Saturday, May 30, 2009


Victor Davis Hanson on the Sotomayor nomination:

Conservatives are flummoxed about the Sotomayor news, and have been warned by the likes of Chris Matthews and David Gergen that the nomination is a shoo-in, regardless of Justice Sotomayor’s statements about the less desirable characteristics of white males as judges, and the desire to enact policy from the appellate bench.

I think we are in an Orwellian time, and it is not just explainable by identifypolitics. Remember the grilling of Alberto Gonzales and the hysteria over Miguel Estrada. So the point is not just having a so-called minority profile, but having one compatible to the ‘progressive’ left. If an African-American nominee (cf. Justice Thomas) or Hispanic proves to be conservative, then race can often count against them, inciting a sort of furor on the left that such independent thinking individuals are not suitably deferential to liberals for their trail-blazing work.

Or perhaps the liberal mind feels that de facto it is beyond racial reproach, and therefore can engage in a sort of viciousness that exceeds even that shown non-minority conservatives. In short, the inspirational story of a Hispanic is relevant only to the degree that the nominee favors an agenda of the elite progressive left-without that requisite ideology, the candidate is reduced to an ingrate or a victim of false-consciousness, or a traitor of sorts. (Emphasis mine)

Precisely the point that I made the other day. The Sotomayor nomination is just one more example of the the left's "rainbow hypocrisy."

If you have respect for a person or a cause, it seems obvious that you wouldn't consider those people or that cause to be something to smear someone else with. So, it is always illuminating to discover what the "champions of the oppressed" REALLY think about the handicapped, women, blacks, gays and other minority groups they supposedly champion (i.e., by helping them remain victims for life).

Here are a few examples that exemplify the "compassionate" bigotry of the left and how that bigotry expresses itself when it is politically expedient to do so; i.e., when they want to smear someone with whom they disagree, particularly members of those groups who are not suitably deferential to them.

This is the cover of a flyer distributed by Tennessee Democrats in the 2004 election that shows how they are willing to exploit the handicapped for political gain:

Posted by Hello

President Obama has also had a "Special Olympics" moment.

Next are two rather thuggish attempts to demean Condi Rice, an amazing woman who is considered by the left to be a "race traitor" simply because she is an independent thinker who doesn't require their victimhood pimping to be successful; and, of course, because she dares to be a Republican.

We all know what the Left and Democrats think of Blacks and other minorities who don't agree with their ideology: they are not REAL Black people; or REAL gays; or REAL Hispanics.

First, an incredibly racist cartoon by Jeff Danziger:

Then there's this one by Pat Oliphant:

Nice racial stereotyping, huh? I use these cartoons because pictures are often "worth a thousand words," and believe me, much more than a thousand words were used to denigrate and racially stereotype Rice throughout her tenure in the Bush Administration.

She, along with other Republicans and conservatives who happen to be members of the left's identified "victim groups" are considered fair game for the left, who become absolutely vicious toward any of the member of those groups as soon as it is realized they are insufficiently deferential toward the left's ideology.

It's really cute how Obama has framed the debate about identity politics.

First, during the election it became clear (and the MSM helped him in this process) that if The One didn't win the election, then it would be definitive proof of the latent racism of America. Would could only be redeemed by doing the right and proper thing--i.e., vote for him.

This is the kind of casual racism and sexism that has become the modern foundation of the Democratic Party. By manipulating Blacks, women, the Gays, and [insert your favorite victim group here] they have fashioned for themselves a 'rainbow coalition'--or to put it another way, a' politically correct' path to power that actually actively promotes racism, sexism--and any other prejudice they can think of--all in the name of eliminating or opposing racism, sexism and prejudice. Wow! Again, you have to marvel at the power of the unconscious. Their rhetoric says one thing, but their policies end up doing the opposite.

In other words, they bring about and make worse the very thing they claim to be opposed to; but at least in the process they temporarily enhance their faux self-esteem and reinforce their sense of superiority and virtuousness.

You begin to get an inkling of what the left REALLY thinks of their rainbow base of support and "diversity"--particularly when they don't toe the party line. Wouldn't you imagine that if the left really meant what they say about "diversity" that they might have celebrated a talented Black woman who was appointed to one of the highest political offices in the land? Does Condi Rice deserve to be ridiculed for her achievements because she is Black AND a Republican? What about if she had been Black and Democrat?? Would she then be shown some "respect"? Would Clarence Thomas have been shown that respect? How about Miguel Estrada? Or Alberto Gonzales?

But, as Hanson says above, the minions of the left considers itself de facto... beyond racial reproach, and therefore can engage in a sort of viciousness that exceeds even that shown non-minority conservatives. By thier own standards, they routinely fail the test of compassion and humanity. Their rainbow coalition is nothing but a rainbow of hypocrisy and self-serving rhetoric.

The rhetoric surrounding the Sotomayor nomination is just one more hypocrisy. Kimberly Strassel captures the duplicity and the cognitive dissonance (not to mention the emotionalism) of the left, as personified by it's most messianic represenatative:
The president, after all, had taken great pains to explain that this is more than an American success story. Rather, it is Judge Sotomayor's biography that uniquely qualifies her to sit on the nation's highest bench -- that gives her the "empathy" to rule wisely. Judge Sotomayor agrees: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male who hasn't lived that life," she said in 2001.

If so, perhaps we can expect her to join in opinions with the wise and richly experienced Clarence Thomas. That would be the same Justice Thomas who lost his father, and was raised by his mother in a rural Georgia town, in a shack without running water, until he was sent to his grandfather. The same Justice Thomas who had to work every day after school, though he was not allowed to study at the Savannah Public Library because he was black. The same Justice Thomas who became the first in his family to go to college and receive a law degree from Yale.

By the president's measure, the nation couldn't find a more empathetic referee than Justice Thomas. And yet here's what Mr. Obama had to say last year when Pastor Rick Warren asked him about the Supreme Court: "I would not have nominated Clarence Thomas. I don't think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation."

In other words, nine months ago Mr. Obama thought that the primary qualification for the High Court was the soundness of a nominee's legal thinking, or at least that's what Democrats have always stressed when working against a conservative judge. Throughout the Bush years, it was standard Democratic senatorial practice to comb through every last opinion, memo, job application and college term paper, all with an aim of creating a nominee "too extreme" or "unqualified" to sit on the federal bench.

Mr. Obama knows this, as he took part in it, joining a Senate minority who voted against both Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito. Mr. Obama also understands a discussion of Judge Sotomayor's legal thinking means a discussion about "judicial activism" -- a political loser. In a day when voters routinely rise up to rebuke their activist courts on issues ranging from gay marriage to property rights, few red-state Democrats want to go there. Moreover, a number of Judge Sotomayor's specific legal opinions -- whether on racial preferences, or gun restrictions -- put her to the left of most Americans.

Which brings us to Ground Rule No. 2, which is that Republicans are not allowed to criticize Judge Sotomayor, for the reason that she is the first Hispanic nominee to the High Court.

Read it all to discover Obama's new ground rules that take identity politics (and its latent bigotry) to even higher levels of Orwellian absurdity and political correctness.

As Rosslyn Smith at American Thinker says, "And to think some people actually thought that by voting for Obama this nation would be put identity politics behind us."

HAH! On the contrary, the election of Obama has made identity politics--and the left's rainbow hypocrisy-- front and center in American life.

Friday, May 29, 2009


North Korea is not an imminent threat, but clearly, global warming is--so much so that, "Every aspect of our lives must be subjected to an inventory ... of how we are taking responsibility."

Has it ever occurred to malignant and thuggish do-gooders like Nancy Pelosi, I wonder, that she and the other idiots in Congress were elected to take responsibility for dealing with lunatic regimes like North Korea and Iran--and NOT for regulating every aspect of the lives of those who elected her?

WHY WHY WHY are we electing people like this?? It's suicidal in more ways than one....

UPDATE: Suicidal passivity? Or, is Obama the opiate of the masses?

[Cartoons by Brian Farrington]

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Gagdad Bob writes in one of his many excellent posts (this one titled "The Stone Age Economics of the Left: Who Would Jesus Bail Out?):

But one of the things that never changes is the hysteria of the left. The hysteria results from the conflation of existential and economic realities. In other words, when it comes to existence, there is always something to bitch about. But if you shift this to the plane of economics, then you can imagine that otherwise insoluble existential problems are susceptible to solutions.

For example, you can give "free college" to everyone, but this won't alter the fact that 50% of human beings are of below average intelligence. In fact, you'll only end up diluting education, so that if someone wants to be educated, they will have to do so outside of college. With the exception of the hard sciences, we're pretty much at that point now. Once college is universal, it becomes worthless. And if Obama has his way, the same thing will occur in medicine: everyone will be entitled to their government-rationed portion of mediocre healthcare.

Now, when Marx was writing his critique of industrial capitalism in the mid 19th century, living standards were finally rising after hundreds, and even thousands, of years of stagnation. Workers were just finally rising above subsistence levels and beginning to be able to purchase necessities and eventually luxuries that would have been completely unavailable to them in the past. Pockets of Slack were starting to break out everywhere, instead of just being available to the upper-upper classes.

In short, the means of creating unlimited wealth weren't really stumbled upon by human beings until the rise of industrial capitalism. Human beings had finally discovered the key to economic growth, which came down to the magical combination of individual liberty, free markets, strong private property rights, sound money, and the rule of law. And then get the hell out of the way.

And even then, it took several hundred more years to tame the "boom or bust" cycle [oops!], to the point that people no longer expect economic recessions, much less, depressions. It is now as if people imagine that unlimited economic growth and prosperity are the norm instead of an extraordinary deviation from the past. And with that, a sense of entitlement is nurtured, which in turn is rooted in what the psychoanalyst Melanie Klein called constitutional envy....

In other words, communism is our default state (as seen in our immediate families), whereas certain traits and habits of mind associated with capitalism must be learned, among them, trust of the stranger, the tamping down of envy, a focus on the future instead of the present, and an understanding that economic exchange isn't a zero-sum game....

For the vast majority of human beings, liberty is not a particularly important value, much less the most important one. They would just as soon barter it away for security, as they have done in western Europe.

Once you understand this, then much about the left begins to make sense. In Europe, we can see how the welfare state puts in place a system of incentives that creates a new kind of enfeebled man, but that's not exactly correct. In reality, it simply reveals man for what he is -- a lazy, frightened, selfish, superstitious, instinct-loving and lowdown rascal. Leftism aims low and always reaches its target.

As they say, read it all.

At any rate, his words got me to thinking about why it is that the left, whose policies as Bob suggests, always end up enabling and exposing the worse aspects of human nature, are the same people who are always coming up with these utopian schemes that promise a veritable paradise of human love, compassion, kindness and brotherhood and deliver a toxic brew of hate, envy, and discord? How can they be so completely clueless about something as obvious as the reality of human nature?

Perhaps, the best answer to that question is that, when it comes to themselves, the left is constitutionally unable to understand or accept the dark side of their own natures with any degree of clarity, let alone honesty.

The squalid utopian fantasies of socialism, communism--or any variant of Marxism for that matter--appeals primarily to people who refuse to acknowledge their own human imperfections, and hence their own capacity for evil. They don't want to admit it, but those who are drawn to the leftist view of the world, tend to see themselves as superior; above all the boring, ordinary human beings around them; more virtuous, more compassionate, smarter; and of course, much better qualified to decide what's best for lesser beings like you and me.

It is extremely ironic, considering the left's rhetoric to the contrary, to realize that it is conservatism and its underlying priniciples that fundamentally embrace the truth about human nature; and understand that nature is closer to the "lazy, frightened,s elfish, superstitious, instinct-loving, lowdown rascal" than to the utopian "ideal man", promoted in the rantings of communists, socialist, or any collectivist or totalitarian (whether from the left or the right side of the political spectrum). And, as a consequence of understanding that reality, conservatism and its economic policies (i.e., capitalism) are able to harness even the most negative aspects of human nature to bring positive good both to the individual and to the larger society as well.

Conservatism and capitalism are both ideas that have worked amazingly well for one reason: they do not pretend that human nature is something it is not. Leftism of any stripe fails miserably and catastrophically because they routinely pretend that human nature can be changed and perfected.

In essence, the left's denial and its psychological attraction to all these dysfunctional utopian systems inevitably leads to envy and a host of other negative and sadistic human traits; and, along the way, it promotes a cult of victimhood and identity politics with all the associated social and political conflicts those emotions generate. Envy, in particular, is the lovely human emotion that drives all these leftist systems; and it exists in pure, unadulterated and vicious form in those systems.

And, as I noted in the post linked earlier, answer to the unspoken question, yes; capitalism also thrives on envy--and even greed.

But, capitalism within a democratic and politically free system of government offers a healthy channel for the redirection of negative emotions like envy and greed into something positive for both the individual and the larger society.

Something, I might add, that Marxism, socialism and all its malignant variants completely fail to do. You cannot escape the reality of this dark side of human nature. You can either channel that dark side and use it constructively to benefit the individual and incidentally the society he lives in; or you can encourage and facilitate it in all its destructive power, and by doing so create the hell on earth we've come to associate with communist and Marxist societies.

After the leftist disasters of the 20th century; after the devastating consequences of forcing people to live in a variety of these "utopian paradises", it is simply amazing that today's left continues to deny the reality of human nature. Yet they do, and that is why they keep coming back to the same old tired ideas and policies and formulas that have repeatedly failed in the real world and which have always--ALWAYS--ended up unleashing all the evil of which human nature is capable.

Ahhh. The power of the unconscious!

On the other hand, the values that have brought enduring light and progress to humanity--Life, Liberty, and the freedom to pursue one's own individual happiness--are not utopian in nature. Far from it. These values, enshrined in the American singularity represent the values that are able to transform flawed, ordinary human beings into luminous souls; because by pursuing their own happiness in a free society under the rule of law, individuals are able to achieve incredible heights.

Leftists "aim low" because they base their policies on ridiculous fantasies about their own nature, i.e., they imagine they are "better" people than the rest of us. In other words, they allow their unconscious self--in which the dark side of human nature is at home--to take control of their actions. Rarely do they ever examine their own motives or the dramatic inconsistencies between what they say and what they do. They "always reach their target" because they demonstrate repeatedly how truly despicable human nature can be when the dark side of one's self is denied and hidden behind a veil of arrogant, narcissistic superiority. These do-gooders always end up doing bad, but console themselves by saying, "We meant well." All their so-called "progressive" policies have the same superficial quality: it first and foremost makes the leftist feel good about himself and reinforces their psychological denial about human nature (specifically, their own).

Conservatives, with the tacit acceptance of human foibles and human evil manage, with their better ideas, to "aim high" and allow human nature--with all its attendant good and bad qualities--to reach for the stars. Sometimes we fail (we are human, after all), but when we succeed, the whole of humanity moves forward.

Which is why conservatives are the true--and only-- progressives.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


The LA Times had a story a few days ago that basically attacked Dick Cheney for saying that the Bush Administration actions saved lives. In "Cheney's assertions of lives saved is hard to prove", Greg Miller writes:
Reporting from Washington -- In the bitter debate over the nation's counter-terrorism policies, former Vice President Dick Cheney has introduced an assertion that substantially raises the stakes.

Twice in the last two weeks -- including during his speaking duel with President Obama on Thursday -- Cheney has said that the Bush administration's approach may have saved "hundreds of thousands" of lives....

But terrorism experts said that though it is possible to envision scenarios that involve casualties of that magnitude, no evidence has emerged about the plots disrupted during the Bush administration to suggest that Cheney's claim is true.

"It's an easy thing to say and a difficult thing to prove," said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University. "I think it's another broadside in this ongoing feud."

One particularly interesting tidbit, if you read the entire thing you will discover this gem as the last sentence:
Obama has also made assertions in the counter-terrorism debate that are difficult to assess. In making the case Thursday for closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, he said that the island prison had "likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained."

But "nobody knows that for a fact," Schmitt said. "That is the reason why this is such a hard debate in some ways -- because until one actually sees the intelligence they're sitting on, it's virtually impossible to make a judgment that what either Obama or Cheney is saying is spot on."

Interesting, isn't it, that Cheney is demanding that intelligence be released, but Obama doesn't want it to be? That alone should tell you something important about this "feud". The events reported yesterday about North Korea testing a nuclear device on par with the bomb that exploded over Hiroshima, should also tell you something important.

Michael Rubin notes:
Reports suggest that North Korea today tested a nuclear device on par with the bomb that exploded over Hiroshima. The test is an indictment of more than 15 years of misguided diplomacy. Rather than win diplomatic pause, we and our allies in KEDO have given North Korea billions of dollars in aid and subsidies while they pursued this milestone unmolested an unabated.

It is doubtful that Pyongyang was ever sincere in its engagement. While some Clinton hands blame the Bush administration for the breakdown of the Agreed Framework, the more honest diplomats acknowledge that the evidence of North Korean cheating had simply grown too great to bear. The best argument those defending the process could come up with was that North Korea had violated only the Joint Declaration of North and South Korea on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, a rather silly argument given the incorporation of the Joint Declaration into the Agreed Framework and the larger point that North Korea simply did not abide by agreements.

The question now comes whether we will learn from the failures of both engagement and multilateralism. The links between Pyongyang and Tehran are strong. The arguments made now with regard to Tehran parallel those made 15 years ago with North Korea. The timeline won't be the same, however, since North Korea has shown willingness to proliferate, selling technology to the highest bidder. Obama faces a real test with regard to Iran. Desperation to engage and willingness to admit guilt for imagined sins while seeing innocence in an adversary is not a strategy

I would like to look at this issue from a psychological perspective.

Gerard Baker once wrote in an article that proposed an alternate history of Iraq ; one where Saddam Hussein was permitted to stay in power by the international community. He makes this important point at the end of the article:
[T]hat judgment should encompass not just the consequences of what was done but the consequences of what might have happened had it not been done. The consequences of what was done in Iraq are easy to see and hard to look at. The consequences of what might have been are by their nature unrecordable. But we know that history’s greatest tragedies could and should have been avoided, but never were.

The consequences of what might have been are indeed unrecordable. The thing about prevention is prevents really bad things from happening. By the very act of preventing a bad thing from happening, you can never then prove that it might have occurred in the first place.

Critics can then claim that the countermeasure or preventive action was not really necessary to begin with (as we see Obama and the left doing about enhanced interrogation and waterboarding.

If you are successful, the event you fear will not happen. So, were you wrong to try to prevent it?

Likewise, because the terror plots the Bush Administration interrupted and their consequences were successfully prevented from happening, many people now --especially those that hate Bush and Cheney to begin with--will argue that nothing of significance occurred and will attempt to blow it all off. We see the scorn being heaped on the "dimwits" in NYC, for example, who were stopped from bombing a synagogue and a military base, though their intent was clear. You see the same scorn and derision every time some dimwit terrorist is caught and prevented from doing what he planned.

Gee, if only those "unsophisticated dimwits and bumbling holy warriors" from 9/11 had been infiltrated by the hapless FBI....

This kind of thing, which is the hallmark of foolish and clueless sites like the one linked above, is worse than foolish thinking. This is stupid and dangerous thinking. It is psychological denial taken to the nth degree.

If you take any murderous plot by the most dimwitted and bumbling of holy warriors--motivated by their sincere desire to kill us and all we stand for-- to their logical conclusion, they would have resulted in serious death and mayhem. By the logic of the critics of prevention, since nothing happened, there is no evidence you were successful. Or, since the perps have IQ's below most farm animals, their intent means nothing at all. Please tell all this to the innocent grade school children, or the mentally handicapped people Al Qaeda and other groups routinely recruit to be suicide bombers.

The sarcastic "critics of prevention", by the way, always morph into the pontificating "critics in hindsight" that blast away without mercy when there is a "failure of imagination"; or for "not connecting the dots"; or because "not enough planning in advance" when something terrible occurs.

Thus you have the infallible logic of the critc of prevention, and the ready-made fall guy in whoever is courageous enough to put his money where his mouth is to try to prevent something terrible from happening.

The infallible logic is this: since the terrible event was prevented from occurring, what possible evidence exists that it would have taken place? Hence you can only "prove" that prevention would have worked if you don't use it.

The ready-made fall guy is created by the infallible logic. If the terrible event occurs and was preventable, and you did nothing--YOU ARE TO BLAME FOR ALLOWING IT TO HAPPEN. If you prevent the terrible thing from occurring, but you cannot prove that it would have occurred if you hadn't prevented it--THEN YOU LIED, PEOPLE DIED FOR NOTHING, ETC ETC.. In short, you will be damned if you do prevent the terrible thing from happening; and damned if you don't.

In the end, it matters what people said and what they did or did not do. Putting events in perspective requires that kind of analysis, and so, articles like Baker's provides a real service to anyone who needs a dispassionate and rational evaluation of current events without resorting to the mass hysteria and selective amnesia that so characterizes the MSM, the Democrats, and the antiwar fanatics.

We come now to why anticipation (a mature psychological defense, and one of the few that is conscious and deliberate) is so superior to denial. The former prevents disasters, while the latter enables them.

Many on the left, including most of the Democratic Party leadership and our current POTUS are in major denial about terrorism (or should I say, "man-made disasters"?). Their spokespeople and pundits routinely claim that "fear of terrorism" was "inflamed and exploited" by the Bush Administration for the purpose of gaining power:
Bush opponents must finally overcome the one weapon which has protected George Bush again and again: fear. Fear of terrorism is what the Administration has successfully inflamed and exploited for four years in order to justify its most extreme and even illegal actions undertaken in the name of fighting terrorism.

This argument has been repeated many times by many on the left; and most recently by President Obama in a speech at the National Archives. What they are all basically arguing is that, instead of using a healthy and appropriate psychological defense called anticipation against terrorism and the Islamic fanatics within and without our society (who most certainly want to kill us and destroy our society)--we should instead switch to a psychotic one, denial. They insist that the fact that there have been no more 9/11's in the U.S. is pure dumb luck and that they were right to be more fearful of the evil Bush and Cheney than the poor oppressed dimwit holy warriors. Bush and Cheney were "shredding our Constitution", while the jihadists only wanted to kill us. Even now with Bush and Cheney out of office, we continue to hear this argument a lot. Quite a lot, acutally.

Besides the ongoing psychological displacement, there is a strong element of paranoia here too. And a noticeable touch of both projection (ask yourself who is really desperate about getting and keeping power) and hysteria. This exaggerated emotionalism from the left is used to describe normal people justifiably afraid of irrational fanatics not amenable to reason. The implication remains even in the current Administration that Bush and Cheney used these "inappropriate and irrational fears" of terrorism to "justify illegal actions" like torture.

While the US was busy fighting this illusory enemy, Bushitler and Darth Cheney were amassing power and intended to set themselves up as dictators and destroy our freedom. Only the brave and powerful Obamessiah was able to save us from such a horrible fate.

Anticipation is the realistic anticipation of or planning for future discomfort. This defense mechanism includes goal-directed and even overly careful planning or worrying--depending on the situation. Anticipating realistic events such as death or illness or separation and loss; and then consciously utilizing personal insight and self awareness to mitigate the worse effects, if possible is the height of maturity and healthy psychological functioning.

Let me quote George Vaillant (page 71):
Anticipation involves realistic and affect-laden planning for future discomfort. [...] of all the mature defenses, anticipation rearranges outer and inner reality the least. Rather than use self-deception, anticipation spreads anxiety out over time. It involves the self-inoculation of taking one's affective pain in small, anticipatory doses....In the worlds of the psychoanalyst Heinz Hartmann, one of the pioneers of ego psychology, "The familiar function of anticipating the future, orienting our actions according to it and correctly relating means and ends to each an ego function and, surely, an adaption process of the highest significance."
Most of us, like Scarlet O'Hara would prefer to "think about it tomorrow." Making a list of worries before embarking on a trip seems like a reasonable cognitive coping strategy. But nobody likes to worry; thus we "forget" to act on such advice. We would never miss planes or forget to floss our teeth if we had consciously pondered the unpleasant consequences in advance. Moreover, it is far easier to plan voluntarily for neutral events like plane trips and tooth decay than for affect-laden events like funerals and the real costs of war.

Anticipation, and the appropriate and realistic worry that an attack like 9/11--or even worse-- are the psychological factors that are protecting us, even as I write this post. President Bush and his administration by their actions have given the American people 6 years without an attack on the homeland (not that he will get any credit for it; and not that the left will credit the Patriot Act or even the increased surveillance of the NSA; or the actions of the military in Afghanistan or Iraq). To the political left, our safety is all a big mysterious and magical state of being independent of any actions to ensure it.

Or, as the left and its current leaders prefer to imagine: we have been safe because of "fear-mongering" and that the threat/risk is overblown.

Of course it is. Until another 9/11 happens. Or until something worse occurs. Then they will be all over Bush and Company for lying to us about the threat and screaming, "WHY DIDN'T YOU PROTECT US?" like the little children they are. Here is more from the Greenwald article:
What must be emphasized is that one can protect against the threat of
terrorism with courage, calm and resolve – the attributes which have always
defined our nation as it has confronted other threats. Hysteria and fear-mongering are the opposite of strength. The strong remain rational and unafraid.

Excuse me? What does this moron think the U.S. has been doing since 9/11? The courage, calm and resolve of both President Bush and our stalwart military forces has been nothing short of inspiring. I ask you to consider who it has been since 9/11 who "lack resolve". Who has been whining and sniping and insisting that "the war is lost" and that we should just give up and go home? Who is now saying that it's a fait accompli that Iran get nuclear weapons? Who is hysterical with rage at the very idea that Israel might do something to prevent that scenario from happening?

The left talks about "hysteria and fear-mongering" all the time. But, what is it except hysteria and fear-mongering that motivated people to believe that Bush and Cheney's goal was not to protect America, but to destroy it? What was it except hysteria that only focused on the daily death counts from Iraq, and not on the context of what our soldiers are dying for? What was it except hysteria that even today maintains that the death of 3000 innocent Americans at the hands of religious fanatics in ONE DAY is nothing to be concerned about; but the death of as many professional soldiers in eight YEARS is enough to cut and run? What is it but hysteria that negatively emphasizes the waterboarding of three (THREE!) high value terrorists in a desperate attempt to keep America safe from another attack?

There is NO OBJECTIVE EVIDENCE that the previous Administration did what it did in order to accumulate power. Quite the opposite, in fact. Bush persevered despite overwhelming opposition and negativ polls. Not only that, but there was a peaceful transition of power from Bush to Obama; a graciousness and a deliberate attempt to pass the torch in as civil a manner as possible. Compare that civility with the continuous incivility of Obama and his henchmen who cannot seem to utter a sentence without denouncing the former President and his people.

I would also like to point out to the denialists, that the strong are rational and appropriately afraid. Because if they are not afraid, they will die. If they do not take steps to protect themselves, they will die. If they ignore for too long the threats amassing to kill them, even the strong will die.

I am not arguing that there should be a carte blanche given to the executive branch of government. But even the Founding Fathers understood that during a war is no time to be arguing like children about who gets to do what. The Constitution allows the president to assume powers and responsibilities that he otherwise would not even want. It is truly hysteria and fear-mongering that motivates the left and the Democrats now.

I know peole who trembled in their beds at night in Ann Arbor, waiting for the Bush Gestapo to come and take them away. Underneath all the posturing about civil rights and such, paranoid people are actually very fearful people who are desperately avoiding dealing with their fear; that's why they are in denial of reality.

Those of us who prefer to be proactive and anticipate for future attacks are the ones who are dealing directly--and appropriately-- with our fears. We prefer anticipation and prevention over denial and disaster.

Monday, May 25, 2009


It may be time to bring Obama's diplomatic outreach to Iran to a the next higher hopeychangey level....And, while you're at it crank up the psychological denial, too:
Everything you know about Iran is wrong, or at least more complicated than you think. Take the bomb. The regime wants to be a nuclear power but could well be happy with a peaceful civilian program (which could make the challenge it poses more complex). What's the evidence? Well, over the last five years, senior Iranian officials at every level have repeatedly asserted that they do not intend to build nuclear weapons.

Yeah, right. That's why Iranian generals are so excited about nuclear energy.

Oh, and this is good news, too. More diplomacy, please, since it is working so well with these regimes. (/sarcasm).

[Cartoons by Glenn McCoy]

UPDATE: The Big O says that, "North Korea is recklessly challenging the world." Ok. So what are you going to do about it, kid? The punks are feeling lucky these days for some reason.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Andy McCarthy makes two excellent points about Obama and the Constitution:

After only 120 days, the Obama style is all too apparent: the more earnestness he exhibits in his rhetoric ("We are a nation at war," he's no socialist, the last thing he wants to be doing is taking over banks and running auto companies, etc.) the less likely it is that his actions will comport with that rhetoric.

As yesterday's editorial notes, in the speech, the president accused President Bush of adopting an "ad hoc legal approach for fighting terrorism that was neither effective nor sustainable — a framework that failed to trust in our institutions, and that failed to use our values as a compass.” Let's put aside that the first part of that assertion, as the editorial demonstrates, is absurd: the Bush policies were far from ad hoc, they have been spectacularly successful, and Obama himself (for all his disclaimers) is sustaining them. I want to focus on the second part.

When businesses fail, we have a framework, an institution, and a set of values that are triggered: The framework is called bankruptcy, the institution is the United States Bankruptcy Court, and the applicable values are found in the corpus known as federal bankruptcy law, which prescribe bedrock principles like: secured creditors take priority over unsecured creditors. Rather than trusting in those things and using settled law as a compass, Obama has adopted an ad hoc approach which has proved grossly ineffective and — given the moral hazard it infuses in the entire financial system — unsustainable.

Why isn't the GM debacle a violation of the "rule of law" that Pres. Obama and Attorney General Holder are so fond of lecturing us about?

Over and over again I hear how "wonderful" Obama's rhetoric is; how much everyone responds to it and how it makes them hopeful about the future etc. etc. etc.

Frankly, I can barely stand to listen to the man. I have to read transcripts of most of his speeches because my reaction to his style is so negative. I don't like the sensation of being manipulated; nor do I like being lectured to by someone who instinctively believes they are far more virtuous than I am-- and intends to show me the error of my ways.

Understand that I listen to people for a living. I hear various degrees of honesty, sincerity, and real emotional pain being expressed on a regular basis. I also hear some of the most self-serving, dishonest and completely irresponsible utterings that it is possible to imagine. Yet, in my professional career, I have to freely admit that I have heard nothing like the deceitful and self-aggrandizing utterings of Barack Obama, which seem to get more and more pathological with every speech he gives. His most recent scam, in the National Archives in front of a fake copy of the U.S. Constitution just about takes the cake. This is not irony, so much as it is the grandiosity of tyranny.

Bill Clinton--who I actually liked for the most part; even his amusing narcissism, which seems so childishly innocent in retrospect--was completely harmless compared to the sociopathic statist that is our current POTUS.

Mark Levine in his excellent book Libery and Tyranny summarizes it best:
The Statist in America is no less resolute than his European counterpart but, by necesity, he is more cunning--where the European lurches and leaps, the American's steps are measured but steady. In America, the Statist understands that his counterrevoultion must at least appear gradual and not revlutionary--sometimes even clothed in the flag and patriotism--lest his intentions become too obvious and thus alarming to his skeptics.

For the Statist, the international community and international organizations serve as useful sources for importing disaffection with the civil society. The Statist urges Americans to view themselves through the lenses of the those who resent and even hate them. He needs Americans to become less confident, to doubt their institutions, and to accept the status assigned to them by outsiders--as isolationists, invaders, occupiers, oppressors, and exploiters. The Statist wants Americans to see themselves as backward, foolishly holding to their quaint notions of individual liberty, private property, family, and faity, long diminished or jettisoned in other countries. They need to listen to the voices of condemnation from world capitals and self-appointed global watchdogs hostile to America's superior standard of living. America is said to be out of step and regressive, justifying the surrendering of its sovereignty though treaties and other arrangements that benefit the greater "humanity." And it would not hurt if America admitted its past transgressions, made reparations, and accepted its fate as just another aging nation--one among many.

Next time you listen to the Obamessiah's speeches, listen to what he doesn't say. Listen to the vagueness, the vacuity. Listen to the lack of specifics and the blatant emotional manipulation. Listen to the cognitive dissonance between what he is saying in his seductive, sedating style; and what he is doing with his deliberate, statist national policies and his foreign policy that not only demeans America by apologizing for her very existence; but severly handicaps her ability to act in the future. Watch how he badmouths the previous Administration, then surrepticiously implements the same policies that kept us safe over the last 8 years. The only problem with this last is that by simultaneously denouncing the security policies he is embracing, he is making schizophrenics of all the honorable people who are working hard to keep this country safe.

How long can this schizophrenogenic behavior go on before it essentially cripples those same patriots--because their service and their patriotism can be rendered criminal on the slightest whim of this unprincipled coxcomb?

How long can you pretend to stand for peace, when you enthusiastically embrace lying, murdering, genocidal terrorists?

Of course, the Democratic Party has given Obama great role-models in this regard:

Friday, May 22, 2009


To blog, or not to blog: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outraged leftys,
Or to take arms against a sea of insanities,
And by opposing cure them? To diagnose;
No more; but by our therapy to end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
The mind is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To diagnose;
To heal: perchance to cure: ay, there's the rub;
For in that healing of mind, what thoughts may come
When one has shunned reality,
It must give pause: there's the psychosis
That makes virtue of victimhood;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
And be oppressed ad infinitum?
The pangs of despised powerlessness,
The insolence of office and the flipflops
That narcissistic politics engenders?
Only those whose grandiosity
Is matched with unbounded self righteousness,
Who grunt and sweat for power o'er others.
But then the dread of life after the Internet,
The undiscover'd country from whose seduction
No blogger really returns, it puzzles the will
And makes us willing to bear all ill will
Of trolls and sock puppets of whom we know not of....
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the pajama revolution
Is mere addiction disguised by intellect.
The enterprise of blogging pithy connundrums
And exposing naked narcissism on the left,
Hath its merits and its pain. - Soft you now!
The fair Freud and Jung and Adler! Wizards!
Let unconscious memories be remember'd....

(with apologies to The Bard)

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Since the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, here are a few facts for your consideration:

  • In 1936, when Palestine was still under British rule, a royal commission headed by Lord Peel was sent to investigate the steadily worsening Arab violence. After a detailed inquiry, the Peel Commission concluded that "an irrepressible conflict has arisen between two national communities within the narrow bounds of one small country." It recommended a two-state solution - a partition of the land into separate Arab and Jewish states. "Partition offers a chance of ultimate peace," the commission reported. "No other plan does."

    But the Arab leaders, more intent on preventing Jewish sovereignty in Palestine than in achieving a state for themselves, rejected the Peel plan out of hand. The foremost Palestinian leader, Haj Amin al-Husseini, actively supported the Nazi regime in Germany. In return, Husseini wrote in his memoirs, Hitler promised him "a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world."

  • In 1947, the Palestinians were again presented with a two-state proposal. Again they spurned it. Like the Peel Commission, the United Nations concluded that only a division of the land into adjacent states, one Arab and one Jewish, could put an end to the conflict. On Nov. 29, 1947, by a vote of 33-13, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 181, partitioning Palestine on the basis of population. Had the Arabs accepted the UN decision, the Palestinian state that "the whole world wants" would today be 61 years old. Instead, the Arab League vowed to block Jewish sovereignty by waging "a war of extermination and a momentous massacre."

  • Following its stunning victory in the 1967 Six Day War, Israel offered to exchange the land it had won for permanent peace with its neighbors. From their summit in Khartoum came the Arabs' notorious response: "No peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel."

  • At Camp David in 2000, Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians virtually everything they claimed to be seeking - a sovereign state with its capital in East Jerusalem, 97 percent of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, tens of billions of dollars in "compensation" for the plight of Palestinian refugees. Yasser Arafat refused the offer, and launched the bloodiest wave of terrorism in Israel's history.

  • In 2005, when Israel pulled out of Gaza, paving the way for a Palestinian state there; when the 'Palestinians' were handed, on a silver platter, beautiful greenhouses, a working business with reveneue and profits, how did they react? They blew them up and burned them down...(see here)

  • There is more, but you get the general behavioral pattern. In fact, the one "stable" thing about the instability of the Middle East is that certain behavior is absolutely predictable based on all the data points available.

    Now, YOU be the psychiatrist! Answer the following question based on your analysis of the behavioral psychology of the players in the ongoing drama described above:

    What is the most likely outcome of President HopeandChange's renewed attempts to implement a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

    BONUS QUESTION for additional points:

    If the primary goal of the Palestinians and their Islamic brothers in the region is NOT peace or the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, what might it be?

    BONUS ESSAY QUESTION Discuss the following psychological point and how these dynamics play into the analysis above:

    If you asked Obama which nation -- Israel or Iran -- is more evil and more dangerous to our interests and to the world's, I'm confident that Obama would name Iran on all counts, and would do so sincerely. But the more important point is that Iran occupies no meaningful place in Obama's left-wing consciousness; Israel does. (By the way, I think the same analysis applies to Venezuela and Great Britain).

    If you were to ask a person with major "father" issues who is more evil, his father or Jeffrey Dahmer, the person would name Dahmer. Yet Dahmer doesn't enter the person's consciousness or animate his behavior; the father does.

    But having major father issues isn't the same thing as favoring, or being indifferent to, patricide.

    If I might add to that last statement: it is an important aspect of psychological health that a person come to understand and appreciate the various psychological conflicts that swirl around in his or her unconscious. Only by making the unconscious conscious do you begin to establish control over your behavior and NOT unconsciously favor, or be indifferent to evil.

    Wednesday, May 20, 2009


    Victor Davis Hanson:
    ...I think we now have come to the end to the five-year left-wing attack theme of Bush "shredding the Constitution."

    Except for the introduction of euphemisms and a few new ballyhooed but largely meaningless protocols, there is no longer a Bush-did-it argument. The Patriot Act, wiretaps, e-mail intercepts, military tribunals, Predator drone attacks, Iraq, Afghanistan — and now Guantánamo — are officially no longer part of the demonic Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld nexus, but apparently collective legitimate anti-terrorism measures designed to thwart killers, and by agreement, after years of observance, of great utility in keeping us safe the last eight years.

    Add in the Holder statements about Guantánamo in the 2002 interview, the Pelosi/Rockefeller/et al. waterboarding briefings, the need to consider torture in past statements by senators such as Schumer, and I think historians will now look back at these "dark years" as largely a collective, bipartisan effort.

    All of which leaves us a final musing: If so, what was the hysteria of 2001-2008 about other than simple politics?

    I doubt we get any more movies about ongoing renditions, redactions, any more Checkpoint-like novels, any more waterboarding skits and reenactments, any more late-night comedians doing their Bush tapped, intercepted, tortured, renditioned, tribunaled poor suspect X routines.

    And I guess as well that the good old days of supposedly flushed Korans in Guantánamo and Omar the poor liberationist renditioned to Cairo are over. We are now in the age of a sober and judicious President Obama who circumspectly, if reluctantly and in anguish at the high cost, does what is necessary to keep us safe.

    And we won't see a brave young liberal senator, Obama-like, barnstorming the Iowa precincts blasting a presidency for trampling our values with the shame of Guantánamo, wiretaps, intercepts, renditions, military tribunals, Predators, Iraq, etc. That motif just dissolved — or rather, it never really existed.

    It short, all the fury, the vicious slander, the self-righteous outbursts, the impassioned speeches from the floor, the "I accuse" op-eds by the usual moralistic pundits — all that turned out to be solely about politics, nothing more.

    This is precisely what hysteria , including political hysteria is all about--emotionalism designed to keep a hidden agenda from awareness. It is the politics of denial; and we have been drowning in the Democrats' denial for years. It will not stop now that Barack Obama has essentially adopted all of Bush's strategies in the war on terror overseas contingency operations.

    Instead of investing the psychological energy necessary to effectively use those strategies, the energy will be investing in maintaining the denial by persecuting, prosecuting, denouncing and demonizing Bush, Cheney, and former officials. Recognition of Bush's accomplishments and acknowledgment that his strategies were carefully developed and actually worked cannot be made part of the national consciousness--it is far too threatening to the left. Hence, the tales told by the idiots of the left will continue unabated until disaster strikes.

    Like Obama, they want to live in two completely separate realities and pretend these alternate universes are compatible.

    But we all know what happens when matter and anti-matter come into contact with each other, don't we?


    Is Seymour Hersh flagrantly psychotic and paranoid?? That would be the kindest explanation of his behavior that fits the facts. It would even be treatable.

    Of course, pseudologia fantastica also fits the bill...which is just the fancy name for pathological lying, which (to quote from the link) "is falsification entirely disproportionate to any discernible end in view, may be extensive and very complicated, and may manifest over a period of years or even a lifetime."

    Additionally, notice from Greyhawk's post how Hersh appears to be completely indifferent to the potential lethal consequences (to others) of his malignant behavior? This is rather typical of the paranoid, who often displays a rather cool grandiosity and sociopathic indifference to others.

    Is it any wonder that this fruitcake (who calls himself a journalist) is a treasured source of "factual" information for the proud political left? Is it any surprise that the Latin word for left is "sinister"?


    Yes We Can!
    Obama said he expects a positive response from his diplomatic outreach to Iran on stopping its nuclear program by the end of the year. The president said the United States wanted to bring Iran into the world community, but declared "we're not going to have talks forever."

    [Cartoons by Steve Kelley]

    Personally, I can't wait until Iran is part of the world community! (/sarcasm)

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009


    Jonah Goldberg finds commercial annoying. I fear it is the only a small part of the price we will all pay for allowing the indoctrination of our children into the state-sponsored envirofascist world view. Pavlik Morozov will be considered a rugged individualist compared to the greenshirted tree-huggers we are cultivating in our midst.

    If this vapid commercial doesn't bother you, then consider this: those old-fashioned conservatives operate on the premise that they have better ideas. But the entire liberal leftist marketing plan is based on the premise that they are better people; and that if you become one of them, you too will be a better person.

    They can't argue that they have better ideas, because, frankly, their ideas stink--particularly this one, which seduces people into believing in the perfectibility of human nature. This belief, without doubt, has caused more human misery and oppression in our world than any other; and is as toxic and lethal today as it was in the last century.

    Steven Pinker on "THE COGNITIVE NICHE"


    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4
    Part 5
    Part 6

    Monday, May 18, 2009


    Charles Krauthammer has weighed in on the torture debate, and was highly criticized on the left for discussing two scenarios in which torture might be acceptable: (1) the ticking time bomb and (2) a high-value terrorist who refuses to divulge crucial information that could save innocent lives. He responds to his critics by discussing Nancy Pelosi's (and the Democrats') vascillating moral compass about the whole concept of torture:

    My critics say: So what if Pelosi is a hypocrite? Her behavior doesn't change the truth about torture.

    But it does. The fact that Pelosi (and her intelligence aide) and then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss and dozens of other members of Congress knew about the enhanced interrogation and said nothing, and did nothing to cut off the funding, tells us something very important.

    Our jurisprudence has the "reasonable man" standard. A jury is asked to consider what a reasonable person would do under certain urgent circumstances.

    On the morality of waterboarding and other "torture," Pelosi and other senior and expert members of Congress represented their colleagues, and indeed the entire American people, in rendering the reasonable person verdict. What did they do? They gave tacit approval. In fact, according to Goss, they offered encouragement. Given the circumstances, they clearly deemed the interrogations warranted.

    Moreover, the circle of approval was wider than that. As Slate's Jacob Weisberg points out, those favoring harsh interrogation at the time included Alan Dershowitz, Mark Bowden and Newsweek's Jonathan Alter. In November 2001, Alter suggested we consider "transferring some suspects to our less squeamish allies" (i.e., those that torture). And, as Weisberg notes, these were just the liberals.
    Krauthammer concludes:

    You can believe that Pelosi and the American public underwent a radical transformation from moral normality to complicity with war criminality back to normality. Or you can believe that their personalities and moral compasses have remained steady throughout the years, but changes in circumstances (threat, knowledge, imminence) alter the moral calculus attached to any interrogation technique.

    You don't need a psychiatrist to tell you which of these theories is utterly fantastical.
    Victoria Toensing there is notes that most of the people who want to start prosecuting Bush Administration officials for 'torture' haven't even bothered to read the infamous "torture memos":

    Sen. Patrick Leahy wants an independent commission to investigate them. Rep. John Conyers wants the Obama Justice Department to prosecute them. Liberal lawyers want to disbar them, and the media maligns them.

    What did the Justice Department attorneys at George W. Bush's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) -- John Yoo and Jay Bybee -- do to garner such scorn? They analyzed a 1994 criminal statute prohibiting torture when the CIA asked for legal guidance on interrogation techniques for a high-level al Qaeda detainee (Abu Zubaydah).
    Read it all; and then read this, and you will come away with the conclusion that the possibility of using enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding was not something that was arrived at lightly; nor without careful examination of law and legal precedent. The "intent" was always to obtain information that might prevent future civilian deaths in the U.S. and not that a "detainee suffer prolonged physical or mental suffering"; nor were such methods ever to be used except for high value detainees like Abu Zubaydah, "one of the highest ranking members of" al Qaeda, serving as "Usama Bin Laden's senior lieutenant." Who, "according to the CIA" had "been involved in every major" al Qaeda terrorist operation including 9/11, and was "planning future terrorist attacks" against U.S. interests.

    Most importantly, the lawyers were told that Zubaydah -- who was well-versed in American interrogation techniques, having written al Qaeda's manual on the subject -- "displays no signs of willingness" to provide information and "has come to expect that no physical harm will be done to him." When the usual interrogation methods were used, he had maintained his "unabated desire to kill Americans and Jews."

    The CIA and Department of Justice lawyers had two options: continue questioning Zubaydah by a process that had not worked or escalate the interrogation techniques in compliance with U.S. law. They chose the latter....

    But now, safe in ivory towers eight years removed from 9/11, critics demand criminalization of the techniques and the prosecution or disbarment of the lawyers who advised the CIA. Contrary to columnist Frank Rich's uninformed accusation in the New York Times that the lawyers "proposed using" the techniques, they did no such thing. They were asked to provide legal guidance on whether the CIA's proposed methods violated the law.

    Then there is Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, who declared that "waterboarding will almost certainly be deemed illegal if put under judicial scrutiny," depending on which "of several possibly applicable legal standards" apply. Does he know the Senate rejected a bill in 2006 to make waterboarding illegal? That fact alone negates criminalization of the act. So quick to condemn, Mr. Robinson later replied to a TV interview question that he did not know how long sleep deprivation could go before it was "immoral." It is "a nuance," he said.

    Yet the CIA asked those OLC lawyers to figure out exactly where that nuance stopped in the context of preventing another attack. There should be a rule that all persons proposing investigation, prosecution or disbarment must read the two memos and all underlying documents and then draft a dissenting analysis.
    Jeff Goldstein notes in a comment thread on one of his posts:

    I think it ought to be known to those who’d target civilians that we’ll do whatever it takes within the boundaries of the law to make sure they are unable to target civilians. And yes, that includes things that they might consider torture but that we do not — such as having scantily clad women interrogate them, or by having Jews in the room, in addition to things like sleep deprivation, temperature changes, wall standing, and waterboarding.

    With all these thoughts in mind, let's segue into a discussion of ethics and morality--topics any discussion of torture must consider.

    Ethics is the branch of philosophy that tells us how to behave in the world, or what is the proper course of action, particularly for situations like this where one is trying to determine what is "right" versus "wrong". On a fundamental level, ethics is really the manner in which we codify our most important values and act on them.

    In a comment thread from a 2006 post at The Belmont Club, Wretchard, speaking about the barbaric Islamic fundamentalist terrorists with whom we were at war, wrote:

    The brilliance of the new barbarism is that you cannot fight it without destroying your own value system into the bargain.

    Traditionally the solution has been to consider wartime a discontinuity, when civilization's rules are suspended. It becomes possible, for example, to lay waste to the Monte Cassino Abbey. Berlin was bombed without regard for its buildings, churches or people.

    The alternative is to create methods of fighting so discriminating that we can literally shoot between the raindrops. But that creates a different problem, for we will need an intelligence system so comprehensive that it will become intrusive.

    Either way, the war cannot be won without cost. And the fundamental fraud foisted on the public is to claim we can have war without horror, conduct an intelligence war without dishonesty and cunning and obtain victory without sacrifice.
    His two points are particularly relevant in the discussion of torture. To the extent that we can, we have tried to maintain "civilization's rules" as much as possible, while at the same time suspending them when the situation demands--i.e., adherence to a life-affirming value system that requires you to protect innocents who might be harmed by evil. Indeed, when it comes to the issue of torture, one might even say from an historical perspective that the administration went overboard to try and find techniques that were sufficiently uncomfortable and even unbearable; and which would elicit the necessary information without inflicting lasting harm on the recipient.

    In this, they were obviously successful.

    In fact, I would say that the Bush Administration used an ethical system that appropriately put the value of innocent life higher than that of the dubious, or so-called "rights" of a terrorist, who happens not to value life at all. Not only that, but the previous administration also managed to identify and use techniques that effectively "shoot between the raindrops" of the multiple definitions and conceptualizations of torture. True, they identified techniques that were harsh; but they were also techniques which did not truly endanger the life of the terrorist (who himself does not value life in the least and would consider such scruples about it "weak").

    To say that the use of such techniques is unethical seems to me to entirely miss the purpose of ethics.

    If you consider the purpose of ethics--to codify and act on one's values--then the Bush Administration behaved in an exquisitely ethical manner. They codified the most important of American values and acted on them; and in doing so managed to keep America safe from a terrorist attack for more than eight years.

    When it comes to the issue of torture (and, by the way, I am one of those who after considering all the facts, do not consider waterboarding "torture"), I am fully confident that we will not destroy our values; and that our overall moral heading can be recovered should we need to temporarily deviate from the direct course of the moral compass that guides us. Because, in order to combat and defeat this new barbarism, we must confront it and be willing to do whatever it takes to defeat it.

    Because if we do not defeat it, then it will be clear that, far from considering life important in our culture, we actually do not value life enough.

    If we appease or ignore the evil that terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism has loosed upon the world, it will continue to menace everything we hold dear; and sooner or later, that is what will destroy us and our values with us. No matter how rigorously we adhere to "morality" or how much restraint we demonstrate to the enemy's provocations, they will always up the ante.

    We will be defeated with our "superior" sense of morality and pride in our superhuman restraint intact.

    I rather think that it is more important for us to win, certain in our own hearts and minds of the endurance of our own values; and willing to do what is necessary in order to defeat that which threatens our life and our liberty.

    Our uncertainty about our own values is what is destroying us already. Value by value, we are ceding morality to an enemy that joyfully destroys life; laughs at liberty; and mocks our entire historical tradition. Look how willing much of the West has been to compromise our cherished freedoms in order to accommodate the enemy's threats.

    Soon, we will have compromised away all that matters to us; our civilization and all its values chipped away, little by little, as it is taken over by the barbarians who love death more than we love life.

    If the cost of this war must include acknowledging the horrific reality of the kind of death and terror the enemy will bring to us if we allow it; if we must dishonestly and cunningly conduct an intelligence war and be willing to obtain victory knowing that it will require sacrifice; then so be it. I love to read fantasies as much as anyone, but in the real world, the good and virtuous whose cause is just do not always automatically win.

    When America is finally cornered or down to the wire; when it comes down to the scenarios outlined by Krauthammer and others; then we must allow our own barbarism to surface to combat theirs head to head; AND, we must be prepared to live with the consequences, including even guilt and remorse. Otherwise, everything we hold dear, everything we aspire to become and all that we have achieved, will forever perish from this earth.

    These barbarians we fight--who do not let reason or life interfere with their jihad; who abide by no treaties, follow no rules, and scorn the very values upon which western civilization is founded--must be defeated. We could have lived with them they did not insist that we must become what they are or die. They are the ones who have defined the ground rules (or the non-rules) of this conflict; and eventually, we will have to meet them at their level--or they will win. We should hold tight to the thought that it is they who have set up the playing field on which the war is being waged.

    In defense of Nancy Pelosi and the left who now want to prosecute those who found a way to negotiate a path between the raindrops...well, incoherent, outraged indignation and preening self-righteousness are often the weapons of choice for today's postmodern moral relativists. But please don't suggest that they follow a moral compass. Their compass always has been and always will be primarily self-serving and spinning wildly, dependent on the political currents of the moment.

    Sunday, May 17, 2009


    With the classic narcissist, language is used cruelly and ruthlessly to ensnare one's enemies, to sow confusion and panic, to move others to emulate the narcissist ("projective identification"), to leave the listeners in doubt, in hesitation, in paralysis, to gain control, or to punish. Language is enslaved and forced to lie. The language is appropriated and expropriated. It is considered to be a weapon, an asset, a piece of lethal property, a traitorous mistress to be gang raped into submission. --Sam Vaknin, author, Malignant Self Love.

    Pathological lying is one of the hallmark characteristics of a narcissist, who does it out of a need to manipulate and maintain control. For the immature narcissist there is an essential emotional truth: lying is an expression of his (or her) mistrust of others; and his (or her) need to maintain a fragile sense of self at all costs.

    Being honest (and therefore vulnerable) terrifies the narcissist. Since his primary goal is to control others, through projection he constantly fears that others will try to control him. Thus, lying becomes the modus operandi through which he can maintain his superficial presentation of himself and keep people from learning the truth of who he really is. He never allows himself to be "pinned down", or accountable. More lies are always necessary to cover up a previous lie. And typically, he even begins to believe his own lies and become outraged at any suggestion that he may be lying. Thus he becomes sincere in his lying and others may actually believe the lies because of the sincerity. This is why truly pathological liars (such as sociopaths) are so hard to detect in the population. In general, the lack of an ability to feel guilty about the lies, and the perverse sense that he is "entitled to lie" are standard for the political narcissist.

    Having said all this, it is important to remember that lying, no matter how pathological it may be is not in itself a disease. EVERYONE LIES. Most psychological tests have built in scales that detect this tendency to make one's self look better to others.

    When you combine an overwhelmning need to make one's self look better (i.e., superior) with a grandiose sense of self-worth; throw in glibness and a superficial charm that easily convinces others of your sincerity; then there is little to stand in the way of easily manipulating others to your will. Of course, it behooves you to also throw into the mix that whatever you do, you do it for the sake of others. Children are a good standby (as in, "do it for the children!").

    Let me refresh your memory about some basic psychological defense mechanisms.
    Denial, which is an immature defense is defined as an attempt to reject unacceptable feelings, needs, thoughts, wishes--or even a painful external reality that alters the perception of ourselves. This psychological defense mechanism protects us temporarily from:
    -Knowledge (things we don’t want to know)
    -Insight or awareness that threatens our self-esteem; or our mental or physical health; or our security (things we don't want to think about)
    -Unacceptable feelings (things we don’t want to feel)

    One type of denial is Repression , a neurotic defense characterized by a seemingly inexplicable naivete, memory lapse, or lack of awareness. Repression is often dismissed as an artifact of diminished attention by cognitive psychologists, but I find that it almost always reflects a rather creative method to resolve some inner conflict for the person who uses it. With repression, affect is out in the open, but the associated idea is out of the mind and unavailable to consider. Someone who has repressed some knowledge may be genuinely astonished that anyone would consider them to have deliberately ignored the issue.

    The "forgetting of repression is different from ordinary forgetting in that there is often some sort of parallel symbolic behavior that goes along with it.

    Most often repression is associated with histrionic traits. A typical example might be the doting and dutiful wife who remains blissfully unaware of the husband's constant philandering--although the evidence is obvious to everyone else; and she may not understand why she feels anger at her spouse. She may defend him passionately from his accusers, but the anger will find a way to express itself in various ways within their relationship. Or, another example is a devoted public servant and leader of the Party, whose behavior in a recent press conference raised red flags in almost everyone who was watching and listening to her.

    Neo-neocon captures the essence of her psychological dilemma, on view for all to witness:
    Some people have asked why Pelosi hasn’t just said, “Look, at the time of the briefings I thought waterboarding was okay, but now I see the light and I’m against it.” Such a statement would have arguably gotten her in a lot less trouble than the course she’s taken instead: a series of ever-changing and hedgy excuses that read as lies, culminating in her making accusations against the CIA that have roused its formidable defenses against her.

    I don’t think Pelosi is stupid, although I agree with almost nothing she stands for or says. She has shown great political savvy and cunning in her long career. Why does it appear to be deserting her now?

    I see Pelosi as having been put between a rock and a hard place by Obama’s release of the “torture memos” and the resultant brouhaha. If she were to make the statement I posited in the first paragraph of this post, she would be admitting something that would contradict the entire Democratic Party “narrative” of the Bush administration’s decisions regarding terrorists.

    Going that route would destroy the tale the Democrats have ridden to victory and power: that the Bush administration was evil, lying to us (rather than sometimes mistaken), trampling on liberties for the sake of power and even sadism. How can Democrats contradict themselves by acknowledging now that nearly all of Bush’s decisions in the war on terror were arrived at after due deliberation, analysis of the best information available at the time (the conclusion that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs would be a prominent example), acting in the best interests of our country, and with an effort to preserve as much liberty and protection as seemed possible?

    For Democrat leaders to do so would be to undercut their own story about Bush, which was (and remains) vital to their own success.

    So, we might reasonably conclude that Nancy's "surprise" in discovering that she was actually briefed by the CIA on its enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, is an example of:

    (a) PSYCHOLOGICAL DENIAL (suggesting she is out of touch with reality)
    (b) PSYCHOLOGICAL REPRESSION (suggesting that she has neurotic conflicts)
    (c) DELIBERATE LYING (suggesting that she is a liar)
    (d) NORMAL FORGETFULNESS (suggesting that she is clueless and inattentive)

    Of course, it could well be a vast rightwing conspiracy to take down the poor, hapless Speaker. But I rather suspect it is the Democrats' own neurotic conflicts coming home to roost (to coin a phrase.)

    Neurotic defenses may be used by all sorts of otherwise intelligent people; and in this case, the willingness to believe anything that is said--especially when it is said by a Democrat (no matter how obviously ridiculous); while sneering and demeaning anything said by a Republican (no matter how true or obvious) suggests an underlying neurotic conflict.

    Perpetual Displacement, anyone? Poor Obama "can't turn the page" on Bush? Or, is it that Obama and Co. are unable to turn that page because their entire success and current power grab depends solely on this bizarre neurosis of theirs?

    There are narcissists and liars in both parties, of course; but Nancy Pelosi's rather blatant attempts to play fast and loose with the Truth, even as she loudly demands "Truth Commissions" is nothing more than the extreme narcissism and pathological lying that is peculiar to politics. Victor Davis Hanson is amazed that she--and Democrats, in general--seem not to believe in the god Nemesis:
    There is an odd sense among Democrats that nemesis simply does not exist.

    A once-vein-bulging Al Gore who barnstormed the country slurring President Bush by calling him a liar now seems baffled about the precedent he set of a vice president (albeit now much more politely in the case of Cheney) questioning the policy of the current president.

    A Nancy Pelosi, hellbent on releasing once-classified memos for partisan advantage, and eager to begin 'Truth" hearings, suddenly believes such an inquisition will not apply to herself, despite the fact that she, like so many Democrats from Senator Schumer to Senator Rockefeller, in that dark period in 2001, spoke of the need for, or was complicit in, approving enhanced interrogation techniques.

    Then the president himself, who jump-started his campaign in Iraq's crisis year by slamming the commander-in-chief on renditions, military tribunals, email and phone intercepts, Predator drone attacks, and Iraq, now suddenly wishes to explain the nuances and complexities of these policies and why he will continue the Bush protocols — apparently oblivious to the hypocrisy involved with his own prior self-interested stridency. These examples could be easily augmented.

    To explain their behavior, Hanson invokes the deity in charge of just consequences--Nemesis; but I would account for it by pointing out the self-satisfied smugness and narcissism of Democratic leaders who pathologically are unable to believe that reality and truth have any hold on them. In psychiatry, we call this delusional.

    And the leaders of the Democratic Party (including the Great, Supreme Poobah Messiah) demonstrate their delusional and narcissistic credentials on a daily basis.

    Saturday, May 16, 2009


    Quote of the Day:
    The difference between Bush's and Obama's deficits is the difference between driving at 63 mph and 174 mph.

    One is over the limit. The other is reckless verging on suicidal.

    Today 174 mph, tomorrow warp speed!

    Engage warp drive, Scotty Timothy!

    [Cartoons by John Cole]

    Friday, May 15, 2009


    In a recent comment thread hijacked by lefty trolls, those reading the thread might have noticed that many of the comments that were not direct ad hominem attacks on me or other commenters, were statements to the effect that it was Dr. Sanity and those who read her blog who were in denial and engaging in psychological projection.

    This is a favorite tactic left over from elementary school, of coure (YOU did it! No, YOU did it....etc. etc. etc.). Nevertheless it is important to understand that there are logical ways of assessing for yourself who may or may not be using a maladaptive psychological defense mechanism. I wrote about this issue some time back and thought it would be a good time to revisit that post.

    It's important to remember that those who are psychologically healthy are not afraid of examining their thinking processes; nor are they so wrapped up in their emotions that they are unable to appreciate their own psychological blind spots or challenges to their ability to determine what is real and what is a distortion.

    Everyone who claims a modicum of psychological insight needs to constantly monitor what they are thinking and feeling; and, in particular how their feelings might be influencing their ability to test reality. So here is a post from about 2 years ago where I discussed how to tell if a behavior is a Symptom, and dysfunctional; or if it is a mature Adaptation on the part of an individual, which facilitates his or her ability to function in the real world.

    In other words, who is really in denial and who is really the person (or group) doing the projecting in any given situation....



    I have written quite a lot about psychological defense mechanisms on this blog, primarily because I think that a solid understanding of these critical psychological processes shed quite a bit of light on both individual and group behavior. To follow-up on the post from yesterday "In Defense of Psychological Defenses", I thought it would be useful to review how psychological defenses can either be "red flags" that alert a person (or an observer) about an underlying conflict; or they can be mature adaptations to life that bring pleasure and fulfillment, as well as enhance society.

    There are three key books that I refer to repeatedly that have shaped my own understanding of defense mechanisms: Anna Freud’s The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense; and George Vaillant’s two books, Adaptation to Life and The Wisdom of the Ego. I can highly recommend all three books for anyone interested in these topics.

    Before I tackle the question posed in the title of this post, I would like to provide some background and context on some of the research into psychological defense mechansisms.

    Many people mistakenly confuse "pop" psychology--the kind of advice you read in supermarket tabloids and magazines-- with real clinical psychiatry; and the ideas of Freud, Kohut, Bion and other theorists, with those of modern, best-selling self-help gurus, who mostly oversimplify to the point of misrepresenting those psychological concepts and ideas. Between those people who worship the gurus and those who think anything from the psychological realm is a a load of BS, there is not a lot of understanding or appreciation of the importance of some of the basic concepts of psychology and their relationship to what we now understand of neurophysiology.

    Freud wrote at one point in his life about his theories that,
    ...The deficiencies in our description would presumably vanish if we were already in a position to replace the psychological terms by physiolgoical and chemical ones.

    Since the time Freud wrote that insightful comment, considerable neurophysiological evidence vindicating many of his theoretical concepts has emerged. Interdisciplinary groups studying neurology, physiology and psychoanalysis are discovering how useful Freudian ideas are for understanding the way the brain works and to interpret the physiology, while offering a template upon which further understanding can be built.

    I recommend an article in the May, 2004 Scientific American titled "Freud Returns" for an overview of this issue (article is available online only by subscription or purchase). In the article, Eric Kandler, the 2000 Nobel laureate in physiology states that psychoanalysis is "still the most coherent and intellectually satisfying view of the mind."

    George Vaillant is a brilliant researcher who has spent most of his professional career studying psychological defense mechanism and collecting data over their use during the lifetime of many individuals. I can summarize some of Vaillant's conclusions based on his extensive research thusly:
    • Psychological defenses are real and used regularly by everyone
    • These defenses can be reliably identified and analyzed
    • The “maturity” of a person’s defenses is positively related to mental health
    • This positive association between mature psychological defenses and mental health appears to be independent of gender, social class, culture, or educational level
    • Maturity of defenses also predicts a person’s satisfaction with life
    • Maturity of defenses predicts physical health up to about age 65. After that age, other factors (most likely genetic and biological) take over.
    • People with significant cognitive impairment (e.g., with IQ's less than 80; or someone who is brain-damaged) have demonstrably less mature defensive styles.

    Defenses are typically considered in a hierarchy extending from immature to mature. The least mature—or psychotic defenses include: denial, distortion, and delusional projection (paranoia); the immature defenses are: fantasy, projection, hypochondriasis, passive-aggression and acting out. Neurotic defenses are: intellectualization, repression, reaction formation, displacement, and dissociation. The mature defenses include: sublimation, suppression, anticipation, altruism, and humor. Other defenses exist, but these are the ones most commonly discussed.

    The purpose of all psychological defenses, whether mature or immature--is to assist the individual in coping with sudden changes; or severe internal or external conflicts that threaten to overwhelm the sense of self. Such changes or conflicts may relate to the people in our lives; to factors or behavior which challenge our values or our emotional capabilities; or to changes in reality that shake the foundations of our view of the world.

    All such defenses-- to a greater or lesser extent-- distort reality. The less mature distort reality greatly; while the most mature allow for the expression of the inner conflict in socially appropriate--i.e., civilized-- and psychologically healthy ways that at least conform to reality, even if they don't necessarily acknowledge it.

    The key to understanding psychological defenses is to realize that all of them--no matter how infantile or immature--are attempts to adapt to a difficult situation. What matters is not that an immature defense is being used, but how long the individual uses it before it becomes maladaptive, dysfunctional, pathological and/or potentially dangerous and life-threatening to the individual and/or group using it.

    To put it plainly: it is not at all healthy for either an individual or a group of individuals (i.e., a culture) to distort reality for very long. In the short-term the use of an immature or even a psychotic defense can give a person time to adapt to painful reality without their sense of self falling apart. It gives them time to change themselves and adapt; or, alternatively, it can preserve the psychological self at the expense of the physical self. Generally, a significant injury or death is a rather high price to pay simply because accommodating the real world is too difficult or abhorrent.

    Thus we come to our fundamental question. How does one assess if someone is using a maladaptive defense that is a symptom of an underlying pathology? Even more importantly, how can you tell when YOU YOURSELF are using maladaptive defenses to disguise your own biases and unacceptable feeliings?

    Vaillant makes the following pertinent observation:
    “…whether a defense is normal or abnormal depends on the eyes of the beholder. We always regard our own vigilance toward our enemies as adaptive, but we view their mistrust of us as an unwarranted projection of their own shortcomings”

    This is why accusations go back and forth in political debates that can best be summarized by the following exchange:

    "You are projecting!" or "You are the one in denial!"
    "No, you are!"
    "Who's projecting now?"

    And so on. This gets rather tiresome very quickly as you might imagine. Each person in the argument believes they are free from the “contamination” of using an immature or primitive psychological defense while the other person exemplifies its use. Logically, of course one or the other may be correct in their assertion, both, or neither.

    While feelings about the matter maybe useful pieces of data with which to understand reality, but they are certainly not the best tool for that purpose; and an overreliance on them to the exclusion of reason and critical thought is a strategy that cannot be successful if long-term survival is the goal. Nevertheless, with that said, sometimes feelings are all one has to go on.

    While each person's perception rests on their own subjective experience, one of the unique aspects of psychiatry is learning how to use one's own feelings and subjective reactions to glean information from reality. In a previous post on "Feelings, Countertransference and Reality", I wrote:
    To make an assessment of the gut feeling's appropriateness, the contents of the unconscious must be explored and brought to the conscious level and considered. Those unconscious internal conflicts can easily mask the inappropriate aspects of the feelings, making them worthless as a means of understanding the external world.

    Taking this kind of action as a method of checking and understanding one's own feelings is a process called "insight" or "self-awareness". Some people do this quite naturally and honestly. Some learn in therapy or when they are in crisis. But if insight is absent then one's feelings have the potential to do great harm --both to one's self and to others.

    Some unconscious factors, or psychological defenses, that can make one's feelings untrustworthy are: 1) the person you are responding to has become symbolic of someone else in your life (displacement, fantasy, or perhaps distortion); 2) focusing on one particular aspect of a person, you ignore other, more objective data that are available to you about the person (denial); 3) you place your own unacceptable feelings onto the other person--e.g., I'm not an angry person, -- he's an angry person! (projection or full-blown paranoia).

    The truth is that there are countless ways that unconscious processes within ourselves can distort our responses to others and to reality itself.

    Growing up and attaining maturity requires that we take a moment to consider such factors playing a role in our emotions before we act on those emotions. If we come to know ourselves and understand our own weaknesses, vulnerabilities, limitations and secrets; then our emotional responses to people or to the world can be very valuable tools to help interpret the world. But they are only tools, and if not used wisely, they can do more harm than good. Feelings cannot be used in a court of law--for good reason. And they are not ultimate truth in the court of reality, either.

    As I have gained experience in psychiatry, more often than not, when I trust such feelings and proceed to analyze what is bothering me about the situation, I discover a wealth of information that would have otherwise remained hidden. Sometimes that "wealth of information" is only about myself; but even in that case, I learn something new --frequently something insightful that I didn't want to know--about myself.

    Even with all the training; and even with self-awareness and a keen insight into one's own motivations and interpersonal dynamics, when it comes to implicitly trusting one's feelings above and beyond all other data; one has to be very cautious. All too often, mistakes are made; feelings can simply be wishes that have nothing whatsoever to do with the reality. If we are lucky, we discover this before too much damage is done.

    The key to gaining control over behavior that is motivated by maladaptive, unconscious defenses is to make them conscious. This requires that a person be able to reflect on his or her behavior or feelings and on the contents of one's mind; and with honesty and forthrightness develop some insight into why one feels, thinks, or acts a certain way. This is particularly important if the way one is thinking, feeling or acting is causing serious problems to one's self or to others.

    Let us return to the acrimonious political debate mentioned earlier. How can you decide if someone is "projecting" or in "denial" versus accurately responding to and interpreting objective reality? In other words, how do you tell if the use of a defense is a symptom of some underlying psychological problem versus whether it is adaptive and healthy?

    In order to be adaptive, a defense:

    • should regulate, rather than remove affect – that is, instead of totally anesthetizing a person, the defense would just reduce the pain (and therefore make it easier to cope; rather than to avoid coping altogether)

    • should channel feelings instead of blocking them (i.e., allow a healthy expression of those feelings in a way that can discharge them in socially acceptable ways rather than keep them hidden and motivating behavior)

    • should be oriented to the long-term; and not simply short-term comfort or avoidance

    • should be oriented toward present and future pain relief; and not focused past distress

    • should be as specific as possible (i.e., be as a key is to a lock; not as a sledgehammer applied to a door)

    • the use of the defense should attract people and not repel them (Vaillant points out that the use of the mature defenses --i.e., humor, altruism, sublimation etc.-- is perceived by others as attractive and even virtuous; while the immature defenses are generally perceived as irritating, repellant, and even evil). Watch this video, for example, and try to imagine how many of the political leaders in either party could be this comfortable making fun of themselves. It is a sign of psychological health when a person can take his or her foibles and appropriately mock them in a pleasurable manner.

    A discussion of the factors that influence the development of mature defenses and healthy adaptation can be found here.

    For the purposes of answering the title question (which may have become lost in this rather long and windy discussion): when is a psychological defense a symptom and when is it a healthy adaptation; I would like to consider two words used frequently these days; comparing and contrasting their use in political discourse.

    The two words are "antisemitism" and "islamophobia".

    A discussion of the difference between the two concepts--which are considered similar processes by many is instructive. First, I will turn to ShrinkWrapped , who posted an excellent and rather elegant discussion of anti-semitism a while back. Antisemitism is a particularly virulent psychological projection that seems to occur frequently in the world of politics.
    Most of us in the West have long recognized the danger of anti-Semitism. Victor Davis Hanson recently pointed out that it is symptomatic of totalitarian societies which need to deflect the blame for their failures onto others:
    Anti-Semitism, of course, is the mother's milk of fascism. It is always, they say, a small group of Jews — whether shadowy cabinet advisers and international bankers of the 1930s or the manipulative neoconservatives and Israeli leadership of the present — who alone stir up the trouble.
    The beauty of anti-Semitism is that the Jews have a long tradition of being small in number yet relatively visible in the societies in which they lived. Thus, they serve as the perfect objects on which to project ambivalently held traits. For example, the leading anti-Semites of the world are now found in the Arab world. Their projection of all evil traits onto the Jews is a thing of beauty in its incoherent hatred.

    SW correctly notes that a significant amount of the anti-semitism in the world today comes from Middle Eastern and Islamic countries (although is certainly not confined to it). The rampant viciousness toward Jews in this particular culture appears to be boundless and, in many cases, unwaveringly repellent.

    Tales of Jews eating muslim babies; pictures of them dripping with the blood of innocents are standard fare within Islamic culture. It is also clear that most muslims are completely oblivious to their own inappropriate and bizarre hatred. Presidents of Islamic countries openly announce that Jews are to be "wiped off the map"; and that perhaps the greatest genocide in the history of humanity is a made-up fantasy to generate sympathy for Jews.

    You know I am not making these items up. You also know (I hope) that Jews do not eat Palestinian babies in blood rituals, nor do they harvest the organs of Muslims for secret research (although this kind of horror was actually done by the Nazis to Jewish victims of the Holocaust).

    In response to a few innocuous cartoons published in a Danish newspaper a while back, we have international riots and violence. Leaders of Islam announce fatwas and put bounties on the lives of hapless cartoonists. Iran announces an ingenious "contest" to encourage the publication of "holocaust" cartoons, which they imagine equals the outrage they feel has been perpetrated on them; and which they consider an expression of their "free speech" (which in some ways it certainly is, but I am more interested in the psychopathology that underlies such "speech").

    Here is one response to their contest that demonstrates how to effectively cope with unrestrained hatred being projected your way. Humor is alway an effective strategy for coping with insanity. So, for that matter are the other mature defenses.

    Now, I ask you to compare and contrast using the criteria I outlined above. Consider the affect/emotion and how it is presented--positively or negatively? Are unpleasant truths or shameful feelings are being confronted or avoided? Is the response a "key" or "sledgehammer"? Is the amount of affect generated appropriate to the circumstances?

    Look again at the Mohammed cartoons that started all the fuss. Then look at these cartoons that are typical of what is regularly published on a daily basis in the Arab press about Jews.

    Which cartoons are truly offensive and clearly demonstrate an intense hatred toward the subject depicted by all objective criteria?

    Consider the violent and over the top reaction of Muslims to the Mohammed cartoons. Consider the reactions of Jews to the holocaust cartoons (were we witness to the eruption of the "Jewish street" as it acted out in anger and rage at the shame and humiliation of being told that the holocaust never occurred?).

    Consider the point that Ahmadinejad was trying to make by initiating his "contest" for the drawing of holocaust cartoons; and consider the response I linked to above from Jewish students worldwide. Consider, too, Ahmadinejad's "scientific" Holocaust Conference (and, note the "experts" that attended it) where it was discussed whether or not the Holocaust actually occurred, by people whose agenda is to eliminate Israel and Jews.

    More recently, there has been much buzz about the insistence by Muslim groups that Holocaust remembrances be more "inclusive" because they want their piece of the victimhood pie. This is yet another expression of the pervasive antisemitism in that culture. If they can't be recognized as victims as much as the Jews, and since the Holocaust never happened anyway, then they will shut down Holocaust remembrance services.

    Now ask yourself, is the ubiquitous, almost casual, antisemitism of the Islamic world a healthy, adaptive response to some injustices perpetrated by Jews that Muslims have to deal with in the real world; or is it a projection that is symptomatic of some serious psychopathology within the Muslim culture?

    Now, let us consider the charge of "Islamophobia" that is angrily thrown out by CAIR or Muslims whenever anyone dares to question the behavior of the adherents of Islam.

    These adherents violently protest with signs that say "death to those who insult Islam" and other assorted threats like "Behead those who insult Islam"; "Europe you will pay, 3/11 is on the way"; and "Be prepared for the real holocaust".

    Sadly, such signs and their vile slogans cannot merely be considered exaggerated rhetoric; nor can the burning of embassies and the mindless violence be considered the expression of restless youth. Remember Salman Rushdie; Theo van Gogh; Daniel Pearl and many others who have the threat of death or who have died because they dared to "insult" this religion--or simply because they happened to be a Jew.

    Consider 9/11, 3/11, 7/11; and the London, Bali and Beslan travesties. Consider the plight of women who would like to live life outside a Burqa; the prevalence and condoning of FGM, or consider the kidnappings, abuse, torture, humiliation and decapitations carried out by the practitioners of the religion of peace on a regular basis. Consider--in case you have forgotten--the words of Bin Laden when he declared war on the U.S. Consider the discussion in Islamic circles about how many women and children it is permissible to kill with nuclear weapons. Consider the thousands in Iran; in Lebanon; in Gaza and all over the Arab world, who chant "Death to America and/or Israel".

    Now, after you have thought all about these events and behaviors; do really you think it is unreasonable to experience a degree of "fear" or anxiety about people who engage in such cognitive dissonance and irrational behavior and who justify it on the basis of being members of this religion? Would this be adaptive on your part? Realistic? Based on the actual behavior one witnesses almost every day by real people in the Muslim world?

    If you ignore this reality or pretend that it doesn't exist, then a case can be made that you are engaging in a very maladaptive psychological response, e.g., denial; or engaging in a slightly less maladaptive reaction --e.g., fantasy, or displacement (i.e., everything is all Bush's/America's/Israel's fault)

    Certainly there are many decent and honorable Muslims in the world; but they are trapped in a religious connundrum that is currently unsolvable ; and hence have little or no impact on the direction their religion has taken in recent years.

    The word "Islamophobia" is bandied around as if it were somehow a complementary concept for Muslims, similar to what "antisemitism" is for Jews. This is objectively not the case.

    There has been no wholesale exploitation or abuse of Muslims anywhere in the world--except by other Muslims (Saddam and the Taliban come to mind; as well as all the other oppressive regimes in the Middle East). There has been no genocide of Muslims--except by other Muslims (consider Darfur; consider what Al Qaeda did to Iraqi civilians; what the Taliban is now doing in Pakistan; what Shia are doing to Sunni and vice versa). There have been no systematic outrages perpetrated on the people of Islam--except by other people of Islam. Palestinians suffer (and have suffered) more at the hands of their "sympathetic" Muslim brothers in other countries of the Middle East--none of whom can be bothered to allow them to live in their own countries except in "camps" (several generations of Palestinians have now lived in sordid and primitive conditions in Lebanon and elsewhere because of the "generosity" and "support" of their Muslim brothers).

    And further, if you are someone who believes Israel has oppressed the Palestinians; consider just for a moment the fact that the poor Palestinians would much rather kill Jews and each other than work to better their own lot in life--even after they have been finally given their own territory (see here also)

    Let me be clear that I am not saying that real Islamophobic behavior cannot be the result of projection or paranoia on the part of some individuals or groups. For it is the case that ANY CONVENIENT GROUP MAY BE USED TO PROJECT ONE'S OWN UNACCEPTABLE FEELINGS ONTO. Historically, the Jews have been the recipients of such pathology fairly frequently; but they are hardly the only group that has had to deal with it.

    The leaders of Islam, however, seem to be suffering from a case of "victim envy"; for all intents and purposes desirous of acquiring the label of victim even as they go around victimizing the rest of the world with their suicidal rage; and even as they plan the final solution for the demonized Jewish population.

    Objectively, there is just no case at all to support the idea that other groups are systematically or institutionally "projecting" their own unacceptable feelings or acting out toward the muslim population at large; nor are the scant number of individual cases of prejudice very compelling either; despite the unbelievable rhetorical flourishes of the left and other Islamic radical apologists. On the contrary, there is much evidence to suggest that the world is trying its best (perhaps trying too hard) to be decent and give as much leeway to muslim anger as is possible; and is even bending over backwards to make sure muslims understand that they are being treated equally, or even more equally in some cases, with all other religions and groups.

    When "Islamophobia" is used as a bludgeon to accuse and attack anyone who makes the mildest criticism of Islam--no matter how well-meaning that criticism may be--the attack becomes yet another psychological projection by muslims that deflects their own sense of shame, humiliation and inferiority and helps them to believe that such feelings would go away if only they got some respect.

    Unfortunately for them, their historical shame and humiliation; as well as their medieval cultural and religious backwardness must be confronted and their behavior must change before they can be an effective part of the modern world. If it were not for the fact that oil happens to be found in that part of the world, I seriously doubt that Islam or Arab culture would have any impact on the world today; and the rest of the world could comfortably watch as their culture continued on its rush toward primitivism.

    In the end, both antisemitism and the accusations of Islamophobia are parallel symptoms of a single disease that is running rampant in Islamic countries and among those raised in a religion that thrives on hatred and violence, but somehow manages to believe in its heart that it is loving and peaceful and following the will of God.

    In the end, there is only one effective treatment for these psychological symptoms: take one heaping dose of reality and two teaspoons of painful consequences; and call the rest of the world in the morning.