Saturday, September 30, 2006
Al-Qaida second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri urged the Pope and Christians to convert to Islam in response to comments Benedict XVI made on Islam, and called U.S. President George W. Bush a failure and a liar in the war on terror, according to a video released Friday.
"If Benedict attacked us, we will respond to his insults with good things. We will call upon him, and all of the Christians to become Muslims who do not recognize the Trinity or the crucifixion," al-Zawahri said, according to the Washington-based Search for International Terrorist Entities (SITE) Institute.Al-Zawahri also called a UN resolution to send peacekeepers into Sudan's war-torn Darfur region a "Crusader plan" and implored the Muslims of Darfur to defend themselves.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Islamic militants today shot dead four Buddhists in two separate attacks in Thailand's mainly Muslim south, where an insurgency has raged for more than two years...
In one attack, two teenagers in Islamic students' dress and riding a motorcycle, shot and killed three Buddhists in Yala...
“The militants exploited the fact that the men were shopping at a grocery store and could not defend themselves, even though they had a gun,” police Colonel Somsak Wannawak said.
Earlier a militant shot dead a Buddhist man in Pattani province while he was riding a bus...
More than 1400 people have died in the conflict in Thailand's far south since early 2004.The violence has been blamed on Malay separatism, religious extremism and organised crime in the border region.
Discussing his recent compromise with the White House on detention and interrogation of captured terrorists, John McCain said on the Today show that ‘there will be no such thing as waterboarding…You will never see that again. We stood up and said that cannot be done.’
It is not easy to grasp the thinking of senator McCain and others who seek to ban this practice in the light of its immense value in our fight against terror. Take, for instance, the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed captured in Pakistan in March of 2003. One of the masterminds of 9/11 and al-Qaeda’s operational leader at the time, he possessed a wide-ranging knowledge of the network’s plans, logistics and personnel. Unwilling to share it voluntarily, he was subjected to forced interrogation. As resilient as he was and defiant, he held out until the interrogators decided to proceed with waterboarding. Two and a half minutes into the procedure, a broken Mohammed begged for relief. Stunned and shaken, his extensive confession amounted to nothing less than a treasure trove of priceless intelligence.Although waterboarding is normally employed as the last resort and the frequency of its use kept secret, it has been made known that so far it has worked every time it has been tried. Thanks to its extraordinary efficacy, we have been able to obtain a great amount of critical intelligence that would have otherwise remained inaccessible. With the help of this information we have captured al-Qaeda operatives, stopped deadly plots, and saved many innocent lives. One of the fruits of Mohammed’s confession, to give one example, was the thwarting of a conspiracy to fly an airliner into the Library Tower, the tallest building in Los Angeles.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
All for $60 worth of weed. Yeesh.
It's not Friday yet... but it's close.
It's not Friday yet... but it's close.
Gloria Wise club had $10 million in annual city contracts.....But in a brazen move, Gloria Wise's former executive director Charles Rosen and former development director Evan Montvel Cohen steered $875,000 to Air America, then struggling to raise enough money to go on the air during the 2004 presidential campaign. The probe quickly resulted in the resignations of Rosen and other key staffers, many of whom hauled in six-figure salaries. Rosen earned $227,000 a year...a criminal investigation into the use of public money continues.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Hughes was also the first Balzac of homeroom, arguing that what stratified public education as much as looks, popularity, or natural herd instincts was net worth. Even those dismayed by the cheap sentimentality and wafer-thin plotlines of his films could at least appreciate seeing class presented as not something you skipped but were defined by. Hughes, though, was never quite the antagonist of the status quo he made himself out to be. He was actually a political conservative, and his portrayals of down-and-out youth rebellion had more to do with celebrating the moral victory of the underdog than with championing the underprivileged. In Hughes' hormonal vale of tears, snobs and elitists were the ones who ruined wealth for everybody else.
If false consciousness runs at equal pace with cant in these twin fairy tales, it may be because the man Roger Ebert once called the "philosopher of puberty" was mugging for a counterculture in which he never fully believed. Apart from the music—the Beatles, Dylan—Hughes' own coming-of-age was characterized not by the egalitarian zeitgeist of the '60s but by a funk of jealousy for what the Jonses had and the Hugheses did not. (The first Chevy Chase Vacation movie was based on a Hughes short story rooted in the boyhood trauma of never being taken to Disneyland.)
Hughes grew up in Grosse Pointe, Mich., and also in a small town just outside Chicago, the model for his fictive "Shermer, Ill.," where a lot of his teen flicks took place. As he tells Kevin Bacon on the Some Kind of Wonderful disc, it was the sense of entitlement of the neighborhood trust-funders that got him down: "I knew kids that in the third grade would say, 'When I'm 18, I'm getting $22 million dollars.' " We should be grateful that talk like this didn't turn him into the Michael Moore of the Stridex set. Rather, it was Ferris Bueller—a character Hughes claimed to strongly identify with—who mouths his creator's worldview early in the famous day off:
-Ism's, in my opinion, are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus but it still wouldn't change the fact that I don't own a car.
P.J. O'Rourke could have said it better himself, and did in fact when he co-edited the National Lampoon with Hughes in the mid-'70s. They were the two Midwestern conservatives, or "Pants-Down Republicans," on a masthead otherwise mostly comprised of vestigial Harvard hippies slouching their way out of the Me Decade. In O'Rourke's book, Republican Party Reptile, this GOP schismatic was eventually updated and defined for the '80s as a "disco Hobbes" into sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll as much as guns, SDI, and the flat tax: Ted Nugent fused with Tom Wolfe, in other words. Enemies on the right included the stuffed shirts and old-money bores—parents of the Steffs and Hardys of the world—while the new and improved Reaganite gentry was seen as something to aspire to. (Some people have to work for that $22 million.)
It's worth noting that both O'Rourke and Hughes at one point penned jokes or dialogue for Rodney Dangerfield, whose high-society-skewering, upwardly mobile alter egos—think Caddyshack, Back to School, and Easy Money, which O'Rourke co-scripted—were the perfect embodiments of the Republican Party Reptile ethos. It's true that Hughes remained mute on his partisanship just as he was being hailed as the reigning auteur of angst, but a 1988 Premiere profile brushed up against his convictions by calling him the "sort of guy Norman Rockwell might have been if he'd lived in Hollywood." This was an apt comparison, and not just because that same profile tells us that Molly Ringwald owes her career to Girl at Mirror. It should have come as no surprise, then, that a faint smirk of family-values-friendly subversion stamped itself on all of late Hughes, which is to say his even more establishment period as a filmmaker. From The Great Outdoors (in-laws sure are difficult) to Home Alone (towheaded McMansion latchkey kid foils robbery, saves Christmas) to Dennis the Menace (overall-wearing scamp of the manicured lawns sling-shoots his way straight into your heart)—these were comedies for the Dan Quayle in all of us.
Gen X nostalgia is as interesting for what it remembers as for what it chooses to ignore. Every so often, you'll turn on TBS and be forced to take inventory of the popular culture of your youth. Trading Places delivered its comeuppance with a switcheroo act of commodities fraud;* the true nemesis of Ghost Busters wasn't Gozer but the EPA; Stripes is all about making a kind of screwball peace with the military-industrial complex … Sure enough, there's Harold Ramis—another Lampoon alum, who directed Hughes' screenplay for Vacation—reflecting on the Chicago Seven hearings in a recent interview with the Believer: "They ran up and down the street, smashing car windows and stuff. My first reaction was, 'Yeah, right on!' But then I thought, 'Wait, I'm parked out there.' " The polite term for this gentle rightward shift when it happens to artists and intellectuals is embourgeoisement. What a shame the philosopher of puberty never warned kids about that.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
- The rifle is a weapon. Let there be no mistake about that. It is a tool of power, and thus dependent completely upon the moral stature of its user. It is equally useful in securing meat for the table, destroying group enemies on the battlefield, and resisting tyranny. In fact, it is the only means of resisting tyranny, since a citizenry armed with rifles simply cannot be tyrannized.
- The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.
- —Jeff Cooper, The Art of the Rifle
Monday, September 25, 2006
"Serves" is a polite term here:
The LA County Gun Task Force has served another search warrant on the home of another member of the fifty caliber community. On Monday September 18th, eighteen police cars swarmed the neighborhood where the FCSA member lives and served a search warrant signed by Judge Steven Kleifield of the LA County Superior Court. The officers were at the residence for several hours and confiscated all semi-automatic firearms belonging to the victim.
The probable cause for issuing the search warrant was not available in the body of the affidavit so the reason for the search is unknown at this time. It should be noted the LA Gun Task Force used "High Risk" entry tactics by sending a SWAT Entry team to make the initial entry into the victim's residence. Gun owners in LA County need to be prepared to expect these kinds of entry tactics and respond to commands from any officers if you are contacted.
FCI wants everyone to be aware that the LA County Gun Task Force is lead by agents from BATFE; LAPD and LASO. They appear to have focused their attention on members of the fifty caliber community and are aggressively trying to arrest law abiding citizens for just being "Gun Owners".
In the situation that occurred this past Monday the victim had his entire firearms collection seized and he was told charges are going to be filed because he had in his possession linked ammunition in quantities of more than 10 rounds of ammunition at a time. This has been interpreted as a violation of the "High Capacity Magazine" portion of the Assault Weapons Act in CA. The victim owns a Semi-auto M2; a semi-auto M3 and a 30 caliber semi-auto 1919
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Friday, September 22, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Briliiant. AS ALWAYS.
September 21, 2006
The church dance that snowballed
A masterful new work on al-Qaeda and 9/11 explains how a loser cult has metastasized
On the fifth anniversary of 9/11, U.S. and Afghan troops in "eastern Afghanistan" -- a vague delineated land that doesn't necessarily stop at the Pakistani border -- captured a man called Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
Well, he was the head of Hezb-i-Islami -- or, latterly, one faction of it. And for a while he was prime minister of Afghanistan, and an opponent of the Taliban, and then an ally of the Taliban. And in recent years he's been Iran's Mister Big in the Hindu Kush. He's believed to be the guy who smuggled Osama's son, Saad bin Laden, and various al-Qaeda A-listers out of Afghanistan and to the safety of the ayatollahs' bosom. He's an evil man who knows a lot of high-value information, if you can prise it out of him.
He made his name in the eighties, when there were so many Afghan refugees in Peshawar that the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI, decided to streamline operations and make the human tide sign up with one of six designated émigré groups in order to be eligible for aid. Hekmatyar headed one of the two biggest, with some 800,000 people under his banner. He also has the distinction of being the commander of Osama's first foray into the field. In 1985, bin Laden and 60 other Arabs were holed up in Peshawar doing nothing terribly useful until they got the call to head across the Afghan border and join up with Hekmatyar's men to battle the Soviets near Jihad Wal. So off they rode, with a single local guide. They arrived at Hekmatyar's camp at 10 in the evening only to find the Soviets had retreated and there was no battle to fight.
"Your presence is no longer needed," Hekmatyar told Osama's boys. "So go back." So the neophyte warriors shot a few tin cans off fence posts, handed in their weapons and caught the bus back to Peshawar: mujahedeen tourists who'd missed the show.
This poignant vignette occurs in Lawrence Wright's masterful work The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road To 9/11. I picked the book up a couple of weeks ago without much enthusiasm, mainly because of a growing suspicion these last five years that a "human interest" view of current events is bound to be misleading. Osama himself seems merely an extreme embodiment of larger globalized trends he's barely aware of. The praise the New York Times heaped on Wright for his portrayal of John O'Neill, the "driven, demon-ridden FBI agent who worked so frantically to stop Osama bin Laden, only to perish in the attack on the World Trade Center," suggested one of those artificially novelistic accounts too obviously aimed at getting a sale to Miramax. And most of the Wahhabist fellows over on the other side are too irrational for the psychological demands of fiction: it would surely be as unsatisfying as reading a detective novel where every character's insane.
But I was wrong. The human comedy in The Looming Tower is very illuminating. Bin Laden, for example, emerges not as the fearless jihadist and scourge of the Soviets but as a laggard and faint-heart with a tendency to call in sick before battle and, if pressed into service, to pass out during it due to his blood pressure. The "nap" he took during the battle of the Lion's Den in 1987 is spoken of by awed al-Qaeda types as evidence of his cool under fire, but it seems more likely he just fainted. In Afghanistan, the local lads were hard and brave, the Arab volunteers they dismissed as "useless." Had the Americans funded the mujahedeen directly, the Afghan resistance of the 1980s might have remained a conventional war of liberation against the Soviet invaders. But Zbigniew Brzezinski, facing the Congressional oversight of post-Watergate Washington, chose instead to run the operation through third parties and plumped for the Saudis' Prince Turki and the ISI. And next thing you know, a more or less straightforward nationalist resistance has become jihad central. The deeply sinister Prince Turki (full disclosure: he's not big on me, either -- "The arrogance of Mark Steyn knows no bounds") used bin Laden's money to attract to Afghanistan a bunch of freaks and misfits from the Arab world and beyond, and their natural tendency to self-glorification did the rest: from the Soviet point of view, the Lion's Den was an inconsequential tactical retreat; to Osama's boys, living in the heightened pseudo-religiosity of jihadism, it was an exhilarating victory, a moment when (as Wright puts it) "reality knelt before faith." When the Soviet empire fell apart a few years later, the bin Laden crowd genuinely believed it was they who had inflicted the fatal blow with their famous triumph at this rinky-dink no-account nickel 'n' dime skirmish the Commies had barely noticed. So their thoughts naturally turned to what they might do for an encore. And, having taken down one superpower, they figured the next move was pretty obvious.
Wright's book is a marvellously vivid recreation of a kind of sustained unreality. My talk-radio pal Hugh Hewitt calls it a "genealogy," and I think that's a very good way of putting it: The Looming Tower is a family tree of jihad, the chain connecting some weirdsmobile in Cairo with another in Riyadh and then Islamabad and then Hamburg and London and pretty much everywhere. One thing it demolishes is the lazy leftist trope that the "root cause" is poverty. The penniless yak herds aren't the problem. The very first words of the very first chapter are "In a first-class stateroom on a cruise ship bound for New York . . ." It's 1948 and inside the first-class stateroom is Sayyid Qutb, the first of a grand parade of privileged middle-class Westernized Muslims for whom a mis-wired encounter with the modern world is enough to make them hot for jihad. There's a sad inevitability when al-Qaeda's head honchos are ready to give up on 9/11 because they haven't any Muslim Westerners who can pull it off, and just at that moment a Hamburg engineering student called Mohammed Atta shows up. In the jihad, somebody always shows up, somebody middle-class and prosperous and educated and perfectly assimilated except for an urge to self-detonate on the London Underground.
It's tempting to think history might have turned out a little differently had that drunken floozy on the ship not come on to Sayyid late one night or the nurse in George Washington University Hospital not been showing quite so much cleavage. But reading of Qutb's sojourn in America in the late 1940s you begin to wonder whether the girl really did come on to him or if the nurse truly disclosed to him the particulars of what she sought in a lover. His disgust at the lasciviousness of America is vaguely reminiscent of the old joke about the spinster who complains that the young man across the street strips naked in full view every night: when the cop says he can't see anything, she explains you have to climb up on the wardrobe and crane your neck up over the skylight. If you're looking for it as assiduously as Qutb was, you'll find it everywhere.
The title of Wright's book comes from the Koran's fourth sura, the one Osama quoted in a speech on the eve of 9/11:
"Wherever you are, death will find you,
Even in the looming tower."
In an Islamist grievance culture, the tower doesn't have to be that tall to loom. The tragedy in Wright's book is that across little more than half a century a loser cult has metastasized, eventually to swallow almost all the moderate, syncretic forms of Islam. What was so awful about Sayyid Qutb's experience in America that led him to regard modernity as an abomination? Well, he went to a dance in Greeley, Colo.: "The room convulsed with the feverish music from the gramophone. Dancing naked legs filled the hall, arms draped around the waists, chests met chests, lips met lips . . ."
In 1949, Greeley, Colo., was dry. The dance was a church social. The feverish music was Frank Loesser's charm song Baby, It's Cold Outside. But it was enough to start a chain that led from Qutb to Zawahiri in Egypt to bin Laden in Saudi Arabia to the mullahs in Iran to the man arrested in Afghanistan on Sept. 11. And it's a useful reminder of how much we could give up and still be found decadent and disgusting by the Islamists. A world without Baby, It's Cold Outside will be very cold indeed.
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Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Just wow. Great kid, great story.
Good grief. I'd rather watch even another lame gyrating Paris Hilton video than a close-up of post-bombing carnage. What a madman.
NDONESIAN TV shows that feature scantily dressed women are more dangerous than bombs, a militant Muslim cleric who served a jail term for links to the Bali bombings was quoted as saying today.
Abu Bakar Bashir said local television stations should offer more religious programs instead of showing half-naked women."If you ask which are more dangerous, half-naked women or the Bali bombs? The answer is of course women who bare their bodies," Bashir was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.
Tripoli - The elder son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has called on Pope Benedict XVI to convert to Islam immediately, dismissing last week's apology from the pontiff for offending Muslims.
"If this person were really someone reasonable, he would not agree to remain at his post one minute, but would convert to Islam immediately," Mohammed Gaddafi told an awards ceremony on Monday evening for an international competition to memorise the Qur'an.
"We say to the pope - whether you apologise or not is irrelevant, as apologies make no difference to us."
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Monday, September 18, 2006
Jpost ^ | 9-18-06 | AMY K. ROSENTHAL
My day begins like any other. I roll out of bed, make coffee and turn on the computer to touch base with my employer in Rome, the newspaper Il Foglio. But today is different. I'm informed that Oriana Fallaci died at age 77 in her home town of Florence. I'm stunned.
The article I'm currently writing on terrorism no longer has my full attention and my thoughts turn in silent reflection toward the small, but fearless Italian journalist and author. We all knew she was ill and battling cancer for years, but seeing that she had fought off death for more than a decade, it seemed as if she was immortal.
The image of her with dark sunglasses on, cigarette in hand, churning out endless smoke and declaiming true and politically incorrect words would defy time and be with us forever.
As the day unrolls, friends and colleagues call from Italy saying, "Fallaci died, have you heard?" Yes, I tell them, as I repeat for what seems the umpteenth time, "Another great has perished."
FOR THE Italians, whether they loved or despised her, today marks the loss of one of their modern icons. Fallaci was quintessentially Italian - glamorous, passionate and polemical. She reflected a generation which, in its youth, knew what freedom and anti-conformism meant as it battled fascism and Nazi occupation during World War II.
As a young girl, Fallaci smuggled explosives across Nazi checkpoints in Florence. Her father was a leader of the Italian resistance who fought against Mussolini's dictatorship. Her great-great grandfather was a hero of the Italian Risorgimento.
Undoubtedly, that sort of commitment to fight tyranny and uphold freedom inspired the woman who would go on to become one of Italy's most renowned journalists. This is the woman who followed Vietnam and other wars in the Middle East and South America and who jetted around the world to interview famous and infamous leaders, such as Golda Meir, Henry Kissinger, Willy Brandt, the shah of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, Muammar Gaddafi, Yasser Arafat, Indira Gandhi and Deng Xiaoping. As the title of her book Interview with History hints, she was one of history's foremost interviewers.
AFTER A dozen books, including the international best-seller Letter to a Child Never Born, in which Fallaci imagines speaking to a child in the womb and asking if it is right or wrong to give it life, and A Man, which immortalized the martyred poet and Greek resistance leader Alekos Panagoulis, the great love of her life, Fallaci decided to retire and move to New York.
She would come there to live a reclusive existence, and upon being diagnosed with cancer, to dedicate her remaining days writing a novel, which the childless author often affectionately referred to as "my child."
However, her grand plan was upset on September 11, 2001. Shocked, Fallaci chucked aside her novel and broke her 10-year media silence by responding with a long article published in Italy's Corriere della Sera on September 29, 2001. There, she spoke out against extremism, Islamo-fascism and terrorism and denounced mediocre leaders, especially in Europe. Her message was a call to the West to uphold its civilization and its core values against the forces which seek to destroy us.
That article eventually became a book, The Rage and the Pride, which sold more than a million copies in Italy and was translated into numerous languages.
The tone of the article (and later book) was thought to be extreme. But its overriding message was clear - Westerners had to fight back or be ready to capitulate to Islam's jihad.
ALTHOUGH Fallaci is now gone, her resounding message five years after September 11, after Madrid, after London, after so many other terrorist attacks, remains alive. In her follow-up book, The Force of Reason, she again took to task her fellow Europeans for their "mumbo-jumbo multiculturalism," political correctness and the transformation of her continent into a coming "Eurabia."
Fallaci was quickly blasted as a "racist" and faced an onslaught of attacks. She was sued by Muslims for the contents of her book and received death threats for her opinions and views, which, it is true, could be sometimes over the top.
However, I suspect that it was precisely Fallaci's bold outspokenness that her admirers most loved and that her detractors most despised. People loved the fact that she had the courage to be unpopular and to say unflinchingly what so few dared in a world filled with seemingly endless PC banter. Her intellect, her personality - but above all her courage, moral and intellectual - will be greatly missed.The author, a writer for the Italian daily Il Foglio, lives in Rome and Jerusalem. This piece appeared in the Weekly Standard.
The worst job of apologizing for Islamic behavior by an American news outlet, ever. Henceforth, the A in ABC shall stand for asskissers. Good grief.
The ages of the busted are hilarious. Party on, dudes.
Willie Nelson Cited for Drug Possession Sep 18 1:06 PM US/Eastern
Willie Nelson and several members of his band were issued misdemeanor citations for drug possession early today during a traffic stop in Saint Martin Parish. The traffic stop was conducted on Interstate 10 near Breaux Bridge.
Trooper Willie Williams says troopers smelled a strong odor of marijuana when the driver opened the bus door.
During a search of the bus, Williams say approximately 1 1/2 pounds of marijuana and approximately 2/10 of a pound of mushrooms were located on the bus.The 73-year-old Nelson of Spicewood, Texas; 59-year-old Tony Sizemore of Saint Cloud, Fla.; 75-year-old Bobbie Nelson of Briarcliff, Texas; 54-year-old Gates Moore of Austin, Texas; and 50-year-old David Anderson of Dallas, Texas were issued citations for possession of mushrooms and possession of marijuana and released.
It was a sensational victory for Maria Sharapova, gifted with beauty and talent, in the recently concluded U.S. Open tennis championship.
It’s amazing how the 19-year-old tennis star demolished the defending champion and world #1 woman player Amelie Mauresmo with a lopsided 6-0, 4-6, 6-0 score.
Was Amelie distracted by her opponent’s beauty or was her focus not on the ball but on something else?
* * *
What’s inspiring with Sharapova is that even at the crest of success, she hasn’t forgotten to recognize the role of God in her life. Listen to her "homily" about succeeding enunciated days before the US Open.
"What tennis has brought me has been incredible. God gave me a talent, but it was up to me to play my part in it.
"I don’t believe in just Godgiven talent, you have to work for everything you earn and I think the combination has helped me."
* * *
Briefly, Sharapova is saying that God blesses us with talents but it’s up to us to do our counterpart in order to succeed. That "counterpart" means concretely a lot of sacrifice, long and dreary hours of practice, self-discipline and perseverance. Remember the dictum: "What you are is God’s gift to you; what you become is your gift to God."Sharapova’s religious principle is something we all can learn from, not only in sports but in all human endeavors – academics, business, positions of leadership.
A lefty sees some light. Shocking. And in the Slimes, to boot!
Head-in-the-Sand LiberalsWestern civilization really is at risk from Muslim extremists.By Sam Harris, SAM HARRIS is the author of "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason." His next book, "Letter to a Christian Nation," will be published this week by Knopf. samharris.org.
September 18, 2006
TWO YEARS AGO I published a book highly critical of religion, "The End of Faith." In it, I argued that the world's major religions are genuinely incompatible, inevitably cause conflict and now prevent the emergence of a viable, global civilization. In response, I have received many thousands of letters and e-mails from priests, journalists, scientists, politicians, soldiers, rabbis, actors, aid workers, students — from people young and old who occupy every point on the spectrum of belief and nonbelief.
This has offered me a special opportunity to see how people of all creeds and political persuasions react when religion is criticized. I am here to report that liberals and conservatives respond very differently to the notion that religion can be a direct cause of human conflict.
This difference does not bode well for the future of liberalism.
Perhaps I should establish my liberal bone fides at the outset. I'd like to see taxes raised on the wealthy, drugs decriminalized and homosexuals free to marry. I also think that the Bush administration deserves most of the criticism it has received in the last six years — especially with respect to its waging of the war in Iraq, its scuttling of science and its fiscal irresponsibility.
But my correspondence with liberals has convinced me that liberalism has grown dangerously out of touch with the realities of our world — specifically with what devout Muslims actually believe about the West, about paradise and about the ultimate ascendance of their faith.
On questions of national security, I am now as wary of my fellow liberals as I am of the religious demagogues on the Christian right.
This may seem like frank acquiescence to the charge that "liberals are soft on terrorism." It is, and they are.
A cult of death is forming in the Muslim world — for reasons that are perfectly explicable in terms of the Islamic doctrines of martyrdom and jihad. The truth is that we are not fighting a "war on terror." We are fighting a pestilential theology and a longing for paradise.
This is not to say that we are at war with all Muslims. But we are absolutely at war with those who believe that death in defense of the faith is the highest possible good, that cartoonists should be killed for caricaturing the prophet and that any Muslim who loses his faith should be butchered for apostasy.
Unfortunately, such religious extremism is not as fringe a phenomenon as we might hope. Numerous studies have found that the most radicalized Muslims tend to have better-than-average educations and economic opportunities.
Given the degree to which religious ideas are still sheltered from criticism in every society, it is actually possible for a person to have the economic and intellectual resources to build a nuclear bomb — and to believe that he will get 72 virgins in paradise. And yet, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, liberals continue to imagine that Muslim terrorism springs from economic despair, lack of education and American militarism.
At its most extreme, liberal denial has found expression in a growing subculture of conspiracy theorists who believe that the atrocities of 9/11 were orchestrated by our own government. A nationwide poll conducted by the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University found that more than a third of Americans suspect that the federal government "assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East;" 16% believe that the twin towers collapsed not because fully-fueled passenger jets smashed into them but because agents of the Bush administration had secretly rigged them to explode.
Such an astonishing eruption of masochistic unreason could well mark the decline of liberalism, if not the decline of Western civilization. There are books, films and conferences organized around this phantasmagoria, and they offer an unusually clear view of the debilitating dogma that lurks at the heart of liberalism: Western power is utterly malevolent, while the powerless people of the Earth can be counted on to embrace reason and tolerance, if only given sufficient economic opportunities.
I don't know how many more engineers and architects need to blow themselves up, fly planes into buildings or saw the heads off of journalists before this fantasy will dissipate. The truth is that there is every reason to believe that a terrifying number of the world's Muslims now view all political and moral questions in terms of their affiliation with Islam. This leads them to rally to the cause of other Muslims no matter how sociopathic their behavior. This benighted religious solidarity may be the greatest problem facing civilization and yet it is regularly misconstrued, ignored or obfuscated by liberals.
Given the mendacity and shocking incompetence of the Bush administration — especially its mishandling of the war in Iraq — liberals can find much to lament in the conservative approach to fighting the war on terror. Unfortunately, liberals hate the current administration with such fury that they regularly fail to acknowledge just how dangerous and depraved our enemies in the Muslim world are.
Recent condemnations of the Bush administration's use of the phrase "Islamic fascism" are a case in point. There is no question that the phrase is imprecise — Islamists are not technically fascists, and the term ignores a variety of schisms that exist even among Islamists — but it is by no means an example of wartime propaganda, as has been repeatedly alleged by liberals.
In their analyses of U.S. and Israeli foreign policy, liberals can be relied on to overlook the most basic moral distinctions. For instance, they ignore the fact that Muslims intentionally murder noncombatants, while we and the Israelis (as a rule) seek to avoid doing so. Muslims routinely use human shields, and this accounts for much of the collateral damage we and the Israelis cause; the political discourse throughout much of the Muslim world, especially with respect to Jews, is explicitly and unabashedly genocidal.
Given these distinctions, there is no question that the Israelis now hold the moral high ground in their conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah. And yet liberals in the United States and Europe often speak as though the truth were otherwise.
We are entering an age of unchecked nuclear proliferation and, it seems likely, nuclear terrorism. There is, therefore, no future in which aspiring martyrs will make good neighbors for us. Unless liberals realize that there are tens of millions of people in the Muslim world who are far scarier than Dick Cheney, they will be unable to protect civilization from its genuine enemies.
Increasingly, Americans will come to believe that the only people hard-headed enough to fight the religious lunatics of the Muslim world are the religious lunatics of the West. Indeed, it is telling that the people who speak with the greatest moral clarity about the current wars in the Middle East are members of the Christian right, whose infatuation with biblical prophecy is nearly as troubling as the ideology of our enemies. Religious dogmatism is now playing both sides of the board in a very dangerous game.
While liberals should be the ones pointing the way beyond this Iron Age madness, they are rendering themselves increasingly irrelevant. Being generally reasonable and tolerant of diversity, liberals should be especially sensitive to the dangers of religious literalism. But they aren't.
The same failure of liberalism is evident in Western Europe, where the dogma of multiculturalism has left a secular Europe very slow to address the looming problem of religious extremism among its immigrants. The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists.
To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: It does not bode well for the future of civilization.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Perfection, as always.
A lot of the 9/11 anniversary coverage struck me as distastefully tasteful. On the morning of Sept. 12, I was pumping gas just off I-91 in Vermont and picked up the Valley News. Its lead headline covered the annual roll call of the dead -- or, as the alliterative editor put it, "Litany of the Lost." That would be a grand entry for Litany of the Lame, an anthology of all-time worst headlines. Sept. 11 wasn't a shipwreck: The dead weren't "lost," they were murdered.
So I skipped that story. Underneath was something headlined "Half a Decade Gone By, A Reporter Still Cannot Comprehend Why." Well, in that case maybe you shouldn't be in the reporting business. After half a decade, it's not that hard to "comprehend": Osama bin Laden issued a declaration of war and then his agents carried out a big attack. He talked the talk, his boys walked the walk. If you need to flesh it out a bit, you could go to the library and look up a book.
But, of course, that's not what the headline means: Instead, it's "incomprehensible" in the sense that, to persons of a certain mushily "progressive" disposition, all such acts are "incomprehensible," all violence is "senseless." Unfortunately, it made perfect sense to the fellows who perpetrated it. Which is what that headline writer finds hard to "comprehend" -- or, rather, doesn't wish to comprehend. The piece itself was categorized as "Reflection" -- dread word. No self-respecting newspaper should be running "reflections" anywhere upfront of Section G Page 27, and certainly not on the front page. But it has exactly the kind of self-regarding pseudo-sophistication the American media love. The proper tone for 9/11 commemorations is to be sad about all the dead -- "the lost" -- but in a very generalized soft-focus way. Not a lot of specifics about the lost, and certainly not too many quotes from those final phone calls from the passengers to their families, like Peter Hanson's last words before Flight 175 hit the World Trade Center: "Don't worry, Dad. If it happens, it will be very fast." That might risk getting readers worked up, especially if they see the flight manifest:
"Peter Hanson, Massachusetts
"Susan Hanson, Massachusetts
"Christine Hanson, 2, Massachusetts"
No, best to stick to a limpidly fey, tastefully mopey, enervatedly passive prose style that suggests nothing very much can be done about the incomprehensible lost. This tasteful passivity is the default mode of the age: Five years ago it was striking, even in the immediate aftermath, how many radio and TV trailers for blood drives and other relief efforts could only bring themselves over the soupy music track to refer vaguely to "the tragic events," as if any formulation more robust might prove controversial.
Passivity is far slyer and more lethal than rabid Bush hatred. Say what you like about the left-wing kooks but they can still get a good hate on. Sure, they hate Bush and Cheney and Rummy and Halliburton and Fox News and Rush Limbaugh rather than Saddam and the jihadists, but at least they can still muster primal emotions. Every morning I wake up to a gazillion e-mails from fellows wishing me ill, usually beginning by calling me a "chicken hawk" followed by a generous smattering of words I can only print here peppered with asterisks, and usually ending with pledges to come round and shove various items in a particular part of my anatomy. There's so much shipping scheduled to go up there I ought to get Dubai Ports World in to run it.
The foaming leftie routine seems to be a tough sell to a general audience. I see that, a mere three weeks after I guest-hosted for Rush, the widely acclaimed and even more widely unlistened-to Air America is going belly up. Coincidence? You be the judge. But I doubt the "liberal" radio network would be kaput if anti-Bush fever were about to sweep the Democrats to power this November. I think I said a few months back that the Dems would be waking up to their usual biennial Wednesday morning after the Tuesday night before, and I'll stick with that.
But there's more to the national discourse than party politics. And, whoever wins or loses, the cult of feebly tasteful passivity rolls on regardless. As part of National Review's fifth anniversary observances, James Lileks wrote the following:
"If 9/11 had really changed us, there'd be a 150-story building on the site of the World Trade Center today. It would have a classical memorial in the plaza with allegorical figures representing Sorrow and Resolve, and a fountain watched over by stern stone eagles. Instead there's a pit, and arguments over the usual muted dolorous abstraction approved by the National Association of Grief Counselors. The Empire State Building took 18 months to build. During the Depression. We could do that again, but we don't. And we don't seem interested in asking why."
Ray Nagin, New Orleans' Mayor Culpa, is a buffoon but he nevertheless had a point when he scoffed at the ongoing hole in the ground in Lower Manhattan. And whatever fills it is never going to include those "stern stone eagles." The best we can hope for is that the Saudi-funded Islamic Outreach Center will only take up a third of the site. But in our hearts we know whatever memorial eventually stands on the spot will be rubbish -- tasteful rubbish, but rubbish all the same. Last year, I criticized the Flight 93 memorial, the "Crescent of Embrace," whose very title is a parodic masterpiece of note-perfect generically effete huggy-weepy blather. And in return I received a ton of protests pointing out that the families of the Flight 93 heroes had "approved" the design. All that demonstrates, I think, is how thoroughly constrained our society is within its own crescent of embrace: The cult of passivity has insinuated itself deep into our bones. Behind those "IMAGINE PEACE" stickers lies a terrible failure to imagine.At what point does a society become simply too genteel to wage war? We're like those apocryphal Victorian matrons who covered up the legs of their pianos. Acts of war against America have to be draped in bathetic music and uncomprehending reflections and crescents of embrace. We fight tastefully, too. Last week one of America's unmanned drones could have killed 200 Taliban big shots but they were attending a funeral and we apparently have a policy of not killing anybody near cemeteries out of sensitivity. So even our unmanned drones are obliged to behave with sensitivity. But then, these days the very soundtrack to our society is, so to speak, an unmanned drone.
Oriana Fallaci, RIP, the Pope, and a Sad Age
Rarely has the death of a public intellectual affected me as much as the passing of Oriana Fallaci. I never met her, and only received a brief note once from her accompanying a copy of The Rage and the Pride. The story of her career is well known, but her death, at this pivotal time, was full of paradoxes and yet instruction as well.
Radical Islam is, among other things, a patriarchal movement, embedded particularly in the cult of the Middle-Eastern male, who occupies a privileged position in a society that can be fairly described as one of abject gender apartheid. Islamism is also at war with the religious infidel, not just the atheist—and, in its envy and victimhood, fueled by a renewal of the age-old hatred of the Christian.
But so far, with very few exceptions other than the lion, Christopher Hitchens, the courageous William Shawcross, and a few others, the Left has either been neutral or anti-American in this struggle. And few Christians in positions of influence and respect have publicly defended their faith and the civilization that birthed it.
Candor, after all, can get one killed, exiled, or ostracized—whether a Danish cartoonist, a Dutch filmmaker, a Wall Street Journal reporter, or a British-Indian novelist. So here, ill and in her seventies, returned Ms. Fallaci one last time to take up the hammer and tongs against radical Islam—a diminutive woman of the Left and self-proclaimed atheist who wrote more bravely on behalf of her civilization than have most who are hale, males, conservatives, or Christians.
Her fiery message was as timely as it was caricatured and slandered: Muslims who leave the Middle East to live under the free aegis of the West have a moral duty to support and protect the civilization that has welcomed them, rather than romanticize about what they have forsaken; Christianity is more than a religion, but also a powerful emblem of the force of reason, in that it seeks to spread belief by rational thought as well as faith; and that affluent and leisured Westerners, bargaining away their honor and traditions out of fear and for illusory security, have only emboldened radical Islam that seeks to liquidate them.
I wish she were still alive to scoff at the politically correct, the appeaser, and the triangulator, but alas she is gone, defiant to the last.
And what are we to make of poor Benedict XVI, the scholastic, who, in a disastrous display of public sensitivity, makes the telling point, that Christianity, in its long evolution to the present, has learned to forsake violence, and to defend its faith through appeals to reason—and thus can offer its own experience in the current crisis of Islam. And by quoting from the emperor rhetorician Manuel Paleologus—whose desperate efforts at strengthening the Morea and the Isthmus at Corinth a generation before that awful Tuesday, May 29, 1453 all came to naught—the Pope failed to grasp that under the tenets of radical Islam of the modern age, context means little, intent nothing, learning less than zero. If a sentence, indeed a mere phrase can be taken out of context, twisted, manipulated to show an absence of deference to Islam, furor ensues, death threats follow, assassins load their belts—even as the New York Times or the Guardian issues its sanctimonious apologies in the hope that the crocodile will eat them last.
We learned the now familiar rage with the Danish cartoons, Theo Van Gogh, the false flushed Koran story, the forced change of “Operation Infinite Justice” to “Enduring Freedom”, the constant charges of “Islamaphobia”, and a horde of other false grievances that so shook the West, traumatized in fear of having its skyscrapers, planes, trains, buses, nightclubs, and synagogues blown apart or its oil cut off.
So, yes, we know the asymmetrical rules: a state run-paper in Cairo or the West Bank, a lunatic Iranian mullah, a grand mufti from this or that mosque, can all rail about infidels, “pigs and apes”, in language reminiscent of the Third Reich—and meet with approval in the Middle East and silence in the West. But for a Westerner, a Tony Blair, George Bush, or Pope Benedict to even hint that something has gone terribly wrong with modern Islam, is to endure immediate furor and worse. In short, no modern ideology, no religious sect of the present age demands so much of others, so little of itself.
In matters of the present war, I have given up on most of the neoconservatives, many of whom, following the perceived pulse of the battlefield, have either renounced their decade-long, pre-September11 rants to remove Saddam (despite the 140,000 brave souls still on the field of battle who took them at their word), or turned on the President on grounds that he is not waging the perfect fight and thus is not pursuing the good war. The Paleo-right is as frightening as is the lunatic Left. My old Democratic party is long dead, their jackals trying to tear apart the solitary and stumbling noble stag Joe Liebermann, the old center taken over by the Kerry and Soros billionaires, and the guilt-ridden academic, celebrity and media cadres.
So we really are left with very little in these pivotal times—the will of George Bush, of course, the Old Breed unchanged since Okinawa and the Bulge that still anchors the US military, the courage and skill of a very few brave writers like a Hitchens, Krauthammer, and the tireless and brilliant Mark Steyn, but very, very few others. No, this is an age in which we in the West make smug snuff movies about killing an American President, while the Taliban and the Islamists boast of assassinating the Pope.So long may you run, Ms. Fallaci, you who by now have learned that, yes, there is a soul, and, yes, yours was indeed saved for eternity if only for its singular courage and honesty alone. And dear Pope: clarify, contextualize, express sorrow over the wrong interpretation of your remarks, but please don’t apologize for the Truth—not now, not ever.
The secularists too seek the Pope’s submission. Like the Islamists, the secularists are driven only by their will to power. While the Islamists represent their demented version of God--unrestrained by reason, the secularists represent their demented version of reason--unrestrained by God. They are united by their self-worshipping world view.
Mogadishu 17, Sep. 06 ( Sh.M.Network) - Unidentified gunmen are reported to have raided Mogadishu’s SOS hospital and gunned down one of the foreign nuns in the hospital.
Reliable sources say the nun, thought to be an Italian, is confirmed dead. A bodyguard of the nun instantly died after he was fatally shot by two men reportedly armed with handguns.
Reports also indicate that the two assailants have been nabbed by armed guards within SOS hospital.
Six other suspects have also arrested as one of the Islamic Courts leaders Sheik Yusuf Indho-adde told reporters.
The motive of the attack remains unknown. (if you're a moron)
There has been a call for a demonstration against Pope Benedict XVI comment’s on Islam that sparked anger in all Muslim world by some Somali educated clerics. However, it is clearly not known if this fatal attack has anything to do with that.This is the first time an Italian in SOS Somalia has been shot dead. The report over SOS attack is still sketchy as no reporters are allowed entry to SOS compound.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
A snippet, but it should all be read:
Now, I ask myself: “What do you say, what do you have to say, about what happened in London?” They ask me face-to-face, via fax and email; often scolding me because up until now I have remained silent. Almost as if my silence were a betrayal. And each time I shake my head and murmur to myself: what else should I say?!? I’ve been saying it for four years--that I fight against the Monster that has decided to eliminate us physically and, along with our bodies, to destroy our principles and values. Our civilization. For four years I’ve been talking about Islamic Nazism; about the war against the West; about the death cult; about European suicide. About a Europe that is no longer Europe, but Eurabia, and that with its feebleness, its inertia, its blindness, its servitude to the enemy is digging its own grave. For four years, like another Cassandra, I’ve been shouting until I’m hoarse “Troy is burning! Troy is burning!” and I despair of the Danaids for whom, like Virgil in the Aeneid I weep for a city entombed in its torpor. [A city] that, through its wide-open doors receives fresh troops and joins complicit parties [inside]. For four years I’ve been repeating to the wind the truth about the Monster and its accomplices; that is, the accomplices of the Monster who, in good or bad faith, open wide the doors--who, like [those] in the Apocalypse of John the Evangelist, throw themselves at his feet and allow themselves to be stamped with the mark of shame.
NABLUS, West Bank - Palestinians wielding guns and firebombs attacked five churches in the West Bank and Gaza on Saturday, following remarks by Pope Benedict XVI that angered many Muslims.
No injuries were reported in the attacks, which left church doors charred and walls pockmarked with bullet holes and scorched by firebombs. Churches of various denominations were targeted.
Relations between Palestinian Muslims and Christians are generally peaceful, and the attacks on the churches sparked concern that tensions would heighten.
"The atmosphere is charged already, and the wise should not accept such acts," Father Yousef Saada, a Greek Catholic priest in Nablus, said Saturday.
Ayman Daraghmeh, a legislator from the ruling Islamic militant Hamas group, denounced the attacks. Dozens of police took up position around churches in Nablus to protect the holy sites.
Firebombings left black scorch marks on the walls and windows of Nablus' Anglican and Greek Orthodox churches. At least five firebombs hit the Anglican church and its door was later set ablaze. Smoke billowed from the church as firefighters put out the flames
In a phone call to The Associated Press, a group calling itself the "Lions of Monotheism" claimed responsibility for those attacks, saying they were carried out to protest the pope's remarks in a speech this week in Germany linking Islam and violence.
How is it possible that they don't get the joke?
Great read, by George Will(!).
From: Philadelphia Cell
Allah Akbar, God is Great!
Greetings from the City of Brotherly Love, honorable Sheik, on the fifth anniversary of our great success against the Infidels. Your words are again proving to be correct. The enemy is not worthy. They really are the Google-glorifying, Blackberry-addicted, lap-dance loving, Starbucks-sucking, Gap-obsessed sectarians you believe them to be.
They have the attention span of young goats and lack any resolve to fight you on your terms.
Praise be to God, on Sunday night, no less than the so-called American Broadcasting Co. televised something called a "docudrama" about our success. Your embarrassment of the elected officials in two administrations caused great controversy. Despite the attention, only 13 million Americans watched, while 20 million tuned in to a football game.
Tulsa mourns officer, Marine killed in Iraq
Metropolitan Tulsa came together as one community Friday to respect and pay tribute to the memory of Marine Cpl. Jared Shoemaker, who was killed Sept. 4 in Iraq.
More than 1,700 mourners packed the First United Methodist Church downtown, among them hundreds of police officers from Tulsa and across Oklahoma who came to honor one of their own.
Shoemaker, 29, a Marine reservist called into active duty in December, also was a Tulsa police officer.
To the soft organ music of "Ave Maria," Shoemaker's flag-draped oak casket was slowly wheeled into the sanctuary, led by a Marine and a Tulsa officer, and followed by police and Marine honor guards.
The Rev. R. Wade Paschal Jr. offered the eulogy, beginning with a sermon and followed by the singing of a hymn by all mourners.
Shoemaker was not afraid to put himself in harm's way, whether it was fighting the enemy or putting handcuffs on someone.
The pastor told mourners that some people "choose to attack," while others choose to stand in their way.
"Jared was one of those who chose to stand in their way," Paschal said.
A HARDLINE cleric linked to Somalia's powerful Islamist movement has called for Muslims to "hunt down" and kill Pope Benedict XVI for his controversial comments about Islam.
Sheikh Abubukar Hassan Malin urged Muslims to find the pontiff and punish him for insulting the Prophet Mohammed and Allah in a speech that he said was as offensive as author Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses.
"We urge you Muslims wherever you are to hunt down the Pope for his barbaric statements as you have pursued Salman Rushdie, the enemy of Allah who offended our religion," he said in Friday evening prayers.
"Whoever offends our Prophet Mohammed should be killed on the spot by the nearest Muslim," Malin, a prominent cleric in the Somali capital, told worshippers at a mosque in southern Mogadishu.
"We call on all Islamic Communities across the world to take revenge on the baseless critic called the pope," he said.
Okay... so the Pope says that those who claim religion should use Reason and dialogue to discuss differences, and to prove him wrong the "insulted" say to kill him.*sigh*
Las Cruces police are warning residents that someone threatened to randomly shoot people if city leaders failed to hand over what they described as a "substantial" ransom.
The city received the second of two threatening letters Friday afternoon, but police remained tightlipped about details of the demand, including how much money was involved. They did say the demand called for a "substantial amount."
I certainly hope this is a prank.
The letter — the second sent to the city in recent weeks — was hand written with an unusual style of printing.
Friday, September 15, 2006
"They're peaceful and they'll kill us to prove it."
Though imperfect, the SAT measures verbal and mathematical aptitude. So do the literacy surveys compiled by the Department of Education that display the same downward spiral in grammatical and computational ability.
And now, some of the professors who have to work with students saddled with this inadequate training are starting to speak out more frequently. “I came in on the first wave of spell-check utilities,’ English professor Ben Yagoda writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education. “They lull students and others into a false sense of security, leaving homonyms or near homonyms of the intended word unmarked.”
“Cataloging this kind of mistake can be great sport; I treasure the article about a board-of-education meeting that mentioned the ‘Super Attendant of Schools,’ and the one on drug problems that referred to a ‘heroine attic.’”
The Moslem world sprawls around half the east, from the Pacific across Asia and Africa to the Atlantic, along one of the greatest of trade routes; in its center is an area extremely rich in oil; over it will run some of the most strategically important air routes.
With few exceptions, the states which it includes are marked by poverty, ignorance, and stagnation. It is full of discontent and frustration, yet alive with consciousness of its inferiority and with determination to achieve some kind of general betterment.
Two basic urges meet head-on in this area, and conflict is inherent in this collision of interests. These urges reveal themselves in daily news accounts of killings and terrorism, of pressure groups in opposition, and of raw nationalism and naked expansionism masquerading as diplomatic maneuvers. The urges tie together the tangled threads of power politics which, snarled in the lap of the United Nations Assembly, lead back to the centers of Islamic pressure and to the capitals of the world's biggest nations.
Riddle me this Batman, when was the preceding bit written, this morning? Try 1946 in an analysis piece by the War Department asking its best intelligence minds what threats they saw in a post-WWII world. Do both of us a favor and read the entire thing. They didn't just get it right; they drew a path that we have since wandered down for 60 years. The stage for our current impasse was set by the downward spiral of Moslem culture and the awful job done when the Europeans dismantled their colonial empires. It is almost painful to read this document as it presciently documents our current troubles, and yet somehow has been ignored or overruled by the Arabist wing of our diplomatic corps.
The first of these urges originates within the Moslems' own sphere. The Moslems remember the power with which once they not only ruled their own domains but also overpowered half of Europe, yet they are painfully aware of their present economic, cultural, and military impoverishment. Thus a terrific internal pressure is building up in their collective thinking. The Moslems intend, by any means possible, to regain political independence and to reap the profits of their own resources, which in recent times and up to the present have been surrendered to the exploitation of foreigners who could provide capital investments. The area, in short, has an inferiority complex, and its activities are thus as unpredictable as those of any individual so motivated.
The other fundamental urge originates externally. The world's great and near-great powers cover the economic riches of the Moslem area and are also mindful of the strategic locations of some of the domains. Their actions are also difficult to predict, because each of these powers sees itself in the position of the customer who wants to do his shopping in a hurry because he happens to know the store is going to be robbed.
Steal a loaf of bread and one or both of your upper extremities will be hacked off at the wrist. Get caught holding hands with your same-sex fiancé and the only thing the two of you will ever share again is a slow, painful, death . . . a married woman who’s just suffered the brutality of gang-rape? . . . you’ll find either four males your attackers were stupid enough to allow to bear witness to the crime, or find yourself guilty of adultery . . . buried in sand to their chests, slowly and brutally stoned to death by their neighbors.
Welcome to the merciless world of Islamic Sharia Law, where religious “scholars” sit as judges and juries. This medieval system of “justice” oversees countless stonings, beheadings, crucifixions, and often-fatal floggings in Islamic theocracies each year.
A growing number of countries with Muslim majorities are, while maintaining secular constitutions and penal codes, imposing religious law for family and civil matters . . . Women are treated as property . . . rarely receive half . . . generally lose custody of their children—particularly boys.
Nowhere is this more rampant than Europe, where an expanding Muslim population is led by those who would like nothing better than to establish a caliphate government beholding to Sharia Law . . .
And, although Muslim immigrants to the U.S are perhaps better assimilated than anywhere else on the planet, one can’t ignore the words attributed to Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) founder Omar M. Ahmad by the San Ramon Valley Herald on July 4, 1988,“Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”
Not unsurprisingly, a Clinton appointee.
She's such a pain.
Must be the beautiful blue eyes ...
Covering the White House is not an easy beat. The hours are late, the travel can be brutal and the tug-of-war between the White House spin machine and journalists can wear down even the toughest reporter.
But White House spokesman Tony Snow, who has been on the job four months, might very well be out to change all of that and to put the “fun” back in “fundamentally, a frustrating job.”
Yeas & Nays reviewed the press briefing and press gaggle transcripts from Snow’s first four months on the job and compared them to those of Snow’s predecessor, Scott McClellan, during his first four months.
Under Snow, there were more than 330 percent more instances of laughter — as defined by the transcriber’s insertion of “(Laughter)” in the transcript — than under McClellan.
Have reporters fallen for the former Fox News commentator’s woo and charm? And — gasp! — could Snow actually be making the notoriously curmudgeonly task of covering the White House fun?
“It’s not that Tony’s necessarily a laugh riot,” says Ron Hutcheson, who covers the White House for McClatchy newspapers. “But he engages, and it’s a lot more fun to be in the room with somebody who’s engaging reporters.” Hutcheson says that McClellan, on the other hand, “was just cautious, cautious to a fault. He would retreat to the talking points and it was almost as if he didn’t listen to the question.”
Snow says that his humor is not intentional. “It’s just doing what I do, the way I do it,” he says. “For me, the job is a blast. I love the job and I think that’s part of it. And I enjoy the people out there. It’s not like I feel as if I’m among strangers. You’ve just got to be yourself when you’re doing a briefing.”
But is there any danger in being a bit too humorous?
“Well, I do like to have fun, but at the same time you don’t want to be doing stand-up as the spokesperson of the president and the leader of the free world,” he says.
This thread is on its way to becoming the internet's largest compendium of barf photos. LOL. Kinda...
Thursday, September 14, 2006
In fact, the whole article portrays the erstwhile Chairman in so rosy a picture that one would imagine that the portrait in question was that of Santa Clause as opposed to one of the most bloodthirsty despots in world history.
Throughout the story Chairman Mao is called all manner of benign and complimentary names. "Iconic", "worshiped", a "great leader", it is revealed that he had a "robust spirit", and in the opening paragraph his portrait is lovingly described as "he of the Mona Lisa gaze, flushed cheeks and trademark gray suit."
He seems so benign in the story that I found myself wanting one of these wonderful works of art!
Even the forced labor of artists creating the Chairman's images is treated as if the artist's product was created for a thriving market instead of one manufactured by an oppressive government mandating that the image was to be hung in every house and public building."At the height of Mao's power, his face was reproduced and hung in homes, schools, factories across the nation. Demand was so great for public murals of Mao, as well as of other socialist icons such as Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, authorities asked Wang in 1975 to train a group of apprentices.""Demand was so great"? The Times almost seems to be asserting that his "iconic image" was being snapped up by willing customers instead of forcibly displayed by government fiat! There was "demand", all right … at the point of a gun.
This story is also used to extol the virtues of the new and improved China, as well. And it is there that we finally see the word "propaganda" used in the piece. Naturally, it isn't associated with communism, but capitalism!"By the mid-1980s, China was taking a great leap from communist dogma and entering an era of capitalist-style economic reforms. Demand for Mao portraits went so out of fashion that the apprentices found themselves with nothing to do for months at a time.Interesting that we get paragraph after paragraph describing how the kindly Chairman's portrait is hung all about the country of an admiring citizenry, yet only "advertising" is linked with the term "propaganda" in the Times' account of the image!
To survive, they put their skills to use on a different kind of propaganda: advertising. Anything from movie posters to machine parts, stereo equipment to skin moisturizers. In the days before computers or graphic design capabilities, everything had to be drawn by hand. As new as they were to the task, the apprentices were perfect for the job."
The most galling thing about this story of happy artists, selflessly creating portraits of a beloved leader who generously allowed them to make a living with their brushes is that Mao is responsible for the murder of millions of artists (writers, teachers, musicians, and artists) during the so-called Cultural Revolution. Yet, not a word is brought up about all that messy history by the Times.
"There is no more fundamental right than the inalienable right to worship our creator, and I pray in Jesus name," Klingenschmitt said. "For any government official to require non-sectarian prayers is for him to enforce his government religion upon me, to censor exclude and punish me for my participation."
Look out. The screaming will begin.
(P.S. I hate generalities.)
Free republic mentioned? Free Republic blamed. Oh, b-rother.
Maguire says if it had been just one - or even several - DJs who felt it was just too much of a hassle to spin Dixie Chicks singles, they would have been fine with the boycott. The problem was how the whole anti-Chicks campaign was orchestrated by a select few through a right-wing Internet site called the Free Republic.
The Netherlands' justice minister says he would welcome Islamic law, or Sharia, to his European nation if the majority of his people vote for it.
Piet Hein Donner wants the Netherlands to give Muslims more freedoms to behave according to their traditions, reported the NIS News Bulletin, a Dutch online publication.
"For me it is clear: If two-thirds of the Dutch population should want to introduce the Sharia tomorrow, then the possibility should exist," Donner said. "It would be a disgrace to say: 'That is not allowed!'"Donner was reacting to a plea by a parliamentary leader, Maxime Verhagen, who wants to ban parties seeking to establish Islamic law.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
While the reasons for making aliya vary from one family to the next, no one disputes the assertion that being Jewish in France has become more difficult during the past six years. With a tradition of anti-Semitism that dates back to Medieval times and the Crusades, France became a virtual icon of anti-Semitism in the 19th century with the Dreyfus trial - often said to have been Theodor Herzl's inspiration for the creation of modern political Zionism - and the mass round-up of Jews by the Vichy government during World War II.
French intellectuals are unabashedly anti-Israel, and the French government has often displayed a pro-Arab and pro-Palestinian bias since Israel's resounding success in the 1967 Six Day War.
With the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000, French Jews began to note a sharp increase in anti-Semitism with incidents and violent attacks unlike anything seen since the 1940s. Many of these incidents have been perpetrated by Muslim immigrants.
France's National Consultative Committee on Human Rights reported a sixfold surge in acts of violence against Jewish people, property and institutions from 2001 to 2002. In 2003, a popular Jewish DJ was brutally murdered in Paris, apparently by a radical Muslim youth organization. This was followed in 2004 by incidents. For example, a Jewish school bus was set on fire in Strasbourg; a concert by an Israeli singer in Macon was repeatedly interrupted by shouts of "Death to the Jews"; a 14-year-old boy wearing a kippa was beaten near the entrance to a Paris Metro station, with bystanders refusing to intervene; a female Jewish teacher was knocked down, beaten and trampled in central Paris; a University of Saint-Antoine medical school class was interrupted by four men shouting anti-Semitic threats and beating a Jewish student, while the class and professor looked on in silence; and a 12-year-old girl leaving a Jewish school was beaten by two men who carved a swastika into her face with a box cutter. Synagogues were torched, Jewish cemeteries were desecrated, and Jewish institutions were vandalized, damaged or destroyed.
The number and virulence of these violent attacks have indeed been reflected in the number of Jews leaving France for Israel: 11,148 between 2000 and 2005, with a 35-year high of 3,300 Jewish immigrants in 2005. While statistics for 2006 are unavailable, every indication suggests another banner year for French immigration to Israel, despite the recent war in Lebanon.
On July 25, at the height of the war, no fewer than 650 Jews arrived from France - 500 from Paris and 150 from Marseille - marking the largest number of immigrants to arrive in a single day from France since 1971.