Pew Poll: Just 28 Percent of Republicans Think the Party Articulates Principles Well

After the 2012 failure of the GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, there was plenty of anger, recrimination and fault-finding, but the Republican Party made no changes of personnel at the top. In March of the following year, Reince Preibus promised $10 million for diverse outreach, which seems only to have gone for the promotion of amnesty on behalf of the establishment.

Now, well over a year past a stunning loss, the GOP’s voters don’t see much has been learned from the debacle, given the Pew finding that only 28 percent of Republicans see party communication as adequate, 70 percent regard it as fair or poor.

The suits have lost faith in conservative principles and the leadership has attacked the Tea Party grassroots instead of embracing them. The Republicans should be using the failure of Obamacare as the teachable moment of the century, illustrating the danger of overgrown autocratic liberalism. But the lack of a clear voice for constitutional principles may make the party seem unreliable to independent voters.

The moment requires courage, but the Republicans are shrinking back in fear, hoping that they can win in November by keeping a low profile. It doesn’t help that the House leaders support open borders and need to be threatened with a revolution in the grassroots ranks to pull back on amnesty for the time being.

In short, the establishment Republican Party doesn’t articulate principles of limited government and national sovereignty well because it doesn’t believe in them. That’s hard to trust.

Just 28% of Republicans believe GOP advocates its principles well, Pew Research, February 24, 2014

Congressional Republicans’ unhappiness with their party’s performance has been evident for months. Most recently, just 12 percent of House Republicans voted for a bill to raise the debt ceiling, whose scheduled vote resulted in at least one Tea Party group calling for Speaker John Boehner’s removal.

GOP members of Congress aren’t the only Republicans disappointed with the party’s policies. In January, even before the debt ceiling vote, just 28% of Republicans and Republican leaners said the GOP was doing a good or excellent job in standing up for its traditional positions of smaller government, tax-cutting and conservative social values, while seven-in-ten (70%) rated their party’s job as “only fair” or “poor.”

The percentage of Republicans and leaners who rate the party’s performance positively has fallen 12 points since the GOP took control of the House in November 2010, according to a Pew Research survey last month. Over the past decade, the only time Republicans have been more negative about their party was in April 2009 — in the wake of Barack Obama’s election victory — when 21% rated the job it was doing as excellent or good.

Democrats, on the other hand, have become more likely to say their party is standing up for its traditional positions. Roughly half of Democrats and those who lean Democratic (49%) rated their party as doing an excellent or good job on things such as protecting minorities’ interests, representing working people and helping the poor and needy. This is up 11 points from August 2011, but about the same as November 2010. Continue reading this article

Ann Coulter Refresher on Economics 101: Supply and Demand

With so much gibberish emanating from the White House and its willing stenographers on the topic of jobs and the economy, sometimes the rock-bottom basics need to be explained to those who may never have heard of them.

In a discussion of Obama’s pitch for government raising the minimum wage, Ann Coulter re-explained the concept of supply and demand, and how excessive immigration is mauling American workers. More immigration means additional competitors for every individual job, not very nice of our government at a time when more the 20 million citizens are jobless.

(A spare video link is here.)

ANN COULTER: The reason the natural minimum wage, what people are being paid at the low end of the scale, is so low is because our immigration policies are dumping millions of low-wage workers on America, so I think Republicans should introduce a bill saying no more immigration until the minimum wage that employers need to pay through the laws of supply and demand just rises. A country like Australia, which has very restricted immigration policies, has an extremely low unemployment rate and a minimum wage that is just naturally about twice what ours is.

We Republicans believe in supply and demand, and Democrats believe in everything being a handout from government whether it’s because you lost your job because of the minimum wage, we’ll give you food stamps and unemployment insurance, or we, the beneficent government, will give you this minimum wage. That isn’t the way a natural market works. We need to cut off immigration until the minimum wage naturally rises. [. . .]

[Immigration] is part of what is leading to income inequality, and as a result of income inequality it is the people at the top of the income scale who want lots and lots of low-wage workers. They want enough to start building the pyramids. They want to have gardeners and nannies and maids and pay them less and less and less, so low-wage workers coming in through our immigration policy are fantastic for the ultra-rich; it’s very bad for the people who are competing for those jobs.

Somali Pirate May Get Asylum in the US

Just when you thought the crazies running the government couldn’t run any further off the rails, there’s this. The feds failed to convict a Somali pirate, whom they transported to the United States from Somalia for trial, and now he has applied for asylum and may well get it.

Good work, Eric Holder! He chose to try the pirate in federal court in the United States rather than in a military tribunal in Gitmo, and this travesty against national security is the result.

On Saturday, Tucker Carlson interviewed Berkeley law professor John Yoo about this horrifying case. (Spare link here.)

Wait, didn’t Obama and his lawyer pals want to adjudicate terrorists in American civilian courts to scare al Qaeda with our mighty justice system? New York City residents didn’t care for the idea of trying notorious 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in their town; talk about a terror magnet.

One of Obama’s big projects has been to close the Guantanamo prison, even after over $500 million has been spent to make life comfy for jihadist headchoppers. Apparently the idea was that if George Bush’s Gitmo were shut, then Muslims around the world would love America, or something. For a while, the administration planned to move the murderers to a spare prison near Chicago, but the scheme was too unpopular to force through.

The problem is that when foreign terrorists, or any criminals, are relocated to the US, they get a lot more legal rights. The open door for the Somali pirate could be a terrible precedent, a topic discussed in Politico.

Failed Somali pirate prosecution fuels terror trial fears, Politico, February 10, 2014

The failed prosecution of an alleged Somali pirate — and the fact that that failure could leave him living freely, and permanently, inside U.S. borders — is highlighting anew the risks of trying terror suspects in American courts.

Just a few weeks ago, Ali Mohamed Ali was facing the possibility of a mandatory life sentence in a 2008 shipjacking off the coast of Yemen — an incident much like the one dramatized in the film “Captain Phillips.” Now, the Somali native is in immigration detention in Virginia and seeking permanent asylum in the United States.

Ali, who was accused of piracy for acting as a translator and negotiator for a crew of pirates, was partially acquitted by a jury in November after a trial in Washington. Prosecutors initially vowed a retrial but decided last month to drop the rest of the case against him.

That’s just the kind of situation that opponents of U.S. criminal trials for Al Qaeda suspects caught abroad have long feared: The government falls short at trial — and the courts eventually order an accused terror figure freed to live legally among Americans.

“It’s a trial, not a play. You don’t know how it’s going to end,” said Cully Stimson, a former military prosecutor and defense official now at The Heritage Foundation. “Justice has all sorts of twists and turns. … It really has to be thought through at the highest level of government before we take action to bring someone here.”

One current federal terrorism prosecutor said the Ali case and the potential for his eventual release is another reason why foreign Al Qaeda suspects picked up overseas should not be brought to the United States but should instead be detained at Guantánamo or some other facility.

“It’s a significant risk … to say, ‘Oh well, we’ll just turn him over to the immigration service'” if a criminal case falls apart, said the prosecutor, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak publicly. “You can’t count on the justice system working out just the way you want it to.” Continue reading this article

California Mexicanizers Work to Normalize Spanish Language Diversity

Liberals think it’s just mean to insist that immigrants learn English; they would rather Americans be forced to speak Spanish. So in places like Mexifornia, powerful forces nudge the society toward acceptance of the invaders’ language (aka cultural surrender), maybe because bilingualism has been such a famous failure for Canada, and liberals like to employ chaos as a means to greater control.

In Sacramexico (the source of much evil), a busybody Democrat wants to erase Prop 227 which was essentially an effort to end “bilingual education” aka teaching diverse kiddies in Spanish. California’s earlier program of Spanish-language classrooms kept foreign kids balkanized and unassimilated, as well as providing lots of teaching jobs for Mexicans. The 1998 proposition passed 61% to 39%.

California senator wants to dump English-only law, Associated Press, February 20, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A state senator on Thursday proposed repealing Proposition 227, the 16-year-old law that banned most bilingual education in public schools.

Sen. Ricardo Lara introduced SB1174. If passed by the Legislature, it would place a measure on the November 2016 state ballot to repeal Proposition 227.

The ability to speak more than one language is an invaluable skill in the global economy but in California, most students don’t receive foreign language instruction until high school, the Long Beach Democrat said in a statement.

“English will always remain the official language of California, but we cannot ignore the growing need to have a multilingual workforce,” said Lara, whose district includes many Spanish-speaking immigrants. [. . .]

Indeed, English is the official language of California, not that it does much good. The growing presence of Spanish is another example that changing demography is a force of nature and hard to resist. Immigration should therefore be ZERO, for many reasons.

Closer to Mexico, UCLA is willing to pay taxpayer money for workers to become Spanish speaking. The policy is yet another push toward Spanish as a language equal to English in California. The steps may be gradual, but the goal is clear.

California Public University Pay Employees to Learn Spanish, The College Fix, February 21, 2014

UCLA will foot the bill for its employees to learn to speak Spanish under a new program launched this month at the Southern California-based public university.

Employees can take the class during working hours as well as get the cost of the Spanish course – $177 – reimbursed by their department budgets, campus officials told The College Fix.

“It is important as a university and employer that we are on the cutting edge providing our staff with the necessary tools needed to meet the future,” Lee Walton, a UCLA diversity coordinator, said in an email to The College Fix. “The exciting opportunity for a staff employee to learn a language during working hours is priceless.” Continue reading this article

Senate Amnesty Bill Provision Shows Up in Court Ruling

In a decision of the Fourth Circuit Appeals Court, judges allowed that an illegal alien MS-13 gangster could get on a path to citizenship because he had renounced his gang affiliation. A couple of Republican House members are upset at the precedent that decision would set, but perhaps the judges had merely absorbed the spirit of the immigration expansion bill passed by the Senate last year.

The National ICE Council, an organization of immigration enforcement officers, wrote a letter warning the Senate that the legislation was too permissive toward criminals:

Law Officers Write Congress To Warn Gang Of 8 Legislation Will Endanger Public Safety, May 9, 2013

[. . .] Section 3701 of S. 744 states that illegal immigrants who are members of street gangs – most of which are heavily involved in criminal activity and violent crimes in the communities and areas we police – simply have to claim that they renounce their gang affiliation in order to obtain a waiver that would make them admissible to the U.S., and potentially eligible for legalization and eventual citizenship. We anticipate, as should Congress, that many gang members will falsely claim to renounce their association with criminal street gangs to obtain legal status and continue engaging in unlawful conduct in the United States. [. . .]

I checked the final version of the bill which passed, and the forgiveness remains “if the alien has renounced all association with the criminal street gang.”

Could al Qaeda be considered a criminal gang? What if the remaining cutthroats being held at Gitmo claimed to renounce affiliation with their jihad gang — could they claim asylum in America?

Since a Somali pirate may soon be released into the US as an asylee due to the refusal of the administration to protect public safety, the possibilities in this area of lawlessness may be widening considerably.

As comedian Lily Tomlin remarked, “No matter how cynical you get, it’s impossible to keep up.”

GOP lawmakers press DOJ about court decision allowing gang members to stay in US, Daily Caller, February 21, 2014

In the wake of an appeals court ruling allowing an illegal immigrant gang member to remain in the country because he renounced his membership, a couple of GOP lawmakers are calling on the Justice Department to appeal.

On Jan. 23 in the matter of Martinez v. Holder, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Julio Martinez, an illegal immigrant MS-13 member from El Salvador, could remain in the U.S. because he renounced his membership and that gang members in El Salvador would kill him if he returns.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Virginia Republican Rep. Randy Forbes pressed DOJ on next steps, given the grave precedent the ruling set. Continue reading this article

Judge Allows Mosque Surveillance

The awareness of officials that national security needs active protection has not been completely erased by the passage of time since the 9/11 attacks. One measure: a federal judge has rejected a lawsuit from unfriendlies that would have stopped police from surveilling mosques.

In fact, mosques are sometimes centers of murderous plots against non-Muslims, as expressed in the Islamic poem observing, “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers…”

For example, several of the 9/11 attackers congregated at the Taiba mosque, called “the main meeting point for radical Islamic militants in Hamburg” by the director of the city’s intelligence services.

Below, jihadists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, as part of Islam’s 1400-year war against all non-Muslims.

Interestingly, the Associated Press story noted (in later paragraphs) that the judge scolded the AP for publishing confidential police documents in an attempt to thwart the protection of the citizens. In the liberal media universe, jihad diversity counts more than public safety.

Judge: Spying on NJ Muslims by NYPD was legal, Associated Press, February 21, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey was a lawful effort to prevent terrorism, not a civil rights violation.

In a decision filed Thursday in federal court in Newark, U.S. District Judge William Martini dismissed a lawsuit brought in 2012 by eight Muslims who alleged that the NYPD’s surveillance programs were unconstitutional because they focused on religion, national origin and race. The suit accused the department of spying on ordinary people at mosques, restaurants and schools in New Jersey since 2002.

Martini said he was not convinced that the plaintiffs were targeted solely because of their religion. “The more likely explanation for the surveillance was to locate budding terrorist conspiracies,” he wrote.

The judge added: “The police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself.”

Farhaj Hassan, a plaintiff in the case and a U.S. soldier who served in Iraq, said he was disappointed by the ruling.

“I have dedicated my career to serving my country, and this just feels like a slap in the face — all because of the way I pray,” he said.

The Center for Constitutional Rights in New York and the California-based civil rights organization Muslim Advocates, which represented the plaintiffs, also called the decision troubling.

“In addition to willfully ignoring the harm that our innocent clients suffered from the NYPD’s illegal spying program, by upholding the NYPD’s blunderbuss Muslim surveillance practices, the court’s decision gives legal sanction to the targeted discrimination of Muslims anywhere and everywhere in this country, without limitation, for no other reason than their religion,” CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy said.

The lawsuit followed a series of stories by The Associated Press based on confidential NYPD documents that showed how the department sought to infiltrate dozens of mosques and Muslim student groups in New York and elsewhere.

Martini faulted the AP for its use of the documents.

“The Associated Press covertly obtained the materials and published them without authorization,” he wrote. “Thus the injury, if any existed, is not fairly traceable to the city.”

The AP declined to comment on the ruling.

The city’s Law Department also declined comment. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly had been staunch supporters of the surveillance programs, saying they were needed to protect the city from terrorist attacks.

A similar lawsuit filed in federal court in Brooklyn is still pending.

PBS Pitches Speedy Visas for Afghan Translators

On Wednesday, the PBS Newshour had a segment on the need to speed up the issuance of visas to Afghan refugees who had previously provided translation services to American troops. The segment begins at 25:00 on the video following:

Somehow the plea from the liberal media for speedier admittance of war refugees sounded strangely familiar. In fact, it was a lot like the heartfelt appeal of Sixty Minutes in 2008, which shrieked how Iraqis who worked for the US were “marked for death” so we Americans should quit being so mean and rescue 100,000 of them immediately.

Through the magic of the internet, we can be reminded of the media generosity of yesteryear in The List: A Mission to Save Iraqi Lives, CBS News, May 16, 2008.

If lives were in danger, then haste was important, and therefore 58,000 Iraqis got swift service for relocation to America as refugees. But in the rush, national security was sacrificed, and proper screening was not done. As a result, a couple of genuine enemies were admitted, one a former soldier from Saddam’s army.

Below, Iraqis Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi entered the US as refugees, but their jihadist activities made them long-term jailbirds.

The case prompted rescreening of all 58,000 Iraqis admitted in a hurry. After initial checks, immigration authorities gave the FBI a list of 300 who looked squirrelly. Last November, ABC News reported, Exclusive: US May Have Let ‘Dozens’ of Terrorists Into Country As Refugees.

Even worse, the administration recently decreed lowered standards of screening for refugees even though the vetting process is sieve-like already. Apparently Obama wants to admit lots of Syrians, even though Sweden volunteered to take an unlimited number, and an influx of hundreds has already begun, according to RRW.

More Muslim refugees? What could possibly go wrong?

Tongue tied in Afghanistan, PBS Newshour, February 19, 2014

Sardar Khan cradles his infant son in one arm as he considers a thick stack of his life’s most important documents on a glass table before him. The documents include medical records, letters of recommendation from U.S. military officers and five passports–one for Khan and each member of his family.

Khan is 26, an Afghan native, and has spent seven years working as a translator for the U.S. Army. He is proud of his work, but fears that it has put him and his children in danger. And the visa program designed to help Afghans like him escape such danger, he says, has done little to secure his safety.

“I am living in a village where everybody knows me … who I am, who I am working for, where my house is, these things,” Khan says. “They are just waiting for a small chance, like if the security gets a little bit worse. I am really concerned about my babies especially. I love them more than my life.”

Khan says he applied for a U.S. visa in 2012, under a program designed to help Afghans like him escape the country. He had an interview with the U.S. Embassy in early 2013 and has been waiting for an answer ever since. The process has left him emotionally and financially drained. Continue reading this article

Bulgaria's Second City Fights Surrender to Muslims

Last Friday, two thousand residents of Plovdiv took to the streets to object to authorities returning a mosque to Muslim control in the person of the Grand Mufti. According to Reuters, “nationalists and soccer fans” attacked the building and 120 were arrested. News reports made the protesters sound like a bunch of hooligans (another word used by media).

Interestingly, a video of the event shows an orderly march of men and women of all ages, with flags, signs and patriotic symbols. After arrival at the mosque, behavior gets louder and more agitated.

Update: that video disappeared from the internet, so here is another that conforms more to the liberal media narrative.

Bulgaria is the poorest country in Europe and has lately been battered by the flood of Syrians (pictured), who are 90 percent Muslim, fleeing the civil war. Even victim-friendly PBS noticed the “dire conditions” and that the country “is ill-equipped to handle the influx.”

True enough, but MSM reports leave out the vital historical context. Bulgaria was ruled by the Ottoman Empire for nearly 500 years, where the majority Christian population was oppressed by Islamic law, which treats infidels as lower than dirt. But the New York Times complained, “Far right gains as Syrians reach Eastern Europe”. That report has no mention of Bulgaria’s centuries of Muslim rule, ending in 1878 after the people successfully threw off the Ottomans.

Bulgaria may be poor and rough around the edges, but its people know for sure they don’t want a return of the Muslim jackboot. And wherever Muslims relocate, Islamic demands inevitably follow.

The current mosque business is seen as a stealth move by Islamists to mooch themselves back into Bulgaria. The transfer of the mosque to the Mufti follows his legal finagling, as explained in the Ottawa Citizen:

Bulgarian “anti-mosque” protests reflect historical memory, February 18, 2014

[. . .] But it’s not just the future of one mosque that’s at issue. The Grand Mufti has lodged more than two dozen claims to properties lost to the Muslim community a century ago following the expulsion of the last Ottoman Turk overlords from the country in the late 19th century.

According to the online outlet The Sofia Globe, the court applications follow amendments to the country’s Religious Denominations Act, which allow such applications by officially recognized religious groups. (According to a 2011 census, about eight per cent of Bulgaria’s 7.3 million people are Muslim.)

The Mufti’s claims have sparked a series of often violent demonstrations, of which the one late last week in Koslovo was only the latest. Opposition to the Grand Mufti’s claims is particularly strong in Karlova. The town is the birthplace of Vassil Levski, a Bulgarian national hero — he’s been dubbed the Apostle of Freedom — who in the late 1800s led a revolutionary movement to liberate Bulgaria from Ottoman tyranny. [. . .]

Following is a video of the rowdy bits of the Feb 14 protest, with translations of what the protesters are yelling, starting at around one minute in. Gates Of Vienna has a transcript of what was said, things like:

Crowd sings “Courage, fellows in battle, loyal, united, we are no longer obedient ‘raya’ (synonym for dhimmi)” (these are verses from a song from the anti-Turkish rebellions in the 19th century)

Lady on loudspeaker: “…Women of Bulgaria! We are here to say: in Bulgaria the howling of the “muezzin” will never drown out the toll of the (church) bells!”

Voices in the crowd: “Turkey out of Bulgaria! Down with Turkey, this is Bulgaria!”

Voice: “Bulgarians! Down with the Janissaries!”

The historical meaning of the anger is obvious.

In addition, mosques are more than mere places of personal worship, they are also territorial markers and organizational sites to promote political Islam, as expressed in the idea, “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.”

It’s regrettable that property damage occurred in the Plovdiv activities, but authorities often don’t pay attention to reasoned debate from citizens. The Bulgarians are insisting they are unwilling to return to slavery under Islam.

Smart Machines, Excess Immigration and Outsourcing Threaten the American Dream

As a careful writer, I normally spend a lot of time researching topics that are often controversial, like how illegal immigration is illegal and such. But I’ve never been so surprised as when investigating how far robotics have advanced in their capability to replace humans in complex tasks, from manufacturing to ordering in restaurants and automatic cappuccino stands.

In short, the robotic sci-fi future is here and now.

Below, inside Google’s self-driving car, now under development. In the future, human cabbies and truck drivers may be phased out of employment.

Given the increasing encroachment of smart machines into unprecedented areas of the economy, the predicted shortage of workers because of boomers’ retirement is not happening. We see it in the jobless recovery, where Wall Street is thriving, but Main Street is not. A 2013 report from Oxford University estimated that 45 percent of American jobs will be automated within the next 20 years.

The expansion of automation and robotics may be the most important argument yet against amnesty (specifically legalization with work permits for lawbreaking intruders) and doubling legal immigration.

There is a short excerpt below of my recent article about growing threats to American employment, and the whole thing may be read in the online version of The Social Contract:

Three Stakes in the Heart of the American Dream, by Brenda Walker, The Social Contract, Winter 2014

Immigration, outsourcing, and smart machines crush citizen hopes

The American worker, from ditch-digger to rocket scientist, is under assault as never before. Government immigration policies, globalist eco- nomics, and the march of technology have combined to create a shrinking employment universe for ordinary Americans, the effects of which have been accumulating over decades. [. . .]

A large category of life and commerce being eyed for robotic improvements is driving. Google founder Sergey Brin is enamored of the idea of improving highway safety with “self-driving” cars and is investing his considerable wealth into developing the software and machinery. He predicted in 2012 that automated cars would be available in a few years. Google engineers were hard at work on the project, and a confident Brin remarked, “You can count on one hand the number of years until ordinary people can experience this.”

Presumably, it follows that robotic trucks and taxis would soon follow, with a job loss of potentially millions. In addition, Google has acquired several technology companies that are strong in robotics, indicating a serious move in that direction. The company has suggested it wants more automation in electronics assembly (now largely manual), and it plans expansion into retailing, such as automating the shipment process.

The New York Times published a chipper, tech-swoony article about the company’s smart automation, “Google Puts Money on Robots, Using the Man Behind Android” (12/4/13), in which executives called their vision a “moonshot” of advanced robotic innovation. However, quite a number of the online comments remarked about the job loss involved in the company’s plans for the future.

The advanced robotic warehouse is already here, created by the firm Kiva. Small wheeled robots scoot around the warehouse filling orders, guided by a main computer tracking the inventory. The robots are wheeled boxy objects about a foot high, and proceed automatically under movable shelving structures to transport the desired items to packing stations. The humans assist with basic manual labor; the machines and computers do the organizational work. Continue reading this article

Monuments Men: Saving Western Culture Gets Hollywood Approval

On Saturday I made a rare trek to see a first-run movie, because of my curiosity about Hollywood’s treatment of an instance of defending western civilization. The new movie Monuments Men modifies the true story of the World War II officers who rescued works of art from Hitler’s theft. A project of George Clooney, the film is positive toward saving even religious statues and paintings, presumably because Nazis are a liberal-approved enemy, safe to denigrate.

In the trailer, actor-director-writer Clooney (as real-life Lieutenant Commander George L. Stout) says, “You can wipe out an entire generation, you can burn their homes to the ground, and somehow they’ll still find their way back. But if you destroy their history, destroy their achievements, then it’s as if they never existed. That’s what Hitler wants, that is exactly what we’re fighting for.”

The sentiment is a very worthwhile one and needs to be repeated often these days when the achievements of European civilization are belittled by the left.

The movie suffers from the Hollywood prime directive of entertainment. So the beginning seems a bit like The Dirty Dozen Art Historians, as the men are assembled for service (although the number is seven). The nod toward comedy is shown by the inclusion of John Goodman and Bill Murray appearing as art rescuers. There’s nothing wrong with humor-based soldier bonding; in fact, it’s a staple of war movies. But the comic asides add to a certain lack of focus, particularly when the group is separated to show the search for hidden stolen art around Europe. Still, there’s a lot to like — a first-rate cast, adventure mixed with a great purpose and the happy ending of cultural treasures being saved from oblivion. Thumbs up!

Below, 7th Army soldiers rescue paintings.

The real Monuments Men have a great champion in Robert Edsel, who created a foundation to preserve the memory of their work and celebrate their little-known accomplishments. He authored a book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History. Edsel spoke at the World War Two Museum in 2009, providing a thorough introduction of how European masterpieces were saved from Nazi destruction:

For another realistic presentation see the 2006 documentary The Rape of Europa, which can be found online. An earlier Hollywood effort is The Train, a 1964 film by John Frankenheimer starring Burt Lancaster as a French resistance engineer who appropriates a trainload of stolen art from the Nazis. You can watch a free version, albeit with Spanish subtitles here. In addition, Robert Edsel has a YouTube channel with some interesting videos.

But even with the recent film, Hollywood remains an undependable defender of foundational western values like free speech. The Investigative Project has a list of 10 mainstream films banned in the Middle East, including The Matrix Reloaded and The Wrestler. Hollywood’s response has been to practice self-censorship, particularly obvious in the disappearance of Muslim terrorists in film and TV, notably in the hit series 24 after Muslim complaints. Terrorist bombers are now Serbians, South Africans — anything but Muslims even though Allah’s servants kill daily in the name of Islam.

And what about the art that was rescued in WWII? Will Hollywood liberals defend it as enthusiastically from Muslims as from Hitler? Islam forbids the celebration of the human body, particularly when unclothed, which is a staple of European culture starting with the Greeks. Plus Muslims can hardly abide the existence of women, much less sympathetic portraits of them hanging in galleries.

In 2012, the Louvre opened a wing of Islamic art, but that gesture won’t save the Paris museum if even a tiny percent of France’s five million Muslims decide to tear it apart. The Muslims destroy their own heritage without a second thought, as when jihadists leveled historic Sufi sites in Timbuktu in 2012. Muslim immigrants have even less respect for the infidel culture they chose to inhabit far from dar al-Islam. The cultural conflict in Europe can only worsen over time given the demographic change caused by the disaster of Muslim immigration.

Today however, Hollywood has in its way stood on the side of freedom against tyranny. Let’s hope it doesn’t forget to defend western values in the future.

Karachi Gets More Violent under Taliban Pressure

Just how dangerous is Pakistan’s largest city?

One measure would be the Karachi dentist who has 24/7 armed security, shown below (from the Saturday front page of the Washington Post).

Even though Obama declared al Qaeda to be “on the run” before his 2012 election, the various jihad franchises have going gangbusters of late, except for Egypt where the Muslim Brotherhood was rejected by the people. The Taliban in particular in on the march with its growing strength in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The worsening violence in Karachi has prompted locals to purchase armored vehicles and weapons to protect families from kidnapping and robbery. It sounds like Mexico City, only with jihadists being the actors, plus nuclear weapons lurking in the background.

The upcoming pullout of American troops from Afghanistan is seen as a victory by the most extreme of Allah’s gangsters the Taliban. As tiresome to Americans as the seemingly endless Afghan war has been, the removal of US forces from that very dangerous neighborhood may have an explosive result.

Is there a foreign policy plan in Washington at all?

Karachi residents live in fear as Pakistan Taliban gains strength, Washington Post, February 15, 2014

KARACHI, Pakistan — Armored car sales have soared, and some new luxury apartments feature bulletproof glass. Local police officers, slain this year at an average rate of one per day, are demoralized. And now even the journalists are trying to arm themselves.

Pakistan’s biggest city has been plagued by crime and political violence for decades, with Urdu- and Pashto-speaking groups battling for influence. But the bloodshed is worsening as the domestic Taliban insurgency expands.

The militant group was largely responsible for a 90 percent spike in terrorist attacks in Karachi last year, according to the Pak Institute for Peace Studies, which monitors violence. In the latest such attack, an explosion tore through a bus carrying police Thursday morning, killing a dozen officers. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility.

The bloodshed in this city reflects the Pakistani Taliban’s growing national offensive against the government and religious minorities. But the insurgents are also using violence to take control of some city neighborhoods, where ordinary residents are forced to contribute to their cause, analysts said.

The mayhem is raising concerns that one of the world’s most populous cities is teetering on the brink of lawlessness.

“Something must be done soon, if Pakistan is to be saved,” said Nasir Jamal, a deputy director of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a major political party.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif insists that Karachi can be tamed through targeted security operations and peace talks launched last month with the Pakistani Taliban. But residents of the country’s economic and cultural hub are deeply worried.

“Everyone is just waiting their turn to be killed,” said Zamin Ali, son of a prominent Shiite attorney who was fatally shot outside a Karachi courthouse in July, part of a surge of sectarian killings being carried out by the Taliban and other Sunni-dominated militant groups. Continue reading this article

A Murdering Refugee Wants a Do-over in the Courts

A bad refugee kid gone wrong has reappeared, after pleading guilty as a 17-year-old to the murder of Mary Bethell (pictured), 47, a substance-abuse counselor in Aurora, Illinois, three years earlier. Now Garang Deng, formerly of Sudan, regrets confessing to the murder and wants a new trial. It was a long strange trip getting to this point, and the story is again being thrust upon the public, unfortunately.

Do-gooders love to rescue diverse children from troubled areas of the world, even youngsters deeply damaged by exposure to terrible violence. By the time the little kiddies grow up imitating the sort of behavior they experienced, the noble rescuers have gone on to other projects, and local law enforcement has to pick up the pieces.

When three young African refugees were being sentenced in 2009 for the attempted kidnapping of a Virginia woman for ransom, a retired resettlement professional testified, “They went through terror themselves, so I couldn’t imagine them inflicting that on anyone else.”

That’s the naive attitude of elite do-gooders. They don’t understand how the imprinting of violence on young minds often overwhelms any revulsion to it, just as an abused child of an alcoholic hates the condition but may succumb to it.

However Deng’s legal situation plays out, he was a human time bomb of the sort unwise to import to this country as a refugee. As a boy in Sudan, he experienced terrible brutality and when he was relocated to America he began committing increasingly violent crimes as a young teenager, culminating in murder. It shouldn’t be a surprise.

Refugee Resettlement Watch reminds readers that any additional court costs will be the responsibility of local residents as a result of Washington’s meddling.

Sudanese immigrant to return to court in 2005 slaying, Chicago Tribune, February 9, 2014

New trial possible for man whose plea in Aurora woman’s shooting death was tossed out

When Garang Deng pleaded guilty to murder more than four years ago, it seemed like the final act of a tale that stretched from war-torn Sudan to a peaceful Kane County bike path.

After breaking into the home of Marilyn Bethell of Aurora in October 2005, Deng took her to the Illinois Prairie Path and shot her once in the head, Kane County prosecutors said.

Almost immediately after his guilty plea in 2009, Deng regretted it and began the legal process to withdraw the plea. An appeals court ruled in his favor in June.

Deng is scheduled to return to Kane County on Tuesday in his first court appearance in legal proceedings that eventually could lead to a new trial.

“We’re preparing as if we’re going to trial,” State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said.

Deng, who was 14 at the time of the slaying, was a Sudanese refugee whose family had left the African nation when he was a young boy to seek a more peaceful life. But Deng accumulated a history of juvenile offenses in DuPage County beginning at age 11, authorities said. Continue reading this article

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