Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The D-Day story the MSM didn't tell again

Another D-Day anniversary has come and gone, and still the media won't report the news they don't want you to see. I witnessed the invasion at Normandy on D-Day in 2004, on the 60th Anniversary. No doubt they were back there again this D-Day, as they are every year. But you didn't hear about it from the MSM. It doesn't fit their template of how the Europeans, particularly the French, don't respect the United States anymore.

By the thousands, they come. Like ghosts. Dressed in full, authentic World War II battle gear. Standing in small groups on the street corners of St. Mere Eglise, Carentan and the other town and villages near the coast there the British, Canadians and Americans came ashore in '44. They carry M1's, BAR's, Thompson's and holstered 45's. All perfect replicas. Their uniforms display the patches of the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions. The 29th and 4th Infantry Divisions. Canteens and ammo pouches and med pacs on their web gear. They wear their hair short. Some have their faces blackened. Several even have Mohawks.

They drive along the coast in long caravans of military vehicles. Willys jeeps by the hundreds, scores of 2 ® ton trucks, armored cars, potable water trucks, mobile AA batteries, even a couple of grinding Sherman tanks. They bivouac in olive drab green tent cities. Big and small. Field kitchens smoking. They invade the Normandy area, everywhere. Thousands of them. Standing in small groups, smoking cigarettes on the corners. I walk by slowly, eavesdropping on their conversations, expecting to hear the accents of New Jersey, Texas and Wisconsin. That's how authentic they look. Are they US soldiers stationed in Germany on leave? Who are they?

The language isn't American English. It's mostly French. That's right, French. And an occasional Brit, and a few from Belgium. Each D-Day, thousands of invasion re-enactors gather all along the Normandy coast in full G.I. regalia and honor the greatest day of the Greatest Generation. For the unprepared, as I was, it's an astonishing display. Jeeps crowded with "G.I's," flying over-sized Stars-and-Stripes, cruising along the coast, in long conga lines of vehicles. Loud engines. They stay in character. Stern faces like men on a mission.

I saw this with my own eyes in 2004; otherwise I'd be skeptical. The MSM has repeatedly told us how we're hated in Europe. Not by these guys. Later that day, back at the hotel where Hermann Goering once stayed, we watched CNN International broadcast the anniversary festivities. Christiane Amanpour was the color commentator. She missed no opportunity to bash Bush, who was there to speak at the American cemetery. She described the disdain that the French feel for the American president. She told the story of how the British struck the first blow on D-Day by dropping paratroopers at a bridge called Pegasus. Wrong. The British landed in gliders. She was such an embarrassment we called the CNN headquarters in Atlanta and left a voice mail.

Then there was that old woman -- 80 plus -- standing on a street corner in a village holding a handmade sign that read: "Thank You Americans for saving me and my family."

The man known as "Shifty" Powers from the TV series Band of Brothers was there. The real "Shifty," not the Hollywood one. He walked with us through St. Mere Eglise, his first time back since he parachuted into the town 60 years earlier. We asked where he landed, and he pointed out a spot in a nearby field. "Right about over there, I guess." We asked, "What did you do next?" He said, in his West Virginia accent, "Don't rightly remember. There were a lot of guys trying to kill me after that. I do remember later that we broke into a small wine store down that street [he points] and tasted a few bottles till we found one we liked."

Many old and young French men and women in Normandy remember Shifty and the others like him, with appreciation. But don't expect to hear that story from your MSM outlet next year, either. Doesn't fit their template.


Holland under the thumb of Islam

Comment from an American homosexual conservative:

While blogging from the Santa Barbara retreat of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, I contended that:
the greatest enemies of gay people are not social conservatives in the West who may question (what they call) our lifestyle and oppose legislation benefiting us, but Islamic theocrats who execute gay people in jurisdictions where they predominate and seek to destroy the nations with political systems which allow us to live freely.
Well, it seems the threat in not just from such theocrats in nations where they hold sway, but also from angry followers of their anti-gay doctrine in Western lands. At that retreat, I met a nice and intelligent Dutch gay lesbian who told me about a gay-bashing on April 30 in the Netherlands. She has since translated articles from the Dutch press (included with links below the "jump").

At a fashion show to promote tolerance of gay people on April 30, a national holiday in Holland, celebrating the birthday of the late Queen Juliana, a group of ten Muslim youths dragged gay model Mike Du Pree down from the catwalk, beating him up and breaking his nose. A second model who tried to help out was also attacked.

I could find no reference to this beating on any of the gay news web-sites I checked, including 365gay.com, the Advocate, the Washington Blade as well as sites of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF). (I did searches on each of these sites for "Amsterdam.") Why is it HRC is so eager to savage John McCain, yet reluctant to condemn real gay-bashing? And such gay-bashing (as our friend Chris Crain knows from first-hand experience) is a growing phenomenon in the Netherlands. Martin Bosma, gay issues spokesman of the Dutch Party of Freedom (PVV), said as much:
This shows how strong the Islamic gaybashers feel they are. Even at daylight, on Queen's Day, in the heart of Amsterdam, they strike . . . . The Dutch nationality of the gaybashers of Rembrandt Square should immediately be taken from them and they should be expelled from the country today. The Netherlands can show no mercy for these people who damage our society in this way. Either they will win, or we will win.
Let us hope that Dutch lawmakers show a similar tough attitude toward such thugs. And that gay Americans take notice of the threats our fellows face in nations run by governments officially tolerant of gay people.

More here

Why `deradicalisation' is not the answer

It's time BritGov realised that Islamist extremism is not a `foreign' invader of Britain, but rather springs from Britain's own bankrupt culture

On Tuesday, the British home secretary, Jacqui Smith, announced the development of a nationwide `deradicalisation' programme to tackle people who have supposedly been drawn into violent Islamist extremism in Britain. Muslim community groups and councils will be allocated o12.5million, in addition to the o40million the government has already committed to the `prevent' element of the national counterterrorism strategy made public in July 2006. The funding will be used for projects that will `challenge and resist' the ideas and outlooks deemed to have informed recent acts of terror in the UK.

This strategy will fail for the simple reason that the government has yet to fully appreciate what the influences are that they seek to alter. In addition, officials have no idea as to what it is they would wish to alter them to.

The simplistic model that emerged in the aftermath of 9/11 was that the West was confronted by a resurgent form of political Islam emanating from the Middle East and further afield. Subsequent events, including the London bombings on 7 July 2005, led to an almost begrudging recognition that many of the perpetrators of terrorism had been educated in the West, if not born there.

This still allowed for the possibility that their ideas were largely foreign in origin, or that their outlooks were alien to the presumed norms prevailing in the West. Hence the continuing focus on the form that these ideas take - couched in their jihadist rhetoric - or appeals to defending an ill-defined sense of `our values' or `our way of life'. The UK government has failed to confront the true content of what these ideas expressed: a rejection of all things Western, rather than a positive affirmation of anything else.

Nor has the government offered an alternative vision of what we stand for as a society, beyond rhetorical references to freedom and democracy. However, the espousal of such values jars with current proposals to extend the period that alleged terrorists may be held without charge (from 28 to 42 days) - from a prime minister, Gordon Brown, who was never elected by the people.

The truth is that the sources of self-styled Islamist terrorism are more likely to be found within our own shores and within our own communities as anywhere else. It may be more likely, for now, that British Asians will act upon these ideas - with the benefit of an enhanced sense of victimhood that they may have picked up within the British education system. But as the steadily increasing number of white faces appearing on the counterterrorism radar suggests, this need not necessarily be true for much longer.

If this sounds rather harsh, let me illustrate what I mean by way of an example. A good friend of mine recently spent a day in the law faculty of a prestigious British university. The distinguished professor she spent time with advised her that nowadays students are not the same as they once were. They were no longer expected to read numerous books, write long essays or memorise case law. Rather, they are presented with handouts of Powerpoint presentations to read and they keep a weblog of their activities.

That evening, my friend attended the Islamic society meeting in the same university. There, she encountered many of the same students she had met earlier in the day (when they had been disinterestedly sending texts on their mobile phones during the law seminars). Now, however, the students appeared eager to learn. The cleric who ran the meeting expected them to recall specific lines from the Koran and to be familiar with all aspects of Islamic jurisprudence.

Maybe somebody should ask Jacqui Smith who here is the `radicalising' influence? Is it the foreign mullah who ran the evening class, demanding attention and commanding respect, or was it the jaded Western intellectual who deep down believes that there is no truth that can be taught, that not too much should be expected of young people nowadays, and who in any case would not wish to damage their `self-esteem' through challenging them in class?

I use this vignette to suggest that the roots of so-called `radicalisation' are much wider and deeper than can be addressed by a prejudicially targeted programme focusing on ill-founded notions as to where such ideas might emanate from. Indeed, rather than targeting Muslim communities and monitoring Islamic society meetings, the authorities would be better off observing and monitoring their own contemporary culture.

Far from there being a layer of vulnerable young Muslims who are preyed upon by various hotheads, what we find, time and again, are passionate, intelligent and energetic individuals who somehow fail to find any meaning or purpose to their lives from within the confines of contemporary Western culture. Most of these are neither disconnected nor alienated from society, and rather than being `radicalised' from the outside, they actively look for something to join. Nick Reilly, the supposed simpleton whose rudimentary device exploded in his face recently in Exeter, is proof that it is almost impossible to `recruit' anyone of note into terrorism.

In short: a few, fairly intelligent people, deprived of a sense of purpose, will go looking for answers in radical Islam. These are Western people looking for some alternatives to the bankrupt intellectual and political culture around them. Those who are apparently `recruited', on the other hand, are mostly idiots.

In focusing on so-called `extremists' and `radicals', the authorities and security agencies manage to miss that which lies right under their nose. What's worse, the very language they use belies their own difficulty. By accusing someone of being `extreme' or `radical', they effectively give up on any attempt to address the content of what people supposedly believe, targeting instead the extent to which they are held to believe it. This is like saying, `I don't care what it is you believe in, so long as it is not too much', which in its turn is an admission that they themselves believe in nothing.

At a talk given to the Smith Institute in London on the evening of her announcement regarding the proposed `deredicalisation' programme, Jacqui Smith suggested that `lacking a positive vision, al-Qaeda can only define itself by what it opposes'. Talk of projecting yourself on to others! She and her cronies would be better off outlining what kind of Britain it is that they do want to live in, rather than obsessing over a handful of dangerous idiots whose ideas and outlooks would seem entirely unimpressive were it not for the vacuum that they confront.


The Proposition 13 Revolution Turns Thirty

Thirty years ago, on June 6, 1978, Americans began a political revolution. Unlike most political revolutions in our history, this was not a revolution at the federal level and it was not a revolution led by politicians. The Revolution of 1978 was more, in fact, a popular revolution against political leaders than a revolution led by politicians or political parties.

What was this revolution? It was called "Proposition 13" and its immediate consequence was to limit the exploding property taxes in California. Rising property taxes were a form of unlegislated tax increase triggered solely because of the rising value of California homes. These tax hikes did not reflect an increase in the income of Californians who continued to own their homes, and the practical effect was to compel many California homeowners to choose between selling their home or destitution. Proposition 13 passed with a whopping 65% of the vote.

This Revolution of 1978 changed how government operated. Twenty-one states have a direct initiative and referendum process, and these are overwhelmingly located in the Pacific Coast, Rocky Mountain region and the Great Plains. Yet this tool of the people had been seldom used. In the thirty years before Proposition 13, Californians only approved seventeen propositions or about one every two years. In the thirty years since Proposition 13, Californians have adopted seventy-four propositions or about five every two years.

But it was not just the initiative component of direct democracy that was ignited in 1978. The bundle of direct democracy includes initiative, referendum and recall. Using recall the people of California removed from office a sitting a sitting Governor, Gray Davis, from office because of his corrupt Democrat machinations. He was only the second governor in American history to be recalled.

The will of the people was increasingly determining the law of our largest state. Consider that in the decade from 1961 to 1970, the people in states adopted only 37 ballot initiatives. In the decade from 1991 to 2000, the people in states adopted more than five times as many, 188 ballot initiatives. These propositions did not always lead to conservative victories, but in many cases it did and even when a conservative proposition went down to defeat, it was often by a close margin in California.

What was true in California after the Revolution of 1978 has been true throughout those states which allow direct democracy. The people, overriding legislatures and state bureaucracies, have implemented through initiative and popular vote policies like allowing school vouchers and charter schools, ending bilingual education, making English the official language, establishing term limits for elected officials, enacting Right to Work, requiring a vote of the people to increase taxes, ending racial preferences in hiring, and requiring notification of parents in case of abortion.

Circumventing legislative cabals is important, but circumventing the Leftist media establishment is at least as important. Abortion is a perfect example of how direct democracy can not only trump the established bosses of legislatures and special interests but, more importantly, how direct democracy can trump the established bosses of the establishment media. What is the drumbeat of Leftist media reporting on abortion? "Most Americans do not want to overturn Roe v. Wade.") Really?

That is simply a reflection of how Roe v. Wade has been presented to America. This deformed, macabre decision has little to do with the right to abortion - any state government could have legalized abortion and three states had legal abortions at the time of Roe v. Wade. What the Supreme Court did was to prohibit state regulation of abortion on the grounds that some nebulous constitutional right to abortion swamped states' rights (never mind that murder and rape are illegal only because state laws make them so.)

Consider how the Leftist media's own polling data exposes true public sentiment on abortion. CBS News in 2003 polls showed sixty percent of Americans wanted abortion illegal or more restricted than now. An ABC News poll the same year showed only twenty-three percent of Americans wanted abortion legal in all cases. A CNN poll in 2003 showed only twenty-four percent of Americans wanted abortion legal in all cases. An L.A. Times poll in 2007 showed only thirty-one percent of Americans wanted abortion legal in all cases and a CBS poll the same year shows only twenty-six percent of the people wanted abortion legal in all cases. Very few Americans want the grotesquerie called Roe v. Wade.

Or consider affirmative action. The Gallup Poll in 2003 showed that only twenty-seven percent of Americans believe that race should be a factor at all in college admissions. Moreover, forty-four percent of blacks and fifty-nine percent of Hispanics believe that college admission should be based exclusively on merit. This was in almost perfect accord with a Hart and Teeter poll which showed only twenty-six percent of Americans favoring the use of race as a factor in college admission. In both polls, two-thirds of Americans opposed using race at all as a factor in college admissions.

In these two "hot topic" areas - abortion and affirmative action - polls by the establishment Leftist media show an overwhelming opposition to both abortion on demand and racial preferences in college admissions. Yet we subjects of self-appointed secular priests are shoved into the moral and intellectual ghettos of "racism" or "misogyny," and told that we have no weapons beyond humble appeal to the remote, condescending high courts of bureaucratic Leftism to make our case.

The Revolution of 1978 was about who governs America. State governments, like the federal government, are largely dominated by career politicians, legislative staffers, bureaucrats, advocacy groups and complicit media. Whether public schools work or not matters much less to this gaggle of government gamesters than the lash of teachers' unions. The damage of affirmative action counts less than the hissing of civil rights careerists. And can anyone conceive of legislators voluntarily placing a limit on their terms of office?

Legislators of every sort are increasingly remote from the people. Members of the House of Representatives, for example, have about 600,000 constituents per district - and that is from the branch of the federal government intended to be closest to the people. When the Constitution was adopted, there was a congressman for about every 30,000 people. Those who were once our democratic representatives have become instead members of nobility - something that our Founding Fathers banned.

Plebiscite politics, placing government decisions directly in the hands of the people, including the right to compel a vote on issues, is imperfect - but then so is democracy. Churchill famously quipped: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the rest." The purpose of democracy is not to create a government that makes good laws or wise policy decisions, but rather to prevent government from becoming oppressive. This is a bit of history which professional politicians have forgotten. In the Declaration of Independence, after the famous statement that the purpose of government to protect "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," Jefferson wrote "That it is to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, drawing their just powers from the consent of the governed." That it is to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.

We, the governed, have been progressively denied a direct voice in our governance. Congress is now a Congress of Nobles, a Second Estate in pre-Revolutionary France, protected by courtiers of myriad type and interest. The First Estate, what was then the clergy and is in America the judiciary (especially the federal judiciary), governs autocratically our consciences, telling us what is right and what is wrong. What influence average Americans have in our laws or policies has been reduced to something greater than a vote by a Soviet citizen, but into something growing more like a pseudo-vote.

The exception is when citizens can band together in states, circulate petitions, wage policy campaigns and hold elections on laws. Conservatives overwhelmingly have used this tool to circumvent the bosses of our politics and government. That does not mean the substance of what we seek always wins - it does not - but it does mean that a ruling elite vastly more remote from our lives than King George III and Parliament were from the lives of American colonials in 1776 have a weapon used well to fight back for our freedoms and our values. The revolution has been going on for thirty years. The first shot was fired in California in the Revolution of 1978



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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