what they are more likely to do. Nor do you ever have to lie in bed and watch some mawkish film about Nelson Mandela or one made by Michael Moore. (They don’t think you’re demented because you’d rather watch Die Hard.) And right-wing women never think that leaving the toilet seat up is a passive-aggressive act of patriarchy.

Sorry, comrades, but when it comes to the bedroom I’ll have to vote Tory.

People of opposite political views don’t really get on, not if politics is important in their lives. I think he is a man who has changed his side but is at an age where it is much too late to change his friends.

Failure of leadership

It has been difficult to the point of impossibility for political leaders in our democratic systems to succeed. The problem to me seems to settle around the fact that leaders from the left pursue policies that are almost certain to fail since they are based on false premises. At the same time, leaders from the right are instantly met by an overwhelmingly left-side media that will never permit itself to say a positive word for policies from the conservative side.

The media is amongst the most important domestic problems we have. Its anti-capitalist, anti-freedom, collectivist mentality make it a dangerous obstacle to good government since even governments on the left are seldom able to satisfy the demands the media have.

Missing the point perhaps

John Cochrane published an article a few weeks back on The Failure of Macroeconomics which you tend not to see much of even though its failures are manifest and undeniable. Here is the first para of his article which refers to the US but the story is hardly better anywhere else:

Output per capita fell almost 10 percentage points below trend in the 2008 recession. It has since grown at less than 1.5%, and lost more ground relative to trend. Cumulative losses are many trillions of dollars, and growing. And the latest GDP report disappoints again, declining in the first quarter.

He is down on Keynes and Keynesian theory but his analogy is sus to me. If I read him right, he is saying that climate science is all right because it is using modern evidence unlike macroeconomics. Anyway, he writes:

The climate policy establishment also wants to spend trillions of dollars, and cites scientific literature, imperfect and contentious as that literature may be. Imagine how much less persuasive they would be if they instead denied published climate science since 1975 and bemoaned climate models’ “haze of equations”; if they told us to go back to the complex writings of a weather guru from the 1930s Dustbowl, as they interpret his writings. That’s the current argument for fiscal stimulus.

I take it that the “guru from the 1930s Dustbowl” is Keynes. I suppose then that Cochrane wouldn’t like to go back to my own set of authorities which are the economists of the mid-nineteenth century, John Stuart Mill in particular. But whether he knows it or not, that is what he’s doing in pushing structural reforms while abandoning attempts to increase aggregate demand:

These views are a lot less sexy than a unicausal “demand,” fixable by simple, magic-bullet policies. They require us to do the hard work of fixing the things we all agree need fixing: our tax code, our cronyist regulatory state, our welter of anticompetitive and anti-innovative protections, education, immigration, social program disincentives, and so on. They require “structural reform,” not “stimulus,” in policy lingo.

Economists once knew this, since that was the core element of what an economist knew that had been passed down through the first century of economic thinking, starting from Adam Smith in 1776. Yet even though Cochrane can see there are problems with a stimulus, I don’t myself think he really gets it himself since it never occurs to him to suggest that cutting the level of public spending might actually do some good.

[My thanks to J.B. for sending this article along.]

There is no progress

isis destroys 1800 hundred year old church

The picture, which I have only come across by accident, is from a story titled, ISIS burns 1,800-year-old church in Mosul. Here’s the start of the story:

Militants from the radical jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have set fire to a 1,800-year-old church in Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul, a photo released Saturday shows.

The burning of the church is the latest in a series of destruction of Christian property in Mosul, which was taken by the Islamist rebels last month, along with other swathes of Iraqi territory.

You won’t be surprised that they didn’t press charges

Buzz Aldren being hassled about whether he had gone to the moon.

Bart Sibrel is one of those lunar truthers. And back in 2002, he ambushed Aldrin outside a Los Angeles hotel and berated him about his supposed role in the hoax, asking him to swear on a Bible he landed on the moon and calling him a “liar” and a “coward.” Offended that someone would question his integrity, and fed up with being pestered for so long, Aldrin finally snapped and socked Sibrel in the face.

In the Middle East, involving Obama and Kerry may only make things worse

An interesting article about the war in Gaza, EGYPT/ISRAEL TO JOHN KERRY’S MEDIATION OFFER –‘PLEASE GOD, NO!’. Obama and Kerry on this account turn out to be of assistance only to Hamas:

Every major American push to impose a two state solution upon Israel and the Palestinians has not just failed to deliver a two state solution, it has delivered either mass waves of suicide terrorism against Israelis or outright terrorist wars against Israel.

Egypt’s new President not only wanted to reassert his country’s direct interest in the conflict by isolating Hamas from early cease fire iterations it feared anymore US involvement would prove counterproductive by providing more cover for Hamas. Egypt’s interest is in protecting Egypt which means helping Israel help itself by weakening Hamas.

Lifelines and breathing space should be the very last thing offered to terrorist war criminals, especially at the very moment they may have pushed themselves to the brink of their own doom. Of course Hamas understands that enabling John Kerry to embark upon yet another of his fool’s errands would provide them with just that.

Diplomacy is more than wanting to do the right thing and bringing every war to an end as soon as possible.

Real reactions and their virtual facsimile

Comparing Tony Abbott’s reaction to Barack Obama’s over the shooting down of the Malaysian Airline flight made obvious the difference between a genuine reaction to an actual world event and the confected virtual reaction of a standard issue member of the left.

Abbott really was angry and felt the horror in his bones. Obama did not feel a thing but had to conjure the right kind of response since he did not seem to feel it personally himself.

The conservative right shows empathy on a personal level. The left seems to channel its response through a political galvanometer.