Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hillary Clinton Talks Benghazi With Greta Van Susteren In All-Encompassing Foreign Policy Interview. By Josh Feldman.

Hillary Clinton Talks Benghazi With Greta Van Susteren In All-Encompassing Foreign Policy Interview. By Josh Feldman. Mediaite, January 29, 2013.

Wolf Blitzer’s exclusive interview with Egyptian Pres. Mohamed Morsy. CNN, January 11, 2013.

What Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said about President Morsi and the cease fire two days ago. By Greta Van Susteren. GretaWire, November 23, 2012.

Egypt’s Morsi Praised For Cease-Fire As Talks Begin. By Leila Fadel. NPR, November 22, 2012.

Egypt’s Morsi: statesman abroad, a “pharaoh” at home? By Leela Jacinto. France 24, November 23, 2012.

Egypt’s President Morsi Wins U.S. and Israeli Gratitude in Gaza Deal. By Reena Ninan and Dana Hughes. World News with Diane Sawyer. ABC, November 21, 2012.

Egypt’s New Leader Spells Out Terms for U.S.-Arab Ties. By David D. Kirkpatrick and Steven Erlanger. New York Times, September 22, 2012. Video here.

Egypt and Morsy proved “pivotal” in Gaza cease-fire. CNN, November 22, 2012. Also find video here.

Britain’s National Sickness. By Melanie Phillips.

A LibDem MP gives voice to Britain’s national sickness. By Melanie Phillips. Daily Mail, January 27, 2013. Also find it here.

Britain’s infernal cocktail of hate. By Melanie Phillips. MelaniePhillips.com, January 29, 2013.


No, the true venom of these remarks is the way they reverse the position of today’s Jewish victims – the Israeli survivors of the Holocaust and their children and grandchildren -- and their current would-be exterminators – the descendants of Hitler’s Nazi collaborators in Palestine during the Holocaust.

For the fact is that Israel is not trying to exterminate the Palestinians – indeed how could this possibly be the case, since the Palestinian population has more than quadrupled since the rebirth of Israel in 1948. Nor are the Israelis oppressing the Palestinians, who have benefited from some of the highest rises in GDP and lowest child mortality ratios in the Middle East.

Nor are the Israelis behaving inhumanely; it is the Palestinians who are committing crimes against humanity by targeting Israeli innocents for mass murder without remission, both from Gaza and from the West Bank. It is the Palestinians, in the West Bank as well as Gaza, who are brainwashed from the cradle to hate Jews and to believe that murdering Israelis is their highest glory. Which they have been doing in Israel and before that in Palestine for more than a century – despite the fact that, as the international community laid down in binding treaty in 1920, the Jews alone had the inalienable and historic right to settle throughout Palestine, including not just present-day Israel but also the West Bank and Gaza.

Moreover, while the Jews accepted proposals for a Palestinian state first made in the 1930s and then in 1947, and while the Israelis offered them more than 95 per cent of the possible land for a state in 2000 and 2008, the Palestinians responded merely by murdering more Jews.

Despite all this, Israel behaves towards its genocidal Palestinian attackers with a humanity that is seen in no other conflict on the planet. Despite the rocket attacks and constant smuggling of ever more fearsome weapons to be aimed at its civilians, it allows humanitarian supplies into Gaza; despite the constant plotting in the West Bank to kill more Israelis, it allows Palestinians to work in Israel, and treats Palestinians from both the West Bank and Gaza alongside Israelis in Israeli hospitals. Yes of course there is Palestinian hardship caused by the checkpoints and security barrier. But the only reason these exist is to prevent Palestinians killing yet more Israelis. If the Palestinians and their Arab and Iranian backers stopped trying to wipe Israel off the map, there would be peace tomorrow.

Assad: We Regained the Upper Hand.

Assad: We Regained the Upper Hand. Al Akhbar English, January 28, 2013.

Morbid gallery reveals how Victorians took photos of their dead relatives. By Nick Enoch.

Morbid gallery reveals how Victorians took photos of their DEAD relatives posing on couches, beds and even in coffins. By Nick Enoch. Daily Mail, January 29, 2013.


Asma Assad Pregnant? By Eline Gordts.

Asma Assad Pregnant? Bashar Assad’s Wife Expecting Fourth Child, Lebanese Website Reports. By Eline Gordts. The Huffington Post, January 29, 2013.

Baby born into a bloodbath: President Assad’s British-born wife Asma, 37, said to be PREGNANT with her fourth child. Daily Mail, January 29, 2013.

Progress Means Broadband Now a Necessity. By Walter Russelll Mead.

Progress Means Broadband Now a Necessity. By Walter Russell Mead. Via Meadia, January 29, 2013.

The Web-Deprived Study at McDonald’s. By Anton Troianovski. Wall Street Journal, January 28, 2013. Also find it here.

Barack Obama is Not Pleased. By Franklin Foer and Chris Hughes.

Barack Obama is Not Pleased. By Franklin Foer and Chris Hughes. The New Republic, January 27, 2013. Also find it here.

The Ayn Rand Republicans. By John Nichols.

Meet Ron Johnson, the Randiest of the Ayn Rand Republcans. By John Nichols. The Nation, January 29, 2013.

Hell Isle. By Rick Perlstein. The Nation, January 28, 2013.

In Israel, Time Is Running Out for a Two-State Solution. By Jeffrey Goldberg.

In Israel, Time Is Running Out for a Two-State Solution. By Jeffrey Goldberg. Bloomberg, January 28, 2013.

Why Hispanics Don’t Vote for Republicans. By Heather Mac Donald

Why Hispanics Don’t Vote for Republicans. By Heather Mac Donald. National Review Online, November 7, 2012.

California’s Demographic Revolution. By Heather Mac Donald. City Journal, Winter 2012.

Is Egypt Facing Another Revolution? By Ariel Ben Solomon.

Is Egypt facing another revolution? By Ariel Ben Solomon. Jerusalem Post, January 29, 2013.

Crisis in Egypt Exposes Brotherhood’s Dependence on Military. By Walter Russell Mead. Via Meadia, January 29, 2013.

Egyptians Defy President’s Curfew, as Unrest Spreads. By Matt Bradley. Wall Street Journal, January 28, 2013.

Chaos and Lawlessness Grow After Days of Unrest in Egypt. By David D. Kirkpatrick and Mayy El Sheikh. New York Times, January 28, 2013.

Obama Gives F-16’s To Egypt After Morsi Calls Jews “Apes And Pigs.” By Wolff Bachner. The Inquisitr, January 28, 2013.

The Failure of Egyptian Politics. By Khaled Elgindy. Tahrir Squared, January 28, 2013.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Its True Intentions Towards Israel. By Liad Porat. The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA), Bar-Ilan University. Perspectives Papers on Current Affairs No. 192, December 10, 2012.

More posts on Morsi here, here, here, and here.

The West’s Perverse Nostalgia for Gaddafi. By Fouad Ajami.

Gaddafiphilia. By Fouad Ajami. The Daily Beast, January 29, 2013.


Two years on, we speak of the Arab rebellions in a manner we never did of the fall of communist dictatorships. A quarter century ago, it was only cranks who bemoaned the end of the communist tyrannies in Europe. There was chaos aplenty in those post-communist societies and vengeful nationalist feuds; those captive nations weren’t exactly models of liberalism. In Yugoslavia, a veritable prison of contending nationalisms, the fall of the state that Josip Broz Tito held together by guile and fear, ethnic cleansing, and mass murder, had put on display the pitfalls of “liberty” after decades of repression. And still, faith in the new history was to carry the day.

That moment in freedom’s advance was markedly different from the easy disenchantment with the Arab rebellions. Those had been dubbed an Arab Spring, and it was the laziest of things to announce scorching summers and an Islamist winter. The Arab dictatorships had been given decades of patience and indulgence, but patience was not to be extended to the new rebellions: these were to become orphans in the court of American opinion. American liberalism had turned surly toward the possibilities of freedom in distant, difficult lands. If George W. Bush’s “diplomacy of freedom,” tethered to the Iraq War, had maintained that freedom can stick on Arab and Muslim soil, liberalism ridiculed that hopefulness. This was a new twist in the evolution of American liberalism. In contrast to its European counterpart, American liberalism had tended to be hopeful about liberty’s prospects abroad. This was no longer the case. The Arab Awakening would find very few liberal promoters.

Nor was American conservatism convinced that these Arab rebellions were destined for success. Say what you will about the wellsprings of conservative thought, the emphasis is on the primacy of culture in determining the prospects of nations. For good reasons, Arab and Islamic culture was deemed to present formidable obstacles to democratic development. The crowd would unseat a dictatorship only to beget a theocratic tyranny. Iran after the Pahlavis was a cautionary tale.

. . . . . . . . . .

From one end of the Arab world to the other, this seemed like the dictators’ paradise. History’s democratic tides had bypassed the Arabs. There was no intellectual class with the tools and the temperament necessary to take on the rulers. The intellectuals had been cowed or bought off or had opted for exile. On the margins of political life, there was a breed of Islamists biding their time. The secularists were too proud, too steeped in the conceit of modernism to take the religious alternative seriously.

. . . . . . . . . .

These were, on some level, prison riots that had erupted in the Arab world. The dictators had robbed these countries of political efficacy and skills; in the aftermath of the dictators, we were to see in plain sight the harvest of their terrible work. These rulers had been predators and brigands: they had treated themselves and their offspring, and their retainers, to all that was denied their subjects. The scorched earth they left behind is testament to their tyrannies. Liberty of the Arab variety has not been pretty. But who, in good conscience, would want to lament the fall of the dictators?

Is Morsi a Two-Faced Manipulator? By Dieter Bednarz and Volkhard Windfuhr.

Radical Past: Former Associate Calls Morsi a “Master of Disguise.” By Dieter Bednarz and Volkhard Windfuhr. Spiegel Online, January 28, 2013.

Is Mohammed Morsi a peacebroker or a virulent anti-Semite? A former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, who has known Morsi for 13 years, believes that behind the Egyptian president’s veneer of goodwill towards Israel lies a deep-seated hatred.

More posts on Morsi here.

Some Inconvenient Truths. By Stephen M. Walt.

Some Inconvenient Truths. By Stephen M. Walt. Foreign Policy, January 28, 2013.

CBS’s Charles Osgood: “Is Constitution Truly Worthy of Reverence in Which Most Americans Hold It?”

CBS’s Charles Osgood: “Is Constitution Truly Worthy of Reverence in Which Most Americans Hold It?” By Noel Sheppard. NewsBusters, January 27, 2013.

Democracy Is On the Brink of a Sea Change. By Janet Daley.

Democracy is on the brink of a sea change. By Janet Daley. The Telegraph, January 26, 2013.


The core message was pounded home relentlessly: American government is now in the redistribution and welfare-provision business, and this is not (contrary to appearances) at variance with the founding fathers’ conception of a nation that is inherently opposed to state interference and domination over the individual. This is the new credo of American nationhood: the government, not the community or the household, will be the moral arbiter of social virtue. The traditional suspicion of the overweening power of the state is now a thing of the past. Democracy is about electing a government that will be there to protect you from hardship, shelter you from the storm and absolve you from sin. Well, no, maybe not that last one – but the concept of the state as moral saviour is not so remote from this, is it?

Another Road: The Blue Elites Are Wrong. By Walter Russell Mead.

Another Road: The Blue Elites Are Wrong. By Walter Russell Mead. Via Meadia, January 28, 2013. Also here, here.

Also see: Futuristic Blues. by Walter Russell Mead, Via Meadia, January 23, 2013.


The blue vision of the future, as I wrote in my last essay, is a bleak one in many respects. If the establishment liberals of our time are right in their future vision, most of the population will be economically surplus; globalization and automation will empower a creative class on Wall Street and in Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Most of the rest of the country will be stuck in low productivity, low wage jobs as manufacturing fades and is replaced by . . . nothing, unless you count government benefits and food stamps. The blues think that a redistributive and regulatory state (naturally enough administered by wise and well intentioned people such as themselves) can pump enough money from the growing parts of the economy onto the plebs and the proles in the post-industrial doldrums, providing at least a degree of middle class life to the sidelined majority.

The blue technocrats now influential in the national administration and in many of the country’s most important universities and foundations are reacting to real problems. In the last thirty years the transformation of the American economy has contributed to income polarization. The old industrial middle class, based on mass employment in unionized oligopolies, has been hollowed out, and no comparable source of stable high income employment has emerged. Large groups in America today are living on transfers from the profits of the healthy portions of the private sector recycled through government spending and subsidies. It is easy to see how rational people can conclude that the only hope of preserving mass prosperity in America comes from transfers and subsidies. If we add to this the belief that only a powerful and intrusive regulatory state can prevent destructive climate change, then the case for the blue utopia looks ironclad. To save the planet, save the middle class and provide American minorities and single mothers with the basic elements of an acceptable life, we must set up a far more powerful federal government than we have ever known, and give it sweeping powers over the production and distribution of wealth.

But what if this isn’t true? What if the shift from a late-stage industrial economy to an information economy has a different social effect? What if the information revolution continues and even accelerates the democratization of political, social and cultural life by empowering ordinary people? What if the information revolution, like the industrial revolution, ultimately leads to a radical improvement in the way ordinary people live and opens up vast new horizons of human potential and freedom?

Obviously nobody knows what the future holds, and anything anybody says about the social consequences of the information revolution is mostly conjecture; still, the elegantly paternalistic pessimism of our elites about the future of the masses seems both defeatist and overdone. The information revolution, one should never forget, may be disruptive but more fundamentally it is good news. Human productivity is rising dramatically. If the bad news is that fewer and fewer people will earn a living working in factories, the good news is that a smaller and smaller percentage of the time and energy of the human race must be devoted to the manufacture of the material objects we need for daily life. Just as it’s good news overall when agricultural productivity increases and the majority of the human race no longer has to spend its time providing food, it’s good news when we as a species can free ourselves from the drudgery and monotony of factory work.

The economic transformation is also good news for the greens, if they can open their minds wide enough to understand it. A post-industrial economy depends less on metal-bashing and stuff-moving than an industrial one and the information revolution means that developing countries can reach affluence without repeating the mistakes of the past. The implications for issues like climate change are staggering if the information revolution is pushing the advanced countries toward a lower carbon economy and opening a path to development for countries like India and China that doesn’t require them to retrace US and European history in the 20th century.

Thinking about how the transition to an information economy can be made to work and made to work especially for the middle class is the single most important political question before us today. It’s hard to think about the future in a time of rapid change, but fortunately history does give us some guidance that can help us see the opportunities and problems ahead a little more clearly.

The best guide we have for how things might go is inexact but useful: the industrial revolution. This huge transformation, still unfinished today in many parts of the world, is the only thing at all comparable to what we face now. If we look carefully at that history we can get some sense of what may lie ahead.

The industrial revolution actually consisted of several big changes that were related but that worked out in different ways. Most historians concentrate on the rise of the industrial economy, but that era also saw two other enormous shifts: the collapse of agricultural employment and a population boom as better medical knowledge and rising food supplies transformed the demographic picture. For Americans, the agricultural collapse had two consequences: it created a crisis in rural America and led to a series of migrations from the countryside to the city culminating in the Great Migration of African Americans into northern cities from World War I onwards, and it was responsible for the waves of European immigration from the Civil War to the imposition of strict immigrant quotas after World War I. The combination of the collapse of agricultural employment in the Atlantic world and the population boom helped drive 100 years of American history—and since World War II has played a leading role in Hispanic and Caribbean immigration to the United States.

The collapse of manufacturing and clerical employment, the disappearance of assembly lines and stenography pools, is not creating a social crisis as profound or long lasting as the collapse of agriculture, but it is the major source of the inequality and income stagnation that we see today. (In the United States, the consequences have been exacerbated by immigration caused in part by changes in agriculture south of our border.) The conventional picture of inexorably rising inequality assumes that new jobs won’t be created to take up the slack in the labor market as the old jobs dry up.

This was true at times during the industrial revolution and there were times when the resulting imbalances in the labor market drove wages and living standards down. There was a lot of talk at various points about the polarization of income, the growing inequality of society, and the danger of social revolution if these trends weren’t checked. In the end, though, in the advanced industrial economies the industrial revolution created enough manufacturing and clerical jobs to improve labor’s bargaining position and usher in a much more egalitarian and affluent era.

This didn’t happen all by itself. A whole set of major social changes was needed to prepare the way for the affluent industrial middle class societies of the last half of the twentieth century. Universal education both equipped the children and grandchildren of displaced farm workers and urban migrants with the skills needed for factory work and conditioned them socially to live in the more regimented, clock-driven urban world. The progressive state arose to provide services like education, public health, food and drug regulation and the many other needs that industrial, urban societies needed that pre-industrial societies did not. Finance, transport, medicine, consumer marketing: industry after industry was born or transformed during the greatest revolution in human affairs since the Neolithic Revolution and the arrival of farming.

The population as a whole had to move to a higher level of consciousness, education and awareness to make this transition. Formal education was a part of it, but for peasants to become workers and participants in modern society and politics many lessons had to be learned, much social capital had to be created, and much cultural change had to be embraced. The simple world of the village was replaced by the complicated urban and suburban landscape we know today; that transformation took time and work, and few observers in 1800 could have predicted how well educated, well traveled, seasoned, sophisticated and skilled the common people would become by 2013.

The task facing America today looks something like the task we faced after the Civil War. How do we manage the transition from a well-established political and social system to something more productive? Both then and now, many of the negative features of the transformation appeared first, while the benefits came slowly. The population boom and the agricultural transition drove millions into cities looking for work when there wasn’t yet enough factory employment. There were many people in the 19th century like our gentry liberals today who believed that the new world would pauperize the majority, and who thought that the elite had to band together to defend the values and practices of a vanishing past. Fortunately, history rolled right over them and Americans were ultimately able to build a society that was both more prosperous and more free than anything the pre-industrial world had ever seen.

Transforming Culture, Education Key to a New Birth of Freedom. By Jarrett Stepman.

Transforming Culture, Education Key to a New Birth of Freedom. By Jarrett Stepman. Human Events, January 28, 2013.