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Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky





















The Iconoclast

Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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I'd just like to put in a word for Ingmar Bergman.  Sure, a lot of his stuff looks absurdly pretentious from this distance; and sure, he lurched into self-parody now & then (though having enough of a self to parody, isn't nothing); and sure, there was the Hitler thing (though swooning for Hitler in 1934 at age 16 is by no means the same thing as doing so later & older).

He was all the rage when I was in my late-teen and college years, and I think I saw every darn one of his movies from late 1950s to early 1960s.  Some of them were very moving.  I recall being particularly struck by The Virgin Spring —I think I saw it twice.  I haven't seen it since, and my tastes weren't fully formed at the time, so it's entirely possible that on seeing it again I'd think: "What a load of tosh!"  Anyway, I have just ordered it from Netflix so I can find out.

Now someone please remind me:  Of all the send-ups of that scene in The Seventh Seal where the knight plays chess with Death, which movie was it where the hero plays Twister with Him?

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Posted on 08/01/2007 6:02 PM by John Derbyshire
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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Major email bag on my Ron Paul piece —117 emails and counting. I have the full range of views, from this reader at one end:

Derb—-I understand what you are saying but instead of making excuses why it will not happen I think you should be bold and make it happen. It is so easy to be a critic and a naysayer. It is much harder to believe in something and fight for it. If the system is wrong then this could be the first step in fixing it. And then maybe 20 years down the line we will look back and see this as the first step towards restoring liberty. I challenge you to believe in what seems impossible.

To this one at the other:

Mr Derbyshire—-[Quoting me] '...but on the war in Iraq, I don't see much of a problem for him base-wise.' Did you HEAR the reaction Paul got at the last debate when he blamed us for Al Qaeda? Did you also hear the cheers Rudy got when he rebuked him for it? I could not disagree with you more. If my wife and I are anything like the rest of the base- and I have an email list about as long as my arm of people who think just like us- then Iraq and the war on terror is the leading reason for Dr. Paul's unpopularity. Not the only reason, but the leading reason. Barry Manilow is sending Paul campaign contributions. Have you been smoking some of those substances Paul wants to legalize? I think it's time for a cold shower.

Main theme: A strong desire to see someone (though not necessarily Dr. Ron) chase the money changers from the constitutional temple.

Subthemes:

—Gold standard GOOD,

—Conservatives can so be revolutionary, e.g. Founding Fathers (which is a good point: always salutary to recall that those stiff old gents with knee britches, powdered wigs, & heads full of Latin, were considered dangerous radicals by the European establishments of their time),

—-Ron Paul has got the Jew Thing,

—-I am an a***ole

Most interesting idea:

Derb—-You said: 'Imagine, for example, President Ron II trying to push his bill to abolish the IRS through Congress. Congress! — whose members eat, drink, breathe and live for the wrinkles they can add to the tax code on behalf of their favored interest groups!' That's a good point, but please consider this: if elected President, Ron Paul can bring the income tax grinding to a halt by very publicly giving full pardons to anyone convicted of violating the IRS code. He could even deliver television speeches encouraging Americans to stop filing returns. Faced with a public rebellion, and with the "teeth" pulled from the IRS by the pardons, Congress would have little choice but to bow to Paul's will. See? I can dream too!
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Posted on 08/01/2007 5:57 PM by John Derbyshire
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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by Mary Jackson

Question: Who led the pedants’ revolt?

Answer: Which Tyler. 

 

How pedantic are you? How pedantic should you be? When it comes to errors, the fewer the better, but when it comes to pedantry, less is more. None of us has the balance exactly right, and we all have our pet hates. more...

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Posted on 08/01/2007 2:58 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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by Robert Bové

Coastal scene, in black and white

 

Atop weathered white washed life guard stand, three boy men in flapping wool coats
jostle for two seats

 

pupils dilated in full sun.

 

At foot of stand, supplicating group
pointing out to sea, to several drowning children. more…
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Posted on 08/01/2007 2:38 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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by Esmerelda Weatherwax

 

I received yet another piece of spam the other day from a spambot trying to sound human by calling itself the unlikely name of Kwok Quirke.

 

Unlikely that is unless you happen to be familiar with the work of two fine actors known to British TV, Burt Kwouk and Pauline Quirke. At first glance they seem quite disparate other than the fact that I like them both, but on examination they have qualities in common. more…

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Posted on 08/01/2007 2:35 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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by Ares Demertzis

 

At daybreak on my twenty second birthday, gripped by severe anxiety, I crossed the deep, cerulean bay separating two diverse settlements, each unique unto itself; from the verdant pastures of Staten Island to the stone monument grid of Manhattan.  I boarded a ferry at sunrise to reach that other shore, as one more of that numerous and diverse collection of somnolent passengers lost in silent, lethargic reverie.  The morning sun sparkled cheerfully on the surface of the calm water resembling bright, prancing golden coins.  I closed my eyes and dreamt once again of Leila. more…

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Posted on 08/01/2007 2:33 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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by Ares Demertzis

 

The old man sitting in his car had just finished dropping off his granddaughters for their weekly ballet lesson in front of a brick faced, two storied building just off Main Street.  As he was about to drive away from the curb, he noticed that one of the little girls had forgotten her ballet slippers.  It was while getting out of his car to take them to her class that he saw them.  There were two of them.  Two young men sauntering arrogantly along the empty street, scorning the use of the deserted sidewalk, their bodies twitching fitfully to music heard only in their heads.  They were dressed in the currently stylish uniform: baggy pants with oversize shirts, dark sunglasses pushed up over narrow foreheads, and baseball caps worn backward over long, unkempt hair.  They stared at the old man with hungry eyes; the fixed intensity of predators preparing an imminent strike. more…

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Posted on 08/01/2007 2:31 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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by Norman Berdichevsky

The failed terrorist plot to use car bombs in central London and in Glasgow airport almost on the eve of the July 7th anniversary of the successful attacks on London’s underground two years ago sent a new collective shudder up and down the spines of many New Yorkers who have been fearing precisely the same sort of attack against the subway. The two systems in operation since the end of the 19th century have been an integral part of the two cities economic and social life and a veritable part of the two nations’ folklore. They have played a crucial role in maintaining and even increasing the primacy of the two great metropolitan centers of the English-speaking world. Although often contrasted as distinctive microcosms of their national environments, the two systems have drawn increasingly closer together. more…

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Posted on 08/01/2007 2:28 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

As Bush videoconferences with his new best friend Nouri Al-Maliki, new echoes of Dr. Strangelove:

"Hello?... Nouri? Ah... I can't hear too well. But the picture's great. Do you suppose you could turn the music down just a little?... Oh-ho, that's much better... yeah... huh... yes... Fine, I can hear you now, Nouri... plain and coming through fine... I'm coming through fine, too, eh? And the picture? Can you see me waving? And Dick is waving too, Nouri, can you see that...he's right here beside me, and he's waving too... We're both waving... Good, then... well, then, as you say, we're all coming through fine... Good... Well, it's good that you're fine and... and I'm fine... I agree with you, it's great to be fine... a-ha-ha-ha-ha... more…

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Posted on 08/01/2007 2:26 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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De Plicht van Gepaste IJver
by Hugh Fitzgerald

Zelfs na de Doctors' Plot (een verzonnen samenzwering van doktoren in de nadagen van Stalin – CB) horen wij steeds weer dat jihadi's in moslimmaatschappijen slechts marginale figuren zijn. Toch maakt een recent boek van Carmen bin Ladin (spelling kan variëren – CB) heel duidelijk dat de familie vrij trots is op Bin Laden in plaats van vol afschuw te zijn over haar beroemde stamlid. Bin Laden gaf vanaf jonge leeftijd uitdrukking aan zijn afkeuring van alles wat als on-islamitisch beschouwd moest worden. En dat terwijl de Bin Laden clan waarschijnlijk de meest solvabele familie is van heel Saudi-Arabië, mogelijk alleen buiten de plunderende prinsenkinderen van het Huis van al-Saud. Hij, Bin Laden, was zeker geen marginaal iemand. more…

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Posted on 08/01/2007 2:23 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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by Rebecca Bynum

 

The corruption of man is followed by the corruption of language --Emerson

 

Lately, the American public has been bombarded by propaganda of the most insidious kind. Propaganda that tells us not only that we needn’t take sides in the current conflict with Islam, but that tells us there are, in fact, no sides to take. more…

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Posted on 08/01/2007 2:21 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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by John Derbyshire

 

One of my favorite literary characters is Winnie in Samuel Beckett’s play Happy Days.  It’s a two-act play, with only two characters.  Practically all of the speaking is done by Winnie, who is described thus in the stage directions: “About fifty, well preserved, blond for preference, plump, arms and shoulders bare, low bodice, big bosom, pearl necklet.”  During the whole first act, Winnie is imbedded up to above her waist in a mound of sand or earth.  In the second act she is imbedded up to her neck.  In spite of these rather trying situations, Winnie is unfailingly cheerful, prattling on about everything and nothing to her mostly-silent companion Willie, “a man about sixty,” who can just be seen sitting or lying at the back of the mound.  In the entire second act, Willie only utters a single syllable: more…

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Posted on 08/01/2007 2:19 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

Even after the Doctors' Plot we hear that those conducting Jihad through violence are marginal figures in Muslim societies. Yet a recent book by Carmen bin Ladin [the way her ex-husband transliterated his name] makes clear that the Bin Laden family, far from being horrified by their famous scion, is quite proud of Osama Bin Laden, who from an early age expressed his disapproval of all things judged to be un-Islamic. And outside of the pillaging princelings of the House of al-Saud, the Bin Ladens arepossibly the most solvent family in all of Saudi Arabia. He, Bin Laden, was no marginal figure. more…

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Posted on 08/01/2007 2:14 PM by NER
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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AP: WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday that he would possibly send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists, an attempt to show strength when his chief rival has described his foreign policy skills as naive...

"Let me make this clear," Obama said in a speech prepared for delivery at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. "There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al-Qaida leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."...

The speech was a condemnation of President Bush's leadership in the war on terror. He said the focus on Iraq has left Americans in more danger than before Sept. 11, 2001, and that Bush has misrepresented the enemy as Iraqis who are fighting a civil war instead of the terrorists responsible for the attacks six years ago.

"He confuses our mission," Obama said, then he spread responsibility to lawmakers like Clinton who voted for the invasion. "By refusing to end the war in Iraq, President Bush is giving the terrorists what they really want, and what the Congress voted to give them in 2002: a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences."

Obama said that as commander in chief he would remove troops from Iraq and putting them "on the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan." He said he would send at least two more brigades to Afghanistan and increase nonmilitary aid to the country by $1 billion...

So, what Obama is proposing  is "a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences" in Afghanistan instead of Iraq?

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Posted on 08/01/2007 12:09 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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While former Pace University student Stansilav’s Shmulevich's now infamous potty placements of Korans should constitute a misdemeanor, and not be prosecuted as a felony “hate crime”—particularly under coercion from those like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) who abet real hatred, intimidation, and violence—his actions were crude and juvenile forms of protest.

In 1986, Sita Ram Goel published “The Calcutta Qur’an Petition” a brilliant analysis of the mid-1980s peaceful protests and legal actions by Hindus—which sparked predictable and pathognomonic acts of violence by enraged Muslims. Such non-violent acts of protest by Hindus served to educate the Indian public about Koranic doctrines. Despite the brutal Islamization of India—dating back to the initial 8th century Arab Muslim jihad ravages, and the subsequent more extensive campaigns under the Ghaznavids through the Delhi Sultanate period (1000—1525 C.E.) during which an estimated 70-80 million Hindus were slaughtered—due to India's bowdlerized educational system and public discourse on Islam, many modern Hindus were ignorant of both this history, and the Koranic injunctions which inspired the brutal waves of jihad conquest and Muslim colonization of India. (As such, perhaps Americans aren't that relatively uninformed, after all.) Ultimately, these mid-1980s efforts made public the incitement to violence and hatred contained in Islam's “holy” book, which contributed to unending, unprovoked Muslim on Hindu violence, followed by tough Hindu retaliation—so- called “sectarian violence.”.

 

One particularly successful action stands out, as described by Goel. Two Hindus were arrested—under Indian penal code sections exploited by Muslims to prevent public criticism of Muhammad or other aspects of their creed—for publishing a poster which cited 24 Koranic verses (* read them at the links below), with a caption, “Why riots take place in this country.” The protesters added their own editorial comment that these verses,

 

…command the believers (Muslims) to fight against followers of other faiths…so long as these ayats [verses] are not removed [from the Koran], riots in the country cannot be prevented…There are numerous (other) ayats of the same sort. Here we have cited only 24 ayats. Obviously, these ayats carry commandments which promote enmity, ill-will, deception, fraud, strife, robbery, and murder. That is why riots take place between Muslims and non-Muslims, in this country as well as [the rest of] the world. In the above mentioned 24 ayats of the Koran, Muslims are commanded to fight against the followers of other faiths. So long as these ayats are not removed [from the Koran], riots in the country cannot be prevented.

 

The ruling magistrate sided with the accused Hindus, and in dismissing charges against them, observed,

 

...a close perusal of the Ayats [verses] shows that that the same are harmful and teach hatred, and are likely to create differences between Mohammedans on one hand and the remaining communities on the other  [emphasis added]

 

We must encourage US students confronting Muslim jihadist front student organizations on campuses, or anti-jihad activists wishing to make meaningful statements elsewhere (for example, in front of CAIR's Washington, DC offices, 453 New Jersey Avenue SE) to engage in the kind of constructive and thoughtful protests which took place in India some 20—25 years ago. The pious Muslim claim that the Koran is the immutable, perfect word of their God Allah, as transmitted through the Muslim prophet Muhammad, cannot be exploited in a diverse society as yet unconstrained by the dictates of Islamic Law, to preclude open, critical examination of the Koranic contents. Twenty years ago Sita Ram Goel made an impassioned plea for such unfettered examination which we would do well to heed:

 

This claim [i.e., of perfect divine origins, beyond criticism] is used at present to prevent a close examination of what the book [the Koran] contains and what message Islam has for mankind at large. While all other religions have been subjected to such an examination, Islam has so far managed to remain a closed book…if such commandments as we find in the Qur’an emanate from what is proclaimed as a divine source, then the character of that source should also invite questions. Our rational faculties and moral sensibilities should not stop functioning the moment Allah’s name is mentioned. The character of Allah as revealed in the Qur’an also invites a close examination.

 

* USC-Muslim Student Association Compendium of Muslim Texts, Pickthall Translation

(9:5) Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.; (9:28) O ye who believe! The idolaters only are unclean. So let them not come near the Inviolable Place of Worship after this their year. If ye fear poverty (from the loss of their merchandise) Allah shall preserve you of His bounty if He will. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise.; (4:101) And when ye go forth in the land, it is no sin for you to curtail (your) worship if ye fear that those who disbelieve may attack you. In truth the disbelievers are an open enemy to you.; (9:123) O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him).; (4:56) Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Lo! Allah is ever Mighty, Wise.; (9:23) O ye who believe! Choose not your fathers nor your brethren for friends if they take pleasure in disbelief rather than faith. Whoso of you taketh them for friends, such are wrong-doers.; (9:37) Postponement (of a sacred month) is only an excess of disbelief whereby those who disbelieve are misled; they allow it one year and forbid it (another) year, that they may make up the number of the months which Allah hath hallowed, so that they allow that which Allah hath forbidden. The evil of their deeds is made fairseeming unto them. Allah guideth not the disbelieving folk; (5:57) O Ye who believe! Choose not for guardians such of those who received the Scripture before you, and of the disbelievers, as make a jest and sport of your religion. But keep your duty to Allah if ye are true believers.; (33:61) Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter.; (21:98) Lo! ye (idolaters) and that which ye worship beside Allah are fuel of hell. Thereunto ye will come.; (32:22) And who doth greater wrong than he who is reminded of the revelations of his Lord, then turneth from them. Lo! We shall requite the guilty.; (48:20) Allah promiseth you much booty that ye will capture, and hath given you this in advance, and hath withheld men's hands from you, that it may be a token for the believers, and that He may guide you on a right path.; (8:69) Now enjoy what ye have won [in war], as lawful and good, and keep your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.; (66:9) O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey's end.; (41:27) But verily We shall cause those who disbelieve to taste an awful doom, and verily We shall requite them the worst of what they used to do.; (41:28) That is the reward of Allah's enemies: the Fire. Therein is their immortal home, payment forasmuch as they denied Our revelations.; (9:111) Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.; (9:68) Allah promiseth the hypocrites, both men and women, and the disbelievers fire of hell for their abode. It will suffice them. Allah curseth them, and theirs is lasting torment.; (8:65) O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there be of you twenty steadfast they shall overcome two hundred, and if there be of you a hundred (steadfast) they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are a folk without intelligence.; (5:51) O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.; (9:29) Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.; (5:14) And with those who say: "Lo! we are Christians," We made a covenant, but they forgot a part of that whereof they were admonished. Therefore We have stirred up enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection, when Allah will inform them of their handiwork.; (4:89) They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them; (9:14) Fight them! Allah will chastise them at your hands, and He will lay them low and give you victory over them, and He will heal the breasts of folk who are believers.

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Posted on 08/01/2007 11:34 AM by Andy Bostom
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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(hat tip: DW) TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran's judiciary on Tuesday for the first time confirmed that two Iranian Kurdish journalists have been sentenced to death for being "enemies of God."

Rights groups had reported that Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolvahed "Hiva" Botimar were sentenced to death on July 16 by a revolutionary court in Marivan, in Iran's northeastern Kordestan province.

"Botimar and Hassanpour have been sentenced to hanging on the charge of being mohareb," judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi told reporters, using a Koranic legal term that is usually translated as "enemy of God."

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Posted on 08/01/2007 11:19 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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They are ultra-white, it says here

What a load of drivel.  (a) Black nerds certainly exist, and are considered the coolest thing around by white nerds.  (b) Post-1965 immigration of East and South Asians has immensely fortified nerd ranks.  From my observations, the nerdiest of nerds are South Asian nerds.  In fact, I sometimes fear that the classic white nerd may be facing extinction...

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Posted on 08/01/2007 10:45 AM by John Derbyshire
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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Deborah Lipstadt writes (hat tip: Stanley Kurtz):

Whenever David Irving's libel case against me comes up someone inevitably asks: How could he sue you in the UK? I explain that my book was bought and published by Penguin UK and therefore he could drag me into a UK court.

Turns out that now the reach of UK libel laws has been greatly extended. It's a frightening development. In an earlier post I wrote about Rachel Ehrenfeld and how she was sued for libel by the Saudi Khalid bin Mafouz for writing that he had supported terrorism.

But here's what makes Ehrenfeld's story quite different from mine: her book was NOT published in the UK. Some people in the UK [I wonder if it was the Saudis or their lawyers???] bought a copy over the Internet.

Bin Mafouz pounced and Ehrenfeld was ordered to pay him damages. Now the American courts have come to her defense. [Scroll down at this link to find the New York Law Journal report on the Ehrenfeld case.]

Now the Saudis have silenced another book. This one is by J. Millard Burr, a former relief coordinator for Operation Lifeline Sudan, U.S. Agency for International Development, and Robert O. Collins, professor of history at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

They have written a number of books on Darfur and Sudan. Their most recent book, Alms for Jihad was published by Cambridge University Press. [Since their book was published in the UK, their case is closer to mine than Ehrenfeld's.]

The authors explore how, in the words of Michael Rubin, writing in the New York Sun:

The Saudi royal family played a pernicious role, founding and promoting charities to spread militant Sunni Islam, not only as an inoculation against resurgent Shi'ism from revolutionary Iran, but also to radicalize the Muslims in Europe and America.

The British lawyers for Khalid bin Mahfouz and his son Abdulrahman bin Mahfouz wrote Cambridge University Press saying they intended to sue the Press and the authors for defamation against their clients.

Cambridge University Press contacted the authors,and they provided detailed material in support of their claims made in Alms for Jihad.

Nonetheless, Cambridge University Press decided not to contest the argument and next week they will apologize in court.

As Rachel Ehrenfeld has just written to me in an email: "Get a copy of “Alms of Jihad” before it’s banned..."

[To satisfy the different leanings of readers of this blog I have provided links to Amazon, B&N, and Powells. I would have provided a link to Cambridge University Press but the book seems to have been buried deep within the Cambridge University Press website How's that for rewriting of history?]

Bin Mahfouz apparently has amassed a number of judgements by default, in other words the case was not tried on its merits. Everyone just caves, pays a fine, and gets out of Dodge as fast as they can.

Cambridge Press had pretty deep pockets but it too folded. If I were a reporter writing about this I would see what connections it has with the Saudis... That would be interesting to know.

And now I return to the main point: Why isn't this pattern of silencing by the Saudis of authors who are critical of them been the topic of an article in the mainstream press?

There are important legal precedences here, especially in the Ehrenfeld case, and a disturbing pattern of silencing of criticism by the Saudis.

Where are the free speech advocates now???

[Update: Stanley Kurtz writes: "A reader informs me that Alms for Jihad no longer available for sale at any of the sites linked by Lipstadt. Cambridge University Press has reportedly pledged to contact libraries that have already purchased the book to ask them to remove it from their shelves. This book may truly be about to disappear from the face of the earth."]

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Posted on 08/01/2007 10:36 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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The email's piling up—not just Ron Paul, but reax to my revelation that I am returning to my roots as a code monkey.  A helpful reader sent the following Youtube link to remind me what it's like to cut code for a living. Ah yes, I remember it well—in fact I think I recognize the girl. 

Most common other query is whether I am using any particular HTML/CSS editor for writing the stuff.  Nope, just MS Notepad, though I still have my old copy of KEDIT in reserve in case I need to apply any scripting to my code sets.  Am I the last person in the world who knows that KEDIT/KEXX was based on XEDIT/REXX, the editor/scripting language for IBM's good old VM operating system, with that weird file system?  Probably.  Anyway, KEDIT still works, and it's still the best PC text editor ever written.  

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Posted on 08/01/2007 10:30 AM by John Derbyshire
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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"Six imams removed from a U.S. Airways plane said they would not sue the passengers whose concerns led them to being kicked off a flight in November." --from this news item

Their noisy and prolonged threat of suit, however, no doubt has caused severe emotional stress to those passengers who had been-- rationally -- suspicious of them and reported them. In such circumstances, should not there be a lawsuit against the six imams for that very threat, and the way it continued until the very last, when Congressional legislation about those "John Does" was coming to the rescue?

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Posted on 08/01/2007 9:28 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The main Sunni Arab political bloc quit the Iraqi government on Wednesday in a blow to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, while a suicide bomber driving a fuel truck killed 50 people in one of several car bombs in Baghdad. --from this news item

Meanwhile, the Administration appears determined to find plausible and do the bidding of such Sunni "allies" as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, in their careful campaign to trick the Americans into remaining in Iraq. They are determined to do what they can to persuade the Americans to remain in Iraq so as to protect the Sunnis for as long as possible, and to put off the day when the Shi'a ascendancy in Iraq becomes not only fixed in amber (it already is), but clear to the Sunni populations of their own countries (who will be mad) and the Shi'a in the Middle East, mainly in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, in Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Yemen (who will be inspired). They are also determined to extract from the Americans, ever-naive, ever-uncomprehending, as much weaponry as they can, on the pretense that it is needed against the "threat of Iran." What they really mean is that they want as much weaponry as they can get -- because they want as much weaponry as they can get.

But the very idea that Egypt, which has fought four wars against Israel and will fight a fifth whenever it feels it has an opportunity to go in, with others, for the kill, will somehow be using the advanced weaponry, especially on certain planes, that it receives to stave off the Iranians, who will somehow manage to make it all the way, like the Mamelukes, to Egypt (presumably crossing Israel or Saudi Arabia to get to it) is absurd. There is no reason, not a plausible shred, to supply Egypt with such weapons, which will make life hell for Israel and its defense planning.

The same argument, slightly modified, goes for the weapons sale -- not gift, as in the case of malevolent Egypt -- to malevolent and fabulously rich Saudi Arabia.

And even worse than the arms sales, if such were possible, have been these meetings of Rice and Bush with their smiling, promising-so-seeming-much, delivering-so-very-little, Saudi "friends" whose smiles, deep gravelly voices, perfectly white and nicely pressed dishdashas, and the sheer luxuriousness of the meeting rooms in the palaces, and the accommodations and exaggerated, oleaginous courtesy that the Saudis specialize in (a jewel-encrusted dagger, or a dishdasha for the grandchild?), while a sense of the world, the real world, with Muslims multiplying all over Western Europe, and the need to weaken, overall, the Camp of Islam, is lost, in all the smiles and photo ops, of our endlessly naive, terminally ignorant, taking-a-leadership-role leaders.

The Shi'a exiles persuaded their special friends in Washington of what a splendid little war the conquest of Iraq would be, and how the Americans would be greeted as liberators in Baghdad, in a welcome that would "make the liberation of Kabul seem like a funeral procession." [By the way, how's that celebration in Kabul at their rescue from the Taliban coming along?], and how once the ogre was overthrown, Iraqis would join in creating a marvelous new polity with American help. Nothing was said about that little matter of Shi'a taking over (as inevitably they would), and nothing was said, of course, of how that would be regarded by the Sunnis, in Iraq and outside Iraq. Nothing was said about the attitudes and atmospherics of Islam, that leave no room for political compromise, but rather see the world's conflicts -- mainly that between Believer and Infidel -- as leaving, in the end, only the Victor, and the Vanquished.

And now, as we are trying to extricate ourselves from Tarbaby Iraq, and the squandering of men, money, and matériel, an obstinate President and those who work for him, and therefore part of the collective folly of those who still think there is something to be gained by remaining in Iraq at such cost (the only thing to be gained, can only be gained, by leaving Iraq -- that is one of the lessons of postings and articles at this site and JW over the past 3 1/2 years), it is the Time of the Sunnis.

It is not so much the Sunnis in Iraq to whom the Administration is now listening, but to their big protective brothers in Riyadh and Cairo (and the rest of the Arab League). It is they who tell us that they fear "instability" if we, the Americans, leave Iraq. It is they who have no objection to the Americans being stuck in Tarbaby Iraq forever, and taking casualties from their Sunni co-religionists and from the Iranians as well. While they show every sign of not participating in the sanctions against Iran (what moves have been taken to shut off Iranian involvement in Dubai, for example? Or to lessen the value of the Iranian investments in Dubai by declaring an economic boycott of that place, by all the circumambient Arabs, until such time as Iran gives up its nuclear project? Not possible? Why not? Just because until now no one in th American government has thought of such a thing, much less dared to think of asking the Sunni Arabs in the Gulf to suggest such a boycott? Can't be done, you say? Why do you say that?

First the Shi'a use us as their god-sent instrument to get rid of Saddam Hussein and take power from the Sunnis, something they could never ever have accomplished (they tried) on their own.

Now the Sunnis use us as their god-sent instrument to prevent the Shi'a from enjoying their new power, and possibly to bring back, little by little, the Sunni Arabs, into that position of power, in Iraq and everywhere, that they, according to the Sunnis themselves, deserve to possess.

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Posted on 08/01/2007 8:09 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 01 August 2007
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From the New York Times (h/t Rebecca):

Scholars in antiquity began counting the ways that humans have sex, but they weren’t so diligent in cataloging the reasons humans wanted to get into all those positions...[N]ow, thanks to psychologists at the University of Texas at Austin, we can at last count the whys. After asking nearly 2,000 people why they’d had sex, the researchers have assembled and categorized a total of 237 reasons — everything from “I wanted to feel closer to God” to “I was drunk.” They even found a few people who claimed to have been motivated by the desire to have a child...

Who knew, for instance, that a headache had any erotic significance except as an excuse for saying no? But some respondents of both sexes explained that they’d had sex “to get rid of a headache.” It’s No. 173 on the list.

Others said they did it to “help me fall asleep,” “make my partner feel powerful,” “burn calories,” “return a favor,” “keep warm,” “hurt an enemy” or “change the topic of conversation.” The lamest may have been, “It seemed like good exercise,” although there is also this: “Someone dared me."

[...]

I’m more concerned about the reasons yet to be enumerated.

For instance, nowhere among the 237 reasons will you find the one attributed to the actress Joan Crawford: “I need sex for a clear complexion.”

They've missed out some of the more important reasons, which I list below.

  1. Revenge.
  2. Terror.
  3. Pity.
  4. You're in Penrith and the train has just come.
  5. There's a power cut. (A friend of mine owes his life to the miners' strike of the early Seventies.)
  6. The Koran says you can.
  7. The Bible says you can't.
  8. You've run out of things to read.
  9. The internet hasn't been invented yet.
  10. You've run out of things to talk about.
  11. Coronation Street is cancelled.
  12. You've run out of wine.
  13. The New English Review website has gone down. You may as well do likewise.
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Posted on 08/01/2007 6:58 AM by Mary Jackson
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Tuesday, 31 July 2007
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Jeffrey Hart has published a memoir of Willmoore Kendall in the New Criterion. He mentions the Willmoore Kendall Memorial Couch, and the flagrant delight from which it derives its name.  He also writes this:

"I managed to find his address in Meudon-Bellevue, a working-class suburb in what is known as the Communist “Red Belt” around Paris. This was not exactly a slum, but close. What answered the bell was a tall, gray-haired man in a sleeveless T-shirt, dirty khakis, and sneakers without socks."

To write "not exactly a slum, but close" is wildly off the mark. I lived in Meudon for a year, and was in Bellevue often; the towns are one stop apart on the same rail line into Paris. Meudon was the site of the Paris Observatory; it was not, when I, or when Willmoore Kendall, was there, a "working-class suburb." Bellevue was less expensive, but still was nothing like a slum. I don't know why Hart wrote that. Possibly it added to the how-far-has-he-fallen account of Willmoore Kendall.

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Posted on 07/31/2007 7:40 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 31 July 2007
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No, I don't have anything much to show yet for my coding efforts.  I'm working mostly offline, just uploading stuff to subdirectories when I want to check out my new host's FTP facility.

I have, though, got the favicon stuff figured out, and developed a cute little "Derb" icon. Check it out. Can you patent a favicon?  I live in fear that there might be another Derb out there.

My aim is to get myself out from under the rotting hulk of MS Frontpage by Jan 1st 2008, and have a spiffy new website up and running for the new year.  It will include audio, video, interactive stuff, and—if I can track down the necessary add-ons—smell-o-vision.

This timetable is, however, subject to the pressures of other work, like... all the things I should have been doing today.

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Posted on 07/31/2007 5:58 PM by John Derbyshire
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Tuesday, 31 July 2007
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Whatever the the facts of the Koran/Krapper whatever, it remains that American universities are coward magnets—at the administrative and faculty levels, the rampant liar "braves" such as Ward Churchill notwithstanding.

There are exceptions, but the promise of lifetime tenure, government work, guarantees your children will be taught in any institution of higher learning you might name by several folks who teach only submission.

Forty Pace alums were murdered by Quran-loving killers on 9/11. In light of CAIR's imposition of sharia law on the Pace campus a short walk from Ground Zero where so many Pace alums were killed, is it not travesty that the book the killers swore by now has wrested a spot in the hearts of administrators of the university from which their own dead alums are banned forever?

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Posted on 07/31/2007 5:17 PM by Robert Bove
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