Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mark Levin: “The Muslim Brotherhood Has Infiltrated Our Government, It’s Called Barack Obama.”

Mark Levin: “The Muslim Brotherhood Has Infiltrated Our Government, It’s Called Barack Obama.” Real Clear Politics, January 31, 2013.

Mark Levin: “The Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated our government – it’s called Barack Obama!” The Right Scoop, January 31, 2013.

Also find it at: Fox Nation; MediaiteBreitbart; and YouTube.

Why Are Feminists So Angry? By Jessica Valenti.

Why Are Feminists So Angry? By Jessica Valenti. The Nation, January 30, 2013. Find video here.

Peace Process Sputters at Starting Line. By Walter Russell Mead.

Peace Process Sputters at Starting Line. By Walter Russell Mead. Via Meadia, January 31, 2013.


And so we are back to square one. The Palestinians are bitterly divided. One camp would like to sign an agreement with Israel but is too weak to enforce it and too divided, probably, to accept any agreement that Israel, even with its arms being twisted by the United States, would accept. The other group remains committed to the “one state, no Jews” formula for abolishing Israel, expelling almost all the Jews, and re-establishing Palestine in all its glory.

Israelis who don’t want a two state solution (at least not with a viable Palestinian state) can use the resulting stalemate to press for their own goals of more Israeli settlements. The substantial majority of Israelis who want a two state solution (with some caveats) don’t have much of an agenda to push in the absence of of a strong Palestinian partner who is both willing to accept and able to deliver a compromise peace.

And so it goes. As best we can tell, peace is not at hand.

Hope or Despair? The Future of Culture. By Wilfred M. McClay.

Hope or Despair? Roger Kimball and the Future of Culture. By Wilfred M. McClay. The University Bookman, Winter 2013.

Review of The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia. By Roger Kimball. St. Augustine’s Press, 2012. Hardcover, 360 pp.

Interview: Roger Kimball on The Fortunes of Permanence. By Ed Driscoll. PJ Media, July 12, 2012. Also find it here.

Nearly Half Of American Households Are 1 Emergency Away From Financial Disaster, Report Finds.

Nearly Half Of American Households Are 1 Emergency Away From Financial Disaster, Report Finds. By Jillian Berman. The Huffington Post, January 30, 2013.

Life After Blue: The Middle Class Will Beat The Seven Trolls. By Walter Russell Mead.

The Middle Class Will Beat The Seven Trolls. By Walter Russell Mead. Via Meadia, January 30, 2013. Also here.

Also see:

Another Road: The Blue Elites Are Wrong. By Walter Russell Mead, Via Meadia, January 28, 2013.

Futuristic Blues. By Walter Russell Mead. Via Meadia, January 23, 2013.

The Hidden Prosperity of the Poor. By Thomas B. Edsall.

The Hidden Prosperity of the Poor. By Thomas B. Edsall. New York Times, January 30, 2013.

The Myth of a Stagnant Middle Class. By Donald J. Boudreaux and Mark J. Perry. Wall Street Journal, January 23, 2013.

Consumption and the Myths of Inequality. By Kevin A. Hassett and Aparna Mathur. Wall Street Journal, October 24, 2012.

Inequality Is Holding Back the Recovery. By Joseph E. Stiglitz. New York Times, January 19, 2013.

Climate change and poverty have not gone away. By Joseph E Stiglitz. Project Syndicate, January 7, 2013. Also find it here.

Arab Spring’s Hits and Misses. By Fareed Zakaria.

Arab Spring’s hits and misses. By Fareed Zakaria. Washington Post, January 30, 2013.


The chaos at the second anniversary of the Tahrir Square uprising is only the latest and most vivid illustration that Egypt’s revolution is going off the rails. It has revived talk about the failure of the Arab Spring and even some nostalgia for the old order. But Arab dictators such as Hosni Mubarak could not have held onto power without even greater troubles; look at Syria. Events in the Middle East the past two years underscore that constitutions are as vital as elections and that good leadership is crucial in these transitions.

Compare the differences between Egypt and Jordan. At the start of the Arab Spring, it appeared that Egypt had responded to the will of its people, had made a clean break with its tyrannical past and was ushering in a new birth of freedom. Jordan, by contrast, responded with a few personnel changes, some promises to study the situation and talk of reform.

But then Egypt started going down the wrong path, and Jordan made a set of wise choices.

Put simply, Egypt chose democratization before liberalization. Elections became the most important element of the new order, used in legitimizing the new government, electing a president and ratifying the new constitution. As a result, the best organized force in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, swept into power, even though, on the first ballot, only 25percent of voters chose its presidential nominee, Mohamed Morsi. The Brotherhood was also able to dominate the drafting of the constitution. The document had many defects, including its failure to explicitly protect women’s rights — only four of the constitutional assembly’s 85 members were women — and language that seems to enshrine the traditional “character” of the Egyptian family. It also weakens protections for religious minorities such as the Bahais, who already face persecution.

Some of its provisions ban blasphemy and insult and allow for media censorship in the name of national security. These are all ways to give the government unlimited powers, which the Muslim Brotherhood has used. More journalists have been persecuted for insulting Morsi in his six-month presidency than during the nearly 30-year reign of Mubarak. In November, Morsi declared that his presidential decrees were above judicial review.

In Jordan, by contrast, the king did not rush to hold elections (and was widely criticized for his deliberate pace). Instead, he appointed a council to propose changes to the constitution. The members consulted many people in Jordan and in the West to determine how to make the country’s political system more democratic and inclusive. A series of important changes were approved in September 2011. They transferred some of the king’s powers to parliament and established an independent commission to administer elections and a court to oversee the constitutionality of legislation.

The commission recently got its first use. The election was boycotted by Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood on the grounds that the changes were too small and that power still resided with the king. But 70percent of eligible voters registered, and 56percent turned out at the polls, the highest turnout in the region. Many critics of the king and government were elected; 12percent of the winners were opposition Islamist candidates. Thanks to a quota the commission set, 12percent of the new parliament’s members are female. King Abdullah II retains ultimate authority, but the new system is clearly a step in the transition to a constitutional monarchy.

Morocco has taken the same route as Jordan. It enacted constitutional reforms in 2011. In the elections that followed, Morocco’s Islamist Party won 107 of the 395 seats in parliament and formed a government. The head of this government, Abdelilah Benkirane, while a feisty critic of the West, has also spoken firmly about protecting the rights of minorities, explicitly including Jews, who he noted have lived in Morocco for centuries and are an integral part of the country.

The Arab world’s two largest experiments in democracy, Iraq and Egypt, have, unfortunately, poor choices in common. Both placed elections ahead of constitutions and popular participation ahead of individual rights. Both have had as their first elected leaders strongmen with Islamist backgrounds who have no real dedication to liberal democracy. The results have been the establishment of “illiberal democracy” in Iraq and the danger of a similar system in Egypt.

The best role models for the region might well be two small monarchies. Jordan and Morocco have gone the opposite route, making measured reforms and liberalizing their existing systems. The monarchies have chosen evolution over revolution. So far, it seems the better course.

A Mother’s Case for Gun Rights. By Anna Rittgers.

A mother’s case for gun rights. By Anna Rittgers., January 15, 2013.

Shut Up, They Explained. By Anna Rittgers. Independent Women’s Forum, January 31, 2013.

This November, cling to your gun rights. By Gayle Trotter. The Daily Caller, September 26, 2012.

Gun control regulations disarm women. By Gayle Trotter. Washington Times, January 17, 2013.

Gayle Trotter Testimony Captivates Senate Cun Control Hearings. By Christina Wilkie. The Huffington Post, January 30, 2013.

Gayle Trotter’s Ideas Will Not Keep Women Safe. By Andrea Marcotte. Slate, January 30, 2013.

Gayle Trotter to Sen. Whitehouse: “Cannot understand” as a man. Video. Washington Post, January 30, 2013. Also find it here.

About Last Week’s Israeli Elections. By Caroline Glick.

About last week’s elections. By Caroline Glick., January 30, 2013.

Should Jews Leave Britain? By Douglas Murray.

Should Jews Leave Britain? By Douglas Murray. The Spectator, January 29, 2013.

Bye-bye London. By Caroline Glick., January 21, 2013.