These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 12, 2008.
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
The Death Of Innocence
Some of you may know this already but for those of you who don’t I must tell you that I live in a small, a very small, remote country village in the U.K. I daresay that there is no more than two-hundred households in the village and its environs. To some degree or another everyone from child to pensioner knows one another and, by and large, we all rub along fairly comfortably together – respecting each other’s foibles and peculiarities and looking after one another when necessary.
Every afternoon, shortly after five o’clock, I walk from my house to the small village shop in order to post my letters and to buy my daily newspapers, bread and milk, and to indulge, for a few brief minutes, in the age old pre-occupation of all of those who dwell in small communities – gossip (mostly kindly and informative and very, very seldom vicious, for we all have to live together).
This afternoon was no exception. I gathered my dogs together and stepped out of the house. I didn’t lock my door for I don’t have to – it’s that sort of a community, you see. Sometimes I forget to lock my car – my partner has often left the keys in the ignition for several nights running and nothing has happened to the Jaguar.
I walked down the lane, turned right to take the short-cut across the basket-ball court in front of the local primary school, stopped briefly to admire the Acer psuedoplatanus purpurea in full leaf, and to allow the dogs to admire it in their own way, as well. I exchanged some friendly words, as usual, with our local teenagers and their dogs who were doing the usual teenage and canine things on the adjacent football pitch (you know the sort of thing – a confusion of balls, much ribaldry, dogs everywhere, usually adding to the confusion of balls, and our teenage girls gathered on the sidelines pretending to be totally bored by the whole thing but privately weighing the young males in the balance) and eventually arrived at the shop full of the joys of a warm summer early evening. Nothing was amiss, God was in his Heaven and, as far as I was concerned, all was right with the world. Gossip was copiously exchanged with my cronies and purchases duly purchased. Life was going on as it always has done in this neck of the woods – probably, as it always has done mostly everywhere. It makes you glad to be alive.
I, and my dogs, retraced our steps back to the house exchanging, on the way, more pleasantries, and I mean that – they were pleasant and civilised exchanges – with our assembled youth on the playing fields. Later, very much later, in fact only an hour or two ago, I took my fleet of dogs out for the final stroll (I won’t dignify such a chaotic perambulation with the title of ‘walk’) of the day.
It is my habit, well known to everyone in this small village, to walk the same route last thing at night as I walked earlier in the day so, naturally, my route took me across the basketball court in front of the school. I’m an insomniac and I tend to work very late, even into the early hours of the morning, and I suppose that the time must have been somewhere around three a.m. as I crossed the court.
It is a soft, gentle, warm summers night here and I was totally unprepared for that which greeted me as I walked slowly over the ‘ball court. Sprayed onto the hard standing of the court in glaring white paint was a huge Nazi swastika and under it in the same, streetlight illuminated, glaring white, was the slogan ‘WAR AGAINS JIEWS’. Forget the bad spelling. Forget, just for a moment, my sense of shock and indignation and my sudden surge of anger as I realised what I was looking at. Sheer, naked and irrational hatred, that’s what!
Here in this small village we operate a kind of don’t ask, don’t tell sort of policy about personal belief. We’re pretty tolerant and you can believe much as you wish to, so long as you don’t scare the horses, so to speak. Some idiot, however, has now changed that completely. Tomorrow, everyone will see that abominable message and we’ll all know that someone in our midst hates so deeply that he, or she, had to let that hatred out in a most public way.
Was it a member of the three Muslim families who live here? I doubt it, for they have all fled here from Islamic fundamentalism. Was it one of the fundamentalist Christians? Perhaps, but again, I doubt it, for even the most fundamentalist of Christians understands what we owe to the ancient faith. Was it some idiot youngster who didn’t know what he, or she, was unleashing? Likely, I’ll grant you, but I can’t think of a single one of them who is so engaged as to do this. At their age one can feel things deeply and woundingly and do things in the heat of the moment, but this was planned and executed sometime when no one was around, not even me on my late night stravaiging with my dogs! Who was it? That’s the question which is going to be on everyone’s lips.
That’s the question which will now, and henceforward, poison my village, my community. There is no way back from here. In my village, in my community, innocence and trust died tonight. What of the six Jewish families who live here? What of those people of the elder faith? What will they feel tomorrow morning as news of this small outrage spreads?
What can we say to those deeply impressionable youngsters who will see that message blazoned on their ‘ball court on tomorrow’s bright summer morn (OK, bright summer afternoon, they’re teenagers) as they gather for another lazy, hot day of gossip, ball-hijacking dogs, food, Coke, showing off, flirtation and link-ups? What message will they take from that mindless graffiti which now disgraces their relatively innocent growing-up space?
I don’t know, but I do know one thing – I’m going to fight! Some idiot just crossed the line and, as far as I am concerned, he, or she, is going to pay for that – big time!
Posted on 08/12/2008 6:11 AM by John Joyce
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
"Unacceptable in the 21st Century"
In a brief and unusually stern Rose Garden statement shortly after his return from the Beijing Olympics, Bush called Russia's actions "unacceptable in the 21st century."
Contrary to popular belief, human nature remains the same and history has not been cancelled going into our new century.
"A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues."
Posted on 08/12/2008 6:46 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
India's "Peace Partner" Fades To Black
New Duranty: NEW DELHI — Usually, when two rival nations try to work toward peace, their governments talk to each other.
And at least in an official capacity, that is still happening between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan, even as the peace between them lies tattered. But the problem, the Indian side contends, is that by talking to the new civilian government of Pakistan, it is no longer negotiating with those who have the power to decide between war and peace.
“The real power,” said one Indian official, “is so far away from the structures the world deals with.” ...
They are referring, of course, to the ISI, Pakistan's security agency, which created and fosters the Taliban. Complete Islamic control of Pakistan is just a matter to time. India must face what the West must face: Islam is a permanent problem. It can be contained, but it cannot be eliminated. India must deal with the growing Islamic threat within it's borders and with a permanently belligerent neighbor. Peace talks between India and Pakistan, as between the Arabs and Israel, will achieve nothing. So why pretend?
Posted on 08/12/2008 7:54 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Sufism, Sodomy and Satan
According to Wikipedia,
As a Sufi practice of spiritual realization and union with the godhead, the meditation known in Arabic as Nazar ila'l-murd, "contemplation of the beardless," or Shahed-bazi, "witness play" in Persian has been practiced from the earliest years of Islam. It is seen as an act of worship intended to help one ascend to the absolute beauty that is God through the relative beauty that is a boy.
Spengler writes in the Asia Times:
Sigmund Freud thought that everything was about sex, and he was half right. Rarely is love so spiritual that it does not also stir the loins, for human beings are creatures not only of soul but of body. Although it is thought rude to say so nowadays, different kinds of love belong to different kinds of sex. Not even Hell can resist divine love, J W Goethe showed in the funniest vignette in all literature: his devil, Mephistopheles, is disabled by an obsessive lust for the cherubs sent to claim the soul of Faust in the drama’s penultimate scene. Heavenly beauty, that is, reduces the crafty demon to a pathetic old pervert, in a tableau not fit for a family newspaper.
Goethe’s creepily convincing portrait of a pederastic devil in Faust (1832) drew on the poet’s earlier study of Persian love poetry of the High Middle Ages, where “as a rule, the beloved is not a woman, but a young man”, according to the leading Persian historian Ehsan Yar-Shater. Islamic mysticism (Sufism) of the High Middle Ages is the only case in which a mainstream current of a major world religion preached pederasty as a path to spiritual enlightenment. A vast literature documents this, and a great deal of it is available online.
Sufi adoration of pre-pubescent boys “persisted in many Islamic countries until very recent times,” according to the Orientalist Helmut Ritter. The Afghan penchant for dancing boys in female costume, shown in the 2007 film The Kite Runner, is the last vestige of a Sufi practice that has been long suppressed by both the Sunni and Shi’ite branches of Islam. Sufism has a reputation in Western pop culture as a kinder and gentler branch of Islam. It is not a different kind of Islam, but rather Islam’s mystical practice, to which the adage applies, “by their fruits shall ye know them.”
Controversy persists over what is “authentic Sufism”. The Turkish organization of Fethallah Gulen claims millions of members and doubtless is the largest self-styled Sufi organization in the world. The American Sufi convert Stephen Schwartz has dismissed it as a “cult”, while Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute warns that Gulen may become the Turkish Khomeini. Given Turkey’s turn towards political Islam (Turkey in the throes of Islamic revolution?, Jul 22, 2008), the world is likely to find out a great deal more about Sufism in the near future, and well may be dismayed by what it learns.
In contrast to the Judeo-Christian West, where marriage has been a metaphor for God’s love since the Biblical Song of Songs, homosexual pederasty was normative for the Sufi philosopher-poets of Islam’s golden age in Central Asia. For Christians, the earthly adumbration of God’s love was nuptial, but pederastic in Muslim Persia. The classic Persian poets, including Hafez and Rumi, pined for beardless boys while their European contemporaries wrote sonnets to women. Some apologists claim that the Sufi practice of “contemplation of the beardless” was a chaste spiritual exercise, but an Egyptian proverb warns: “In his father's home a boy's chastity is safe, but let him become a dervish [Sufi adept] and the buggers will queue up behind him.”
Sufi pedophilia cannot be dismissed as a remnant of the old tribal practices that Islam often incorporated, for example, female genital mutilation. Genital mutilation is a pre-Islamic practice unknown in the ancient and modern West. Even though some Muslim authorities defend it on the basis of Hadith, no one has ever claimed that it offered a path to enlightenment. Sadly, pedophiles are found almost everywhere. In its ascendancy, Sufism made a definitive spiritual experience out of a practice considered criminally aberrant in the West. But pederasty as a spiritual exercise is not essentially different in character from the furtive practices of Western perverts. As the psychiatrists explain, pederasty is an expression of narcissism, the love of an idealized youthful self-image.
Sufism seeks one-ness with the universe through spiritual exercises that lead individual consciousness to dissolve into the cosmos. But nothing is more narcissistic than the contemplation of the cosmos, for if we become one with the cosmos, what we love in the cosmos is simply an idealized image of ourselves. An idealized self-image is also what attracts the aging lecher to the adolescent boy. That is the secret of Sufi as well as other pederasty, for pederasty is an extreme expression of self-love. That is the conventional psychiatric view; Freud for example wrote of the “basic narcissism of the vast majority of pederasts … proceeding as from narcissism, they seek their own image in young people.”
Sufism enjoys a faddish ripple of interest in America, where self-admiration is the national pastime. As opposed to the Biblical God, the cosmos is an unthreatening thing to worship. The universe, after all, is no one in particular, and those who seek to merge their consciousness with no one in particular at the end are left alone with themselves. Worship the cosmos, and you worship yours truly; worship yourself, and it is not unusual to adore your own idealized image.
I do not mean to suggest that Sufis today are more likely to be pederasts than members of any other religious denomination. Sadly, there is brisk competition in that field. Karen Armstrong, the popular writer on religion, claims to be a Sufi, and I have it on good authority that she is not a pederast. Non-Muslims who embrace Sufism view it as a generic form of “spirituality”, like Madonna’s dabbling in what she thinks is Kabbalah. That recalls the joke about the Chinese waiter in a kosher restaurant who speaks perfect Yiddish, of whom the owner says, “He thinks he’s learning English.” No one should blame Hafez or Rumi for the casual interest of American spiritual tourists...
Posted on 08/12/2008 9:17 AM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Jews slant media, Colorado State House candidate Rima Barakat claims
Today’s the denouement for radical Islamist and Palestinian supporter, Rima Barakat-Sinclair, running against orthodox Jew, Josh Sharf and Israel supporter in the GOP primary for Colorado House District Six. It is primary day for the hotly contested Colorado House seat. Barakat-Sinclair as you may recall won the GOP nomination by a slim two votes in a nominating caucus last spring. Sharf led a successful petition campaign to contest her nomination that we have posted here. John Andrews in his Politics West blog post on the Denver Post commented on Barakat-Sinclair’s latest propaganda piece: her interview with a Jordanian newspaper about the ‘octopus of Jewish control’ of the media. Read the excerpt of the astounding Barakat-Sinclair interview in the Sharf Mile High blog post below. Is this classic anti-semitic blood libel? You bet it is. Doubtless, if Sharf is victorious in his primary challenge today Barakat-Sinclair will immediately issue a news release attributing her likely defeat to the Jewish media cabal and posturing herself as another victim of Zionist oppression in Denver, yet. Kol Hakavod to Sharf and thousands in the ‘mile high city’ and around the US, who have supported his campaign. May the best man win.
by John Andrews, Denver Post, Politics West blog, August 10, 2008
Rima Barakat Sinclair of Denver, born in Jordan, now a US citizen and a Republican candidate for State House District 6, has told a Jordanian newspaper that “wealthy Jewish supporters of Zionism like Robert Maxwell and Conrad Black and Rupert Murdoch” are responsible for “the reality of a Western media hostile to Arab and Islamic issues.”
How exceedingly odd. You’d think Sinclair would be too busy contacting voters here in town to opine on global Zionist influence for the home folks in Amman. What does this inflammatory allegation have to do with her aspiration to be a state legislator in Colorado? What is her evidence for it? And where does it fit in with her claim to be a Republican, a free enterpriser, and a voice of tolerance?
Sinclair's interview with the Jordanian paper, Al Arab Al-Yawm, appears in Arabic here. An English translation, made locally in Denver, is posted here.
The latter link is to the blog of Joshua Sharf, who's running against Sinclair in the GOP primary next Tuesday, Aug. 12. Below is the Sinclair translation in context, from Sharf's website. The boldface emphasis is mine.
EXCERPT FROM JSHARF.COM… VIEW FROM A HEIGHT BLOG
More from Rima’s big adventure, the email chat session with the
We are aware that the Arab media influence on Western
society is limited, and we also know that the Arab issues are not
fairly covered in the western media. There are many Arab American
organizations that provide activities aimed at the definition of truth
and justice the Palestinian cause.
The source of activities in non-Arab countries, which were founded some
20 years ago, has remained limited within the point of view and vision
of the founding members of those organizations. Most have focused their
efforts in Washington DC, leaving their influence on public opinion and
American media deflated.
There are several factors affecting the ability of Arabs to launch
publicity campaigns to explain the issue and win the American people to
their side. One of them was the lack of interest by Arab tycoons or
companies in producing films or television program available for
worldwide sale. This is the reverse of the actions taken by a number of
wealthy Jewish supporters of Zionism like Robert Maxwell and Conrad
Black and Rupert Murdoch. So media campaigns advocating for Arabs or
Muslims in America are limited to the efforts of individuals or small
enterprises that suffer most from financial difficulties and limited
The reality of a Western media hostile to Arab and Islamic issues will
not change as long as Arabs are only waiting for the West to see the
“right,” one day, without developing an integrated effort to deliver
their message. A dialogue of religions is needed, and part of the
Divine message is that the powerful should have compassion for the
Ideally, morality starts with tolerance of others and
self-understanding. If people applied this principle in their own
lives, it would solve many of their problems. What applies to
individuals applies to relations between nations. But reality dictates
that the strong decide what is “right.” It is the duty of the victim to
remind the strong that he didn’t consider the effects of his unjust
abuse. Therefore, it remains important that one talk with a strong
knowledge of his thinking and point of view. This does not mean
forgetting or abandoning the right.
The Saudi Madrid initiative has received wide and positive media
coverage, especially by the one rabbi invited to the conference. And
since Saudi Arabia began and will continue this initiative, it is
preferable to encourage religious scholars and Islamic institutions to
study and support such initiatives, instead of having the positive
reaction only or participating in conferences organized to discuss
Islam by non-Muslims. [End of Rima Sinclair comments to Jordanian paper]
Posted on 08/12/2008 12:27 PM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
I thought our New Labour nannies were bad. From The Times:
Welcome everyone, to Nannyfornia: Birthplace of the Ban, Capital of the Clampdown, Mecca of the Moratorium. Or you could just call it the new Mild, Mild West.
The outdoor smoking ban of which John Lutz ran foul is just one example of a frenzy of puritanical edicts from California's politicians that in the past few weeks has outlawed trans fat in all restaurant food, prevented LA supermarkets from handing out plastic bags, and put a halt to fast-food joints opening in the suburb formerly known as South Central. Other recent bans -and attempted bans - have challenged such monumental threats to human wellbeing as helium balloons, camp fires, circuses, swearing, texting while stopped at traffic lights, anything made from a dead kangaroo, dogs sitting on drivers' laps, homeschooling, rodeos, unordered tapwater in diners, spanking, nude beaches, and (this is true) the use of sexually-discriminating terms such as “Mom” and “Dad” in school classrooms.
Persumably the Beach Boys song will need to change to "California Persons".
There is, of course, the possiblility that some of this isn't true. And we English know what it's like when reports from across the Atlantic exaggerate.
Anything made from a dead kangaroo? Anything?
Posted on 08/12/2008 2:41 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Once great men aspired to be leaders. Later they took “a leadership role”. These days they “head up a team”. And even then, like a poor postman, they don’t always deliver. Lucy Kellaway dialogues on management-speak, giving us the low-down, the workaround and the heads-up:
The really lethal thing about the whole language of business - is that it is so brainlessly upbeat. All the celebrating, the reaching out, the sharing, and the championing in fact grind one down. Several decades too late, it is as if business has caught up with the linguistic spirit of 1968. The hippies got over it, but businessmen are holding tight.
The reason that the talk jars so much is that the walk doesn't match. The reality is that business is the most brutal it has been for half a century. If your company is not better than the competition, it goes bust. If you aren't good, or aren't thought to be good (which is a slightly different thing) you get pushed aside.
For nearly a decade I wrote a fictional column in the Financial Times about a senior manager who spoke almost entirely in business clichés. Martin Lukes talked the talk. Or rather, he added value by reaching out and sharing his blue sky thinking. At the end of the day he stepped up to the plate and delivered world class jargon that really pushed the envelope. After eight years of being him I came to accept the nouns pretending to be verbs. To task and to impact. Even the new verb to architect I almost took in my stride. I didn't even really mind the impenetrable sentences full of leveraging value and paradigm shifts. But what still rankled after so long were the little things: that he said myself instead of me and that he would never talk about a problem, when he could dialogue around an issue instead.
Passion, says the dictionary, means a strong sexual desire or the suffering of Christ at the crucifixion. In other words it doesn't really have an awful lot to do with a typical day in the office - unless things have gone very wrong indeed. And yet passion is something that every employee must attest to in order to get through any selection process….Even to get a humble job in a call centre passion is required. One of the big banks is currently advertising for such workers saying "we seek passionate banking representatives to uphold our values." This is a lie. Actually what the bank is seeking is competent people to follow instructions and answer the phones.
Ms Kellaway talks of corporate passion in the language of business, but makes no mention of the music of business. Does she imagine that a team facilitator can dialogue around strategy with no accompaniment? Fear not. Presentation Sounds has stepped up to the plate with tracks that are “ideally suited for corporate, sales, investor and boardroom presentations”:
The Corporate Passion CD Compilation is the perfect cost effective accessory for presenters who need positive uplifting and motivating music loops that capture the essence of corporate passion and business success.
It doesn’t do to be out of the loop, even if you’re thinking outside the box. Unless you’re a hangman.
If your team still has issues around motivation, there’s always the corporate anthem. Here’s KPMG’s:
As strong as can be
A team of power and energy
We go for gold
Together we hold
A vision of global strategy
It gets even better, especially with the key changes. Click below to appreciate it in its full glory:
Posted on 08/12/2008 3:37 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
MIT, Brandeis Grad - Mata Hari Of Al Qaeda
From ABC News The Blotter (with thanks to Jeffrey Imm):
When she was arrested in Afghanistan last month, Aafia Siddique allegedly had in her possession maps of New York, a list of potential targets that included the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, the subway system and the animal disease center on Plum Island, detailed chemical, biological and radiological weapon information that has been seen only in a handful of terrorist cases, as well as a thumb drive packed with emails, ABC News has learned.
That haul of information has led multiple government sources to describe Siddique, a 36 year-old MIT graduate, as a potential "treasure trove" of information on terrorist supporters, sympathizers or 'sleepers' in the United States and overseas.
"She is the most significant capture in five years," said former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who said she lives up to her reputation as an alleged terrorist 'Mata Hari.'
And there is an eagerness to see what, if anything, she can add to the thin trickle of fresh information on the activities of terrorists and terrorist supporters in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as what if any risk she might pose to national security.
Only a "handful" of captured alleged Al Qaeda associates have had the kind of detailed information on weapons of mass destruction that Siddique, who attended MIT as an undergraduate and earned her PhD in neuroscience at Brandeis, had in her handbag, multiple current and former US intelligence and law enforcement officials told ABC News.
"She is a very dangerous person, no doubt about it," said a senior US counter terrorism official...
Posted on 08/12/2008 5:37 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Carry on up the arts
From The Times:
That frequently endangered species known as Homo sapiens is the subject of Edinburgh Zoo’s newest exhibit. Enclosure 44 — Humans, the brainchild of Janis Claxton, has been grabbing the lion’s share of Fringe publicity.
Claxton’s idea is to confine clothed but speechless performers — all women — in a zoo cage as the public streams past. There's opportunity for observation from 10am to 5pm daily.
“Why are they in there doing nothing?” one adolescent was overheard asking. “They’re trying to be like humans,” came the adult reply.
Well, they are human. That’s the point. And, far from doing nothing, they lounge about, brush their teeth and generally communicate with each other and the public via body language and gesture, plus an occasional, casual dance-like move.
Feeding time is 1pm. Zoo admission applies.
Later, for the grown-ups, there's animal wordplay. The performers panda to the Chinese, who are suitably bamboozled, and then perform "poodle", an elaborate Nabokovian witticism. First groom your dog with a Vivalcomb....
Posted on 08/12/2008 4:00 PM by Mary Jackson