Friday, August 22, 2014

A Vacation is All Obama Ever Wanted
August 22, 2014

President Obama smiles Wednesday — a short time after delivering a speech on ISIS — from behind the wheel of a golf cart on the island of Martha's Vineyard. (Steven Senne/AP)

In the span of two weeks, there have been two very prominent terrorist hits on American citizens.  One took place in Afghanistan on August 5, when Major General Harold Green, the highest-ranking military officer to be killed in combat in half a century, was murdered by a terrorist, wearing an Afghan Army uniform, who opened fire at a military academy.

Fourteen days later, a 40-years-young photojournalist was forced to kneel in the hot Syrian sun in front of a masked ISIS executioner with a British accent.  Clad all in black, the executioner waited patiently while a stoic but terrified James Wright Foley read a statement obviously written by his captors, renouncing his American citizenship and blaming his imminent death on the U.S. government. 

Then, as James endured the unthinkable, the executioner took seven excruciating minutes to saw his head off, after which the severed head was placed on top of Foley’s dead body and the video was posted on Twitter.  It’s horrifying to imagine what ISIS may have threatened to do to Foley if he refused to read the statement denouncing his own country.

In response to the incident, British Prime Minister David Cameron, who was one day into his summer vacation, returned to London to attend vital meetings addressing the threat posed by ISIS.

Cameron said on Twitter, “If true, the murder of James Foley is shocking and depraved. I will today chair meetings on the situation in Iraq/Syria.”

Apparently, after seeing a British subject execute an American citizen, David Cameron couldn’t, with a clear conscience, have spent another minute at the Surfside Cafe in Polzeath, Cornwall sipping tea and enjoying the balmy weather.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama had zero compunction about returning to Martha’s Vineyard after coming home for a couple of days toting oldest daughter Malia. 

The president couldn’t break away from his golf game to attend Major General Green’s funeral, with full military honors, at Arlington Cemetery on Friday, but was able to land at the White House early Monday morning and hang around for less than 48 hours.

Supposedly Obama spent $1.1 million to fly round trip for meetings, for a national security briefing including discussions about Ferguson, Missouri, and to meet with his economic team.  Obama also participated in a tête-à-tête on Iraq with Joe Biden, who had just got back from his third vacation partying in Long Island’s haven for the rich, the Hamptons.

After receiving word that James Foley had been beheaded, and as Mr. and Mrs. Foley eulogized their murdered child, calling him an “extraordinary son,” Barack Obama, probably eager to get back to the golf course, loaded younger daughter Sasha onto Air Force One and flew back to the tony enclave in Massachusetts to finish out the week.

Based on the flimsy reasons for the president to fly home with one daughter, only to fly back with the other, as the Foleys prepare to receive the body of a son with a severed head, it looks as though President Obama was just doing a little parental drop-off and pick-up.

About the beheading of the young man from New Hampshire, National Security Council Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden did issue the following statement:
The intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity. If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We will provide more information when it is available.
Thus far, unlike David Cameron, who isn’t likely to pick up where he left off vacationing in Cornwall anytime soon, President Obama, who’s been enjoying jazz festivals and busting some fancy moves out on the dance floor, has chosen to stay on in Martha’s Vineyard.

Instead of wasting precious time away from the golf course, the president made a brief statement about Foley’s death from the Vineyard.  It was there where he offered his usual empty comments about being vigilant and “relentless” in the war against terrorism, neither of which he is.

After chronicling a list of things ISIL has done in addition to severing the head of Jim Foley, Obama informed America that ISIL is a “cancer” that follows a “nihilistic ideology,” which on a smaller scale is similar to the rebellious goings-on in Ferguson, Missouri.

According to the president, ISIL has “no place in the 21st century” and will ultimately “fail.”  If they do fail, it won’t be because Obama has committed the American military to exact justice for the terror group’s ongoing acts of war, the latest of which was perpetrated on an innocent American man named Jim Foley.

During his statement, the president did wax poetic when he mentioned otherworldly things like common security and values, hope and civility, and the topic of prayer.  Obama cited “the ache of [Jim Foley’s] absence,” and although he didn’t say how it would be done, Obama, who has left the American people vulnerable, spoke of doing “everything we can do to protect our people and the timeless values that we stand for.” 

Then President Obama went golfing.

Despite how abysmal the optics would be, Barack Obama didn’t offer to cut short his vacation to attend to the looming ISIS threat. Not the genocidal slaughter of thousands of Yazidis and Kurds, nor witnessing an innocent American being beheaded, let alone ISIS warning the U.S. that “[w]e will drown all of you in blood” has been able to deter Barack Obama from finishing out his last few vacation days of non-stop golfing on Martha’s Vineyard.

Jeannie hosts a blog at

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The Jihadist Serial Killer No One’s Talking About

Ali Muhammad Brown has plenty of company in Seattle. 

Ali Muhammad Brown, pictured in a photo provided by the Seattle Police Department.

For two bloody months, an armed jihadist serial killer ran loose across the country. At least four innocent men died this spring and summer in acts of “vengeance” on behalf of aggrieved Muslims, the self-confessed murderer has now proclaimed. Have you heard about this horror? Probably not.

The usual suspects who decry hate crimes and gun violence haven’t uttered a peep. Why? Like O.J.’s glove: If the narrative don’t fit, you must acquit. The admitted killer will be cast as just another “lone wolf” whose familiar grievances and bloodthirsty Islamic invocations mean nothing.

I say: Enough with the whitewashing. Meet Ali Muhammad Brown. His homicidal Islamic terror spree took him from coast to coast. The 29-year-old career thug admitted to killing Leroy Henderson in Seattle in April; Ahmed Said and Dwone Anderson-Young in Seattle on June 1; and college student Brendan Tevlin, 19, in Essex County, N.J., on June 25. Tevlin was gunned down in his family Jeep on his way home from a friend’s house. Ballistics and other evidence linked all the victims to Muhammad Brown. Police apprehended him last month hiding in an encampment near the Watchung Mountains of West Orange, N.J.

While he was on the run, he disguised himself in a Muslim keffiyeh. He carried a notebook with jihadist scribblings and advice on evading detection. I obtained the latest charging documents filed in Washington State, which detail the defiant domestic terrorist’s motives.

Muhammad Brown told investigators that Tevlin’s slaying was a “just kill.” The devout Islamic adherent proclaimed: “My mission is vengeance. For the lives – millions of lives are lost every day.” Echoing jihadist Fort Hood mass killer Nidal Hasan, Muhammad Brown cited Muslim deaths in “Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan” as the catalysts for his one-man Islamic terror campaign. “All these lives are taken every single day by America, by this government. So a life for a life.”

When a detective asked him to clarify whether all four murders were “done for vengeance for the actions of the United States in the Middle East,” Muhammad Brown stated unequivocally: “Yes.” He added that he was “just doing [his] small part.”

Seattle’s left-wing mayor, Ed Murray, rushed to issue a statement — which might as well have sported an insipid “Coexist” bumper sticker across the page — asserting that Muhammad Brown’s seething, deadly hatred did “not reflect the values of Muslims.” But the fact is Ali Muhammad Brown has plenty of company. Seattle alone has been a long-festering hotbed of anti-American, anti-Semitic jihadism.

In 2011, a Muslim terror ring led by Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif and Walli Mujahidh plotted “to kill officers and employees of the Department of Defense who worked at the [Military Entrance Processing Stations] located in the Federal Center South building in Seattle, Washington, and to kill other persons assisting such officers and employees in the performance of their duties” using “fully-automatic weapons, pistols, and fragmentation grenades.”

In 2007, Seattle jihadist James Ujaama pleaded guilty to terrorism charges related to his plan to establish a terror-training ground in Bly, Ore. He had previously pleaded guilty to aiding the Taliban.

In 2006, Everett, Wash., Islamic revenge-seeker Naveed Haq shot six innocent women and killed one at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle building while spewing anti-Israel hatred and Muslim diatribes.

In 2002, James Ujaama’s mosque leader, Abdul Raheem Al Arshad Ali of the radical Dar-us-Salaam mosque in Seattle’s Central District, was first arrested on illegal-weapons charges. He had provided arms to fellow Seattle-area Muslim cleric, Semi Osman. The ethnic Lebanese born in Sierra Leone had served in a naval-reserve fueling unit based in Tacoma, Wash. Osman had access to fuel trucks similar to the type used by al-Qaida in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers, which killed 19 U.S. airmen and wounded nearly 400 other Americans. Osman later pleaded guilty to illegal-weapons possession.

Another militant Seattle jihadist, Muslim convert Ruben Shumpert (a.k.a. Amir Abdul Muhaimin) was arrested after an FBI raid in 2004 for his role in a terror-financing scheme. He skipped out on his sentencing hearing and turned up in Somalia, where he was killed fighting the U.S. military. Terror group al Shabaab hailed Muhaimin as a martyr.

Which brings us back to Ali Muhammad Brown, who had been arrested ten years ago as part of Muhaimin’s suspected terror-financing ring. A decade later, despite being on the feds’ radar screen, four innocent men are dead at Muhammad Brown’s hand.

These homegrown Muslim haters don’t want to coexist. They want to kill and help fund and train other Islamic killers. They are living and working among us, embedded in local mosques and inside our military. Where are our political leaders? Making Kumbaya excuses, sitting on the sidelines and golfing while homegrown and global jihad burn.

— Michelle Malkin is the author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies. Her e-mail address © 2014

Stopping the worst people on Earth

August 21, 2014
A man is executed in a propaganda video released in June 2014 by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as the Al Qaeda-inspired militants continue their march towards Baghdad.

Baghdad called President Obama’s bluff and he came through. He had refused to provide air support to Iraqi government forces until the Iraqis got rid of their divisive sectarian prime minister.
They did. He responded.
With the support of U.S. airstrikes, Iraqi and Kurdish forces have retaken the Mosul dam. Previous strikes had relieved the siege of Mount Sinjar and helped the Kurds retake two strategic towns that had opened the road to a possible Islamic State assault on Irbil, the capital of Kurdistan.
In following through, Obama demonstrated three things: the effectiveness of even limited U.S. power, the vulnerability of the Islamic State and, crucially, his own seriousness, however tentative.
The last of these is the most important. Obama had said that there is no American military solution to the conflict. This may be true, but there is a local military solution. (There must be: There is no negotiating with Islamic State barbarism.) And that solution requires U.S. air support.
It can work. The Islamic State is overstretched. It’s a thin force of perhaps 15,000 trying to control a territory four times the size of Israel. Its supply lines, operating in open country, are not just extended but exposed and highly vulnerable to air power.
Stopping the Islamic State’s momentum creates a major shift in psychology. Guerrilla armies thrive on a sense of inevitability. The Islamic State has grown in size, demoralized its enemies and attracted recruits from all over the world because it seemed unstoppable, a real caliphate in the making.
People follow the strong horse over the weak horse, taught Osama bin Laden. These jihadis came out of nowhere and shocked the world by capturing Mosul, Tikrit and the approaches to Kurdistan, heretofore assumed to be impregnable.
Now that has begun to be reversed.
Obama was slow to bring American power to bear. And slower still to arm the Kurds. But he was right to wait until Baghdad had gotten rid of Nouri al-Maliki, lest the U.S. serve as a Shiite air force. We don’t know how successful Haider al-Abadi will be in forming a more national government. But Obama has for now wisely taken advantage of the Abadi opening.
The problem is that the new policy has outgrown the rationale. Our reason for returning to Iraq, explained Obama, is twofold: preventing genocide and protecting U.S. personnel.
According to Obama’s own assertions, however, the recent Kurdish/Iraqi advances have averted the threat of genocide. As for the threat to U.S. personnel at the consulate in Irbil, it, too, is reduced.
It was a flimsy rationale to begin with. To protect Americans in an outpost, you don’t need an air war. A simple evacuation would do.
Besides, what does the recapture of the Mosul dam, the most significant gain thus far, have to do with either rationale? There are no Christians or Yazidis sheltering there. Nor any American diplomats. So Obama tried this: If the dam is breached, the wall of water could swamp our embassy in Baghdad.
Quite a reach. An air war to prevent flooding at an embassy 200 miles downstream? Well, yes, but why not say the real reason? Everyone knows it: The dam is a priceless strategic asset, possession of which alters the balance of power in this war.
And why not state the real objective of the U.S. air campaign? Stopping, containing, degrading the Islamic State.
For now, Obama can get away with stretching the existing rationale, but not if he is to conduct a sustained campaign. For this you must make the larger case that we simply cannot abide a growing jihadist state in the heart of the Middle East, fueled by oil, advanced weaponry and a deranged fanaticism.
These are the worst people on earth. They openly, proudly crucify enemies, enslave women and murder men en masse. These are not the usual bad guys out for land, plunder or power. These are primitive cultists who celebrate slaughter, glory in bloodlust and slit the throats of innocents as a kind of sacrament.
We have now seen what air cover for Kurdish/Iraqi boots on the ground can achieve. But for a serious rollback campaign, Obama will need public support. He has to explain the stakes and the larger strategy. His weak and passive rhetorical reaction to the beheading of American journalist James Foley was a discouragingly missed opportunity.
“People like this ultimately fail,” Obama said of Foley’s murderers. Perhaps. But “ultimately” can be a long way — and thousands of dead — away. The role of a great power, as Churchill and Roosevelt understood, is to bring that day closer.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Another life in British jihadist's hands after James Foley beheading

David Cameron calls for 'patience' in tackling British jihadists who have travelled to Iraq and Syria intent on murder, as fears grew that they could kill a second US journalist

By and Gordon Rayner
20 August 2014
At the end of the video, Steven Sotloff, another US journalist, was forced to parade in front of the camera and threatened with death unless President Barack Obama calls off air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant
At the end of the video, Steven Sotloff, another US journalist, was forced to parade in front of the camera and threatened with death unless President Barack Obama calls off air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant  

The hunt for the jihadist who beheaded an American journalist is underway, as sources identified him as the leader of a group of British fighters known as “The Beatles”.
MI5, Scotland Yard and the FBI are trying to identify James Foley’s killer, who is reportedly known as “John” and part of a gang of three men named after the pop group by their hostages because of their British accents.
Details about the jihadist’s possible identity came as David Cameron called for “patience” in tackling British extremists who have travelled to Iraq and Syria intent on murder, as fears grew that they could kill a second US journalist.
The Prime Minister broke off his holiday and said he was “deeply shocked” at the beheading of James Foley by a masked man with a British accent at an unknown location in the Middle East. A video of the killing was published online.
Stephen Sotloff has been identified as the second journalist in the James Foley beheading video
At the end of the video, Steven Sotloff, another US journalist, was forced to parade in front of the camera and threatened with death unless President Barack Obama calls off air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
Mr Sotloff’s parents urged Mr Obama to save their son “by any means necessary”, while Mr Foley’s family urged the US to “look deeply” and do more to “protect courageous Americans”.
Michael Foley, the journalist’s brother, said: “I hope they do more for Steven [Sotloff]. There’s more that could be done. The footprint’s been laid by some of the other nations.” Mr Obama said the US will “do what is necessary to ensure justice is done” after Mr Foley’s murder.
In other developments:
— MI5, Scotland Yard and the FBI were trying to identify the killer, who is reportedly known as “John” and is the leader of three British jihadists known to their hostages as “The Beatles” because of their British accents.
— Security services and experts were analysing the video for clues to the killer’s identity and location of the murder.
— Mr Obama said Isil will ultimately fail because it only wants to “destroy” and has “no place in the 21st century”.
— It emerged that the White House was aware of a threat to murder Mr Foley a week ago, after being contacted by the journalist’s Boston employer, the Global Post, after the outlet received an email from his captors
— Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, said British soldiers could be posted in Iraq to help train Kurdish fighters to take on Isil.
Mr Cameron conceded it was “increasingly likely” that Mr Foley’s killer was British, as he warned against making a “knee-jerk” reaction in response to the crisis.
Britain and its allies face a “generational struggle” to bring the “poison” of Islamist extremism to an end, the Prime Minister said. He added that “what happens in far-flung places can cause us huge harm here, too”.
He confirmed that the Government was prepared to consider tougher counter-terrorism laws to stop Islamist extremists travelling to Iraq and Syria. The murder underlined growing international concerns that up to 500 British jihadists have travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight alongside Isil and are committing “terrible crimes and atrocities”.
Downing Street sources said the Prime Minister, who returned to London from Cornwall to chair a meeting about the crisis, had watched the video.
Mr Cameron said after the meeting: “This is deeply shocking. But we know that far too many British citizens have travelled to Iraq and travelled to Syria to take part in extremism and violence. And what we must do is redouble all our efforts to stop people from going.

“To take away the passports of those contemplating travel, to arrest and prosecute those who take part in this extremism and violence. To take extremist material off the internet and do everything we can to keep our people safe. And that is what this Government will do.”
'Act of murder'
Mr Cameron said it was clear that Mr Foley’s murder was “an act of murder without any justification”.
“This is not the time for knee-jerk reaction, it is time for what Britain always shows in these circumstances and that is resolve,” he added. “We have defeated terrorism, extremism, threats to our country before and we will defeat them again if we show that resolve, but also patience.”
It also emerged that the Government removed 23 British passports from UK residents over fears that they were preparing to travel to the Middle East to join Isil, while 46 Isil videos have been removed from the internet.
Mr Obama said Mr Foley’s courage “stands in stark contrast to his killers”, who are a “cancer”.
“Today, the entire world was appalled by the murder of Jim Foley,” he said. “One thing we can all agree on is that Isil has no place in the 21st century. We share a common set of values rooted in the opposite of what we saw yesterday.
“We will continue to confront this hateful terrorism and replace it with a sense of hope and stability.
“That’s what Jim Foley stood for. A man who lived for his work, who courageously told the stories of his fellow human beings and who was liked and loved by friends and family.”
Analysts were last night trying to match the killer’s voice in the video to surveillance recordings of suspects. They were also using other clues, such as the man’s height and the fact that he is left-handed, to narrow their search.
Linguistic experts suggested the killer was from South London, possibly with some links to Afghanistan.
Mr Foley’s parents, John and Diane, and his brother Michael, spoke to the media outside their home in New Hampshire, describing him as “the best of America”.
Mrs Foley said: “We’re very proud of him. He was a courageous, fearless journalist. He was just a hero.”
The family said their faith had been a comfort. John Foley said: “Jim is free. We know he’s in God’s hands. He’s in heaven. We’re so proud of him. None of it makes any sense.”
Mr Foley, 40, was seized in Idlib in northern Syria as he was travelling to the Turkish border in November 2012.
An experienced foreign correspondent, he had been kidnapped before, in Libya, but refused to give up the job.
He was kidnapped before Isil came into existence, suggesting the terror group bought him from his captors to use his death to generate propaganda.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

James Foley's murder should only stiffen our resolve to destroy Islamic State

20 August 2014
James Foley works in Aleppo, Syria, August 2012.  Photo: Nicole Tung

There is something disturbing about the fact that the murder of a single Westerner should elicit greater shock and garner more attention than the torture and killing of hundreds upon hundreds of Syrians and Iraqis stretching back years, but if this is what it takes to bring home the sadism and cruelty of the so-called caliphate, so be it.
I did not watch the Islamic State’s propaganda snuff movie of James Foley’s murder (the word “execution” is utterly misplaced), and it should not be screened, circulated, or given undue publicity, but the audio clipsconvey one of it’s most chilling aspects: the distinct British accent of his killer.
Just over a month ago, former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove argued that more than 500 Britons who had joined IS were “misguided young men, rather pathetic figures” who would be better ignored. There are indeed plenty of young Britons who travelled to Syria, only to find that they lacked the stomach for the fight.
But the act of beheading a hostage on tape, having forced him to renounce his country, is something quite different. Indeed, it seems plausible that IS would intentionally choose a Briton to oversee this atrocity, precisely because of their intended audience. IS want to dissuade Western powers from taking on their caliphate, and what better way to convey the message than a voice all the more disturbing for its familiarity?
IS has always sought to use beheadings instrumentally, and this is no exception. They were careful to parade another hostage, Steven Sotloff, in yesterday’s video and declare that his life depended on Obama’s “next decision”. IS will be aware that both Britain and America are in the midst of debates, within government and amongst the public, over how far to go.
Although it’s unlikely that IS’ specific intention was to drive a wedge between Washington and London – after all, James Foley himself was American – it’s clear that this is a moment of uncertainty in the West. The grotesque spectacle of beheadings – orange jumpsuits, masked captors, desert landscape, and formulaic, coerced last words – are all intended to resonate amongst Western publics, as they are on today’s front pages, reinforcing that uncertainty, and breaking our will to take on a distant threat.
The role of a Briton should also underscore the scale of the problem that we face. Even by November of last year, the flow of foreign fighters to Syria had become, according to terrorism researcher Thomas Hegghammer, “the largest European Muslim foreign fighter contingent to any conflict in modern history”. The sheer numbers of those involved makes it extremely hard for the intelligence agencies to discern the relatively small proportion who are capable of such brutality and, more significantly, inclined towards perpetrating acts of terrorism in Europe.
Last week’s distribution of pro-IS leaflets on Oxford Street – an obvious incitement not just to violence, but to outright revolutionary terror – was a troubling reminder of the ideological sway of IS’ message and the legitimacy they have built through the past month’s military conquests. What is clear is that there are a sufficient proportion of hardened fighters and hard-core ideologues such that the threat cannot be dismissed as a handful of foolish, adolescent firebrands.
And this, ultimately, is the most important point: terrorist groups have beheaded hostages and prisoners, Westerners and non-Westerners, for many years. What is shocking is not that they are extreme sadists, but that they are extreme sadists with a conventional army and nation-building aspirations. This is what makes them different. By their own admission, their aim is to “drown all of you in blood”. They are incapable of compromise, uninterested in moderation, and hell-bent on territorial expansion. In the face of such intimidation, and such pathetic attempts at propaganda, our resolve to completely destroy Isis, by both political and military means, should only be stiffened.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Real Villain of Ferguson

Posted By Roger L Simon On August 18, 2014 @ 10:24 pm In culture,economy | 18 Comments

It’s hard to have sympathy for anyone in the Ferguson affair — the cops, the demonstrators, the pontificating politicians, the exploitative media or we its pathetically loyal audience that keeps tuning in.  The whole event plays out like the umpteenth rerun of the famous quote from Marx about history repeating itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

By that accounting we should all be at Aristophanes, Moliere or Groucho (pick your favorite farceur) times ten by now.

Unfortunately, however, it’s farce with virtually no comedy, no humor.  The Ferguson affair is a grim business indeed, particularly grim watching the latest nightly edition — the eighth one! — on television Monday evening.  On and on it goes, the roundelay of police and demonstrators,  tear gas and bloviation.  We even have the old standbys from the O.J. trial (Dr. Baden Baden Baden) making an appearance for the second of who knows how many autopsies to be conducted.  Where is Marcia Clark?  And there must be someone Alan Dershowitz can represent?  Admittedly, the good professor has hands full with the Israeli-Palestinian conflagration, but he has retired from Harvard Law so he should have some free time to multi-task.  And most of all — where’s Geraldo?  It’s hard to believe he’s not on the scene by now, flagellating us all about  America’s perpetual racial crisis.

(To his credit, Fox’s Shepard Smith wondered aloud Monday whether the media was actually exacerbating the situation and might help things by going home.)

By now you’re thinking, what’s Simon doing making light of this?  Okay, it’s a media circus but an eighteen-year old kid died here, even if he was a bit of stoned thug who liked to beat up clerks in convenience stores just to make off with a box of cigars. He didn’t deserve to die.

No, and neither did several hundred — or is it thousands — or even tens of thousands — who died in a similar time frame.

But, you say, this was a white-on-black crime. An o-fay cop offed a brother. (Never mind that brothers can butcher brothers like it’s going out of style, this pig had white-skin privilege.)  Well, yes, and we don’t yet know the circumstances, but even accepting the narrative of, say, the Huffington Post that the cop was the reincarnation of Bull Connor [1] and that the “youth” [2] was a “gentle giant” on the way to a contract with PBS as the next Mr. Rogers, the event is basically a charade.  Everyone knows we’ve seen it before and everyone knows we’ll see it again.  In fact, many parties don’t want it to go away.  The beat must go on.  It has to go on or their very personalities will disintegrate.  And I will tell you why — what caused it.

The Great Society.  There, I’ve said it.  The Great Society, which I voted for and supported from the bottom of my heart, is the villain behind Ferguson.  Ferguson is the Great Society writ large because the Great Society convinced, and then reassured, black people that they were victims, taught them that being a victim and playing a victim was the way to go always and forever.  And then it repeated the point ad infinitum from its debut in 1964 until now — a conveniently easy to compute fifty years — as it all became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Great Society and similar policies screwed black people to the wall. It was racist to the core without knowing it.  Nobody used the N-word.  In fact, it was forbidden, unless you were Dr. Dre or somebody.  But it did its job without the word and did it better for being in disguise.  Those misbegotten kids running around Ferguson high on reefer and wasting their lives screaming at cops are the product of all this.  Stop it already.  No one has said this better than Jason Riley, author of Please Stop Helping Us [3].  Listen to Jason if you want to end Fergusons.

Related: Ed Driscoll on “Out: The Summer of George. The New Hotness: ‘The Summer of LBJ.’” [4]
(Artwork based on a modified [5] image.)

Article printed from Roger L. Simon:

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[4] “Out: The Summer of George. The New Hotness: ‘The Summer of LBJ.’”:


Sacred and Satanic Violence: The Place of the Demonic in the Fiction of Flannery O'Connor

By Ralph C. Wood
August 15, 2014
On 3 August 1964, Flannery O'Connor, one of America's greatest fiction writers, died. To mark fifty years since her premature death, we are pleased to publish this article by Ralph C. Wood, University Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor University and author of Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South.

The title of Flannery O'Connor's The Violent Bear It Away contains both a conundrum and the key for unlocking it. The novel's name is taken from the Douay-Rheims translation of Matthew 11:12: "And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away."
Many recent biblical scholars interpret this passage as a reference to those who would impatiently seize the divine kingdom by force, brutally laying hold of it as if it were a means of destruction rather than redemption. The phrase may in fact refer to Jewish Zealots who wanted to rout the Romans, or else to Jewish religious authorities who bullied their way into control of the synagogues or, even more particularly, to arrogant leaders of the Jewish temple with its wealth, prestige and political power. In every case, it seems that the biblical claim about seizing the Kingdom is negative in its import, referring to evil (perhaps even satanic) attacks on the radically alternative community established by Jesus.
Yet this is only a single way of reading Matthew's strange saying about the violence that besets the Reign of God. Flannery O'Connor praised medieval exegetes for discerning not merely one, but at least three other means of interpreting biblical texts.
Beyond the literal reading of Scripture (in this case, seeking the historical meaning cited above), there is also the allegorical(linking a person or event with an analogous one - for instance, Moses's deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage with Jesus's redemption of humanity from slavery to sin), the tropological (gleaning moral implications for the Christian life) and theanagogical (discerning the spiritual and eschatological significance of the text).
Such theologically rich readings of Scripture insure its living, full-bodied appropriation by and for the Church. Hence the gloss on Matthew 11:12 found in the 1899 Challoner version of the Douay-Rheims Bible that O'Connor herself used: "[The Kingdom] is not to be obtained but by main force, by using violence upon ourselves, by mortification and penance, and resisting our perverse inclinations." The violence that makes raids on the Rule of God is here regarded not as satanic and inimical but as salutary, indeed as necessary. It is not a call for Christians to attack others, so much as to practice spiritual and moral violence against their own sinfulness.
The burden of this article is to demonstrate that both interpretations of the violence done to the Kingdom of God - both the satanic and the holy - are at work in The Violent Bear It Away, and that their difference is obscured by demonic guile, especially concerning the nature of evil. The task of undeceiving the Deceiver thus becomes a crucial act of moral and religious, no less than literary, discernment.

The place of the Devil in American culture

In The Death of Satan, Andrew Delbanco traces the waning American regard for the demonic, as our churches and our culture have come to grant the Devil ever lessening importance.
Already in the Puritans, Delbanco discerns a profound ambiguity about the Evil One. On the one hand, their radical consciousness of sin made them ascribe acute reality to satanic temptations. Yet, on the other hand, Lucifer ceases to be the macabre monstrosity of both ancient and medieval Christian tradition. The Puritans worried that such personifications would miss the ubiquity and subtlety of demonic temptation. They also feared that Christians and others might find a convenient means for transferring their own culpability for evil to the Prince of Darkness.
Much against the intentions of the Puritans, however, the Devil was rapidly reduced to a subjective construction of the imagination not to be credited by our most eminent writers. It is obvious that such Transcendentalists as Emerson and Thoreau, with their belief in the latent perfectibility of humanity, would slight Satan. Yet neither could Hawthorne or Melville, despite their riveted attention to human maleficence, envision Satan as its real source.
It seems at first astonishing that such an astute reader of American literature as Delbanco would make no mention of Flannery O'Connor, since the Devil figures so prominently in her fiction. Yet Delbanco gradually reveals the reason for his silence: he fears that any attribution of evil to a satanic "other" leaves our own cruel perfidy and malignant complicity unimpeached. The horrors of the deadliest of all centuries are, for him, the work of invisible but still explicable forces - namely, human irresponsibility and wrongdoing in all of their manifold expressions of self-hatred and self-deception. Delbanco thus finds the most adequate explanation of evil in such Protestant theologians as Reinhold Niebuhr.
In his most celebrated paradox, Niebuhr claims that, while the fall is inevitable, it is not necessary. Always and everywhere, human beings have sinned and will continue to sin, even as they remain responsible for their willing embrace of their Adamic predisposition. Yet this is as much an anthropological as a theological claim, since the Devil nowhere figures in Niebuhr's work. Delbanco's own conclusion thus remains thoroughly Niebuhrian: Satan is "a symbol of our own deficient love, our potential for envy and rancor toward creation." Evil abides as nothing other than a permanent privation that "offers something that the Devil himself could never have intended: the miraculous paradox of demanding the best of ourselves."

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