These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 2, 2008.
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Abbeymills Mosque (aka the proposed megamosque) applies for continuing planning permission.
London’s proposed ‘mega-mosque’ has been allowed to complete its application for planning permission, despite calls from one councillor to remove the “illegal and irresponsible” mosque.
At Newham Council meeting last Monday night, Cllr Alan Craig asked the Mayor, Sir Robin Wales, to enforce a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to reclaim the site from the Abbey Mills Mosque Trust, members of Islamic sect Tablighi Jamaat.
Cllr Craig said: “Tablighi Jamaat intend that the mega-mosque will be their new international headquarters, yet the current temporary mosque on the Abbey Mills site has now been operating illegally and irresponsibly without planning permission for two years.”
This planning application is for permission to continue with the status quo, ie to continue with the current set up in what was the offices of RTZ Chemicals. They must be confident of permission being granted. In September just before Ramadan they decorated the outside of the buildings painting it all a uniform cream colour and building what looks like a mihrab, or prayer niche, into the wall of the main prayer room, facing towards Mecca and the District Line.
A spokesperson for the Abbey Mills Mosque Trust said: “I don’t know how it is illegal. We’ve owned the site since 1996, and we’ve been regularly meeting with the authorities, and they’re happy so long as we continue to make progress on the project.”
It is illegal because owners, even Islamic owners, cannot do whatever they wish even on land they own. They had planning permission to run as mosque as a temporary measure. So far as I understand it that temporary permission expired over two years ago.
The site currently has a temporary mosque, but Cllr Craig is concerned for the safety of people visiting the site on the grounds of an old chemical plant: “What’s going on there? We don’t know, the police don’t know, there’s no health and safety because they haven’t made a proper planning application.”
And what's more they promised us a second open day this summer to show further plans based on the feedback from the first open day held on the Palm Sunday weekend. They promised to keep those of us who showed interest by attending informed of developements. They broke those promises and people who break promised cannot be trusted. They gave wrong information about the site and the area during the "tour" and people who tell lies or mislead can't be trusted either.
There have long been concerns raised over the character of Tablighi Jamaat, which is based in Pakistan. Cllr Craig said: “Muslim commentator Ziauddin Sardar has said that Tablighi Jamaat (the group behind the Abbey Mills mega-mosque proposals) has been infiltrated by banned and militant Islamic organisations, has a network in Britain that 'works invisibly, hidden from prying eyes', and that it is 'not as harmless as most Muslims seem to think'.”
Many Newham Muslims have in fact protested at the site, with 2,500 signing a Sunni Friends of Newham petition against the mosque. A spokesperson for the Trust said: “The petition has now been withdrawn. We are in fact working with the group to help with the development of the mosque.”
“There was great pressure put on the organizer of the petition by elders in the Muslim community, but I’ve not heard about the petition being withdrawn,” said Cllr Craig.
Which suggests that local Muslim’s fears about the influence of Tablighi Jamaat, for an example of which one only has to look at what has happened in Dewsbury, or more accurately the Savilletown area of Dewsbury, are valid. I wonder what the “inducement” to withdraw the petition was?
Posted on 11/02/2008 4:30 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 2 November 2008
UN Terror Finance Blacklist Collapsing
BRUSSELS -- The global blacklisting system for financiers of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups is at risk of collapse, undermined by legal challenges and waning political support in many countries, according to counterterrorism officials in Europe and the United States.
In September, the European Court of Justice threw the future of the United Nations' sanctions program against al-Qaeda and the Taliban into doubt when it declared the blacklist violated the "fundamental rights" of those targeted. The Luxembourg-based court said the list lacked accountability and made it almost impossible for people to challenge their inclusion.
Courts in Britain and France have also questioned whether European countries can enforce the U.N. sanctions and other blacklists without violating local laws, including a defendant's right to see evidence. The United Nations keeps such evidence secret.
The U.N. blacklist is the backbone of an international effort to prevent al-Qaeda supporters from raising or transferring money. All U.N. members are required to impose a travel ban and asset freeze against the 503 individuals, businesses and groups on the list. About $85 million in al-Qaeda and Taliban assets is frozen worldwide.
"Once we got into the middle of 2003, we found that people were not so supportive anymore," said Michael Chandler, a former British Army officer who headed the U.N. Taliban and al-Qaeda monitoring group from 2001 to 2004. "Too many countries, for a variety of reasons, really didn't implement the sanctions properly."
Victor D. Comras, a former State Department official who served on the U.N. monitoring group until 2004, acknowledged that many countries had lost faith in the blacklist and that as a result, the number of new names had dwindled in recent years.
The most serious challenge to the U.N. sanctions has been posed by Yassin Abdullah Kadi, a Saudi businessman who had millions of dollars in assets frozen by several countries after he was named to the blacklist in October 2001. Kadi is a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit before the European Court of Justice, which ruled that his right to a fair hearing was violated by E.U. countries enforcing the U.N. list.
Kadi, 53, resides in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, but has business holdings in Switzerland, Malaysia, Albania, Turkey and other countries. He has denied ever supporting al-Qaeda, financially or otherwise. In December, the Swiss attorney general dropped an inquiry into Kadi's finances after finding no evidence of criminal acts. About $9 million of his assets remain frozen in Switzerland, however, because the United Nations has not removed him from its blacklist, Swiss officials said.
Meanwhile, Switzerland is being sued by Youssef Nada, a 77-year-old Egyptian citizen and Muslim Brotherhood supporter who has been on the U.N. blacklist since 2001.
Nada has taken his case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. He has accused Switzerland of violating his rights by blocking his assets even though the Swiss federal prosecutor, after a long investigation, found no evidence that he had broken any laws.
As in the Kadi case, Switzerland has said it is compelled to keep Nada's assets frozen because of its legal obligation to the U.N. blacklist, a stance upheld by the Swiss Supreme Court. But Swiss officials said they are worried they could still be held liable by the European Court of Human Rights.
In another case, the government of Saudi Arabia has pressured Britain to take action against Saad al-Fagih, a Saudi physician living in exile in London.
Officials in Riyadh accuse Fagih, who has called for the overthrow of the Saudi government, of supporting al-Qaeda. After Britain refused to take action against Fagih, Saudi Arabia persuaded the U.N. Security Council and the U.S. Treasury to add him to their lists in 2004. As a result, Britain was required to freeze his assets under the U.N. sanctions program.
Alexander Alvaro, a German member of the European Parliament who has criticized the selection process for the various blacklists, said it was clear in several cases that politics had overshadowed legitimate security concerns.
"Is the purpose to actually prevent terrorist attacks and cut off funding for terrorist organizations, or is it to please who it might serve to put them on the list?" he said.
Posted on 11/02/2008 6:55 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 2 November 2008
What's the G20?
PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd should launch an investigation into the leaking of details of a sensitive phone call he had with US President George W Bush, former foreign minister Alexander Downer says.
Details of the call to discuss the global financial crisis were reported last week in The Weekend Australian.
During the call, Mr Bush reportedly responded to Mr Rudd's suggestion of a G20 summit to deal with the crisis by saying: "What's the G20?'.
That's an excellent question. What is the G20? I remember when the G7 became the G8 with the inclusion of Russia, but when did 12 additional countries hop aboard? Who are those additional countries? If we here at NER world headquarters don't know, is it really fair to expect the President of the United States to know?
Posted on 11/02/2008 7:13 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Brother Tariq Hearts Obama
Tariq Ramadan writes in the Bangkok Post (h/t: Gates of Vienna):
The new president must begin with symbolic actions to demonstrate that the life of an Afghan, an Iraqi or a Muslim is worth no less than that of an American.
I'm afraid this is the fundamental mistake made by the Bush administration. The President and Commander in Chief of the US armed forces must value American lives above all others. The Bush administration had foolishly squandered precious American lives in a vain effort to show the world how much we value the lives of others.
The remainder of Ramadan's ridiculous article is reproduced in full below.
The eight years of George W Bush's presidency have accustomed us to so many errors, lies, wilful distortions and political manipulation that a page is about to be turned in the history of the United States.
Since September 2001, the Bush regime has been obsessed by the 'global war on terror' and the conflict with the "axis of evil." But over time, Americans have awakened to the emptiness of these bellicose and arrogant slogans.
Barack Obama's election would be an event to be welcomed for several reasons; yet we must not be lulled into complacency by naive estimates of what lies ahead.
Barak Obama's roots, his past and his multiple cultural identities stand in stark contrast to the profiles of George W Bush or John McCain. His understanding of, and relations with, the countries of the world _ particularly of the global South _ and with American society itself point to a different outcome. Taken together, his life and experience make hope for a new understanding of domestic and international issues possible.
On the most fundamental level, Colin Powell has laid out the terms of reference: Barack Obama is not a Muslim; he is black and Christian. But, in the final analysis, what if he were a Muslim? What is wrong with being 'African-American' or 'Muslim' in today's America?
While it now appears that the US can live with the election of a black American, indications are that a new, virulent anti-Muslim racism has arisen in the wake of the events of September 2001.
Given such fears, and the hardening of religious and ethnic divisions, Barack Obama's past and origins should make it possible for him to emerge as 'everybody's president'. In rejecting manufactured divisions, cultural biases and the 'religionisation' of social issues, Barack Obama could well become the symbol of a new United States simply by wielding his stature as president to promote domestic policies that favor justice and equality, empowering citizens of all origins.
The first black president's greatest achievement would be to cause people to forget his colour. But success is far from assured.
On the international level, Barack Obama should be able to lay to rest the deafness of the outgoing administration, which spared no effort to persuade Americans that they were the victims of 'aggressors' who 'hated' their civilisation and their values.
Above and beyond the condemnation of terrorist acts, which is virtually unanimous and should be unconditional, the criticisms and grievances of the entire world must now be heard. The policies of the Bush administration have produced a worldwide rejection of the United States. The new president must begin with symbolic actions to demonstrate that the life of an Afghan, an Iraqi or a Muslim is worth no less than that of an American. The time has come to put an end to the language of bullying and intimidation and to close the dungeons of shame at Guantanamo and other similar prisons around the world.
As president, Barack Obama could no longer justify, in the name of American national security, the deaths of the innocent, legalised torture, extraordinary rendition and other dis criminatory measures up to and including the granting of American visas. If Obama's diversity of origins gives cause for hope, it would only be insofar as these origins would permit him to open doors instead of close them.
The campaign has made it clear that we must entertain no illusions. Change may be significant in certain areas; in others, it is bound to be limited. The Palestine-Israel conflict is central to world peace. Yet Barack Obama has taken such an outspoken pro-Israel stance (before an American pro-Israel lobby) that significant change on this issue would be extremely unlikely. Nor should much be expected in dealing with the international economic crisis.
Both issues (unconditional support for Israel and economic neoliberalism) seem to constitute untouchable dogmas. No American political figure dares call them into question. But the future of the entire world hinges on the global-local conflict in the Middle East and on the international economic order.
We must not succumb to irrational hope. There can be little doubt that some positive change could be expected under a Barack Obama presidency. Any such change should be welcomed; at the same time, our critical vigilance must not be relaxed, especially with regard to the sacrosanct dogmas of a political and economic establishment that cannot bring itself to acknowledge the dignity of the Palestinian people, or the devastation wrought by an economic order that has plunged so many across the planet into poverty and insecurity.
Posted on 11/02/2008 7:47 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 2 November 2008
The Fairness Doctrine Revisited
Barack Obama said he opposed the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine back in June and according to this article in Broadcasting & Cable, the whole brouhaha is "much ado about nothing." (h/t: Mickey Kaus)
Posted on 11/02/2008 8:16 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Dennis Ross Stumps For Obama
Jeffrey Imm reports this morning that Dennis Ross, speaking as Barack Obama's Middle East advisor is interviewed in the Jerusalem Post, pointing out wonderful an Obama Presidency would be for Israel. Mr. Imm also draws our attention to the fact that Ross serves on the Board of the US Muslim Engagement project. Here are some highlights from their "Changing Course" Report:
** Engage with Iran **
-- page 4:
"Engage with Iran to explore the potential for agreements that could increase regional security, while seeking Iran's full compliance with its nuclear nonproliferation commitments."
-- page 44:
"The strongest source of U.S. leverage with Hamas may be a U.S. dialogue with Iran, discussed earlier, that could lead to a reduction in Iranian support for Hamas' military operations."
** Get Iran to Help Solve Islamic Supremacism in Afghanistan **
-- page 48:
"At the same time, the U.S. must address Pakistan's interest in negotiating with the Taliban to resolve conflicts in tribal areas on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border (discussed later). The U.S. also has a strong interest in finding out whether Iran can play a more constructive role in stabilizing Afghanistan (as discussed earlier)."
** Americans Are Not Concerned About Islamism **
-- page 51 - regarding the concerns of "most Americans"
"They are not deeply concerned about 'Islamist' parties coming to power, as long as those parties do not advocate violence and do respect basic human rights. Most Americans, like most Muslims, do not want to see violent extremist movements win power."
** Islamist Governments Based on Sharia Are "Powerful Source of Legitimacy" **
-- page 52:
"finally it is important for the U.S. to recognize the potential for Islamic principles of governance and their advocates to support accountable governance and the rule of law. In many Muslim countries, the most powerful source of legitimacy for reformers today is the Islamic injunction for leaders to rule justly and to be accountable to their people. The U.S. should not equate reform with secularism, nor should it assume that reformers who advocate some form of Sharia as the basis for the rule of law will inevitably abuse human rights or adopt anti-American policies."
** Critical of U.S. Government's Stance on Hamas and Hezbollah **
-- pages 52, 53, 54:
"Advocate consistently for nonviolence, pluralism and fairness in political contests. The current Administration has taken a significant step forward by advocating for political reforms in a number of Muslim countries with authoritarian governments. However, when political openings have allowed militant movements (most notably Hamas in the Palestinian Authority and Hezbollah in Lebanon) to gain popular support and win political power through elections, the U.S. has declared them illegitimate, based on their continuing refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist, and their use of violence, and domestic political opponents."
** U.S should assess "engagement with political representatives of armed and activist movements" **
-- page 59 -- recommendation that United States:
"Assess the value of engagement with political representatives of armed and activist movements case-by-case, based on their principles, behavior, and level of public support"
** If Islamic Terror Groups Have Public Support, U.S. Should Dialogue With Them **
-- page 59 and 60:
"There is a range of views within the Leadership Group on the intentions, actions, and legitimacy of Hamas and Hezbollah. There is also a range of view on whether the U.S. should be in dialogue with either or both groups about conditions within their countries, or in regard to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Nevertheless, the Group has reached consensus on a set of criteria that the U.S. can use to judge whether, when, and how to engage in dialogue with armed political groups and movements:"
-- "Does the group or movement have a substantial base of legitimate public support, demonstrated by membership, electoral success, and/or mass mobilization?"
** Calls for Engagement with Muslim Brotherhood (whose motto is "Jihad is our way") **
-- pages 60 and 61:
"The U.S. must also consider when and how to talk with political movements that have substantial public support and have renounced violence, but are outlawed or restricted by authoritarian governments allied to the U.S. The Muslim Brotherhood parties in Egypt and Jordan are arguably in this category."
** "Moderate" Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist Political Groups Should Be Encouraged **
-- page 56:
"After a period of violent opposition to the Egyptian government, the [Muslim] Brotherhood has moderated some of its goals and strategies as its candidates have been able to participate, tacitly in parliamentary elections. Other independent Islamist political parties have also begun to organize and compete, but the government continues to limit electoral competition. Given this context, the primary institution goal for the U.S. in Egypt should be to create opportunities for political participation and good governance at the local and national level."
** If We Don't Engage with Muslim Brotherhood, U.S. is Not Serious About Political Reform **
-- page 54:
"The U.S. has also sent mixed signals about its willingness to work with nonviolent Islamist parties, notably the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Jordan. This inconsistency reflects a belief shared among many policy makers that there are significant trade-offs between U.S. security interests and our commitment to political reform. Though understandable, these U.S. responses to militants and nonviolent Islamist parties have confirmed the view of many Muslim citizens and mainstream reformers that the U.S. is not serious about political liberalization in Muslim countries."
I suppose this would be, in broad outline, kind of change Barack Obama would bring to the war of self-defense against Islamic supremacism. Of course the Bush administration has been moving in this direction as well, promoting "democracy" even when it means an Islamic takeover and engaging the Taliban in Afghanistan in talks. However, there is also no indication McCain would necessarily change course, see the war for what it is, and take the steps necessary to contain and constrain Islam.
Posted on 11/02/2008 8:28 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Plugging his latest book The Ascent of Money, historian Niall Ferguson writes:
If you still doubt the hard-wired fallibility of human beings, ask yourself the following question: A bat and ball, together, cost a total of £1.10 and the bat costs £1 more than the ball. How much is the ball? The wrong answer is the one that roughly one in every two people blurts out: 10 pence. The correct answer is five pence, since only with a bat worth £1.05 and a ball worth five pence are both conditions satisfied.
Nice trick, but it didn’t catch me out, partly because I knew it was a trick. I am not infallible, of course, but I would never say that my fallibility is “hard-wired”. “Intractable”, perhaps, or “inherent” or “deep-seated”, but not “hard-wired”. Hard-wiring is everywhere, however, and perhaps I shouldn’t fight it. We are hard-wired for God, hard-wired for hierarchy, hard-wired for empathy, and above all hard wired to care and connect.
Connect. Only connect. That is another of those vaguely computery phrases that is doing the rounds. Jeanette Winterson, whose Times column departs from its usual incisive vigour, has been connecting holistically:
If you believe as I do, that there is such a thing as a creative continuum common to everyone, it is not difficult to believe that everyone benefits from exposure to, and participation in creative endeavour.
A mathematician by training, [Edward Carpenter] was an early questioner of value-free science and the arrogance of 19th-century scientific rationalism. He was the spiritual son of the American poet Walt Whitman, travelling to visit Whitman and borrowing much from Whitman’s philosophy of life as a connected whole. In turn, E. M. Forster was deeply influenced by Carpenter, and likely distilled from him, via Whitman, his famous phrase, in Howard’s End, “only connect”.
People say “only connect” in reverent tones, as if it means something very clever. It stops conversations and ends paragraphs, and makes readers and listeners nod sagely. Why? Here is the full quotation:
Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.
In context, “only connect” means something, although not very much as far as I can see. Out of context it means nothing at all. The implication is that connecting is always a good thing; that, as John Lennon sang, “the world will live as one.” Connecting has its merits. It is a good thing that my computer is connected to the Internet, and that my head bone is connected to my neck bone. But I don’t want to “live as one” with the world. Some people irritate me so much that the only connection I want to make is that of my foot with their buttocks.
This must be a disconnect. Don’t get me started on those.
Posted on 11/02/2008 9:19 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Just a little bit, not too much
Philadelphia-born journalist Carol Gould is forever bleating about how dreadful England is and how much anti-Americanism she faces every day. Yet she continues to live here. Why? Is she some kind of masochist? If I lived in America and kept banging on about how utterly awful it was, I would expect - and deserve - to be told to bugger off back home. Not in so many words, obviously, because Americans don't say "bugger".
Today's whinge (another word Americans don't use apparently) is about how we all - yes all of us - support Obama, and how we all, to a man, think America is "racist".
I am sick and tired of Britons and Europeans pontificating about “American racism.” It defies belief that nations who plundered vast continents and colonialized the Hottentot are now telling Americans they should shed their shameful past.
Well, it's a good job the "Britons and Europeans" did a bit of colonising, isn't it, or there wouldn't have been an America for Carol Gould to come from to live here.
Still, I'm glad she distinguishes "Britons" and "Europeans". Now bugger off back home, you whingeing non-pom.
Posted on 11/02/2008 9:49 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Slim Consolation, Fat Chance
For twenty years, without complaint, Barack Obama listened to, was befriended by, took tuition from, a man capable of this:
There are many other names to note (Rezko, Ayers, Dohrn, Klonsky, Khalidi, Abunimah) among the company that he kept, uncomplainingly, apparently at times with agreement and pleasure, for not one, not two, but for twenty years. But the example above is enough. It is more than enough.
The hope and hype and hysteria may well, on Tuesday, prevail. There is consolation: the inexorable diminishment, once he and his change-the-worlders in office, of all that exaggerated hope, and his speechifying, is already wearing out its welcome.
And there is reason to believe that the greatest error of the Bush Administration -- the Iraq venture and the failure to grasp Islam that that venture reveals, will also do damage to the Obama administration. Unless Obama and those he appoints acquire a clear understanding of Islam (texts, tenets, atttudes, atmospherics) , they will not be able to recognize, in advance, that following an American withdrawal there will be sectarian and ethnic strife, and that this can be justified to the American public only by noting the aggression within Islam, and the Victor-or-Vanquished mentality of Muslims, that explains their behavior, and the missing-the-point futility of the Bush effort to bring "freedom" to "ordinary moms and dads" rather than recognizing the usefulness of exploiting the pre-existing fissures (sectarian, ethnic) in Iraq to divide and demoralize, and thereby weaken, the Camp of Islam.
The kind of people whom Obama now has in mind, apparently, for the most important cabinent positions are worrisome. Senators Lugar and Hagel, for example, have for their entire careers been noticeably unsympathetic to Israel. And those who have been noticeably unsympathetic to Israel are those, unsurprisingly, who are most wedded to the idea of appeasing Islam, of wilfully failing to learn about Islam and its threat, not only against Israel (and if you are unsympathetic to Israel, the chances are it would require a very great effort to come to some conclusions of Islam that, if policies logically followed from those conclusions, would require you to cease seeking to appease Arab Muslims by buying them off in the coin of Israeli security). Those of the why-can't-we-all-get-along brigade include some generals -- and Obama, eager to enroll generals on his side, has made too much of that uniformed naif, General Scott Gration, who thinks that 'solving" what he calls, so shallowly, the "Israel-Palestine" problem, and whose enthusiasm for Obama may have made him a candidate for an important post but did not make him into a Halford Mackinder or Alfred Thayer Mahan, is another example.
Still another example is Colin Powell, with that strange reputation for probity, whose long friendship with Prince Bandar, the In-House Supreme Apologist for the House of Al-Saud, his steady tennis and raquetball partner, could not but color Powell's view of the Al-Saud and of Islam (for it is easy to conflate a smiing unreprentative representative of a regime -- see Putzi Hanfstaengl's efforts among his old Harvard classmates on behalf of Adolf Hitler and National Socialism), with disastrous effects. And then there is the little matter of the Jaguar delivered to Colin Powell's wife Alma a few days after he resigned, part of the continuing efforts by Prince Bandar to reward, once out of office, his "friends," so that, as he once openly and bluntly put it, "those who know they will be rewarded later on will be nice to us when they are in office." Yes, in the world of Prince Bandar (more recently revealed to be at the center of a $2 billion dollar diversion of funds from a British aerospace company, money apparently surreptitiously given to Bandar to use for his own, and for Al-Saud prince-and-priincelings purposes), the motto was: Every Good Boy Deserves Favor.
In a recent television interview Colin Powell denounced those who thought there would be any reason to worry about a Muslim being in the White House. He said this without knowing a thing about Islam, and what prompted him, apparently, to make remarks about things he knows nothing about was the sight of a Muslim mother grieving over the grave of her Muslim son, who had died in Iraq. This for Colin Powell was enough. It did not matter that Muslims in America have not rushed to the colors, and there is no Muslim equivalent to the much-decorated 442nd Regiment, consisting entirely of Japanese-Americans, who fought in World War II. There are many reports about hostility directed by Muslims at the families of the handful of Muslims whose sons do choose to serve in the American military. There are other Muslims who might also have been taken into account, as more than the anecdotal evidence he supplied, Muslims who once in the American armed services, did not act so as to justify his sentimental declaration. There was the Muslim Marine who deserted, and then having been captured and brought for trial to this country, somehow managed to flee back to his family in Lebanon, there was the Muslim soldier who rolled grenades into the tent of sleeping officers at a base in Kuwait, and killed two of them, and wounded others, there was the Muslim sailor who offered secrets to would-be terrorists so that they might more easily attack the ship and kill his fellow, non-Muslim, sailors. But because Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama, he may yet, be rewarded with a post in an Obama administration, and given his lack of understanding and his unembarrassed long-term embrace of Prince Bandar, he is unlikely to help fashion or implement a more intelligent policy of containing, within the United Stataes, the ability of Muslims to prolong misunderstanding of Islam and, outside the United States, to work to weaken the Camp of Islam, that threatens Infidels everywhere.
And there are so many others on his Likely-To-Be-Appointed List, people whose understanding of Islam is rudimentary, or non-existent, and it is exactly that kind of insufficiency that explains the present administration's misguided goals for Iraq, and thesquandering of men, money, materiel.
In foreign policy, change you or I can believe in cannot be expected from those who do not grasp, and who have never shown an interest or inclination to want to grasp, the meaning, and the full menace, of Islam.
The withdrawal from Iraq will result in all kinds of hostilities among Muslims, in Iraq, and outside Iraq. That's a good thing, even though it is the opposite of what the Bush administration has tried to do. But because it will take place in an atmosphere or framework of appeasement, and a conitinuning effort to ignore such instruments of Jihad as the Money Weapon, Da'wa, and demographic conquest, especailly in Western Europe, this will hardly be recompense enough.
The hope, the hype, the hysteria that A New Day Is Dawning.
The hope, the sheer audacity of all that forlorn hope, will diminish. But as already noted, that is slim consolation.
As for the media hype, and the hysteria among Obama's truest followers, also diminishing -- well, that's something else. That's what's known as a fat chance.
Posted on 11/02/2008 9:38 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 2 November 2008
A Presidential-Election Musical Interlude: I've Got A Feelin' You're Foolin' (Robert Taylor)
Posted on 11/02/2008 10:10 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Bournemouth Council has banned Latin. From The Telegraph:
Bournemouth Council, which has the Latin motto Pulchritudo et Salubritas, meaning beauty and health, has listed 19 terms it no longer considers acceptable for use.
This includes bona fide, eg (exempli gratia), prima facie, ad lib or ad libitum, etc or et cetera, ie or id est, inter alia, NB or nota bene, per, per se, pro rata, quid pro quo, vis-a-vis, vice versa and even via.
Its list of more verbose alternatives, includes "for this special purpose", in place of ad hoc and "existing condition" or "state of things", instead of status quo.
In instructions to staff, the council said: "Not everyone knows Latin. Many readers do not have English as their first language so using Latin can be particularly difficult."
The details of banned words have emerged in documents obtained from councils by the Sunday Telegraph under The Freedom of Information Act.
Of other local authorities to prohibit the use of Latin, Salisbury Council has asked staff to avoid the phrases ad hoc, ergo and QED (quod erat demonstrandum), while Fife Council has also banned ad hoc as well as ex officio.
Professor Mary Beard, a professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge said: "This is absolute bonkers and the linguistic equivalent of ethnic cleansing. English is and always has been a language full of foreign words. It has never been an ethnically pure language."
Dr Peter Jones, co-founder of the charity Friends of Classics said "This sort of thing sends out the message that language is about nothing more than the communication of very basic information in the manner of a railway timetable.
"But it is about much more than that. The great strength of English is that it has a massive infusion of Latin. We have a very rich lexicon with almost two sets of words for everything.
"To try and wipe out the richness does a great disservice to the language. It demeans it. I am all for immigrants raising their sights not lowering them. Plain English and Latin phrasing are not diametrically opposed concepts."
Henry Mount the author of the bestselling book Amo, Amos, Amat and All That, a lighthearted guide to the language, said: "Latin words and phrases can often sum up thoughts and ideas more often that the alternatives which are put forward. They are tremendously useful, quicker and nicer sounding.
"They are also English words. You will find etc or et cetera in an English dictionary complete with its explanation."
However, the Plain English Campaign has congratulated the councils for introducing the bans.
Marie Clair, its spokesman, said: "If you look at the diversity of all our communities you have got people for whom English is a second language. They might mistake eg for egg and little things like that can confuse people.
"At the same time it is important to remember that the national literacy level is about 12 years old and the vast majority of people hardly ever use these terms.
"It is far better to use words people understand. Often people in power are using the words because they want to feel self important. It is not right that voters should suffer because of some official's ego."
“Ego”? Is bonus est medicus, sua qui sibi vulnera curat.
Posted on 11/02/2008 10:55 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Get back on your pinhead
From The Times:
In Korean mythology there is a unit of measure for a very long period of time. Imagine a mountain of granite, one mile high. Once every 1,000 years an angel flies down from Heaven and brushes the summit of the mountain with her wings. The unit of time is the number of years it would take for the angel and her summit-brushing wings to erode the mountain to the ground.
Korean angels aren’t much cop. Any English angel worth his wings could do that in the twinkling of an eye.
Posted on 11/02/2008 11:18 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Who Needs Those Redneck States Anyway?
The Obama campaign will be writing off West Virginia now, I suppose. Kentucky was never in play.
In the interview, Obama talks about the importance of coal. He went on to talk about his cap and trade proposal to help curb global warming.
"If somebody wants to build a coal power plant they can, it's just that it will bankrupt them because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted," Barack Obama said to the San Francisco Chronicle in January.
Posted on 11/02/2008 8:08 PM by Rebecca Bynum