You think America has problems of a self-entitled, out-of-touch political class, power-hungry public sector unions, and sensation-grabbing mass media?
You think a corrupt, left-wing agenda endangers America’s super-power political and economic status?
You think the formidable creative and entrepreneurial energies of a freedom-loving people are endangered over here?
You think an increasingly cynical younger generation of Americans is getting desperate for real hope and real change?
Then take a look at India, according to today’s Washington Post, where the culture of corruption is dragging a proud nation into the dust. And, as the stars would have it, where that famous American crusader against all forms of political parisitism is getting ready to maker her first visit, to rub shoulders with India’s political, business and media elite, and to deliver a keynote speech on “What America Means to Me.”
Mother India meet Mama Grizzly. We can’t wait . . .
India is experiencing what some people are calling “a reality check,” or what business tycoon-turned-independent member of Parliament Rajeev Chandrasekhar sees as a “psychological crisis of confidence.”
“In a sense, we had gotten caught up with the rhetoric and hype about our imminent superpower-dom,” the 46-year-old former telecom entrepreneur said in an interview in his office in the heart of New Delhi. “People stopped looking at the system, which still needs a lot of work.”
The fundamentals of the Indian success story have not changed: the tremendous power of the country’s entrepreneurship unleashed by economic liberalization two decades ago, the rapid growth and spending power of its 300 million-strong middle class, the demographic dividend of its burgeoning young population. And although inflation has risen and foreign direct investment has fallen, India’s economy, which emerged almost unscathed from the global financial crisis, is still expected to grow by 9 percent this year.
For years, that success had fed what many business leaders, economists and social commentators now acknowledge was a sense of complacency, a feeling that economic growth and the pursuit of wealth would solve the nation’s problems and deliver a bright new future. Today, there is a realization that it is not enough for the government to get out of the way of the private sector and that it actually needs to govern, to deliver services instead of merely lining its pockets.
The idea that India was on an automatic path to becoming a developed capitalist economy was “delusional,” said 36-year-old best-selling author Chetan Bhagat. “It doesn’t just happen. It needs systemic changes, structural changes, cultural changes,” he said. “And the biggest roadblock is corruption.”
The passing of Wahington Post columnist David Broder is being mourned by other independent Jewish journalists, including Ira Stoll at his new site Future of Capitalism, and Seth Lipsky at the New York Sun. Both recall the historically important, and courageous, ‘columm Broder wrote criticizing the majority leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, for his preemptive declaration of defeat in the Battle of Iraq.’ For his courage, his integrity, ‘the entire membership of the Democratic Caucus, some 50 senators, excoriat[ed] Broder for practicing what anyone other than a senator would comprehend is journalism of the highest kind’ – in Lipsky’s words.
Of less historic import, though more germaine to our mission, is the stunningly honest assessment Broder also penned of Sarah Palin, back in February of 2010, when few in the mainstream news media – as now – had the vision or integrity to recognize the brilliance of Wasilla’s most eminent Hockey Mom –
[ . . . ] Take Sarah Palin seriously.
Her lengthy Saturday night keynote address to the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville and her debut on the Sunday morning talk show circuit with Fox News’ Chris Wallace showed off a public figure at the top of her game — a politician who knows who she is and how to sell herself, even with notes on her palm.
This was not the first time that Palin has impressed me. I gave her high marks for her vice presidential acceptance speech in St. Paul. But then, and always throughout that campaign, she was laboring to do more than establish her own place. She was selling a ticket headed by John McCain against formidable Democratic opposition and burdened by the legacy of the Bush administration.
Blessed with an enthusiastic audience of conservative activists, Palin used the Tea Party gathering and coverage on the cable networks to display the full repertoire she possesses, touching on national security, economics, fiscal and social policy, and every other area where she could draw a contrast with Barack Obama and point up what Republicans see as vulnerabilities in Washington.
Her invocation of “conservative principles and common-sense solutions” was perfectly conventional. What stood out in the eyes of TV-watching pols of both parties was the skill with which she drew a self-portrait that fit not just the wishes of the immediate audience but the mood of a significant slice of the broader electorate.
Freed of the responsibilities she carried as governor of Alaska, devoid of any official title but armed with regular gigs on Fox News Channel and more speaking invitations than she can fulfill, Palin is perhaps the most visible Republican in the land.
More important, she has locked herself firmly in the populist embrace that every skillful outsider candidate from George Wallace to Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton has utilized when running against “the political establishment.”
It doesn’t always win. There are more John Edwardses and Mike Huckabees than I can count. But it wins more often than you’d guess and for a greater variety of people, especially when things are not going well for the country.
[ . . . ] Before 39-million viewers, Palin was the first public figure to openly and successfully ridicule the hitherto untouchable Barack Obama. She also was the first American woman to campaign for high office by paying homage, but no ideological dues, to the Sisterhood. This Alaskan small-town huntin’, fishin’ God-fearin,’ abortion-hatin’ mom of five showed that a woman can break through any glass ceiling she wants without the imprimatur of the feminist politburo.
[ . . . ]
Mama Grizzlies see men as different but complementary to women, and therefore as collaborators, not adversaries. Sarah Palin’s Down’s Syndrome-afflicted child and military-serving son — whom she speaks about proudly at public events — aren’t an anomaly in this circle of unapologetically maternal women. Minnesota congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, founder of the House Tea Party caucus, has nurtured 23 foster children over the years.
No wonder feminists mired in the superannuated shibboleths of revolutionary feminism are shocked. As always happens with utopian revolutions, its pendulum, propelled outward by theories and ideology, can only swing so far from human nature’s permanent verities, and cause so much social damage, before corrective populist movements force it back to the middle.
Feminists long have militated for more women to go into politics. Of course, as their visceral loathing of Sarah Palin demonstrates, it wasn’t “women” they wanted to see running for office, it was feminists: politically correct clones of themselves who would understand that their commitment to women’s interests trumps all.
If there is one issue that illustrates the bright line between revolutionary feminism and Palinite feminism, it is abortion. The unfettered right to abortion is an irreducible feminist dogma. It wasn’t always the case. The Suffragettes were political pioneers, but social conservatives. Thanks to Sarah Palin, the long political hibernation of socially conservative feminism is over.
Sherrod Brown’s worst nightmare
isn’t that Hitler-Stalin speech
Josh Mandel is a 33-year-old veteran of the Iraq War, where he served two tours while a U.S. Marine. Mandel is a graduate of the Ohio State University and Case Western Reserve Law School. He served two terms in the Ohio legislature.
Mandel is also the treasurer of the state of Ohio, having garnered more than 2 million votes last November. He is married to a beautiful wife whom he wed in Jerusalem in 2008. He is Jewish. He is a Republican.
Mandel has almost inexhaustible energy, a voracious appetite for news and history, and is a compelling stump speaker. His Web site is JoshMandel.com. Josh Mandel is Sen. Sherrod Brown’s worst nightmare.
Brown is a Democratic senator from Ohio who spent the past three days climbing out of the hole he dug on the Senate floor when he asked his colleagues in the world’s greatest deliberative body if they knew that “some of the worst governments that we’ve ever had, do you know one of the first things they did?”
“They went after unions,” Brown exclaimed. “Hitler didn’t want unions, Stalin didn’t want unions, Mubarak didn’t want independent unions.”
You get the point, don’t you? Everyone who thinks we need to trim the deals that public employee unions have racked up across the United States – the pension spiking, the early retirement, the 100 percent covered cost of health care – all those people share a lot in common with Hitler and Stalin.
And Mubarak. Don’t forget Mubarak.
[ . . . ]
Brown’s idiocy will not be forgotten in 20 months when the Buckeye State gets a chance to reconsider the wisdom of sending one of the most liberal members of the United States Senate back to D.C.
Many people are hoping Mandel decides to take on Brown.
[ . . . ]
The first Republican Jewish Iraq War veteran state treasurer who is also an alum of the Ohio State University up against a clueless, hard-left Yalie spewing Hitler comparisons who has been in elective office for 36 years – well, that would make a very interesting race.
If Mandel does run he will amass an enormous set of contributions from across the country and an extraordinary amount of national press coverage. Sherrod “Did I mention Hitler” Brown will be slogging uphill carrying the burden of Obama’s so-called “stimulus,” trillion-dollar deficits and demands for massive tax increases.
Run, Josh, run.
Expressions of anti-Semitism by public figures generally follow a certain script in the media.
The politician/actor/public figure says something construed as offensive/hostile/insensitive to Jews. Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, issues a condemnatory statement demanding penance. The offender expresses regret. If he deems it sufficient, Foxman issues his kosher certification absolving the sinner.
The recent incidents involving Christian Dior designer John Galliano and actor Charlie Sheen didn’t quite follow the script.
In Galliano’s case, it was Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman, a Jewish darling and Miss Dior model, who took the lead in responding to a video of Galliano’s drunken rant in a Paris cafe extolling Hitler and disparaging Jews.
“I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano’s comments that surfaced today,” Portman said in a statement last week. “In light of this video, and as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way.”
Galliano was peremptorily fired, and French authorities opened an investigation into whether Galliano should be prosecuted for violating France’s anti-racism laws.
Then there was the Sheen drama, whose script seemed lifted straight from the loony bin.
The actor, a notorious loose cannon and habitual drug user, unleashed a vitriolic tirade against Chuck Lorre, the creator of his hit CBS comedy “Two and a Half Men,” referring to Lorre by his original, Jewish name: Chaim Levine.
Foxman, apparently undecided about whether this was anti-Semitism or merely a personal spat between Sheen and Lorre, issued a statement declaring it “borderline anti-Semitism.”
Sheen then went off the rails, giving increasingly bizarre interviews, calling on Foxman to apologize and, after days of nonstop media coverage, announcing that he couldn’t be anti-Semitic because he is himself Jewish.
The coup de grace came Monday, when CBS fired Sheen and the actor then appeared on a Beverly Hills rooftop waving a machete and declaring himself “Free at last.”
What are we Jews to make of this?
For the most part, the Jewish reaction broke down in one of two ways: Either the incidents showed that anti-Semitism is alive and well, or they said more about celebrity stupidity – and Jewish overreaction – than about anti-Semitism.
As gasoline prices shot up for the 13th straight day on Monday to a new national average topping $3.50 and oil prices rose to over $106 a barrel, the cost of energy seemed poised once again to rise to the forefront of the political discourse just as the 2012 presidential campaign generates steam.
Of all the prospective Republican candidates, none may have a better opportunity to benefit politically from a nominating cycle in which gas prices take center stage than former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Marginalized by critics in 2008 over her perceived parochialism and lack of foreign policy experience, Palin can legitimately boast of a wide breadth of knowledge and wealth of experience on energy issues. For her, high gasoline prices may be an opportunity to demonstrate her own candlepower.
Since her 2009 resignation as governor, Palin has seemed eager to show off her policy chops on the national stage, but instead has struggled to mitigate the drawbacks of her celebrity image while repeatedly finding controversies large and small.
But it would be difficult for Palin’s GOP rivals, and even her Democratic critics, to deny that energy issues fall directly into the wheelhouse of the former Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commissioner who went on to lead a state where almost 90 percent of the budget is funded by oil revenue. As Tina Fey might say, Palin can see oil pipelines from her house.
During an appearance on Fox News last weekend, Palin nodded in anticipation and smiled confidently as host Jeanine Pirro lined up a question about what the government should do about rising gas prices.
Speaking with unbridled relish, Palin replied that opening the strategic oil reserves was not the solution to the problem and reverted to her old mantra that the government should “drill here and drill now” before going into a more in-depth criticism of the Obama administration’s energy policies.
[ . . . ] The Palin neurosis suggests two things: First, the passing of an age. Second, the rise of another age. The neurosis manifests in venues of the MSM which have seen better days; the government-appointed television networks, with their constant feel-good-about-myself mush, and the two big-deal newspapers as relevant to our day as the Union Pacific railroad, in contrast now to the soaring creativity of free television on the cable stations and a vast network of Internet users who have brought an army of new congressmen to Washington and a horde of new governors to the states of a brand we have never seen before.
This will change America entirely. This is post-9/11 America waiting for its first generation, and America will never be the same. No single individual is more responsible for this than Ron Paul and Sarah Palin. It is killing the Republicans, although they have everything to gain from it. It is killing the Democrats as well, and they could well be left behind as a new party rises in their place. One day there will be no Rand Paul and no Utah and no Idaho; no Butch Otter, no Joe Miller; no 10th Amendment, no Judge Napolitano, no pesky Thomas Woods and no insurgent Jeffersonians; no Sarah and Todd and no Dana Milbank too, but not today.
In 1965, Bob Dylan penned possibly his most piercing, exquisite lines in “Ballad of a Thin Man”: “You know something is happening, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?” Said to be about a Time reporter confused and disenfranchised when the known world shifted under his feet. The MSM is always the last to know. Obsequious and vain, nervously self-assured like Tolstoy’s aristocratic five families even as Napoleon was crossing into the Russian hinterlands, it is their role to guard the old temples; to stop the future, not awaken it.
It shifts again. Paul, Palin and the Tea Party have changed our world forever. Somebody tell Charlie Sheen. Somebody tell Dana Milbank.
House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) will commence hearings on Islamic radicalization of Americans. The very notion that we should examine this phenomenon has created an uproar in the Islamic community. The White House — surprise, surprise — is trying to have it both ways.
“We must resolve that, in our determination to protect our nation, we will not stigmatize or demonize entire communities because of the actions of a few,” Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough told a crowd gathered in a gymnasium and prayer room at a mosque in northern Virginia.
“In the United States of America, we don’t practice guilt by association. And let’s remember that just as violence and extremism are not unique to any one faith, the responsibility to oppose ignorance and violence rests with each of us.” . . . .
After the speech, McDonough initially rebuffed reporters’ questions about whether his remarks were directed in any way at King or his planned hearings. However, after being pressed by journalists, the White House official offered what could be interpreted as a couched endorsement of the hearings, at least in principle.
“We welcome congressional involvement in the issue. It’s a very important issue,” McDonough said, without elaborating.
Got that? This is a serious problem, but one that the administration doesn’t really want to articulate for fear of ruffling the feathers of the Muslim advocacy groups and the political correct crowd.
The White House denounces
‘guilt by association,’
then turns around
and ‘welcomes congressional involvement’
This has been the administration’s modus operandi from the get-go, as it has refused to identify with any accuracy the nature of the threat we face, namely Islamic fundamentalism.
[ . . . ]
It’s not hard to figure out why public discussion of all this strikes fear in the hearts of those who would rather not see a public accounting of their actions. But even the administration has to acknowledge that failure to identify, understand and combat the role of Islamic fundamentalists’ recruitment of Americans is foolhardy in the extreme. And, so, lo and behold, we learn, “While the thrust of McDonough’s remarks seemed aimed at declaring common cause with the Muslim community, the White House official was also careful not to minimize the dangers posed by efforts to radicalize Muslims inside the United States. He also managed to announce, in advance of King’s hearings, that the administration will soon roll out a comprehensive plan aimed at combating the radicalization effort.” Well, I suppose CAIR won’t like that either.
If King’s hearings have spurred the administration to get off the stick and begin work on this issue, they are already a success. And if nothing else they have exposed just how unhelpful some Muslim American groups are in the war against Islamic jihadists.
Israel’s Cabinet approved on Sunday the appointment of Ron Prosor as Israel’s ambassador to the UN. The approval of Prosor’s appointment came after the Foreign Ministry’s appointments committee also approved it on February 24.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said after the approval that “Prosor was an excellent ambassador to Britain and choosing him as ambassador to the UN is a very important choice at this time.”
Prosor was a popular ambassador in Britain and frequently wrote in British newspapers, often vocally attacking efforts to de-legitimize Israel. He previously served as Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before becoming ambassador in 2007. Fluent in English and German, he has frequently appeared on BBC and Sky News.
During a recent speech at the Herzliya Conference, Prosor addressed the attempts to de-legitimize Israel and said that de-legitimizers should be “named and shamed.”