In the New York Times Magazine, TAC‘s Michael Brendan Dougherty discusses Dr. Leroy Thompson, evangelist of the Prosperity Gospel:
He testified that God gave him an abundant life, including a Falcon 900B airplane to deliver this message, as well as air conditioning so strong that he can wear a mink coat in the Louisiana summer.
He recounted Christ’s parable from Matthew 25, in which the unprofitable servant’s money is given to the profitable one. And he leveled with the congregation. “A lot of the money I have has been taken from other people,” he said. “I didn’t take it. The Lord took it. He gave it to me.
“Could it be that someone else has your money?” Nearly a third of the congregation began jumping.
… Thompson announced the Holy Spirit’s anointing and led the church in three “pulls” that would bring them wealth. The entire congregation … leaned forward and thrust out their open right hands, then pulled them back to their sides in a closed fist, shouting: “Money! Cometh to me now
For more on the theme, read up on Dinesh D’Souza’s exploits — that’s the word, I think — at The King’s College, deep in the Empire State Building.
Longtime antiwar activist John V. Walsh makes the case for why the left should support the Texas congressman’s presidential bid:
The Left has complained for decades that it is unable to reach much of the American public with a message of peace. In large part that is due to a cultural gap – the “progressive” Left does not speak in the same language as much of the country. Nor does the Left share the same worldview as many Americans. Ron Paul does, and he can reach, in fact, has reached these people with a solid anti-intervention message. Paul does not ask that his base change its worldview but simply to understand that anti-interventionism is a consistent part of that view. Paul speaks in straightforward terms. Let us stop poking our nose into other nations’ business and stop wasting our money doing so. He reaches people never before touched by an anti-war message. How can the Left pass up the chance to help such a candidate?
But what of other issues – like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security which the libertarian Paul wants to phase out, albeit gradually. Paul, the country doc, knows full well how people of little means rely on these programs and he proposes no sudden termination of them. But this author and others on the Left want to extend those programs. How do we square that circle? I contend it is no problem, because Paul is committed to preservation of civil liberties and the prerogatives of Congress. I am confident that under those conditions, where the discussion is open and free, my views on these social democratic programs will prevail. I am sure that my Libertarian friends feel the same way. And what more can we ask for in a democracy? Under Paul I do not have to worry about being locked up for my views. I am confident of that under Paul; I am not with any other candidate. Certainly not with Barack Obama.
Walsh isn’t the only one to come to these conclusions; Robin Koerner has argued at the Huffington Post for antiwar Democrats to become “Blue Republicans” and vote for Paul. (On the other hand, Dissident Voice’s Kim Petersen dubs backing Paul a form of “lesser evilism,” though it’s notable that
she he considers President Obama the greater evil.)
Perhaps not, says Eli Lake, who sees Republican foreign policy splintered among neoconservatives, anti-Islam hawks of the Michele Bachmann and Andrew McCarthy variety, and right-wingers who prioritize budget cuts, including to Defense, over expansive projects overseas. His article almost makes the neocons sound moderate compared to the anti-Islam hawks, but it’s worth remembering that Bachmann and McCarthy have been opposed to the Libyan intervention, while the neocons have been warm to it. Lake also minimizes the realist and noninterventionist camps in the GOP: they’re small, to be sure, but that they exist at all is remarkable. Lake writes,
Except for Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, and Gary Johnson (an ardent libertarian, including on social issues), no candidate has called for cuts in defense spending. Even Bachmann, the candidate most closely aligned with the Tea Party, has warned against cutting the defense budget. But, while there is no mainstream candidate who is calling for austerity on defense, it would be impossible to argue that the penny-pinching mood among Republicans hasn’t influenced the general tenor of GOP foreign policy discussions—and made the candidates less inclined to sound the kinds of grandiose and expensive notes about foreign policy that were considered par for the course in 2008.
An encouraging development — but then, not only do Republicans typically sound less interventionist when their party doesn’t hold the White House, but those budget-cutting principles also tend to manifest only during Democratic administrations. At least, that’s the conclusion one might draw from the last 20-odd years of political history. Perhaps the economic crisis has forged a stronger, more consistent government-cutter; and perhaps the political price exacted by the Iraq and Afghan occupations has chastised all but the most ideologically driven Republican pols. For my part, I’m hoping the realists and noninterventionists continue to gain ground. The rest are unreliable.
Thanks to Tea Party fanatics, we are told, America just lost an historic opportunity to deal with her national debt.
Because of Tea Party intransigence and threats against their own leader John Boehner, the speaker had to reject Obama’s “grand bargain,” the “big deal” of $3 trillion in budget cuts for $1 trillion in “revenue enhancement.”
These crazed ideologues, the Tea Partiers, we are told by the talking heads, just do not understand that governing is about compromise.
And that is the mindset of a city that relishes nothing more than those “Kumbaya” moments when Democrats and Republicans break ranks and appear grinning together at a joint press conference to announce a “big deal” to do what is best for America.
Decade after decade, the play is re-enacted.
But the Tea Party folks were elected to close the play. As Ronald Reagan said, “We were sent here to drain the swamp, not to get along with the alligators.”
And what have the big deals done for America?
Reagan was persuaded to sign on to a bipartisan big deal to cut spending three dollars for every dollar he accepted in new taxes. And the Gipper forever believed he had been lied to, as he got three dollars in tax hikes for every dollar in spending cuts. Read More…
America’s custodian of the virtues, William J. Bennett, is as prolific as ever. The former secretary of education and drug czar will soon release another chapter of his magisterial history of the United States, the multi-volume series entitled America: The Last Best Hope. Used as a textbook by right-leaning schools and homeschooling families across the country, the third and forthcoming volume is subtitled “From the Collapse of Communism to the Rise of Radical Islam.” The promotional materials for the book remind us that America was a very different country in 1991–but one that doesn’t sound half bad:
Twenty years ago, John McCain was serving his second year in the Senate, and Colin Powell had just been promoted to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. There was no Fox News Channel, no American Idol. Saddam Hussein and the Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeni ruled Iraq and Iran, respectively. George W. Bush was the fairly unnoticeable son of the then-president. If you asked someone to “email me,” you would have received a blank stare, and “Amazon” was a forest in South America. Finally, 20 years ago a young man named Barack Obama was elected the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. The two decades from 1988 to 2008 have proved to be some of the most pivotal in America’s history. Based on a lifetime of experience in government and education, William J. Bennett defines the events that shaped American history during the final years of the century.
No Fox News? No reality television? Foreign policy realists at the helm? George W. Bush running a baseball franchise? Maybe those “interwar” years were the good old days.
Like my friend Taki, I sympathize with Rupert Murdoch in his time of travail. Not only has Murdoch seen his lieutenants dragged off to jail after their assorted misdeeds, but the president of News Corporation was physically assaulted on July 19, after an abusive grilling by the House of Commons, as he was trying to leave the scene of his humiliation. Throughout the questioning Murdoch looked like a tired old man, and at times he seemed confused by the surly comments that were thrown in his direction.
As someone also getting up in years, I was moved by the sight of this haggard octogenarian on the TV screen. Moreover, the fact that Murdoch seems to have a revolving, indeterminate identity merits astonishment rather than contempt. Is he Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, or all three? Is he an Australian or the advocate of an American global democratic empire? The grandson of an itinerant Presbyterian minister, whose mother may or may not have been Jewish, and whose present wife, with whom he attends Mass, is Asian and Catholic, Murdoch has struggled to be at least as diverse as the readership his press empire has targeted. But there’s one identity he’s been slipping into with growing ease, and we can pick it up by noticing the recipients of his billions of dollars. Murdoch makes no secret of the fact that he dispenses funds on the basis of convictions. While this website would never see a dime of his fortune, the neoconservative power structure is bathed in his wealth.
As an example of what Murdoch believes, let us reflect on his comments at a banquet held by the American Jewish Committee on March 4, 2009 honoring him as “man of the year.” Here Murdoch stresses his major concerns as a political actor and media baron. “In the new century,” he assures us,
the West is no longer a matter of geography. The West is defined by societies committed to freedom and democracy. … And if we are serious about meeting this challenge (of undemocratic terrorism), we would expand the only military alliance committed to the defense of the West to include those on the front lines of this war. That means bringing countries like Israel into NATO.
Has anyone missed the family resemblance between Murdoch’s politics and what one reads in the Wall Street Journal, Weekly Standard, and the New York Post and what comes our way from Murdoch’s subsidized clones on Fox News? Read More…
There has been considerable commentary over the possibility that the terrorism in Norway will trigger a reaction against “conservative” websites and will stifle legitimate debate over immigration and asylum policies. If one reads the European media, it is clear that there is considerable debate over the recent wave of new arrivals with those on the political left urging a wealthy continent to take in immigrants on humanitarian grounds while those on the right are pointing to social disruption, soaring crime, and loss of national identity. In the United States, most Americans want all illegal immigrants to be removed and the country’s borders controlled, but apart from that there is little discussion as both the media and the two major political parties are essentially pro-immigration. Hispanic immigrants, which make up the vast majority of the illegals, are culturally closer to the indigenous population than the immigrants that are flooding Europe in any event and the United States does have a tradition of assimilation lacking in the Old World, so the discussion itself would be quite different if it were allowed to take place.
But the immigration angle is only part of the story. Many of the websites involved in the tragedy in Norway are not conservative at all but rather neoconservative and the only immigration they oppose is immigration by Muslims. Some leading American neoconservatives cited by mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik in his rambling commentary are David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, and Pamela Geller, all of whom have been leaders in the incitement against Islam and each of whom is, not coincidentally, a vocal advocate for Israel and its policies. They are the alligators in the swamp that they have created and are now frantically engaged in distancing themselves from their words and deeds. But sometimes the truth will out.
Are the neoconservatives responsible for the atrocity in Norway? No, but nor are they free of any involvement as they have done so much to stoke the fire of Islamophobia, giving it credibility and broadcasting it to a worldwide audience.
Pamela Geller posted her own approving comment followed by a rambling message from a Norwegian admirer back in 2007. Could it have been Breivik? Possibly. He speaks of stockpiling weapons and violence. Did Geller alert the Norwegian authorities? No, but she did make sure the Norwegian’s message was read by her thousands of supporters. Geller has now removed the posting from her website but it can still be found through Google.
“I am running an email I received from an Atlas reader in Norway. It is devastating in its matter-of-factness:
‘Well, yes, the situation is worsening. Stepping up from 29 000 immigrants every year, in 2007 we will be getting a total of 35 000 immigrants from Somalia, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. The nation’s capital is already 50% Muslim, and they ALL go there after entering Norway. Adding the 1.2 births per woman per year from Muslim women, there will be 300 000+ Muslims out of the then 480,000 inhabitants of that city.
‘Orders from Libya and Iran say that Oslo will be known as Medina at the latest in 2010, although I consider this a PR-stunt nevertheless it is their plan.
‘From Israel the hordes clawing at the walls of Jerusalem proclaim cheerfully that next year there will be no more Israel, and I know Israel shrugs this off as do I, and will mount a strike during the summer against all of its enemies in the Middle East. This will make the Muslims worldwide go into a frenzy, attacking everyone around them.
‘We are stockpiling and caching weapons, ammunition and equipment. This is going to happen fast…
Oslo and the southeast may fall easily, but there are other lines than “state” borders drawn across this country since long before there was even a single Muslim in the world, and we have held them this long, against everyone else too. We are entering a new golden age for my people, and those of a handful other countries, but only through struggle.
‘Never fear, Pamela. God is with you too in this coming time.’”
“Like a fire bell in the night,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1820, “this momentous question … awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union.”
Jefferson was writing of the sudden resurgence of the slavery issue in the debate on Missouri’s entry into the Union, as foreshadowing a civil war.
And that massacre in Oslo, where a terrorist detonated a fertilizer bomb to decapitate the government and proceeded to a youth camp to kill 68 children of Norway’s ruling elite, is a fire bell in the night for Europe. For Anders Behring Breivik is no Islamic terrorist.
He was born in Norway and chose as his targets not Muslims whose presence he detests, but the Labor Party leaders who let them into the country, and their children, the future leaders of that party.
Though Breivik is being called insane, that is the wrong word.
Breivik is evil — a cold-blooded, calculating killer — though a deluded man of some intelligence, who in his 1,500-page manifesto reveals a knowledge of the history, culture and politics of Europe. Read More…
Brendan O’Neill is revolted by the prospect that Anders Breivik’s rampage might be exploited by the Left the way 9/11 was exploited by the Bushite Right and its European fellow travelers: “while the attacks may not be ‘Norway’s 9/11’, they could well be the cultural elite’s 9/11 – in the sense that this is an act which the influential liberal classes may seek to politicise in an opportunistic fashion, to make moral mileage out of, in the same way that the right did after 11 September 2001.” The killer could hardly have been custom made to better fit left-wing ideas about society’s true villains.
O’Neill’s piece is doubly notable, however, for the case he makes that Breivik himself is much more of creature of multiculturalism than he realizes:
In his claim that he wanted to protect ‘white Christian identity’ from being overrun and crushed by an external powerful force – in this case Muslim immigrants – Breivik is merely indulging in an alternative form of multiculturalism. In different ways, both the 7/7 bombers and Breivik express the same sense of cultural paranoia, of cultural siege and victimhood. In recent years the right-wing critique of multiculturalism has ironically been shaped by the ethos of multiculturalism itself. From the English Defence League (which Breivik apparently had contact with) to authors who fret about Muslim immigration into Europe, there has been an attempt by right-wing elements to transform whiteness and Christianess into threatened identities, under siege from an almost colonialist tidal wave of Otherness. This sounds remarkably similar to the outlook of radical Islamists. Both groups accentuate and advertise their victim status and effectively compete for the respect of the overlords of identity-management in the multiculturalist elite. Where right-wingers warn of the rise of ‘Eurabia’, Islamists fret about the return of Christian crusaders; where right-wing activists claim their ‘white identity’ is not being accorded respect, Islamists claim their ‘Muslim identity’ is treated badly. The outlook of both groups is informed very powerfully by the victimology and craving for recognition inherent in multiculturalism.
Breivik’s alleged hatred of multiculturalism actually seems to be driven by a belief that it does not sufficiently respect his cultural identity; his violent act can be seen as a crazy, barbaric attempt to expand the remit of the politics of multiculturalism. (This is not to argue, by the way, that the EDL or anti-immigration thinkers bear any responsibility for Breivik’s violence. They do not.)