Wednesday, January 31, 2007
This was a tough read, so be warned.
We are woefully unprepared for serious jihadi action.
Loretta "Bunny" Sanchez.
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's Congress on Wednesday granted President Hugo Chavez powers to rule by decree for 18 months as he tries to force through nationalizations key to his self-styled leftist revolution.
The vote allows anti-U.S. leader Chavez, who has been in power since 1999, to deepen state control of the economy and other sectors of public life such as defence and security.
Chavez's increasing centralization of power in the No. 4 oil exporter to the United States prompted rare public comments from U.S. President George W. Bush.
"I'm concerned about the Venezuelan people, and I'm worried about the diminution of democratic institution(s)," he said in an interview with Fox News to be broadcast later on Wednesday, after being asked about Chavez's nationalizations.
Afternoon headlines in the anti-Chavez press were more scathing. Tal Cual splashed with "Heil Hugo" and equated the enabling law with powers granted to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in the 1930s. El Mundo had the headline "Superchavez enabled."
The lawmakers, all loyal to Chavez after opposition parties boycotted the 2005 congressional elections, flaunted their populist credentials by taking the unusual step of holding their vote in public in a square in downtown Caracas.
"We in the National Assembly will not waver in granting President Chavez an enabling law so he can quickly and urgently set up the framework for resolving the grave problems we have," said congressional Vice President Roberto Hernandez.
The economic reforms are set to work in tandem with increased political centralization. Chavez is forging a single party to lead his radical reforms, stripping the central bank of autonomy and seeking indefinite re-election.
The vote was applauded by hundreds of Chavez supporters in red T-shirts, carrying placards such as "With Chavez, the people rule" and "Venezuela towards socialism."
Chavez has targeted the oil industry, power utilities and the country's biggest telecommunications firm for takeover, affecting many foreign owners and shareholders.
My fave quote:
Obama wrote that in high school, he and a black friend would sometimes speak disparagingly “about white folks this or white folks that, and I would suddenly remember my mother's smile, and the words that I spoke would seem awkward and false.”As a result, he concluded that “certain whites could be excluded from the general category of our distrust."
British security officials were claiming Wednesday to have foiled a terrorist plot which would have imported for the first time to Britain the grisly Iraq-style tactic of kidnapping a victim, torturing and beheading him and filming the atrocity for broadcast on the Internet.
By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Immigrants wishing to live in the small Canadian town of Herouxville, Quebec, must not stone women to death in public, burn them alive or throw acid on them, according to an extraordinary set of rules released by the local council.
The declaration, published on the town's Web site, has deepened tensions in the predominantly French-speaking province over how tolerant Quebecers should be toward the customs and traditions of immigrants.
"We wish to inform these new arrivals that the way of life which they abandoned when they left their countries of origin cannot be recreated here," said the declaration, which makes clear women are allowed to drive, vote, dance, write checks, dress how they want, work and own property.
"Therefore we consider it completely outside these norms to ... kill women by stoning them in public, burning them alive, burning them with acid, circumcising them etc."
No one on the town council was available for comment on Tuesday. Herouxville, which has 1,300 inhabitants, is about 160 km (100 miles) northeast of Montreal.
Andre Drouin, the councilor who devised the declaration, told the National Post newspaper that the town was not racist.
"We invite people from all nationalities, all languages, all sexual orientations, whatever, to come live with us, but we want them to know ahead of time how we live," he said.
The declaration is part of a wider debate over "reasonable accommodation," or how far Quebecers should be prepared to change their customs so as not to offend immigrants. Figures from the 2001 census show that around 10 percent of Quebec's 7.5 million population were born outside Canada.
Earlier this month the Journal de Montreal newspaper published a poll of Quebecers showing that 59 percent admitted to harboring some kind of racist feelings.
The Herouxville regulations say girls and boys can exercise together and people should only be allowed to cover their faces at Halloween. Children must not take weapons to school, it adds, although the Supreme Court of Canada has already ruled that Sikh boys have the right to carry ceremonial daggers.
Salam Elmenyawi, president of the Muslim Council of Montreal, said the declaration had "set the clock back for decades" as far as race relations were concerned.
"I was shocked and insulted to see these kinds of false stereotypes and ignorance about Islam and our religion ... in a public document written by people in authority who discriminate openly," he told Reuters.
Last year a Montreal gym agreed to install frosted windows after a nearby Hasidic synagogue said it was offended by the sight of adults exercising.
Newspapers say a Montreal community center banned men from prenatal classes to respect Hindu and Sikh traditions and an internal police magazine suggested women police officers allow their male colleagues to interview Hasidic Jews.
Montreal's police force is investigating one of its officers after he posted an anti-immigrant song called "That's Enough Already" on the Internet.
"We want to accept ethnics, but not at any price ... if you're not happy with your fate, there's a place called the airport," the officer sings.
An accompanying video shows clips of Muslims and Hasidic Jews and at one point shows shots of a partially nude woman to mock those who wear veils.The Herouxville declaration is available, in English and French, at the "avis public" section of the town's Web site, http://municipalite.herouxville.qc.ca.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Merck & Co. is helping bankroll efforts to pass state laws requiring girls as young as 11 or 12 to receive the drugmaker's new vaccine against the sexually transmitted cervical-cancer virus.
Some conservatives and parents'-rights groups say such a requirement would encourage premarital sex and interfere with the way they raise their children, and they say Merck's push for such laws is underhanded. But the company said its lobbying efforts have been aboveboard.
With at least 18 states debating whether to require Merck's Gardasil vaccine for schoolgirls, Merck has funneled money through Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country.
A top official from Merck's vaccine division sits on Women in Government's business council, and many of the bills around the country have been introduced by members of Women in Government.
Connecticut state Rep. DebraLee Hovey, R-Monroe, has introduced a bill that would require all girls in Connecticut to receive an HPV shot.
Hovey said Tuesday that she favors the vaccine because it will save lives, not because of Merck. She said other companies are awaiting approval for their HPV vaccines. She also said she has never received a campaign contribution from Merck.
'I look at this as an opportunity to protect my constituents,' said Hovey, a breast cancer survivor in her third term in the legislature. 'I find it really distressing that there's this tendency to be so cynical about all of this.'
Merck spokeswoman Janet Skidmore would not say how much the company is spending on lobbyists or how much it has donated to Women in Government. Crosby also declined to specify how much the drug company gave.
The New Jersey-based drug company could generate billions in sales if Gardasil -- at $360 for the three-shot regimen -- were made mandatory across the country. Most insurance companies now cover the vaccine, which has been shown to have no serious side effects.
Cathie Adams, president of the conservative watchdog group Texas Eagle Forum, said the relationship between Merck and Women in Government is too cozy.
'What it does is benefit the pharmaceutical companies, and I don't want pharmaceutical companies taking precedence over the authorities of parents,' she said.
Adams said Merck's method of lobbying quietly through groups like Women in Government in addition to meeting directly with legislators are common in state government but still should raise eyebrows. 'It's corrupt as far as I'm concerned,' she said.
A mandatory vaccine against a sexually transmitted disease could be a tough sell in the Lone Star State and other conservative strongholds, where schools preach abstinence and parents' rights are sacrosanct. (Note how they say this like it's a bad thing. LOL.)
But Merck has doubled its spending on lobbyists in Texas this year, to between $150,000 and $250,000, as lawmakers consider the vaccine bill for girls entering the sixth grade.
Also, the drugmaker has hired one of the state's most powerful lobbyists, Mike Toomey, who once served as Republican Gov. Rick Perry's chief of staff and can influence conservatives who see him as one of their own.
'What we support are approaches that achieve high immunization rates,' said Skidmore, the Merck spokeswoman. 'We're talking about cervical cancer here, the second-leading cancer among women worldwide.'
The legislation already has the enthusiastic support of the conservative governor.
'I look at this no different than vaccinating our children for polio,' Perry said. 'If there are diseases in our society that are going to cost us large amounts of money, it just makes good economic sense, not to mention the health and well being of these individuals to have those vaccines available.'
Proposals for mandates have popped up from California to Connecticut since the first piece of legislation was introduced in September in Michigan. Michigan's bill was narrowly defeated last month. Lawmakers said the requirement would intrude on families' privacy, even though, as in most states' proposals, parents could opt out.
Even with such opt-out provisions, mandates take away parents' rights to make medical decisions for their children, said Linda Klepacki of the Colorado-based evangelical organization Focus on the Family. The group contends the vaccine should be available for parents who want it, but not forced on those who don't.
But Texas Rep. Jessica Farrar said her proposal is aimed at protecting children whose parents are less informed about or less interested in preventive care.
'Not everybody has equal sets of parents,' said Farrar, a Houston Democrat who had precancerous cells removed from her cervix several years ago. 'I think this is a public health issue and to not want to eradicate cervical cancer is irresponsible.'
Drug-industry analyst Steve Brozak of W.B.B. Securities has projected Gardasil sales of at least $1 billion per year -- and billions more if states start requiring the vaccine. 'I could not think of a bigger boost,' he said. (Yes, isn't the arm of the law a wonderful, powerful thing?)
The French already enjoy a 35-hour work week and generous vacations. Now the health minister wants to look into whether workers should be allowed to sleep on the job.
France launched plans this week to spend $9 million this year to improve public awareness about sleeping troubles. About one in three French people suffer from them, the ministry said.
Fifty-six percent of French complain that a poor night's sleep has affected their job performance, according to the ministry.
"Why not a nap at work? It can't be a taboo subject," Health Minister Xavier Bertrand said Monday. He called for further studies and said he would promote on-the-job naps if they prove useful.
LOL. What a maroon. (Great thread, BTW.)
I actually had to email this statist loon:
Subject: Silly, silly, silly
Donahue's ratings were horrendous.
Left-tilt opinions are dominant everywhere but talk radio -- major newspapers, the major networks... do you think we should demand "fairness" at the NYTimes? (Hey, how about at the teachers' unions, while we're at it?)
The reason talk radio is so popular is because there is a huge demand for it. People are starving for their side, i.e. people who actually love their country, to be heard.
Here's a Milton Friedman quote, the bolded part is the most pertinent (although it all is):" What most people really object to when they object to a free market is that it is so hard for them to shape it to their own will. The market gives people what the people want instead of what other people think they ought to want. At the bottom of many criticisms of the market economy is really lack of belief in freedom itself. The essence of political freedom is the absence of coercion of one man by his fellow men."
Best to you,
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Barking moonbat alert.
Absolutely disgusting, if completely unsurprising. Poor Calame (again).
Monday, January 29, 2007
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
Not a good news day.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Just something I never ever thought I'd read...
There can be little doubt that this nation's campaign in Iraq has distracted it from a threat no less serious in our own backyard: Radical socialists, led by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, are sweeping into power in Latin America.
Tut-tut, some world-watchers say; there may be a leftist movement in the region but it's nothing to worry about: We must learn to live with our Southern Hemisphere neighbors despite our differences.
Never mind Mr. Chavez's latest "effort" to work with the United States: "Go to hell, gringos!" he said in an address this week.
Chavez quickly has become a dictator, convincing his nation's congress to allow him to rule by decree for a year and a half; it will end up being for life. He's "nationalized" just about everything. He's appropriating private property. He's manipulating the food supply. He's cracking down on the media. He's spending billions on armaments.As Investor's Business Daily aptly describes it, Chavez's Venezuela is a "democratic facade" not unlike the one a democratically elected Hitler created to launch Nazi Germany. And Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua likely are not far behind.
Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington has entered a residential treatment facility in an effort to quell the controversy surrounding his anti-gay remarks — and save his job, Life & Style has learned exclusively.
According to an insider, Isaiah, who issued an apology for his statements on Jan. 18, agreed to undergo a psychological assessment after talks with ABC executives.
The married 43-year-old father of three was spotted entering the facility at 9 a.m. today (Jan. 24).
And in a statement released today, Isaiah, confirms this saying, “With the support of my family and friends, I have begun counseling. I regard this as a necessary step toward understanding why I did what I did and making sure it never happens again. I appreciate the fact that I have been given this opportunity and I remain committed to transforming my negative actions into positive results, personally and professionally.”
Isaiah, who plays Dr. Preston Burke on the show, became embroiled in controversy for making a homophobic remark about Grey’s castmate T.R. Knight during an on-set argument last fall. (T.R., 33, publicly announced that he is gay after the incident.) The controversy reignited after the Jan. 15 Golden Globe Awards, at which Isaiah denied ever making the comment — but used the anti-gay slur in his denial.
“ABC has told him he must enter a program to examine why he would say such hateful words,” the insider says.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Democrats' silence on jihad is deadly
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe columnist | January 24, 2007
THE SURGE is underway, and more rapidly than many of us were expecting. The influx of new troops into Iraq? No, of candidates into the 2008 presidential contest.
So far this month, Senators Hillary Clinton of New York, Barack Obama of Illinois, and Chris Dodd of Connecticut, plus Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico -- Democrats all -- have formally launched White House campaigns (or "exploratory committees"). Already in the race were former senators John Edwards of North Carolina and Mike Gravel of Alaska, former governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa, and Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
Eight Democrats, eight would-be commanders-in-chief -- all running for president in a time of war. So which of them, on getting into the race, had this to say about the nature of the enemy confronting us?
"We are engaged in a war against an axis of Islamists, extremists, and terrorists. It is an axis of evil. It has headquarters in Tehran and Waziristan. But because of the unconventional nature of this war, it also has headquarters in cities throughout Europe and Asia and Africa and the United States of America, in cells that operate in the shadows but are prepared to strike us again as they did on September 11th, 2001.
"The enemy we are fighting is . . . totalitarian. It is inhumane. It has a violent ideology and a goal of expansionism and totalitarianism. It threatens our security, our values, our way of life as seriously, in my opinion, as fascism and communism did in the last century."
Can't match that assessment of the global jihad with the Democratic candidate who uttered it? Don't feel bad; it was a trick question. Those words were actually spoken by Senator Joseph Lieberman at a forum on Iraq this month. Lieberman shared the podium with GOP colleague John McCain, who was no less blunt in his evaluation of the war and its stakes.
For McCain, a Republican presidential hopeful, the struggle against the Islamists is the paramount issue of the day. His campaign website, while spare, highlights a recent speech in which McCain called stopping radical Islam "our most important moral obligation." He described the jihadists as "moral monsters but . . . also a disciplined, dedicated movement driven by an apocalyptic religious zeal, which celebrates martyrdom and murder."
Sounding nearly as resolute is former governor Mitt Romney, whose campaign website puts "Defeating the Jihadists" first in its list of key campaign issues. "The jihadists are waging a global war against the United States and its allies," Romney is quoted as saying, "with the ambition of replacing legitimate governments with a caliphate -- a theocracy." Speaking in Israel yesterday, Romney asserted that "a central purpose of NATO should be to defeat radical Islam," through means both military and ideological.
The Democratic candidates, by contrast, are virtually silent on the subject.
Barack Obama launched his exploratory committee with an online video that mentioned the economy, healthcare, vanishing pensions, college costs, and the fractiousness of partisan politics. His only nod to national security was a passing reference to the war in Iraq, which he opposes. But 9/11 and its aftermath? The worldwide jihad? The global conflict between democratic freedom and Taliban-style repression? Not a word.
Hillary Clinton's highly praised kickoff video likewise included nothing about the overriding threat of our time. Her website does contain a speech she gave at the Council on Foreign Relations last October, but it is filled with vague rhetoric about diplomacy and international conferences and how we must address the "troubled conditions terrorists seek out." New Yorkers don't need to be told "that we are in a war against terrorists who seek to do us harm," Clinton says. But if she recognizes that the future of the civilized world depends on winning that war, she shows little sign of it.
What is true of Obama and Clinton is more or less true of Edwards, Richardson, and the others. The Democrats seem prepared to emulate John Kerry, who insisted in 2004 that "we have to get back to the place we were" before 9/11. Back, that is, to treating Islamist terrorism not as "the focus of our lives," but merely as "a nuisance" that we need "to reduce" -- like gambling, he said, or prostitution.
Heading into the 2008 campaign, our political universe is still divided. On one side are those who see the Islamists as a nuisance to be controlled. On the other: those who regard them as an existential enemy to be destroyed. On the relative strength of those two camps, the next election may well depend.
Jeff Jacoby's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.
A superb overview of the whole debacle.
The Weekly Standard ^ | Jan 20, 2007 | Charlotte Allen
One likely reason for the speed and enthusiasm with which members of the Duke faculty and the media produced their morality play that simultaneously demonized lacrosse, wealth, the white race, the South, and the male sex was that it offered something otherwise missing in Nifong's case: a motive for the players, whose time-dated photographs at the March 13-14 party show them sitting torpidly on couches in the house living room, to rise suddenly in a state of power-drunk frenzy and commit gruesome acts of sexual violence. Means and opportunity were presumably there that night, but why would these "macho and entitled" young athletes who could have any Duke "lacrosstitute" of their choice free of charge, or, given their parents' money, pay for a real prostitute if they wanted to, bother with rape?
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
A Schenectady man says it was self defense when he shot at two men who invaded his home. One of the intruders was killed, the other was injured.
Local attorney Paul Der Ohannesian says the only time you can use deadly physical force on someone who has invaded your home is if the intruder gives you solid reason to believe that they are going to hurt you.
“Just because someone walks into your house doesn't mean you can blast them away,” Der Ohannesian said.
What a moron.
The attorney says many people think if someone invades or breaks into your home you automatically have the right to attack them. But he says according to the law the only time a homeowner can physically assault and kill an intruder is if there is reasonable belief that the intruder is going to cause harm first.
Stay out of Texas, ya loon.
Again, I love Texas.
“Clearly when someone comes in with a weapon or gun, that's a lot more reasonable to believe that deadly physical force is going to be used than if someone yells some words that threatens someone,” Der Ohannesian added.
Last Friday a Schenectady family says two men invaded their home on Division Street. The Schulenburg family says the men had guns and fired the first shots.
“I told him to drop the gun. I offered for him to drop the gun and walk out clear and clean. I gave him a warning shot and he still shot back at me, that's when I decided to pull the trigger and take his life,” Ralph Schulenburg Jr. said Sunday.
The man who died was Aaron Peavy. The other intruder was Charles Little. Police say he was shot in the hand and have charged him with two counts of burglary.
Der Ohannesian says if the Schulenburgs’ claims are true, then that would be a clear case of self defense.
But it takes a lengthy investigation to weed out the family's claims of what happened against the intruders claims. Most of these cases go to a grand jury.
“We're looking at things, not only statements of witnesses, but the forensic evidence of the home, weapons involved and the bullet holes and the fire arms and ballistic evidence. And all that has to be looked at,” Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said.The district attorney says it's too early to say if this case will go to a grand jury. He says so far the family has not been charged with a crime.
"If it gets to the floor, there will be blood on the walls," warned state Sen. Vincent Fort, an Atlanta Democrat and member of the Legislative Black Caucus who bitterly opposes the plan. Fort added: "As much as you would like to think it's not racial, it's difficult to draw any other conclusion."No hypocrisy there.
The Left. If they didn't have double standards, they'd have no standards at all.
Freshman Rep. Stephen I. Cohen, D-Tenn., is not joining the Congressional Black Caucus after several current and former members made it clear that a white lawmaker was not welcome.
"I think they're real happy I'm not going to join," said Cohen, who succeeded Rep. Harold Ford, D-Tenn., in a majority-black Memphis district. "It's their caucus and they do things their way. You don't force your way in. You need to be invited."
Cohen said he became convinced that joining the caucus would be "a social faux pas" after seeing news reports that former Rep. William Lacy Clay Sr., D-Mo., a co-founder of the caucus, had circulated a memo telling members it was "critical" that the group remain "exclusively African- American."
Other members, including the new chairwoman, Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., and Clay's son, Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., agreed.
"Mr. Cohen asked for admission, and he got his answer. ... It's time to move on," the younger Clay said. "It's an unwritten rule. It's understood. It's clear."
The bylaws of the caucus do not make race a prerequisite for membership, a House aide said, but no non-black member has ever joined.
Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., who is white, tried in 1975 when he was a sophomore representative and the group was only 6 years old.
"Half my Democratic constituents were African-American. I felt we had interests in common as far as helping people in poverty," Stark said. "They had a vote, and I lost. They said the issue was that I was white, and they felt it was important that the group be limited to African-Americans."
What a nutty mess.
He was an 18-year-old Marine headed to war.
She was an attractive young woman sending him off with pictures and lingerie.
Or so each one thought.
In reality, they were two middle-aged people carrying on an Internet fantasy based on seemingly harmless lies.
When a truthful 22-year-old was drawn in, authorities say, their cyber escape turned deadly.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Hitchens's review of Steyn's America Alone.
Rescued from a great flood while he was just a frozen embryo in liquid nitrogen, a baby boy entered the world Tuesday and was named after the most famous flood survivor of them all, Noah.
Noah Benton Markham — 8 pounds, 6 1/2 ounces — was born to 32-year-old Rebekah Markham by Caesarean section after growing from an embryo that nearly defrosted in a sweltering hospital during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
"All babies are miracles. But we have some special miracles," said Wanda Stogner, a cousin of Markham's.
Two weeks after Katrina hit, law officers used flat-bottom boats to rescue the Markhams' embryos and some 1,400 other ones stored in tanks of coolant at New Orleans' Lakeland Hospital.
The tanks had been topped off with liquid nitrogen and moved from the first floor to the third as the storm drew near, but the hurricane swamped the hospital with 8 feet of water and knocked out the electricity.
The Markhams had decided that if their baby was girl, she would be named Hannah Mae, Hannah meaning "God has favored us." A boy would be named after the biblical builder of the Ark — an idea that came from Rebekah Markham's sister-in-law.
"That is the best name!" said Ramon Pyrzak, lab director for the Fertility Institute of New Orleans, where the Markhams created embryos from their sperm and eggs after nearly a decade of inability to have a baby.
Noah's older brother, 2-year-old Glen Witter "Witt" Markham Jr., whose embryo was created at the same time as Noah's but implanted immediately in 2003, stood on his mother's hospital bed and leaned forward to give the baby a gentle kiss.
"So soft!" Witt said.
Scientists long have issued the warnings: The modern world's appetite for cars, air conditioning and cheap, fossil-fuel energy spews billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, unnaturally warming the world.
Yet, it took the dramatic images of a hurricane overtaking New Orleans and searing heat last summer to finally trigger widespread public concern on the issue of global warming.
Climate scientists might be expected to bask in the spotlight after their decades of toil. The general public now cares about greenhouse gases, and with a new Democratic-led Congress, federal action on climate change may be at hand.
Problem is, global warming may not have caused Hurricane Katrina, and last summer's heat waves were equaled and, in many cases, surpassed by heat in the 1930s.
In their efforts to capture the public's attention, then, have climate scientists oversold global warming? It's probably not a majority view, but a few climate scientists are beginning to question whether some dire predictions push the science too far.
"I think the rank-and-file are becoming more outspoken, and you're hearing a broader spectrum of ideas," Curry says.
Young and old tension Other climate scientists, however, say there may be some tension as described by Vranes. One of them, Jeffrey Shaman, an assistant professor of atmospheric sciences at Oregon State University, says that unease exists primarily between younger researchers and older, more established scientists.
Shaman says some junior scientists may feel uncomfortable when they see older scientists making claims about the future climate, but he's not sure how widespread that sentiment may be. This kind of tension always has existed in academia, he adds, a system in which senior scientists hold some sway over the grants and research interests of graduate students and junior faculty members.
The question, he says, is whether it's any worse in climate science.
And if it is worse? Would junior scientists feel compelled to mute their findings, out of concern for their careers, if the research contradicts the climate change consensus?
"I can understand how a scientist without tenure can feel the community pressures," says environmental scientist Roger Pielke Jr., a colleague of Vranes' at the University of Colorado.
Pielke says he has felt pressure from his peers: A prominent scientist angrily accused him of being a skeptic, and a scientific journal editor asked him to "dampen" the message of a peer-reviewed paper to derail skeptics and business interests.
The apparently sincere commitment to help Iraqis vanished the moment Saddam invaded Kuwait in August 1990 and became America's enemy. At the time, I didn't think about where the left was going. I could denounce the hypocrisy of a West which made excuses for Saddam one minute and called him a 'new Hitler' the next, but I didn't dwell on the equal and opposite hypocrisy of a left which called Saddam a 'new Hitler' one minute and excused him the next. All liberals and leftists remained good people in my mind. Asking hard questions about any of them risked giving aid and comfort to the Conservative enemy and disturbing my own certainties. I would have gone on anti-war demonstrations when the fighting began in 1991, but the sight of Arabs walking around London with badges saying 'Free Kuwait' stopped me. When they asked why it was right to allow Saddam to keep Kuwaitis as his subjects, a part of me conceded that they had a point.
I didn't do much with that thought, but carried on through the Nineties holding the standard left-wing beliefs of the day. By the time New Labour was preparing for power, I was a columnist on The Observer, and my writing was driven by disgust at the near-uniform good press Tony Blair got in his early years. I felt the adulation was unmerited and faintly sinister, and became one of the few journalists to bang on about the dark side of the shiny, happy people who had moved into Downing Street. My pet topic was the treatment of asylum seekers. I was infuriated by the sight of New Labour pretending Britain welcomed the victims of persecution, while all the time quietly rigging the system to stop genuine refugees reaching Britain. Once again, I ran into Saddam Hussein. I had to. It was inevitable, because among the asylum seekers fleeing genuine persecution were countless Iraqis whom the Baathists had driven to pack their bags and run for their lives.
I got to know members of the Iraqi opposition in London, particularly Iraqi Kurds, whose compatriots were the targets of one of the last genocides of the 20th century. They were democratic socialists whose liberal mindedness extended to opposing the death penalty, even for Saddam Hussein. Obviously, they didn't represent the majority of Iraqi opinion. Equally obviously, they shared the same beliefs as the overwhelming majority of the rich world's liberals and leftists, and deserved our support as they struggled against fascism. Not the authoritarianism of a tinpot dictator, but real fascism: a messianic one-party state; a Great Leader, whose statue was in every town centre and picture on every news bulletin; armies that swept out in unprovoked wars of foreign aggrandisement; and secret policemen who organised the gassing of 'impure' races. The Iraqi leftists were our 'comrades', to use a word that was by then so out of fashion it was archaic.
When the second war against Saddam Hussein came in 2003, they told me there was no other way to remove him. Kanan Makiya was on their side. He was saying the same things about the crimes against humanity of the Baath party he had said 20 years before, but although his arguments had barely changed, the political world around him was unrecognisable. American neoconservatives were his champions now, while the left that had once cheered him denounced him as a traitor.
Everyone I respected in public life was wildly anti-war, and I was struck by how their concern about Iraq didn't extend to the common courtesy of talking to Iraqis. They seemed to have airbrushed from their memories all they had once known about Iraq and every principle of mutual respect they had once upheld.
I supposed their furious indifference was reasonable. They had many good arguments that I would have agreed with in other circumstances. I assumed that once the war was over they would back Iraqis trying to build a democracy, while continuing to pursue Bush and Blair to their graves for what they had done. I waited for a majority of the liberal left to off er qualified support for a new Iraq, and I kept on waiting, because it never happened - not just in Britain, but also in the United States, in Europe, in India, in South America, in South Africa ... in every part of the world where there was a recognisable liberal left. They didn't think again when thousands of Iraqis were slaughtered by 'insurgents' from the Baath party, which wanted to re-establish the dictatorship, and from al-Qaeda, which wanted a godly global empire to repress the rights of democrats, the independent-minded, women and homosexuals. They didn't think again when Iraqis defi ed the death threats and went to vote on new constitutions and governments. Eventually, I grew tired of waiting for a change that was never going to come and resolved to find out what had happened to a left whose benevolence I had taken for granted.
All right, you might say, but the reaction to the second Iraq war is not a good enough reason to write a book. The US and British governments sold the invasion to their publics with a false bill of goods and its aftermath was a bloody catastrophe. It was utopian to hope that leftists and liberals could oppose George W Bush while his troops poured into Iraq - and killed their fair share of civilians - while at the same time standing up for the freedoms of others. There was too much emotional energy invested in opposing the war, too much justifiable horror at the chaos and too much justifiable anger that the talk of weapons of mass destruction turned out to be nonsense. The politically committed are like football fans. They support their side come what may and refuse to see any good in the opposing team. The liberal left bitterly opposed war, and their indifference afterwards was a natural consequence of the fury directed at Bush.
It is a fair argument, which I've heard many times, although I wince at the implied passivity. People don't just react to a crisis: they choose how they react. If a man walks down the street trying to pick a fight, you can judge those he confronts by how they respond. Do they hit back, run away or try to calm him down? The confrontation is not of their making, but they still have a choice, and what choice they make reveals their character and beliefs. If you insist on treating the reaction to the second Iraq war as a one-off that doesn't reveal a deeper sickness, I'll change the subject.
Why is it that apologies for a militant Islam which stands for everything the liberal left is against come from the liberal left? Why will students hear a leftish postmodern theorist defend the exploitation of women in traditional cultures but not a crusty conservative don? After the American and British wars in Bosnia and Kosovo against Slobodan Milosevic's ethnic cleansers, why were men and women of the left denying the existence of Serb concentration camps? As important, why did a European Union that daily announces its commitment to the liberal principles of human rights and international law do nothing as crimes against humanity took place just over its borders? Why is Palestine a cause for the liberal left, but not China, Sudan, Zimbabwe, the Congo or North Korea? Why, even in the case of Palestine, can't those who say they support the Palestinian cause tell you what type of Palestine they would like to see? After the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington why were you as likely to read that a sinister conspiracy of Jews controlled American or British foreign policy in a superior literary journal as in a neo-Nazi hate sheet? And why after the 7/7 attacks on London did leftish rather than right-wing newspapers run pieces excusing suicide bombers who were inspired by a psychopathic theology from the ultra-right?
In short, why is the world upside down? In the past conservatives made excuses for fascism because they mistakenly saw it as a continuation of their democratic rightwing ideas. Now, overwhelmingly and every where, liberals and leftists are far more likely than conservatives to excuse fascistic governments and movements, with the exception of their native far-right parties. As long as local racists are white, they have no difficulty in opposing them in a manner that would have been recognisable to the traditional left. But give them a foreign far-right movement that is anti-Western and they treat it as at best a distraction and at worst an ally.
A part of the answer is that it isn't at all clear what it means to be on the left at the moment. I doubt if anyone can tell you what a society significantly more left wing than ours would look like and how its economy and government would work (let alone whether a majority of their fellow citizens would want to live there). Socialism, which provided the definition of what it meant to be on the left from the 1880s to the 1980s, is gone. Disgraced by the communists' atrocities and floored by the success of market-based economies, it no longer exists as a coherent programme for government. Even the modest and humane social democratic systems of Europe are under strain and look dreadfully vulnerable.
It is not novel to say that socialism is dead. My argument is that its failure has brought a dark liberation to people who consider themselves to be on the liberal left. It has freed them to go along with any movement however far to the right it may be, as long as it is against the status quo in general and, specifically, America. I hate to repeat the overused quote that 'when a man stops believing in God he doesn't then believe in nothing, he believes anything', but there is no escaping it. Because it is very hard to imagine a radical leftwing alternative, or even mildly radical alternative, intellectuals in particular are ready to excuse the movements of the far right as long as they are anti-Western.
As a child of politicised parents, Observer columnist Nick Cohen followed in their tradition and became a trenchant voice on the liberal-left in the 1980s and 90s. But the Iraq War changed all that and forced him to rethink. In an exclusive extract from his incendiary new book about the failings of the modern left, he argues that anti-Americanism has left it blind to the evils of militant Islam.
I also told my friends that there were three or four basic facets of Islam that ought to concern all Americans. The most important of these is its transnational nature—a little known characteristic of Islam. It refers to Islam’s claim that it always stands above the laws of every nation because it is ultimately a religious rather than political movement. Westerners need to understand that there is no distinction in Islam between religion and politics, no separation of church and state.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
The Egyptian-born Australian Mufti, Sheikh Taj al-Din al-Hilali, who shot into fame by his infamous fasting month sermon in September, 2006, in which he called the unveiled Australian women ‘uncovered meat’. Referring to the case of about 20 incidences of rapes by Muslim youths in a Sydney suburb in 2000, he blamed those women for being raped, suggesting that they attracted the rapists by using their uncovered meats as bait. [The Australian, 26 Oct, 2006]
The sagacious Imam once again raised a furor in Australia by claiming that the Muslim immigrants have greater rights in Australia than the white Aussies, who descended from their criminal ancestors, referring to those who came to the country between 1788 and 1850 among 162,000 convicts sent from England.
"We (Muslims) came as free people. We bought our own tickets. We are entitled to Australia more than they are," he said in Arabic in an Egyptian television interview. [Reuter, 12 Jan, 2007]
The Mufti also slammed the Australians for creating a conspiratorial uproar over his ‘uncovered meat sermon’ last October and claimed the controversy was a conspiracy to "bring the Islamic community to its knees" and called the Aussies the "biggest liars".
In the backdrop of the ‘uncovered meat’ controversy, the editor of islam-watch.org clearly showed ‘how accurate the Mufti was in asserting that the liberally dressed Australian women were like uncovered meat attracting rapes‘, according to the divine precepts of Islam [See, Uncovered Meat and Rape: Condemning an Honest, Innocent Cleric]. Abul Kasem, another ex-Muslim, further conclusively demonstrated that the Australian women were ‘nothing but whores’ according to the Koran [See, The ‘Meat’ Imam and the Qur’an]. Indeed, the impression that ‘the liberally dressed women in the West are like whores’ is a universal thinking amongst the pious Muslim community in the West, which they even dare asserting in public slogans and even on TV cameras.
Yet, the ignorant Westerners and the ignorant or deceptive few Muslims denounced the Mufti for his outrageous comments at that time. But, there cannot be any doubt about the grand Mufti’s depth of scholarship in theological doctrines of Islam. This was proven correct in the backdrop of the controversy, when the overwhelming majority of the Australian Muslims tendered their unstinted support to the beleaguered Mufti. Muslims sent him van-loads of flowers in congratulation and an unprecedented 5000 worshippers had rushed to his mosque in Sydney to attend the next Friday’s congregational prayer, where they greeted him ‘like a rock star’. This was followed by 34 major Muslim organizations’ petition in the support of the honorable Mufti [Herald Sun, 03 Nov, 2006].
Despite those controversies, it is clear that the Grand Mufti of Australia is thoroughly knowledgeable in Islam and he says nothing that falls outside the scope of Islam. Hence, his latest assertion that Muslims in Australia have greater rights than their white counterparts requires a thorough examination before condemning him. Since the prophet Muhammad’s deeds and actions were the most perfect and are a model for all Muslims to follow at all time to come, the Prophet’s emigration (hijra or hijrat) from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE is the perfect parallel for the accurate examination of this controversy.
Prophet Muhammad, with his fledgling community of about 100 converts in Mecca, had become stagnant in his profession of preaching the religion of Islam. In Mecca, his 12-year-long mission was not heading anywhere. His religion was stubbornly rejected by Mecca citizens. The latter, exasperated by the Prophet preaching which contained insults to their religion, culture and ancestors, even punished him by social exclusion of his community for two years (617-619 CE). His community, formed of the lowest-ranked people of the city, including a few slaves, was facing financial hardships because of the sanctions and social exclusion they had faced from the annoyed but influential members of the city.
Under such distress and to avoid persecution, the prophet sought refuge in Medina which was quickly granted by the Medina citizens. They also assured the safety and security of his community and so he migrated there in 622 CE from Mecca. Another factor must be considered is that his religion was getting converts fast in Medina which had hinted towards a greater chance of success to his otherwise doomed prophetic mission in Medina. This likely ‘greener pasture’ in Medina was also a big reason for the prophet’s migration to Medina.
Similarly, many Muslims of today are threatened or persecuted by their countrymen and governments for their incitement of hatred and violence or criminal acts. They often seek asylum in the Western countries and like the Medina citizens, the Western governments quickly give refuge to such people, who include the criminals. Consequently, many deadly criminals of the Muslim world had found refuge in cities like London and Toronto. However, the biggest reason Muslims desperately seek to migrate to the West is the greener pastures, which the kafir (infidel) Western nations offer to then. Muslim countries are terribly corrupt and desperately poor with little hope for the citizens to make a comfortable life. So, most Muslims seek to migrate to the West at any cost. And they normally take recourse of the most corrupts, immoral and deceptive means to arrive in the West for a definite greener pasture which those countries offer.
Thus, there is a perfect similarity between Prophet Muhammad’s migration to Medina in 622 CE and Muslims’ immigration to the West in recent decades. Muslims’ desperate effort to migrate to the West perfectly agrees with the example Prophet had set under similar circumstances. In other words, Muslims’ migration to the West perfectly emulates the deeds and actions of the Prophet, which is a requirement to Muslims.
Now, we must examine, the activities of the Prophet in Medina and determine if Muslims’ actions in the West conforms to those of the Prophet, which will make them live the most perfect life according to the Islam. I will examine this in relation to Mufti Hilali’s apparently outrageous comment about Muslims’ possessing greater rights than the white Australians.
And as usual, some ignorant or deceptive Muslims have come out in condemnation of the Mufti for his comments [Muslim group denounces Hilali, Townsville Bulletin, 14 Jan, 2007]. This is a familiar phenomenon. Whenever the honest, steadfast and knowledgeable Islamic clerics (Imams) in the West make some correct statement about Islam, which apparently goes against the interest of infidels in those countries, there will be always be some so-called moderate, yet ignorant or charlatan Muslims with little Islamic credentials, to come out in meek voices to condemn the clerics, which the ignorant and naïve media are very willing to circulate.
But do the media and people of the Western world also know that there is a deceptive strategy in Islam which is called Taqiyya, which comes from the time of Prophet Muhammad himself? Taqiyya is a deceptive strategy for damage control. When Muslims are in trouble for the comments or actions of a member or community of theirs, the rest must take recourse of lies and deception to chide the culprits even if he/she was correct according to Islam. This is to ameliorate tensions, to divert attention, to conciliate and to persuade the offended party against harsh actions. Taqiyya would apply so long Muslims are in a disadvantage position, that is, not in a position to win a confrontation. The so-called moderate Muslims in the West have taken this role in all its perfection. We must take note that the 'Taqiyya tacticians' will get on to their acts only when the infidels start making noise about such offensive statements.
The real title should probably be, "Media and Leftists Finally Acknowledging the Obvious".
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Online Human Events ^ | Jan 19, 2007 | Michael Reagan
The media is beside itself trying to understand why Shawn Hornbeck, the youngster kidnapped four-and-a-half years ago, remained a captive despite being on his own much of the time.
All the would-be psychologists on TV and in the press have been speculating wildly, coming up with a myriad of reasons such as a case of the Stockholm syndrome, for example, as to why the youngster did not flee his alleged captivity when he had many opportunities to get away from his alleged kidnapper.
None of these people know what they are talking about. They don’t have the vaguest idea of what goes on in the mind of a young boy who has been sexually abused by an adult, as I assume was the case with Shawn.
I do. Only those who have had that horrific experience can understand what undoubtedly happened to Shawn Hornbeck, and I’m one of them.
When I was eight years old I was sexually abused by a man who ran an after-school day camp. And after that first molestation, I was literally blackmailed into silence by him, making it possible for him to continue to molest me for a year without fear of being exposed.
People who wonder why child victims of sexual abuse remain silent about their experiences have to understand that after that first episode the molester takes ownership of the youngster for a variety of reasons including shame and threats to tell his parents their child is a sexual deviant.
In my case the reason why I didn’t run away although this man was molesting me for a year was simply this: he owned me.
As I wrote in my book, “Twice Adopted,” which I urge parents to buy and read carefully for their children’s sake (you can get it at Amazon.com), “It doesn’t matter if you are molested once or a thousand times; it’s the first incident that does the damage. That first act solidifies the molester’s ownership of you.”
Friday, January 19, 2007
Originally here at LGF.
A reallyreally great one.
Miguel Grima was not a well-liked man. As mayor of a tiny hamlet in the foothills of the Pyrenees in northern Spain he had ruffled a few feathers.
The farmers turned against him when he put a stop to the centuries-old custom of herding livestock through village.
The hunters got annoyed when he refused to issue them with shooting licences and the local drinkers revolted after he prevented the settlement's only bar from setting out tables on the terrace in summer.
He had repeatedly received anonymous threatening letters and reportedly told friends recently that he feared for his life and he was considering standing down as mayor of Fago at the next election.
So last Friday evening when he failed to return home from a late council meeting in a nearby town, his wife took his absence seriously and contacted police. advertisement
The next day the battered body of Mr Grima was discovered in a roadside ditch. He had been shot at least four times in the head and chest at point-blank range.
Police believe Mr Grima was the victim of a meticulously planned ambush involving at least three perpetrators and, in a move worthy of an Agatha Christie murder mystery, the police are considering the entire population of the village as suspects.
Fago, the second smallest village in the province of Aragon, comprises fewer than 90 stone-built residences tightly packed on cobbled streets around a 16th century Romanesque church, a stone's throw from the ancient pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.
Always quiet in the winter months, the place resembles a ghost town as this week the majority of the 37 permanent residents have been taken in for questioning by the police and have had to give DNA samples.
Those who own property for use as a weekend getaway or holiday home are also being sought. Although no official statement has yet been given, the Guardia Civil have indicated that they strongly believe those responsible for the murder of the 50-year-old mayor bore a grudge over his policies in the village.
There is no shortage of contenders. During his 12 years in office, the mayor, a member of the conservative Popular Party and the owner of the village's only guest house, had been involved in almost four dozen individual court cases with homeowners in Fago.
He had taken out injunctions to prevent people making home improvements and closed down a bed and breakfast because it competed for business with his own establishment.
Mr Grima had even incurred the wrath of the parents of the only two children living in the village by banning basketballs and shooting hoops in the village's only flat area - the central plaza.
The most public battle in recent times came about after the mayor imposed taxes of almost 400 euros a month on outdoor tables at Fago's only drinking establishment – the Casa Moriega bar – an amount locals consider high for an isolated village which attracts only a modest number of visitors in summer.
To protest against the prohibitively high tax, the owners of the bar hung a huge banner on the facade of the building stating: "Fago is not Madrid, not Paris, not London... Fago is not New York."
Santiago Miramar, the only villager who would comment on this week's events, said there were few in Fago who didn't consider themselves an enemy of the mayor.
"He was an unpleasant man who ran this place like his personal kingdom. He made life difficult for most of us but for a select few he made life impossible," he said.Another villager, who refused to be named because he had been told by a judge that no one was to speak publicly while they were under suspicion, said: "Revenge is a dish best served cold. I'm not saying anything more than that."
Thursday, January 18, 2007
`Vasectomy Housing' Surges as New Jersey Tax Remedy
By Bob Ivry
Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- New Jersey towns have figured out a way to tame the highest property taxes in the U.S.
Keep kids out.
Educating a child in New Jersey costs an average of $12,567 a year, the most in the nation and more than double the property tax parents typically pay. So local governments have hit upon a way, short of handing out contraceptives, to expand the tax base without the expense of higher enrollment: age-restricted housing.
New Jersey developers have responded by building an estimated one-fifth of the country's adults-only housing, making the state the leader in a national trend fueled by baby boomers seeking new homes after their children move out. In New Jersey, where schools can eat two-thirds of a municipal budget and state officials have failed to provide tax relief, building communities that don't allow kids has as much to do with reducing taxes as it does with serving older homebuyers.
``It's frustration on the part of some communities,'' said New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine in a Jan. 12 interview. ``The real problem is we have too much reliance on property taxes in how we finance public education.''
Nationwide, 2.8 million households were part of age-restricted communities in 2005, up 29 percent from 2001. The number in New Jersey grew 37 percent in the same period. More than half the housing units started in the state in the past two years have excluded children, data compiled by the New Jersey Builders Association show.
In one New Jersey town, Monroe Township, population 28,000, half the housing units are limited to senior citizens.
As many as 95,000 such units will be built in the U.S. in 2007, according to an estimate from the National Association of Home Builders. New Jersey developers will build about 20,000 of them, the state builders group said.
Towns support their school systems mostly with property tax revenue, pushing the average tab to $5,153 in 2004, the highest in the U.S. New Jersey residents are older than in most states --12.5 percent are 65 and older, compared with the 12.1 percent average in the U.S. -- and it's the most densely populated state, with 1,165 people per square mile. New York has 408 people per square mile; Wyoming has five.
A perfect study of projection. This Hedges guy is a loon.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Monday, January 15, 2007
The letter "X" soon may be banned in Saudi Arabia because it resembles the mother of all banned religious symbols in the oil kingdom: the cross.
The new development came with the issuing of another mind-bending fatwa, or religious edict, by the infamous Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice — the group of senior Islamic clergy that reigns supreme on all legal, civil, and governance matters in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The commission's damning of the letter "X" came in response to a Ministry of Trade query about whether it should grant trademark protection to a Saudi businessman for a new service carrying the English name "Explorer."
"No! Nein! Nyet!" was the commission's categorical answer.
Well, never mind that none of the so-called scholars manning the upper ranks of the religious outfit can speak or read a word of English. But their experts who examined the English word "explorer" were struck by how suspicious that "X" appeared. In a kingdom where Friday preachers routinely refer to Christians as pigs and infidel crusaders, even a twisted cross ranks as an abomination.
So after waiting a year, the Saudi businessman, Amru Mohammad Faisal, got his answer: No. But, like so many other Saudi businessmen who suffer from the travesties of the commission, he seemed more baffled than angry. He wrote letters to Saudi newspapers to criticize the cockamamie logic. An article he wrote appeared with his photograph on some Arabian Web sites. It sarcastically invited the commission to expand its edict to the "plus" sign in mathematics and accounting, in order "to prevent filthy Christian conspiracies from infiltrating our thoughts, our beliefs, and our feelings."
Tons of info here.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Friday, January 12, 2007
White House spokesman Tony Snow on Friday called Boxer's comments "outrageous."
"I don't know if she was intentionally that tacky, but I do think it's outrageous. Here you got a professional woman, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Barbara Boxer is sort of throwing little jabs because Condi doesn't have children, as if that means that she doesn't understand the concerns of parents. Great leap backward for feminism," Snow told FOX News Talk's Brian and The Judge....
One Vietnam War veteran — and recent American Legion national commander — who now has a son serving in Afghanistan said he was put off by Boxer's comments.
Thomas Bock, 59, of Aurora, Colo., said he heard about the exchange on local radio and thought, "Wow! What a terrible thing to say, that only those people that have family members in the military have a price to pay. This is our freedom, this is our county. And the sooner that we stand up and stand for our country, the sooner we'll be able to bring our troops home."
He said despite the fact that his son, helicopter pilot Army Capt. Adam Bock, is back in a combat zone, "I think she [Boxer] missed the whole point. ... You've got to focus on what the real issue is, and the real issue is the global war on terror, not a personal price or the personal sacrifice. This is a sacrifice for our country."
Fabulous, hilarious article:
By Greg Strange
By now you’ve probably heard about the Muslim cab wars in Minneapolis. If not, here’s a quick synopsis. Seventy-five percent of the cab drivers servicing the Minneapolis International Airport are Somali Muslims and most of them have been refusing service to infidel passengers who engage in behaviors that aren’t up to snuff when it comes to Islam.
For instance, let’s say you’re an average godless and contemptible infidel who just bought a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon at the duty-free shop and then you try to hail a cab with that devil’s concoction in your possession. You’re committing a grave sin against the Religion of Peace and can’t possibly expect an observant Muslim to be complicit in your sin, not to mention defile his taxi by transporting you and your iniquitous liquid.
So what are you supposed to do? Well, apparently you’re supposed to show your multicultural tolerance by acquiescing to the primitive customs of the Islamic cabbies and finding some other means of transportation that won’t involve giving offense to a person of another culture or faith.
As another example, let’s say you’re an unsighted person who gets around with the help of a seeing-eye dog. Yep, that’s right. Don’t expect to defile the purity of a Muslim taxi with your filthy beast. Refusing service in that kind of situation is a direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but so far Islam trumps such infidel legislation.
Amazing, isn’t it? In a world of political correctness gone mad, who could possibly mistreat the unsighted and get away with it? Muslims, that’s who! But imagine that the cab drivers, rather than being Muslims, were instead bible-thumping Christian fundamentalists who were refusing fares for the exact same reasons. How long do you think they would get away with it before the ACLU would be all over them like white on rice and before Frank Rich, New York times columnist extraordinaire, would write his umpteenth column about the Christian fundamentalist takeover of America? Half a day, maybe?
But for whatever unfathomable reason, the entire Western world, in its wretched multicultural misguidedness, seems to believe that it has to bend over backwards to accommodate the primitive beliefs of Islamic religious fanatics. The question of our time, of the age, is, why? Why would self-proclaimed secular Western societies do this? Why, why, why?
It all stems from the cult of multiculturalism which basically says that any culture is as good as any other, so therefore all cultures must be tolerated. Anything less would be intolerant and intolerance is evil. And since Islamic culture is just another culture that is as good as any other, it must be tolerated in the name of multicultural tolerance, even if it is itself supremely intolerant and could eventually supplant the preexisting culture of tolerance, which would, in effect, spell the end of all that cherished toleration.
It could be the ultimate paradox. The West commits cultural suicide in the name of tolerance and in so doing, leaves the world in the hands of its most intolerant people. Brilliant!
Volumes are currently being filled with examples from all over the Western world of its groveling obsequiousness before Islam, all in the name of extreme multiculturalism. It’s everything from removing pork from hospital menus for fear of offending Muslims to banning the English national flag from English prisons because it displays the cross of St. George, which was used by the Crusaders and is therefore deemed offensive by imprisoned Muslim criminals.
If you stop and think about it, given that Islamic law’s top ten list of things to avoid includes not only alcohol and dogs, but infidels themselves, it would seem that for observant Muslims there can only be one final and ultimate solution if there is ever to be a world that is pure. It’s enough to send a shiver down an infidel’s back.
In the meantime, there may be a tiny smidgen of hope in Minnesota, at least for the moment, where it is still theoretically possible that Minneapolis won’t become Dhimmiapolis. The Metropolitan Airport Commission, which oversees policy at Minneapolis International Airport, is going to conduct hearings to decide on a proposal that states that all cab drivers at the airport will be expected to carry all passengers with alcohol and seeing-eye dogs. If there is any sanity left in the Western world, that proposal will pass.
That would no doubt upset the Somali cab drivers, but here’s something for them to think about. If Islam was such a great thing, they could just get jobs at Mogadishu International instead of having to slink off to some infidel country to find a decent life. But Mogadishu International is almost never open for business because Somalia is a failed, war-torn Islamic state, and like so many other basket-case Islamic states, the only thing to be found there is misery, violence and hard times.
So Somalis, as well as other denizens of other failed Islamic states, fan out all over the globe seeking economic opportunity in non-Islamic countries, and in particular, Western countries since they tend to be the most prosperous. The amazing thing is that so many of them never seem to be able to put two and two together to figure out that if going to a non-Islamic country is the only way to get a decent life, then maybe Islam’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
So instead of adapting to their new environments, they continue right on with their primitive and irrational customs while their Western hosts, who would never tolerate such nonsense from their own Christian populations, mouth vapid platitudes about tolerance and the splendor of diversity.
Maybe Minneapolis will draw the line at the mistreatment of blind people by Islamic primitives. On the other hand, Minneapolis was the chosen site of the flying imams’ mini-airport jihad, not to mention having just sent the first Muslim to the U.S. Congress. I guess you could say all bets are off and there could still be a Dhimmiapolis in the future.
Greg Strange provides conservative commentary with plenty of acerbic wit on the people, politics, events and absurdities of our time. See more at his website: http://www.greg-strange.com/
January 12, 2007 -- Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, an appalling scold from California, wasted no time yesterday in dragging the debate over Iraq about as low as it can go - attacking Secre tary of State Condoleezza Rice for being a childless woman.
Boxer was wholly in character for her party - New York's own two Democratic senators, Chuck Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton, were predictably opportunistic - but the Golden State lawmaker earned special attention for the tasteless jibes she aimed at Rice.
Rice appeared before the Senate in defense of President Bush's tactical change in Iraq, and quickly encountered Boxer.
"Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price," Boxer said. "My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young."
Then, to Rice: "You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family."
We scarcely know where to begin.
The junior senator from California ap parently believes that an accom plished, seasoned diplomat, a renowned scholar and an adviser to two presidents like Condoleezza Rice is not fully qualified to make policy at the highest levels of the American government because she is a single, childless woman.
It's hard to imagine the firestorm that similar comments would have ignited, coming from a Republican to a Democrat, or from a man to a woman, in the United States Senate. (Surely the Associated Press would have put the observation a bit higher than the 18th paragraph of a routine dispatch from Washington.)
But put that aside.
The vapidity - the sheer mindlessness - of Sen. Boxer's assertion makes it clear that the next two years are going to be a time of bitterness and rancor, marked by pettiness of spirit and political self-indulgence of a sort not seen in America for a very long time.
In contrast to Boxer, Sen. Clinton seemed almost statesmanlike - until one considers that she was undercutting the president of the United States in time of war: "The president simply has not gotten the message sent loudly and clearly by the American people, that we desperately need a new course."
Schumer, meanwhile, dismissed the president's speech as "a new surge without a new strategy."
Frankly, we're not surprised by Hillary Clinton's rush to judgment. With both eyes firmly set on 2008, her Iraq position flits like a tumbleweed in the political wind. Who knows where she'll wind up?
Heck, she admitted as much by citing November's midterm elections to justify her newfound opposition to the war. (And who needs a commander-in-chief who tailors war-fighting strategy to public opinion?)
Clinton would do well to consider the words of GOP Sen. John McCain, another White House hopeful, who frankly admits that his strong support for a troop surge in Iraq has cost him votes. (Some Democrats, in fact, already are calling this "McCain's surge.")
Said McCain: "I'd rather lose a campaign than lose a war."
As for Schumer, we're profoundly disappointed by his remarks.
While he's always been a fiercely parti san Democrat (nothing to be ash amed of), time was when Schumer seemed to understand the existential threat posed by Islamic extremism.
Now he's been elevated to a top position in his party's Senate leadership - and he has bigger fish to fry.
Like electing Democrats.
And so, like Boxer, he cheers on Barack Obama, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden and John Edwards - with Clinton, presidential aspirants - as they trash Bush's plan.
To the extent that such behavior encourages America's enemies - and of course it does - he, like they, stands to have innocent blood on his hands.
Yes, the party's bloggers will be happy.
So will al Qaeda.
True enough, Democrats don't hold a monopoly on appalling behavior.
Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican presidential candidate and favorite of some conservatives, has joined with Democrats in opposition to the troop surge - and he's not alone.
The president deserves better.
Indeed, the least these critics can do is suggest an alternative that leads to success in Iraq rather than simply criticize.
Or suggest that America simply wave the white flag.
As Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said: "Now that the president has outlined a change in strategy, we should give his proposals an opportunity to work." Instead, Kyl rightly noted, "some declared the president's proposals unworkable even before they were announced."
No such nay-saying, however, was to be heard from two Capitol Hill stalwarts: McCain and Sen. Joe Lieberman, the independent Democrat from Connecticut.
"I applaud the president for rejecting the fatalism of failure and pursuing a new course to achieve success in Iraq," said Lieberman, who alone in his party genuinely comprehends what a U.S. defeat in Iraq would mean.
As for McCain, his support is tempered by the fact that he argued correctly, from the start, that the war was being fought with too few troops. Had the administration listened four years ago, this tactical shift might not be necessary now.
It would take a truly hard heart not to be touched, deeply, by the sacrifices made by the young men and women now wearing their country's uniform.
And one can only imagine the pain felt by the families of those killed and cruelly wounded in service to America. Just as it was hard to imagine the agony of the loved ones left behind on 9/11.
But even to suggest that Condoleezza Rice is not fit to serve her country because she is childless is beyond bizarre.
It is perverse.
Sen. Boxer needs to apologize.
And she needs to do it today.