Saturday, November 16, 2013

At Omaha Beach, the Brave Still Stands

On the magazine Geo's (a European version of the National Geographic with a green border replacing the yellow one) web site, Jean-Luc Coatalem and Nadège Monschau present a series of Yves Gellie's modern-day photos from key historical places in Europe during the 20th century which are now tourist attractions, including shots from Omaha Beach, Auschwitz, the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, and the Gdansk shipyards.

Bloody Omaha was one of five beaches stormed during the D-Day landings in June 1944 (see also Omaha Beach Seen From the Skies and World War II Photos of Normandy in the Summer of 1944, After the D-Day Landings).

The private monument The Brave was the subject of a No Pasarán post almost 10 years ago, within the first months of the blog's existence, and around the time of George W Bush's controversy-laden visit to Normandy for the 60th anniversary commemorations of the landings.

 Read a brief account of the D-Day landings in 1944

Friday, November 15, 2013

If the true history of the West and Islam is being turned upside its head, what other historical “orthodoxies” being peddled around as truth are also false?

The full magnitude of the modern West’s ignorance of its own past recently struck me while rereading some early history books concerning the centuries-long jihad on Europe. The historical narrative being disseminated today simply bears very little resemblance to reality.
Thus writes Raymond Ibrahim (shookhran to Victor Davis Hanson).
Consider some facts for a moment:

A mere decade after the birth of Islam in the 7th century, the jihad burst out of Arabia.  Leaving aside all the thousands of miles of ancient lands and civilizations that were permanently conquered, today casually called the “Islamic world”—including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and parts of India and China—much of Europe was also, at one time or another, conquered by the sword of Islam.

 … for roughly one millennium—punctuated by a Crusader-rebuttal that the modern West is obsessed with demonizing—Islam daily posed an existential threat to Christian Europe and by extension Western civilization.

And therein lies the rub: Today, whether as taught in high school or graduate school, whether as portrayed by Hollywood or the news media, the predominant historic narrative is that Muslims are the historic “victims” of “intolerant” Western Christians.  That’s exactly what a TV personality recently told me live on Fox News.

So here we are, paying the price of being an ahistorical society: A few years after the Islamic strikes of 9/11—merely the latest in the centuries-long, continents-wide jihad on the West—Americans elected a man with a Muslim name and heritage for president, who openly empowers the same ideology that their ancestors lived in mortal fear of, even as they sit by and watch to their future detriment.

Surely the United States’ European forebears—who at one time or another either fought off or were conquered by Islam—must be turning in their graves.

But all this is history, you say? Why rehash it?  Why not let it be and move on, begin a new chapter of mutual tolerance and respect, even if history must be “touched up” a bit?

This would be a somewhat plausible position—if not for the fact that, all around the globe, Muslims are still exhibiting the same imperial impulse and intolerant supremacism that their conquering forbears did.  The only difference is that the Muslim world is currently incapable of defeating the West through a conventional war.

Yet this may not even be necessary.  Thanks to the West’s ignorance of history, Muslims are flooding Europe under the guise of “immigration,” refusing to assimilate, and forming enclaves which in modern parlance are called “enclaves” or “ghettoes” but in Islamic terminology are the ribat—frontier posts where the jihad is waged on the infidel, one way or the other.

All this leads to another, perhaps even more important point: If the true history of the West and Islam is being turned upside its head, what other historical “orthodoxies” being peddled around as truth are also false?

Were the Dark Ages truly benighted because of the “suffocating” forces of Christianity?  Or were these dark ages—which “coincidentally” occurred during the same centuries when jihad was constantly harrying Europe—a product of another suffocating religion?  Was the Spanish Inquisition a reflection of Christian barbarism or was it a reflection of Christian desperation vis-à-vis the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who, while claiming to have converted to Christianity, were practicing taqiyya and living as moles trying to subvert the Christian nation back to Islam?

Don’t expect to get true answers to these and other questions from the makers, guardians, and disseminators of the West’s fabricated epistemology.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Obamacare Wreck Explained: The bureaucrats and the activists thought they were smarter than the markets, and smarter than the people who have actual experience in the private sector

Remember when you’re watching [the Obamacare train wreck] that it pertains to the same people who now argue that they know better than you about what kind of insurance coverage you need.
writes Ed Morrissey (thanks to Instapundit).
 … The White House didn’t heed [warnings] for the same reason they embarked on this project in the first place.  The bureaucrats and the activists thought they were smarter than the markets, and smarter than the people who have actual experience in the private sector.  It’s the same infection that creates the monumentally tone-deaf argument that people should be happy that the government forced them out of existing plans they chose for themselves in order to pay more for coverage that the consumers know they don’t need.  It’s unbridled hubris, and it produced this inevitable Greek tragedy that also doubles as farce.

Tunisia Two Years After its Arab Spring Outbreak of Joy

From the annals of Smart Diplomacy, Plantu produces a cartoon on the Arab Spring in Tunisia…

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The ONE Question to Be Asked at EVERY Round of the IRS Scandal Hearings

Glenn Reynolds, God bless 'im, continues Instapundit's coverage of the investigation into the IRS scandal (Update: thanks for the link).

All that is good and proper.

(Related: Witness the Unbelievable Amount of Racism That Exists Among Conservatives and in the Tea Party)

But at this stage of the leftist takeover of America, investigating the scandal, however important, is still secondary to the main issue at hand — having the Tea Parties' applications approved and thus have conservatives fully ready for the election fight of 2014.

Here is a recommendation I would like to make to all Congressmen involved in the conducting of hearings of Treasury officials.

Every hearing should start out with statements and questions along the following lines:
Now, Mrs. Lerner/Mr. Lew (or whoever is being questioned), you — obviously — realize that the whole background to this scandal is the improper politicization of the Internal Revenue Service, do you not? Good. And you realize that what occurred was a blatant display of double standards, do you not? Very well. And you recognize that the process was unfair and inappropriate, don't you, and that there was no reason to keep Such-and-Such-a Tea Party waiting for months, indeed for years? Good.
So: there do not seem to be any disagreements about that…
And so I have the following question for you:
Why is it that Such-and-Such-a Tea Party has not yet indeed received approval of its tax-exempt status?

Why is it that — six months later after the scandal broke — its members are still waiting to receive approval of their status?

Indeed, why was the first thing you did when you returned to your office following the previous hearing — scratch that: following the very first hearing, six months ago — not to gather, of your own volition (!), the application papers of Such-and-Such-a Tea Party — indeed, to gather the applications of all the Tea Parties throughout the nation on hold — mark them approved, and mail them out the same day? (Alright, one day or two later would also have been acceptable…)

Don't you think that would create goodwill among the members of this body? And among the American public?
So, now that you do not seem to have thought of taking this step of your own volition, I have this follow-up question to ask you:
What are you waiting for? When will you send out these approvals?

Maybe you are planning to wait until the 2014 elections are over?… Or maybe until the 2016 elections are over?… Until those elections are won (at least partially) by the Democrat Party?… Maybe you plan on waiting even longer, and sending the approval notices out after November 2020?… Hm?…
Indeed, it is not every committee hearing that should start out with variants on the question "What are you waiting for?" and on the statement "I do not understand why you haven't already taken this step", it is every single Congressman's allotted time that should so start!
I have an idea, Mrs. Lerner/Mr. Lew (whoever), a really wild, extravagant idea just popped into my head: how about when you go into the office tomorrow morning, the first thing you attend to is to have the Tea Party approvals in the mail by tomorrow evening? And when you come to the next round of hearings (or whoever is the next IRS official to appear before this committee), you (or they) can tell us that the issue has been taken care of? How about that? Wouldn't that be a great step forward?
Let 'em hear it again and again — and again.

Make 'em squirm.

Far From Being the Party of No, the Republicans Have Always Proposed a Number of (Common-Sense) Health Care Solutions

Far from being the Party of No, Republicans have had a long history of proposing common-sense, free-market solutions to issues such as health care reform.

(1: make lawsuits for medical malpractice less common — something not accepted by the party of trial lawyers;
2: introduce more competition to the marketplace — something not accepted by the party of bureaucrats.)

Now the Republican Study Committee (RSC) comes out, guns blazing, and proposes an American Health Care Reform Act, which includes these and other solutions:
  • Fully repeals President Obama's health care law, eliminating billions in taxes and thousands of pages of unworkable regulations and mandates that are driving up health care costs. 

  • Spurs competition to lower health care costs by allowing Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines and enabling small businesses to pool together and get the same buying power as large corporations.

  • Reforms medical malpractice laws in a commonsense way that limits trial lawyer fees and non-economic damages while maintaining strong protections for patients.

  • Provides tax reform that allows families and individuals to deduct health care costs, just like companies, leveling the playing field and providing all Americans with a standard deduction for health insurance.

  • Expands access to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), increasing the amount of pre-tax dollars individuals can deposit into portable savings accounts to be used for health care expenses.

  • Safeguards individuals with pre-existing conditions from being discriminated against purchasing health insurance by bolstering state-based high risk pools and extending HIPAA guaranteed availability protections.

  • Protects the unborn by ensuring no federal funding of abortions.

The Government Is on Our Side, the System Works, We're Safe

A cartoon from Walt Handelsman, a cartoonist with a bi-partisan sense of humor (video) who seems to be retiring

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Witness the Unbelievable Amount of Racism That Exists Among Conservatives and in the Tea Party

… there’s also … the stain that won’t go away
writes Paul Krugman darkly in his op-ed:
    This comes at the end of a column in which the New York Times' economist has castigated the right for "Republican hostility toward the poor and unfortunate".

    Every time I read a column by Paul Krugman in which he laments the racism he constantly finds among conservative groups (A War on the Poor, New York Times, November 1), I wonder if he has ever heard about Tim Scott.  Given that for awhile, the legislator from South Carolina was the only member of the United States Senate who is African-American, one would think that his name might be — almost — as renowned as Barack Obama's.

    The explanation for Scott's relative obscurity is that he is a Republican — one who is backed by Tea Partiers (endorsed by Tea Party favorite Jim DeMint, Scott's Senate predecessor) and one from a Southern state to boot.  And were Scott better known, it would be far more difficult for people like Krugman to bewail the racism of Republicans and Tea Partiers, not to mention Southerners. 

    You would think that this black pauper's rise from rags to the halls of the U.S. Senate is a living memorial to Martin Luther King's dream.  But because leftists (conveniently and self-servingly) define themselves as the valiant fighters against the racism they (conveniently and self-servingly) constantly find throughout the ranks of the Republican Party, it comes as no surprise that South Carolina's conservative Senator did not even receive an invitation to participate in the 50th anniversary commemorations of MLK's Lincoln Memorial speech.

    Should Krugman need more evidence of his own prejudices, one could also mention Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal, Republican governors (both of Indian heritage) backed by the Tea Party whose skin is about as dark as, if not darker than, that of Barack Obama. Yes, they too were elected in states from the former Confederacy.

    As for blacks who are favorites of the Tea Party, either nationally or locally, they include Herman Cain, Allen West, Darryl Glenn, and Mia Love as well as Thomas Sowell (the Stanford economist who deserves the Nobel Prize in Economics at least as much as Krugman), Walter Williams, and Larry Elder.  But all these African-Americans must be ignored, because for the Left, the only good "Negro" is the martyred "Negro" — the one who constantly thinks he and his like are victims and therefore votes for the victimization party (i.e., the Democrats).

    Currently, one favorite of the Tea Party crowd for presidential candidate in 2016 is Dr Benjamin Carson, a neurosurgeon who is offering a free-market alternative to Obamacare that would keep prices down and Washington's brand-new army of bureaucrats out of the health care system.  His skin, too, is darker than Obama's.

    But all these inconvenient facts must be ignored or belittled by media people like Krugman in order to push the narrative that America is an intolerant hell hole of prejudice populated by hordes of despicable racists.

Note: The initial text of this post held that Tim Scott was the only black member of the United States Senate; that was true at the time of the writing of this post, over several weeks, but 12 days before this post was posted, Cory Booker had become New Jersey's junior senator.

Update:  one year after this post was written, Tim Scott wins South Carolina's 2014 mid-term Senate election — in a landslide

Racism on the Rise in France

Racism is on the Rise in France, says Plantu, who mixes racism with anti-gay marriage, calling conservative Frenchmen opposed to Christina Taubira's leftist policies (the "colored" justice minister who hails from French Guiana was recently called a monkey by schoolkids in Angers) and those opposed to gay marriage (aka Taubira's Marriage for All bill) equally despicable.

Monday, November 11, 2013

1914's Pacifist Rebels Gloriously Remembered by Director of World War I Film Which Was in Fact an Anti-Bush Screed

Christian Carion has a long op-ed in Le Monde in which he speaks glowingly of an episode of enemy soldier fraternization at Christmastime 1914 — a subject he used in 2005 for a World War I motion picture.
En 1992, j'ai découvert les fraternisations de Noël 1914, dans le livre d'Yves Buffetaut, Batailles de Flandres et d'Artois (Tallandier, 1992). J'apprends que des soldats français ont applaudi un ténor bavarois le soir de Noël, que d'autres ont joué au football avec les Allemands le lendemain, qu'il y a eu des enterrements en commun dans le no man's land, des messes en latin.
When Joyeux Noël came out in 2005, No Pasarán wrote a post on the film, calling it World War I Film Bashes Bush.
A "European propaganda instrument", Le Monde calls the French-German-Belgian-British-Romanian co-production, against (who else?) George W Bush.

Unfortunately, subtlety is hardly integral to the peace movement nowadays, but then, what can you expect, what with the monstrous president in the White House? A British bishop shows up and proceeds to hold a speech for a company of fresh and innocent-faced soldiers newly arrived on the front, who, he wants to make sure, harbor no treasonous sentiments of the pacifist kind.

The speech is pure Dubya; or, rather, the left's caricatured presentation of Dubya and the neocons.

His eyes flaring, the religious fanatic that the bishop is spits and sputters as he refers to God, to religion, to good and evil, and to the monstrous enemy; from this, he segues naturally into the exhortation to kill. The audience thus accepts that it is wholly natural that a religious man like he should deliver the following "message": Godless Germans should be cut down, every man, woman, and child.

(It will come as a surprise to nobody that the director's brother, Pierre, used to webmaster the (now defunct) Yankee-bashing Rondelles de Saucissons et l'Addition).

After the speech, the scottish priest (i.e., the true humanitarian) walks out, disgusted, leaving his cross dangling behind, somewhat like Gary Cooper did with his sheriff's star in High Noon.

As the credits rolled when I saw Merry Christmas at the Cannes film festival, the audience erupted into applause and Bravos. And why wouldn't they? Doesn't the film show exactly what Bush is all about?
This is a good one:
En Grande-Bretagne et en Allemagne, les journaux ont relaté les phénomènes des fraternisations. Sur les rives de la Tamise, des photos furent publiées par la presse. En France, pas une ligne sur le sujet. Les journaux avaient été transformés en outils de propagande au service de l'armée et du pouvoir. Les fraternisations ne pouvaient trouver un quelconque écho.
Newspapers may not have changed that much, Christian Carion.

Mais pourquoi personne n'avait-il parlé de ces fraternisations, une fois le conflit terminé ? Aucun ouvrage sur le sujet, aucune recherche… Je ressentais ce silence comme une deuxième punition à l'égard des hommes de Noël 1914. Ce sentiment d'injustice a fait naître en moi le désir profond de réaliser le film Joyeux Noël.
Related: Debunking Three Big Myths of World War I

Preparing to Give 2014's World War I Commemorations the PC Treatment ("Everyone is terrified of being called triumphalist or, worse still, jingoistic")

Debunking Three Big Myths of World War I

Richard Aldous has a New York Times book review of Margaret MacMillan's The War That Ended Peace while Max Boot proceeds to review Max Hastings's Catastrophe 1914 (Europe Goes to War). Debunking some myths of World War I is the title given to the Max Boot book review, which presents fascinating facts:
It is right and proper that World War I continues to be remembered not only for the scale of its suffering — still second only to World War II — but also for the breadth of its impact. Without the war, there very likely would have been no Nazi Germany and no Soviet Union. For lack of Russian support,   there very likely would have been no Communist China either. Hitler, Stalin and Mao might have remained nonentities, and World War II, the Holocaust, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Cultural Revolution would never have occurred. More speculatively, even the Iraq war and today’s Syrian civil war might never have occurred, because Iraq and Syria, like most of their Middle East neighbors, were bastard offspring of the War to End All Wars. 

Yet, for all its importance, World War I continues to be misunderstood by most ordinary people who have not yet caught up with the evolving consensus of historians. Three big myths, in particular, dominate the popular perception. First, that it was an accident, a war nobody wanted — a view immortalized in Barbara Tuchman’s beautifully written if factually questionable 1962 book “The Guns of August.” Second, that it didn’t really matter who won — that there was scant difference between the Central and Entente Powers. And third, that soldiers were needlessly sent to slaughter by unfeeling and cloddish generals — “lions led by donkeys” in the popular parlance. 

 … All sides … might be seen as equally to blame for the resulting conflagration, but Hastings, following in the footsteps of seminal historians like Fritz Fischer and Luigi Albertini, will have none of it. 

“The case still seems overwhelmingly strong that Germany bore principal blame,” he writes. “Even if it did not conspire to bring war about, it declined to exercise its power to prevent the outbreak by restraining Austria. Even if Berlin did not seek to contrive a general European conflagration, it was willing for one, because it believed that it could win.” 

Hastings is equally scathing, and justifiably so, in dismissing those who claim that the outcome of a German victory would have been benign, in effect creating a European Union a few years ahead of time. “Even if the kaiser’s regime cannot be equated with that of the Nazis,” he writes, “its policies could scarcely be characterized as enlightened.”

Although all sides were guilty of exces­ses, Hastings writes that the Western allies “behaved significantly better than did the Central Powers”: “No major massacres of civilians were ever laid at the door of the British, French or Italians to match those repeatedly committed by the Germans, Austrians and Turks.” Nor did the Western states impress slave laborers, as the Germans did with Belgian and French men in areas they occupied. 
Related: Preparing to Give 2014's World War I Commemorations the PC Treatment ("Everyone is terrified of being called triumphalist or, worse still, jingoistic")

"An outstanding historian of the Second World War, Max Hastings has made a victorious foray into a conflict with which he is less familiar" writes Hew Strachan, comparing Catastrophe 1914 with Barbara Tuchman's “The Guns of August,” and showing how the she was influenced by her life and times (JFK, the Cold War…). "Tuchman has been supplanted."

Related: 1914's Pacifist Rebels Gloriously Remembered by Director of World War I Film Which Was in Fact an Anti-Bush Screed 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

"Yes We Can" Tell a Fib (or Two): The Chronology of the Obamacare Lie

What began as a firm promise, “If you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan” has morphed to a conditional assurance, “if you have, or had one of these plans, before the Affordable Care Act came into law, and you really liked that plan…what we said was, you could keep it IF it hasn’t changed since the law was passed.”
While Allen West mentions Michele Hickford's Obama’s lies, damned lies and statistics, Kevin Jackson's Black Sphere provides a Chronology of the Obamacare Lie.
Liar, liar pants on fire!

Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the world’s smartest liberal, must surely have early-onset dementia. And does the POTUS, voted into office by enticing the techno-geek generation with all of New Media’s bells and whistles, suddenly forget we live in a digital age?

Every public word uttered is recorded, uploaded, downloaded and available on the information hi-way in real time. Which means comparing presidential statements is a cinch.

Sorry Obama. When the likes of MSM’s darlings Piers Morgan and George Stephanopoulos judge your contradictory statements vis–à–vis Obamacare to be lies, you are in a heap of trouble.

Now it seems Obama’s legacy, unlike the great Father of Our Country, will be, “I CAN tell a lie!”