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The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
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

Monday, 29 October 2007
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Green, Green Grass Of Home

I'll Fly Away (Live with the Willis Brothers)

Holdin' On To Nothin' (Duet with Dolly Parton)

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Posted on 10/29/2007 2:14 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Monday, 29 October 2007
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"West Bank Story: A musical comedy about competing Hummus restaurants in the West Bank. A must see."
-- from Kurt Nelson's missive to "the Dartmouth community."

Imagine you are Jacques Barzun. Imagine you are trying to explain what is wrong with the American university today, as part of a a newchapter to be appended to a re-issue of "Teacher in America."

You could do worse -- could you do better? -- than start with the sinister sentimentality -- captured in that repeated word "folks" -- of Kurt Nelson, and of his treacly reductionism, including that "West Bank Story" which he so highly recommends as a "must see" in which one learns nothing of what prompts the Lesser Jihad against Israel, but the viewing of which is, no doubt, a lot less taxing than becoming familiar with Qur'an and Hadith and Sira, or for that matter with the Hamas or PLO Charters, or a thousand relevant documents, including the League of Nations' Mandate for Palestine and such works as "Islam and Dhimmitude." No, stick with the tragicomic tale of "competing Hummus restaurants in the West Bank." According to Kurt Nelson, it's a "must see" -- for all the "folks" in what is not merely an institution of higher learning, but rather a "community."

Gush. Gush with a purpose. Sinister gush.

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Posted on 10/29/2007 2:05 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 29 October 2007
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Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has accused Britain of not doing enough to fight international terrorism, which he says could take 20 or 30 years to beat.

He was speaking in a BBC interview ahead of a state visit to the UK - the first by a Saudi monarch for 20 years.

He also said Britain failed to act on information passed by the Saudis which might have averted terrorist attacks. --from this news item

By this "failure" King Abdullah means two things:

He means that Saudis opposed to the Al-Saud family and its courtiers are allowed to live in Great Britain and have not been returned to Saudi Arabia for "re-education" or sent elsewhere in the Middle East where it may be harder to conduct their campaigns of propaganda.

And he also means that by failing to give the Arabs what they want elsewhere, by not agreeing to completely throw Israel to the wolves, Great Britain is not doing what it should to "fight international terrorism."

He does not mean that the political elite in Great Britain has not sufficiently studied Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira. He does not mean that the British have admitted too many Muslims into their midst. He does not mean that they have failed to tell him to stop funding mosques and madrasas and Western hirelings all over the Infidel lands. He means: give us what we, the Arab Muslims, demand so that the "appeal" of "terrorism" will diminish (and somehow the doctrine of jihad, that has no sell-by date, will disappear at the same time), and furthermore, give us, the Saudi ruling family, all those who currently operate and plot against us from their flats off the Edgeware Road.

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Posted on 10/29/2007 1:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 29 October 2007
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"As word of the Darfur genocide was first spreading, U.S. ambassador John Danforth was in Khartoum putting the finishing touches on a North-South peace deal. This peace deal could have been better enforced on both sides, but so far, it has held. It would be best for everyone in Sudan to keep the peace."
-- from a reader, who is horrified by the idea of a small American force quickly destroying Sudan's airforce and holding Darfur and the southern Sudan until a referendum on independence can be held

No, you are wrong. The "peace treaty" in the south has not, as you put it, "held." The Khartoum government never intended to honor it, and it has not. In the last six months that government has violated that agreement, and its many violations are known to members of Air Force intelligence monitoring the southern Sudan. That this has not been reported in The Times means nothing.

Your comment about the anti-black remarks of the Janjaweed shows you missed my point. For those comments do not show that Islam is irrelevant here; they show perfectly that Islam is a vehicle for Arab supremacism, and that Arab Muslims will, whenever they feel like it, seize the lands or otherwise oppress -- culturally, linguistically in the case of the Berbers of Algeria -- non-Arab Muslims. Who do you think killed the Kurds in Iraq? Who do you think punished the Berbers (until recently) even for speaking the Berber language? And shouldn't the behavior of the Arab government in Khartoum, and the Arab regimes that are openly or secretly backing it, and Osama Bin Laden who attacks the Khartoum regime now, not for supporting the Janjaweed, but for appearing to yield, however cosmetic that yielding may be, to some outside pressure?

Finally, you make an idiotic remark about my being an agent of Osama bin Laden because he sees Sudan as a place where Islam and the Infidels are clashing, and so do I. And he also thinks that Islam teaches Muslims to remove all barriers to Islam, and to work for the spread of Islam, the rightful dominance of Islam and Muslims, everywhere. And if I -- or Robert Spencer, or Senor Fulano de Tal -- agree that Islam does indeed teach "Muslims to remove all barriers to Islam, and to work for the spread...and rightful dominance of Islam and Muslims," are we then "agents" of Bin Laden?

Several readers object to what they see as support for "humanitarian" intervention to save Muslims from other Muslims. They are missing the point. The Muslims being saved are, potentially, those who might be willing to abandon Islam, and the main reason for an Expeditionary Field Force (shades of Suakin) is to put a stop to the Muslim conquest of Sudan, south and west, and a further thrust southward. More Halford Mackinder than Mother Teresa, though in this case they may be considered to be usefully coupled. Geopolitics makes strange bedfellows.

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Posted on 10/29/2007 10:07 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 29 October 2007
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Also from the Australian
FAMILY members of the death-row Bali bombers have made an emotional final visit to Indonesia's highest-security jail ahead of the trio's imminent execution.
Ustad Hasyim Abdullah, principal of the al-Mukmin Islamic school in Solo, central Java, where the bombers learned their hard-line ideology, called the meeting "cheerful and happy".
He said that Amrozi bin Nurhasyim, Imam Samudra and Ali Ghufron, alias Mukhlas, who were all sentenced to death for the 2002 nightclub bombing, were not willing to beg for presidential clemency, since they did not believe they had committed any wrong.
Their wives, mothers and children, who spent several hours with the three on the southern Java prison island of Nusakambangan yesterday, had "no problem with the executions - they have accepted this, it is part of the struggle", he said.
The only thing that could prevent their deaths now is President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's interpretation of a ruling due today on the death sentences on members of the Bali Nine heroin-smuggling gang. The trio have brought a case in the Constitutional Court, widely regarded as being far more accountable and impartial than the Supreme Court that sentenced members of the group to death for trying to import almost 10kg of heroin to Sydney from Bali.
Although the higher court has been restricted to considering the question of applying the death penalty in narcotics cases, the political implications of its decision will stretch immediately to the three Bali bombers.
Facing direct election at general polls in 2009, Dr Yudhoyono and his advisers know the fierce backlash that would flow from Indonesia's Muslim heartland if the three Islamist fanatics were killed shortly after a ruling that effectively saved the lives of the six young death-row Australians.  
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Posted on 10/29/2007 9:39 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Monday, 29 October 2007
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AUSTRALIA faces a "London-type bombing" if relations between Muslims and the intelligence and police authorities do not improve, an influential Islamic youth leader has warned.
Fadi Rahman, who runs one of Sydney's biggest youth centres at Lidcombe in the city's west, said overseas Islamic elements were attempting to radicalise Muslim youth with their hardline ideologies.
But in a warning that will resonate with Australian authorities, Mr Rahman said Muslims did not trust ASIO or the Australian Federal Police and that the bungled terror case against Gold Coast doctor Mohamed Haneef had worsened the situation. "The biggest problem ASIO and the federal police have is that no one in the Islamic community trusts them enough to give them a heads-up about anything," Mr Rahman told The Australian. Look at the Haneef thing - why would we trust these guys when all you see is one fumble after another? People are afraid."
Dr Haneef, an Indian national, was detained in July on suspicion of having played a role in the foiled terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow, but the case fell apart after a series of prosecution mistakes.
He said the typical recruiter was in their 40s or 50s, "from overseas, well-educated and tapping into young people's frustrations and anger. I think we are very similar to London," he said. "There are these individuals from overseas who are basically in their mid-life who have these ideologies and because of the animosity they have experienced in their own countries have deep hatred of the Western world. It's very easy to tap into the mind of someone who has a low education level, unemployment and who has basically given up on life. (The perpetrators of the Glasgow Airport attempt, including Dr Haneef’s family were qualified doctors, the London bombers included a classroom assistant and the son of a businessman – no low educational level there) The right ingredients are there. We need to do something or what happened in London, a London-type bombing, will happen here."
The "something" includes programs to give opportunities to Muslim youth and a "less hostile" attitude by the federal Government. Mr Rahman said the Government was spending too much on campaigns directed at people who did not know what was going on - such as the Be Alert, Not Alarmed campaign - but not enough in communities such as southwestern Sydney, where about 250,000 Muslims live. "It's not like it will be John Smith on the north shore of Sydney who will have information, it will be Mohammed or Ahmed out here," he says.
Mr Rahman brokered a deal with IBM last week under which the computer company will mentor 10 youths from the centre and offer three traineeships. Gimmee, gimmee.
Mr Rahman said this sort of support gave the young people and their families and friends hope. In the aftermath of the Cronulla race riots in Sydney in 2005 there was progress between Muslim and non-Muslim communities, but since then "things have taken a nasty turn".
"The blame game" of all Muslims being blamed for terrorism "will only put people offside", he said. "When the shit hits the fan we will all be covered with it. It's just a matter of time before someone says I've had enough. Unless something is done and attitudes change something will happen. We haven't learnt our lesson post-September 11, the Bali bombings, the Cronulla riots and the London bombings. There's deep-seated hatred on both sides. When young Muslims go into other areas they go in with force”.
I am never sure whether these sorts of “warnings” are a promise or a threat. I do know that were someone to say “Londoners are angry, many have left London because it is not a comfortable place for them. Give us better facilities, transport, health care and respect or there will be violence” we wouldn’t be given the facilities. We would be charged with blackmail and threats to kill. 
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Posted on 10/29/2007 9:35 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Monday, 29 October 2007
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Monday, 29 October 2007
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If the administration could only see that the best way to save face while withdrawing from Iraq would be to send some troops to save the southern Sudanese Christians and their nominal Muslim brethren in Darfur from Muslim aggression, we could change the equation in the overall war radically. Our policy should be focused on stopping Islamization period. Bringing democracy to Muslim countries only serves to exacerbate the problem. It's long past time to institute plan B.

WaPo: In April 2006, a small group of Darfur activists -- including evangelical Christians, the representative of a Jewish group and a former Sudanese slave -- was ushered into the Roosevelt Room at the for a private meeting with . It was the eve of a major rally on the , and the president spent more than an hour holding forth, displaying a kind of passion that has led some in the White House to dub him the " desk officer."

Bush insisted there must be consequences for rape and murder, and he called for international troops on the ground to protect innocent Darfuris, according to contemporaneous notes by one of those present. He spoke of "bringing justice" to the , the Arab militias that have participated in atrocities that the president has repeatedly described as nothing less than "genocide."

"He had an understanding of the issue that went beyond simply responding to a briefing that had been given," said David Rubenstein, a participant who was then executive director of the Save Darfur Coalition, which has been sharply critical of the administration's response to the crisis. "He knew more facts than I expected him to know, and he had a broader political perspective than I expected him to have."

Yet a year and a half later, the situation on the ground in is little changed: More than 2 million displaced Darfuris, including hundreds of thousands in camps, have been unable to return to their homes. The perpetrators of the worst atrocities remain unpunished. Despite a renewed push, the international peacekeeping troops that Bush has long been seeking have yet to materialize...

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Posted on 10/29/2007 8:13 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Monday, 29 October 2007
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Monday, 29 October 2007
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I have been having a look at the reports of the American Football match at Wembley Stadium last night between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants. This was the first proper NFL league game to be played outside North America and was technically a home game for the Dolphins. Who lost.
I remember the introduction of American Football and the London Monarchs team who played, if I remember correctly, at London Arena in Docklands. Which is the point, they never really took off enough for me to take notice of where, when and how they played, or to know a supporter, or the relative of a player. Of the other North American sports introduced here basketball and ice hockey are faring better. But so far as I know no one has attempted a baseball team other than at local level.
There was a good attendance last night, whether that attendance could be repeated often enough for it to be a regular occurrence for a NFL match to take place in the UK, which I gather is the dream that last night would be the start of. Not just Wembley, the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, the Stadium of Light and Hampden Park in Scotland are all venues capable of hosting such an event.
Where I can express an opinion, being a football fan is that I doubt it would work the other way, English League Football, alright let’s be realistic, Premiership matches, to be played regularly in the US. As a one off it would generate interest but no more than that. And it would be so expensive, especially with the effect of jetlag on performance to consider.
Still last night sounded like an event to remember. The New York Giants won, as expected apparently but it was not an abject defeat for the Dolphins.
The Times match report is here.
General analysis here. 
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Posted on 10/29/2007 4:29 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 28 October 2007
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Tv isterica, genera ansia e depressione

Sotto accusa l'allarmismo in talk show e telegiornali,
ma anche nelle trasmissioni sportive e nei reality

 

MILANO - Ansia, depressione, insonnia e persino attacchi di panico. Questo genera la tv, secondo uno studio promosso da Meta Comunicazione e realizzato da un pool di 60 psicologi e psicoterapeuti. Le trasmissioni caratterizzate da continuo allarmismo (58%), toni che rasentano l'isteria (51%), continue polemiche (46%) alla lunga rischiano di causare delle vere e proprie patologie, come quelle sopra elencate. In media, persino in un talk show, ogni 6 minuti vengono utilizzati toni e termini che alzano il livello di ansia e aggressività, oltre al fatto che gli stessi temi trattati affrontano ciò che di più inquietante avviene quotidianamente.

STRESS E ANSIA - Lo studio ha analizzato, per quattro settimane, i contenuti, i toni e il lessico utilizzato nelle diverse tipologie di trasmissioni, per individuare il livello di ansia generato dalle stesse. Da intrattenimento e svago, secondo il 73% degli esperti intervistati, la tv è diventata un collettore di stress (63%), ansia (55%) e aggressività (49%). E ad essere sotto accusa non sono solo le trasmissioni legate all'attualità e alla cronaca, come talk show e tg, ma anche contenitori che sulla carta dovrebbero essere di puro intrattenimento, dove, secondo gli esperti (47%), il carico d'ansia è ancora maggiore, perché lo spettatore ha meno difese.

TONI ISTERICI - Sotto accusa l'allarmismo (58%), ormai utilizzato in ogni tipo di trasmissione, dalle news ai contenitori di costume. Anche i servizi più normali vengono annunciati come se si trattasse di una gravissima notizia. Per il 51% i toni isterici che ormai dominano nel piccolo schermo rappresentano una delle maggiori cause dell'ansia di chi resta troppo tempo davanti alla tv. Una situazione che non viene certo aiutata dalle continue polemiche (46%). Nella classifica del grado di ansia catodica proprio i talk show sono al primo posto, come sottolinea il 58% degli esperti e conferma l'analisi dei programmi andati in onda nelle ultime 4 settimane. Subito dietro i tg (52%) in cui, in media si raggiungono alti livelli di stress ogni 12 minuti.

SPORT E REALITY - Lo stesso vale per le trasmissioni sportive, dove l'ansia sembra la costante per cercare di fidelizzare gli spettatori (45%, i picchi di ansia catodica che hanno una frequenza media di uno ogni 15 minuti). Seguono le trasmissioni di servizio, dove si vogliono tutelare i consumatori o dirimere controversie (41%, uno ogni 20 minuti). Ma sotto accusa sono anche le trasmissioni di costume e di puro intrattenimento come i contenitori pomeridiani (38%, dove i toni fanno impennare il livello d'ansia in media ogni 21 minuti). Seguono i reality (36%), che seguono lo stesso principio delle trasmissioni sportive e dove il livello d'ansia sale in media ogni 24 minuti.


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Posted on 10/28/2007 11:30 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 28 October 2007
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Maybe this isn't such a good idea...From The Times (with thanks to Alan):

THE Foreign Office has cleared dozens of Iranians to enter British universities to study advanced nuclear physics and other subjects with the potential to be applied to weapons of mass destruction.

In the past nine months about 60 Iranians have been admitted to study postgraduate courses deemed “proliferation-sensitive” by the security services. The disciplines range from nuclear physics to some areas of electrical and chemical engineering and microbiology.

Additionally, figures obtained by David Willetts, the shadow secretary for innovation, universities and skills, show that in 2005-06, 30 Iranians were doing postgraduate degrees in subjects covering nuclear physics and nuclear engineering...

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Posted on 10/28/2007 5:02 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 28 October 2007
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Charles Johnson over at Little Green Footballs is kicking up some dust over the Flemish party Vlaams Belang which helped put together the Brussels Counterjihad Summit last week. He is worried about racism. 

Today, there is a response from a Danish correspondent at Gates of Vienna who says Johnson has gone overboard and knows nothing about European politics.

I don't know where the truth lies in this controversy, but it seems to me that in America at least, the extreme neo-Nazis are avidly allying with Muslims groups because they share a common antisemitism and desire to overthrow the government.

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Posted on 10/28/2007 4:29 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 28 October 2007
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"It's all right to feel sorry for the suffering people in Darfur, to send them food and medical supplies, but we should know by now that our soldiers would be welcome as liberators for about one week, and after that, they'll be Infidels and crusaders soiling the sacred land of Islam."
-- from a reader commenting on this post

 

The reader has ignored two things.

First, the black African Muslims of Darfur have been on the receiving end of Arab Muslim supremacism, expressed in terms that would make David Duke blush, and murderous behavior that would make Johannes von Leer proud. They know they must identify themselves, think of themselves, as "Muslims" but beyond that, a number of Darfurian refugees in the West, in their willingness to listen to Christian missionaries, suggest that the commitment of black Africans in Darfur to Islam is not unwavering -- and why should it be, after what they have endured at the hands of Arab Muslims, or those who think of themselves as Arab Muslims? These black Africans are very different from the meretricious and grasping Sunni and Shi'a Arabs playing the Americans for all they are worth, and exhibiting not the slightest real or permanent gratitude.

Second, the humanitarian mission is not confined to Darfur but should also, and necessarily, for logistic reasons, must, include the southern Sudan, which also is peopled by black Africans who are, however, not Muslims but Christians and animists. And the two groups have more in common, or can be made to feel more in common, as the common recipients of murderous treatment at the hands of Muslim Arabs.

What could be better, what more intelligent a use of American power -- and not very much power -- than a mission that, no one save the Arab League can deny, has great and obvious humanitarian goals? And at the same time, such a mission will be geopolitically astute, for it will clearly signal the American or even, possibly, the Western will to halt the steady advance of Islam down through East Africa. Egypt has only pretended to be serving as a brake on the behavior of the Sudanese government, just enough fakery to satisfy the ever-credulous American officials who cannot quite see Egypt as the malevolent force it is (it's much the same game with Egypt's supposed usefulness in putting pressure on the "Palestinians"). Egypt's Muslims, and other Arabs, are delighted that over the past half-century they have steadily islamized, largely through murder and deliberate starvation, so much of the Sudan, so that its demographic makeup has changed, and Egypt looks beyond Sudan to Ethiopia, the famous Christian kingdom, and its steady demographic changes in favor of local Muslims, and of course the coming Water Wars in East Africa, in which Egypt will try to prevent Ethiopia from diverting any of the headwaters of the Nile (a river to which Egypt lays virtual claim, from its debouchment at the delta in Alexandria, all the way back beyond the fifth, the sixth, the seventh cataracts, all the way to its source in the lakes, that old-fashioned African couple named Victoria and Albert Nyanza. Calling a halt to this, in such a way that cannot be convincingly opposed -- unless the Arabs claim a divine right to continue persecuting and murdering black Africans, which might be a little hard even for the BBC and The Guardian to swallow (though don't worry -- they'll do their unlevel best to make the Arab Muslim case) -- could be a significant measure.

It would drive Bin Laden, and Al-Qaradawi, and the Sheik al-Azhar, and all the Arabs mad. And it would rip the veil from Islam a little bit more, exposing it as merely a vehicle for Arab imperialism. And that will be useful among the Berbers in both North Africa and in France. It will be useful as far away as Indonesia. And in the Infidel lands, it can be a source of great discomfort among Muslim missionaries now carefully conducting their Da'wa, virtually unopposed, among black prisoners, and other minorities whom those Da'wa campaigners have targetted for their efforts.

Think of that "country Muslim from Norfolk, Virginia" Mahdi Bray. He'd have a little explaining to do, wouldn't he, if he chose to denounce an American effort to rescue black Africans from Arab Muslims in the Sudan?

Wouldn't he?

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Posted on 10/28/2007 4:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 28 October 2007
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Sunday, 28 October 2007
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What a dope Ford was. But his dopiness reflects a more general dopiness.

The very idea that behavior that has been going on since time began should be called an addiction and treated therapeutically, when it just the usual behavior of a large number of men -- the womanizer, tombeur de femmes, donnaiolo, okhotnik do bab -- annoys.

Not an "addict" deserving of clinical treatment or sympathy, Clinton was unseemly in his behavior, and cruel in his indifference to his victims, always chosen -- perhaps that was the best he could do -- from those far beneath him in status, and whose lives, or at least some of them, have been permanently ruined by him. That is quite unlike the womanizing of Kennedy, who picked on women his own size, women who knew what they were doing.

Ford's "sex-addiction" represents the Triumph of the Lack of Will, the Triumph of the Therapeutic. Back to Deep Biology  and hormones, but that too is not an excuse, for not everyone behaves like Bill Clinton. Behavior is modified by civilization. Men -- and women -- learn to keep things in check, to make things more interesting, to slow things down, to make them part of an elaborate system. and, as well, for all kinds of reasons that make sense, to control their impulses, should they have them.

We need not mimic the cavemen. Instead of the club, or the palaeolithic come-on -- say, want to see my wall etchings? (see Lascaux, see Altamira), over time other ways have developed. In the Western world, romantic love. See Denis De Rougemont. Horace and Propertius. The troubadours. Cours d'Amour. Lancelot and Guinevere. Petrarch. Elizabethan sonnet-cycles. The 1930s tenor who rhymes "moon" and "June." The shy boy carrying the shy girl's books back from high school. The soda-fountain date, with the soda jerk watching Andy Rooney and Judy Garland. The tango, Argentinean, Polish, Russian. The Personals Columns: "Love long walks on the Vineyard.  Weekends in Umbria and Normandy. Bouley and Nobu. Pachelbel Canon by candlelight." All of it.

Clinton was more like a caveman, that's all. A smooth-talking and plausible caveman, and apparently a crowd-pleaser, but a primitive caveman nonetheless. No need to consult the Handbook of Psychiatric Disorders.  The language employed in, say, 1940, or 1840, or 1740, meets the case.

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Posted on 10/28/2007 12:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 28 October 2007
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Jacques Barzun wrote clearly in his book, Darwin - Marx - Wagner - A Critique of Heritage, how the concept of biological evolution became melded to the concept of natural selection during the 19th Century. The conflict between evolution on the one hand, and evolution solely by the mechanism of natural selection on the other was clear during a time when philosophical depths were more widely plumbed. The ethical implications for the idea that man is nothing more than a biological machine created by mindless forces is abominable and thus the conflict keeps returning. Writes Barzun:

"...the error which dogs evolutionists, the error of believing that if you isolate the elements or label the beginnings of a process you have thereby grasped the process in its entirety. Because living things depend on certain chemico-physical things, therefore human beings are physico-chemical combinations and nothing more. This error is the so-called "genetic fallacy"...It is a common error and the very one, incidentally that both sides fell into when disputing over the origin of species...

Both should have known that becoming or growing, if is means anything, must mean a change not reducible to the stage before, much less to the original stage of the process. Something exists at the end which was not there at the beginning. An oak may come from an acorn, but it is not identical with an acorn, nor even with an acorn plus all that the oak has absorbed of moisture and food in the process of growing upwards. This problem of Becoming was the staple of discussion for the whole half century of Romantic thought before Darwin and Spencer. To the Germans particularly - Hegel, Schopenhauer, Schelling and Fichte - we owe the establishment of the basic evolutionary notion that Being is Becoming and that fixity is an abstraction or an illusion. Unfortunately, this view was linked in biology with the principle of vitalism, or life force, which though it inspired very fruitful researches into the nature of living cells, ultimately proved untenable. The difficulty is that if there is no superadded life force in living beings, seemingly nothing but matter is left. Remove the mysterious, "metaphysical" soul or controlling power and mere physical an chemical units remain behind. From these everything else must now be explained in "positive" terms."

In other words, the living cell differs from the dead cell in some fundamental qualitative way and the living cell cannot be reduced to its component parts without killing it - removing its metaphysical component. By removing the metaphysical component of philosophy, we likewise kill it, by destroying the source of its vitality.

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Posted on 10/28/2007 11:12 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 28 October 2007
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Mindful of the ukulele revival I mentioned here two weeks ago I should not have been surprised to see these in the window of a music shop while on holiday in Sussex.
Flying V ukuleles.
As Mary is not here this week to post any more George Formby I thought something a little different. However I believe that the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain do not use Flying Vs.  If they do they were not in evidence when they were filmed on Jools Holland at New Year 2005 with their version of Sounds Like Teen Spirit.
The Ukulele Orchestra are good and experienced musicians - but horror of horrors, the box to the left in the picture was nearly empty of kazoos . . . ! Aaaargh!
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Posted on 10/28/2007 11:01 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 28 October 2007
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The Daily News:

Gerald Ford was disturbed by Bill Clinton's skirt-chasing ways - and thought he should check into a sex addiction clinic.

A new book on the late 38th President reveals he had strong views about the Clintons: He thought Hillary wore the pants and that Bill couldn't keep his zipped.

"He's sick - he's got an addiction. He needs treatment," Ford told Daily News Washington Bureau Chief Thomas M. DeFrank, author of "Write It When I'm Gone: Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford."

And Ford had this to say about Hillary:

"She's stronger and tougher than he is," he said. "When she takes a point you're gonna have to be damn sure you're well informed because she won't compromise as quickly or as easily as he.

"She's very bright. She's strong, and I think he defers to her. When she gets her dander up, she ain't gonna roll over."

And he had no doubts about her ambitions. "Hillary is gonna be on the ticket in '04 or '08, one or the other, you can write that down," he said in 2002.

Yet he didn't think she would win - "I don't think the country is ready for a lady President," he said - and he didn't live long enough to find out if he was right.

The Clintons, through spokesman Howard Wolfson, declined to comment about the book.

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Posted on 10/28/2007 10:47 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 28 October 2007
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Our thanks to Alan who sends in this very clever piece of editing: 100 Movies, 100 Quotes, 100 Numbers
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Posted on 10/28/2007 10:04 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 28 October 2007
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"It all sounds so simple. A couple of thousand Americans to do what several Million Africans seem unwilling to do. Like Kristof won't turn on the Forces we send the minute they kill somebody." --from a reader responding to this posting

The spectacle of American soldiers protecting black Africans from murderous Arabs -- how would Kristof attack that? On what basis, given the twenty years of mass murder of Christians and animists in the south, and now four or five years of uninterrupted killings by the government-sponsored Janjaweed in Darfur, and after many months in which troops from the African Union (a few thousand, not "millions") have proved incapable of providing such protection, would all the kristofs in the world be able to protest? What could Islam-appeasing bureaucrats at the E.U. do, without being laughed at? Or the U.N., in solemn conclave assembled, where Muslim Arabs would, in their attempts to make the Sudan, and East Africa, and All of Africa, Safe for Arab Islam, finally behave in such a manner that everyone, including the most advanced non-Arab Muslims, would begin to achieve a new understanding of Islam. And that understanding, which the fulminating Amr Moussa, foaming at the mouth at a meeting of the Arab League, would not be able to prevent, would be this:

Islam, despite its universalist claims, arises out of the Arab need for a vehicle for Arab imperialism -- linguistic, cultural, economic, and political. Islam in fact is the most successful, and complete form of imperialism, one that causes those conquered to forget their own histories, their own identities, languages, cultures, and as much as possible, to ape the manners and customs of seventh-century Arabs. It is the Arabs who are the "best of peoples" for Allah revealed the Qur'an to them, and in their language. Muslims everywhere must read (and memorize as much as possible) the Qur'an in Arabic; only in the last century did Ataturk break that tradition by commissioning a Turkish Qur'an, and still the "real" Qur'an is that which remains untranslated, in the Arabic (or Arabic with a substratum of Aramaic, if Christoph Luxenberg's arguments are to be accepted).

Along with support for the Kurds, and for Berbers in their attempts to obtain decent treatment from their Arab masters in North Africa, American support should go to the non-Muslims and non-Arab Muslims of Sudan.

Who will object to using American power to rescue from death and destruction the black Africans of Darfur and the southern Sudan? Hillary Clinton? Barack Obama?

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Posted on 10/28/2007 9:16 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 28 October 2007
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Sunday, 28 October 2007
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The Shi'ite government of Iraq is refusing to arm the Sunnis, not as police, nor under any other circumstances. This is a problem for America's plan for creating a national unity government. So the Americans are using American taxpayer money to train and equip the Sunnis who are more than happy to take the weapons and anything else they can get. Both sides are preparing for the day the Americans leave.

New Duranty: HABBANIYA, Iraq — The American military’s push to organize Sunni Arabs into local neighborhood watch groups has been one of the United States’ most important initiatives in Iraq — so much so that President Bush flew to Anbar Province in September to highlight growing alliances with Sunni tribal leaders.

But now that the Americans are trying to institutionalize the arrangement by training the Sunnis to become police officers, the effort has been hampered by halfhearted support and occasionally outright resistance from a Shiite-dominated national government that is still inclined to see the Sunnis as a once and future threat.

It was the American military that pressed to open the new Habbaniya Police Training Center where Sunni tribesmen and former insurgents are to be trained to serve as police officers in Anbar. And it was the Americans who provided the uniforms, food, new classrooms and equipment for the police recruits...

To augment its ability to train police and supplement the training at the Baghdad police academy, the Iraqi government has decided to build two new police academies. They are to be located in the southern city of Basra and the northern town of Mosul.

That is of little help to the Sunnis in Anbar. So the Americans pushed this summer to establish a police academy at a former Anbar air base that the British established at Habbaniya during their colonial occupation. At a cost of just over $10 million, the Americans financed the complex and paid for the international police advisers, who are mostly Americans. The base, which is situated between Falluja and Ramadi, is also used for training the Iraqi Army and still features the sturdy structures erected during the British occupation, as well as a British cemetery.

Brig. Gen. Khalid Adulami, the dean of the Habbaniya academy and a former officer in the Republican Guard during the days of Saddam Hussein’s rule, said many of the prospective recruits were picked by Sheik Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi, the leader of the Sunni tribal movement in Anbar who was assassinated in September. The academy will soon graduate its second class of recruits, more than 700, and plans to expand its enrollment....

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Posted on 10/28/2007 8:37 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 28 October 2007
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Ex CIA agent Bruce Tefft is interviewed at Frontpage where he refutes Jamie Glazov's use the the word Islamo-fascism and Pipes' optimistic assertions. Here is some of that exchange:

Tefft: Like Nazism, Islam is an ideology one chooses to adhere to. Were there "good" or "moderate" Nazis? If not, then no one can claim that there are good or moderate Muslims as they are voluntarily subscribing to an ideology that advocates murder, torture and jihad and does not permit its follower to cherry-pick which parts they believe in. The requirement to accept the Koran as the literal word of God also carries with it the obligation to accept it all. And as you say, the Koran instructs all Muslims to wage war against non-Muslims and all schools of Islamic thought instruct the subjugation of the non-Muslim world through jihad. Therefore, I do not believe it wise to attempt to create artificial distinctions between Muslims that don't really as far as their attitudes towards non-Muslims is concerned.

As the prime minister of Turkey recently said: There is no radical nor moderate Islam. That is an insult to Muslims. There is only Islam.

We may wish to give Muslims the benefit of doubt, due to our humanistic and liberalized Western way of thinking. But treating the enemy as we wish they were, than as they are, will only lead to our ultimate defeat....

Glazov: ...there is a verse in the Qur’an (2:256) which states: "There is no compulsion in religion." As Daniel Pipes has pointed out, this verse, though very complicated in the many interpretations surrounding it, can serve as a foundation to a more enlightened Islam. Pipes profoundly notes that Islam can be what its believers make it, they “can decide afresh what jihad signifies, what rights women have, what role government should play, what forms of interest on money should be banned, plus much else.” And we have a big stake in trying to influence them in this matter.

Tefft: I do not believe that there will be a Muslim Martin Luther reforming Islam. In truth, bin Laden, the Iranian Ayatollahs and the Saudi Wahabbis are the 'reformers' who are bringing Islam back to its original "pure" state. I suspect that anyone wishing to democratize and modernize Islam will have to re-write the Koran, leaving out 26 (of the 114) Chapters, or suras, dealing with holy war, fighting Islam's enemies, chopping their heads off, and etc. Of course then it would no longer be Islam -- perhaps a "Reformed Islam", such as Reform Judaism, or a Muslim Lutheranism.

But I'm an ex-spy, not a theologian -- from the psy-war aspect, the best thing the West can do in this war with Islam is to publicize and support morally and monetarily the apostates and ex-Muslims. They know the evils of Islam better than any outsider...

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Posted on 10/28/2007 8:00 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Sunday, 28 October 2007
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Having been away in (intermittently) sunny Sussex all week I couldn’t post this at the time and have been reminded of it by Carole Malone’s comments in this morning’s Sunday Mirror. First from The Telegraph on Wednesday.
A veteran of the Afghan conflict was refused service in a petrol station because he was wearing his Army uniform.
The officer (a captain with the 16 Air Assault Brigade) claims an Asian store attendant told him to change his clothes before he could buy beer.
Witnesses claimed the attendant, at the Wisley South Connect station on the A3 near Guildford, Surrey, was anti-war and prejudiced against soldiers.
A BP spokesman insisted the attendant was "over-zealous" and had simply "misunderstood" licensing laws meaning he cannot sell alcohol to uniformed policemen.
He added that staff at the site have been retrained and said: "We have given our sincere apologies to the customer. This was not in any way a racist incident."
Carole Malone (keep scrolling down through her views on Sharon Osbourne and Sienna Miller) says:-
Weasel Of The Week award must go to the gutless executives at BP Connect who were too terrified to sack an Asian worker for refusing to sell beer to a British soldier because he was in uniform.
And instead of kicking this man out on his ass the PC lackeys at BP have instead issued a grovelling apology and are trying to pretend it wasn't because of the Asian man's religion or his anti-war views but simply because he'd misunderstood the licensing laws.
What? So this idiot worker actually believes there's a clause in BP's rulebook that says he can't serve British Army officers in uniform? Because if he does he ought to be sacked anyway for being so damned stupid.
And I'm sorry, if this had been a white Christian BP worker telling a woman wearing a burka or a man wearing a dhoti or a turban that he couldn't be served (with anything) until they went home and changed, the worker would have been sacked quicker than you could say "industrial tribunal" and charged with racism to boot.
I'm sorry, racism isn't a one-way street. There were witnesses to this incident and they are certain it had nothing to do with a misinterpretation of the licensing laws and everything to do with this worker's anti-war views. And if white Christians have to afford other religions respect, then they have to respect ours. And people who don't follow those rules need to be dealt with.
Bp are obviously terrified to sack this man for fear of a lawsuit. Well, they're cowards and because of it this Asian has got away with insulting one of our heroes. Which is why he will do it again. As will other people like him because they know that in this skew-whiff, politically-correct world that is now Britain they will always win.
And come the next election, Gordon Brown shouldn't be surprised when the contemptible BNP snatch 20 per cent of the vote. And whatever gains they make it won't be because the people of this country are racist but because they want fairness for everyone in our society - white and black, Christian and Muslim. No preferences. No special treatment. 
The reports call this cashier an "Asian" although the Army Families Federation spokewoman did refer to Muslims when talking to The Sun newspaper. I cannot imagine a Hindu or Sikh taking that attitude so I think thr AFF lady is correct.
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Posted on 10/28/2007 5:13 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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