These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 15, 2009.
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
“Why are Jews Liberals?” a bloggers interview with author Norman Podhoretz
One Jerusalem had a bloggers interview with Norman Podhoretz, noted neo-Conservative and editor of Commentary Magazine for over three decades before his retirement.The topic was his new book, “Why are Jews Liberals?” I was one of the bloggers who participated in the call. You may listen to the One Jerusalem bloggers interview, here. TheNew Republic literary editor, Leon Wieseltierreviewedthe Podhoretz book in The Sunday New York Times.Wieseltier produced this imagery of Podhoretz’s thesis:
…Podhoretz invents “the Torah of liberalism”. If it were not absurd, they would not believe it, and then it is absurd. As if from the pulpit, he scolds that “where the Torah of contemporary liberalism conflicts with the Torah of Judaism, it is the Torah of liberalism that prevails and the Torah of Judaism that must give way.
So American Jewish liberals are not only bad Americans, they are also bad Jews.
This portrayal of Podhoretz was a bit over the top, even for Wieseltier. However, Wieseltier and most American Jews and their spiritual leaders have done something very self destructive; they have deluded themselves that doing ‘Tikkun Olam’ (‘repairing the world’ in Hebrew), social justice and community outreach is Jewish.What Podhoretz has affirmed in this new book is that this is a distortion of Torah Judaism. This distortion by liberal rabbis and lay leaders is used to justify support of anti-Israel Orwellian extremists like J Street and outreach to Muslims as we have illustrated in “Chelm on the Charles River.”
Prior to today’s bloggers interview I discussed this with Rabbi Jon Hausman who pointed out that‘Tikkun Olam’ social action has become the equivalent of the 614th Commandment that observant Jews are obliged to practice in their daily lives.It is not the case according to Hausman, himself a politically conservative Jew Hausman pointed out that Tikkun Olam is not mentioned in the Torah. It is in fact a Cabbalistic term heralding the advent of the Messiah. It is not something that a Mitzvot observant Jew practices, referring to the 613 principles and laws of behavior found in the Torah, according to Hausman.
I posed that question to Podhoretz during the One Jerusalem bloggers call. He concurred with Rabbi Hausman’s observations.Tikkun Olam had been distorted by liberal Jews. He noted an observation made by a non-Jew who had attended High Holyday services at a Reform Congregation, who said that it seemed like “the Democratic party at prayer with holidays thrown in.” Podhoretz observed that both secular and even religious Jews are “simply trying to put a Jewish ‘hecksher’ (rabbinic ruling) on the Torah of liberalism.”
How did American Jews arrive at such a state of denial and overwhelming allegiance to the Democratic Party and liberal causes? Further, was there any hope that stubborn adherence might finally be breaking down?
Podhoretz chronicled the pathway of Jewish liberalism from its origins during the age of French enlightenment and emancipation of Jews in the early 19th Century. What passed for the political right in Europe opposed Jewish emancipation. Jews who entered politics in the 19th Century typically joined moderate to extreme leftist groups. While according to Podhoretz, Jews on the political right in 19th Century Europe were apostates. When more than 2 million eastern European Jews migrated to America beginning in the 1880’s, according to Podhoretz they carried these attitudes with them. They chose the Democratic Party as the closest counterpart to the European left. Podhoretz noted that since 1928 75% of American Jews have voted for Democratic Presidential candidates. The only exception was Jimmy Carter’s failed re-election campaign in 1980 when 45% of Jews voted for Reagan.Jews, unlike other American ethnic groups have overwhelmingly and consistently shown commitment to the Democratic Party. During the most recent Presidential contest, only African Americans showed higher levels of commitment to the Democratic party.Jews, according to Podhoretz,, would find moving to the right “the moral equivalent of conversion” or religious apostasy.
That was the pattern until 1967 when the Israeli Victory in the June Six Day War occurred. What happened was a great reversal.The Left who previously had supported Israel now became hostile to Israeli interests. Israel was no longer 'David, it became Goliath’ in the eyes and minds of the Left. The Right, on the other hand according to Podhoretz, became sympathetic to Israel, probably because it successfully demonstrated force of arms to secure its sovereignty. The largest bloc of supporters came from Christian Evangelicals, who in Podhoretz’s view, now represent "the single most pro-Israel force in the U.S."
American Jews, as Podhoretz noted, “remained adamantly stiff necked, refusing to recognize this fundamental change.” They were analogous, according to him, to the”British at Singapore in 1942, fighting the last war “against the onslaught of the victorious Imperial Japanese forces.Thus, in Podhoretz’s view, Jews have ended up substituting “the Torah of liberalism for the Torah of Judaism and began a long history of association with its enemies on the left” -the malaise of foolish Jews cited in our NER article, “Chelm on the Charles River.”
Podhoretz noted natural Conservatives, among contemporary Orthodox Jews. The Orthodox he noted are heavily influenced by scripture and the least liberal politically among American Jews, because of doctrinal conflicts with Jewish law.According to Podhoretz, “three quarters of American Jews are in one bag, while the remaining Orthodox typically are conservative. “
Harkening back to Wieseltier’s comments, Podhoretz propounded his book’s thesis that “the religion of liberalism superseded Torah Judaism and that the majority of American Jews were Tertullian-like believers in the absurd. “
Podhoretz thought that the new Jewish lobby group of choice at the Obama White House, “J Street was reflective of the intransigence of the radical liberal left.”He noted that President Obama had “dignified J Street” by excluding from the mid-July meeting of American Jewish groups ‘center right’ Zionist Organization of America. The “buyers’ remorse” among American Jews, Podhoretz opined, may be emanating from the centrist groups who now have Obama revealed as a false Messiah. Podhoretz depicted Obama as equivalent to the Shabtai Zeviof the 17th Century, who lead Jews astray in an era of,millenarianism,before he was forced to convert to Islam or face death ordered by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed IV.
Only the mid-term election of 2010 will tell us whether a political shift has occurred among American Jewish voters. The evidence for that may be implied in the results of the Traditional Values Coalition survey of likely Jewish Democratic voters. That survey found significant concern among American Jews about Obama pressing on Israel with demands for a freeze on settlements and arbitrary division of Jerusalem as part of a two state solution to allegedly achieve Middle East Peace. Podhoretz's controversial views will likely stimulate debate, especially among those stubborn stiff necked American Liberal Jews he castigates.
Red, White And Blue – The Flag Flies Yet O’er Our Free Lands
Here at NER Artemis posted a story about some spurious and puerile objections to our joint tradition (UK/USA) of loyal music and its performances at major public events.
Well, follow the links below for I’m unashamedly going to give you in those links much more loyal music. If you’re easily offended by overt nationalism, loyalty and pride in our free countries then please leave this stadium now – better still, leave us now, go home!
I love, deeply love, my country. I am an Englishman born and bred. Freedom is inscribed upon my bones and runs, as constant poetry, in my blood.
I’m proud, unabashedly and unashamedly proud, to acknowledge my American heritage (some small part of which I shared with all of you in this post) as well – a great people who know, as mine do, the meaning and the value of freedom.
FREEDOM! That is our watchword and our cry. That’s why we are here. That’s why we stand, in all our mortal glory, against the dark, freedom-denying forces of fundamentalist Islam. Nothing, nothing, mark my words, matters as much as freedom does and Islam denies freedom, makes a mockery of freedom and attempts to subvert freedom to its own ends. We are nothing unless we are free – free of the barbarism of medieval Islam.
Keith Waterhouse died while I was away, not that my absence had anything to do with it. Here is my favourite passage from Billy Liar, in which Billy mimicks Councillor Duxbury's Yorkshire dialect. There is something exquisitely pompous about a municipal Yorkshireman, but contrary to the impression given in the film, Billy doesn't mean to be cruel:
'So tha's going to London, is ta?' he said with mild interest, as though the subject of the calendars had been settled entirely to his satisfaction.
Hopefully, I said: 'Aye, ah'm just about thraiped wi' Stadhoughton'. I remembered too late that 'thraiped' was a word Arthur and I had made up.
'How does ta mean?'
'It's neither muckling nor mickling,' I said, using another invented phrase in my complete panic.
'Aye.' The old man poked the ground with his stick, and said again, 'Aye.' I had no indication what he was thinking about at all. I tried hard to keep talking, but I could not think of a single word of any description.
'Well tha's gotten me in a very difficult position,' he said weightily, at last. 'How does ta mean, Councillor?'
He studied me keenly, and I realised for the first time, with a sinking heart, that he was not as daft as he looked.
'Is ta taking a rise out o' me, young man?'
I felt myself flushing, and found my whole personality shifting into the familiar position of sheepishness and guilt.
'No, of course not'.
'Well just talk as thi mother and father brought thee up to talk, then. Ah've had no education, ah had to educate myself, but that's no reason for thee to copy t' way I talk.' He spoke sharply but kindly, in a voice of authority with some kind of infinite wisdom behind it, and at that moment I felt genuinely ashamed.
A fair number of my relatives, now long gone, spoke "sharply but kindly, in a voice of authority with some kind of infinite wisdom behind it", and I was rightly reprimanded by my parents if I laughed at them. But whether there really was any wisdom, even of the finite kind, I couldn't say - perhaps they were all as daft as a brush.
I have just repaired the missing tiles in my kitchen ahead of the delivery of the new cooker tomorrow and next I should tackle a pile of ironing.
I will listen to the Dookin' album while dashing away, you can join me with this.
The Battlefield Band in concert.
BTW Battlefield is the district of Glasgow where the band formed originally, not their style of music.
I did a double take at this picture - what on earth has Gaddafi got on his head? Then I realised that preposterous as his hat is, most of what I saw is the gold bird behind him.
Unfortunately there is no such rational explanation for the behaviour of our corrupt and sleazy government as contained in the headline.
From The London Evening Standard Libyan doctors will be trained by the NHS in a deal agreed by Cabinet ministers with Colonel Gaddafi's regime before the release of the Lockerbie bomber, the Standard reveals today.
Health Secretary Andy Burnham flew to Tripoli in June where he held talks with the Libyan Health Secretary and discussed collaboration between the two countries.
Under the deal, Libyan medical still will now be given a full year's instruction in Britain, beginning this year.
Other forms of co-operation will include a link between Moorfields Eye Hospital and the main eye hospital in the Libyan capital, to share knowledge about transplants.
The deal includes collaboration on bone marrow transplants and the development of primary care.
The health agreements were struck in the same period that the Government has been accused of bending over to please Colonel Gaddafi and while oil and trade deals worth hundreds of millions of pounds were on the table.
It also coincided with intense pressure from Libya for the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdulbaset Ali al-Megrahi, who was finally set free last month.
Among agreements are for training opportunities in the UK for Libyan medical staff in areas such as intensive care, anaesthetics and endoscopy. Specialist training will also be given in surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology.
A Health Department spokesman said: “Co-operation with other countries is standard and sensible practice. It is nonsense to suggest that discussions between the Government and Libya on health matters have anything to do with other trade arrangements.” Standard and sensible with some other countries indeed - but does no one remember the ordeal of those Bulgaria Children's nurses? However, opposition MPs said it appeared to fit a pattern of measures to appease Col Gaddafi, including the release of Megrahi, who was convicted of the kiling 270 people and is terminally ill with cancer.
The row over Britain's relations with Libya intensified when police leaders accused the Government of being willing "to sell its soul for trade deals" following the disclosure that Jack Straw agreed that the killer of Pc Yvonne Fletcher would not be brought to justice in Britain. Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation, said he was “appalled”.
Ed Davey of the Liberal Democrats said: “This appears to be part of a concerted strategy of appeasement which has seen the Lockerbie bomber go free while denying justice to the family of Yvonne Fletcher.” This stinks.
Cynics might say that the Afghan woman dons her burkha reluctantly, in fear of a beating. Don't they know that the burkha is a "vehicle", within - or possiblly without - a semiotic system? From a post asking Object-Oriented Philosophy - What is it Good For? (my emphasis):
When it is declared, through the Ontic Principle, that there is no difference that does not make a difference, or, through the Hegemonic Fallacy that it is a mistake to treat one form of difference as overdetermining all other differences, what is being said is that we must learn to think assemblages of differences in a network, how they are woven together, and how they function to (re)produce certain forms of relations. This requires, as Edward, following Latour, has put it, a hybrid form of analysis that is capable of shifting between the semiosphere or the empire of signs, technology, nature, individual persons, social systems, etc., without one of these domains overdetermining the rest such that all the others are mere vehicles of this one overdetermining difference. By “vehicle”, of course, I mean relating to an entity in such a way that it merely carries another difference– say a signifier –without contributing a difference of its own. Thus, for example, I treat clothing as a vehicle when, like Barthes, I reduce it to its semiotic dimension without asking what difference the clothing itself introduces. It is certainly valuable to ask what semiotic system burkas belong to; however, we can also ask what difference this form of clothing itself introduces into the life of a person independent of its function in a signifying system.
"Of course" is a nice touch; you can imagine the seamiest of semiologists smiling knowingly all over Afghanistan. "Vehicle" puts me rather in mind of Leila Abu-Lughod and her mobile homes:
It was the anthropologist Hanna Papanek, working in Pakistan, who twenty years ago coined this term of "portable seclusion." I like the phrase because it makes me see burqas as symbolic "mobile homes" that free women to move about in public and among strange men in societies where women's respectability, and protection, depend on their association with families and the homes which are the center of family lives.
If I were an Afghan woman I'd prefer a ten-ton tank.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A poverty-rights group that has drawn the ire of conservatives suffered another setback in Washington on Monday when the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to deny it access to federal housing funds.
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which helps poor people fight foreclosures and fix tax problems, has received more than $53 million in U.S. funds since 1994, but conservatives' charges of widespread fraud have begun to impact its reputation in the capital.
Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau told the group it did not want its help boosting participation in next year's census.
The Senate measure, which passed 83 to 7 in the Democratic-led chamber, was included in a must-pass spending bill that funds housing and transportation programs for the fiscal year that starts October 1.
"This is an opportunity for the United States Senate to stand up and say 'Enough is enough' just as the Census Bureau did," said Republican Senator Mike Johanns, the measure's sponsor.
The bill includes $165 million for housing-counseling programs and $4 billion to help poor communities weather the worst recession since the 1930s.
ACORN said the Senate's action was disappointing but would have little impact on its overall operations.
"The only real victims of today's vote are the families who have benefited from ACORN's important work," ACORN chief Bertha Lewis said in a statement posted on the group's website.
The House of Representatives passed a similar spending bill without restrictions on ACORN. The House and Senate must resolved differences before a final measure can be sent to Obama to sign into law.
Republicans say ACORN engaged in widespread fraud during the 2008 presidential campaign when it launched a massive voter-registration drive in minority communities, which typically support Democrats and ended up voting overwhelmingly for President Barack Obama.
ACORN says less than 2 percent of its 1.3 million voter applications were fraudulent, stemming from canvassers who sought to boost the number of forms they turned in. Independent analysts say any actual impact on the election was negligible.
The group has also suffered an embezzlement scandal involving the founder's brother.
ACORN more recently has been embarrassed by conservative activists who secretly taped employees in several cities giving tax advice to a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute...
In what may be an unfortunate metaphore for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Marines are playing a dangerous game, placing their subordinates' lives in danger as part of a "trust-building exercise." From Fox News:
Lance Cpl. Patrick Malone was relaxing on his bunk at an Iraqi combat base when a direct superior interrupted his late-night movie.
It was time for a game Marines sometimes play to build confidence in colleagues: Point a gun at a comrade and ask, "Do you trust me?"
Cpl. Mathew Nelson raised his weapon — and the 9 mm pistol went off, striking Malone in the head. The higher-ranking Marine rushed to the wounded man's side and tried to perform CPR, but Malone was mortally wounded.
The game, which has cropped up in barracks across Iraq and Afghanistan, is supposed to make a serviceman feel comfortable enough with a comrade that he would stare into the other Marine's gun barrel. But it violates the military's basic weapon-safety rules.
This was a senseless death, in a war in Iraq that has already cost us thousands of senseless deaths. We ask our soldiers to place their lives on the line, in the trust that we will only deploy them when and where our nation's safety is in imminent danger. Those situations do occur unfortunately, and bless our servicemen and women for answering that call and protecting our nation.
But Iraq, in 2009, is not one of those situations where our nation's safety is in imminent danger. There is simply no reason for our soldiers to be living under the shadow of a sword, or an I.E.D., in Iraq right now. Historians can debate whether the deployment of our troops to Iraq was ever in furtherance of American interests, but 7 years later, if there ever was any benefit - to America - in having our troops deployed in Iraq, it evaporated into the parched desert wind years ago. Likewise for the other Coalition nations.
Today, in the fall of 2009, the Obama Administration is on the verge of sending thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan, a surge meant to earn the trust of the Afghan people, and to ensure that "we" "win", although the definitions of "we" and of "winning" are glaringly, infuriatingly, absent.
Our top military and civilian leaders understand the tactics of warfare, how to fight insurgencies, how to build logistical supply chains, how to penetrate heavily defended airspace with radar-absorbing space-age materials, and how to target enemy command, control, and communications.
But do they understand even the most basic tenets of Islam? Have they figured out the distinction between Sunni and Shi'a yet, which even a few years ago they were unable to do in Senate hearings? Do they have any inkling of the elemental distinction in Islam between True Believer and kufr?
Frankly, I don't care if the Afghans trust us. I do care about whether our troops can trust their superiors to educate themselves as to what the current situation really is, and who and what we are actually up against. Like every war, this war is unlike any previous war. This cannot be analyzed in the context of the Vietnam insurgency; this is a conflict between competing world views, a clash of values. It requires a fundamental reassessment.
There are real dangers out there for our soldiers, and real situations that call for the possibility of the ultimate sacrifice. There is absolutely no reason to play bizarre and reckless "trust-building" exercises at this point in time, in this part of the world.
From ABC News Australia thanks to Dumbledore's Army
The jury has gone out to consider its verdict in Australia's longest running terrorism trial.
The five Sydney men have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to commit a terrorist act or acts on Australian soil.
Every day for the past ten months the men have been brought to a purpose-built high security court at Parramatta, in Sydney's west.
It is the crown case that each of the men embraced violent jihad and their aim was to terrify and intimidate the Australian public and the Government in retaliation for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In summing up, Justice Anthony Whealy told the jury that the crown case included that the men were influenced by the teachings of the Mujahadeen: "You kill us so we kill you. you bomb us so we bomb you."
He said the crown argued that "each of the accused was working with the others to acquire and stockpile chemicals, firearms and ammunition."
It is the prosecution case that three of the accused had gone on paramilitary-style camps in far western New South Wales to prepare for an attack.
But the defence told the jury that they were just hunting, camping and having fun.
Each of the accused possessed similar extremist material on their home computers, including the September 11 attacks and ritual beheadings.
The judge told the jury that it is the defence case that these views were, "commonly held by many in the Australian Muslim community."
Throughout the ten month trial the prosecution has never told the court what the supposed target was for the alleged terrorist attacks.
Now the jury will have to decide whether each man conspired to commit a terrorism atrocity.
The judge has told the jury to put aside their prejudice and remember the Muslim faith is not on trial. Pondering Dumbledore's Army's comment to me I suppose the Judge has to tell the jury to put aside prejudice against the Muslim faith if the defendants have declared that the extremist material is what many Australians commonly believe. They have rather damned Islam by their own words. I also find the picture accompanying the article rather comical. I grew up in English Court Service with the law that no photographs were to be taken in the courtroom for any reason, hence the drawings usually shown. I am also used to the features of some people in any particular photograph, a minor or innocent bystander perhaps, pixelated out for their protection. I have never seen a drawing with the features pixelated out before.
Englishmen who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, but wherever they live, they shouldn't throw rocks. That's an American thang. If sticks and stones may break my bones, sticks and rocks may ... strain my socks?
Rocks are huge things, akin to boulders. You can wreck a ship on them, for God's sake. One is the size of Gibraltar.
England isn't big enough to swing a rock. Put 'em down, you'll 'ave somebody's eye out.
Books the "Dirty Santa" Wants to Leave in Your Stocking
Here is an update on the books Osama bin Laden recommends from Scott at Powerline:
In his latest message to the American people, Osama bin Laden provided a list of recommended reading. "After you read the suggested books," Osama declared, you will know the truth, and you will be greatly shocked by the scale of concealment that has been exercised on you." Bin Laden recommends:
1. The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer. We wrote at length about the long essay that gave rise to the book when it was published in the London Review of Books and in a pseudoscholarly, heavily footnoted Kennedy School "research working paper" counterpart to the LRB essay. Mearsheimer and Walt fancy themselves the brave dissenters from a sinister pro-Israel orthodoxy. They write, for example, "Anyone who criticizes Israeli actions or says that pro-Israel groups have significant influence over U.S. Middle East policy...stands a good chance of getting labeled an anti-Semite." These tenured faculty members of distinguished academic institutions dared to take the chance. For its sheer crudity, however, their book subjected them to the even greater chance of getting labeled charlatans. Now they can add the endorsement of Osama bin Laden to their accolades.
2. Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid, by Jimmy Carter. Steven Hayward noted that at the end of one of Carter's freelance Middle East peace conferences a few years ago, he commented on his efforts in the Middle East: "Had I been elected to a second term, with the prestige and authority and influence and reputation I had in the region, we could have moved to a final solution." He's tried to make up for the second term of which he was deprived with his continuing campaign to delegitimize the state of Israel. Bin Laden's endorsement is a fitting tribute to Carter's efforts.
3. While the identity of the third book is not free from doubt, it appears to be Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins. In the book," according to Sharon Otterman and Robert Mackey, "Mr. Perkins writes that, recruited by government agencies and an international consulting firm, he traveled the world for a decade convincing governments in the developing world to take on loans from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and other international organizations they could not handle." Otterman and Mackey note that the book elicited a response from the State Department: "Confessions -- or Fantasies -- of an Economic HIt Man?" The State Department observed that "Perkins claims that all this was done at the behest of the N.S.A....Perkins is apparently not aware that the National Security Agency is a cryptological (codemaking and codebreaking) organization."
Those into pattern recongnition may doubt that Perkins's book has been properly identified as the third item on bin Laden's list. No such doubt pertains to the first two books.
Iraqi Muslims use internet to track, torture, and kill gays
A "Why we fought?" teaching moment. From the Guardian:
Sitting on the floor, wearing traditional Islamic clothes and holding an old notebook, Abu Hamizi, 22, spends at least six hours a day searching internet chatrooms linked to gay websites. He is not looking for new friends, but for victims.
"It is the easiest way to find those people who are destroying Islam and who want to dirty the reputation we took centuries to build up," he said. When he finds them, Hamizi arranges for them to be attacked and sometimes killed. [Abu Hamizi, on the other hand, is doing an excellent job of living up to the reputation that Muslims took centuries to build up.]
Hamizi, a computer science graduate, is at the cutting edge of a new wave of violence against gay men in Iraq. Made up of hardline extremists, Hamizi's group and others like it are believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 130 gay Iraqi men since the beginning of the year alone.
The deputy leader of the group, which is based in Baghdad, explained its campaign using a stream of homophobic invective. "Animals deserve more pity than the dirty people who practise such sexual depraved acts," he told the Observer. "We make sure they know why they are being held and give them the chance to ask God's forgiveness before they are killed."
The violence against Iraqi gays is a key test of the government's ability to protect vulnerable minority groups after the Americans have gone.
Dr Toby Dodge, of London University's Queen Mary College, believes that the violence may be a consequence of the success of the government of Nouri al-Maliki. "Militia groups whose raison d'être was security in their communities are seeing that function now fulfilled by the police. So their focus has shifted to the moral and cultural sphere, reverting to classic Islamist tactics of policing moral boundaries," Dodge said.
Hmmm. I wonder how the good Doctor would explain the existence of the mutaween in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, and the Basij in Iran? There must be a lot of successful governments in Dar al-Islam. But it's not related to Islam. Definitely not Islam.
Homosexuality was not criminalised under Saddam Hussein – indeed Iraq in the 1960s and 1970s was known for its relatively liberated gay scene. Violence against gays started in the aftermath of the invasion in 2003. Since 2004, according to Ali Hali, chairman of the Iraqi LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) group, a London-based human-rights group, a total of 680 have died in Iraq, with at least 70 of those in the past five months. The group believes the figures may be higher, as most cases involving married men are not reported. Seven victims were women. According to Hali, Iraq has become "the worst place for homosexuals on Earth".
The killings are brutal, with victims ritually tortured. Azhar al-Saeed's son was one. "He didn't follow what Islamic doctrine tells but he was a good son," she said. "Three days after his kidnapping, I found a note on my door with blood spread over it and a message saying it was my son's purified blood and telling me where to find his body."
She went with police to find her son's remains. "We found his body with signs of torture, his anus filled with glue and without his genitals," she said. "I will carry this image with me until my dying day."
Police officers interviewed by the Observer said the killings were not aimed at gays but were isolated remnants of the sectarian violence that racked the country between 2005 and 2006. [They left out "poverty", "Zionism", and "lack of education."] Hamizi's group, however, boasts that two people a day are chosen to be "investigated" in Baghdad. The group claims that local tribes are involved in homophobic attacks, choosing members to hunt down the victims. In some areas, a list of names is posted at restaurants and food shops.
This is the result of 7 years, hundreds of billions of dollars, and thousands of soldiers' lives spent in Iraq. This is what was accomplished. These are the people who are "just like us," soccer moms and the like.
The Iraq War was a success: Saddam, his government, and army were defeated in weeks by Coalition troops. But every day beyond that have been a failure, not of Coalition troops, but of Iraqi society and Islamic values. There is no moral foundation on which to build a compassionate and inclusive society there. Islam, their moral foundation, will only lead where it always leads in Muslim-ruled lands.
(IsraelNN.com) A new organization dedicated to fighting what it sees as an encroaching Islamic takeover of the U.S. is set to launch later this month with a gathering in Washington, D.C. - on the same day as a massive Muslim prayer rally in the U.S. capital.
The Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) group has declared its mission to be educating Americans "about the threat that Islamic doctrine and those who support it present to our freedoms, and the future of our democracy and country." The organizers call themselves "scholar warriors/ideological warriors in the cause of American freedom and Constitutional government," as well as in "the defense of... our society of liberty, knowledge, and human decency."
SIOA believes that political Islam is opposed to American values of "freedom, tolerance, or human rights." They seek to raise the issue of what they call "brutal, misogynist" Islamic law and jihad in America, because "tolerance for ideologies that are opposed to our principles of individual freedoms and our Constitution is indefensible," the group declares in its online manifesto. A recently-released film, The Third Jihad, warns that radical Islam is working on a non-violent, cultural takeover of the United States.
"We are now in a new phase of a 1,400-year-old jihad against the kafirs (all non-Muslims everywhere); we are not prepared to meet the threat," SIOA says. "[I]gnorance about Islam, its doctrine and purposes is a moral and ethical failure whose consequences can be nothing short of national extinction."
The official launch of the SIOA is slated for September 25, 2009, at an as-yet unknown venue in the U.S. capital. The timing and location appears to be far from coincidental.
A massive Muslim prayer gathering is planned for for the same day in front of the Capitol building. Spearheaded by the Elizabeth, New Jersey Dar-ul-Islam Mosque, organizers are expecting 50,000 people to attend the first-of-its-kind national event. The gathering will be limited to prayer, according to Hassen Abdullah, president of Dar-ul-Islam.
SIOA sees the event as a "big-budget... soft jihad," fought through "marketing and cultural/ideological warfare." D.L. Adams of SIOA wrote of the planned Muslim prayer gathering, "It is impossible to see this event as anything but what it is, taqiyya (sacred deception), jihad (endless universal war against the unbelievers), and dawa (conversion).
The SIOA's own event is planned to conclude with a "saunter" around the streets of Washington DC, on the day of the Muslim prayer rally, in order to "engage in conversations with our fellow citizens who might happen to be there on the same day on matters of moment."
Let us spend a silent moment honoring the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died because of U.S. sanctions, and the thousands who died in Afghanistan, and the other Muslim victims being strangled by the U.S. iron fist. From Arab News, if you have an iron constitution.
But with pay, and only temporarily, until the furor blows over. More free time to polish his Luger collection, if you know what I mean. A followup to the story about which Hugh wrote here and here. From the NY Times:
A leading human rights group has suspended its senior military analyst following revelations that he is an avid collector of Nazi memorabilia.
The group, Human Rights Watch, had initially thrown its full support behind the analyst, Marc Garlasco, when the news of his hobby came out last week. On Monday night, the group shifted course and suspended him with pay, “pending an investigation,” said Carroll Bogert, the group’s associate director.
“We have questions about whether we have learned everything we need to know,” she said.
Police are probing a video of an ex-Asda worker caught on camera licking a chicken from one of the supermarket's displays before replacing it. The scene comes at the end of a shocking video which shows Adeel Ayub running amok in Asda's store in the Fulwood area of Preston.
He is seen: Urinating in a toilet bin, Slashing furniture and colleague's coats in the staffroom, Setting off a fire extinguisher, Filming firefighters responding to a false alarm, Playing cricket and football with stock, Poking his fingers in, stamping on and licking an uncooked chicken, Smashing boxes of eggs in the stockroom.
Ayub worked at the supermarket between 2005 and 2008. At the start of the film, Ayub is seen wearing Asda's distinctive green uniform as he lets off a fire extinguisher and gloats as the fire service respond to a false alarm at the supermarket.
The film, which was left anonymously in a brown envelope at the front desk of a local newspaper, was then passed to Asda, who are now investigating the incident.
The thug makes no effort to conceal his identity as he gloats and boasts throughout the film as he wreaks havoc in the aisles.
He then returns to the store in 2009 dressed in a hoodie - after he has left Asda's employment - where he is first seen stamping on whole chickens out on display.
The vandal then picks one out, tears off the plastic wrapping and licks the breast before placing the bird back on the shelf.
The mobile phone footage is thought to have been filmed by a fellow Asda employee over a series of night-time shifts. Ayub is heard referring to the film as a 'top secret video' that is 'never going to get released'.
In increasingly vulgar footage, Ayub uses a craft knife to slash furniture in the staffroom, which led to it being closed and a £50 reward offered for information.
He also breaks trophies awarded to the store, hurls boxes of eggs around the warehouse, and plays 'Asda football' with boxes of stock.
As firefighters are filmed attending the call out he is heard to boast: 'I think this baby is my last video because if I get caught I'll probably get sacked.'
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, which confirmed it received two false alarm calls to the store in 2008, today condemned the footage.
Inspector Jameel Murtza of Lancashire Constabulary, Fulwood said: 'We are currently in the process of reviewing CCTV footage of the incident. We are liaising with the management at Asda with the aim of identifying any criminal offences that have taken place.'
Qaddafi's Son Observes The Standard Practice Of Rich Arabs In The West
From The Times
September 16, 2009
Gaddafi son’s academic thesis boosted by corporate consultants
When it comes to carrying out original research, few PhD students have access to one of the world’s most prestigious corporate consultancies, with advisers including the former head of the Secret Intelligence Service.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi used Monitor Group to carry out a survey and interviews with the leaders of non-governmental organisations to provide the empirical data for his thesis at the London School of Economics.
Senior advisers at Monitor Group include Sir Richard Dearlove, who was recruited in 2005, the year after he retired as head of MI6. Sir Richard was well known to the Libyans because Colonel Gaddafi had chosen British intelligence as the go-between when he decided to surrender his country’s nuclear programme.
The company also employs Sir Mark Allen, another former MI6 agent and a senior adviser to BP. Sir Mark lobbied Jack Straw just before the Justice Secretary abandoned efforts to exclude the Lockerbie bomber from a prisoner transfer deal.
Mr Gaddafi hired the company in 2004 to outline a strategy for economic reform that has seen Libya opened up to investment from international businesses, particularly in the oil sector.
When Mr Gaddafi started his PhD he worked with the Monitor Group to undertake a survey that involved “lengthy” interviews with 45 representatives of inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, including senior executives at the United Nations and the World Bank.
Mr Gaddafi records work carried out by the group and thanks “a number of individuals” at Monitor in his acknowledgements at the beginning of his thesis.