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Cracker Squire


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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Unite to Defeat Radical Jihadism - Unite to Defeat Radical Jihadism

Peggy Noonan writes in The Wall Street Journal:

In striking at the political heart of Europe, home of the European Union, the ISIS jihadists were delivering a message: They will not be stopped.

What we are seeing now is not radical jihadist Islam versus the West but, increasingly, radical jihadist Islam versus the world. They are on the move in Africa, parts of Asia and of course throughout the Mideast.

Radical jihadism is not going to go away, not for a long time, probably decades. For 15 years it has in significant ways shaped our lives, and it will shape our children’s too. They will have to win the war.

It will not be effectively fought with guilt, ambivalence or double-mindedness. That, in the West, will have to change.

The usual glib talk of politicians—calls for unity, vows that we will not give in to fear—will produce in the future what they’ve produced in the past: nothing. “The thoughts and the prayers of the American people are with the people of Belgium,” said the president, vigorously refusing to dodge clichés. “We must unite and be together, regardless of nationality, race or faith, in fighting against the scourge of terrorism.” It is not an “existential threat,” he noted, as he does. But if you were at San Bernardino or Fort Hood, the Paris concert hall or the Brussels subway, it would feel pretty existential to you.

ISIS is essentially “medieval” in its religious nature, and “committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people.” They intend to eliminate the infidel and raise up the caliphate—one like the Ottoman empire, which peaked in the 16th century and then began its decline.

Normal people have seen that a long time, but the leaders of the West—its political class, media powers and opinion shapers—have had a hard time coming to terms. I continue to believe part of the reason is that religion isn’t very important to many of them, so they have trouble taking it seriously as a motivation of others. An ardent Catholic, evangelical Christian or devout Jew would be able to take the religious aspect seriously when discussing ISIS. An essentially agnostic U.S. or European political class is less able. Thus they cast about—if only we give young Islamist men jobs programs or social integration schemes, we can stop this trouble. But jihadists don’t want to be integrated. They want trouble.

Our own president still won’t call radical Islam what it is, thinking apparently that if we name them clearly they’ll only hate us more, and Americans on the ground, being racist ignoramuses, will be incited by candor to attack their peaceful Muslim neighbors.

I end with a point about the sheer power of pride right now in Western public life. Republican operatives and elected officials in the U.S. don’t want to change their stand on illegal immigration, and a key reason is pride. They’re stiff-necked, convinced of their own higher moral thinking, and they will have open borders—which they do not call “open borders” but “comprehensive immigration reform,” which includes border-control mechanisms. But they’ll never get to the mechanisms. They see the rise of Donald Trump and know it has something to do with immigration, but—they can’t bow. Some months ago I spoke to an admirable conservative group and said the leaders of the GOP should change their stand. I saw one of their leaders wince, as if I had made a faux pas. Which, I understood, I had. I understood too that terrorism is only making the border issue worse, and something’s got to give.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

It’s Time for The Speech - Like JFK, Nixon and Obama, the moment is now for a big, campaign-saving speech.

Daniel Henninger writes in The Wall Street Journal on 3-3-2016:

It’s time for The Speech.

Readers who have spent a lifetime absorbing the melodramas of America’s presidential election politics, such as this one, will recognize instantly what I am proposing here. It is time for Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz to deliver The Speech—or lose. Lose the campaign, the party, the Supreme Court and an already diminished country’s next four years.
“The Speech” is the title history has conferred on Ronald Reagan’s 1964 speech called “A Time for Choosing.”

Reagan delivered the speech in October 1964 on behalf of the foundering presidential campaign of the Republican Party’s nominee, Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona. Goldwater suffered a historic loss to President Lyndon Johnson, but the televised, roughly 30-minute speech, launched Reagan’s political career. It was an electrifying—and accessible—definition of conservatism in America’s politics then.

An understanding of when the moment has arrived to give The Speech requires naming three other masterpieces of the art: Sen. John F. Kennedy’s address in 1960 about his Catholicism to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association two months before the election; Sen. Richard Nixon’s 1952 Checkers speech, also less than two months before the election; and Sen. Barack Obama’s speech on race, “A More Perfect Union,” in March 2008.

Their purpose: to rescue a campaign on the brink of dying for reasons seemingly beyond the candidate’s ability to control. All these speeches accomplished what no one thought possible. They overcame an enormous political obstacle, reversed the candidate’s fortunes and reopened a path to victory.

The political obstacle now is Donald Trump and a roiling base of support for Mr. Trump—revealed again in Super Tuesday’s results as about 35% of those voting.

The Trump candidacy is thought to be a political colossus, virtually unstoppable. The problems faced by Kennedy, Nixon and Obama were also said to be campaign killers.

Nixon’s Checkers speech, derided by some today, was in fact an astonishing feat of political reversal. Accused of financial improprieties, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s running mate was regarded as beyond saving. The televised speech, which Nixon paid for, was watched by 60 million people and produced an overnight outpouring of support for the beleaguered candidate.

Point: The concrete never sets in American politics. Opinions can change, or be changed.

In Kennedy’s case, a well-organized, public opposition of Protestants alleged that the first Catholic president would be a tool of the pope. It threatened to kill Kennedy’s chances in a tightly fought election. JFK’s reply, in the Houston speech before the ministers, was so powerful that it eliminated the issue from American politics.

Sen. Obama’s “More Perfect Union” was of course his Rev. Wright speech. The “fiery preacher” stories had brought the Obama campaign to a standstill. Essentially, Mr. Obama used the speech to elevate race in America to such sublime heights that it subsumed the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The Speech righted the campaign.

Critics of these speeches to this day carp about the details. Their side lost.

The GOP Establishment’s Civil War - A free-for-all between Christie, Rubio, Cruz and others, while Trump hovers above it all.

Peggy Noonan writes in The Wall Street Journal back on 1-9-2016:

He said he’d build a wall and close the border and as the months passed and his competitors saw his surge, they too were suddenly, clearly, aggressively for ending illegal immigration.

Mr. Trump touched an important nerve in opposing the political correctness that has angered the American people for a quarter century. He changed the debate when he asked for a pause in Muslim immigration until America “can figure out what’s going on.” In the age of terror, that looked suspiciously like common sense. Americans do not want America to become what Europe is becoming.

You only have to look at what is reported to have happened in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve to get a sense that Europe’s establishment, with its politically correct thinking, is losing control. Angela Merkel is a great lady and most of her leadership has been sound as a drum, but she will probably lose her job eventually because of her epic miscalculation in accepting more than a million Middle Eastern refugees.

Her decision was no doubt driven by heart and sympathy, but it reminds me of the fall of Margaret Thatcher. In 1989 Thatcher moved to impose a change in the British tax system. This caused resentment and then unrest. She wouldn’t back down, and the next year she fell. Years later she told me what she’d learned. People are afraid, she said; they live closer to the margins than we understand. When you propose a big change you can leave people feeling as if the rug is being pulled from under them. That’s a big thing to learn, and she spoke of it with humility.

She lost her job by being too tough. Ms. Merkel has imperiled hers by being too soft. But the lesson is the same: know how close to the edge people feel, how powerless, and respect their anxiety. Don’t look down on it, and them.
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