Friday, June 27, 2008

The Ever-Malleable Mr. Obama

By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post
June 27, 2008

"To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."

-- Obama spokesman Bill Burton, Oct. 24, 2007

That was then: Democratic primaries to be won, netroot lefties to be seduced. With all that (and Hillary Clinton) out of the way, Obama now says he'll vote in favor of the new FISA bill that gives the telecom companies blanket immunity for post-Sept. 11 eavesdropping.

Back then, in the yesteryear of primary season, he thoroughly trashed the North American Free Trade Agreement, pledging to force a renegotiation, take "the hammer" to Canada and Mexico and threaten unilateral abrogation.

Today the hammer is holstered. Obama calls his previous NAFTA rhetoric "overheated" and essentially endorses what one of his senior economic advisers privately told the Canadians: The anti-trade stuff was nothing more than populist posturing.

Nor is there much left of his primary season pledge to meet "without preconditions" with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There will be "preparations," you see, which are being spun by his aides into the functional equivalent of preconditions.

Obama's long march to the center has begun.

And why not? What's the downside? He won't lose the left, or even mainstream Democrats. They won't stay home on Nov. 4. The anti-Bush, anti-Republican sentiment is simply too strong. Election Day is their day of revenge -- for the Florida recount, for Swift-boating, for all the injuries, real and imagined, dealt out by Republicans over the past eight years.

Normally, flip-flopping presidential candidates have to worry about the press. Not Obama. After all, this is a press corps that heard his grandiloquent Philadelphia speech -- designed to rationalize why "I can no more disown [Jeremiah Wright] than I can disown my white grandmother" -- then wiped away a tear and hailed him as the second coming of Abraham Lincoln. Three months later, with Wright disowned, grandma embraced and the great "race speech" now inoperative, not a word of reconsideration is heard from his media acolytes.

Worry about the press? His FISA flip-flop elicited a few grumbles from lefty bloggers, but hardly a murmur from the mainstream press. Remember his pledge to stick to public financing? Now flush with cash, he is the first general-election candidate since Watergate to opt out. Some goo-goo clean-government types chided him, but the mainstream editorialists who for years had been railing against private financing as hopelessly corrupt and corrupting evinced only the mildest of disappointment.

Indeed, the New York Times expressed a sympathetic understanding of Obama's about-face by buying his preposterous claim that it was a preemptive attack on McCain's 527 independent expenditure groups -- notwithstanding the fact that (a) as Politico's Jonathan Martin notes, "there are no serious anti-Obama 527s in existence nor are there any immediate plans to create such a group" and (b) the only independent ad of any consequence now running in the entire country is an co-production savaging McCain.

True, Obama's U-turn on public financing was not done for ideological reasons, it was done for Willie Sutton reasons: That's where the money is. It nonetheless betrayed a principle that so many in the press claimed to hold dear.

As public financing is not a principle dear to me, I am hardly dismayed by Obama's abandonment of it. Nor am I disappointed in the least by his other calculated and cynical repositionings. I have never had any illusions about Obama. I merely note with amazement that his media swooners seem to accept his every policy reversal with an equanimity unseen since the Daily Worker would change the party line overnight -- switching sides in World War II, for example -- whenever the wind from Moscow changed direction.

The truth about Obama is uncomplicated. He is just a politician (though of unusual skill and ambition). The man who dared say it plainly is the man who knows Obama all too well. "He does what politicians do," explained Jeremiah Wright.

When it's time to throw campaign finance reform, telecom accountability, NAFTA renegotiation or Jeremiah Wright overboard, Obama is not sentimental. He does not hesitate. He tosses lustily.

Why, the man even tossed his own grandmother overboard back in Philadelphia -- only to haul her back on deck now that her services are needed. Yesterday, granny was the moral equivalent of the raving Reverend Wright. Today, she is a featured prop in Obama's fuzzy-wuzzy get-to-know-me national TV ad.

Not a flinch. Not a flicker. Not a hint of shame. By the time he's finished, Obama will have made the Clintons look scrupulous.

Supreme Courtier?

If the Supreme Court is boss, Congress is Dilbert.

By Jonah Goldberg
National Review Online
June 27, 2008, 0:00 a.m.

Out of 16 major American institutions, Congress ranks dead last in the eyes of the American people according to Gallup. Even HMOs are more revered. If Carrot Top and Joey Buttafuoco were elected to Congress, it would improve the legislative branch’s reputation.

The reasons for Congress’s craptacular standing are too long to list here. But some culprits never get blamed, even though they are hiding in plain sight. Chief among them: the U.S. Supreme Court.

Have you ever had a boss who treated you like a child, second-guessed you, reworked whatever you did so that you felt no ownership of the final product? As a result, did you take your job less and less seriously precisely because you knew that whatever you produced wouldn’t really be yours anyway?

Well, the Supreme Court is the boss, and Congress is the Dilbert. There was a time when the U.S. Congress took the Constitution very seriously. Even after Marbury v. Madison, the 1803 case that established the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review, Congress and the president were still the chief guardians of the Constitution. Indeed, before the Civil War, only two acts of Congress were found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

These days, the Court seems to find duly enacted laws unconstitutional six days a week and twice on Sunday.

Lawmakers rarely bother their pretty little heads with the Constitution. Rather, they just load as much spit, tar, Vaseline, and whatever else they can think of on a legislative fastball and try to get it over SCOTUS’ plate. If those imperial umpires don’t call a constitutional strike, well, then — voilá — it must be constitutional.

Presidents are no better. George W. Bush, in his one act that does approach an impeachable offense, signed campaign finance “reform” in 2002, even though he made it clear he thought the law was unconstitutional. At the ceremony, he expressed his “concerns” over the fact that the law — which he signed! — “restrains the speech of a wide variety of groups on issues of public import in the months closest to an election.”

But, have no fear, the super Court is here. “I expect,” he explained, “that the courts will resolve these legitimate legal questions as appropriate under the law.”

No sale. Congressmen, senators, and presidents alike swear to protect and defend the same constitution as the Supremes do. In the 19th century, Congress actually debated constitutionality with passion, and if it found a proposed law falling short of that standard, it was fixed or killed, not outsourced to the Supreme Court for retrofitting.

The Court, by assuming that responsibility, and the other branches of government, by surrendering it, have permanently damaged the constitutional order. Indeed, Thomas Jefferson believed that a judiciary with final jurisdiction over the constitutionality of presidential and legislative actions “would make the judiciary a despotic branch” of government.

Today, that despot has a name. It’s Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy rules — thanks to his status as the court’s swing vote — as the true King of America.

For example, Congress and the president hammered out a system for treating enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay — at the behest of the court. But that compromise wasn’t to His Majesty’s liking, so it was invalidated anyway in Boumediene v. Bush, which gave members of al-Qaeda more rights than captured Nazis in WWII.

Indeed, the whole debate in Congress has been over to what extent the Supreme Court should be running our POW system, not what our POW policy should in fact be.

And just this week, Justice Kennedy issued a diktat in which he quashed Louisiana’s sovereign and popular decision to execute a man for raping his eight-year-old stepdaughter in a manner so brutal the details cannot be even hinted at in this space. Why? Not because such executions violate the sensibilities of the public, or the constitutional precedents, or even what Kennedy calls “evolving standards” of decency, but simply because they are at odds with the court’s own sense of lèse-majesté.

Supreme Court critic Mark Levin has it right when he says that “every time the Supreme Court meets in secret conference, it sits as a constitutional convention, rewriting the Constitution at will.”

Aside from a legalistic-yet-lawless despotism that makes the meaning of our Constitution hinge on how much fiber Justice Kennedy’s diet has on a particular day, the result of this pathetic state of affairs is that the first branch of government doesn’t take itself seriously.

It is merely a caucus of goodie-givers, sent to Washington to dole out trinkets to whomever it may. At least the president is still charged with life-or-death decisions from time to time. But Congress doesn’t take itself seriously, so who can blame Americans for following its lead?

— Jonah Goldberg is the author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning and editor-at-large of National Review Online.

© 2008 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Second Chances

By the Editors
National Review Online
June 26, 2008 2:50 PM

For decades, localities around the country — the capital, New York City, Chicago, and many of its suburbs — have violated their residents’ right to keep and bear arms. Each of these locations directly or indirectly bans handguns.

Today the Supreme Court, in a ruling that is faithful to the Constitution, struck down the handgun ban in the nation’s capital. This ruling is the beginning of a long process — it will not affect bans in Illinois or New York — but is a good sign in itself.

Some have alleged that this ruling is merely judicial activism from the right. Judicial activism, however, entails going beyond what’s in the Constitution — “finding” new rights, or stretching words past their plain meaning. By contrast, Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion simply affirms what anyone fluent in English would conclude after reading the constitutional text at issue: The Second Amendment protects an individual right.

The Amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” As the opinion translates, this means, “Because a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” This is not at all the same as saying that only militia members can bear arms, or that “the people” can only bear arms for militia-related purposes. The latter clause describes the right and describes it as belonging to “the people,” while the former merely announces a purpose.

What’s more, the opinion explicitly recognizes the difference between legislating and judging. In the ruling’s final paragraph, Scalia writes that the majority takes “seriously the concerns raised by the amici who believe that prohibition handgun ownership is a solution” to gun violence. However, “the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.” Scalia’s opinion, which is in many ways quite narrow, leaves ample room for legislation regulating concealed-carry, the types of firearms that are permissible, and the conditions under which firearms are sold. Scalia reaffirms that the Supreme Court determines not whether policies are good, but whether policies are consistent with the Constitution.

Unlike the Supreme Court, we are not limited to the constitutional questions, and can say without reservation that handgun bans are no solution to gun violence. D.C.’s ban came into being in 1976; it caused no obvious drop in the crime rate and, when the drug wars hit a decade later, it did nothing to curb the bloodshed. In 2003 the Centers for Disease Control — a reliably antigun outfit — found itself unable to muster any evidence that gun control reduced crime. The National Academies of Science followed suit the next year.

We congratulate the Second Amendment movement’s success. The lawyers who argued the case, interested parties who filed friend-of-the-court briefs, and many others rose to the occasion. But their battle is not over.

The Constitution is designed to be a restriction on the federal government only. It was the Fourteenth Amendment that (as interpreted) applied many Bill of Rights provisions to state and local governments. Since D.C. is an enclave of the federal government, this lawsuit did not ask the court to decide whether the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second.

And even if outright bans were to be found unconstitutional throughout the U.S., it would remain unclear exactly what kinds of gun control remain acceptable. We see no reason why the Second Amendment shouldn’t be incorporated, and this ruling seems to indicate that gun control will face an uphill battle before the Supreme Court. But we’ll hold off declaring victory until the high Court has further elaborated its jurisprudence on this issue.

For Girls, Learning the Right Moves May Prevent A Common Athletic Injury

By Michael Sokolove
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, June 3, 2008; Page HE01

Silver Spring United team members Chelsea Lo, left, Binta Ceesay, Emily Musy and Mina Ulasevich warm up before taking part in exercises designed to protect knee ligaments. (By Leah L. Jones For The Washington Post)

Silver Spring United, a girls' under-16 soccer team, assembled for practice one day last month and started into its regular routine, one that is a little different from that of most teams. Before working on their soccer skills and tactics, the girls spent about 15 minutes practicing how not to suffer a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the knee injury that is the scourge of women's sports.

The girls jogged around the field for a few minutes to warm up. They stretched their calf, quadriceps, hamstring and hip muscles, making sure to hold each one for 30 seconds. Then they moved on to the most important part of the program: a series of "plyometric" exercises designed to improve their balance and form when decelerating from sprints and landing from jumps.

They made short jumps forward, backward and laterally, each time concentrating on cues they had learned at the beginning of the season: "Keep your toes pointed straight ahead." "Keep your knees over your toes." "Land softly on your toes while bending your knees." They practiced heading the ball, making sure never to come down on just one leg. They balanced on one leg while tossing a soccer ball.

It was all utterly unremarkable to watch. The exercises were not arduous or complicated, which was part of the point: Silver Spring United is enrolled in a study to see whether ACL injury prevention can be broken down to its essentials and brought to community athletic fields.

A regular observer of these exercises is Maj. Anthony Beutler, an Air Force doctor and ACL researcher. This is his study, funded by a small grant from the School of Medicine of the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, where he is an assistant professor.

"I find it amazing more teams do not do something like this and that more parents don't demand it," Beutler said earlier in the season. "Parents are smart and highly involved in their children's lives." He estimated that among competitive girls' club teams in the Washington area, "one in four do some form of this training, something that could be construed as involving injury and ACL prevention. Half of those (one in eight) do it to some level of competence, meaning they have some professional -- a trainer, physical therapist, someone knowledgeable about exercise science -- who can institute it."

In sports that both sexes play using similar rules -- soccer, basketball, volleyball -- researchers estimate that female athletes rupture their ACLs at rates as high as five to eight times as great as men. The reconstructive surgery after an ACL rupture is complicated, the rehabilitation painful and long, and those who suffer an injury are at high risk for developing arthritic knees.

While ACL damage can be caused by slamming into another player and buckling the knee, the causes of non-contact ACL injuries are not fully understood, nor are the reasons female athletes are so much more prone to them. Women are, on average, more flexible than men, a performance advantage in many sports but an injury risk when not accompanied by the muscle strength to keep joints in stable positions.

Women's wider hips may also put more stress on the knee, and researchers have looked at hormonal factors as well. But they are most intensely interested in biomechanical factors that can be modified: Women tend to run differently, with a more upright posture than men's.

Beutler compares an ACL rupture to a sudden mechanical malfunction. The body fails to perform a task that it has successfully executed thousands of times, and a surge of energy -- rather than being absorbed in the lower leg and up through the trunk -- sinks into the knee and rips apart a crucial component.

"What we are trying to do with these girls is reprogram their minds to jump and land in such a way that there is some slack in the system," he explained. "We think one of the big things is to avoid rotation of the hips and knees. We want everything in line. Hips over knees. Knees over ankles. Ankles over toes. If you had to tell someone one thing, it would be: Land softly. Use your knee as a hinge."

Beutler is also associated with a National Institutes of Health-funded ACL study that is following students at the three major U.S. military academies. Led by researchers from the University of North Carolina's School of Public Health, that study is building a database of thousands of subjects and, using sophisticated equipment, compiling the digitized images of their jumping and landing forms. The goal is to identify common risk factors among those who go on to suffer ACL ruptures.

Beutler's project is smaller and much more low-tech. Twenty-five teams playing in Montgomery County (14 of them girls' teams) are enrolled. At the beginning of the season, each player is videotaped as she jumps and lands from a small platform. They are graded by the researchers according to their perceived risk for ACL injury. One whose knees cave inward on impact, for instance, would be judged high-risk. The players are videotaped again at the end of the season to see whether the exercise program has improved their form.

Beutler's exercises fit on a single sheet of paper, and he notes that the videotaping takes place with a camera "that anyone could buy for a couple of hundred bucks." Beutler and his research assistants have begun conducting customized exercise programs for players deemed at high risk.

"This is the wave of the future, where we can bring prevention to this level, out of the laboratory and onto a field," Beutler said. "I think we are getting to the point where we can look in real time and say, with 95 percent certainty, 'You are at low risk. You're at moderate risk. And you're at high risk.' And we can design programs for each of those athletes."

Beutler did not want any recreational-level teams in his trial because they move more slowly and create so little force that they don't stand much chance of hurting themselves. Silver Spring United, a mix of varsity high school players and some junior varsity performers, competes in the classic division of Montgomery County Soccer Inc. "I saw a need [for injury prevention], and I went looking for something," said their coach, Karen Giacopuzzi, who signed up with Beutler after learning that he was seeking teams in the area.

Her players have made ACL prevention part of their routine. The captains led the exercises, with Giacopuzzi standing off to the side. In the season before entering Beutler's program, team members suffered two knee injuries, both of them meniscus tears that required surgery. They have had no significant knee injuries in the 18 months since.

Ellen Jackson is videotaped by Courtney Salgado, right, and Gordon Salgado. (Leah L. Jones - For The Washington Post)

Michelle Morris, 16, caught Beutler's attention because he thought she looked like the best athlete on the field. She moved with a low center of gravity and a springiness, the opposite of the stiff, upright gait that causes alarm. She was among several of the Silver Spring players who said she thought the exercises had improved her form. "I think my balance is way better now," Morris said. "I never learned how to land properly. I fell down a lot, but now, not at all."

The response was significant to Beutler because several studies have identified poor balance as a predictor of ACL injuries. An athlete who loses balance may twist her body at inopportune times -- for example, with one leg planted and extended out from her body -- while she is stopping or trying to change direction.

This is the third year of Beutler's pilot study, and for the first time, a player on one of the teams under study (a girl) has torn an ACL. He went back and looked at the videotape of her form when she jumped off a platform, and it revealed what he expected: Her knees caved in on landing, and she scored at high risk. The program did not protect her, but it seems to have had a positive effect on others.

It is not a huge group that Beutler has been observing. Nevertheless, the nearly total absence of injuries has encouraged him, considering that it is not uncommon for just one high school or club team of girls to suffer multiple ACL injuries in one season. He has seen one out of a group of about 400.

Studies elsewhere indicate that even relatively low levels of intervention -- swapping out a traditional warm-up for one that includes injury prevention -- may have an impact on lowering ACL injury rates.

The question remains whether coaches will buy in, especially coaches of go-go club teams seeking entries to the most prestigious tournaments and scholarships for their players. They often do not like to do anything they perceive as subtracting from practice time.

Beutler's answer is straightforward: "But you've got to do a warm-up anyway. So why not do this or something like it?"

This article is adapted from "Warrior Girls: Protecting Our Daughters Against the Injury Epidemic in Women's Sports," published this week by Simon and Schuster. Michael Sokolove will be live online at noon today to answer readers' questions at

Today's Tune: The Dubliners - Raglan Road

(Click on title to play video)

You Can't Fuel All of the People All of the Time

by Ann Coulter
Posted: 06/25/2008

Liberals dismiss studies that show a link between abortion and breast cancer, claiming they are biased because the people promoting the studies are "anti-choice."

For the same reason, no one should believe the Democrats' "energy" policies.

Democrats couldn't care less about high gas prices. The consistent policy of the Democratic Party, going back at least to Jimmy Carter, has been to jack up gas prices so we can all start pedaling around on tricycles.

Environmentalists are constantly clamoring for higher gas taxes as the cure-all to their insane global warming theory. Clinton proposed a 26-cent tax on gas. John Kerry said it should be 50 cents. Gore endorsed the Malthusian proposal of Paul and Anne Ehrlich in "The Population Explosion" that gas taxes be raised gradually to match prices in Europe and Japan.

The result is consumers now pay about 46 cents per gallon in gasoline taxes. That's not including taxes paid directly to the government by the oil companies and passed onto consumers. As the inestimable economist John Lott has pointed out, in the past 25 years oil companies have paid more than three times in taxes what they have made in profits.

B. Hussein Obama's response to soaring gas prices is to have the oil companies collect even more money from us at the pump, proposing a "windfall profits tax" on oil companies. "Corporate taxes" sound like taxes on rich people, but all they do is force corporations to collect taxes on behalf of the government.

Democrats have worked hard to ensure that Americans pay as much for gas as Europeans do. After a quarter-century of gas tax hikes, a ban on drilling for oil and a complete destruction of the nuclear power industry in America, I guess liberals can declare: Mission accomplished!

In response to skyrocketing gas prices, liberals say, practically in unison, "We can't drill our way out of this crisis."

What does that mean? This is like telling a starving man, "You can't eat your way out of being hungry!" "You can't water your way out of drought!" "You can't sleep your way out of tiredness!" "You can't drink yourself out of dehydration!"

Seriously, what does it mean? Finding more oil isn't going to increase the supply of oil?

It is the typical Democratic strategy to babble meaningless slogans, as if they have a plan. Their plan is: the permanent twilight of the human race. It's the only solution they can think of to deal with the beastly traffic on the LIE (Long Island Expressway).

How do liberals propose we acquire the energy required for the economic activity and production that results in light appearing when they flick a switch? The larger enterprise involved in producing that little miracle eludes them.

Liberals complain that -- as B. Hussein Obama put it -- there's "no way that allowing offshore drilling would lower gas prices right now. At best you are looking at five years or more down the road."

This is as opposed to airplanes that run on woodchips, which should be up and running any moment now.

Moreover, what was going on five years ago? Why didn't anyone propose drilling back then?

Say, you know what we need? We need a class of people paid to anticipate national crises and plan solutions in advance. It would be such an important job, the taxpayers would pay them salaries so they wouldn't have to worry about making a living and could just sit around anticipating crises.
If only we had had such a group -- let's call them "elected representatives" -- they could have proposed drilling five years ago!

But of course we do pay people to anticipate national problems and propose solutions. Some of them -- we'll call them Republicans -- did anticipate high gas prices and propose solutions.

Six long years ago President Bush had the foresight to demand that Congress allow drilling in a minuscule portion of the Alaska's barren, uninhabitable Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). In 2002, Bush, Tom DeLay and the entire Republican Party were screaming from the rooftops: Drill! Drill! Drill!

We'd be gushing oil now -- except the Democrats stopped us from drilling.

Drilling on only 0.01 percent of ANWR's 19 million acres was projected to produce about 10 billion barrels of oil. From all domestic sources combined, we currently produce about 1.8 billion barrels of oil per year. To a layperson like myself, 10 billion barrels seems like a lot of oil.

The other party -- plus John McCain -- ferociously opposed drilling in ANWR, drilling offshore or drilling anyplace else. Instead of Drill! Drill! Drill!, their motto could be: Kill! Kill! Kill!

They refuse to believe our abortion studies? I refuse to believe they care about Americans having to pay high gas prices.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

CAIR's Traitorous Cop Ally

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

If the Taliban catches an American spy, they slit the informer's throat. If we catch a pro-Taliban spy, he gets a slap on the wrist after getting a letter from a Muslim pressure group urging leniency. Who says we're winning this war?
Last month, Taliban fighters claimed to have killed a "female U.S. spy" for helping American forces in Afghanistan. Once all the evidence against the alleged spy was gathered, they slit her throat with a knife.
Compare that with the kid glove treatment of Sgt. Muhammad Weiss Rasool, a Muslim cop in the nation's capital who tipped off the target of an FBI terrorism investigation into a pro-Taliban mosque.
Despite his arrest, confession and recent conviction in federal court, Rasool, an Afghan immigrant, will do no jail time and will continue to collect a paycheck from taxpayers pending the results of an internal-affairs probe by the Fairfax County Police Department outside Washington.
Rasool took an oath to protect this country several years ago when he joined the FCPD, which is the largest force in Virginia and a key partner with the FBI in investigating major terror cases in the Washington area, including the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.
But Rasool put his religion ahead of his adopted country when he alerted a fellow member of his mosque that he was under federal surveillance. At his Muslim brother's request, he searched a police database and confirmed that FBI agents were tailing him.When agents went to arrest the target early one morning, they found him and his family already dressed and destroying evidence. They knew they had a mole and worked back through the system to find Rasool.
That's when agents discovered the police sergeant had breached their database at least 15 times to look up names of other contacts, including relatives, to see if they showed up on the terrorist watch list. (As part of post-9/11 data-sharing, local police now have access to classified federal case files on terrorists maintained within the NCIC, or National Crime Information Center system.)
Rasool's actions "damaged the integrity of the NCIC system and jeopardized at least one federal investigation," U.S. prosecutors said in court papers filed last month. "The defendant's actions could have placed federal agents in danger."
Rasool, 31, at first claimed he didn't know the terrorist target. He confessed only after hearing a recording of his message for the suspect, who was a cleric in his local Taliban-sympathizing mosque. Rasool finally pleaded guilty to illegally searching a federal database.
Despite his subsequent conviction, however, Fairfax County has left him on the force, pending the outcome of an internal investigation. The leniency afforded Rasool is unprecedented, given how he copped to the crime – and not just any crime, but one that betrayed his fellow officers and country.
It also contrasts starkly with the recent handling of other Arab and Muslim government employees caught breaching classified databases.
The city of Rochester, N.Y., for example, summarily fired a Muslim 911 operator, Nadire Zenelaj, well before she was formally charged last month with illegally searching the names of hundreds of friends in the terrorist watch list. And as part of a federal plea deal, Lebanese national Nada Prouty resigned from the U.S. government after confessing she accessed a restricted FBI database to see if relatives were being investigated for terrorist activities.
Unlike these alleged spies, however, Rasool has a powerful patron in Washington -- the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which lobbied on his behalf during his prosecution.

"I have always found Sgt. Rasool eager to promote a substantive relationship between the Fairfax County Police Department and the local Muslim community," wrote CAIR Governmental Affairs Coordinator Corey Saylor in a letter to the federal judge, who ended up denying prosecutors the jail time they requested for Rasool. (He got off lightly with a fine and two years probation.)
Indeed, Rasool acted as CAIR's representative on the police force, and even worked with the group to kill a successful counterterror-training program within the department.
Rasool and other Muslim officers tied to CAIR claimed the course taught by the respected Higgins Center for Counter Terrorism Research portrayed Islam in a bad light. CAIR phoned Fairfax County Police Chief David Rohrer to complain, and the chief canceled the training in 2006.
That same year, Rohrer spoke at CAIR's annual fundraising dinner in Washington, crediting the group with "helping police departments to better understand the Muslim community."
But the chief was being used -- by the Islamist enemy. It turns out his aggrieved sergeant at the time was under federal investigation for aiding and abetting terrorists. And so was CAIR -- the group from whom Rohrer was accepting phone calls and on whom he was conferring legitimacy. In fact, U.S. prosecutors at the time were adding CAIR to a list of co-conspirators in a terror scheme to funnel more than $12 million to Hamas suicide bombers and their families.
Yet CAIR and Rasool teamed up to persuade the politically correct Rohrer to nix the anti-terror training, which included counterintelligence measures to help police guard against the very infiltration from terror supporters and facilitators that has taken place on Rohrer's watch.
Sadly, the chief appears more concerned about protecting the force from charges of "Islamophobia" than Islamist penetration.Rasool, still on paid leave, says he hopes to be permanently reinstated. If so, it would mark a humiliating defeat in our battle against the growing Islamist 5th column in America. Rasool has a dangerous religious conflict, and should never wear the uniform again.

Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington. He can be conacted at

Morality - Trotskyite vs. Christian

by Patrick J. Buchanan
Posted: 06/24/2008
Dresden after the bombings of February 15, 1945

Did Hitler's crimes justify the Allies' terror-bombing of Germany?
Indeed they did, answers Christopher Hitchens in his Newsweek response to my new book, Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War: "The stark evidence of the Final Solution has ever since been enough to dispel most doubts about, say, the wisdom or morality of carpet-bombing German cities."
Atheist, Trotskyite and newborn neocon, Hitchens embraces the morality of lex talionis: an eye for an eye. If Germans murdered women and children, the British were morally justified in killing German women and children.

According to British historians, however, Churchill ordered the initial bombing of German cities on his first day in office, the very first day of the Battle of France, on May 10, 1940.
After the fall of France, Churchill wrote Lord Beaverbrook, minister of air production: "When I look round to see how we can win the war, I see that there is only one sure path ... an absolutely devastating, exterminating attack by very heavy bombers from this country upon the Nazi homeland."
"Exterminating attack," said Churchill. By late 1940, writes historian Paul Johnson, "British bombers were being used on a great and increasing scale to kill and frighten the German civilian population in their homes."
"The adoption of terror bombing was a measure of Britain's desperation," writes Johnson. "So far as air strategy was concerned," adds British historian A.J.P. Taylor, "the British outdid German frightfulness first in theory, later in practice, and a nation which claimed to be fighting for a moral cause gloried in the extent of its immoral acts."
The chronology is crucial to Hitchens' case.
Late 1940 was a full year before the mass deportations from the Polish ghettos to Treblinka and Sobibor began. Churchill had ordered the indiscriminate bombing of German cities and civilians before the Nazis had begun to execute the Final Solution.
By Hitchens' morality and logic, Germans at Nuremberg might have asserted a right to kill women and children because that is what the British were doing to their women and children.
After the fire-bombing of Dresden in 1945, Churchill memoed his air chiefs: "It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed."
Churchill concedes here what the British had been about in Dresden.
Under Christian and just-war theory, the deliberate killing of civilians in wartime is forbidden. Nazis were hanged for such war crimes.
Did the Allies commit acts of war for which we hanged Germans?
When we recall that Josef Stalin's judges sat beside American and British judges at Nuremberg, and one of the prosecutors there was Andrei Vishinsky, chief prosecutor in Stalin's show trails, the answer has to be yes.
While Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were surely guilty of waging aggressive war in September 1939, Stalin and his comrades had joined the Nazis in the rape of Poland, and had raped Finland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, as well. Scores of thousands of civilians in the three Baltic countries were murdered.
Yet, at Nuremberg, Soviets sat in judgment of their Nazi accomplices, and had the temerity to accuse the Nazis of the Katyn Forest massacre of the Polish officer corps that the Soviets themselves had committed.
Americans fought alongside British soldiers in a just and moral war from 1941 to 1945. But we had as allies a Bolshevik monster whose hands dripped with the blood of millions of innocents murdered in peacetime. And to have Stalin's judges sit beside Americans at Nuremberg gave those trials an aspect of hypocrisy that can never be erased.
At Nuremberg, Adm. Erich Raeder was sentenced to prison for life for the invasion of neutral Norway. Yet Raeder's ships arrived 24 hours before British ships and marines of an operation championed by Winston Churchill.
The British had planned to violate Norwegian neutrality first and seize Norwegian ports to deny Germany access to the Swedish iron ore being transshipped through them. For succeeding where Churchill failed, Raeder was condemned as a war criminal and sent to prison.
The London Charter of the International Military Tribunal decided that at Nuremberg only the crimes of Axis powers would be prosecuted and that among those crimes would be a newly invented "crimes against humanity." This decree was issued Aug. 8, 1945, 48 hours after we dropped the first atom bomb on Hiroshima and 24 hours before we dropped the second on Nagasaki.
We and the British judiciously decided not to prosecute the Nazis for the bombing of London and Coventry.
It was an understandable decision, and one that surely Gen. Curtis LeMay concurred in, as LeMay had boasted at war's end, "We scorched and boiled and baked to death more people in Tokyo that night of March 9-10 than went up in vapor in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined."
After the war, a lone Senate voice arose to decry what was taking place at Nuremberg as "victor's justice." Ten years later, a young colleague would declare the late Robert A. Taft "A Profile in Courage" for having spoken up against ex post facto justice. The young senator was John F. Kennedy.

Mr. Buchanan is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of "The Death of the West," "The Great Betrayal," "A Republic, Not an Empire" and "Where the Right Went Wrong."

Reader Comments: ( 427)
Here are a few of the comments submitted by our readers.

The ACORN Obama Knows

Spreading socialism on the taxpayer’s dime.

By Michelle Malkin
June 25, 2008, 0:00 a.m.

If you don’t know what ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is all about, you better bone up. This left-wing group takes in 40 percent of its revenues from American taxpayers — you and me — and has leveraged nearly four decades of government subsidies to fund affiliates that promote the welfare state and undermine capitalism and self-reliance, some of which have been implicated in perpetuating illegal immigration and encouraging voter fraud. A new whistleblower report from the Consumer Rights League documents how Chicago-based ACORN has commingled public tax dollars with political projects.

Who in Washington will fight to ensure that your money isn’t being spent on these radical activities?

Don’t bother asking Barack Obama. He cut his ideological teeth working with ACORN as a “community organizer” and legal representative. Naturally, ACORN’s political action committee has warmly endorsed his presidential candidacy. ACORN head Maude Hurd gushes that Obama is the candidate who “best understands and can affect change on the issues ACORN cares about” — like ensuring their massive pipeline to your hard-earned money. Let’s take a closer look at the ACORN Obama knows.

Last July, ACORN settled the largest case of voter fraud in the history of Washington State. Seven ACORN workers had submitted nearly 2,000 bogus voter-registration forms. According to case records, they flipped through phone books for names to use on the forms, including “Leon Spinks,” “Frekkie Magoal” and “Fruto Boy Crispila.” Three ACORN election hoaxers pleaded guilty in October. A King County prosecutor called ACORN’s criminal sabotage “an act of vandalism upon the voter rolls.”

The group’s vandalism on electoral integrity is systemic. ACORN has been implicated in similar voter-fraud schemes in Missouri, Ohio, and at least 12 other states. The Wall Street Journal noted: “In Ohio in 2004, a worker for one affiliate was given crack cocaine in exchange for fraudulent registrations that included underage voters, dead voters and pillars of the community named Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy and Jive Turkey. During a congressional hearing in Ohio in the aftermath of the 2004 election, officials from several counties in the state explained ACORN’s practice of dumping thousands of registration forms in their lap on the submission deadline, even though the forms had been collected months earlier.”

In March, Philadelphia elections officials accused the nonprofit advocacy group of filing fraudulent voter registrations in advance of the April 22nd Pennsylvania primary. The charges have been forwarded to the city district attorney’s office.

Under the guise of “consumer advocacy,” ACORN has received money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD funds hundreds, if not thousands, of left-wing “anti-poverty” groups across the country led by ACORN. Last October, HUD announced more than $44 million in new housing-counseling grants to over 400 state and local efforts. The White House has increased funding for housing counseling by 150 percent since George W. Bush took office in 2001, despite the role most of these recipients play as activist satellites of the Democratic Party. The AARP scored nearly $400,000 for training; the National Council of La Raza (“The Race”) scooped up more than $1.3 million; the National Urban League raked in nearly $1 million; and the ACORN Housing Corporation received more than $1.6 million.

As the Consumer Rights League points out in its new exposé, the ACORN Housing Corporation has worked to obtain mortgages for illegal aliens in partnership with Citibank. It relies on undocumented income, “under the table” money, which may not be reported to the Internal Revenue Service. Moreover, the group’s “financial justice” operations attack lenders for “exotic” loans, while recommending 10-year interest-only loans (which deny equity to the buyer) and risky reverse mortgages. Whistleblower documents reveal internal discussions among the group that blur the lines between its tax-exempt housing work and its aggressive electioneering activities. The group appears to shake down corporate interests with relentless PR attacks, and then enters “no lobby” agreements with targeted corporations after receiving payment.

Republicans have largely looked the other way as ACORN has expanded its government-funded empire. But finally, a few conservative voices in Congress have called for investigation of the group’s apparent extortion schemes. This week, GOP Reps. Tom Feeney, Jeb Hensarling, and Ed Royce called on Democrat Barney Frank, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, to convene a hearing to probe potential illegalities and abuse of taxpayer funds by ACORN’s management and minions alike.

Where does the candidate of Hope and Change — the candidate of Reform and New Politics — stand on the issue? Barack Obama, ACORN’s senator, is for more of the same old, same old subsidizing of far-left politics in the name of fighting for the poor while enriching ideological cronies. That’s the Chicago way.

— Michelle Malkin is author of Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild.

Today's Tune: The Beatles - Help!

(Click on title to play video)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Planet Without People

The Wall Street Journal
June 20, 2008; Page W11

I confess to enjoying appalling movies. It takes a kind of reverse genius to make something like "Gigli" or "You Got Served." There was such possibility, then, when M. Night Shyamalan's horror film "The Happening" blew into box offices last week on a gale of critical denigration; "the worst film since 'Gigli,'" someone even called it.

But "The Happening" is no "Kangaroo Jack." It's appalling all right, not as entertainment but in the literal sense of genuine moral obscenity. Few major studio releases are so thoroughly pro-death, so deeply anti-human. We have arrived at a strange moment in American pop culture when movie-goers spend two hours in the theater being informed that we all deserve to die.

The "happening" is millions of men, women and children killing themselves, usually in creative ways, as when a zookeeper invites lions to chew off his limbs and a lady offs herself by French-kissing the toaster. The deaths, first believed to be terrorism, are actually acts of nature. Trees are releasing an airborne neurotoxin, as revenge against mankind for global warming, pollution and nuclear power. The genocide, we are told, is condign punishment for our ecological crimes.

The conceit extends a metaphor Al Gore proposed in his 2007 Nobel lecture: If "we have begun to wage war on the Earth itself," why wouldn't the Earth fight back? By the end of the film, the dwindling band of survivors -- whose more sensible response would have been to blanket the world's forests with Agent Orange -- repents, and is thus spared hideous death. In a recent interview, Mr. Shyamalan, best known for "The Sixth Sense" (1999), said that "The Happening" is intended to "wake everybody up" and "get back to the correct relationship with nature."

Obviously it isn't Hollywood's first environmental disaster flick. Think of 2004's "The Day After Tomorrow," where all it takes is the CO2-induced obliteration of the East Coast for Dennis Quaid to learn how to be a better dad. But catastrophic climate change in that movie was a simple plot device that could be replaced easily enough with, say, space aliens. "The Happening" is honest-to-Gaia green agitprop: Like the Lorax, Mr. Shyamalan is speaking for the trees.

Environmentalism's seam of misanthropy traces back to John Muir, who founded the Sierra Club in 1892, and probably to Thoreau. We're just another species, the thinking goes, or would be had our iniquities not made us unworthy of a place in the ecosystem. The existence of Homo sapiens is an affliction and cause for profound shame.

Today the position persists along the fringes of the "deep ecology" movement, where adherents can still be found chanting, "Four legs good! Two legs bad!" But the message also has some mainstream appeal: A best-selling book last summer was "The World Without Us," in which science journalist Alan Weisman gleefully imagined how nature would respond if man abruptly went extinct and how great it would be for the planet. "The Happening" merely takes this misanthropy to its logical extreme.

Of course, most mainstream greens limit themselves to nagging on behalf of Mommy Nature. Yet amid the much ado about global warming, the people problem is asserting itself with a neo-Malthusian vengeance. Almost every element of modern life is reducible to carbon. Like it or not, a higher population leads inexorably to more anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ranks demographic proliferation as a "driver for emissions." British environmental minister Hilary Benn -- most recently spotted endorsing carbon rationing cards as a set of new sumptuary laws -- notes with approval that "family planning is the ultimate carbon offsetting scheme." Even though Paul Ehrlich's "population bomb" has been defused again and again, Jeffrey Sachs, Jared Diamond, Bill McKibben and others have come to similar conclusions.

Since population control led to such PR disasters of the late 20th century as mass forced sterilizations under Indira Gandhi and China's one-child policy, it makes people queasy. Instead, the greens, when not plumping for massive carbon tax-and-regulation schemes, focus on behavioral alterations -- like taking public transit or installing the correct light bulbs. The weight given to consumer-driven change, however, means that the people problem can't help but seep out into the culture at large. Having kids is the most carbon-intensive choice most people will ever make.

Not surprisingly, more than a few of the recent handbooks for "green living" recommend thinking seriously about children. The Sierra Club says that the ideal number is two. Messrs. Weisman and McKibben say it's one. Mr. Shyamalan seems to think it's zero. It can't be long before we're being offered another helpful "tip": Kill yourself.

Mr. Rago is an editorial page writer for the Journal.

Baseball's Other Racial Barrier

Latino Players Forge a Big-League Presence, but Are a Rarity on College Rosters

The Wall Street Journal
June 24, 2008

It's hard to watch the college-baseball World Series, under way now in Omaha, Neb., without noticing how different the college game is from the major-league version. Not in the caliber of play or the funny ping of the aluminum bats, but in the way the players look.

Jim Nuttle

College players in the three main divisions are 86% white, according to the most-recent NCAA figures. That's a big difference from Major League Baseball, where one study puts the number at less than 60%. The most striking difference is in the number of Latinos on the field: They made up about 29% of all major leaguers in 2007 but only 5% of players in college.

While the percentage of Latino players has more than doubled in professional baseball since 1990, accounting for top stars such as Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz, the percentage of minorities in the college game remains extremely low. That's especially true for Latinos, for whom college ball's failure to keep pace with the diversity of the major leagues is most striking. And that's embarrassing to some.

"We don't like that we're all-white, either," says Ron Polk, who retired last month after 29 years as the head baseball coach at Mississippi State University. "I don't want anyone to draw the impression that we're happy about it."

Minority players clearly aren't being excluded from major-league stardom and wealth. But because college baseball has had trouble attracting nonwhite talent, minority prospects aren't enjoying the benefits of a recent shift in the game that puts a premium on college players. Last year, according to data provided by Major League Baseball, 55% of the players picked in baseball's amateur draft came from four-year institutions, up from 38% in 1998. The number of college players taken in the first four rounds, where teams pay the highest bonuses, has increased by 20% over the past 10 years. The average signing bonus through the first four rounds last year was $790,000.

At the center of the issue is a perennial choice facing young baseball prospects: College seems to afford less opportunity than the fast cash they can get signing with a pro team.

But now that college has become a sexier pipeline for the major leagues, those players may be making a bad economic decision: not just passing up an education but also earning less money in the long run.

Elliott Avent, head coach at North Carolina State University, argues that if Latino players, or any other aspiring major leaguers, don't go to college, "they're leaving a ton of money on the table."

It's an argument that college coaches are making to potential recruits now. Turtle Thomas, head coach at Florida International University in Miami, was praying one of his commitments from Puerto Rico wouldn't sign after this month's draft. He says he spent about an hour on the phone with the incoming shortstop and his father trying to convince them college would prove more lucrative and beneficial in the end.

Mr. Thomas says if the player signs now he would probably do it for $60,000. But after three years in college, he's sure that money could be close to $600,000. That's partly why major-league teams want to scout high-school players, says Mr. Thomas. "They like to sign guys for as cheaply as possible."

The player agreed to terms with the major-league team that drafted him.

Clearly, other college sports have had more success attracting minority talent. According to the most recent NCAA Division I data, Hispanics and blacks make up nearly 11% of college baseball players. Yet blacks account for much larger percentages in men's college basketball (58.9%) and Division I-A college football (46.9%).

Many forces beyond the easy cash compound this discrepancy. They include challenges in recruiting, a college draft that, unlike the National Basketball Association's, doesn't include prospects from abroad, and baseball scholarships that are fewer and less comprehensive than football and basketball scholarships.

Coaches say it is expensive for colleges in the NCAA's Division I to recruit overseas, even in Latin America. And foreign players often lack the appropriate transcripts, grades and test scores.

The scholarship policies of the NCAA pose other obstacles for luring Latino players. Since 1993, college baseball teams have been limited to 11.7 scholarships to cover about 35 players on the average team's roster. That is a smaller allotment than some sports with smaller teams have. Women's basketball, for example, gets 15 scholarships for about 15 players. Under this system, even some star players don't get full rides: University of Arizona head baseball coach Andy Lopez points out that last season his top pitcher, Preston Guilmet, received 79% of a scholarship.

Last year, the NCAA adopted a new policy regarding baseball scholarships. While it didn't change the total value of the scholarships baseball teams can offer, it dictated that the money should be spread out more evenly. Starting next season, up to 30 players on each baseball team must have an overall financial-aid package that covers at least 25% of their costs. That means some students who got little or no assistance will get some, while others who were well-funded may see cuts in the scholarship money available to them.

Athletic directors say they aren't sure what impact this policy will have on the recruitment of minority players, but that it promises to make the already difficult baseball-scholarship situation all the more complex.

Walter Harrison, the chairman of the NCAA's Division I Committee on Academic Performance, says the pressure on men's sports such as baseball is just a fact of life given the general pressure on athletic budgets. He says the most recent change to the baseball-scholarships policy was aimed at lowering the high number of college baseball players who transfer to other schools each year in pursuit of bigger scholarships -- and whose academic records tend to suffer. By spreading the money around more evenly, he says, the NCAA believes more players will stay put and that this, in turn, should improve academic performance.

But when it comes to signing players, Major League Baseball has fewer constraints. The draft is limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada, but foreign players are free to sign with major-league teams as free agents when they are as young as age 16. And most teams are so eager to tap this pool of talent they have built baseball academies in Latin American countries to help recruit and train young prospects.

It's working. According to league figures, nearly half the players currently under contract in the minor leagues are foreign-born, and this contingent is producing some of the best players in the sport. About one-third of the 66 players named to last year's All-Star Game were foreign-born, including nine from the Dominican Republic.

What bugs many coaches most is that baseball, a sport that has a legacy of integration dating back to Jackie Robinson, has become at the college level a game for the privileged -- a country-club sport. To be noticed by college recruiters, they say, players must participate in travel leagues and showcase tournaments, attend camps and work with well-known trainers and coaches. Only the families of wealthy kids can afford this, coaches say.

"With this explosion of showcase camps and travel teams, kids from less-affluent backgrounds will get less of a chance," says Mike Gaski, head coach at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He says his biggest fear is, "baseball is too quickly becoming an elitist sport."

Write to James Wagner at

The Imitators

By Thomas Sowell
June 24, 2008

If anyone suggested that Tiger Woods should try to be more like other golfers, people would question the sanity of whoever made that suggestion.

Why should Tiger Woods try to be more like Phil Mickelson? If Tiger turned around and tried to golf left-handed, like Mickelson, he probably wouldn't be as good as Mickelson, much less as good as he is golfing the way he does right-handed.

Yet there are those who think that the United States should follow policies more like those in Europe, often with no stronger reason than the fact that Europeans follow such policies. For some Americans, it is considered chic to be like Europeans.

If Europeans have higher minimum wage laws and more welfare state benefits, then we should have higher minimum wage laws and more welfare state benefits, according to such people. If Europeans restrict pharmaceutical companies' patents and profits, then we should do the same.

Some Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court even seem to think that they should incorporate ideas from European laws in interpreting American laws.

Before we start imitating someone, we should first find out whether the results that they get are better than the results that we get. Across a very wide spectrum, the United States has been doing better than Europe for a very long time.

By comparison with most of the rest of the world, Europe is doing fine. But they are like Phil Mickelson, not Tiger Woods.

Minimum wage laws have the same effects in Europe as they have had in other places around the world. They price many low-skilled and inexperienced workers out of a job.

Because minimum wage laws are more generous in Europe than in the United States, they lead to chronically higher rates of unemployment in general and longer periods of unemployment than in the United States-- but especially among younger, less experienced and less skilled workers.

Unemployment rates of 20 percent or more for young workers are common in a number of European countries. Among workers who are both younger and minority workers, such as young Muslims in France, unemployment rates are estimated at about 40 percent.

The American minimum wage laws do enough damage without our imitating European minimum wage laws. The last year in which the black unemployment rate was lower than the white unemployment rate in the United States was 1930.

The next year, the first federal minimum wage law, the Davis-Bacon Act, was passed. One of its sponsors explicitly stated that the purpose was to keep blacks from taking jobs from whites.

No one says things like that any more-- which is a shame, because the effect of a minimum wage law does not depend on what anybody says. Blacks in general, and younger blacks in particular, are the biggest losers from such laws, just as younger and minority workers are in Europe.

Those Americans who are pushing us toward the kinds of policies that Europeans impose on pharmaceutical companies show not the slightest interest in what the consequences of such laws have been.

One consequence is that even European pharmaceutical companies do much of their research and development of new medications in the United States, in order to take advantage of American patent protections and freedom from price controls.

These are the very policies that the European imitators want us to change.

It is not a coincidence that such a high proportion of the major pharmaceutical drugs are developed in the United States. If we kill the goose that lays the golden egg, as the Europeans have done, both we and the Europeans-- as well as the rest of the world -- will be worse off, because there are few other places for such medications to be developed.

There are a lot of diseases still waiting for a cure, or even for relief for those suffering from those diseases. People stricken with these diseases will pay the price for blind imitation of Europe.

The United States leads the world in too many areas for us to start imitating those who are trailing behind.

A Dark Past

Contraception, abortion, and the eugenics movement.

By Jonah Goldberg
June 24, 2008, 7:31 a.m.

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Liberal Fascism.

Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger, whose American Birth Control League became Planned Parenthood, was the founding mother of the birth-control movement. She is today considered a liberal saint, a founder of modern feminism, and one of the leading lights of the Progressive pantheon. Gloria Feldt of Planned Parenthood proclaims, “I stand by Margaret Sanger’s side,” leading “the organization that carries on Sanger’s legacy.” Planned Parenthood’s first black president, Faye Wattleton — Ms. magazine’s “Woman of the Year” in 1989 — said that she was “proud” to be “walking in the footsteps of Margaret Sanger.” Planned Parenthood gives out annual Maggie Awards to individuals and organizations who advance Sanger’s cause. Recipients are a Who’s Who of liberal icons, from the novelist John Irving to the producers of NBC’s West Wing. What Sanger’s liberal admirers are eager to downplay is that she was a thoroughgoing racist who subscribed completely to the views of E. A. Ross and other “raceologists.” Indeed, she made many of them seem tame.

Sanger was born into a poor family of eleven children in Corning, New York, in 1879. In 1902 she received her degree as a registered nurse. In 1911 she moved to New York City, where she fell in with the transatlantic bohemian avant-garde of the burgeoning fascist moment. “Our living-room,” she wrote in her autobiography, “became a gathering place where liberals, anarchists, Socialists and I.W.W.’s could meet.” A member of the Women’s Committee of the New York Socialist Party, she participated in all the usual protests and demonstrations. In 1912 she started writing what amounted to a sex-advice column for the New York Call, dubbed “What Every Girl Should Know.” The overriding theme of her columns was the importance of contraception.

A disciple of the anarchist Emma Goldman — another eugenicist — Sanger became the nation’s first “birth control martyr” when she was arrested for handing out condoms in 1917. In order to escape a subsequent arrest for violating obscenity laws, she went to England, where she fell under the thrall of Havelock Ellis, a sex theorist and ardent advocate of forced sterilization. She also had an affair with H. G. Wells, the self-avowed champion of “liberal fascism.” Her marriage fell apart early, and one of her children — whom she admitted to neglecting — died of pneumonia at age four. Indeed, she always acknowledged that she wasn’t right for family life, admitting she was not a “fit person for love or home or children or anything which needs attention or consideration.”

Under the banner of “reproductive freedom,” Sanger subscribed to nearly all of the eugenic views discussed above. She sought to ban reproduction of the unfit and regulate reproduction for everybody else. She scoffed at the soft approach of the “positive” eugenicists, deriding it as mere “cradle competition” between the fit and the unfit. “More children from the fit, less from the unfit — that is the chief issue of birth control,” she frankly wrote in her 1922 book The Pivot of Civilization. (The book featured an introduction by Wells, in which he proclaimed, “We want fewer and better children...and we cannot make the social life and the world-peace we are determined to make, with the ill-bred, ill-trained swarms of inferior citizens that you inflict on us.” Two civilizations were at war: that of progress and that which sought a world “swamped by an indiscriminate torrent of progeny.”

A fair-minded person cannot read Sanger’s books, articles, and pamphlets today without finding similarities not only to Nazi eugenics but to the dark dystopias of the feminist imagination found in such allegories as Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. As editor of The Birth Control Review, Sanger regularly published the sort of hard racists we normally associate with Goebbels or Himmler. Indeed, after she resigned as editor, The Birth Control Review ran articles by people who worked for Goebbels and Himmler. For example, when the Nazi eugenics program was first getting wide attention, The Birth Control Review was quick to cast the Nazis in a positive light, giving over its pages for an article titled “Eugenic Sterilization: An Urgent Need,” by Ernst Rüdin, Hitler’s director of sterilization and a founder of the Nazi Society for Racial Hygiene. In 1926 Sanger proudly gave a speech to a KKK rally in Silver Lake, New Jersey.

One of Sanger’s closest friends and influential colleagues was the white supremacist Lothrop Stoddard, author of The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy. In the book he offered his solution for the threat posed by the darker races: “Just as we isolate bacterial invasions, and starve out the bacteria, by limiting the area and amount of their food supply, so we can compel an inferior race to remain in its native habitat.” When the book came out, Sanger was sufficiently impressed to invite him to join the board of directors of the American Birth Control League.

Sanger’s genius was to advance Ross’s campaign for social control by hitching the racist-eugenic campaign to sexual pleasure and female liberation. In her “Code to Stop Overproduction of Children,” published in 1934, she decreed that “no woman shall have a legal right to bear a child without a permit shall be valid for more than one child.”47 But Sanger couched this fascistic agenda in the argument that “liberated” women wouldn’t mind such measures because they don’t really want large families in the first place. In a trope that would be echoed by later feminists such as Betty Friedan, she argued that motherhood itself was a socially imposed constraint on the liberty of women. It was a form of what Marxists called false consciousness to want a large family.

Sanger believed — prophetically enough — that if women conceived of sex as first and foremost a pleasurable experience rather than a procreative act, they would embrace birth control as a necessary tool for their own personal gratification. She brilliantly used the language of liberation to convince women they weren’t going along with a collectivist scheme but were in fact “speaking truth to power,” as it were. This was the identical trick the Nazis pulled off. They took a radical Nietzschean doctrine of individual will and made it into a trendy dogma of middle-class conformity. This trick remains the core of much faddish “individualism” among rebellious conformists on the American cultural left today. Nonetheless, Sanger’s analysis was surely correct, and led directly to the widespread feminist association of sex with political rebellion. Sanger in effect “bought off” women (and grateful men) by offering tolerance for promiscuity in return for compliance with her eugenic schemes.

In 1939 Sanger created the above-mentioned “Negro Project,” which aimed to get blacks to adopt birth control. Through the Birth Control Federation, she hired black ministers (including the Reverend Adam Clayton Powell Sr.), doctors, and other leaders to help pare down the supposedly surplus black population. The project’s racist intent is beyond doubt. “The mass of significant Negroes,” read the project’s report, “still breed carelessly and disastrously, with the result that the increase among [in] that portion of the population least intelligent and fit.” Sanger’s intent is shocking today, but she recognized its extreme radicalism even then. “We do not want word to go out,” she wrote to a colleague, “that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

It is possible that Sanger didn’t really want to “exterminate” the Negro population so much as merely limit its growth. Still, many in the black community saw it that way and remained rightly suspicious of the Progressives’ motives. It wasn’t difficult to see that middle-class whites who consistently spoke of “race suicide” at the hands of dark, subhuman savages might not have the best interests of blacks in mind. This skepticism persisted within the black community for decades. Someone who saw the relationship between abortion and race from a less trusting perspective telegrammed Congress in 1977 to tell them that abortion amounted to “genocide against the black race.” And he added, in block letters, “AS A MATTER OF CONSCIENCE I MUST OPPOSE THE USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS FOR A POLICY OF KILLING INFANTS.” This was Jesse Jackson, who changed his position when he decided to seek the Democratic nomination.

Just a few years ago, the racial eugenic “bonus” of abortion rights was something one could only admit among those fully committed to the cause, and even then in politically correct whispers. No more. Increasingly, this argument is acceptable on the left, as are arguments in favor of eugenics generally.

In 2005 the acclaimed University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt broke the taboo with his critical and commercial hit Freakonomics (co-written with Stephen Dubner). The most sensational chapter in the book updated a paper Levitt had written in 1999 which argued that abortion cuts crime. “Legalized abortion led to less unwantedness; unwantedness leads to high crime; legalized abortion, therefore, led to less crime.” Freakonomics excised all references to race and never connected the facts that because the aborted fetuses were disproportionately black and blacks disproportionately contribute to the crime rate, reducing the size of the black population reduces crime. Yet the press coverage acknowledged this and didn’t seem to mind.

In 2005 William Bennett, a committed pro-lifer, invoked the Levitt argument in order to denounce eugenic thinking. “I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose — you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.” What seemed to offend liberals most was that Bennett had accidentally borrowed some conventional liberal logic to make a conservative point, and, as with the social Darwinists of yore, that makes liberals quite cross. According to the New York Times’s Bob Herbert, Bennett believed “exterminating blacks would be a most effective crime-fighting tool.” Various liberal spokesmen, including Terry McAuliffe, the former head of the Democratic National Committee, said Bennett wanted to exterminate “black babies.” Juan Williams proclaimed that Bennett’s remarks speak “to a deeply racist mindset.”

Steven Levitt

In one sense, this is a pretty amazing turnaround. After all, when liberals advocate them, we are usually told that abortions do not kill “babies.” Rather, they remove mere agglomerations of cells and tissue or “uterine contents.” If hypothetical abortions committed for allegedly conservative ends are infanticide, how can actual abortions performed for liberal ends not be?

Some liberals are honest about this. In 1992 Nicholas Von Hoffman argued in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Free cheap abortion is a policy of social defense. To save ourselves from being murdered in our beds and raped on the streets, we should do everything possible to encourage pregnant women who don’t want the baby and will not take care of it to get rid of the thing before it turns into a monster... At their demonstration, the anti-abortionists parade around with pictures of dead and dismembered fetuses. The pro-abortionists should meet these displays with some of their own: pictures of the victims of the unaborted — murder victims, rape victims, mutilation victims — pictures to remind us that the fight for abortion is but part of the larger struggle for safe homes and safe streets.

Later that same year, the White House received a letter from the Roe v. Wade co-counsel Ron Weddington, urging the new president-elect to rush RU-486 — the morning-after pill — to the market as quickly as possible. Weddington’s argument was refreshingly honest:

[Y]ou can start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of our country. No, I’m not advocating some sort of mass extinction of these unfortunate people. Crime, drugs and disease are already doing that. The problem is that their numbers are not only replaced but increased by the birth of millions of babies to people who can’t afford to have babies. There, I’ve said it. It’s what we all know is true, but we only whisper it, because as liberals who believe in individual rights, we view any program which might treat the disadvantaged as discriminatory, mean-spirited and... well... so Republican.

[G]overnment is also going to have to provide vasectomies, tubal ligations and abortions. . , . There have been about 30 million abortions in this country since Roe v. Wade. Think of all the poverty, crime and misery . . . and then add 30 million unwanted babies to the scenario. We lost a lot of ground during the Reagan-Bush religious orgy. We don’t have a lot of time left.

How, exactly, is this substantively different from Margaret Sanger’s self-described “religion of birth control,” which would, she wrote, “ease the financial load of caring for with public funds . . . children destined to become a burden to themselves, to their family, and ultimately to the nation”?

The issue here is not the explicit intent of liberals or the rationalizations they invoke to deceive themselves about the nature of abortion. Rather, it is to illustrate that even when motives and arguments change, the substance of the policy remains in its effects. After the Holocaust discredited eugenics per se, neither the eugenicists nor their ideas disappeared. Rather, they went to ground in fields like family planning and demography and in political movements such as feminism. Indeed, in a certain sense Planned Parenthood is today more eugenic than Sanger intended. Sanger, after all, despised abortion. She denounced it as “barbaric” and called abortionists “bloodsucking men with M.D. after their names.” Abortion resulted in “an outrageous slaughter” and “the killing of babies,” which even the degenerate offspring of the unfit did not deserve.

So forget about intent: Look at results. Abortion ends more black lives than heart disease, cancer, accidents, AIDS, and violent crime combined. African Americans constitute little more than 12 percent of the population but have more than a third (37 percent) of abortions. That rate has held relatively constant, though in some regions the numbers are much starker; in Mississippi, black women receive some 72 percent of all abortions, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Nationwide, 512 out of every 1,000 black pregnancies end in an abortion. Revealingly enough, roughly 80 percent of Planned Parenthood’s abortion centers are in or near minority communities. Liberalism today condemns a Bill Bennett who speculates about the effects of killing unborn black children; but it also celebrates the actual killing of unborn black children, and condemns him for opposing it.

Peter Singer

Of course, orthodox eugenics also aimed at the “feebleminded” and “useless bread gobblers” — which included everyone from the mentally retarded to an uneducated and malnourished underclass to recidivist criminals. When it comes to today’s “feebleminded,” influential voices on the left now advocate the killing of “defectives” at the beginning of life and at the end of life. Chief among them is Peter Singer, widely hailed as the most important living philosopher and the world’s leading ethicist. Professor Singer, who teaches at Princeton, argues that unwanted or disabled babies should be killed in the name of “compassion.” He also argues that the elderly and other drags on society should be put down when their lives are no longer worth living.

Singer doesn’t hide behind code words and euphemisms in his belief that killing babies isn’t always wrong, as one can deduce from his essay titled “Killing Babies Isn’t Always Wrong” (nor is he a lone voice in the wilderness; his views are popular or respected in many academic circles). But that hasn’t caused the Left to ostracize him in the slightest (save in Germany, where people still have a visceral sense of where such logic takes you). Of course, not all or even most liberals agree with Singer’s prescriptions, but nor do they condemn him as they do, say, a William Bennett. Perhaps they recognize in him a kindred spirit.

— Jonah Goldberg is the author of Liberal Fascism and editor-at-large of National Review Online.

Derek Jeter showing lower numbers than normal this season


Tuesday, June 24th 2008, 2:20 AM

NEW YORK - JUNE 19: Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees hits a first inning single against the San Diego Padres on June 19, 2008 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

If there were ever a year when Derek Jeter could be called overrated, this has been it.

The Yankees' captain, the highest-paid shortstop in baseball, has a .279 batting average, a whopping 37 points below his career mark, while his 10 doubles and 39 runs scored put him well below his usual pace. Fourteen shortstops in the majors have more extra-base hits than Jeter's 17.

Not that Jeter is concerned.

"I don't judge a year after three months," Jeter said. "I've had good halves and bad halves. I still have until the end of the year. I don't complicate things."

Still, it's clear that something hasn't been right with the shortstop, who was voted the most overrated player in the game in a Sports Illustrated players poll released last week.

Then again, Alex Rodriguez was tied for third in that poll, bringing the voters' motives into question as far as one big-league scout is concerned. (Rodriguez and Jeter were voted 1-2 in an SI poll the previous week that had players selecting one person to build a franchise around.)

"I don't agree with that for a second," the scout said. "That's just plain jealousy. It's ridiculous. They're two of the best players to play the game in the last decade and both will be Hall of Famers. How can that be overrated?"

Based on his current statistics, Jeter is on pace for 87 runs, 22 doubles and nine home runs, while his on-base and slugging percentages sit at an unusually low .336 and .379, respectively.

Those totals would all mark career lows for Jeter, who has averaged 114 runs and 32 doubles in his 12 full seasons, not to mention his career on-base and slugging percentages of .386 and .459.

At .279, Jeter is batting 37 points below his career mark.

Jeter won't even offer a guess at the reason for his declining numbers, but Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long has his own theory.

"I can tell you that he probably lost 30-35 points in his average due to his hand injury, but he'd never admit that," Long said. "His swing wasn't the same, he was favoring it and he got into some problems when it came to staying behind the baseball, which has always been his strength. He still contributed and helped us in other ways, but his hitting suffered."

The injury happened on May 20, when Jeter was drilled in his left hand by a Daniel Cabrera fastball. Jeter missed the rest of that game, but he was back in the lineup the next night.

When Jeter was hit, his average was .312 and his on-base .351. Over the next 10 games, Jeter went 4-for-40 with only one extra-base hit, dropping his average down to .269.

Nevertheless, his presence in the lineup and on the field remained a crucial piece of the Yankees' puzzle as the team struggled to find its way over .500.

"There's a grinding attitude when he's out there," Joe Girardi said. "He's important to our club on a daily basis - not just for what he does on the field, but the whole picture."

Jeter began expanding his strike zone, swinging at pitches on the corners or off the plate. As Long watched those bad habits, he knew something wasn't right.

"How much damage can you do with a pitch that's (a foot) off the plate?" Long said. "Since he's been healthy, he's had to get out of some of those bad habits, and now he's starting to put a little something together."

Since the calendar turned to June, Jeter has looked like a different hitter. He's hit safely in 19 of 21 games, batting .301 with a .370 on-base percentage. Jeter is riding a season-high 11-game hitting streak, though he cringes when asked about his hot bat.

"It's just a feel. You can't explain it," Jeter said. "Sometimes you're comfortable and it feels like nobody can get you out. Other times, you're trying to find it. If people knew how to fix it, no one would ever go through bad streaks, but sometimes it's hard to figure out."

The scout, who has watched Jeter several times over the past two months, said he didn't see any noticeable differences in the shortstop's approach compared to any of his recent seasons.

"His bat is still quick," the scout said. "When the leaves turn brown, he'll be around that .300 or .315 mark he always is."

Johnny Damon can relate to Jeter's early-season struggles. Damon was hitting .250 when Jeter was hit by Cabrera's pitch, but just when Jeter went cold, the left fielder became the hottest hitter in the majors, batting .418 (51-for-122) since that day.

"He knows it's not how you start, but how you finish," Damon said of Jeter. "We know when the season is over, he's going to be hitting .300 with 100 runs scored. He doesn't get affected too much. He knows what New York is about and what baseball is about, so he just goes about his business."

"There's a hot streak right around the corner," Long said. "Sooner or later, it's coming. He's a model of consistency. Keep putting his name in the lineup and, in the end, the numbers will be there. He'll make something out of this season."