Saturday, August 13, 2011

Romney’s Federalism

Trust the states and the people to govern themselves.

By Andrew C. McCarthy
August 13, 2011

On a night when he was the clear winner, it was only natural that Mitt Romney got off the best line of Thursday’s GOP presidential debate. “Are you familiar with the Massachusetts constitution?”

He posed that question to Chris Wallace, the Fox News panelist who had been grilling him on Romneycare, the health-insurance program imposed on Bay State residents by the former Massachusetts governor and the state’s legislature. Governor Romney’s rivals have been pounding away at the program, portraying it as the model for Obamacare — the deeply unpopular foundation for a nationally socialized health-care system, vigorous opposition to which catapulted Republicans to historic success in the 2010 midterm elections.

For good reason, GOP presidential hopefuls see immovable opposition to Obamacare as key to wresting the Oval Office from its current occupant. Romney’s frontrunner status, they reason, owes more to the party establishment’s dubious “It’s his turn” tradition than to any groundswell of support from the grassroots that swept Democrats out in the midterms. So the strategy is to use Romneycare — particularly its dread mandate that individuals buy health insurance — to hang Obamacare and its Big Government noose around Romney’s neck. Tim Pawlenty, a candidate groping for traction, has even coined the term “Obamneycare” to highlight the similarities between the two schemes.

That’s exactly where Mr. Wallace was going. “Do you believe the government has . . . the right to make someone buy a good or service just because they [sic] are a U.S. resident? . . . Where do you find that authority in the Constitution?”

It was then that Governor Romney abruptly turned the tables, challenging his questioner’s own understanding of constitutional law — to be specific, the law laid down in a constitution that is both seven years older than the federal one and, under the GOP’s oft-claimed (but rarely practiced) small-government allegiance, more pertinent to the matter of health care.

Mr. Wallace is a Beltway habituĂ©. That he seemed nonplussed by Romney’s retort is to be expected. In Washington, there is nothing but Washington. When they talk about “the government” they are thinking only of our soon-to-be $17 trillion–in–the–red collosus. What is surprising, though, is how little the other candidates on the stage seemed to grasp what Romney was talking about, notwithstanding their chest-pounding about slashing the size of government.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no more convinced that Governor Romney bleeds Tenth Amendment red than I am that Ron Paul is coming around on that whole Federal Reserve thing. Romney has a significant political vulnerability, and, like a lawyer boxed in by precedents, he’s got to take his escape hatches wherever he can find them. He may have landed on the Massachusetts constitution more out of necessity than conviction.

But land there he did, and it just might save him. To make this argument, the governor, who is clearly a sharp guy, has had to wrap his brain around the principle of federalism and what it portends: concepts of state sovereignty and limited central government in a pluralistic republic.

Let’s put health care to the side. Say a governor and state legislature had enacted a scheme to establish a state religion, or at least to advantage one religion over others. One could argue that this was — or was not — unwise policy. It certainly seems as hostile to liberty as the idea of coercing a citizen to buy a commodity as a condition of citizenship. Yet, for the first 160 years of governance under the federal constitution, there would have been nothing objectionable about it under U.S. law. Until the Supreme Court suddenly decided to “incorporate” the Establishment Clause against the states, the First Amendment was no bar. The federal government, as Jefferson put it, was “interdicted from intermeddling” in matters of religion — religion was an issue left to the states and their citizens, and we trusted them to handle it responsibly.

That is the way our system is supposed to work. The federal government has a few discrete areas of national concern to regulate. The rest belong to the states and the people, to regulate or not as they see fit. In a free society, that means decisions on most matters of community life get made by the community that has to live with them — and pay for them. In a pluralistic society, that means we could have 50 different ways of doing things — meaning that if you find yourself in a state that is foolish enough to mandate the purchase of health insurance subsidized by taxes or penalties, you are free to move to some state that isn’t.

The inability in a federalist system to impose a “one size fits all” solution on every choice decompresses a society — which is now a society of over 300 million people with very different ideas about how we should live. It promotes social harmony by allowing people to gravitate to the communities where life best suits them.

If I were living in Massachusetts (or anyplace else), I would argue that health care is not a corporate asset and that it’s none of anyone’s business whether I choose to buy coverage. But if I lost that debate, and if the coercive mandate law bothered me enough, I could move to some state where the law was different. Or I might decide that, in the greater scheme of things, life in Massachusetts was worth enduring the nuisance and costs of state policies to which I objected. But in either event, none of my calculations would be the concern of someone living in, say, Colorado — at least as long as he wasn’t being made to pay for it.

To the contrary, Romney’s competitors opined that the federal constitution barred states like Massachusetts from imposing an individual mandate as part of an effort to ensure that every citizen in the state was covered. And from there, the putative champions of limited government went haywire. Some want gay marriage banned. Some want abortion banned and criminalized. If you listened to them long enough, it was like listening to Democrats: If I disapprove of it, surely it must be prohibited. If I approve, surely it must be the law.

I confess to thinking we’ve lost our way. The Framers gave us a federal constitution for a confident, self-determining people — people who could be trusted to make sensible choices, to govern themselves through legislation rather than be strait-jacketed in the uncompromising logic of law.

I happen to think gay marriage is an oddity — a category error that misconstrues the concept and institution of marriage. But I also appreciate that many people of good will (as opposed to people pushing a corrosive, anti-establishment agenda) would permit it out of an admirable desire to treat homosexuals with compassion and accord them some of the legal privileges (tax treatment, property rights, inheritance, etc.) attendant to marriage.

I’m not crazy about the idea, but neither am I threatened by it. I don’t believe there are enough gay people who will want to marry that the institution of marriage will be meaningfully imperiled. Public opinion remains decidedly against gay marriage, and most states will never permit it. I don’t see the harm in allowing the few states that would vote to permit it do just that — as long as other states may ban it in accordance with their own public policy, and as long as it is not a stealth invalidation of sincerely held religious beliefs. Gay marriage should never mean that Catholic adoption services must place babies with gay couples or cease operating.

Some respond, “Well, if you permit gay marriage, what’s to stop polygamy?” But if X then Y is a legal argument. We are a body politic, not the slaves of remorseless chains of legal reasoning. Legislation that permits one set of arrangements doesn’t require us to take the next step on the slippery slope.

Abortion is a heinous moral wrong because it takes human life. It is no less a taking of human life if conception is the result of rape or incest. Yet our society, fully understanding why it is revolted by abortion, favors these exceptions. And it wants abortion banned, but it does not want doctors and women prosecuted. These may not be logical distinctions, but they are sensible ones. They are accommodations that enable us to live harmoniously without agreeing. And they would prevent the vast majority of abortions.

If you want the federal constitution to ban something, then amend it. A constitutional amendment is not a prohibition imposed by the federal government, for the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. government are not the same thing. The Constitution is the compact of the people setting forth the terms on which we are bound together as a nation. In essence, it cannot be amended unless the provision in question garners super-majority support (two-thirds) in Congress, and then super-duper majority assent (three-fourths) in the states.

If banning state health-care mandates, gay marriage, and abortion, or other conservative policy prescriptions, can surmount those high hurdles, then they truly are reflective of the national will — of what it means to be an American. That is what is minimally necessary before they should be imposed as a condition of living in the United States. Same for the Left’s agenda. If a policy preference can’t meet that demanding test, then by all means continue trying to convince people to see it your way. But in the meantime, these are matters for the states to decide for themselves — and we ought to be confident that our fellow Americans will make rational choices, even if they differ from the choices we would make.

One other thing: The country is going broke. Our fiscal straits are not going to be fixed by reconfiguring “baseline-budgeting” or prescribing “spending caps.” That is fantasy. It implies that the federal government should be intruding into every area of our lives, but just in a more moderate way — one that leaves us, say, $22 trillion in debt rather than $24 trillion.

No, that won’t do. This gets solved only by drastically slashing the functions of the central government. It gets solved by zeroing out departments, agencies, and bureaucracies; by returning those functions to the states so that the people directly affected can decide what ought to be done and how much they’re willing to pay for it — not with other people’s money but with their own.

That will never happen — and thus, we will never pull back from the brink — unless we return to the Original Idea: Trust the states and the people to govern themselves.

I think Mitt’s on to something.

— Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, is the author, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.

What Happened to Obama? Absolutely Nothing.

He is still the same anti-American leftist he was before becoming our president.

The Wall Street Journal
August 13, 2011

It's open season on President Obama. Which is to say that the usual suspects on the right (among whom I include myself) are increasingly being joined in attacking him by erstwhile worshipers on the left. Even before the S&P downgrade, there were reports of Democrats lamenting that Hillary Clinton had lost to him in 2008. Some were comparing him not, as most of them originally had, to Lincoln and Roosevelt but to the hapless Jimmy Carter. There was even talk of finding a candidate to stage a primary run against him. But since the downgrade, more and more liberal pundits have been deserting what they clearly fear is a sinking ship.

Here, for example, from the Washington Post, is Richard Cohen: "He is the very personification of cognitive dissonance—the gap between what we (especially liberals) expected of the first serious African American presidential candidate and the man he in fact is." More amazingly yet Mr. Cohen goes on to say of Mr. Obama, who not long ago was almost universally hailed as the greatest orator since Pericles, that he lacks even "the rhetorical qualities of the old-time black politicians." And to compound the amazement, Mr. Cohen tells us that he cannot even "recall a soaring passage from a speech."

Overseas it is the same refrain. Everywhere in the world, we read in Germany's Der Spiegel, not only are the hopes ignited by Mr. Obama being dashed, but his "weakness is a problem for the entire global economy."

In short, the spell that Mr. Obama once cast—a spell so powerful that instead of ridiculing him when he boasted that he would cause "the oceans to stop rising and the planet to heal," all of liberaldom fell into a delirious swoon—has now been broken by its traumatic realization that he is neither the "god" Newsweek in all seriousness declared him to be nor even a messianic deliverer.

Hence the question on every lip is—as the title of a much quoted article in the New York Times by Drew Westen of Emory University puts it— "What Happened to Obama?" Attacking from the left, Mr. Westin charges that President Obama has been conciliatory when he should have been aggressively pounding away at all the evildoers on the right.

Of course, unlike Mr. Westen, we villainous conservatives do not see Mr. Obama as conciliatory or as "a president who either does not know what he believes or is willing to take whatever position he thinks will lead to his re-election." On the contrary, we see him as a president who knows all too well what he believes. Furthermore, what Mr. Westen regards as an opportunistic appeal to the center we interpret as a tactic calculated to obfuscate his unshakable strategic objective, which is to turn this country into a European-style social democracy while diminishing the leading role it has played in the world since the end of World War II. The Democrats have persistently denied that these are Mr. Obama's goals, but they have only been able to do so by ignoring or dismissing what Mr. Obama himself, in a rare moment of candor, promised at the tail end of his run for the presidency: "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America."

This statement, coming on top of his association with radicals like Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright and Rashid Khalidi, definitively revealed to all who were not wilfully blinding themselves that Mr. Obama was a genuine product of the political culture that had its birth among a marginal group of leftists in the early 1960s and that by the end of the decade had spread metastatically to the universities, the mainstream media, the mainline churches, and the entertainment industry. Like their communist ancestors of the 1930s, the leftist radicals of the '60s were convinced that the United States was so rotten that only a revolution could save it.

But whereas the communists had in their delusional vision of the Soviet Union a model of the kind of society that would replace the one they were bent on destroying, the new leftists only knew what they were against: America, or Amerika as they spelled it to suggest its kinship to Nazi Germany. Thanks, however, to the unmasking of the Soviet Union as a totalitarian nightmare, they did not know what they were for. Yet once they had pulled off the incredible feat of taking over the Democratic Party behind the presidential candidacy of George McGovern in 1972, they dropped the vain hope of a revolution, and in the social-democratic system most fully developed in Sweden they found an alternative to American capitalism that had a realistic possibility of being achieved through gradual political reform.

Despite Mr. McGovern's defeat by Richard Nixon in a landslide, the leftists remained a powerful force within the Democratic Party, but for the next three decades the electoral exigencies within which they had chosen to operate prevented them from getting their own man nominated. Thus, not one of the six Democratic presidential candidates who followed Mr. McGovern came out of the party's left wing, and when Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton (the only two of the six who won) tried each in his own way to govern in its spirit, their policies were rejected by the American immune system. It was only with the advent of Barack Obama that the leftists at long last succeeded in nominating one of their own.

To be sure, no white candidate who had close associations with an outspoken hater of America like Jeremiah Wright and an unrepentant terrorist like Bill Ayers would have lasted a single day. But because Mr. Obama was black, and therefore entitled in the eyes of liberaldom to have hung out with protesters against various American injustices, even if they were a bit extreme, he was given a pass. And in any case, what did such ancient history matter when he was also articulate and elegant and (as he himself had said) "non-threatening," all of which gave him a fighting chance to become the first black president and thereby to lay the curse of racism to rest?

And so it came about that a faithful scion of the political culture of the '60s left is now sitting in the White House and doing everything in his power to effect the fundamental transformation of America to which that culture was dedicated and to which he has pledged his own personal allegiance.

I disagree with those of my fellow conservatives who maintain that Mr. Obama is indifferent to "the best interests of the United States" (Thomas Sowell) and is "purposely" out to harm America (Rush Limbaugh). In my opinion, he imagines that he is helping America to repent of its many sins and to become a different and better country.

But I emphatically agree with Messrs. Limbaugh and Sowell about this president's attitude toward America as it exists and as the Founding Fathers intended it. That is why my own answer to the question, "What Happened to Obama?" is that nothing happened to him. He is still the same anti-American leftist he was before becoming our president, and it is this rather than inexperience or incompetence or weakness or stupidity that accounts for the richly deserved failure both at home and abroad of the policies stemming from that reprehensible cast of mind.

Photo: Getty Images

- Mr. Podhoretz was the editor of Commentary from 1960 to 1995. His most recent book is "Why Are Jews Liberals?" (Doubleday, 2009).

The Wind-Energy Myth

The claims for this “green” source of energy wither in the Texas heat.

By Robert Bryce
August 12, 2011

Hot? Don’t count on wind energy to cool you down. That’s the lesson emerging from the stifling heat wave that’s hammering Texas.

Over the past week or so, Texans have been consuming record-breaking quantities of electricity, and ERCOT, the state’s grid operator, has warned of rolling blackouts if customers don’t reduce their consumption.

Texas has 10,135 megawatts of installed wind-generation capacity. That’s nearly three times as much as any other state. But during three sweltering days last week, when the state set new records for electricity demand, the state’s vast herd of turbines proved incapable of producing any serious amount of power.

Consider the afternoon of August 2, when electricity demand hit 67,929 megawatts. Although electricity demand and prices were peaking, output from the state’s wind turbines was just 1,500 megawatts, or about 15 percent of their total nameplate capacity. Put another way, wind energy was able to provide only about 2.2 percent of the total power demand even though the installed capacity of Texas’s wind turbines theoretically equals nearly 15 percent of peak demand. This was no anomaly. On four days in August 2010, when electricity demand set records, wind energy was able to contribute just 1, 2, 1, and 1 percent, respectively, of total demand.

Over the past few years, about $17 billion has been spent installing wind turbines in Texas. Another $8 billion has been allocated for transmission lines to carry the electricity generated by the turbines to distant cities. And now, Texas ratepayers are on the hook for much of that $25 billion, even though they can’t count on the wind to keep their air conditioners running when temperatures soar.

That $25 billion could have been used to build about 5,000 megawatts of highly reliable nuclear generation capacity, or as much as 25,000 megawatts of natural-gas-fired capacity, all of which could have been reliably put to work during the hottest days of summer.

The wind-energy lobby has been masterly at garnering huge subsidies and mandates by claiming that its product is a “green” alternative to conventional electricity. But the hype has obscured a dirty little secret: When power demand is highest, wind energy’s output is generally low. The reverse is also true: Wind-energy production is usually highest during the middle of the night, when electricity use is lowest.

The incurable intermittency and extreme variability of wind energy requires utilities and grid operators to continue relying on conventional sources of generation like coal, natural gas, and nuclear fuel.
Nevertheless, 29 states, plus the District of Columbia, now have renewable-energy mandates. Those expensive mandates cannot be met with solar energy, which, despite enormous growth in recent years, still remains a tiny player in the renewable sector. If policymakers want to meet those mandates, landowners and citizens will have to learn to live with sprawling forests of noisy, 45-story-tall wind turbines.

The main motive for installing all those turbines is that they are supposed to help reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, which, in turn, is supposed to help prevent global temperature increases. But it’s already hot — really hot — in Texas and other parts of the southern United States. And that leads to an obvious question: If the global-warming catastrophists are right, and it’s going to get even hotter, then why the heck are we putting up wind turbines that barely work when it’s hot?

Robert Bryce is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. His fourth book, Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future, was recently issued in paperback.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lessons for us from London in flames

By Mark Steyn
The Orange County Register
August 12, 2011

The trick in this business is not to be right too early. A week ago I released my new book – the usual doom 'n' gloom stuff – and, just as the sensible prudent moderate chaps were about to dismiss it as hysterical and alarmist, Standard & Poor's went and downgraded the United States from its AAA rating for the first time in history. Obligingly enough they downgraded it to AA+, which happens to be the initials of my book: "After America". Okay, there's not a lot of "+" in that, but you can't have everything.

But the news cycle moves on, and a day or two later, the news shows were filled with scenes of London ablaze, as gangs of feral youths trashed and looted their own neighborhoods. Several readers wrote to taunt me for not having anything to say on the London riots. As it happens, Chapter Five of my book is called "The New Britannia: The Depraved City." You have to get up pretty early in the morning to beat me to Western Civilization's descent into barbarism. Anyone who's read it will fully understand what's happening on the streets of London. The downgrade and the riots are part of the same story: Big Government debauches not only a nation's finances but its human capital, too.

As part of my promotional efforts, I chanced to find myself on a TV show the other day with an affable liberal who argued that what Obama needed to do was pass another trillion-dollar – or, better yet, multi-trillion – stimulus. I think not. The London rioters are the children of dependency, the progeny of Big Government: they have been marinated in "stimulus" their entire lives. There is literally nothing you can't get Her Majesty's Government to pay for. From page 205 of my book:

"A man of 21 with learning disabilities has been granted taxpayers' money to fly to Amsterdam and have sex with a prostitute."

Hey, why not? "He's planning to do more than just have his end away," explained his social worker. "Refusing to offer him this service would be a violation of his human rights."

Why do they need a Dutch hooker? Just another hardworking foreigner doing the jobs Britons won't do? Given the reputation of English womanhood, you'd have thought this would be the one gig that wouldn't have to be outsourced overseas.

While the British Treasury is busy writing checks to Amsterdam prostitutes, one-fifth of children are raised in homes in which no adult works – in which the weekday ritual of rising, dressing and leaving for gainful employment is entirely unknown. One-tenth of the adult population has done not a day's work since Tony Blair took office on May 1, 1997.

If you were born into such a household, you've been comprehensively "stimulated" into the dead-eyed zombies staggering about the streets this past week: pathetic inarticulate subhumans unable even to grunt the minimal monosyllables to BBC interviewers desperate to appease their pathologies. C'mon, we're not asking much: just a word or two about how it's all the fault of government "cuts" like the leftie columnists argue. And yet even that is beyond these baying beasts. The great-grandparents of these brutes stood alone against a Fascist Europe in that dark year after the fall of France in 1940. Their grandparents were raised in one of the most peaceful and crime-free nations on the planet. Were those Englishmen of the mid-20th century to be magically transplanted to London today, they'd assume they were in some fantastical remote galaxy. If Charlton Heston was horrified to discover the Planet of the Apes was his own, Britons are beginning to realize that the remote desert island of "Lord Of The Flies" is, in fact, located just off the coast of Europe in the northeast Atlantic. Within two generations of the Blitz and the Battle of Britain, a significant proportion of the once-free British people entrusted themselves to social rewiring by liberal compassionate Big Government and thereby rendered themselves paralytic and unemployable save for nonspeaking parts in "Rise of The Planet Of The Apes." And even that would likely be too much like hard work.

Here's another line from my book:

"In Britain, everything is policed except crime."

Her Majesty's cowed and craven politically correct constabulary stand around with their riot shields and Robocop gear as young rioters lob concrete through store windows to steal the electronic toys which provide their only non-narcotic or alcoholic amusement. I chanced to be in Piccadilly for the springtime riots when the police failed to stop the mob from smashing the windows of the Ritz and other upscale emporia, so it goes without saying that they wouldn't lift a finger to protect less-prestigious private property from thugs. Some of whom are as young as 9 years old. And girls.

Yet a police force all but entirely useless when it comes to preventing crime or maintaining public order has time to police everything else. When Sam Brown observed en passant to a mounted policeman on Cornmarket Street in Oxford, "Do you know your horse is gay?", he was surrounded within minutes by six officers and a fleet of patrol cars, handcuffed, tossed in the slammer overnight, and fined 80 pounds. Mr. Brown's "homophobic comments," explained a spokesmoron for Thames Valley Police, were "not only offensive to the policeman and his horse, but any members of the general public in the area." The zealous crackdown on Sam Brown's hippohomophobia has not been replicated in the present disturbances. Anyone who has so much as glanced at British policing policy over the past two decades would be hard pressed to argue which party on the streets of London, the thugs or the cops, is more irredeemably stupid.

This is the logical dead end of the Nanny State. When William Beveridge laid out his blueprint for the British welfare regime in 1942, his goal was the "abolition of want" to be accomplished by "co-operation between the State and the individual." In attempting to insulate the citizenry from life's vicissitudes, Sir William succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. As I write in my book: "Want has been all but abolished. Today, fewer and fewer Britons want to work, want to marry, want to raise children, want to lead a life of any purpose or dignity." The United Kingdom has the highest drug use in Europe, the highest incidence of sexually transmitted disease, the highest number of single mothers, the highest abortion rate. Marriage is all but defunct, except for William and Kate, fellow toffs, upscale gays and Muslims. From page 204: "For Americans, the quickest way to understand modern Britain is to look at what LBJ's Great Society did to the black family and imagine it applied to the general population."

I believe it is regarded as a sign of insanity to start quoting oneself, but at the risk of trying your patience I'll try one more, because it's the link between America's downgraded debt and Britain's downgraded citizenry:

"The evil of such a system is not the waste of money but the waste of people."

Big Government means small citizens: it corrodes the integrity of a people, catastrophically. Within living memory, the city in flames on our TV screens every night governed a fifth of the Earth's surface and a quarter of its population. When you're imperialists on that scale, there are bound to be a few mishaps along the way. But nothing the British Empire did to its subject peoples has been as total and catastrophic as what a post-great Britain did to its own.

There are lessons for all of us there.


Sharia Enclaves in the West

By Ryan Mauro
August 12, 2011

Jamaal Uddin, 17, was pictured putting up Sharia controlled zone stickers in Walthamstow (UK) in July.

Islamist organizations are hard at work creating Muslim enclaves in the West, including right here in the United States. These efforts are designed to create Islamic autonomous areas, often with the expressed desire of incrementally bringing the host country completely under Sharia-based governance. This campaign has not stopped or even slowed down since FrontPage Magazine and the Middle East Forum shined the light on it one year ago.

One group leading the effort to establish Islamist communities within the U.S. is As-Sabiqun, led by an extremist cleric named Imam Abdul Alim Musa. His list of heroes reads like a who’s-who of the jihadist world, from Hasan al-Banna to Sayyid Qutb to Ayatollah Khomeini. He recently heaped praise upon Iranian President Ahmadinejad. In June 2002, he expressed support for suicide bombings in Israel. He preaches that the 9/11 attacks were a CIA/Mossad operation, says he “like[s]” Osama Bin Laden, supports Hezbollah, and describes Hamas as being “very nice people.” The As-Sabiqun Web site has a plan to create Sharia enclaves in the U.S. in stages, beginning with moving Muslims to one area and setting up independent social services.

As-Sabiqun is now fundraising for two new initiatives: The “Islamic Institute of Counter Zionist American Psychological Warfare” and the “College in Islamic Movement Studies.” The appeal for support explains, “We are an anti-Zionist American psycho-guerrilla warfare movement.” It expresses the group’s hatred for the U.S. government, saying the institutions will “use all available tools in our environment in exposing the anti-Islamic, anti-human policies of this Zionist American system.” As-Sabiqun’s explicit goal is bringing the U.S. under Sharia law.

A music producer named Kenny Gamble, who now goes by the name of Luqman Abdul Haqq, is a major player in the enclave movement. He has been accused of trying to set up a “black Muslim enclave” in Philadelphia, and has a leadership position with the Muslim Alliance in North America. Significantly, Imam Musa also once held a position with the organization, but his name no longer appears on the Web site. Joe Kaufman, chairman of Americans Against Hate, discovered that Gamble has some very frightening affiliations.

Gamble owns a mosque in Philadelphia that opened in 1994. It was the first mosque belonging to an organization called the United Muslim Movement. Gamble is also behind a group called the Jawala Scouts, which was registered in 2005 under an address matching that of the United Muslim Movement. The scouts teach Muslim boys as young as 7 years old how to use firearms and various combat and survival skills, while dressed in military attire. The scouts initiative was launched by the Sankore Institute of Islamic-African Studies International. It was founded in Sudan and had its offices raided in 2006 by the FBI as part of a terrorism investigation. The organization has many former felons as members, and its Web site shows members with swords and guns. Its anti-American director condemns “pacifist ‘imams’ who deny the obligation of jihad [holy war] and who have deluded their followers into the fruitless activity of supporting democratic constitutional government.”

Outrageously, Gamble is receiving taxpayer money. In September 2010, his organization, Universal Community Homes, won a $500,000 grant from the Department of Education. The grant was awarded to candidates who “create plans to provide cradle-to-career services that improve the educational achievement and healthy development of children.”

The gate to Islamberg, N.Y., a private Muslim community that is home to an estimated 100 residents. The sign reads: 'Welcome to Holy Islamberg, The International Quranic Open University.'

The most successful organization in the enclave movement within the U.S. is Muslims of the Americas. The group boasts of having 22 “villages” around the country, with some being dozens of acres large. The Christian Action Network released a documentary in 2009 about the group, and has videotaped proof that guerrilla warfare training has taken place at its “Islamberg” headquarters. The group is trying to rebrand itself through its front, the United Muslim Christian Forum. I attended its latest event in April, as detailed in FrontPage. The group continues to be whitewashed by local newspapers, and is vigorously warning about the Satanic “jinn beings” possessing people through movies like Avatar, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and The Exorcist. It is still promoting theories about Zionist involvement in 9/11, and salutes Ahmadinejad for his suggestions that elements of the U.S. government were involved., and even compared the Iranian president to the Mahdi.

The enclave effort isn’t limited to the U.S. A declassified intelligence report by Canada’s Integrated Threat Assessment Centre warns of non-violent Islamists trying to build a “parallel society” within the country. It specifically names the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb ut-Tahrir as groups trying to make “mini-societies,” though Muslims of the Americas operates in Canada also. “Isolationism can lead to conditions where extreme messages can incubate and eventually become the catalyst for violence. At a minimum, isolationism undermines a multicultural and democratic system,” it states.

Spain’s National Intelligence Center reports that tens of millions of dollars are flowing into the country from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Morocco and Libya. “The financing is having negative consequences for [multicultural] coexistence in Spain, such as the emergence of parallel societies and ghettos, Islamic courts and police that operate outside of Spanish jurisprudence, removing girls from schools, forced marriages, etc.,” it says. There are at least 100 mosques in Spain with radical imams, some of whom use religious police to enforce Sharia.

Most recently, the Muslims Against the Crusades group in the United Kingdom received attention for starting the “Islamic Emirates Project.” It seeks to transform 12 British towns into independent Sharia enclaves. Yellow posters stating, “You are entering a Sharia-controlled zone—Islamic rules enforced” are now going up in these areas. Between 10 and 50,000 stickers have been printed announcing the unilateral declarations.

The lack of assimilation by Muslim immigrant communities in Europe is leading to the unplanned creation of ghettos that can become enclaves. In the U.K., the government has listed certain “ethnic minority areas” where soldiers are asked not to wear their uniforms in public. In France, there are 751 “sensitive urban zones,” aptly dubbed “No Go Zones” by Dr. Daniel Pipes. In Greece and France, Muslim areas have erupted with large-scale riots over perceived transgressions by law enforcement. In Sweden, the city of Rinkeby, nicknamed “Little Mogadishu,” experienced massive riots for two days in June 2010. The Muslim immigrant population is quickly growing in Malmo, resulting in intimidation of the Jewish community and areas that emergency service personnel refuse to enter without police escort.

Enclaves where Islamism breeds and parallels society are being built right under the West’s nose. And meanwhile, those trying to warn about this trend are insulted as paranoid Islamophobes.

Today's Tune: John Hiatt - Cry Love

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Britain's liberal intelligentsia has smashed virtually every social value

By Melanie Phillips
The Daily Mail
11 August 2011

So now the chickens have well and truly come home terrifyingly to roost. The violent anarchy that has taken hold of British cities is the all-too-predictable outcome of a three-decade liberal experiment which tore up virtually every basic social value.

The married two-parent family, educational meritocracy, punishment of criminals, national identity, enforcement of the drugs laws and many more fundamental conventions were all smashed by a liberal intelligentsia hell-bent on a revolutionary transformation of society.

Those of us who warned over the years that they were playing with fire were sneered at and smeared as Right-wing nutters who wanted to turn the clock back to some mythical golden age.

Now we can see what they have brought about in the unprecedented and horrific scenes of mob violence, with homes and businesses going up in flames, and epidemic looting.

Clearly, there is some as yet unidentified direction and co-ordination behind the anarchy. But what is so notable and distressing is that, after the first day when adults were clearly involved, this mayhem has been carried out in the main by teenagers and children, some as young as eight.
The idea that they should not steal other people’s property, or beat up and rob passers-by, appears to be as weird and outlandish to them as the suggestion that they should fly to the moon.

These youths feel absolutely entitled to go ‘on the rob’ and steal whatever they want. Indeed, they are incredulous that anyone should suggest they might pass up such an opportunity.

What has been fuelling all this is not poverty, as has so predictably been claimed, but moral collapse. What we have been experiencing is a complete breakdown of civilised behaviour among children and young people straight out of William Golding’s seminal novel about childhood savagery, Lord Of The Flies.

There has been much bewildered talk about ‘feral’ children, and desperate calls upon their parents to keep them in at night and to ask them about any stolen goods they are bringing home.

As if there were responsible parents in such homes! We are not merely up against feral children, but feral parents.

Of course these parents know their children are out on the streets. Of course they see them staggering back with what they have looted. But either they are too drunk or drugged or otherwise out of it to care, or else they are helping themselves to the proceeds, too.

As David Cameron observed yesterday, there are clearly pockets of society that are not just broken, but sick.

The causes of this sickness are many and complex. But three things can be said with certainty: every one of them is the fault of the liberal intelligentsia; every one of them was instituted or exacerbated by the Labour government; and at the very heart of these problems lies the breakdown of the family.

For most of these children come from lone-mother households. And the single most crucial factor behind all this mayhem is the willed removal of the most important thing that socialises children and turns them from feral savages into civilised citizens: a father who is a fully committed member of the family unit.

Of course there are many lone parents who do a tremendous job. But we’re talking here about widespread social collapse. And there are whole areas of Britain, white as well as black, where committed fathers are a wholly unknown phenomenon.

In such areas, successive generations are being brought up only by mothers, through whose houses pass transitory males by whom these women have yet more children — and who inevitably repeat the pattern of lone and dysfunctional parenting.

The result is fatherless boys who are consumed by an existential rage and desperate emotional need, and who take out the damage done to them by lashing out from infancy at everyone around them. Such children inhabit what is effectively a different world from the rest of society. It’s a world without any boundaries or rules. A world of emotional and physical chaos.

A world where a child responds to the slightest setback or disagreement by resorting to violence. A world where the parent is unwilling or incapable of providing the loving and disciplined framework that a child needs in order to thrive.

Yet instead of lone parenthood being regarded as a tragedy for individuals, and a catastrophe for society, it has been redefined as a ‘right’.

When Labour came to power in 1997, it set about systematically destroying not just the traditional family but the very idea that married parents were better for children than any other arrangement.

Instead, it introduced the sexual free-for-all of ‘lifestyle choice’; claimed that the idea of the male breadwinner was a sexist anachronism; and told girls that they could, and should, go it alone as mothers.

This was the outcome of the shattering defeat of Tony Blair, in the two years or so after he came to power, at the hands of the ultra-feminists and apostles of non-judgmentalism in his Cabinet and party who were determined, above all, to destroy the traditional nuclear family.

Blair stood virtually alone against them, and lost.

One of these ultra-feminist wreckers was Harriet Harman. The other night, she was on TV preposterously suggesting that cuts in educational allowances or youth workers had something to do with young people torching and looting shops, robbing and leaving people for dead in the streets.

But Harman was one of the principal forces in the Labour government behind the promotion of lone parenthood and the marginalisation of fathers. If anyone should be blamed for bringing about the conditions which have led to these appalling scenes in our cities, it is surely Ms Harman.

And this breaking of the family was further condoned, rewarded and encouraged by the Welfare State, which conceives of need solely in terms of absence of money, and which accordingly subsidises lone parenthood and the destructive behaviour that fatherlessness brings in its train.

Welfare dependency further created the entitlement culture that the looters so egregiously display. It taught them that the world owed them a living. It taught them that their actions had no consequences. And it taught them that the world revolved around themselves.

The result of this toxic combination of welfare and non-judgmentalism was an explosion of elective lone parenthood and dysfunctional behaviour transmitted down through the generations at the very bottom of the social heap — creating, in effect, a class apart.

Once, children would have been rescued from their disadvantaged backgrounds by schools which gave them not just an education but structure and purpose to their lives.

But the liberal intelligentsia destroyed that escape route, too. For its onslaught upon marriage — the bedrock institution of society — with a tax system that penalises married couples with a wife who doesn’t work, was replicated by an onslaught upon the understanding and very identity of that society. Instead of transmitting knowledge to children, teaching was deemed to be an attack upon a child’s autonomy and self-esteem.

Thus it was that teachers adopted the ‘child-centred’ approach, which expected children not only to learn for themselves but also to decide for themselves about behaviour such as sexual morality or drug-taking.
The outcome was that children were left illiterate and innumerate and unable to think. Abandoned to wander through the world without any guidance, they predictably ended up without any moral compass.

All of this was compounded still further by the disaster of multiculturalism — the doctrine which held that no culture could be considered superior to any other because that was ‘racist’.

That meant children were no longer taught about the nation in which they lived, and about its culture. So not only were they left in ignorance of their own society, but any attachment to a shared and over-arching culture was deliberately shattered.

Instead of forging social bonds, multiculturalism dissolved them — and introduced instead a primitive war of all against all, in which the strongest groups would destroy the weak.

Closely related to this was ‘victim culture’, in which all minority groups were regarded as victims of the majority. So any bad behaviour by them was excused and blamed on the majority.

In similar vein, all criminal wrongdoing was excused on the basis that the criminal couldn’t help himself, as he was the victim of circumstances such as poverty, unemployment, or as yet illusory cuts in public spending. The human rights of the criminal became seen as more important than the safety and security of his victims. Punishment became a dirty word. So the entire criminal justice system turned into a sick joke, with young hoodlums walking off with community sentences or Asbos which they held in total contempt.

Mr Cameron has declared that all those convicted of violent disorder in these riots will go to prison.

Really? Isn’t it more likely that they will end up on some community penalty which will see them taken on trips to Alton Towers to make up for their disadvantaged upbringing? This is the normal response of our sentimentalised and addle-brained criminal justice officials.

In short, what we have seen unfolding before our horrified gaze over the past four days in Britain is the true legacy of the Labour years.

The social and moral breakdown behind the riots was deliberately willed upon Britain by Left-wing politicians and other middle-class ideologues who wrap their utter contempt for the poor in the mantle of ‘progressive’ non-judgmentalism.

These are the people who — against the evidence of a mountain of empirical research — hurl execrations at anyone who suggests that lone parenthood is, in general, a catastrophe for children (and a disaster for women); who promote drug liberalisation, oppose selective education (while paying for private tutors for their own children) and call those who oppose unlimited immigration and multiculturalism ‘racists’.

And the real victims of these people ‘who know best’ are always those at the bottom of the social heap, who possess neither the money nor the social or intellectual resources to cushion them against the most catastrophic effects of such nonsense.

Britain was once an ordered society that was the envy of the world — the most civilised, the most gentle and law-abiding.

Can Broken Britain be put together again? David Cameron is commendably talking tough: but will he have the stomach for tough action?

Will he, for example, remove the incentives to girls and women to have babies outside marriage? Will he dismantle the concept of entitlement from the Welfare State? Will he vigorously enforce the drug laws? Will he end the kid-glove treatment of ‘victim groups’, and hold them to account for their behaviour in exactly the same way as everyone else?

Repairing this terrible damage also means, dare I say it, a return to the energetic transmission of Biblical morality.

Anyone heard from the Archbishop of Canterbury about the riots? Anyone care to guess what he will eventually say about them? Quite.

When church leaders stop prattling like soft-headed social workers and start preaching, once again, the moral concepts that underlie our civilisation, and when our political leaders decide to oppose the culture war that has been waged against that civilisation rather than supinely acquiescing in its destruction, then — and only then — will we start to get to grips with this terrible problem.

Until then, within the smouldering embers of our smashed and burned-out cities, we can only look upon the ruins of the Britain we have so dearly loved; the Britain that once led the world towards civilisation, but is now so tragically leading the way out.


By Ann Coulter
August 10, 2011

Police officers in riot gear block a street near the Hackney neighbourhood of London. More than 500 people have been arrested since violence flared on Aug. 6. (Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

Those of you following the barbaric rioting in Britain will not have failed to notice that a sizable proportion of the thugs are white, something not often seen in this country.

Not only that, but in a triumph of feminism, a lot of them are girls. Even the "disabled" (according to the British benefits system) seem to have miraculously overcome their infirmities to dash out and steal a few TVs.

Congratulations, Britain! You've barbarized your citizenry, without regard to race, gender or physical handicap!

With a welfare system far more advanced than the United States, the British have achieved the remarkable result of turning entire communities of ancestral British people into tattooed, drunken brutes.

I guess we now have the proof of what conservatives have been saying since forever: Looting is a result of liberal welfare policies. And Britain is in the end stages of the welfare state.

In 2008, a 9-year-old British girl, Shannon Matthews, disappeared on her way home from a school trip. The media leapt on the case -- only to discover that Shannon was one of seven children her mother, Karen, had produced with five different men.

The first of these serial sperm-donors explained: "Karen just goes from one bloke to the next, uses them to have a kid, grabs all the child benefits and moves on."

Poor little Shannon eventually turned up at the home of one of her many step-uncles -- whose ex-wife, by the way, was the mother of six children with three different fathers.

(Is Father's Day celebrated in England? If so, how?)

The Daily Mail (London) traced the family's proud Anglo ancestry of stable families back hundreds of years. The Nazi war machine couldn't break the British, but the modern welfare state has.

A year earlier, in 2007, another product of the new order, Fiona MacKeown, took seven of her eight children (by five different fathers) and her then-boyfriend, on a drug-fueled, six-month vacation to the Indian island of Goa. The trip was paid for -- like everything else in her life -- with government benefits.

(When was the last time you had a free, six-month vacation? I'm drawing a blank, too.)

While in Goa, Fiona took her entourage on a side-trip, leaving her 15-year-old daughter, Scarlett Keeling, in the capable hands of a 25-year-old local whom Scarlett had begun sleeping with, perhaps hoping to get a head-start on her own government benefits. A few weeks later, Scarlett turned up dead, full of drugs, raped and murdered.

Scarlett's estranged stepfather later drank himself to death, while her brother Silas announced on his social networking page: "My name is Si, n I spend most my life either out wit mates get drunk or at partys, playing rugby or going to da beach (pretty s**t really)."

It's a wonder that someone like Silas, who has never worked, and belongs to a family in which no one has ever worked, can afford a cellphone for social networking. No, actually, it's not.

Britain has a far more redistributive welfare system than France, which is why France's crime problem is mostly a matter of Muslim immigrants, not French nationals. Meanwhile, England's welfare state is fast returning the native population to its violent 18th-century highwaymen roots.

Needless to say, Britain leads Europe in the proportion of single mothers and, as a consequence, also leads or co-leads the European Union in violent crime, alcohol and drug abuse, obesity and sexually transmitted diseases.

But liberal elites here and in Britain will blame anything but the welfare state they adore. They drone on about the strict British class system or the lack of jobs or the nation's history of racism.

None of that explains the sad lives of young Shannon Matthews and Scarlett Keeling, with their long English ancestry and perfect Anglo features.

Democrats would be delighted if violent mobs like those in Britain arose here -- perhaps in Wisconsin! That would allow them to introduce yet more government programs staffed by unionized public employees, as happened after the 1992 L.A. riots and the 1960s race riots, following the recommendations of the Kerner Commission.

MSNBC might even do the unthinkable and offer Al Sharpton his own TV show. (Excuse me -- someone's trying to get my attention ... WHAT?)

Inciting violent mobs is the essence of the left's agenda: Promote class warfare, illegitimate children and an utterly debased citizenry.

Like the British riot girls interviewed by the BBC, the Democrats tell us "all of this happened because of the rich people."

We're beginning to see the final result of that idea in Britain. The welfare state creates a society of beasts. Meanwhile, nonjudgmental elites don't dare condemn the animals their programs have created.

Rioters in England are burning century-old family businesses to the ground, stealing from injured children lying on the sidewalks and forcing Britons to strip to their underwear on the street.

I keep reading that it's because they don't have jobs -- which they're obviously anxious to hold. Or someone called them a "kaffir." Or their social services have been reduced. Or their Blackberries made them do it. Or they disapprove of a referee's call in a Manchester United game.

A few well-placed rifle rounds, and the rioting would end in an instant. A more sustained attack on the rampaging mob might save England from itself, finally removing shaved-head, drunken parasites from the benefits rolls that Britain can't find the will to abolish on moral or utilitarian grounds. We can be sure there's no danger of killing off the next Winston Churchill or Edmund Burke in these crowds.

But like Louis XVI, British authorities are paralyzed by their indifference to their own civilization. A half-century of berating themselves for the crime of being British has left them morally defenseless. They see nothing about England worth saving, certainly not worth fighting for -- which is fortunate since most of their cops don't have guns.

This is how civilizations die. It can happen overnight, as it did in Revolutionary France. If Britain of 1939 were composed of the current British population, the entirety of Europe would today be doing the "Heil Hitler" salute and singing the "Horst Wessel Song."


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wake Up and Smell the Tea

The Tea Party is merely the messenger.

By Jonah Goldberg
August 10, 2011

‘Is this a wake-up call to Washington?” NBC’s David Gregory asked Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.) on Meet the Press, referring to the S&P downgrade.

“Well, it’s a partial wake-up call. I believe this is, without question, the tea-party downgrade.”

Shortly after pointing fingers and assigning blame, Kerry went on to lament how Republicans insist on pointing fingers and assigning blame in this national crisis.

Over on the other channel, at least Obama political consigliere David Axelrod waited awhile before getting to the same talking point. “The fact of the matter is that this is essentially a tea-party downgrade. The Tea Party brought us to the brink of a default,” he explained on CBS’s Face the Nation.

Many on the right bristle at this, and they have many of the facts on their side. After all, the Tea Party has only been protesting excessive spending and borrowing for two years. Some liberals want us to think that it was Washington’s failure to raise taxes to pay for the massive increase in federal spending under Obama that caused the downgrade.

But that’s not what S&P says. “Standard & Poor’s takes no position on the mix of spending and revenue measures that Congress and the administration might conclude is appropriate for putting the U.S.’s finances on a sustainable footing.”

Rather, what offended the fiscal pundits of S&P was the “brinksmanship” in Washington that failed to deliver a $4 trillion budget cut. That’s why we had the “tea-party downgrade.” What’s odd is that if the Tea Party didn’t exist, there would have been no deficit reduction — and little demand for it. Democrats fought spending cuts during the budget showdown last year (remember Harry Reid’s cowboy-poet subsidy?), and they wanted a “clean” debt-ceiling hike this time.

And one could go on defending the Tea Party and the GOP in typical Beltway scoring fashion. The president’s first 2012 budget was a train wreck that would have exploded the deficit more. We’re well past 800 days without a budget from the Senate Democrats, while the House Republicans passed a serious budget — the Ryan plan — that would have avoided all of this months ago. Obama’s second “plan” was a frivolous speech. And so on.

But the usual Beltway scorecard is inadequate. First of all, we all deserve blame. This is a national foul-up of historic proportions, and no party or constituency can completely avoid culpability.

And that definitely includes the Tea Party. A lot of people talk as if the tea partiers came out of the ground, like fully grown Orcs, shortly after Obama was elected, ready to inflict “terror” and “take hostages” (to use the preferred lingo of the supposed lovers of civility).

This ignores the prehistory of the tea partiers. They’re largely core conservative voters who held their noses while spending ramped up for a decade under George W. Bush. Many rationalized their support for Bush against the backdrop of the War on Terror or their fondness for the man generally. But when Obama removed what little conservatism there was in Bush’s “compassionate conservatism,” massively hiking spending even more, they rebelled. Enough was enough.

Liberals see it as hypocrisy. Tea partiers see it as finally getting serious, which is why they keep threatening to “primary” any Republican who wavers from the new sobriety.

If you’ve ever known anyone with a serious addiction, the easiest thing for friends and family to do is pretend it’s not a big deal. Who wants to have a confrontation? Far easier to let things slide and have a good time. “Let’s have a nice Thanksgiving without any arguments, okay?”

The Tea Party is like the cousin who has been through AA and refuses to pretend any more. As a result, he spoils everyone’s good time. For the enablers — and others in denial — he’s the guy ruining everything, not the drunk.

Uncle Sam is the drunk, and the tea partiers are the annoyingly sober — and a bit self-righteous — cousin. Measured by spending and adjusted for inflation, the federal government has increased by more than 50 percent in ten years. Some have enabled the drunken spending; others continue to deny it’s even a problem.

The Tea Party is sounding the wake-up call. If America didn’t have a problem, then there really would be good cause to be furious with the forces of sobriety. Nobody likes a party pooper, especially the people hooked on partying.

— Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. You can write to him by e-mail at, or via Twitter @JonahNRO. © 2011 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Shooting an Alligator

By Deborah C. Tyler and Roland Toy
August 10, 2011

Life brought us to South Carolina; the collapsed real estate market enabled us to buy 16 acres of rural lowlands for pennies on the dollar; and Centex Corporation's plan to build 64 houses became ours to build one house next to a man-made pond. The land has a wild feeling and we had been warned about the fire ants, insects, and snakes. But nobody told us about the alligators.

Deborah had once seen something skimming slowly under the pond's surface and had thought, that's a long, funny fish. One evening at sunset, when the nightly din of insects and birds was beginning, Deborah was sitting at the edge of the pond, her toes in the water, when the long, funny fish emerged like a primordial nightmare. The jaw, the scales, the pointed tail, the dead remorseless eyes locking onto hers -- it was an alligator. And no more than three feet away.

Deborah started stammering incoherently like a comic character, "It's an ahhhhh, ahhhhh, ahhhh." She had the presence of mind to flee but since then her dreams, waking and sleeping, are haunted by the alligator. She bought binoculars to study the pond from afar.

That night our education in alligators began on the internet. We learned that our area of South Carolina is home to lots of alligators, perhaps hundreds of thousands. We learned how they lunge from still water with the speed of a major league fastball to capture their prey, then drag it, spinning, into the water to drown. Later they drag the carcass ashore to dine. We learned that our gator (we named him Alfred), at about four feet, wasn't statistically likely to attack an adult human unless it felt provoked. Or was hungry. Or was sick. Or was a female protecting her eggs. Somehow, we weren't reassured. And we learned that pets, small children, and the splendid blue herons that like to nibble at the pond's edge don't enjoy that same statistical safety.

Alfred had to go.

Our adventure into the regulatory quagmire of alligator riddance began with a call to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). After the inevitable dead ends and lost calls we learned that there are three regulatory pathways by which we can rid ourselves of Alfred -- all with regulatory chapter and verse that make it all but impossible to legally dispatch Alfred.

•Private Lands Alligator Program. For hunting alligators on private land from September 1 through October 15. No rim-fire weapons or shotguns and only from thirty minutes before sunrise until thirty minutes after sunset.

•Nuisance Alligator Depredation Permit. Only contracted agent trappers may capture specific problem alligators that are longer than four feet and exhibit aggressive behavior toward humans or domestic animals, are habituated to people, show symptoms of debilitating illness or injury, or inhabit recreational waters intended primarily for swimming.

•Alligator Hunting Permit. Awarded annually to 300 lottery winners who apply from May 1 through 11:59 p.m. June 1 for one alligator tag in one alligator management unit between 2nd Saturday in September and 2nd Saturday in October.

We called Bill, a state-licensed control agent recommended by the SCDNR. He charges $150 to come out for a nuisance gator. When Bill arrived, Alfred was underwater and nowhere to be seen. Our conversation with Bill did nothing to allay our concerns. Bill explained that getting Alfred could be a protracted job because he would drive out only if we called him when Alfred was actually visible. Of course Alfred spends a lot of his life underwater. Bill explained that if he were busy on another job he couldn't come out then anyway. He repeated that alligators under six feet are unlikely to attack an adult human. Perhaps. But to a victim who survives, what thin consolation to know it was an unlikely attack.

Bill liked alligators. The bouquets he threw at Alfred included, "Alligators are really misunderstood. They're pretty docile animals. You probably don't have much to worry about."

Deborah asked, "So we should live right next to him until he grows to be six feet, and then get concerned?"

Roland added, "Alligators are predators. Alfred's gonna have to eat in order to get to six feet. In the meantime what about our dogs? What about children who come to visit?"

"Oh I wouldn't let pets or kids loose around any pond that's got a gator."

Deborah asked, "Are you going to shoot it?"

"Yes. But first, I'll immobilize it on land and measure it."

"How do you do that? With a net?"

"No, that's not legal. I'll bait a hook with a strong line and reel him in."

Roland said, "I should just shoot it myself."

Bill said, "You're not licensed! You know old man Stalvie's lake down the road? Everybody knows he shoots gators but he's never gotten a permit. Nobody knows how he gets rid of the hides and meat. There's regs about that."

"Yeah, but his lake is open for fishing and swimming two days a week. He's doing a public service."

Bill said darkly, "Well, if he ever gets caught..."

The conversation was taking on a surreal quality. We forgot to ask Bill if he would actually throw Alfred back into the pond if he measured less than four feet.

George Orwell was once a police officer in colonial Burma. In his great 1936 essay, "Shooting an Elephant," he describes the pressures from his ruling-class brethren as well as the "watchful yellow faces behind" that impelled him, against his instincts and wishes, to shoot a man-killer elephant. But for all of his internal conflicts as he made a mess of the shooting, Orwell knew that the full force of the English government was behind him.

Unlike Orwell in 1936, we know the law on the side of a primordial beast with a brain the size of a grape. Not only are alligators not endangered, but across the South they are an epidemic. But to the government of South Carolina, Alfred is the potential victim and we are the predators who must be restrained. It's a disproportionate war. Alfred will not apply to the state or measure anything's height before his 80 razor teeth clamp down.

We are alone on our land, with a government that has written pages of tangled laws devised to protect abundant prehistoric predators more than their potential human prey. The bureaucrats who wrote those laws were not terrified by Alfred in the gathering dark, nor are they building a house close to his murky digs.

When Roland next sees Alfred this is what he will not do: He will not have a tape measure. He will not attempt to wrestle Alfred ashore to immobilize him. He will not call a licensed agent trapper in hopes that he'll arrive before Alfred re-submerges. He will not know whether his state-issued 30-day nuisance depredation permit has expired. He will not enter the lottery in hopes of winning a hunting permit for the second Saturday next September. He will not notice whether it is between September 1 and October 15 nor whether it is thirty minutes before sunrise until thirty minutes after sunset. Roland will do nothing intentionally "pursuant to permits and under conditions established by the department in accordance with state and federal law."

Here is what Roland will do: He will protect his family and other living things. He will fetch his rifle and take careful aim.

Deborah and Roland have been married for 34 years.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Today's Tune: Jay & The Americans - There Goes My Baby

Our police are not trusted any more. So why SHOULDN'T Dave ask America's top cop to run the Met?

By Melanie Phillips
8 August, 2011

Buildings ablaze: In Croydon, South London, police and firefighters had to tackle burning shops and properties (Picture: Getty Images)

Once again, police behaviour is coming under question after the weekend’s disgraceful riots in Tottenham, North London.

Some 26 Metropolitan officers were injured in violent mayhem during which police cars, a bus and a building were set alight and there was widespread hooliganism and looting.

The riots, which appeared to spark copy-cat disturbances last night, followed a protest against the fatal shooting by police officers last Thursday of 29-year-old Mark Duggan.

The precise circumstances in which he was shot dead remain unclear, in the swirl of rumour and unverified claims that invariably follow such an event.

The local MP David Lammy has asked thoughtful questions about why it took the police so long to respond to the disturbances and bring them under control.

Maybe all such concerns about the behaviour of the police will be shown in time to be unfair and unfounded.

The problem, however, is that the police are no longer trusted, neither in what they do nor in what they subsequently say about what they have done.

During the past three decades and more, there have been simply far too many examples within the Met of rank incompetence, tendentious self-justification and worse.

Take their failure to investigate adequately the murder in 1993 of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence in South London — a failure not caused by ‘institutional racism’, as was later to be so damagingly claimed, but by institutional incompetence.

Or the murder in 2000 of ten-year-old Damilola Taylor, also in South London, where an elementary failure by the police to develop local contacts resulted in an abortive prosecution.

And, of course, there was the fatal shooting by counter-terrorism police on the Tube of the innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, who was wrongly assumed to be a suicide bomber.

But concerns about the Met go far beyond incompetence. The phone-hacking scandal featured so far unsubstantiated claims that certain Met officers had been receiving back-handers from journalists in exchange for information.

And there were many other troubling revelations, such as top officers accepting a freebie at a health farm, being wined and dined by employees of a company the Met had been investigating or hiring a former executive of that company as a PR consultant.

These and other revelations of quite astounding breaches of accepted protocol led to the resignation of the Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, and the head of counter-terrorism, John Yates.

In the Commons debate on the scandal, David Cameron encouragingly signalled his understanding that the problem with the Met went very deep indeed.

Somewhat enigmatically, and largely overlooked at the time, he suggested that someone who had been a proven success overseas might be brought in to turn round the Met.

As it happens, I had written a few days previously that there was one outstanding candidate whom the Government should hire as the new Commissioner.

He is Bill Bratton, the genius American police chief who transformed policing when he halved New York’s murder rate and cut violent crime by half in Los Angeles.

It turns out that this was precisely who the Prime Minister had in mind. According to newspaper reports, Downing Street informally sounded out Bratton to see if he would be interested — and he was.

But remarkably, it appears Home Secretary Theresa May spiked Mr Cameron’s guns when the Home Office — which appoints the Met Commissioner in consultation with the Mayor of London — issued an advertisement for the post specifying ‘applicants must be British citizens’.

In normal circumstances, it would rightly be considered essential that a British citizen should run Britain’s most important police force. But current circumstances are far from normal.

There is a profound crisis in policing that goes far beyond the Met. It is not an exaggeration to say that — with honourable exceptions — the very ethic of policing in Britain has been systematically dismantled.

As a result, though there are able officers it is difficult to have any faith that any of them would be totally free of the systematic contagion that has brought the police so low.

This is a demoralisation — in every sense of the word — that can be traced back at least to the Eighties, when a number of convictions were overturned after the police were said to have played fast and loose with the rules.

Rather than getting the police to put their own house in order, the general consensus was that the police were intrinsically corrupt and had to be reined in by new checks and balances, such as the Crown Prosecution Service.

Repeatedly accused of racism or heavy-handedness towards black communities, the deeply demoralised police reacted defensively by effectively abandoning such communities to gang warfare.

With their own professional training bamboozling them into political correctness, they seemed rather keener to feel people’s collars over ‘hate crime’ than catch the burglars who had trashed their homes.

Retreating from the streets, the police abandoned the public to the scourge of anti-social behaviour and criminality.

A devastating report last year by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary revealed that the police are failing to respond to thousands of complaints about anti-social behaviour despite this blight affecting 14 million people a year.

Even when officers did investigate, it said, they were hindered because the majority of forces in England and Wales did not have systems that could adequately identify vulnerable victims.

Throughout all this calamitous decline in policing standards, more and more senior officers were being promoted not because of ‘boots on the ground’ experience, but because they had university degrees — which often merely qualified them in political correctness.

And the final coup de grace was the politicisation of the police under the Labour government, which turned an officer class that needed above all to be utterly independent into creatures of ministers upon whose preferment they came to depend and whose bidding they cravenly followed.

Given the depth and extent of this professional collapse, the idea that any British officer can be relied upon to cleanse the Augean stables of the Metropolitan Police seems distinctly unlikely.

If there is anyone who can perform this Herculean task, it is surely Bill Bratton. It was he who pioneered the ‘zero tolerance’ approach to policing, under which no crime was considered too small to be dealt with.

His approach built upon the ‘broken windows’ philosophy, which held that ignoring minor criminal damage or anti-social behaviour, such as graffiti, litter or hooliganism, led inevitably to an escalation in crime.

Maybe more important even than this, he also introduced management systems that ensured all his senior officers knew everything that was going on in their neighbourhoods.

He understood that without such detailed local intelligence, policing was impossible. And he also made sure that every week his senior officers were all held rigorously to account with the highest standards of professionalism and integrity for what they had or had not achieved.

What Bratton did in the U.S. was not rocket science. Indeed, it was all pretty obvious. But before he came on the scene, it had not been done. And it certainly isn’t being done in the Met.

For sure, there would be significant disadvantages in having someone who had not lived and worked in Britain running Britain’s most important and complex police force.

But given the scale of Britain’s policing crisis, hiring Bill Bratton is still the best idea the Prime Minister is apparently not being allowed to have.

The Chickens Come Frighteningly Home to Roost

By Melanie Phillips
Published in: Melanie's blog
9 August, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09: Burnt out cars are left in Ealing Green following a night of rioting on August 9, 2011 in London, England. Sporadic looting, arson and clashes with police continued for a third day in parts of the capital, as well as in Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol. (Getty Images)

Glad to see others also realising that organised agitation as well as opportunistic anarchy has been fuelling the British riots, which have now spread from London to other cities.

The most frightening aspect of these events is clearly the fact that the Metropolitan Police has been so conspicuously unable to get on top of the criminality and restore order. Indeed, a significant fact behind the rioting, looting, torching of buildings and unprovoked attacks on passers-by has been the perceived weakness of the police and that the thugs thus realise that nothing can stop them smashing up whatever or whomever they choose and stealing whatever they want.

If these disorders continue to escalate, the government will have no option but to call the army onto the streets. That of course would be an appalling indictment of both police and government in allowing the capital city to degenerate into such chaos that the only way to restore order is to abandon the civilian framework and call instead upon forces trained to make war. But the dismaying fact is that the Metropolitan Police has been unable to cope with what has happened, from a failure of intelligence at the beginning to a failure of strategy and tactics on the ground, because it is quite simply a force in disarray.

I wrote in yesterday’s Daily Mail that I was disturbed to read that the Home Office was thwarting the Prime Minister’s wish to hire the iconic American ex-police chief Bill Bratton to run the Met. At Conservative Home, Tim Montgomerie agrees. The collapse of the professional ethic of policing which has brought the Met so low extends throughout the country. So despite the obvious disadvantages, hiring an outsider untainted by this culture would seem to be essential. And Bratton’s record in turning round an ineffectual and demoralised force and transforming a lawless city into a law-abiding one is second to none. If I was sure of this yesterday, I am even more sure of it today—and what's more, that he is needed in the UK right now.

I have written for more than two decades on the various elements that have contributed to this collapse of order: family breakdown and mass fatherlessness; the toleration and even encouragement of grossly inadequate parenting; educational collapse which damages most those at the bottom of the social heap; welfare dependency; political correctness and the vicious injustices and moral inversion of victim culture; the grossly irresponsible toleration of soft drug-taking; the shuddering distaste at the notion of punishment and the consequent collapse of authority in the entire criminal justice system; the implosion of the policing ethic and the police retreat from the streets; the increasing organisation and boldness of anarchist and left-wing subversive activity; and the growth of irrationality, narcissistic self-centredness and mob rule and the near-certainty of a fundamental breakdown of morality and order.

To every one of these arguments that I have made over the years, the left has responded with jeers and smears. Now, as terrified citizens see their homes and businesses torched, looters queue up in order more efficiently to steal from shattered shops and passing motor-cyclists are dragged off their machines and beaten up and robbed --all with near-total impunity -- we can see all these chickens coming so frighteningly home to roost.

"Fast and Furious" Goes All The Way To The White House

by A.W.R. Hawkins

By now, “Gunwalker” and “Fast and Furious” have both entered the national lexicon. And although the amount of information known about the operations varies from person to person, the majority of Americans know they have something to do with the selling of guns to “straw purchasers” in the U.S., who were supposed to smuggle the guns into Mexico and put them in the hands of cartel members, who were then to be arrested.

What most people seem not to know is who exactly was behind the Gunwalker and Fast and Furious operations. Was it the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives)? Yes. Was it also Attorney General Eric Holder? Well, there’s no doubt he was instrumental in Gunwalker, and it’s now known that his chief of staff was briefed on Fast and Furious. So how about President Obama? What did he know? According to information that has surfaced during ongoing investigations by Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R.-Iowa), it’s certain that knowledge of Fast and Furious went all the way to the White House.

And let me say at the outset that no matter how much you do or don’t know about Fast and Furious, the one thing we must all accept is that it provides a picture of a federal agency, the ATF, gone rogue, and of government at its worst and most dangerous. For regardless of what this operation was implemented to be when it began under the auspices of Gunwalker in 2009, it is now the reckless operation that flooded the streets of Mexico and Phoenix, Ariz., with upwards of 2,500 weapons (34 of which were .50 sniper rifles with an effective lethal range of approximately 2,000 meters).

What we know beyond a doubt about the operation is that William Newell, former ATF special agent in charge in the Phoenix area, was fully aware of it. And he has admitted in sworn testimony that “the DHS, IRS, DEA, ATF, ICE and the Obama Justice Department were all involved” in the operation. Speaking of the Justice Department, Issa and Grassley … have identified a dozen Justice Department officials who they say knew about the program, and following Holder’s May 2011 testimony in which he told the House Judiciary Committee that he only learned of both Gunwalker and Fast and Furious in “recent weeks,” Issa has pointedly stated his belief that Holder had provided “inaccurate testimony.”

Now we can add the White House to the mix, because during recent congressional hearings, the ATF’s Newell told Issa’s committee he "discussed the operation with the national security director for North America, Kevin O'Reilly.” The means of communication seems to have been an e-mail that was designed both to be kept private and to keep O’Reilly updated. But regardless of the method of communication, the fact is that a Fast and Furious update was sent to a White House official.

Of course, Obama says he knew nothing about either Gunwalker or Fast and Furious, although the President set aside $10 million for the operations in February 2009 via the stimulus package, and talked about “gun tracing” and “gun enforcement policies during a joint press conference in Mexico City with Mexico President Felipe Calderon in April 2009” (which was the same month in which Holder gave a speech in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he bragged of the implementation of Gunwalker).

But although neither Obama or Holder have claimed they had knowledge of the operations until quite recently, both are now actively doing their best to “[stonewall] the oversight committee investigation” that is trying to get to the bottom of this mess. Of Obama in particular, Issa has said, “President Obama has been keen to talk about who didn’t know about the program and who didn’t authorize it. These answers will not suffice. The American people have a right to know, once and for all, who did authorize it and who knew about it.”

It doesn’t take long to connect the dots on this one. We have a president who funded these programs, who talked to Mexican President Calderon two months later about tracing guns, and whose National Security Director for North America received communications from ATF Special Agent Newell regarding the operations. The Justice Department is littered with people who knew about the program, and nearly every federal law-enforcement agency besides the Secret Service was involved.

The President gets away with laughing off the fact that “shovel-ready jobs” weren’t as shovel-ready as he thought they were. But there’s no way he should be allowed to laugh this one off.

AWR Hawkins writes for Andrew Breitbart�s BIG sites, for Pajamas Media, for, and for He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal (summer 2010), and holds a PhD in military history from Texas Tech University. You can e-mail him at