Does the federal government have too little on its plate these days, or too much?  The American public…
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FCC Micromanagement Could "Blow Up" Planned Spectrum Auction

Does the federal government have too little on its plate these days, or too much?  The American public is unequivocal on that question, with a record 60% telling Gallup that bureaucrats are wielding too much power.  Only 7% say "too little."

Despite that ugly reality, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeks to increase its level of micromanagement over our telecommunications market.  The auction of spectrum from television stations to wireless carriers is obviously long overdue, and ideally would improve service quality and speed within that growing market.  Unfortunately, the FCC intends to limit participation in bidding on highly valuable low-frequency airwaves by excluding the largest and most successful carriers in many markets.  As Bret Swanson observes at TechPolicyDaily…[more]

April 22, 2014 • 03:13 pm

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The Facts About the Failed Times Square Bomber: Why the Liberal Establishment Can’t Face Reality Print
By Ashton Ellis
Wednesday, May 12 2010
If the liberal elites insist on labeling Faisal Shahzad a 'homegrown' terrorist, they have only themselves to blame.

The more we learn about failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, the stranger the initial reporting about him becomes.  The liberals’ rush to downplay any possible connections to Islam and label him a “homegrown” terrorist were blatant attempts to freeze the story before the truth was known.  Now, the facts about Shahzad are showing a liberal establishment that can’t face a reality it created. 

First there was New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg dismissing the then-unknown suspect as “a mentally deranged person or somebody with a political agenda who doesn’t like the health care bill (i.e. ObamaCare)” to Katie Couric.  Shortly thereafter, MSNBC personality Contessa Brewer was “hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country” because “[t]here are a lot of people who want to use terrorist intent to justify writing off people who believe in a certain way or come from certain countries or whose skin color is a certain way.  I mean they use it as justification for really outdated bigotry.” 

So instead the liberal chattering class indulged in updated bigotry.  After two terrorist attacks on New York City landmarks in 1993 and 2001 by Islamists, the current mayor of the city immediately points to the most likely culprit in 2010: Tea Party activists upset with the government takeover of healthcare.  But why, Mayor Mike, would people angered by federal overreach target a local tourist site like Times Square?  The symbolic value would be lost.  Then again, maybe attention to constitutional distinctions between different levels of government is the kind of “political agenda” motivating “mentally deranged” people these days. 

As for Brewer’s slurs against anyone making the logical connection between Islamic countries and terrorists, the unfolding evidence linking Shahzad to Al Qaeda in Pakistan shows that she is the one blinded by prejudice.  Unlike people guided by common sense and recent history, Brewer’s initial reaction is counterintuitive.  Only a person committed to an ideology that prefers to suspect a neighbor for a stranger’s bad behavior would try to shield the most likely swath of humanity from scrutiny. 

The facts about Faisal Shahzad are these.  He is a Pakistan-born, naturalized American citizen.  The son of a high ranking Pakistani Air Force official, he spent nearly two decades in the United States in unremarkable obscurity earning technical degrees in business, working as an accountant and starting a family.  He lived an ordinary life.  But, as Fouad Ajami has pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, Shahzad is one of Islam’s “nowhere men.” 

By that he means Shahzad, like the London terror bombers and the Fort Hood shooter, checks all the boxes on the cultural left’s list for integration into a host country, but fails the most basic test of assimilation with it.  As Ajami puts it, “[t]he path of citizenship he took gave him the precious gift of an American passport but made no demands on him.” 

For men like Shahzad, the benefits of higher education and making mortgage payments can’t compensate for the cultural shallowness they experience in their adopted countries.  Their search for something deeper – something capable of making a universal truth claim – leads them to the faith of their grandfathers.  For immigrants in Shahzad’s generation, that means rejecting the affluent secularism of their parents in favor of a more demanding expression of Islam.  Torn between the comforts of secularized materialism and the dictates of a radicalized faith, many are unable to see a path of peaceful coexistence and choose to end the schizophrenia with a suicide attack. 

That kind of death was certainly contemplated by the Al Qaeda operatives who trained Shahzad in Pakistan’s tribal region of Waziristan.  Fortunately for Times Square tourists, Shahzad wasn’t quite ready to ensure compliance with his likely mandate, abandoning the car bomb he built before it malfunctioned. 

One of the most famous observations attributed to Osama Bin Laden is that when people see a strong horse and a weak horse they always choose the strong horse.  The American cultural left has spent sixty years weakening traditional notions of morality and patriotism while encouraging mass immigration.  The result is a society that values diversity for its own sake, and mocks or condemns those who search for some type of cultural cohesion.  The liberal project to destroy a distinctly American identity leaves some living here looking for something stronger to fill the void. 

If the liberal elites insist on labeling Faisal Shahzad a “homegrown” terrorist, they have only themselves to blame. 

Question of the Week   
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"Justice Sotomayor argues explicitly that Michigan’s voters would have been within their rights to, for example, lobby university authorities to adopt race-neutral admissions standards but that by adopting a constitutional amendment insisting on race neutrality, thereby transferring the decision from the education bureaucrats to the people themselves and their constitution, they 'changed the…[more]
 
 
—The Editors, National Review
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