Monday, January 26, 2015
Jindal’s Brilliant Take on Radical Islam
The problem and solution reside with the people of the Islamic religion themselves.
The problem and solution reside with the people of the Islamic religion themselves.
By Larry Kudlow
‘Let’s be honest here. Islam has a problem.”
Those are key sentences in an incredibly hard-hitting speech that Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal will give in London on Monday. It is the toughest speech I have read on the whole issue of Islamic radicalism and its destructive, murdering, barbarous ways which are upsetting the entire world.
Early in the speech Jindal says he’s not going to be politically correct. And he uses the term “radical Islamists” without hesitation, placing much of the blame for the Paris murders and all radical Islamist terrorism on a refusal of Muslim leaders to denounce these acts.
Jindal says, “Muslim leaders must make clear that anyone who commits acts of terror in the name of Islam is in fact not practicing Islam at all. If they refuse to say this, then they are condoning these acts of barbarism. There is no middle ground.”
Then he adds, specifically, “Muslim leaders need to condemn anyone who commits these acts of violence and clearly state that these people are evil and are enemies of Islam. It’s not enough to simply condemn violence, they must stand up and loudly proclaim that these people are not martyrs who will receive a reward in the afterlife, and rather they are murderers who are going to hell. If they refuse to do that, then they’re part of the problem. There is no middle ground here.”
I want to know who in the Muslim community in the United States has said this. Which leaders? I don’t normally cover this beat, so I may well have missed it. Hence I ask readers to tell me if so-called American Muslim leaders have said what Governor Jindal is saying.
And by the way, what Bobby Jindal is saying is very similar to what Egyptian president al-Sisi said earlier in the year to a group of Muslim imams.
Said al-Sisi, “It’s inconceivable that the thinking we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world.”
He then asks, “How is it possible that 1.6 billion Muslims should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants — that is 7 billion — so that they themselves may live?” He concludes, if this is not changed, “it may eventually lead to the religion’s self destruction.”
That’s President al-Sisi of Egypt, which I believe has the largest Muslim population in the world.
And what Jindal and al-Sisi are saying is not so different from the thinking of French intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, he calls the Charlie Hebdo murders “the Churchillian moment of France’s Fifth Republic.” He essentially says France and the world must slam “the useful idiots of a radical Islam immersed in the sociology of poverty and frustration.” He adds, “Those whose faith is Islam must proclaim very loudly, very often, and in great numbers their rejection of this corrupt and abject form of theocratic passion. . . . Islam must be freed from radical Islam.”
So three very different people — a young southern governor who may run for president, the political leader of the largest Muslim population in the world, and a prominent Western European intellectual — are saying that most of the problem and most of the solution rests with the people of the Islamic religion themselves. If they fail to take action, the radicals will swallow up the whole religion and cause the destruction of the entire Middle East and possibly large swaths of the rest of the world.
Lévy called this a Churchillian moment. And London mayor Boris Johnson argues in his book The Churchill Factor that Winston Churchill was the most important 20th century figure because his bravery in 1940 stopped the triumph of totalitarianism. So today’s battle with the Islamic radicals is akin to the Cold War battle of freedom vs. totalitarianism.
But returning to Governor Jindal, the U.S. is not helpless. Jindal argues that America must restore its proper leadership role in international affairs. (Of course, Obama has taken us in the opposite direction, and won’t even use the phrase “Islamic radicals.”) And Jindal invokes Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher by saying, “The tried and true prescription must be employed again: a strong economy, a strong military, and leaders willing and able to assert moral, economic, and military leadership in the cause of freedom.”
Reagan always argued that weakness at home leads to weakness abroad. A strong growing economy provides the resources for military and national security. Right now we’re uncomfortably close to having neither.
This is the great challenge of our time. In the early years of the 21st century, it appears the great goal of our age is the defeat of radical Islam.
Jindal gets it.http://www.nationalreview.com/article/396584/jindals-brilliant-take-radical-islam-larry-kudlow
Sunday, January 25, 2015
The White House seems to think its denial of radical Islam will stop people from believing the obvious.
By Jonah Goldberg
Could this argument be any dumber?
The Obama administration has forced America and much of the world into a debate no one wanted or needed. Namely, does Islamic terrorism have anything to do with Islam?
This debate is different than the much-coveted “national conversation on race” that politicians so often call for (usually as a way to duck having it), because that is a conversation at least some people want. The White House doesn’t want a conversation about Islam and terrorism.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest says, “We have chosen not to use that label [of radical Islam] because it doesn’t seem to accurately describe what happened.”
What happened was the slaughter last week at the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The sound of the terrorists’ gunfire was punctuated by shouts of “Allahu akbar!” and “We have avenged the prophet Mohammed!”
Since no one questions the sincerity of these declarations, that alone should settle the issue of whether Islam had anything to do with the attack. And for normal people it would.
The problem is that the White House’s position is categorical denial. It is not that the role of Islam in such attacks is exaggerated. Nor is it that these attacks should not be used to disparage more than a billion peaceful Muslims around the world. These are mainstream and defensible positions.
But, again, that’s not what the White House is saying. It is saying that one should not associate these attacks with the word “Islamic,” no matter what adjective you hang on it — radical, extreme, perverted, etc. — even when the murderers release videos attesting to their faith and their association with Islamist terror groups.
By taking this radical and extremist rhetorical approach, the Obama administration invites people to talk about Islam more, not less.
Think of it this way. A bird waddles into the room. It walks like a duck, it talks like a duck, it gives off every indication of duckness. If Josh Earnest says, “That’s not a mallard,” well, okay. You can have a reasonable conversation about which species the bird might be. But if Earnest says, “That is not a duck. It has no relation or similarity to anatine fowl in any way, shape or form, and any talk of ducks is illegitimate. . . . ”
Well, now we have a problem.
Such rhetorical extremism almost forces people into an argument about what a duck is. Likewise, by denying the role of radical Islam, they invite sane people everywhere to focus more, not less, on Islam.
There are, of course, many problems with this analogy. The most important one is that ducks cannot talk. They cannot say, “Look, I am a duck.”
Terrorists can talk. And they do. They also form organizations with magazines and websites and Twitter accounts. They issue manifestos. They recruit in mosques. When we capture them alive, they demand Qurans and pray five times a day, bowing toward Mecca.
You know who else can talk? Non-extremist Muslims. And millions of them routinely refer to the bad guys as radical Islamists and the like.
I could go on, but you get the point — if you don’t work at this White House.
The Obama administration seems to believe that the wonder-working power of their words can get everyone to stop believing their lying eyes and ears. It’s tempting to ask, “How stupid do they think we are?” But the more relevant question is, “How stupid do they think the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are?” Whatever appeal the Islamic State may or may not have in the larger Muslim world, Barack Obama insisting “it is not Islamic” surely makes no difference whatsoever. And as for the jihadists, it’s not like his words speak louder than his drone strikes.
It’s true that the Obama administration has had remarkable success playing word games. They “created or saved” millions of jobs — as if that was a real economic metric. (For what it’s worth, I do or save 500 pushups every morning). They decimated “core al-Qaeda,” with the tautological definition of “core al-Qaeda” being “the parts of al-Qaeda that we have decimated.”
But this is different. Those distortions were political buzzphrases intended for domestic consumption and a re-election campaign. This is a much bigger deal. The threat of Islamic extremism transcends Obama’s theological hubris and lexicological shenanigans. All that Obama’s insipid rhetorical gamesmanship does is send the signal to friend and foe alike that he can’t or won’t see the problem for what it is.
— Jonah Goldberg is a senior editor of National Review and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. You can write to him by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JonahNRO. © 2015 Tribune Content Agency, LLChttp://www.nationalreview.com/article/396474/conversation-obama-doesnt-want-have-jonah-goldberg
The Santa Barbara News-Press is under attack from the militants of MEChA.Latina magazine called the News-Press headline — “Illegals line up for driver’s licenses” — the “most offensive headline against undocumented immigrants ever.” Hyperbole much? Ethnic agitators from a group called People Organized for the Defense and Equal Rights of Santa Barbara Youth (PODER) condemned the paper as “blatantly racist,” demanding that the News-Press adhere to the slanted guidelines of the Associated Press or face a boycott.
I stand with the Santa Barbara News-Press. How about you?
The newspaper is under fire for refusing to kowtow to left-wing word police and militant propagandists who demand unfettered illegal immigration. Last week, in the wake of angry protests against the publication, vandals threw paint bombs and spray-painted graffiti on the walls of its building.
So, what exactly is the News-Press’s unforgivable crime? Calling illegal aliens “illegals” in a headline for a story about illegal aliens descending on California DMVs. A new law went into effect last Friday allowing illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses without proof of lawful residence. The article featured interviews with ecstatic illegal aliens, including one who has been in the country illegally for 22 years.
The blatantly biased AP rules advise journalists to abandon the concise terms “illegal,” “illegal alien,” and “illegal immigrant” in favor of the wordy, whitewashed “‘living in’ or ‘entering a country illegally’ or ‘without legal permission.’” Illegal aliens with Obama amnesty cards are now people with “temporary resident status” — blatantly blurring the distinction between legal foreign visitors who legally applied for and received legal temporary status and illegal border-crossers, illegal deportation-evaders, and illegal visa-overstayers who won the illegal-alien amnesty lottery by playing the waiting game.
Because references to the rule of law are considered oppressively racist/colonialist/imperialist, social-justice mobsters are pushing the term “undocumented” on media coddlers. But it is patently absurd to force a newspaper in the name of “accuracy” and “objectivity” to call illegal aliens queuing up for government-issued documents “undocumented.”
These “undocumented” aliens, now eligible for state driver’s licenses, federal work-authorization permits, in-state college discounts, bank accounts, taxpayer identification numbers, and birth certificates issued by Mexican consular offices on government soil, are the most documented aliens in American history.
News-Press publisher Wendy McCaw told me this week that the speech-stifling thugs “have threatened to return on January 19 to deliver a petition and stage another protest against us if we do not offer a retraction by 3 p.m. that day.” McCaw vows she will not bend to that ultimatum or any other — and she has a track record to prove her toughness.
She has been defying the progressive forces of political correctness for years in First Amendment battles over whom she should hire and how she should run her newspaper. Radical elements in her community and her industry have long held a grudge against her and her paper for resisting union pressure and refusing to conform to left-wing orthodoxy.
And boy, do these people know how to hold grudges.
In addition to the paint bombs, unhinged Mau-Mauers spray-painted a radical Reconquista slogan on the News-Press building: “The border is illegal, not the people who cross it.”
Yes, they’re still trying to refight the Mexican-American War of 1848 and relitigate the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. No surprise. Santa Barbara has been a longstanding hotbed of tribal grievance politics. In the late 1960s, liberal Latinos at the University of California at Santa Barbara unveiled El Plan de Aztlán, which states: “We do not recognize capricious frontiers on the bronze continent. Brotherhood unites us, and love for our brothers makes us a people whose time has come and who struggles against the foreigner ‘gabacho’ who exploits our riches and destroys our culture. With our heart in our hands and our hands in the soil, we declare the independence of our mestizo nation. We are a bronze people with a bronze culture.”
The Aztlán plan birthed Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) — an identity-politics indoctrination machine on publicly subsidized college and high-school campuses nationwide, whose members have rioted in Los Angeles and editorialized that federal immigration “pigs should be killed, every single one,” in San Diego.
As I’ve reported previously, the MEChA Constitution calls on members to “promote Chicanismo within the community, politicizing our Raza [race] with an emphasis on indigenous consciousness to continue the struggle for the self-determination of the Chicano people for the purpose of liberating Aztlán.” “Aztlán” is the group’s term for the vast southwestern expanse of the United States — from parts of Washington and Oregon down to California, Arizona, and New Mexico, and over to Texas — which MEChA claims to be a mythical homeland and seeks to reconquer for Mexico.
MEChA’s symbol is an eagle clutching a dynamite stick and a machete-like weapon in its claws; its motto is “Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada.” Translation: “For the Race, everything. For those outside the Race, nothing.”
Tell me again who the racists are.
— Michelle Malkin is the author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies (Regnery, 2010). Her e-mail address email@example.com. Copyright © 2015 Creators.Com.http://www.nationalreview.com/article/396561/open-borders-mau-mauers-michelle-malkin
Image credit:Barbara Kelley
The Obama Administration, the Federal Reserve, and independent economists have to answer the central question about this recovery. Why did the enormous, sustained monetary stimulus have so little effect on real output, employment, and prices?
My answer is in two parts. First, the Federal Reserve’s policy is based on major economic errors. It tried to resolve real economic problems by printing money. They should know that is not possible. Second, the real problems were created by the Obama administration. Its insistence on imposing costly regulations on firms and industries, its support for stronger labor unions, its opposition to tax reduction, and its other policies based on what the Economist magazine called “the Criminalization of American Business” have hampered the economic recovery.
The principal result was slow investment and increased pessimism about the state of the economy. Evidence of the latter are the decisions by many major companies, like Halliburton, Time Warner, Merck, Apple, and Walmart, to repurchase their shares at the very high prevailing stock prices instead of investing in new capital.
Six years into the recovery, median income remains much below the pre-recession peak. The unemployment rate has fallen, but that’s mainly because of decisions by prime age workers to leave the labor force. And much of the increased employment is part-time work. An administration that declares its support for the poor and minorities has done far less to help them than the Reagan administration did over twenty years ago. Shouldn’t the administration wonder why its policies have had such abysmal results?
Federal Reserve Errors
The Federal Reserve made three major errors. After responding appropriately to the 2008 financial crisis, it continued the policy of massive expansion of bank reserves long after such expansion was required. Surely by 2009, the Fed could have seen that most of the reserves that it supplied ended as idle reserves held by banks. With low investment in new capital and housing, the financial system had little demand for additional reserves. How did the Federal Reserve explain the sluggish growth of bank lending? Long before idle reserves reached $ 2.7 trillion, the Fed should have asked: What can we achieve by adding more reserves that the financial firms do not use that commercial banks cannot achieve by using some of the idle reserves they hold? Apparently that question was not asked.
The accumulation of idle reserves was not the only sign that monetary policy had little impact on the real economy. I have often written that the transmission of monetary policy to the real economy occurs, first, by raising the price of existing assets. Stock prices and the prices of existing homes are examples. And that happened. Asset prices increased substantially.
The next step followed weakly, or not at all. In the recovery from a monetary recession, the rise in stock market prices and the prices of existing houses makes the prices of new capital and new homes relatively cheap. That’s the main channel through which money growth affects real economic activity. Relatively cheap new capital induces new investment by business and the production of new housing. This time the percentage of home ownership is at 64, well below the earlier peak of 70 before the recession. The failure of business investment to expand and the weak increase in new housing was a message to the Fed. It read: The main problems of this economy are real not monetary.
In 2010, Harvard Business School’s Professor Michael Porter and a colleague asked 10,000 business school alums why they were not investing. The respondents were involved in investing decisions at major U.S. corporations. Their answers cited real problems, not monetary or financial problems, as the reason for sluggish investment. Since the problems businessmen see are not monetary, the Fed cannot eliminate them.
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) encourages employers to prefer part-time workers to escape expensive healthcare costs. Fed principals point to the rise in part-time employment as a reason for continuing to keep interest rates near zero. Are they so confused that they think that financial policy can counteract costly real government rules?
A second major Fed error is the excessive attention the Fed gives to very noisy monthly and quarterly data. An example was the emphasis for years on the monthly report on job growth. It soon became clear that a big increase encouraged beliefs that the recovery was gaining momentum. The next month the number was revised, often reduced considerably. Discouraging monthly reports were often followed by positive revisions. By relying on a very noisy indicator, the Fed increased uncertainty. More importantly, it showed that it over-reacted to current events and did not have a coherent strategy.
It still doesn’t. Reducing $2.7 trillion of excess reserves requires a long-range plan conditional on events. Eliminating the excess reserves without causing inflation, recession, or both is a major problem for the future. The Fed cites overnight purchases of reserves from the financial market as a way of controlling reserve growth. That’s not a credible strategy for reducing more than $2 trillion dollars of reserves.
The two best periods in the Fed’s first 100 years are 1923-28 when the Fed followed a rule called the gold exchange standard and 1986-2003 when the Fed more or less followed a Taylor rule. Economists call the latter period, the Great Moderation. Inflation was low, recessions were infrequent, and when they did occur, they were mild and short. Instead of responding to noisy monthly and quarterly announcements, the Fed followed a medium-term strategy. It should do so again by announcing and following a Taylor rule.
The Fed’s third major error is inattention to growth of monetary and credit aggregates. This decision is baffling. Central banks supply the raw material on which financial markets build the credit and money magnitudes. The reason given for neglecting these aggregates is usually a claim that they are unstable. That is true only, if at all, of quarterly values. It is not true of medium- and longer-term values as many researchers have shown.
Our Major Economic Problems Are Not Monetary
Obama administration policies are the principal reason that unprecedented monetary expansion was followed by the slowest growth of any recovery since World War II. Soon after taking office, the Obama administration adopted a huge program of government spending, worth almost $ 1 trillion. Much of the spending went for redistribution. Very little encouraged increased productivity, the main source of better jobs and higher living standards. The program accomplished little.
After this initial effort, the Obama administration has given most of its attention to increasing costly regulations, bringing often vague criminal charges against corporations, criminalizing businesses, and redistributing income. Its major effort to redistribute income failed to achieve its end. These programs discourage new investment, so business investment remained low and will not increase if these policies continue.
To restore investment and growth, the government should deregulate, stop criminalizing corporations, and reduce tax rates. The shift in political power after the 2014 election gives reason to hope that better policies will encourage more investment.
A New Error?
Currently, some Fed principals express concern about deflation. Their error is to mistake a large decline in the oil price—a relative price change—with a decline in the general price level. This is the same mistake the Fed made in the 1970s when oil price increases became the reason for anti-inflation action. By the early 2000, the Fed recognized its error and allowed the oil price to pass through the economy.
That’s the correct policy response to the sharp decline in oil prices: Do nothing, even if the reported index becomes negative for a few months. The Fed has many competent spokesmen who can explain to the public why it is wrong to treat the decline in oil prices as deflation. They can explain that deflation occurs when enough different prices decline that broad based price measures fall. The Fed has the authority to explain the reasons for inaction and why it is appropriate to permit the fall in oil prices to work its way through the economy.
Inappropriate administration and Fed policies are the reason why weak recovery followed the enormous monetary stimulus. After preventing a major financial crisis in 2008, the Fed has pushed discretionary policy in an extraordinary effort to restore full employment. The effort failed to achieve its goals. It continued long after the Fed should have recognized that monetary policy could do little because the problems were not monetary. They were real.
The Obama administration was the principal source of the economy’s real problems. Costly regulations, relatively high tax rates, and redistributive spending added to the neglect of the long-term implications of unsustainable budget and off-budget deficits.
Finally, the Fed’s recent expansion raises an issue about the power of the Fed to quadruple the size of its balance sheet without any effective Congressional oversight. In a federal republic such as ours, no government agency should be able to take such action on its own initiative.
This essay is adapted from a paper presented at the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank that the Bank declined to publish in its conference volume