Thursday, May 31, 2007

Needed: a troop surge in Tucson


I lived in Tucson, Arizona, for three years. No compelling reason. It was by choice, even though I knew the employment opportunities there weren't great (and that turned out to be too right). I liked the landscape, the Spanish and Pueblo style architecture, and the general laid-back friendliness of the people.

Today, thanks to our criminally irresponsible president and politicians who collude with him, Tucson is about to become a war zone, according to one local observer.
Northern Mexico is in a state of war. Who is fighting? That’s hard to say. Officially, it is the drug- and people-traffickers against each other and the government. But in Mexico, you can’t tell the players even with a program. You cannot assume the police or the Army are loyal to their commands. Many are working on their own. …

It is not too much to say there is a war going on right across the border. It’s not a hot war with firefights all the time. It is not a cold war, either, with posturing and press releases. Let’s call it a warm war. Violence breaks out from time to time for reasons unknown to us, but completely unpredictable.

And here’s the part you don’t want to hear. Violence has spread across the border and has resulted in several deaths of Americans residents and visitors. Most such crimes are reported as isolated incidents. But the violence in northern Mexico is not stopping at the border. It’s headed this way and a lot of Tucsonans know it.

Are these the words of some militiaman crank? I wish. But in fact they were published in — are you ready for this? — Inside Tucson Business. That's right; a business newspaper. Not the sort of forum where you find wild-eyed fanatics spewing paranoia.

The writer, Lionel Waxman, wants his readers to face reality.

You can’t learn about it in most media, but the whispers around town are people saying they are thinking of getting out. It looks like war and it’s coming here. No government has acted to protect Americans living in Southern Arizona. Our federal government is in full collapse as far as the southern border is concerned. All we get from them is talk. The only action we see is toward integrating Mexico into the U.S. and Canada.

What will it mean when the border is actually abandoned and anybody is free to enter without inspection? It will mean that Southern Arizona, specifically Tucson, could become like Cananea [where five policemen and two residents were assassinated] and other parts of northern Mexico. Violence will overtake local police. State and federal authorities will look the other way. …

The federal government should put troops on the border to defend the United States and its citizens. The troops should be given orders to use as much force as necessary to accomplish that task. No soldiers should be detailed to do paperwork and forbidden to fire on violators. This is another war and if we don’t act like it, we will lose this one too.

This war isn’t on the other side of the world. This is for our homes, our homes, our homes.

If you don't happen to live near the Mexican border, you have no reason to be complacent.

Once George W. Bush and his devil-spawned collaborators get their precious immigration "reform" bill passed, there will be no border, and Mexico — in all its corruption, violence, and poverty — will overflow. A huge area of Los Angeles has already been lost to Mexican gang warfare. You might still keep the war from where you live, but only if you spike the plans of Bush, Kennedy, and the rest of the amnesty pushers. There isn't much time left.

Your move.

Monday, May 28, 2007


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“In ages far remote — of a civilisation far different from that which now merges the individual in the state, there existed men of ardent minds, and an intense desire of knowledge. In the mighty and solemn kingdoms in which they dwelt, there were no turbulent and earthly channels to work off the fever of their minds. Set in the antique mould of castes through which no intellect could pierce, no valour could force its way, the thirst for wisdom, alone, reigned in the hearts of those who received its study as a heritage from sire to son. Hence, even in your imperfect records of the progress of human knowledge, you find that, in the earliest ages, Philosophy descended not to the business and homes of men. It dwelt amidst the wonders of the loftier creation; it sought to analyse the formation of matter — the essentials of the prevailing soul; to read the mysteries of the starry orbs; to dive into those depths of Nature in which Zoroaster is said, by the schoolmen, first to have discovered the arts which your ignorance classes under the name of magic.

“In such an age, then, arose some men, who, amidst the vanities and delusions of their class, imagined that they detected gleams of a brighter and steadier lore. They fancied an affinity existing among all the works of Nature, and that in the lowliest lay the secret attraction that might conduct them upwards to the loftiest.”

— Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Zanoni: A Rosicrucian Tale

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I would not be astonished if many of my readers have already reached for the keyboard to take them to some less eccentric site. But you're still here. Good enough.

Bulwer-Lytton’s Zanoni (published in 1842) and Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities (1859) both conclude with scenes in the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror with one of the main characters going to the guillotine in place of another. I don’t know enough about Dickens’s life to say if he might have gotten the idea from Bulwer-Lytton, or if he had ever read the latter. Something for Dickens scholars to consider, maybe.

In every other respect, the books could hardly be more different. A Tale of Two Cities is still read, possibly even assigned to students in high school English classes that have not been dumbed down to sub-basement level. Zanoni, like its author, is obscure. Bulwer-Lytton’s literary reputation, what remains of it, is limited to The Last Days of Pompeii.

One reason: the Dickens novel is an adventure story, dramatic and based on a well-known historical epoch. Bulwer-Lytton’s is set mostly in 18th century Naples, of which few readers can have much of a mental picture or any strong interest; it is also fantastical and metaphysically driven.

My paperbacked copy of Zanoni, in which pages have come loose from the cheap binding, was reprinted in 1971 by Spiritual Fiction Publications, an offshoot of a Rudolf Steiner organization. “Spiritual fiction” is not a very large category; in fact, I’m hard pressed to think of any other novel that belongs in it other than H. Rider Haggard’s Cleopatra, which is more about the religion of ancient Egypt than the celebrated Queen.

Zanoni is unapologetically set in two worlds: the ordinary, everyday physical one that we know, and a transcendent realm known only to initiates. Those two dimensions are interwoven throughout the story.

There are three principal characters. Zanoni passed the initiatory mystery rites discovered long ago and so attained, among many powers, immortality. He is thousands of years old yet in appearance forever young and strikingly attractive. Mejnour, another immortal, has (as part of the price for attaining immortality and knowledge of higher truths) renounced all human feeling; scientific curiosity is his only motive. Zanoni, as becomes evident, has not, despite his transformation, completely closed off worldly emotions and attachments. He becomes involved with a beautiful, musical young woman of Naples, Viola — first out of a disinterested desire to do good and protect her from plots against her virtue, and then in love. (A fourth character, a young Englishman called Glyndon, is more of a catalyst than an active participant in the plot.)

Bulwer-Lytton, who was among the most popular novelists of his period, is widely derided today for prose that is considered “purple,” over the top. If any of his detractors read Zanoni, they will find support for their criticism, and I agree with some of it. Although the plot is coherent and the interactions among the characters over time add interest, there are too many trivial incidents. The book is overlong, although that is common enough among authors who wrote when educated people had a lot more time on their hands and far fewer distractions. The dialogue includes some archaisms for effect (the Romantic poets were sometimes guilty of the same offense) which are tiresome to the modern reader.

But the main stumbling block for current tastes is Zanoni’s constant references to the teachings and practices of ancient mystery schools of wisdom, and its taking as reality higher states of consciousness that the modern scientific outlook sees as fantasy, if not outright lunacy. Even at the time of its first publication, I suspect that England’s bourgeois merchants and shopkeepers couldn’t make head nor tail of much of it.

I don’t know much about Rosicrucian teachings (and Rosicrucianism, as a specific doctrine or organization, actually doesn’t play an overt role in the story). But Bulwer-Lytton was both metaphysically inclined and very learned in the history of mystery religions and philosophy. He quotes, for instance, Iamblichus, the neo-Platonist of the third and fourth centuries, and evidently knows his way around Middle Eastern and perhaps Vedic religions. That may not sound so impressive today, when you can walk into any Barnes & Noble or decent public library and find a handful of books on such subjects; but occult wisdom was in Bulwer-Lytton’s time really occult. You had to go out of your way to study it.

So what about Zanoni as literature? Notwithsanding the problems I mentioned above, it is still a fine achievement, a remarkable view of human events from a more spiritually advanced perspective, that does not slight the glories and loves of this world. It’s well plotted on both levels, and despite some dull patches a good read, especially its concluding chapters when Viola, Zanoni’s and Viola’s infant son, and Glyndon are in the hands of Robespierre’s Jacobin guillotineurs.

As for that “purple” style — obviously, a matter of taste. It’s the language of another era, in which prose could aspire to flamboyant poetry without embarrassment. For me, sometimes Bulwer-Lytton’s style is of a muchness, but more often, his images stir the imagination and capture the heart.

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And, seating himself by her side, he [Zanoni] began to reveal to her some of the holier secrets of his lofty being. He spoke of the sublime and intense faith from which alone the diviner knowledge can arise — the faith which, seeing the immortal everywhere, purifies and exalts the mortal that beholds — the glorious ambition that dwells not in the cabals and crimes of earth, but amidst those solemn wonders that speak not of men, but of God …

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Bulwer-Lytton’s vision could not be more different than that prevailing in our materialistic world today. On the one side, a tradition going back at least to the Upanishads and, in the Western world, the Gnostics and neo-Platonists, which sees this life as only the minor visible part of a vast spiritual universe whose progressive knowledge comes at the price of faith in the unseen, of self-discipline and of virtue. On the other side, a world view in which there is no God, only man and the State, in which the goals are pleasure, acquisition, and power, and the end is dust and ashes.

One of these approaches to life, surely, is right.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Good chaps, these jihadists, but maybe a bit overheated

British schools now shy away from teaching about the Holocaust because "some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial." But you can't say the Department of Communities and Local Government isn't doing everything in its feeble power to keep terrorism at bay. The Associated Press reports:
Britain is funding a curriculum that aims to teach children in Muslim religious schools how to steer clear of extremism, but some of the lessons are worrying Muslim educators.

One lesson plan goes something like this: A group of Islamic extremists want to buy fertilizer that could be used to make a bomb. Should the shopkeeper sell it to them? Or take Ahmad, whose friends want to attack a local supermarket in retaliation for the war in Iraq. Is it right for Ahmad to harm innocent Britons because their government invaded a Muslim country? ...

The project, called "Nasiha," or "guidance," draws on the Qur'an, sharia law, and traditional Muslim scholarship to show that British laws are in harmony with Islamic values.

The stated objective is to teach children, most between the ages of 8 and 14, "to realize that to harm or terrorize citizens in the U.K. is not something permitted in Islam," and "to be able to identify individuals or groups who preach hatred and learn ways of avoiding them."

LESSON NO. 27 (Thanks for giving the Western world the brilliant invention of Arabic numerals!)

Young British citizens, as you study the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh), who inspired so much that went to make up our British legal system, you may occasionally encounter a mullah who seems different from the overwhelming majority of peace-loving Muslim servants of Allah. Perhaps he will say some surprising things in view of the fact that Islam is the Religion of Peace, or attend demonstrations displaying a sign such as this:


Now, you should understand that he is carrying on with a great tradition of this country, which derives from shari'a law, of being able to speak one's mind without fear of reprisal. It is something we can all be proud of, and does honour to the Prophet (pbuh).

You should not take at face value the content of the message, and others you may hear in connection with jihad (that is, a peaceful inner struggle). While it is true that in Great Britain many who were thought dangerous (Sir Walter Raleigh, for example) have been beheaded in harmony with Islamic values, this sort of thing is frowned on today by many in the community. You might want to suggest to imams and others who use such language that, in deference to the feelings of some fellow Britons, they express themselves in this way only in an appropriate setting, such as a mosque.

The Department of Communities and Local Government completely understands the anger of those whom some infidels describe as "extremists," in view of our country's shameful collaboration with the Great Satan in invading Muslim countries and attempting to support the worldwide Zionist conspiracy by formerly teaching about an imaginary historical event called the Holocaust.

Nevertheless, if you happen to work in a shop and some of these so-called extremists want to purchase a load of fertilizer that can be used in making a bomb, you might want to remind them that through immigration and reproductive rates alone, the United Kingdom will soon have a Muslim majority and the infidels who do not convert to the Crescent will live as dhimmis. Therefore, trying to hurry the process along through the means of explosives might only result in more British expressing disrespect for the Prophet (pbuh) meanwhile.

Better to study the Holy Qur'an, so that when you are grown up you will know exactly how to apply it to any situation as a member of the ruling class responsible for seeing to it that no offence against the strict laws of shari'a will be tolerated, which traditional Muslim scholarship notes is fully compatible with the British legal system.

Allahu Akbar!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Gang warfare in the United States Senate

Just off the Senate floor, a dozen Democratic and Republican senators huddle twice a day to decide whether proposed changes to a bipartisan immigration compromise are acceptable tweaks or fatal blows to their fragile agreement.
Survival of the deal that would allow 12 million unlawful immigrants to stay in the U.S. legally - regarded as the best chance to overhaul immigration this year - depends in large part on how effective this "Gang of 12" is in insulating the plan from major changes.
-- Associated Press, May 24

Observe how the Senate immigration bill -- potentially the most important piece of legislation that will be proposed in your lifetime, with almost limitless effects on the size and composition of the United States -- is being decided on. It tells you something about the strategy for getting the bill passed.

It is in the hands of 12 out of 50 U.S. Senators. Not in a regular committee meeting, with testimony from witnesses, visibility to the public, and a time frame protracted enough so that the lawmakers can ponder the bill and, if they are so moved, reconsider their positions. No, this is simply a group of power brokers playing a game among themselves.
They sit in overstuffed crimson leather chairs; Senate aides and senior White House officials look on. The team pores over lists of proposed amendments from both parties. Some are deemed acceptable, while others are deal-breakers that must be killed or modified to avoid alienating a key bloc. "There is a real commitment to absolutely do our best to see that the agreement is not unraveled," Kyl said. "We're trying to avoid killing the deal."
So, let's put this in plain English. Because there is widespread disagreement over the bill among their colleagues (not to mention the public), a handful of Senators, behaving like medieval royalty working out a treaty among their kingdoms, work unceasingly to make sure that it's a done deal before the final vote is taken. All the possible amendments must be accepted or rejected by this oligarchy.

If this bill, in the AP's words, "unites conservatives and liberals who regard enactment of an immigration measure this year as an imperative that can deliver political benefits and long-standing policy objectives to their respective parties" (slyly worded to imply that amnesty is in everyone's best interest), why is the Senate behaving like the Soviet Politburo rather than a deliberative body?

It's symbolic of how this unpopular and dangerous piece of legislation is being handled: keep it within a cabal as far as possible; insulate it from debate and amendment; get it through before the pressure to kill it builds to overwhelming proportions. Some "compromise." Some "solution."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

American Muslims' middle class, mainstream suicide bombers


American Muslims are more prosperous than Western Europe's Muslims and less likely to support Islamic extremism than Muslims in most other nations, according to a landmark survey released yesterday. Most American Muslims are satisfied with their communities and believe they can get ahead if they're willing to work hard, according to the survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. ...

"We find the Muslim Americans we interviewed largely assimilated. They're happy with their lives," said Andrew Kohut, president of the nonprofit research center. "They're moderate on many of the issues that sharply divide Muslims and Westerners around the world."

-- New Jersey Star Ledger, May 23

The first nationwide survey of Muslim Americans revealed that more than a quarter of those younger than 30 say suicide bombings to defend Islam are justified, a fact that drowned out the poll's kinder, gentler findings suggesting that the community is mainstream and middle class.

"But the survey also found that only 40 percent of the overall American Muslim population would even admit that Arabs were behind 9/11. They're in denial, refusing to take moral responsibility, and the radicals will feed on this," Dr. Jasser said. ...

The survey, which estimates the U.S. Muslim population to be 2.3 million, emphasized the more positive findings, billing the group as "middle class and mostly mainstream," socially assimilated and happy.

-- Washington Times, May 23

Which paper do you read? Actually, if you follow both of these stories to the end, they contain pretty much the same information. It's the emphasis that is obviously different. The New Jersey paper is published in a state with a large Muslim population, so the story highlights how "moderate" they are, according to what they tell poll-takers. The Washington Times is a conservative paper.

And we are constantly told by the mainstream media that they are superior to the blogosphere because they are "professional" and can be trusted, while bloggers are just nutters with opinions.
Well, I'll tell you a little secret: the "professionals" of the mainstream media all have rings through their noses, and follow their employers' party line if they want to keep grazing in the fields instead of being given tickets to the meat-packing plant.

Another howler from the Washington Times piece:
"I'm not surprised that the press picked up on the bad news, because that's what sells. I'd like to see another ethnic group get asked the same question," said Laila Al-Qatami of the District-based American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
Sure, Laila, whatever you say. No doubt a survey of American Jews, and people of African, Chinese, or Polish descent would show that 26 percent of them believe suicide bombing to defend their group is legitimate.

Once, within the lifetimes of many living Americans, revelations like those in the survey would have been enough to start an uproar and lead to a prohibition of further Muslim immigration. But that was another time, and another America, before self-preservation lost out to political correctness.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Send not to know for whom the bill tolls

It tolls for the death of a 230-year-old America that, for all its crises and faults, was the most successful example of self-government since ancient Athens (and which has lasted much longer).

Maybe a pun on John Donne's well-known line is too frivolous for the gravity of the situation; sorry, I couldn't help it. But the immigration bill that the Senate will begin considering today is indefensible on any rational and ethical grounds, and the case against it has been made in far more detail and more eloquently than I can do by Lawrence Auster, Randall Parker, Vanishing American, and countless other bloggers and writers. It goes beyond ordinary politics and any rationale that people of good will can disagree about.

This is the kind of measure that authoritarian governments are prone to, a pure power play cynically designed to boost the control of self-serving, malevolent interests through vote buying, in open defiance of the wishes of the majority of citizens. It mocks the rule of law and ignores the common good. It is also fueled in part by the ideology of transnational progressivism, which wants to replace nationhood as a set of specific traditions, culture, language, and patriotism with a what is being called a "proposition nation," one whose only characteristic is an all-purpose concept of diversity.

The bill to be debated this week is backed by a bipartisan clique whose members, nevertheless, believe that it will strengthen their own party's grip on government by rewarding somewhere between 12 million (the official, and dubious, figure) and 30 million (by other estimates) criminals and their families and descendants -- mediated only by a few mild inconveniences to the migrants that will likely be ignored in practice, as the "enforcement" provisions of the 1986 law that opened the floodgates were quickly forgotten. Beneficiaries if the bill passes will be big business, which has decided it cannot do without a huge population of modern-day serfs; a social work Establishment licking its chops at the prospect of a major inflation of its client base and thus of its budget and powers; ethnic zealots who would reclaim the United States for their own groups; and radical leftists who want to see America diluted to the point of an ungovernable, Balkanized society as payback for its past sins, real and imagined.

Even if the bill is passed in the Senate and something along the same lines gets through the House, and is signed into law by our egregiously thought-challenged president, I predict that it will no more end the struggle than the Missouri Compromise avoided the Civil War. Indeed, it can only increase the fissure in society between a non-responsive government and a large percentage of the population, already seething over years of having its values ignored by an insular Congress, president, academia, and mass media and an imperial judiciary which has taken on an authority subject to no checks and balances. It will produce a country divided against itself, in Lincoln's famous words, and the consequences will represent the greatest threat to civil society since his time.

The bill, America, tolls for thee.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

If it's amnesty, it's not a "compromise"

Enemies of the people: They're laughing at your expense.

The so-called compromise worked out between el Presidente Bush and his cronies in the allegedly opposition party is anything but a compromise. To call it that, as so many of our Old Media hack reporters have done, is the latest stroke of dishonesty in the campaign to flood the country with low-wage, low-IQ, uneducated workers from the Third World.

As summarized by NumbersUSA, the provisions of the bill will include:
  • An immediate amnesty for nearly all 12-20 million illegal aliens who will get legal status for residence and jobs (with the assurance of getting green cards no later than 13 years);
  • Mandatory workplace verification and some extra enforcement to try to slow the flow of the next 12 million illegal aliens enticed by the amnesty;
  • Tripling of the rate of chain migration of extended family from around 250,000 a year to around 750,000 a year for about a decade; and
  • New flows of 400,000 temporary foreign workers each year, bringing their families and having anchor babies who will be given U.S. citizenship.
This is amnesty, pure and simple. Illegals will be rewarded with citizenship, or the right to remain in the country, for breaking the law, a departure from traditional legal and ethical codes that is breathtaking in its audacity. But that's the plan of el Presidente, his Democrat pals who are privately congratulating themselves at their fantastic good luck in working with a nominally Republican president on behalf of a measure that will ensure permanent control of the government by Democrats, and his Republican allies who bark and fetch for their corporate masters.

Presumably the second item is the excuse for labeling the bill a compromise. Does anyone seriously expect an administration that has never made an effort to "try to slow the flow" of illegal aliens is going to start once it has legalized The Invasion? El Presidente is so contemptuous of the anger and flat-out opposition he has generated by putting the United States up for sale to big business that he isn't even bothering to wait until amnesty has passed and he's signed it. He's already chipping away at provisions that might inconvenience any migrants. The Boston Globe today carries this note:
The Bush administration insisted on a little-noticed change in the bipartisan Senate immigration bill that would enable 12 million undocumented residents to avoid paying back taxes or associated fines to the Internal Revenue Service, officials said. An independent analyst estimated the decision could cost the IRS tens of billions of dollars.

A provision requiring payment of back taxes had been in the initial version of a bill proposed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat. But the administration called for the provision to be removed due to concern that it would be too difficult to figure out which illegal immigrants owed back taxes.

How much do you want to bet that the various other pseudo-border-enforcement details will be determined to be impractical by politicians who'll be happy to see them scuppered?

This amnesty should be defeated. El Presidente Generalissimo Bush and his ruling junta should be impeached for treason.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mexican Dream Act

George W. Bush, Mexican ambassador to the United States, is urging Congress to scrap provisions of his cherished Mexican Dream Act, now being debated in the Senate, that would hold businesses responsible for failing to check the immigration status of employees. According to the Washington Times:
The Bush administration, trying to win an immigration agreement with Democrats, is backing away from safeguards designed to target businesses that hire illegal aliens and to prevent a repeat of the rampant fraud that resulted from the 1986 amnesty.
Fraud? What's that? Don't these nitpicking critics understand that no one is illegal, and national borders are a relic of an unenlightened past? How can a country that has invaded and occupied another without troubling itself about declaring war insist on claiming borders of its own?

Newly appointed head of a Mexican drug intelligence unit
models the latest fashion in bullet holes.

When Bush gets his way and The Invasion is legalized, we will get more than low-wage construction workers and apple pickers from south of the former border. We'll get the Mexican narco-state big time.

[Mexican President] Calderon sent in 24,000 troops to retake cities and states with the most serious violence — Michoacan , Nuevo Laredo, Tijuana and Acapulco. Soldiers, less likely to be tainted by corruption than local police, burned crops and hauled away drug dealers of all levels.

Calderon warned Mexicans not to expect a short war, but it has proved even harder than that. Drug lords are now engaging in unprecedented battles with the army. Five dead soldiers this past week in Michoacan amounts to that state's worst single death toll in a decade, and they weren't the only casualties.

The drug lords have also gone all-out on assassinations. On Monday, Joe Nemisio Lugo Felix, a top narcotics intelligence official, was killed in his SUV in Mexico City. They also kidnapped, strangled and shot a federal investigator in Tijuana and gunned down a police chief in Acapulco.

--Investors Business Daily

Dear God, I humbly beseech your forgiveness for ever supporting a madman whose dream is a nightmare for the citizens of the entire nation he considers flyover country.

Tolerance for me, jihad for thee

Foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) yesterday expressed grave concern at the rising tide of discrimination and intolerance against Muslims, especially in Europe and North America. “It is something that has assumed xenophobic proportions,” they said in unison.

Speaking at a special brainstorming session on the sidelines of the 34th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM), the foreign ministers termed Islamophobia the worst form of terrorism and called for practical steps to counter it.

--Arab News, May 17

PAKISTANI Christians living in a town beset by pro-Taleban militants sought government protection yesterday, a day before the expiry of an ultimatum warning them to convert to Islam.

About 500 Christians in Charsadda, a town in the North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan, received threatening letters earlier this month telling them to close their churches and convert by 17 May or face "bomb explosions"., May 17

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Whistling Dix

The arrest of six people accused of planning a bloodbath at Fort Dix has been presented in the media in a most curious way. There is an aura of celebration about it that is unlike anything I can recall before in similar circumstances. It's being treated as though our team won the World Series. Even buttoned-down CNBC pundit Larry Kudlow could hardly contain his cheerleading.

Let's enjoy our five minutes of self-congratulation, but there's a lot more here to make us uneasy than confident. FOX reports:

A federal law enforcement source confirmed to FOX News that the three — Dritan "Anthony" or "Tony" Duka, 28; Shain Duka, 26; and Eljvir "Elvis" Duka, 23 — also accumulated 19 traffic citations, but because they operated in "sanctuary cites," where law enforcement does not routinely report illegal immigrants to homeland security, none of the tickets raised red flags.

The brothers entered the United States near Brownsville, Texas, in 1984, the source said, which would put their ages at 1 to 6 when they crossed the border.

The source said there is no record of them entering by way of a regular border crossing, so they are investigating whether they were smuggled into the country.

So what have we learned? Three brothers among the suspects have been living in the United States for 23 years after crossing the border illegally. No one suspected anything -- they were some of the famous "moderate" Muslims. Thanks to the useful idiots who created "sanctuary cities," they were apparently never investigated before, even though they had 19 traffic tickets.

Obviously, we can be grateful that the plot was smoked out and stopped. But many more like it are probably currently under way, and it wasn't primarily shrewd counterterrorism that saved the day, just luck. According to the reports, the case was investigated because of a tip-off. No doubt the authorities handled it well after that, but you can't count on tip-offs to safeguard national security.

To get back to the light-headed joyousness with which the media have delivered the story, at least part of the reason is that it fits comfortably with the mythology of the Liberal Establishment. In that view, the plotters were a handful of Muslim "extremists" (although, as always in these situations, they were "moderate" law abiding citizens until caught); the long arm of the law was sufficient to take them down. We're back in a September 10 world -- terrorism is a law enforcement issue. Militant Islam isn't the problem, just a few criminals, and as this case proves, we've got them clocked. The only thing to worry about is a "backlash" against domestic Muslims by the drooling morons of the American public that the ACLU stands guard against.

I have not read or heard one suggestion in the mainstream press that we ought to reconsider our policy of admitting Muslims to settle in the United States and then playing catch-'em-if-you-can to sort out the violent jihadists. Seems to me it would be a lot safer and less expensive to keep them out in the first place than to invite them in and then try to track them down. But in the Age of Political Correctness, that would be "discrimination," one of the deadly sins. I can't fathom why a sovereign nation shouldn't be able to use discrimination in choosing who it allows to move in, but we'd rather risk a horrendous terror act than offend the members of any group, thanks to liberal ideology.

Well, to hell with liberal ideology. It's no time to stop at plugging leaks. If we know what's good for us, which most Americans except those handicapped by working in Washington or living in "sanctuary cities" do, we need to start patching the holes.

Friday, May 04, 2007


On Monday I was discharged from the hospital after two weeks and two days, during which I had heart surgery for atrial fibrillation and a speeding heart rate. (If you don't know what atrial fibrillation is, it might benefit you to find out, but I hope you never have to learn.)

Hospitals are the best and worst places to be treated for a serious illness or injury.

Wherefore best?

Well, first, medical technology has made progress that is simply astounding, as I had occasion to learn. I underwent the Maze procedure, which is truly amazing (pun intended). Methodologies are constantly getting more precise and less invasive.

And you are always looked after. Lord, I must have been visited by doctors, nurses, physician aides, and technicians dozens of times a day, and it was sometimes more than I could handle. Now and again I wished they would just leave me alone (especially when I was awakened at night to have my vital signs checked and blood drawn for analysis). But all in all, when you're in a weakend and vulnerable state, it's comforting to know you're being monitored.

Wherefore worst?

Hospitals do not treat people as though they are people. In the hospital setting, you are a machine in a mechanistic universe, feeling like a car having a transmission replacement. I'm sure most medical personnel would acknowledge theoretically that mind and body are related, and that a person's state of mind is a powerful force that helps determine how effective treatment is. But in practice, at least if the hospital I was in is any example, that principle is discarded.

I had time to discover that a hospital is a huge bureaucracy run, like most modern organizations, by managers who put so-called efficiency first. You never see them because they're on some other floor, but they make the rules, and patient comfort (other than the purely physical sort) is the last thing on their minds.

This managerial style that is so out of touch with patients shows up in things large and small. At one time or another, I must have been seen by two dozen doctors, most of whom seemed to be dropping
by to follow regulations rather than taking an active interest in my situation. Some did not bother to introduce themselves. One's first words were, "It is against our policy to have the door completely closed." (My nurse took down the sign that said "Please keep the door shut" and edited it to "Please keep the door partially shut.")

Fortunately, my heart surgeon was not only a brilliant man who has helped refine the Maze procedure to avoid cutting the sternum, but warm and friendly -- and therefore reassuring -- as well.

You have a lot of time on your hands in the hospital, and there is only so much reading and listening to CDs on a portable player that you can do. So, whatever your normal practice, you inevitably find yourself watching TV. My room's TV offered the standard networks, plus lowest-common-denominator channels like Liftime TV and CNN Headline News, on the latter of which the same stories and video clips recirculate throughout the day. Oh, and several channels of the hospital's own, explaining various medical procedures and explaining to mothers how to take care of their babies, in English and Spanish. Tell me this: who, in the hospital for an operation, wants to watch shows about other illnesses and operations? But my guess is that some bright spark of an administrator decided the captive audience provided a great opportunity for "patient education," possibly with a little, how you say, incentive from drug companies whose products happen to be mentioned.

I don't want to sound churlish, and I am grateful to my caregivers for possibly saving me from an early demise. I know that, whatever its faults, the treatment I received was very likely better and certainly available quicker than had I been dependent on the national health service of a Workers' Paradise such as Britain or Canada. But the impersonality was troubling.

Incidentally, I saw no evidence of any room dedicated to prayer and meditation. You'd think many patients would want a setting conducive to pondering the Eternity some were facing. But this hospital, at least, was as Godless as any modern European state.

Just before I entered surgery, my wife and I talked of this and that. The last thing I remember her saying before I got my injection of anesthetic and disappeared for several hours was, "If anything goes wrong, you'll be taken care of." It was not, you understand, the medical profession she was referring to.