World Cup 2010: Somali football fans executed for watching matches

A Somali football fan adjusts the Television set for the group D game between Ghana and Serbia Photo: EPA

By Aislinn Laing, Southern Africa correspondent

The deaths happened on Saturday near the capital Mogadishu when members of the Hizbul Islam group stormed a house where people were watching Nigeria play Argentina.

A further 10 people were arrested by the group, which has imposed a strict version of Islam in the areas they control in southern and central Somalia.

The following night, another 30 people including a 15-year-old boy were arrested as the watched the Germany-Australia game in two private homes in the town of Afgoye.

A spokesman for the group, Sheikh Mohamed Abdi Aros, said the rest of Somalia should respect their ban on the World Cup – the first to be hosted in Africa – and focus instead on “pursuing holy jihad”.

“We are warning all the youth of Somalia not to dare watch these World Cup matches. It is a waste of money and time and they will not benefit anything or get any experience by watching mad men jumping up and down,” he said.

The ban, which has seen radio stations around the city taken off air for playing music, has resulted in people flocking to public cinemas in the few Government-controlled areas of the country.

Ahmed Santos used to live in an area of Somalia run by militants, but now is in a government-controlled area.

“I can now freely watch the matches,” he said. “I am so sorry that some of my friends who are now living where I was once don’t have that chance to watch the World Cup. I really feel sorry for them.”

Others are risking the wrath of the militants, such is their love of the beautiful game.

One man, who lives in the militant-controlled livestock market area of the city said he watched Algeria-Slovenia at home with his family.

“I have one eye on the TV and the other on the door, and the sound turned down,” he said.

The Washington Post Watches Bob Etheridge and Yawns

By Jim Geraghty

The Washington Post, the newspaper than mentioned “Macaca” in approximately 100 articles, op-eds, editorials about the 2006 Virginia Senate race between George Allen and Jim Webb, watches the video of Rep. Bob Etheridge, North Carolina Democrat, physically assaulting a questioner and concludes it warrants three paragraphs on page C3, in the Reliable Source gossip column.

The opening sentence? “So what really happened when Rep. Bob Etheridge ran into a couple of self-described ‘students’ on the streets of D.C. last week?”

David Weigel, who used the term “hug” in his initial report on the altercation and has been receiving furious e-mails since, is cited; the Post should have let him write an actual print story on this. In this news nugget, there is little or no description beyond ‘grabbing the wrist’ of one of the young men.

This is not even bias anymore; this is information management, designed to ensure those who pick up the print version of the Post never encounter what the blogosphere is buzzing about.

The Original Mr. Anti-Establishment: Ronald Reagan

By Jeffrey Lord

They didn’t like him.

To be more precise, they thought him an extremist, un-electable, an ultra-right wing nut, dumb, ignorant and, more to the point, not one of their crowd.

One out of six was absolutely correct.

Ronald Reagan was not one of their crowd. Ever.

The “crowd”” was The Establishment. The Establishment as it appeared in all of its various incarnations during Ronald Reagan’s political life. First it was the California Republican Party Establishment. Then the Liberal Establishment. Followed by the national Republican Party Establishment. Next up was The Eastern Establishment. Last but not least was the Washington Establishment.

And in each and every case save one (1976), Reagan — and more to the point today — the people who came to be known as “conservatives” or “Reaganites” beat those Establishments like a drum.

In the wake of the Nevada Senate primary victory of Republican Sharron Angle (and the emergence of South Carolina’s Nikki Haley and the continuing popularity of Alaska’s Sarah Palin — not to mention other conservatives around the country), yet again The Establishment resurrects exactly the same now very old and tired alarms once raised about Ronald Reagan himself.

Who are these people?

Believe it or not, Webster’s Dictionary actually provides a definition for “the Establishment” (although they don’t capitalize that initial “T”). Definition: “The people and institutions constituting the existing power structure in society…the dominant or controlling group in a field of endeavor or organization.”

It’s hard now, impossible even, for many to understand the scorn and derision Reagan first faced when he emerged on the national political scene. Let’s go back and take a look at what was once said of the man now revered by the American people as the greatest president in American history, according to a Gallup Poll taken a month after Barack Obama took office.

On January 22, 1965, which is to say two days after Lyndon Johnson was inaugurated and the liberal Great Society was launched in earnest — three months after LBJ’s landslide defeat of Barry Goldwater — the New York Times was already on Reagan’s case.

In just one story alone, in which Reagan was said to be weighing a race for Governor of California the following year, the liberal line that would follow Reagan for the rest of his active political life was already in evidence.

• “Conservatives” the piece said, were looking to Reagan as a way out of the “wreckage” of the 1964 election. Times Translation: Here goes the right wing again. Who created the Republican wreckage in the first place? Conservatives, that’s who. Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, that’s who. Why in the world would the GOP ever turn to a Goldwater supporter like Reagan for anything?

• “Republican organization leaders in California,” said the paper, were skeptical that Reagan, an actor, was “going anywhere.” Times Translation: The guy is an actor, has no substance and he’s an extremist to boot. Get serious.

• Why was Reagan a joke? First, said the Times, there was that televised Goldwater speech in October, 1964. Times Translation: We have Reagan on film saying wacko things — on television for God’s sake — that are (in the paper’s words) “a brisk denunciation of the welfare state and Communist appeasement.” The Times used this quote from his Goldwater speech, in which Reagan urged standing up to Soviet Communists, to illustrate just how nutty an out-of-the-mainstream extremist Reagan was:

“Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard ’round the world?”

Crazy guy, that Reagan! In fact, the Times and the foreign policy Establishment not only believed private citizen Reagan was crazy to believe things like this in 1965 — the paper and the Establishment it so portentously symbolized still believed it in 1985, even as President Reagan was busy bringing the Soviet Union crashing to the ground and ending the Cold War. Who looks crazy now?

• Reagan had participated in an unsuccessful “conservative” (the paper’s description) anti-Establishment effort to defeat California’s Republican liberal U.S. Senator Thomas Kuchel in 1962. Kuchel was an Establishment icon, a RINO (Republican in Name Only) then serving as the Senate Republican Whip. Times Translation: Reagan is so far outside the mainstream of not just the California electorate but of the California Republican Party itself he couldn’t possibly be nominated let alone get elected. Hanging out with right-wing extremists who thought they could dump Tom Kuchel shows just how politically stupid Reagan is. Tom Kuchel is One of Us. Reagan, clearly, is not. The guy is an idiot. Case closed.

• By 1965 Reagan has made the same speech he made on television for Goldwater to hundreds of different groups in person. For years. Yet the Times noted but two, both serving as the Establishment boogeyman designed to scare voters. The first was Dr. Fred Schwarz’s Christian Anti-Communist Crusade. The second was a campaign appearance for former California Congressman John Rousselot, pointedly identified by the Times as “now a leader in the John Birch Society.” Times Translation: Reagan actually speaks to groups that are infamous for far right-wing extremism. Everybody we know realizes these people are dangerous wackos. Reagan says he disagrees with some of their views, but, get this (says the Times): “He does not, however, see anything subversive” about the two groups. Amazing. What an ignorant man. Everybody we know in Our Crowd realizes the Birch Society is plotting to overthrow the government. Boo! Reagan is not just a fool — he’s a scary fool.

• “Republican organization sources” in California say there are too many “obstacles” for Reagan to win a GOP primary, says the Times. What are they? He hasn’t been a longtime party activist, has no organized base of support, and, “the Goldwater wing’s influence” in the California Republican Party has “greatly diminished.” Times Translation: The nuts are still out there and Reagan is one of them. No one of any seriousness in the party Establishment takes him or them seriously.

A week had not gone by since the reporting of this story containing the above nuggets when the Times was breathlessly reporting another: that “the right-wing” in California had chartered a new group devoted to — can you believe it?!! — individual liberty and the Constitution!!! It was formed by a group of far-right millionaires and — gasp! — Ronald Reagan! The mere presence of the new group, said the Times, was offending GOP moderates and emphasizing again what a loser Reagan was.

One week after that, the Times was back. This time reporting that the “right wing” had frighteningly tightened its grip on California’s youth — which is to say the state’s Young Republicans. Many of the delegates to the state YR convention were for Reagan. Particularly galling to the Establishment was a resolution that criticized then-Chief Justice Earl Warren, a liberal icon. Why? Warren had served as Attorney General and Governor of California during World War II and it was he who had enthusiastically supported packing up Japanese-Americans who were California residents and sending them to internment camps.

This resulted in the famously racist Korematsu v. United States decision that was a direct violation of the Fifth Amendment, as many legal scholars have now repeatedly pointed out. Warren had not only never apologized for his actions, as Alfred Regnery reminded in Upstream: The Ascendance of American Conservatism, Warren had blithely “opposed internment for Germans and Italians, because ‘they were no different from anybody else.'” The YR’s, zeroing in on the liberal racism of the matter, had pounced. Times Translation: The cheeky young conservatives supporting Reagan had the nerve to demand an apology from a liberal idol of the day for abject racism and a violation of the constitutional rights of people who were nothing more or less than American citizens. And Reagan is supported by these people? The nerve.

Now it was becoming a pattern with the Times. Looking back at the succession of Reagan stories in early 1965, the word “obsessive” comes to mind. The Times is writing constantly, after all, about a man who hasn’t yet declared himself a candidate for anything and holds no office whatsoever.

Barely another week went by when the news was in that a California poll showed Ronald Reagan was a “poor choice” for Republicans because, unlike the Establishment choice, the Republican ex-Mayor of San Francisco, Reagan would “antagonize” too many voters with his conservative beliefs. A week later, another poll showed the moderate ex-Mayor, George Christopher, could beat the liberal Establishment Governor Edmund “Pat” Brown (father of today’s Jerry Brown) while Reagan was a sure loser by almost ten points. Times Translation: If California Republicans are crazy enough to nominate this loon he will lose — big time.

And so it went. One story followed another. “Reagan Upsets Unity” of California Republicans, headlined another one, citing a lack of “palatability” and Reagan’s willingness to address the conservative California Republican Assembly, whose meeting had been opened by a Bircher. This was soon followed by a story reporting that moderate Establishment Republicans were becoming “alarmed” at Reagan’s popularity in straw polls. Reagan is identified in this story as a “representative of the ultra-conservative wing” and a “successful money-raiser” for Goldwater. Times Translation: These nuts have money and could actually nominate Reagan. OMG! What if…like…he actually wins???!!!!

The Establishment narrative about Ronald Reagan — and the growing conservative movement — had begun. Actually, it has been laid foundationally with Goldwater, but with Reagan’s arrival it was set in concrete. It would follow Reagan for the rest of his life. And conservatives like Sharron Angle until this day. A life for Reagan which included two landslide elections as governor of California (he would beat Jerry Brown’s incumbent governor-father Pat by almost a million votes) and two more as president. Beating the Establishment every single time except with his fight against President Gerald Ford for the 1976 GOP nomination — which he lost by a whisker. Over the years the Establishment was represented by both Democrats and Republicans, a list that included Pat Brown, California Democratic Assembly Speaker Jesse Unruh, Ford, George H.W. Bush, Howard Baker, Bob Dole, John Connally, Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale.

The anti-Reagan Establishment narrative, always illustrated by personal or policy anecdotes that were said to show Reagan and his followers were some combination of dumb, ignorant, stupid, racist, bigoted, anti-woman war mongers, is by now a standard. So too is the use of a boogeyman, a supposedly scary group designed to scare the pants off prospective voters. This tactic is to the Establishment what marching onto the battlefield in formation was to the British when they fought the colonists at Concord and Lexington in 1775. Which is to say: it is a narrative designed as a weapon of psychological intimidation. (Famously, the un-awed colonists had their own tactic. They fought back from behind the trees and rocks of their home turf and sent the dumbfounded British scurrying back to Boston in a humiliating defeat for the ruling Establishment of the day. It would not be the last time, either.)

This scare-tactic of yelling “Right wing! Right wing!” was brandished by one “Establishment’ after another as they battled Reagan over the years, the only consistent accuracy in every battle turning out to be that Ronald Reagan was indeed decidedly not a member of whatever Establishment he had taken on. In fact, Reagan was busily building a new “anti-establishment Establishment” that from the earliest days of his nascent campaign for Governor of California to this moment has managed to become a major expanding force inside not just the Republican Party but in the modern anti-Establishment Virtual Newsroom that is talk radio, Fox News and the Internet. The Tea Party is the very epitome of a Reagan anti-establishment movement.

Of all the invective hurled in the direction of the current anti-Establishment by the Establishment candidates and media organs, there is little that wasn’t thrown at Reagan during his career.

It is thus no surprise that as conservatives come to prominence they are assailed just as Reagan was, sometimes in eerily almost the same words.

LET’S STICK WITH THE CASE of Nevada’s Sharron Angle, who won a fiercely contested three-way fight to face Senate Majority Leader and uber-Establishment leader Harry Reid.

Angle, with the predictability of heat in a Nevada desert, is being assailed by the Establishment as “essentially, crazy” (Huffington Post). Why? She has a “rigid ideology” and supports “phasing out Social Security and dismantling the Education Department.” All three accusations were used against Reagan to portray him as a crazed, heartless, well-out-of-the-mainstream ultra-conservative far-right-wing ideologue, who, don’t you know, was also a nut. Angle’s position on getting rid of the Department of Education was, by the way, part of the 1980 Reagan platform, a vow that failed but did nothing to deter his landslide victory over Carter. The idea has certainly been in the mainstream debate over education for 30 — say again 30 –years. Yet like clockwork, Reid’s Nevada Democratic Party gushed out a press release in the style of Reagan opponents from Pat Brown to Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale calling Angle “wacky.”

“Why would you give away the Senate majority leader who has delivered time and time again?” Bill Clinton recently asked Nevadans, defending the Establishment and Harry Reid in the same terms LBJ allies and the liberal media used to defend the California Establishment and Pat Brown in 1966 against Reagan. Where Brown derided Reagan as “the crown prince of the extreme right” and the New York Times called Brown’s liberal Establishment record “truly remarkable” Clinton, sounding almost as Pat Brown-esque as Pat Brown himself, defended the Establishment by deriding Angle as too extreme.

And on cue, just as it did when Ronald Reagan began to emerge 45 years ago — say again, 45 years ago! — the unchanging narrative of the Establishment New York Times is at it still, describing Sharron Angle in a recent story as “firmly to the right of most mainstream Nevada voters.”

Reaching back to their original anti-Reagan playbook, just as the Times of 1965 found Establishment Republicans to say Reagan was un-electable because he was too far right, so now they have found a Nevada Establishment Republican to step forward and play the role California Establishment Republicans played in 1965.

“I would say there are a lot of Republicans who will find it difficult to support Sharron Angle,” said State Senator William J. Raggio, a Republican who has served in the Legislature since 1972. “Abolishing the Department of Education, phasing out Social Security, those are pretty extreme positions. I think any incumbent is vulnerable, but you have to have somebody that is also acceptable if you’re going to win.”

If one is part of today’s Nevada Republican political Establishment, quite apparently, as Mr. Raggio demonstrates, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Clearly, Raggio was not a fan of Ronald Reagan — or has absolutely no idea what Reagan said that resonated with so many millions of Americans. And if memory serves, running on a platform in 1980 holding positions on Social Security and the Department of Education almost identical to Sharron Angle — Ronald Reagan won Nevada with over 62% of the vote.

And just as the John Birch Society was used as an Establishment boogeyman to scare voters about Reagan, so now is Scientology being used to try and scare Nevada voters about Angle. The Establishment loves the boogeyman, and there is always one to be had.

The problem?

The American people, their nation born out of rebellion against The Establishment of the day, has never been fond of those who believe they are born to rule. And they don’t get scared of the boogeyman of the moment. Rebelling against the Establishment that was the authority of the Church of England was illegal in 1620. Boo! And so the Pilgrims simply rebelled — by leaving England altogether and coming to America, the boogeyman be damned. Time after time after time ever since, the American spirit of rebellion against the Establishment of the day has eventually always carried the day. The Pilgrims birthed dissident colonies, and the rebellion against the Establishment that was symbolized by King George III birthed a nation. (If you rebel, we will hang you, threatened the King. Boo!) The rebellion went on, the boogeyman answered with a document called the Declaration of Independence. Within that nation, ever since, rebellion against whatever and whomever became the symbol of the Establishment became in itself a treasured American tradition.

By 1965, the new George Washington was a much-derided actor named Ronald Reagan. He was, sneered the Establishment defenders of the time, a too far-right, out-of-the-mainstream crazy to ever be elected too anything.

It was — and is still — the argument of choice made by Establishment defenders today as they attack everyone from the newly emergent Sharron Angle in Nevada to Carly Fiorina in California to Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and, let it not be forgotten, Scott Brown in Massachusetts. And most ferociously of all in the potential candidate class, let us not forget the anti-Establishment favorite Sarah Palin of Alaska.

Every one of these candidates (or prospective candidate in Palin’s case) are the figurative descendants of American anti-establishment figures from William Bradford of the Pilgrims to George Washington and his fellow Founding Fathers, to Andrew Jackson, Lincoln, Reagan and, in the media of today, the upstarts at Fox and, but of course, the stars of talk radio beginning with Founding Father Rush to Hannity and Levin and Beck and moving straight on to the Internet and the redoubtable Drudge and Breitbart. Did we mention the late William F. Buckley, and that scourge of the Establishment The American Spectator’s own R. Emmett Tyrrell?

Does anyone honestly look at Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin or Laura Ingraham and think the word “Establishment”?

Of course not.

Which, of course, is why the reaction of The Establishment to all of these people and institutions is the same as they perceive the rise of new faces in Reagan’s anti-establishment Establishment.

They can’t stand Sharron Angle just like they couldn’t stand Ronald Reagan.

Which is exactly why the Establishment supporting Harry Reid is so afraid of her.

And why the woman who, just like Ronald Reagan, couldn’t win — not only won her primary but is ahead in the latest Rasmussen poll, 50%-39%.

What would Reagan say about Sharron Angle’s Establishment critics? You can just see the smile.

“Well, there they go again.”

Libertarian runs for Wicomico council seat

Mike Calpino to take on councilwoman Stevie Prettyman

By Greg Latshaw

SALISBURY — Mike Calpino, a Nanticoke resident who says government needs a philosophical makeover, will run against Stevie Prettyman for her Wicomico County Council seat.

“We need to change the way we do government. Trying to be all things for all people is too expensive,” Calpino says.

The 42-year-old has filed with the Maryland State Board of Elections as a Libertarian candidate. Calpino said the county government has grown too large under the executive form of leadership and supports keeping the revenue cap in place, switching to elected school boards and holding evening council meetings.

“If we were still spending what we were in 2006, we wouldn’t be in this position,” Calpino said of Wicomico’s spending habits.

Prettyman, a Republican, has held the District 2 seat since December 1998. Calpino said the tea party movement over the past year has energized him to run for the council. It also motivated him to dress up in Colonial costume and speak at tea party events.

The Pennsylvania native is an amateur boat builder. He constructs small sail and power boats, and has built a 60-foot barque — a type of boat with at least three masts. Calpino home-schools his three children with his wife, Kelly, and he is also the author of the 2008 book, “Memoirs of a Former American,” a fictionalized account of what America will look like 60 years from now if the U.S. doesn’t change its course. The book was written under his pen name, Patrick Samuels.

Calpino said employee pensions represent a growing cost for the county. He also suggests lowering the county’s tax rate — which he said is among the highest on the Eastern Shore for income tax, admissions and amusements, hotel and motel, impact fees and levies on manufacturing.

“The more you tax people, the less economic action you’ll get,” he said.

Paypal’s Shameful Decision and Shameless Reversal

by Pamela Geller

The little money that my organization Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) and the Freedom Defense Initiative (FDI), as well as my website AtlasShrugs.com, generate came close to being cut off Friday when Paypal called all three websites “hate” sites. The leading online payment service said it would close my accounts if I do not act first and remove the Paypal option from each website. After an avalanche of emails from Atlas readers, PayPal reversed itself and said the whole thing had been a mistake; but the implications of the incident for conservatives remain ominous.

Paypal sent me a notice Friday saying that “after a recent review of your account, it has been determined that you are currently in violation of PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy. Under the Acceptable Use Policy, PayPal may not be used to send or receive payments for items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance or the financial exploitation of a crime.”

SIOA is an advocacy group devoted to defending the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience and the equality of rights of all people. Atlas Shrugs is a news site and a political blog. I am not responsible for the bad news in the world. I just report on it.

So for PayPal, defending American values and reporting the news accurately had become “hate.” Truth is the new hate speech.

My SIOA and FDI colleague, Robert Spencer, explains: “This is an issue with much larger implications than just a few Paypal accounts. This is a question of whether people with politically incorrect opinions will be denied access to services. Businesses are free to refuse to deal with whomever they choose to, except where regulated by law. But when they won’t do business with someone because they dislike her political opinions, the potential for abuse is enormous, and the possibility of making it economically unfeasible to hold political opinions that are unpopular with the political elites becomes immediate and real.”

I have no large donors. Apparently the jihad in the United States is hard at work trying to kill free speech (including SIOA’s religious liberty bus ads and our No 9/11 Mosque Movement), preventing the truth from making its way to those in pursuit of it. Paypal contributions have helped pay for the bus ads, the wildly successful June 6 rally against the Islamic mega-mosque at Ground Zero, live coverage of these initiatives, and much more. I said that repeatedly in news stories when Associated Press, Reuters and others kept asking me about who paid for the religious liberty bus ads. Readers did. Americans did. You did.

So the global jihad, choking on petrodollars, tried to shut down my little spigot.

And wait, there’s more. Revolution Muslim, a group of jihadists in New York who are open inciters to violence and Jewish genocide, had a Paypal button on its website.

Got that? Oh, the irony. Nice work, Paypal.

It got better still: Paypal’s policy bans users from selling “items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance or thefinancial exploitation of a crime.”

I am not selling anything. But look at this on eBay, which owns Paypal. One eBayer is selling a series of dvd’s featuring lectures by the Imam Anwar al Awlaki.

Remember al Awlaki? He is the imam to the worst of the jihadists of recent years, including the 9/11 Muslim terrorists, the Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, the Times Square car bomber, the Christmas underwear bomber, the 7/7 London bombers, the 7/21 London bombers, the leader of the transatlantic airline bombers, and others.

But the jihad was apparently just fine with eBay and Paypal, at least until enough Atlas readers complained.

Of course, Paypal and all businesses are free to conduct business with whom they choose, and in what ever way they choose, within the bounds of the law, letting the market decide. I believe in that as an absolute. I do not believe for a moment that the government should step in and regulate or force a business into doing bad business (i.e., as in the case of sub-prime mortgages).

But I also believe that it is in my power to call attention to bad business practices and let the market decide. If Paypal was going to punish courageous voices and free men while sanctioning evil, people had to know that before they give their business over to such quisling companies.

After I announced Paypal’s action at Atlas Shrugs, I was overwhelmed by the support and by all the people who have been writing to Paypal. The left lost this one, but I am sure they’ll try to silence me and other conservatives in other ways. What they don’t know is that we have not yet begun to fight.

Pamela Geller is the editor and publisher of the Atlas Shrugs website and former associate publisher of the New York Observer. Her op-eds have appeared in the Washington Times, WorldNetDaily, the American Thinker, Israel National News and other publications.

Mr. President, You’re Stuck on Stupid

By Christopher Chantrill

It is true that liberalism is cruel, corrupt, wasteful, and unjust. But one should never forget its delusion. The delusion is a simple one. It is a belief that government can be made rational and efficient. This delusion leads our liberal friends into disaster after disaster.

Liberals were shocked that President Bush failed to get everyone tucked up in bed in a couple of days after Hurricane Katrina. They knew that a rational and efficient government, run by people like them who believed in government, could do better.

Now President Obama is busy proving them wrong.

Unfortunately, conservatives aren’t helping. In pointing out the serious lapses in the president’s leadership qualities, we conservatives are missing the point. We are encouraging liberals in their delusion. Instead, we should remind everyone that of course a bunch of corporate bureaucrats, combined with a bunch of government bureaucrats, are going to be a bit off the mark.

A bit of presidential leadership might have made a difference, we could have said, but not much. The president brings the talents and experience of twenty years in left-wing organizing to the presidency. In that school, the attitude, the gesture, is all-important. So obviously he’s not going to be much help in a crisis.

But leader or no leader, it takes time to plug a hole — especially a hole under five thousand feet of water.

The big problem for the president is that the Gulf oil spill is his fourth major presidential mistake. The first big mistake was the $787-billion stimulus package. The second was the appeasement of thug dictators, Islamist and leftist. The third mistake was ObamaCare. The fourth is the Gulf.

(The bailouts of the auto industry I count as merely a crime, an assault and battery on the principle of private property and senior creditors, the very foundation of our freedom and prosperity.)

The horrifying thing is that we Americans can’t afford all these mistakes. We can’t afford a president stuck on stupid.

We could afford it if the national debt weren’t hitting 90 percent of GDP. We could afford it if Europe weren’t in the middle of a sovereign debt crisis. We could afford it if the economy were clearly expanding strongly.

It was Adam Smith who said there is a great deal of ruin in a nation. But you have to keep the ruin within certain limits.

The reason we are in this mess is because liberals wouldn’t listen. They had a wake-up call in 1980, when an amiable dunce became president and fixed the economy with lower tax rates, hard money, and an end to economic meddling. But liberals stuck their hands over their ears and insisted that supply-side economics was trickle-down economics.

Then, in 1994, liberals had another wake-up call when Republicans rocketed to control of Congress after President Clinton pushed a big tax increase and HillaryCare. This time liberals were insulted and determined not to concede their cultural and political hegemony to a bunch of right-wing Christians. They refused to consider any reform of the welfare state except in the summer of 1996, when the Republican Congress put a gun to President Clinton’s head.

That’s the way it is with religion. You cling to your faith, sometimes bitterly. Because in the end, that’s all you have.

For President Obama and the liberals, their religion is a secular religion, and their faith is a secular faith. Their faith is a faith in politics and government to right the wrongs of the world. Despite the collapse of their faith with the fall of the Soviet Union and the embrace of capitalism in India and China, these bitter clingers still worship the idols of government programs and their own ethical superiority.

How does a religion collapse? During the Christianization of northern Europe, the monks would topple the idols of the pagan gods. See, they said, our true God is more powerful than your gods.

Is that how liberalism will come to an end? When the Keynesian idols are finally toppled? Most likely the end will catch everyone by surprise, like the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union.

Could the election of 2010 be the decisive earthquake that tumbles the temple of liberalism? Certainly the British press, taking their cue from our mainstream media, are underwhelmed by last weeks’ primaries. The London Economist has a cover this week with Sarah Palin as Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, featuring Rush Limbaugh as the March Hare.

Nobody knows when liberalism will end or when its politics of patronage and its culture of compulsion will destruct.

Is that discouraging? Not at all. The only thing to do is to think and write and organize and plan for a better America.

…An America no longer stuck on stupid.

U.S. Man Hunting Bin Laden Held in Pakistan

File: Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden in Afghanistan.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — An American armed with a pistol and a 40-inch sword was detained in northern Pakistan and told investigators he was on a solo mission to kill Usama bin Laden, a police officer said Tuesday.

The man was identified as 52-year-old Californian construction worker Gary Brooks Faulkner, said officer Mumtaz Ahmad Khan.

He was picked up in a forest in the Chitral region late on Sunday, he said.

“We initially laughed when he told us that he wanted to kill Usama bin Laden,” said Khan. But he said when officers seized the pistol, the sword and night-vision equipment, “our suspicion grew.”

He was questioned Tuesday by intelligence officials in Peshawar, the main northwestern city.

Faulkner told police he visited Pakistan seven times, and this was his third trip to Chitral.

Police alleged the American intended to travel to the eastern Afghan region of Nuristan, just across the border from Chitral.

The area is among several rumored hiding places for the Al Qaeda leader, who has evaded a massive U.S. effort to capture him since 2001. Bin Laden is accused of being behind the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, as well other terrorist acts.

Khan said Faulkner was also carrying a book containing Christian verses and teachings.

When asked why he thought he had a chance of tracing bin Laden, Faulkner replied, “God is with me, and I am confident I will be successful in killing him,” said Khan.

Faulkner arrived in the Chitrali town of Bumburate on June 3 and stayed in a hotel there.

He was assigned a police guard, as is quite common for foreigners visiting remote parts of Pakistan. When he checked out without informing police, officers began hunting for him, said Khan.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said the mission had received notification from Pakistani officials that an American citizen had been arrested. He said embassy officials were trying to meet the man and confirm his identity.