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



















These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 15, 2011.
Saturday, 15 January 2011
Southwest Airlines pilot holds plane for murder victim's family

Reading the latest exploits of the bald, smiling, red-g-stringed destroyer of lives, Jared Loughner, and all the associated partisan political posturing, it can be hard to remember that there are those who know what is important, and what is not.  In this case, it was important to get a grandfather back to see his 3 year-old grandson before the grandson was taken off life-support.  From Elliot.org:

Last night, my husband and I got the tragic news that our three-year-old grandson in Denver had been murdered by our daughter’s live-in boyfriend.

He is being taken off life support tonight at 9 o’clock and his parents have opted for organ donation, which will take place immediately. Over 25 people will receive his gift tonight and many lives will be saved.

This morning, after only a couple hours sleep, my husband and I began to make all arrangements to get him to Denver to be with our daughter. He is currently on business in LA and is flying Southwest.

While his employer, Northrop Grumman, made arrangements to get his ticket changed so he could get to Tucson today (which he had to do in order to not spend any extra money) I called Southwest to arrange his flight from Tucson to Denver so he would be stepping off one plane and getting on another.

He has several free flights with them so I couldn’t really do it on the website. The ticketing agent was holding back tears throughout the call. I’m actually her step-mother and it’s much more important for my husband to be there than for me to be there.

In LAX, the lines to both check a bag and get through security were exceptional. He got to the airport two hours early and was still late getting to his plane.

Every step of the way, he’s on the verge of tears and trying to get assistance from both TSA and Southwest employees to get to his plane on time.

According to him, everyone he talked to couldn’t have cared less. When he was done with security, he grabbed his computer bag, shoes and belt and ran to his terminal in his stocking feet.

When he got there, the pilot of his plane and the ticketing agent both said, “Are you Mark? We held the plane for you and we’re so sorry about the loss of your grandson.”

The pilot held the plane that was supposed to take off at 11:50 until 12:02 when my husband got there.

As my husband walked down the Jetway with the pilot, he said, “I can’t thank you enough for this.”

The pilot responded with, “They can’t go anywhere without me and I wasn’t going anywhere without you. Now relax. We’ll get you there. And again, I’m so sorry.”

My husband was able to take his first deep breath of the day.

I don’t know any other airline that would have done this.

Posted on 01/15/2011 12:01 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Saturday, 15 January 2011
Mole Special: A Stranger in My Own Land

A lady on the EDL forum whose posts I always find interesting has pointed us to this article in Standpoint magazine, from a vicar's wife.

I have just returned to London, where I have lived since I was 11. I have been away for four years, living as an ethnic minority in a monocultural part of the world, amassing a host of stories to tell to disbelieving friends. On the whole, I am glad to return. I shan't miss some locals' assumptions that, being a white woman, if I was outside after dark, as I occasionally was, usually to walk the few metres between my house and the church, I must be a prostitute eager to give them a blow job. I shan't miss the abuse my priest husband received: the daubing of "Dirty white dogs" in red paint on the church door, the barrage of stones thrown at him by children shouting "Satan". He was called a "f***ing white bastard" more than once, though, notably, never when in a cassock. I will also not miss the way our garden acted as the local rubbish dump, with items ranging from duvets and TV sets, to rats (dead or twitching) glued to cardboard strips, a popular local method of vermin control to stem the large numbers of them which scuttled between the rubbish piled in gardens and on pavements. Yes, I am very glad to have left Britain's second city.

For four years, we lived in inner-city Birmingham, in what has been a police no-go area for 20 years . . . Even during this time we saw the area change. When we arrived, the population was predominantly Pakistani. Now Somalis are there in equal number. Most of the run-down Irish pubs were turned into mosques during our time. 

As a woman, it was difficult for me to gain many first-hand impressions of the Muslims. I was generally ignored by both men and women, and on the rare occasion that I had to interact, when for example a car was parked illegally and blocking my gate, I was addressed as if inconsequential.

My husband, however, faithfully reported conversations which you may find somewhat alarming. One of our favourite dinner-party pieces is this: opposite our vicarage there is a "library" which has some computers, some burkas and occasionally tracts that say offensive things about Jews and Christians. My husband did his photo-copying there, and got on rather well with everybody. One day he was chatting to a man with a passing resemblance to Lawrence of Arabia, who had just arrived from Antwerp — one of an increasing number of Muslims who are arriving here with EU passports. He asked him why he had come to Birmingham. He was surprised at the question: "Everybody know. Birmingham — best place in Europe to be pure Muslim."

Another instance of separation from the Western world is revealed in the following: my husband frequently chatted to a neighbour who could be described as one of the more questioning Muslims, and who has often provided an insight into the locals' mindset. Even this man, however, believes what the whole community thinks: the 9/11 planes were organised by Jews. Everybody knows there were no Jewish people in the World Trade Centre that day, as they had been tipped off. Oh, and the Mumbai terrorists had been kidnapped and brainwashed by Indian people. The tendency towards denial is strong. When my husband mentioned the "dirty white dogs" graffiti to a local Muslim, the response was, "One of your people did it." I have to say that the police's response was no better when the local Methodists complained about the same thing. They chose not to believe it had happened, since we had removed all sign of it with the buckets of anti-graffiti chemicals we had stocked since we arrived. They asked, somewhat pathetically: "Are you sure it was racist?"

When I recently told a friend how a large Taliban flag fluttered gaily on a house near St Andrew's football stadium for some months, her cry of "Can't you tell the police?" made me reflect how far many of our inner cities have been abandoned by our key workers: our doctors and nurses drive in from afar, the police, as mentioned before, have shut down their stations and never venture in unless in extremis — they and ambulance crews have been known to be attacked — even the local Imam lives in a leafier area. 

Only the priest remains. . . In their absence, we simply have the witness of those who are unlikely to be heard, who, through a variety of unfortunate circumstances, have not been able to move out: the elderly, the infirm, the illiterate, the chronically poor. Indeed, some of the Muslim residents deeply regret the flight of the non-Muslim population. It is they who now have to live in a crime-ridden ghetto.

On holiday in Germany recently, we watched a TV documentary about how schools were coping with Essen's growing Muslim community, and how the community itself felt. When it was over, we turned to each other, and said simultaneously (a drawback of having been married for a while), "This could not have been made in Britain." At the moment, also in Germany, the whole country is debating Thilo Sarrazin's controversial book Deutschland schafft sich ab ("Germany abolishes itself"), . .  I have only seen scant reference to this in the British press, which usually dismisses it, wrongly and lazily in my view, as good old German racism. This has nothing whatsoever to do with race. The Muslim community in Birmingham, for instance, is made up of people from many continents and races, including Afghans, Yemenis, Pakistanis, Indians and Somalis. 

There is no doubt in my mind that we need to have the same openness in discussing what is happening to many cities in Britain. If current demographic trends continue over the next few decades, the West Midlands, as well as other parts of the country, will become a predominantly Muslim area.

It is time to rub the rime from our eyes and to look clearly at the shape of Britain today. Everyone living here needs to be able to talk about what they see, without the lazy or fearful, but certainly paralysing, accusation of racism. Only then will we be able to discern what is best for the future.

Posted on 01/15/2011 4:23 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 15 January 2011
2010 – A Bad Year For ‘Human Rights Watch’ As Its Biases Are Ruthlessly Exposed And Its Credibility Drains Away

NGO Monitor forensically exposes the gross shortcomings and illogical posturing of the so-called ‘Human Rights Watch’ organisation in this article. It’s a longish article but well worth reading. Here’s the Monitor’s own summary of the piece:

  • In 2010, as in previous years, Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) division published more documents on “Israel and the Occupied Territories” than on any other country in the region. HRW produced 51 documents on “Israel and Occupied Territories,” followed by Iran (44), Egypt (34), Saudi Arabia (33), and Iraq (25).
  • In 2010, journalists Benjamin Birnbaum (The New Republic) and Jonathan Foreman (Sunday Times [UK]) exposed HRW’s anti-Israel agenda, lack of credibility, and the ideological bias of HRW’s MENA staff. These publications reflected NGO Monitor’s detailed reports – see Experts or Ideologues: Systematic Analysis of Human Rights Watch(2009)
  • HRW responded to the documented analysis and NGO Monitor’s requests for information by reducing transparency. In 2010, HRW removed their annual reports and the names of all employees, except for department heads, from its website.
  • Systematic qualitative analysis by NGO Monitor demonstrates continued neglect of the most egregious and systematic abuses in closed societies (Saudi Arabia, Syria, Libya, Algeria, etc.). One of three major reports on Israel in 2010 consisted of 166 pages, while ten years of research on human rights violations in Syria produced a 35-page report.
  •  HRW is heavily involved in the boycotts and sanctions campaigns targeting Israel, highlighting the politicized and biased agenda, as emphasized in the December 2010 publication “Separate and Unequal” – a title that falsely compared the conflict situation to the U.S. civil rights movement.
  •  MENA director Sarah Leah Whitson justified her meeting with the Hamas Minister of Justice as an effort “to listen to all parties directly so she will prepare more objective and impartial reports,” renewed her call for the Caterpillar boycott against Israel, and praised “the Lebanese sophistication for human rights.”
  • In a November lecture, HRW founder Robert Bernstein expanded on his criticism of HRW for losing “critical perspective” on the Middle East conflict and “helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.” He noted that “little has changed” since the publication of his October 2009 op-ed in the New York Times.

In my opinion ‘Human Rights Watch’ is an NGO which can no longer be trusted by anyone and we owe the NGO Monitor folks a hearty vote of thanks for exposing it for the intellectually corrupt organisation that it is. But do read the whole article.

Posted on 01/15/2011 6:37 AM by John M. Joyce
Saturday, 15 January 2011
Christie Nominates Sohail Mohammed for NJ Bench

Christie has been mentioned as a possible candidate for President. This action should dampen enthusiasm. From the NJ Herald (thanks to Dorrie O'Brien):

TRENTON (AP) -- Gov. Chris Christie, the former federal prosecutor who oversaw several terrorism-related cases after the Sept. 11 attacks, said Thursday that one of his nominations for a Superior Court judgeship will be a lawyer who represented many detainees swept up by the government in the post-9/11 dragnet.

Sohail Mohammed of Clifton won the respect of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies stemming
from his work in the aftermath of the terror attacks, trying to build bridges between law enforcement and the Muslim community.

Christie announced his intention to nominate Mohammed, along with six other potential judges, Thursday evening.

Mohammed declined to comment when reached at his home. But Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., praised Christie's move.

"It's just more evidence of the growth and maturity of the American Muslim community and our contributions to American society," he said. "We have a large number of young Muslim attorneys coming up through the legal system, which is a fairly recent trend. It used to be that Muslim parents wanted their children to become doctors or engineers."

Christie, a Republican entering his second year in office, still must formally nominate Mohammed, whose candidacy would then be reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee before a vote by the full Senate.

Mohammed was on former Gov. Jon Corzine's short list of potential judicial appointees in the last two years of the Democrat's lone term in office, but he was not nominated. He would serve on the court in Passaic County.

A board member of the American Muslim Union, Mohammed worked hard in the aftermath of the 2001 attacks to try to foster trust between American Muslims and law enforcement, particularly federal officials. As U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Christie was a regular guest at the group's annual Ramadan dinner and spoke highly of Mohammed's interaction with authorities.

Mohammed helped arrange a law enforcement job fair at a Paterson mosque in which young Muslims were encouraged to apply for jobs with law enforcement agencies. The session also featured a frank question-and-answer session between police and prosecutors and mosque members, after which both sides said they came away with a better understanding of the other.

He was also asked to give numerous training sessions to FBI agents on Islam and Muslim culture, to enable agents to better understand the religion and the practices of Muslims.

Mohammed would become the second Muslim Superior Court judge in New Jersey if confirmed. Last year, Hani Mawla was confirmed to the state bench in Somerset County.

Posted on 01/15/2011 6:58 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 15 January 2011
Is Somebody In New York Finally Waking Up?

Maybe somebody in Washington D.C. is also waking up. We can all guess what many of the bank accounts in question are probably used for. I spotted the following report over at the Islamic Republic News Agency:

Khazaei criticizes US for closing diplomatic bank accounts New York, Jan 14, IRNA -- Iran's permanent UN envoy, Mohammad Khazaie, says the US has endangered its position as the country hosting the universal body by closing over 100 diplomatic bank accounts.

"The blocking of ambassador's [bank] accounts pose an existential threat to the United Nations," said Khazaei on Thursday.

“The responsibility lies with the host country to fulfill its duties regarding this problem, otherwise the US government's credibility and suitability as host [to the UN] would more than ever become questionable,” Khazaei added.

The Iranian diplomat made the remark in the wake of a decision by several banks in the US to close the accounts of many diplomatic missions at the UN, causing the ambassadors inconvenience and difficulty in finding new banking services.

As Washington toughens its reign over the banking and financial institutes in the country, JPMorgan Chase & Co., which holds many UN diplomatic accounts, decided to shut them down without any reason.

Hmmm! I wonder what JPMorgan Chase & Co. didn’t want the USA Government to find out about with regards to the accounts it held?

Khazaei said the problem not only threatens the operation of UN missions but the functioning and existence of the United Nations, because a number of countries could no longer financially contribute to the UN and the world body's peacekeeping missions.

Khazaee added that he had suggested to the world body that the United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) be authorized to provide banking services to diplomatic missions. He also suggested that the United Nations take its money out of Chase “and place it in a bank that is willing to carry accounts for diplomatic missions.”

Meanwhile, other UN ambassadors also voiced their criticism about the US decision for further monitoring of financial transactions and demanded that the decision be withdrawn.

'Banks are acting on a commercial basis ... so they have to calculate every penny they spend…If you keep asking them to present reports about monitoring and others, then this is one factor they have to take into consideration - and it is a private enterprise,' AP quoted Egyptian ambassador to the UN Maged Abdelaziz as saying.

'We can't find yet another bank. We shopped around,' Abdelaziz said, adding that banks told his mission 'they don't have space.'

You’ll no doubt note, as I did, the ease with which the Iranian ambassador suggested that the UN should contravene its agreements with its host country (the USA) and engage in illegal banking activities by using the UNFCU as if it were an ordinary high street bank – but then, would you expect anything different from a member of the criminal regime which currently runs Iran? The Egyptian ambassador, of course, was just trying to obfuscate the issue in the usual Islamic way – and the banks told his mission “they don’t have space”. Laugh – you bet I did!

Posted on 01/15/2011 8:38 AM by John M. Joyce
Saturday, 15 January 2011
Blood Label

A?

0?

Or  --the marker identifying  those falling below A and O levels, who should not even bother to take an examination -- Rh Negative?

Posted on 01/15/2011 9:12 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 15 January 2011
Pocket-Size Shakespeare Quote For The Day

Whence is that knocking?—
How is’t with me, when every noise appals me?
What hands are here! Ha, they pluck out mine eyes.
Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.

Posted on 01/15/2011 9:19 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 15 January 2011
A Musical Interlude: I'm Gonna Wash My Hands Of You (Ambrose Orch., voc. Sam Browne, Elsie Carlisle)

Listen here.

Posted on 01/15/2011 9:28 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 15 January 2011
More American Soldiers Sacrificed For A Mad Policy Based On Ignorance Of Islam

Iraqi soldiers kill two U.S. soldiers in Mosul

MOSUL, Iraq |Jan 15, 2011

 

MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - Two U.S. soldiers were killed and a third was injured when two Iraqi soldiers opened fire on U.S. troops during training in the northern city of Mosul on Saturday, Iraqi army sources said.

The incident occurred while U.S. soldiers were training an Iraqi military unit at al-Ghazlani U.S. military camp in southern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, they said.

"According to available information, two American soldiers were killed today during a shooting at a training session inside al-Ghazlani military camp. Two Iraqi soldiers suddenly opened fire at the American soldiers," an Iraqi military colonel in Mosul, who declined to be named, said.

The U.S. military said in a statement two U.S. service members were killed and one was wounded while conducting operations in northern Iraq, but did not give further details.

"Until now, we don't have any information on why the two Iraqi soldiers opened fire," a senior police official said.

The police and army sources both said the two Iraqi soldiers had been arrested, although it was unclear if they were being held in Iraqi or U.S. custody.

Another Iraqi military colonel said an initial report indicated that one of the Iraqi soldiers had also been killed.

"We have an initial report that one of the Iraqi soldiers who opened fire was killed by American forces, but it's not confirmed yet," he said.

Separately, another U.S. service member was killed while conducting operations in central Iraq, the U.S. military said in a statement on Saturday. It gave no further details and did not specify where the incident occurred.

Fewer than 50,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq since the United States officially ended combat operations last August. The remaining soldiers are focused on advising and assisting Iraqi security forces as they take the lead in the fight against a weakened yet resilient insurgency.

Bombings and attacks remain a daily occurrence in Iraq, although violence has fallen since the height of sectarian fighting in 2006-7 unleashed by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Mosul remains one of the most dangerous cities in the country, where Iraq is still fighting a stubborn Sunni Islamist insurgency.

Posted on 01/15/2011 9:44 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 15 January 2011
British Columbia Court Hears Testimony on Polygamy

A splinter group from the FLDS polygamous cult which has long remained in the Utah/Arizona border region moved to Canada and two of its members were charged with polygamy. The sect counter-sued and is trying to overturn Canada's anti-polygamy laws on grounds of religious freedom. Dozy bint Angela Campbell was the first to testify:

Angela Campbell of Montreal's McGill University was the first witness to appear at the landmark constitutional case, and her testimony was especially controversial. A day earlier, the provincial and federal governments — which are both arguing polygamy should remain illegal — unsuccessfully attempted to block her appearance.

Professor Campbell, who teaches family law, visited Bountiful in 2008 and 2009 and interviewed a number of women, including wives living in plural marriages. She interviewed 20 women in Bountiful, along with two who had left the community.

Before she visited, Prof. Campbell had read about the alleged harms of polygamy, which are central to the government's argument: that multiple marriage fosters sexual and physical abuse, creates child brides, requires boys to be expelled, and leaves women unable to have any say in who they marry.

But Prof. Campbell said what she found instead were women who rejected the notion that polygamy inevitably leads to abuse or that they are unequal.

“In speaking with the community members about the risks of inequality and abuse ... the responses would be to the effect of, 'We're not treated badly, we've chosen to live this way, it's consistent with what we value,”’ said Prof. Campbell.

The Crown responded:

Striking down Canada’s polygamy law would make the country a magnet for polygamous immigrant families and open the door to societal harms resulting from the practice, a lawyer for the B.C. government said in opening remarks for a landmark case.

“The challengers [to the law] all urge the court to make Canada the sole Western nation to decriminalize polygamy,” Crown lawyer Craig Jones told a packed Vancouver courtroom Monday. “The reasonably apprehended result would be an influx of polygamous families who are presently barred from the country in addition to the practice’s domestic growth.”

Evidence to be heard in the case suggests that polygamy is already beginning to take root in Canada’s Muslim community, especially among immigrants, as a result of uncertainty around Criminal Code provisions against the practice, Mr. Jones added.

His remarks opened a constitutional reference case that will combine aspects of a trial and a public hearing and turn a spotlight on the polygamous community and practices of Bountiful, a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints community in southeastern B.C.

For decades, lawmakers in B.C. have wrestled with the question of how and whether to crack down on the practice of polygamy and its alleged associated harms – including the trafficking of underage girls for marriage to much older men and the expulsion of men and boys from the community.

If we lose monogamy, it would set back women's rights not by a humdred years, but by a thousand years and it could quite possibly be the last straw in the ongoing destruction of the nuclear family which forms the basis of Western civilization. This is not simply a case of unfair descrimination against an innocuous life style choice, these are momentous decisions concerning the direction of our future, the fate of our daughters and sons, granddaughters and grandsons.

Posted on 01/15/2011 9:40 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 15 January 2011
Why Tunisia?

Why should Tunisia be the first place in the Muslim Arab world to be able to overthrow a despot by means other than a coup led by other despots intent on replacing the first one?

Because, save for Lebanon (which does not quite count as being a full member of the Muslim Arab world given the large numbers, and previously large influence, of Christians whose presence in such large numbers has, nolens-volens, managed to slightly uplift some -- not all - of the local Muslims -- Tunisia is the most advanced, because the most forcibly secular, of Arab states.

In other words, the very secularization that Ben Ali maintained -- following in the Bourguiba line -- through an iron fist is what allowed the creation of a society more advanced than that of any of its neighbors -- Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Egypt -- in the Maghreb, and certainly more advanced than any of those on the Arab peninsula.

So what is the lesson to be learned? It's unclear. But secularization of a Muslim country, through a police state that smashes Islamic opposition, is better than no secularization at all, and may just lead to a state where corruption can be limited.

In purely Islamic states -- Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan -- the corruption, the theft of state property by ruling families or mullahs -- is unchecked. In semi-Muslim states, whether in those that openly proclaim a ruling family and hereditary rule, or those that call themselves Republics and pretend to have elections but still exhibit an attachment to hereditary rule (as in Syria, Egypt, Libya) the corruption is just as great. In Tunisia, there was great corruption. But decades of secularization allowed people some space in which to think straight.

Seeing those all-male crowds or mobs, all over Tunisia, what do people in France or elsewhere in Europe think? Do they think, how wonderful! or do they think, why that crowd, that Muslim mob, could be formed in many of our cities today, and all over Europe tomorrow? And whatever happens in Tunisia, the most advanced because the most forcibly secularized of Arab states, in Europe we must do everything we can to prevent those future mobs of Muslim males, by halting Muslim immigration, and working in every way, small and big, to reduce the Muslim presence.

I hope that is what they are thinking.

I think that is what they are thinking.

But I could be wrong.

I live in the back.

Posted on 01/15/2011 10:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 15 January 2011
Food Crises are Caused by Overpopulation

Food crises are becoming larger and more frequent. Every time they strike, they result in deadly conflicts and famines around the Equator, and declining real wages everywhere, due to rising food prices. The main reason for the increasing number and severity of food crises is basically that we have become more people than Mother Earth can feed.

There is broad consensus among experts that overpopulation is the direct cause of poverty, hunger and thirst and conflicts for space, food and grazing areas in developing countries. There is also broad consensus that these things are catalysts for religious fanaticism and large streams of refugees moving into the West.

Today we are 6.9 billion peopleon earth, and we are approaching 10. We are about to empty the planet's storage of raw materials, and in many places the areas for cultivation are getting too small and the reserves of clean water are disappearing. At the same time it is a fact, that man is the world's biggest polluter. A decline of the earth's population - or at least a halt in its growth - is therefore good for both climate and environment. A bad climate and environment has a negative effect on food production, because drought, floods and pollution destroys harvests and cultivation areas.

Here is my suggestion for a lasting solution: Pay poor people in the poor countries to have less children. In this way they do not have to have a lot of children in order to secure themselves when they get old - and they can afford to feed and educate the few children they have. We should support the families with full aid (e.g. 2 dollars pr. day) if they have no or one child, half aid if they have two children and no support if they have more than two children. An educated and well nourished population is the indispensable basis for functioning democracies and economies. In addition, it will stimulate the poor countries economy in a much healthier way than just sending food that is putting pressure on the prices and is just eaten up my ever more hungry mouths.

By empowering the individual by giving our aid to the third world as individual micro aid or micro pensions for having fewer children, we will thus hit several birds with one stone.

A theoretical experiment: The collected yearly aid to developing countries is 120 billion US dollars (in 2007). With this amount 164,383,561 families could have two US dollars every day for a whole year. Every family is - theoretically - consisting of two adults. If all families have no or one child, 328 million couples will thus be sharing the daily pension of two dollars, which is a significant amount of money in many of the world's poor areas. Many families will surely have more kids, and thus recieve one or no dollars a day. This means that developing aid can be shared by even more people (in smaller portions, though). This development policy will surely have an impact of the culture of having many children. It is therefore very possible, that having fewer children will become a trend (just like it has become a trend in other countries with succesful birth rate control programmes) - when the trend of having many children is losing energy.

The Nobel Prize winning micro loan program has shown that small economic amounts are the solution. They have also shown that it is possible to control the distribution of small amounts of money to single persons in areas with bad economic and political infrastructure.

Take heed: Overpopulation is no less a problem than violent Islam.

Posted on 01/15/2011 10:56 AM by Nicolai Sennels
Saturday, 15 January 2011
If There Is Disorder In Tunisia, Can Rashid Al-Gannushi Be Far Behind?

Rashid al-Gannushi is a menace to everything good -- which is a lot -- that has been achieved in Tunisia over the past half-century. He wishes to undo all that Bourguiba and then Ben Ali achieved, in protecting those who wished to secularize as much as possible, given that the country is peopled by Muslim Arabs. Now he is making noises about returning to Tunisia, where his bete noire Ben Ali has been deposed. The Tunisian army must not -- and I think will not -- allow that to happen.

If you need to know a little more about Al-Gannushi, keep in mind that his hagiographer is Aziz al-Tamimi, the supporter of Hamas and crazed antisemite who from his perch in London managed, for a while, not only to convince Oxford University Press's lesser -- in every sense -- lights to publish that hagiogaphy, but also to persuade the BBC to have him, Aziz al-Tamimi, on the BBC repeatedly as a disinterested expert on Israel and the Middle East.

Here's Martin Kramer's review, some eighteen years ago, of Al-Tamimi's biography of Rashid Al-Gannushi:

Rashid al-Ghannushi, the 61-year-old exiled leader of the Tunisian Islamist movement An-Nahda, has resided since 1989 in London; and, barring some unforeseen and highly unlikely developments in Tunisia, he is unlikely to play a major role in his home country's politics again. Instead, he writes books and delivers lectures that show him in most respects pretty much indistinguishable from other leading Islamists. Most notably, he is an enthusiastic backer of Hamas, and Hamas, which is short on theoreticians, has in turn embraced Ghannushi as one of its own. Unlike An-Nahda, Hamas is a political force, and Ghannushi's affiliation with it has saved him from total obscurity. Where he notably differs from other Islamists is in his arguing that Islam accepts multi-party democracy.

As for Azzam Tamimi, he is a pro-Hamas Palestinian publicist living in London who directs the Institute of Islamic Political Thought and, according to one Palestinian in the know, is a member of Hamas.[1] Well-known as a speaker at rallies around Britain, he has a tendency toward the hyperbolic. (He told an audience this past March, for example, that the U.S. government was closing mosques—to which a U.S. embassy spokesperson replied that his claim does not seem "to be based on valid evidence or any evidence at all.")[2] Tamimi is enamored of Ghannushi, and in this book he has let Ghannushi speak through him about the Tunisian's life and ideas. The result is a panegyric.

Ten years ago, this book would not have appeared under the imprint of Oxford University Press (OUP), even of its less demanding New York branch. A text that exalts an Islamist thinker, that settles petty scores with his Muslim detractors, and that spells the name of the world's leading scholar of Islam (and a fellow OUP author) as "Bernard Luis," would have been handled by some marginal Islamist publisher in London. So what gives, why the change?

A glance at the front matter explains all: Rachid Ghannouchi: A Democrat within Islamism appeared in a series edited by Georgetown University's John L. Esposito, America's leading academic defender of Islamism. For almost twenty years, Esposito has provided OUP with his own books on Islam. The appearance of this series on "Religion and Global Politics" represents an upgrade in their relationship, with OUP apparently also publishing the work of Esposito's acolytes. (Tamimi is clearly an acolyte: not only have the two co-edited a book but he calls Esposito "my ustadh"—Arabic, "teacher"). If this book is any evidence, OUP has become an Islamist vanity press.

[1] Muhammad Muslih, "The Foreign Policy of Hamas," New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1999, p. 14, at http://www.cfr.org/public/pubs/Muslih2.pdf
[2] "US Shutting Down Mosques, Says Islamic Academic," Cityzine, Mar. 12, 2002, at http://www.jour.city.ac.ul/cityzine/News_Islam.html

_______________________

If you need to know more about Rashid Al-Gannushi, simply take a look at one of the many YouTube appearances by his great admirer Al-Tamimi. You can find both a link to one such an appearance, and a discussion of what Al-Tamimi is all about, here.

Posted on 01/15/2011 4:44 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 15 January 2011
A Musical Interlude: J'Attendrai (Rina Ketty)

Listen here.

Posted on 01/15/2011 8:30 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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