Thursday, 09 November 2006
At least he does this morning in this metaphor
The Democratic dog just caught the Iraqi firetruck it's been chasing for almost four years. Now what? Wetting the back tires won't be enough.
Posted on 11/09/2006 6:14 AM by Robert Bove
Thursday, 09 November 2006
An alternative review
of Borat (and, not cited here, Mark Steyn) from Michael Graham:
And then, just when Western civilization is about to tolerate itself to death, who should appear? Borat the Magnificent!
Borat is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen, and yes, it's one of the most disgusting, too. I assume you know the premise: Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen plays a bumbling Kazakh TV reporter interviewing people, prominent and obscure, who think Borat is a real person ‹ one who just happens to be utterly clueless. Borat says and does things that civilized people find wildly inappropriate (calling a panel of feminists "chicky" and "sweetheart" was one of my favorites) to test the limits of our tolerance.
Some reviewers have focused on the Americans Borat discovers who share the character's worst prejudices (like the redneck USC students longing for a return of slavery ‹ go 'Cocks!). But that misses Borat's most profound point.
What Borat mocks is tolerance itself. Borat screams anti-Semitic rants or roams into a woman's dining room with a baggie of his own feces, and the first reaction of the good, multicultural Americans around him is to find a way to accommodate, to understand, to (as one clueless woman in the film did) be fascinated by our cultural differences.
, no emails re vulgarity: it's an integral part of our civilization's heritage (see Aristophanes, Apuleius, Dante and Shakespeare). Get used to it.
(h/t Ed Driscoll
Posted on 11/09/2006 6:06 AM by Robert Bove
Thursday, 09 November 2006
A few days ago I expressed my concern that Saudi students might be able to buy places at Oxford University. In the interests of balance, here, on The Times letters page, is a rebuttal from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor:
Sir, Your report on Oxford and Prince Sultan University (Nov 3) expresses the fear that “Oxford dons will be pressurised into accepting less academic students”. There is no basis for this fear.
Like other top universities, we are keen to attract able students from all over the world, and we have a long and distinguished tradition of academic links with the Middle East and Arab world. The memorandum of discussion with Prince Sultan University expresses our desire to develop these links, and bring well-qualified Saudi students to Oxford. Up to ten Saudi students over the next 25 years will benefit from a scholarship endowed by the Prince. The students will, of course, only be offered a place if they satisfy our admissions criteria. To suggest that the existence of a scholarship would guarantee a place at Oxford is to question the admission of many other students on scholarship schemes already studying here.
University of Oxford
There can be few Saudi students who would satisfy the admissions criteria, which require a certain independence of thought. Independent thought is incompatible with Islam. Perhaps students who have already benefited from a Western education would qualify. I imagine The Religious Policeman, who, sadly, no longer keeps a blog, would have qualified. (His English is so flawlessly idiomatic and his humour so original that I have my doubts as to whether he is a genuine Saudi.)
In the meantime, I reserve judgement. I will believe this admissions process is completely fair only if there is a year in which no places are awarded to Saudis.
Posted on 11/09/2006 5:15 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 09 November 2006
I bought this birthday card for my Mother-in-law, who I love dearly, in a rather nice gift shop in Rye last month.
Even the back is good.
I don't want to breach the artist's copyright, I got into trouble once before (meow!) so if you notice this, look upon it as a recommendation. Sings "Prawn to be Wild, ah, ah aaaah!"
Posted on 11/09/2006 3:30 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 09 November 2006
Boris Johnson, bless him, on paedophile hysteria:
Really? I said, not quite able to believe my luck. There we were, waiting for take-off, and I had just been having a quick zizz. It was a long flight ahead, all the way to India, and I had two children on my left. Already they were toughing each other up and sticking their fingers up each other's nose, and now — salvation!
Hovering above me was a silk-clad British Airways stewardess with an angelic smile, and she seemed to want me to move. "Please come with me, sir" said the oriental vision.
At once, I got her drift. She desired to upgrade me. In my mind's eye, I saw the first-class cabin, the spiral staircase to the head massage, the Champagne, the hot towels....Actually, she said, she was proposing to move me to row 52, and that was because — she lowered her voice — "We have very strict rules".
Eh? I said, by now baffled. "A man cannot sit with children," she said; and then I finally twigged. "But he's our FATHER", chimed the children. "Oh," said the stewardess, and then eyed me narrowly. "These are your children?" "Yes," I said, a bit testily. "Very sorry," she said, and wafted down the aisle — and in that single lunatic exchange you will see just about everything you need to know about our dementedly phobic and risk-averse society. In the institutionalised prejudice of that BA stewardess against an adult male, you see one of the prime causes of this country's tragic under-achievement in schools.
I mention all this because the same absurd kerfuffle happened this week. Some child was put next to an ancient journalist and his wife on a flight, and the airline (BA again) went into spasm. As the hoo-ha raged, the press turned to the lobby groups, and someone called Pam Hibbert of Barnardo's obliged with the usual bossyboots quote. The ban on sitting children next to adults was "eminently sensible", said this eminently ridiculous figure.
Well, with a name like Pam Hibbert, what do you expect?
I mean, come off it, folks. How many paedophiles can there be? Are we really saying that any time an adult male finds himself sitting next to someone under 16, he must expect to be hustled from his seat before the suspicious eyes of the entire cabin?
What about adult females? Every week there is some new tale of what a saucy French mistress is deemed to have done with her adolescent charges behind the bicycle sheds; and, disgraceful though these episodes may be, I don't hear anyone saying that children should be shielded from adult women. Do you? Or maybe I'm wrong — maybe all adults will have to carry personal cardboard partitions with them on every plane or train, just in case they find themselves sitting next to under-16s.
Even as I write, I can imagine the lip-pursing of some of my lovely high-minded readers. How would you like it, they will say, if some weird chap was plonked next to your kids? And they are right that I would worry about some strange adult sitting next to my children, chiefly because I wouldn't want the poor fellow to come to any harm.
To all those who worry about the paedophile plague, I would say that they not only have a very imperfect understanding of probability; but also that they fail to understand the terrible damage that is done by this system of presuming guilt in the entire male population just because of the tendencies of a tiny minority....
It is insane, and the problem is the general collapse of trust. Almost every human relationship that was sensibly regulated by trust is now governed by law, with cripplingly expensive consequences.
Boris Johnson is right, both on the specific point about paedophile hysteria and on the more general point about over-regulation.
Update: Esmerelda's comment about her husband not wanting to be seen plying children with chips reminded me that, when I was of an age to be of interest to paedophiles, a tasteless joke was told in the school playground - not by me, of course:
Dirty old man to little girl: do you want a sweetie?
Little girl: show me your wotsit first.
These days, a kid overheard telling a joke like that would be sent to a child psychiatrist.
Posted on 11/09/2006 3:23 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
From Melanie Phillips' website:
The extent and implications of the BBC’s bias towards the enemies of western civilisation is still not properly understood, even by many of those who are constantly appalled by what they hear in Britain from its domestic services. The lethal damage it may be doing in parts of the world where such an ideological bent turns it into an active supporter of tyranny is something else again.
On this website, Bill Roggio describes how the Islamic Courts Union is progressively spreading jihad through Somalia. But as he also notes, and according to this report, the BBC has been actively supporting this Somali wing of the Islamic jihad
A motion against the BBC Somali Service radio was introduced in the Puntland Parliament on Monday in Garowe, the Puntland capital. Some 8 Puntland legislators introduced the bill to ban the BBC Somali Service from operating in Puntland regions. Sources said another 22 lawmakers supported the motion and a debate opened.
The Puntland MPs voted after the debate, with more than 35 lawmakers voting to have the BBC radio banned from operating inside Puntland.Lawmakers who proposed the motion accused the BBC Somali Service – the radio with the largest reach inside Somalia – of being partisan and pro-Islamic Courts, to the detriment of Puntland and other political factions.
Why is the British tax-payer, who pays for the BBC World Service, expected to subsidise support for the jihad in Somalia?
Posted on 11/08/2006 6:38 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
"renowned Islamic scholar John Esposito’s..."
-- from this article
"Renowned" where? In Saudi Arabia and other states that are proud to call John Esposito one of their own, and who help finance the "Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding" (which began with money from a rich Lebanese contractor, a kind of Beirut equivalent of the senior Bin Laden)? In the councils of CAIR? Among his likenesses, who would love to have the same Arab money supporting their own little dream institutes, in MESA Nostra (which google)? Is he renowned among the scholars of Islam at, say, German universities? Among those who teach about Islam at the Universite d'Aix-Marseille? What philologists has he impressed? What do Michael Cook and Patricia Crone and Bernard Lewis, not one of whom can be described, especially not now, as resolutely "anti-Islam," think of Esposito?
And what do those people who know Islam best and are willing to speak truthfully about it -- Wafa Sultan, Ibn Warraq, Ali Sina, Azam Kamguian, and thousands or tens or even hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of other articulate people born into Islam through no fault of their own, think of John Esposito's comprehension and presentation of Islam? Does his behavior nauseate them as much as I have heard -- or have I heard from all the most unrepresentative former Muslims? And what do the not-quite-apostates, but the Muslims-for-identification-purposes-only Muslims, such as Amir Taheri and Fouad Ajami and Kanan Makiya, and so many secular Turks, think of John Esposito and his presentation of Islam? Disgust? Fury? Perhaps a special house blend of the two?
Posted on 11/08/2006 5:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
Mark Shea links to us
at his blog re my Two foghorns
post earlier. Maureen Mullarkey
wrote me re my The fog of war will thicken on Nov. 15th
post: "'Thusly are Dark Ages born'. Precisely. Thank you for that phrase." Maureen, who is NY Sun arts editor caught a little flak—classical bombast, actually—in a letter to the editor from a fellow who took issue with her dissection of the term "classical realism." I don't have the link to the article under attack, but here's the letter
In a recent review of exhibitions featuring the nude figure [Arts & Letters, "Nothing Left To Hide," October 12, 2006], Maureen Mullarkey writes that "the nude exposes both its creator and the culture of its time." A critic's response to the nude, I would add, exposes the critic.
Most of Ms. Mullarkey's remarks regarding painter Jacob Collins's Classical Realist nudes at Hirschl & Adler Modern are petty and sarcastic. She writes that two of the paintings are "McNudes for the carriage trade … fastidious erotica to go with the Jado bidet and high thread-count linens from Yves Delorme"; that "good living and good nipples are the classic combo" in another work; and so on.
Further, Ms. Mullarkey refers to Mr. Collins as "an enthusiastic evangelist for a secular revival that preaches the gospel of traditional art practices [known] as Classical Realism" — which, she asserts, "contains neither classicism nor realism as Courbet understood it." In this respect, she is woefully misinformed.
The term "Classical Realism" was coined in 1982 by the elder statesman of the movement, Richard Lack — who founded the pioneering Atelier Lack in 1969. As Stephen Gjertson, an early student there, has written, Classical Realism was conceived as "a broad artistic point of view characterized by a love for the visible world and the great traditions of Western art, including classicism, realism and impressionism … It is classical because it exhibits a preference for order, beauty, harmony and completeness; it is realist because its basic vocabulary comes from the representation of nature."
Finally, there is Ms. Mullarkey's snide claim that Classical Realism is "as much a marketing phenomenon as Thomas Kinkade's Paintings of Light." She evidently does not distinguish between art and pseudo-art. She also falsely implies that Classical Realists have seen such dollars as generated by the Kinkade factory. Some I know, in fact, eke out a meager existence, while striving to create meaningful work.
New York, N.Y.
Anybody can coin, but the coin might prove—as it does here—chewable.
Posted on 11/08/2006 4:54 PM by Robert Bove
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
Whenever an Infidel quotes the Qur’an, Muslim apologists say he is quoting it “out of context.” This "context" business was early identified by Ibn Warraq as one of the rhetorical smokescreens put up by those Muslim apologists. Indeed, it is almost as much a favorite as that "if you don't know Arabic, you can't comment on the Qur'an" argument, which would read out of Islamic orthodoxy, on the grounds that they can't possibly understand the texts, the 80% of the world's Muslims who are not Arabs and do not know Arabic. Of course, that doesn't keep them, in the madrasas, from being forced to memorize entire chunks of the Qur'an in a language they do not understand.
There are two kinds of context. One is the actual text itself: that is, when a movie reviewer writes that the movie in question is "quite possibly the best example of movie-making out of Hollywood at its most characteristically idiotic" then becomes, in the subsequent ads, a blurb that reads "quite possibly the best example of movie-making out of Hollywood..."
And that is exactly what Muslims do, and people like Bush, when they quote Qur'an 5.32 but never quote it in the obvious and necessary and indispensable context of 5.33.
Another kind of context is the historical one. That is, is what is in Qur'an and Hadith to be taken and applied to this age? Or is it to be understood by Muslims as needing to be re-interpreted, just the way American constitutional jurisprudence is all about intelligently interpreting the original Constitutional text, as well as phrases in the Amendments? (What is "due process of law" in the Fourteenth Amendment? What might be included in that phrase? And how, in what way, would such rights as are found to be included in that phrase apply as against the Federal government -- hint: see the Fifth Amendment, and go from there.)
But the Constitution, blissfully, is a document created in time, by humans -- though possibly the most wonderful and intelligent set of statesmen ever to gather in one place. And therefore we are willing to add amendments from time to time. Therefore we are willing, from time to time, to subject things to new interpretations, or to relate them to what we may see as the intent, or what we think or argue would be the intent today, of the Framers.
Not so with the Qur'an. It is deemed by Believers the literal and uncreated Word of God. It is good for all time. True, in the first few centuries of Islam there was a certain leeway, when texts were still being established, and jurisconsults were deciding what the Qur'an must mean and how to reconcile its obvious internal contradictions. The interpretive doctrine of "naskh" or abrogation then became fixed, and the Qur'an became even more harsh for Infidels as a result. Then, too, the tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of so-called Hadith had to be collected, studied, winnowed, and ranked through analysis of the isnad-chain, according to what the most authoritative and learned muhaddithin deemed to be their authenticity. Finally, since the first biographer of Muhammad, Ibn Ishaq, was only known through the work of others, and himself wrote 150 years after the death of Muhammad, it was in those first centuries that the official biography was established.
And all this happened. And then the gates of ijtihad swung shut with a thud.
But here's the point: the Qur'an is uncreated and immutable and not-to-be-tampered with. The Hadith, as ranked by Bukhari and Muslim, are not to be changed in their rankings. The details of the life of Muhammad -- the killing of the Banu Qurayza prisoners, the assassinations of Abu Afak and Asma bint Marwan, the attack on the inoffensive farmers of the Khaybar Oasis, the justification of killing all those who did not submit to Islam and seizing their property and their women, and even setting out rules for the proper distribution of the loot -- all that is set down, all that cannot be changed, and all that, as with everything else to do with Muhammad, is taught to Muslims as something admirable, and not to be deplored. For everything the Perfect Man, Muhammad, did, is to be emulated.
And so when the subject of little Aisha comes up, it may be that your Muslim interlocutor, who up to that point had managed to pretend to be a Western man, more or less, capable of sweet reason and mastering his passions, will suddenly go into a rage. He may first try to deny that Aisha was six when betrothed to Muhammad and nine when that marriage was consummated (what a demure word, how it puts us in mind of having tiny cress and cucumber sandwiches at, say, high tea at The Dorchester or Claridge's, and since it is midwinter, asking for a little dish of consomme as well), and then when you cite chapter and verse will retreat into the argument of Context, because back in the Seventh Century everyone married young, Everyone Was Doing It.
And at that point you can partly concede that yes, twelve-year-olds were betrothed to one another in some places, and royal alliances were thus fashioned. But in this case it was a nine-year-old girl and a man in his fifties. And furthermore, if it was merely a matter of "context," then why is it that almost the first act of the Ayatollah Khomeini was to lower the marriageable age of girls in Iran to nine? We know why. If it was good enough for Muhammad, it is good enough for everyone, for all time.
And that is the problem. It is regarding the Qur'an as outside of time, instead of as a product of humans, produced in time and space and seen in its historical context. That is why the work of scholars of early Islam, if heeded, can do much to help the genuine "moderate" Muslims -- those who comprehend the nightmare, and who out of fear or filial piety cannot declare themselves to be apostates, but continue bravely to tell themselves that something can be done: perhaps we can eliminate the Hadith, perhaps somehow we can claim that the biography of Muhammad was tampered with or begin to diminish his role, perhaps perhaps perhaps.
But Ahmed Bedier is not one of those who finds anything worrisome about Islam. He is out to defend every last bit of it, to protect it from critical scrutiny. Only the most treacly of treatments, the kind of thing we now expect and indeed would be amazed not to find from the likes of Esposito and Armstrong, will satisfy most Muslims.
But it will no longer satisfy us. There has been, even in the regular -- that is, even in the uncomprehending -- popular press, too much of what we may call Jihad News. And the pressure of that news, which is added to day after day all around the world, is building up so that even the most willfully religion-of-peace Infidel is having trouble ignoring the evidence. Those Infidels will soon begin to find the "context" argument, and all the other rhetorical tricks employed by Bedier and others, not merely unsatisfactory, but positively alarming.
"War is deception," said Muhammad. Once that is understood, and once one has been deceived, and has come to realize the depth and breadth of that deception, one will not easily go back to the mixture as before.
Posted on 11/08/2006 2:02 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
WASHINGTON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Americans demanded change -- most of all in Iraq -- with their mid-term election lashing of President George W. Bush's Republican Party, and it came almost immediately with the resignation on Wednesday of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Bush announced that Robert Gates, who served Bush's father as CIA director and national security adviser, would replace the embattled Rumsfeld, who was widely blamed for the administration's failures in Iraq.
Bush, at a news conference, agreed on the need for a "fresh perspective" on Iraq, and conceded that his Iraq policy was "not working well enough, fast enough."
But there will be no sudden troop withdrawal.
Bush retains primary control over national security and Democrats, who wrested control of the House of Representatives from Republicans and were on the verge of winning back the Senate, have been divided about the way forward. Robust debate is expected.
"I can understand Americans saying, "Come home." But I don't know if they said: 'Come home and leave behind an Iraq that could end up being a safe haven for Al Qaeda'," Bush said.
"I don't believe they said that. And so I'm committed to victory. I'm committed to helping this country so that we can come home."...
Posted on 11/08/2006 1:51 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
Keith Ellison, the new Muslim Congressman from Minnesota, "advocated quick U.S. withdrawal from Iraq." --from this news item
My view exactly. Yet I am not a Muslim, and do not wish Islam well. Does this mean that I am dead wrong in my views, because I appear to agree with Keith Ellison, or he with me? Or is it something else? Is it what one might understand better if we stand back and think what, objectively, would happen if the Americans withdraw?
I think as soon as the Americans withdraw, there will be all kinds of shrill cries in Iraq, coming from both some Sunnis, and some Shi'a, for the Americans not to go. The Sunnis will realize that it is the Americans who are protecting them from the Shi'a militia. Other Sunnis, possibly a majority, will be delighted, for they are convinced that somehow, though outnumbered three-to-one by the Shi'a, they possess the training, the organization, the ruthlessness, the ability to count on Sunni volunteers coming from Syria (70% Sunni, though Shi'a missionaries from Iran have been given free rein by Bashir al-Assad), Egypt, Jordan, and of course the Gulf. And they are relying, too, on equipment and money coming from the Saudis, who similarly supplied Saddam Hussein during his war against Shi'a Iran (why, I even know someone who painted over the markings on the American-supplied Saudi tanks then shipped to Iraq), not to mention the tens of billions that the U.A.E. and Kuwait "loaned" Saddam Husein for his Sunni Arab crusade against "the Persians."
And some of the Shi'a, too, will suddenly be eager to have the Americans stay, for they calculate that they need the American soldiers to stay and fight and die just a little longer --as long as they stick to killing Sunnis. And of course the more training those Shi'a volunteers for what the Americans call the "Iraqi" army and the "Iraqi" police is also valuable. And finally, the longer the Americans stay, the more stuff -- money, projects, and above all military equipment -- are likely to be given to, or fall into the hands of, the Shi'a-dominated Iraqi government. Others, such as Moqtada al-Sadr, never cared for the Americans, and still others, including those disinclined to disarm the militias ("those Americans can't be serious, can they"), may now feel it is time for those heretofore amazingly pliant and gullible Americans (well, no longer the officers and men, but the civilians in Washington whom those officers and men have been taught to unquestioningly obey) to leave.
And what will happen in the Muslim world? Oh, crowing, of all kinds. Crowing from somewhere in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Yes, we won, we won, the Americans have had to leave. And that apparently is what some in the Administration are so scared of.
But they need not be. For if they leave, and when they leave, the natural centrifugal forces, whirring away, will cause Sunnis and Shi'a to be unable to compromise, or if they do enter into any kind of compromise, it will immediately be broken by one side, or the other, or both, for it will be impossible for the Sunnis to accept their new status, and impossible for the Shi'a Arabs to share power and money in the way that the Sunnis demand (and if the Americans think that enlarging the pie by giving potentially-rich Iraq even more American -- i.e., Infidel -- money, will bring about that spirit of compromise that is so foreign to, so inimical to, Islam, they are only proving that their ignorance of Islam and the psychology of Muslims is nearly total). And being unable to compromise, they will fight.
And Muslims being Muslims, and Sunni Arabs regarding the land of the most glorious Abbasid Caliphate as important to their own history and their own identity, will never permit the Shi'a, those quasi-Persians, to win Iraq, and will offer their co-religionists every aid. And so will the Shi'a in Iran, which is not the same thing as saying that the Shi'a Arabs will, because they accept such aid -- money, men, matériel -- necessarily wish their own state to be incorporated into a larger Shi'a state ruled from Tehran.
And as the American squandering of resources -- men, money, matériel --is replaced almost overnight by a situation in which the squandering of resources is that of Muslim states and peoples, whose money, men, and matériel are now being used up, the shrill voices expressing delight over "the defeat of America" will grow fainter. And as the conflict reverberates, as for example when the Shi'a in Bahrain, or Kuwait, or Al-Hasa become inspired by the conflict in Iraq to act up, and then to bring down the Sunni Arabs behaving as those Sunni Arabs will, and as the Sunnis in Pakistan attack, as they will, the Shi'a in Pakistan, and as Hezbollah volunteers possibly march off to help fellow Shi'a in Iraq (and seen off at the station -- the one existing in their imaginations -- by deliriously happy Christians and Druse and even Sunni Muslims), as the unstated American goal becomes, it is clear, no longer that messianic foolishness about making Muslim states happy and prosperous, but rather in now working to exploit the natural fissures -- ethnic and sectarian that are most obvious in, though hardly limited to, Iraq, all sense of triumph over America, of having defeated America, will fade.
And then there is the matter of an independent Kurdistan. That too, spells trouble for the Arabs and for the unity of Islam. For Islam has always been a vehicle for Arab imperialism. Anwar Shaikh rightly titled one of his analyses of Islam "The Arab National Religion." An independent Kurdistan (with arrangements made for an enclave for Iraqi Christians, their safety to be guaranteed, on pain of loss of all American support, by the people and government of Kurdistan) will not only unsettle the Kurdish regions of Iran and Syria (causing migraines in both regimes) but ideally would raise, for non-Arab Muslims everywhere, the promise that they too might throw off Arab domination. Think only of the Berbers in North Africa, and think too of the Berbers in France, who might be turned against the Arabs in the same immigrant population, with useful results not least for the French security services.
The spectacle of internecine warfare not only promises to divide and demoralize the Camp of Islam. No, it will also serve as a Demonstration Project to Infidels. Let them see how, without well-meaning Infidels to bring aid of all kinds, and to keep the peace, and to prevent one side or the other from behaving with their wonted barbarity (just read the reports of the corpses found, murdered by Shi'a or Sunni militias or insurgents or irregulars or, for that matter, by members of regular army and police units), Muslims treat each other.
For time now needs to be bought, and Infidels tutored in the ways of Islam, and there is no better way than to remove the controversial American presence in Iraq that so gets in the way of a clear-sighted view from a distance, a pisgah-sight of Islam, that many Infidels need.
Oh, there'll be much mafeking among Muslims when the Americans leave. It will last a week, maybe a month, maybe two.
But not longer. And if the Administration has any sense, it will, just as soon as the more--in-sorrow withdrawal is first announced and then quickly put into effect (with possibly just a very small force left in Kurdistan, to help protect the Christians or oversee their exodus to Lebanon or possibly the "West Bank" but only as pat of a population exchange with local Muslim Arabs) turn its attention to Western Europe, and checking or disrupting campaigns of Da'wa, changing immigration policies and supporting those in Europe who wish to do the same, and engaging in propaganda to demoralize the camp of Islam (hint: Karen Hughes is not the right person for this job; Ali Sina, and Wafa Sultan, and Ibn Warraq, should be consulted at every step on the staffing, and on the lines of information and argument to be disseminated; no more "life in America for Muslims is great" and no more rock music and other wonderful examples of Western decadence that do nothing to win or at least unsettle minds).
So yes, I agree with Keith Ellison that the American forces should leave Iraq forthwith. But not for the same reasons.
Who do you think is right? Do you think an American withdrawal will be a victory for Islam, or do you think an American withdrawal will not only conserve our reserves, preserve or halt the degradation in the quality of our armed forces just in time, and help to divide and demoralize the camp of Islam?
There are those who are indifferent to Islam, but not indifferent to the environment. Such people may have no interest in, or be completely unaware of, both the menace of Jihad and how important it is to reduce the OPEC oil revenues which supply the "money weapon" that is one of the main instruments of Jihad, without which the building and maintaining of mosques and madrasas all over the West, and the vast campaigns of Da'wa, and the employment of armies of Western hirelings to promote or defend Islam and the agenda of Islam, in government, in business, in the media, in the universities, would not be possible. But objectively, in their desire to rescue the world from environmental degradation, they are the allies of all those who are most concerned about the world-wide Jihad, or its local components.
And those who worry about the Jihad, and have concluded that the most important task is to reduce the use of oil and gas, may have little in common with members of some environmental groups, but objectively they will work for the very same goal -- a goal which will be pursued by some to save the natural world, and pursued by others to save, in a sense, the man-made world, or at least the world made somewhat better, somewhat more interesting, by all those names to be found in, say, the Index to Jacques Barzun's "From Dawn to Decadence."
In similar fashion, some of those who want the Americans out of Iraq do so for reasons I deplore and abhor. One such person is Keith Ellison. But the policy in Iraq that he desires is exactly what I desire. For I know what will follow, and I welcome it. He does not know. He, just like many Sunnis in Iraq now convinced they will win, or like those people in the West who are convinced that "of course Iran will just take over" -- doesn't know what societies suffused with Islam are like. No compromise. Victor and vanquished. Until another despot comes along, to rule over this or that segment of what was once, but is unlikely to ever be again, Iraq.
And may both sides win.
Posted on 11/08/2006 1:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
I missed this article by Patrick Sookhdeo of the Barnabas Fund when it was first published last month. Better late than never.
In the light of the recently publicised case of the British Airways employee who was suspended for refusing to remove or cover the cross she wears on a chain around her neck, this communiqué looks at the meaning of the cross for Christian communities in the Muslim world.
In the West women often wear a cross simply as a fashionable jewellery item, but for Christians in the Middle East, who have endured fourteen centuries of Islamic pressure, the cross has deep symbolic meaning of identification with their faith, church and community.
While for Muslims the cross is a hated symbol of the “false” religion which the Muslim armies targeted in the first Islamic onslaught and which later responded militarily in the Crusades under this sign, for the long-suffering Christians of the ancient churches in the Middle East the cross has come to signify their identity as a Christian community. For these Christians the cross symbolises the long centuries of persecution and martyrdom, and their loyalty to their Church in the face of Muslim persecution. The cross has come to symbolise the essence of their Christianity and to be the outward identifying mark that distinguishes them from the generally hostile majority.
Muslim hatred for the cross is evident in the hadith (traditions) that foretell the Muslim belief that, in the End Times, Jesus will reappear as a Muslim and will break all crosses.
Coptic Christians in Egypt see their cross as the greatest glory of their church and as a symbol of their long martyrdom. They tattoo it in pride and defiance on the inside of their right wrist as an indelible mark of their identification with their church and community, although they know that this visible mark might bring them scorn and discrimination in their Muslim-majority society. An Egyptian Christian woman explained it like this:
“Many of us have these [crosses on their wrist]. We feel certain that severe persecution is coming to Egypt, and we are not sure we will be able to stand up to it. We have chosen to have ourselves indelibly marked as followers of Christ so that we can never renounce Him, not even in our weakest moments.”
Whilst it is true that for Protestant Christians the physical symbol of the cross is not an essential matter of faith, for many Christians in the non-Western world it remains a potent symbol of Christ’s death and resurrection, the heart of their faith. By wearing it they identify with him, and with his shame and suffering.
I have been told that the cross was regarded as a symbol of great power against evil in several cultures not just North West Europe long before the time of Christ. That the symbol used by the earliest Christians was actually the fish but that in the 3rd/4th centuries the cross superseded the fish because of its power over the forces of darkness. I don't know how true that is, but it has often occurred to me that it may be a reason why Islam has such a deep aversion to it.
Posted on 11/08/2006 1:16 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
IRISH rockers U2 have used the opening concert of their Australian tour to campaign for terrorist suspect David Hicks to be released from Guantanamo Bay. --from this news item
Why bother with those fundraising-for-famine concerts that promote the very rich rockstars and everyone else involved -- Bono as World-Savior Who Makes the Cover of Time, or "Sir" Bob Geldof, or any of the other self-aggrandizers who remind one of Tom Lehrer's Old Dope Peddler -- "doing well by doing good." Why not just ask Bono and the others to shell out more of their vast and ill-gotten gains themselves, and possibly to do so anonymously, so that they do not engage in still more self-aggrandizing?
Ultra-vires is Bono, a mere rock star who presumes to tell us what should or should not happen, at one of those orgiastic mini-nuremberg-rallies that so many of these "concerts" turn out to be. By what right does he do so? What is his claim on our attention? What deep understanding of the world has he demonstrated? Is it enough that he is "against hunger" or "against disease"? My, I thought everyone was. Is it because his gift for (self-) promotion has put him at the head of the pack? And why, since there is a Clinton Global Initiative, and a (Jeffrey Sachs) World Institute, is there as yet no Bono University for the Establishment of World Peace and A Chicken In Every Pot?
This thing we keep hearing about -- Western civilization -- that we are all supposed to defend and go to bat for, does that merely mean, in the end, a world made safe for the works and days of....Bono?
Posted on 11/08/2006 1:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
...I will examine the relations between Islam and Christianity, Islam and Judaism, Judaism and Christianity and the tensions created by a Muslim immigration into a European Judeo-Christian civilization. I will speak of those issues in that order.
In the relationship between Islam and Christianity, we can examine both the theological and the political levels. The theological pillars of Islam are: the Koran which is Muhammad’s revelation; the Hadiths, a compilation of his acts and sayings which have a theological and normative value; and the early biographies written about him. According to these three sources, Islam sees itself as the primal and sole true religion. Islam is the pure religion of Adam and has preceded all others. The Koran uses biblical names like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus and others but they represent different people than those in the Bible – and all are considered to have been Muslim prophets who preached Islam. Jesus is also a Muslim prophet called Isa, endowed with a different life; he brought a book: the Gospel, in which he preached Islam. We have, in fact, a Jesus named Isa, a Muslim prophet, and Yeshua, the Jewish Jesus, “born in Bethlehem of Judea” (Matthew 2:1). According to several hadiths, Isa has a mission: at the end of time he will return to destroy Christianity and impose Islam as the sole religion over the whole world. These hadiths, often quoted in sermons, speak of him killing the pig, breaking the cross – which means destroying Christianity – and the hadiths continue: he will suppress the jizya or poll-tax and the booty will be boundless. The suppression of the jizya refers to the suppressions of all religion other than Islam. In the Islamic optic, what is Christianity? Christianity is a falsification of Islam and of the true message of Isa, which is the same as that revealed to Muhammad: Islam. It follows that a good Christian is a Muslim. True Christianity is therefore Islam.
And what about Muslim-Jewish relations? They are more complex but they follow the same pattern. When Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina, he found there large Jewish tribes well organized with their synagogues and scholars. On their festive days they assembled and studied the Bible. Pagan Arabs were jealous and complained that they were illiterate and ignorant and didn’t have a book like the Jews and the Christians. Hence, Muhammad proclaimed himself to be the prophet whom the Jews were awaiting, an Arab prophet sent with a revelation in Arabic given by Gabriel, which was the same as that revealed to the Jews and Christians. The discrepancies between the Koran and the Bible were noticed by the Jews. Muhammad answered by accusing the Jews of hiding the truth and by saying that their Bible was a later falsification of the Islamic revelation given to the Muslim prophets: Abraham, Jacobs, Moses, and all the others. The true Bible was the Koran. Since Jewish objections hampered his predication, Muhammad decided to get rid of the Jews of Medina. Some were expelled and their belongings confiscated and shared among Muhammad and his followers; others – from 600 to 900 males, according to Muslim sources – were beheaded and their wives and children enslaved. This is the origin of Islamic hatred and accusations against Jews. Muhammad’s various decisions against the Jews in Arabia also set the theological jihadic laws against Christians and other non-Muslims. Muslim law gives to Jews and Christians the same legal status. That means that, in Islam, Jews and Christians are treated identically as “the People of the Book” (ahl al-khitab). Christians, whatever their efforts to dissociate themselves from Jews or from Israel, are put into the same category of the Jews by Islamic law.
In short: Jews and Christians are left with what? The true Bible is the Koran, the Holy Scriptures of Jews and Christians are just falsifications, and all the biblical figures are Muslim prophets who preached Islam. In practice, what are the consequences?...
the rest is here
Posted on 11/08/2006 1:04 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
From The Scotsman
THREE men have been found guilty and jailed for life for the racially aggravated murder of Glasgow teenager Kriss Donald.
Imran Shahid, 29, was ordered to spend at least 25 years behind bars; his brother Zeeshan Shahid, 28, must serve at least 23 years; and 27-year-old Mohammed Faisal Mushtaq will spend 22 years behind bars for the abduction, assault and brutal killing on March 15 2004.
After a 27-day trial, the jury of nine women and six men deliberated for eight hours before deciding unanimously on the fate of the accused.
In March 2004, Donald, 15, was abducted, stabbed repeatedly and then set on fire, possibly while still alive. The Glasgow teen was snatched from a street in Pollockshields, Glasgow, then taken on 200-mile round trip before his abductors murdered him. A cyclist found the body on the secluded Clyde walkway the morning after Donald had been kidnapped.
Dr Marjorie Black told the High Court that Donald had been stabbed 13 times, probably while restrained, as he only had one defensive wound and set on fire so that burns covered 70 per cent of his body. The body was covered in mud, leading the pathologist to conclude that he may have rolled around in an attempt to extinguish the flames and was therefore alive when set alight. Both the stab wounds and the burns were so severe that either could have led to his death.
The Shahid brothers and Mushtaq all fled to Pakistan after the murder and although warrants were issued for their arrest it was more than a year before they were returned to Scotland to face trial.
Sentencing,(from the BBC now) Lord Uist described Imran Shahid as "a thug and bully with a sadistic nature not fit to be free in civilised society". He said Imran Shahid, known as Baldy, was the leader of the expedition. "It was pre-meditated cold blooded execution, it truly was an abomination," Lord Uist added. "The savage and barbaric nature of this crime has rightly shocked the public. Racially aggravated violence from whatever quarter will not be tolerated in Scotland."
This analysis from the BBC does not mention jihad as a motive but is not pretty reading. It seems that it was only the co-incidence of their holing up in Pakistan in the same small town where the MP for Glasgow Central, Mohammed Sarwar, originates that they were tracked down and the authorities persuaded to return them to the UK.
Posted on 11/08/2006 8:34 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
KUWAIT CITY - Kuwait's parliament voted Tuesday to sever diplomatic ties with Denmark over the controversial cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad and to spend about $50 million to defend the prophet's image in the West. - from this news item
This is Kuwait.
Plucky little Kuwait, brave little Kuwait, Kuwait the Soft, Kuwait the Victim, Kuwait the So-Much-More-Moderate-Than-Saudi-Arabia, brave little plucky little Kuwait saved by its age-old friends the Americans (who came in in 1991) from the rapaciousness of Saddam Hussein, and in so doing earned gratitude so eternal it lasted as long as it took the first President Bush to come and collect, when out of office, a million dollar speaker's fee, and a few other well-placed Americans (was Clinton one of them? James Baker? I forget.) to pocket similar sums for a half-day's work, and that must have been at least 3-4 years.
But Kuwait, not the Kuwait represented by a handful of members of this or that family (Fouad Ajami visiting them from time to time) that sends its children to the American School of Kuwait, but all the other Kuwaitis, revered to type, to the type of all societies and peoples suffused with Islam. Policies made for this or that Muslim state based on the smiling representatives who know just what to say to the eternally gullible or willfully gullible Americans, are bound to be the wrong policies. "Experts" on the Middle East who solemnly read tea-leaves and pontificate -- including that advising James Baker Commission which will at best give Bush the Obstinate a face-saving (for him, the face of his administration is the only face he cares about saving) -- and like to avoid altogether the subject of Islam, as if it is just an afterthought, or a general worry for the "good guys" in places like plucky little, brave little, Kuwait (or Qatar, or Jordan, or true-blue Egypt).
It is Islam, Islam, Islam that explains the deep and un-uprootable attitudes of Muslim peoples, that offers not only tenets which many of them believe they must scrupulously fulfill; others believe that it is enough if they support those others who believe they must scrupulously fulfill them, and still others do neither, but do nothing to stop the first two groups, and everything to pretend, to Infidels, that the first two groups are "extremists" without any organic connection to Islam, and in any case, the natural attitudes of hostility, demonstrated in this case of cutting diplomatic relations with Denmark, hysterical hostility at a country for continuing to think and act as if its own system of individual rights -- including the most important, the right of free speech -- is an outrage, ultragium, that must be jettisoned or the country punished in order to stand up for Islam, Islam, Islam.
Islam is not only its tenets, to be cited by Qur'anic sura and ayat, nor the specific contents of this or that or five hundred other Hadith. Nor is it only the figure of Muhammad, and the precise and disturbing, or rather horrifying, details of his life.
No, Islam is also the attitudes that naturally arise from this welter of Qur'anic passages, and Hadith stories, and the life of Muhammad, the Perfect Man, the man to be emulated in all respects, uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil. And those attitudes are on display in Kuwait when it votes to cut off diplomatic relations with Denmark.
Kuwait, tiny little, plucky little, brave little Kuwait -- that's the story we were all told in 1991, and that's the story we are supposed to keep believing, as we set up in our minds a little drama, in which over here are the "bad" or "extremist" Muslim countries, and over there the "good" ones that we must listen to. It's nonsense. The "good" Muslim countries are those which, like Turkey or Tunisia, have managed to constrain or limit or tie down Islam as a political or social force. And they are "good" only to the extent, and precisely to the extent, that they have managed to do so.
No, Kuwait is not a "tiny little" and "plucky little" and "brave little" country, the country that having been saved by American soldiers would never, ever forget (now that Saddam Hussein is gone, the Kuwaitis don't need us quite in the same way, now do they?). It is one more malevolent Muslim country that appears by an optical illusion -- its proximity to even more hideous Saudi Arabia -- to be "moderate."
Will the United States and the other Western powers now stand with Denmark, and make clear that if diplomatic relations with Denmark are cut, then diplomatic relations with Kuwait will be cut by all decent members of the West, of the Western alliance? Or will the United States, possibly now being pushed Baker-Commission like back into the clutches of the old pro-Sunni Arab policy (throw Israel to the wolves by renewing pressure on it, save the Sunnis of Iraq, and above all, heed what our "friends in the Gulf" have to tell us), do nothing to express solidarity with Denmark?
Denmark? Yes, remember that country?
That's the real country that deserves to put on those lendings in which Kuwait was permitted, so inaccurately, to bedeck itself. That's the country that has a right to call itself plucky little, brave little, decent little -- Denmark.
And Denmark is not alone. There is one other country, right in the same Middle East, that will be forever in the Western camp just as Kuwait will, as a Muslim country, be forever outside that camp. And that country, no matter how grotesquely it is reported on, no matter how much it is subject to a palpable want of sympathy and even deliberate vilification in the Western press, no matter how crudely or cruelly successive Western efforts aim at dealing with the problem of Islam by ignoring or minimizing them and pretending to believe that only if that country's vital interests are defined as non-vital and then betrayed, no matter how great a display of pusillanimity and meretriciousness on the part of larger Western powers that should be standing by it, for their own sake rightly understood, deserves those epithets "brave little" and "plucky little," and its still-unrecognized-by-Washington capital is Jerusalem.
Posted on 11/08/2006 8:26 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
In the November Catholic World Report
, from George Neumayr's editorial (not available online):
Joseph Ratzinger fails to appreciate that he is now "pope," pronounced Jesuit Thomas Reese. Chester Gillis, the chairman of the theology department at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., said, without apparent irony, that the Pope's "lens are very thickly Christian in terms of how he views the world." Imagine that! A pope who measures the world according to Christian principles. How appalling.
The comic condescension to the Pope revealed what a trivial and essentially worldly conception of the papacy liberal churchmen hold. For them the papacy should operate like an interfaith branch office of the United Nations [...].
And, in the same issue, Mark Shea
on the "converted" FOX journalists:
If [they] were Christians or believing Jews, it would have been a different story. Such people are commanded to remain faithful to the covenant they have received unto death, if necessary. In their case, [...] disappointment would be justifiable. But our culture has labored for 40 years to create a populace in which all reference to the Transcendent has been stamped out of existence. To suddenly be appalled when a citizen of that culture demonstrates that his vision is no higher than a cow's is a strange reaction to men who acted exactly as all our Manufacturers of Culture have programmed them to act. It's a bit hard to, in the words of C.S. Lewis, "castrate and bid the geldings to be fruitful."
Whether you believe or not, this kind of muscular Christianity is refreshing in its forthright candor.
Posted on 11/08/2006 7:36 AM by Robert Bove
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
Listed under "Foreign News," a MEMRI report
in the NY Sun inaugurates a series examining the advent of Al-Jazeera International English-language programming:
Just in time for its 10th anniversary, Al-Jazeera is reportedly set to launch its English-language network November 15. On that day at exactly 3 p.m., Prime Minister Blair is scheduled to take a live tour of Al-Jazeera International's London bureau and sit down for an interview with Sir David Frost.
The 100-person Al-Jazeera International bureau includes an impressive staff of former CNN, CNBC, BBC, AP TV, and ABC employees. "The launching of the English channel offers the chance to reach out to a new audience that is used to hearing the name of Al-Jazeera without being able to watch it or to understand its language," the director-general of Al-Jazeera, Wadah Khanfa, said recently.
Al-Jazeera International's head of news, Steve Clark, told a New Zealand newspaper on May 3 that " Al-Jazeera International will share resources and facilities with its Arabic sister channel, and the two broadcasters will work together on relevant stories."
When Mr. Clark was asked how a Palestinian Arab suicide bombing in a crowded Israeli marketplace would be reported, he answered, "We don't condone acts of terror, but we'd be very careful about labeling particular groups as terrorists."
How long before mainstream media begins to cite Al-Jazeera "reports" using only its acronym— AJI—as they would CNN, BBC, et al?
Thusly are Dark Ages born. (This all brings to mind the classic bad horror film, The Crawling Eye, an apt symbol for AJI.)
Posted on 11/08/2006 6:46 AM by Robert Bove
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
Every now and again I have mental blocks or mondegreen moments. Reading the word prolegomenon was one such.
I read this word as prole-gomenon. “Prole” as in proletariat. How very silly of me – it makes no sense whatsoever. Why would you want a low-class gomenon when you could have a posh one?
My friend, the same friend who talked about a parable called “The Return of the Lost Samaritan”, once read the name of a racehorse. The name, Tug-of-Love, which was written without hyphens, is silly, but nearly all names of racehorses are silly. However, the name as she pronounced it made even less sense: “What does Tugo-flove mean?”
My friend is therefore even sillier than me. I am not the silliest person in the world.
Posted on 11/08/2006 6:32 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
Egyptian police on Friday found 1.5 tonnes (3,300 lb) of explosives in two caches in Sinai. More than 100 people were killed in bomb attacks in tourist resorts in Sinai between October 2004 and April 2006. - from this news item
Recently the stylish Gazette du Bon Ton has, for this age that weighs so heavily upon us, been renamed the Gazette de la Bonne Tonne. I suspect the E. U. has forced the English to give up their "ton" for the metric "tonne" in order to iron out just one more national idiosyncrasy that stands in the way of the systematic homogenization of weights and measures, and coinage, and chocolate and cheese, that has made the E.U. so much less as a sum than it was as its respective parts. One more reason to detest the very idea of the European Community.
I'm guessing that the Egyptians found not a ton but a tonne of explosives. How many other tons or tonnes they carefully did not find over the years, as willing collaborators and enthusiastic supporters of the local shock troops of the Lesser Jihad against Israel -- the "Palestinians" of Gaza -- is another question.
Can't imagine why Egypt would actually fulfill any one of its solemn obligations under the Camp David Accords. One assumes that the government of Egypt assumes that the Israelis are keeping close track on, perhaps even filming from the skies, what the Egyptians do or do not do, and surely the government of Egypt, though for years it has allowed the massive smuggling of weapons and war matériel of all kinds, now fears, just a bit, that in the new climate the Jizyah to Egypt might be cut off.
And it should be cut off, just as aid to Pakistan ought to be cut off no matter what very slight, and greatly exaggerated, and noisily announced, actions taken against Al Qaeda and its sympathizers appear to be taken. Egypt remains a world center of anti-Americanism and antisemitism. If, in this one case, some explosives are interdicted, it is not out of some new-found desire by the government of Egypt to go straight. It is to protect something - the American aid that supports the Mubarak Family-and-Friends Plan, or possibly the need, finally recognized, to act in order to head off Israel from doing what was openly discussed in Israeli newspapers -- that is, coming in and using deep-delving explosives to destroy, as it might if the Egyptians do not signal some cooperation, that vast network of tunnels.
I suspect it is the last consideration.
No points. No credit. Nothing at all. Egypt has done the absolute minimum, to head off an increasingly skeptical, end-of-its-tether Israel.
Posted on 11/08/2006 5:56 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
Hugh Hewitt delivers his version
of the good news/ bad news:
The long and short of this bad but not horrific night was that majorities must act like majorities. The public cares little for the "traditions" of the Senate or the way the appropriations process used to work. It demands results. Handed a large majority, the GOP frittered it away. The chief fritterer was Senator McCain and his Gang of 14 and Kennedy-McCain immigration bill, supplemented by a last minute throw down that prevented the NSA bill from progressing or the key judicial nominations from receiving a vote. His accomplice in that master stroke was Senator Graham. Together they cost their friend Mike DeWine his seat in the Senate, and all their Republican colleagues their chairmanships. Senator McCain should rethink his presidential run. Amid the ruins of the GOP's majority there is a clear culprit.
A second loser was Bill Frist. To be the Majority Leader of a majority that did not lead is lethal to his presidential ambitions. Like Senator McCain, it would be easier on everyone if he just exited the stage.
Hillary's path back to the White House is much more difficult with her party in the majority in the House, and much much more difficult if the Senate falls to Harry Reid's command as well. Clarity as to her party's fecklessness will be back within the first six months, and the GOP frontrunners --Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney-- do not have to serve in the almost certain to be paralyzed Senate.
The Beltway-Manhattan media elite is now stuck "covering" Democratic majorities. Sure, they will go easy on them, but it is much more difficult to cover for a majority than a minority.
And it is a wonderful day for new media, especially talk radio. For two years we have had to defend the Congressional gang that couldn't shoot straight. Now we get to play offense.
I'd add that Michigan voters used their heads for a change in striking down racial preferences. Powerline
Equal treatment defeats racial preferences
Terry Pell writes from Detroit:
With 73 percent of the precincts in, and Prop. 2 still ahead 58 percent to 42 percent, Ward Connerly and Jennifer Gratz declared victory a short time ago. Gratz thanked about a hundred supporters who gathered in East Lansing to watch the returns. Connerly described the victory as "the end of the beginning."
JOHN adds: Didn't both parties oppose the Michigan initiaive? Conservatives still have winning issues--racial equality, immigration enforcement, limited government--but the Republican Party has largely stopped running on them.
Michelle Malkin makes the case
that though the Republicans went down in defeat yesterday, it wasn't a total washout for conservatives:
The GOP lost. Conservatism prevailed. "San Francisco values" may control the gavels in Congress, but they do not control America. Property rights initiatives limiting eminent domain won big. MCRI, the anti-racial preference measure, passed resoundingly. Congressman Tom Tancredo, the GOP's leading warrior against illegal immigration--opposed by both the open-borders Left and the open-borders White House--won a fifth term handily. Gay marriage bans won approval in 3 states. And as of this writing, the oil tax initiative, Prop. 87--backed by deep-pocketed Hollywood libs, is trailing badly in California.
John Kerry's late-campaign troop smear galvanized bloggers and talk radio hosts, but it was not strong enough to overcome wider bipartisan voter doubts about Iraq.
Doubts about Iraq? Who knew? (Do you get the feeling we are going to be offered the choice of Incoherence, Column A and Incoherence, Column B for the next several years?)
Posted on 11/08/2006 5:34 AM by Robert Bove
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
MAGNIFICENT HYDROGEN POWERED VEHICLE. THIS WILL NOT ONLY REVOLUTIONIZE TRANSPORTATION, IT WILL REVOLUTIONIZE POLITICS.
LESS MONEY FOR ENERGY TO THE ARABS TRANSLATES INTO STRANGLING THE ECONOMIC AORTA OF ISLAMIC JIHAD!
Posted on 11/08/2006 5:30 AM by Ares Demertzis
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
Meanwhile arrests in Denmark in September have upset Muslims there.
From The Scotsman. How well they integrate is really up to them.
Muslims say the arrests two months ago have set back their efforts to integrate into Danish society and they find themselves again forced to defend their allegiance to their adoptive country.
"We have worked in this city for a long time for integration," said Maher El Badawi, a social worker in Odense, the suspects' home town in central Denmark. "But people are afraid that if even one of them is found guilty, all Muslims will be seen as terrorists."
Authorities said the seven held in Odense had collected materials to make explosives for an attack in the Nordic country, which has troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The potential target was not revealed but Justice Minister Lene Espersen said the incident was one of the most serious ever in Denmark.
The arrests further strained relations between Muslims and other Danes, who are now struggling to reconcile their tradition of liberalism and tolerance with threats of violence unseen here in two decades.
The Danish arrests followed a plot uncovered in Britain to blow up planes and two unsuccessful train bombings in Germany. In all three cases, law enforcement officials described the suspects as a new generation of young Muslim radicals, some of them born in Europe, who are willing to use violence against their home countries. Danish Muslims said they feared other people would lump them all together in that category.
"Inside, you are afraid," said Saleh Hassan, whose brother, Said Hassan, is one of those arrested. "I watched when they arrested him and I thought now it's my turn. Just because I am Muslim, I thought they are catching now all Muslims."
We were shocked when some Muslims were arrested because all the Muslims in Odense where sure they didn't have any terrorism links," said Abu Hassan, an imam at a local mosque. "We know them. They are peaceful people."
Muslims in Odense say the best way to put integration efforts back on track would be the acquittal of those arrested. Two of the accused were released on bail last week, and the community took that as a good sign. "It makes us happy and it proves we did nothing wrong," said Saleh Hassan. (No it doesn’t; it just means that the Judges don’t believe that those particular suspects need to remain in custody until trial. And acquittal depends on how convincing the evidence is. )
A judge ruled last week that the other five must remain in custody pending further police investigations.
"We know them. They are peaceful people." Where have we heard this before? Ah yes, my home town, Walthamstow. Never mind their pain, how about giving thanks that murders have been thwarted, death and destruction averted.
Posted on 11/08/2006 4:52 AM by Esmerelda WEatherwax
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
The Times opinion in the wake of the Barot conviction.
Britons need to know about the fanaticism that threatens them
The 40-year sentence imposed yesterday on Dhiren Barot, the Muslim convert who masterminded plans for mass murder on a horrendous scale, is one of the longest terms handed down for non-capital offences. It reflects not only the gravity of the appalling acts that this senior al-Qaeda operative was planning, his callous glee at the scale of death and injury and his cunning in elaborating plans to maim and terrify thousands of people in Britain and America; it is also a clear message to other fanatics abusing the name of Islam that a democracy will take whatever measures are needed to protect itself from such evil.
Ruthless, religiously inspired terrorism is the greatest danger this country faces. Britons were shaken from earlier complacency by the London suicide bombings in July last year. Many, though, still do not comprehend the aims or methods of those who would slaughter thousands to create “a black day for the enemies of Islam”. Simple vigilance is not enough. The security services mounted one of the largest operations undertaken to monitor and unravel his plot, but were up against a level of sophistication and terrorist training rarely seen until now. Their success in cracking encrypted messages, penetrating hidden computer data and identifying electronic keys and terrorist paraphernalia is remarkable.
The Barot case underlines the character of terrorism, its international tentacles, chameleon adaptability and ability to exploit Western fads and weaknesses. It should, and will, make more urgent the need to penetrate and disarm the mindset that kills in the name of a deity. It is a threat that no democratic society can ignore.
Leave aside the old chestnut that violence is an “abuse” of Islam, and the self congratulation in the source article at how wonderful the free press are to report issues which the authorities felt might be a security risk. That apart I think the editor realises the seriousness of the situation.
Posted on 11/08/2006 3:19 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 08 November 2006
An update to my story yesterday from The Times.
A spokeswoman for the AIT (Asylum and Immigration Tribunal) said that it had been notified of the incident. She said: “The matter has been referred to the AIT president for a decision as to how to proceed. We haven’t come across this before, no precedent has been set.”
Gary Slapper, the director of the law programme at the Open University, said: “In a democracy, a religious person is never asked to forsake their preferred observances. But it would be unreasonable to contend that all religious practices are consistent with all professions.
“The British practice, established over eight centuries, is that justice requires good, clear advocacy, and it would be difficult to assert that advocacy can be done equally well with or without a full-face veil. (my bold)
“Other countries are proud to require those who wish to perform advocacy in the local courts to abide by their relevant national and religious requirements, the ‘When in Rome’ principle. The UK is equally entitled to have its juristic traditions respected.”
Anecdotally I know that there have been occasions of witnesses being asked to remove veils, or arrangements made for witnesses to give evidence with veil removed but from a discreet position, visible to Judge and jury but not the public gallery, but this is the first time I have heard of a lawyer doing this.
This is Miss Mughal pictured left from The Telegraph. That was not court dress code when I was a young woman. Joshua Rozenberg comments that Sikh barristers and Judges wear a white turban instead of a wig; this has been established practice for 30 years. I used to see an orthodox Jewish barrister with her hair in a snood under her wig. But again this is a red herring - these alternatives to counsel's wig do not hide the face.
They are testing the boundaries now, and so we must stand firm.
Posted on 11/08/2006 2:12 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax