These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 20, 2009.
Sunday, 20 September 2009
Christian hoteliers charged with insulting Muslim guest
From The Telegraph
A Christian couple who run a hotel have been charged with a criminal offence for allegedly insulting a female Muslim guest about her beliefs.
Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang are charged with breaching Section 5 of the Public Order Act – causing harassment, alarm or distress. If convicted, they face fines of £2,500 each and a criminal record.
The Muslim woman was staying at the Bounty House Hotel in Liverpool, which is run by the Vogelenzangs, when a conversation arose between the hoteliers and their guest about her faith.
It is understood that among the topics debated was whether Jesus was a minor prophet, as Islam teaches, or whether he was the Son of God, as Christianity teaches.
Among the things Mr Vogelenzang, 53, is alleged to have said is that Mohammad was a warlord. He was. The Koran is full of the battles he fought. His wife, 54, is said to have stated that Muslim dress is a form of bondage for women.
The conversation, on March 20, was reported by the woman to Merseyside Police.
After being questioned on April 20, they were interrogated again three months later before being charged on July 29 with a religiously-aggravated public order offence. They appeared in court on August 14 and are now awaiting trial.
Mr and Mrs Vogelenzang do not accept that they were threatening or abusive in any way. David White, who is representing them, said that they believe they have the right to defend their religious beliefs.
Their case is being funded by the Christian Institute, which has backed a number of Christians in legal disputes.
A police spokesman said: "Merseyside Police can confirm that Benjamin Vogelenzang and Sharon Vogelenzang, both of Fazakerley, were charged with a religiously-aggravated public order offence on 29 July 2009. This follows an incident on 20 March 2009." This is very worrying as the conversation, as reported above, is similar to many that I have had. This is the comment from The Mail on Sunday. It is hard to comment on the detail of the case brought against an Aintree couple, Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang, since both prosecution and defence seem reluctant to speak about it.
But there is something disturbing about the fact that charges have been brought at all.
The alleged offence involved a conversation in a small private hotel, in which the Vogelenzangs are said to have criticised the Muslim religion.
The Public Order Act of 1986, invoked here, was specifically passed to control public processions and assemblies, to punish the stirring up of racial hatred and to bring peace to football grounds. The Crime and Disorder Act of 1998, also involved, was similarly intended to prevent racial harassment.
First, Islam is not a race, but a religion – a set of ideas with which all are free to
disagree. Keep making that point - it is fundamental! Secondly, the breakfast-room of a guest house, while not wholly private, is clearly not the sort of location the framers of the Public Order Act had in mind. And as their hotel, it would also be Mr and Mrs Vogelenzang's own home.
Prosecutions in this country have now become so selective that many have begun to wonder what the law is for.
Is it designed to protect the peace, well-being and property of the people of this country?
Or is it instead intended to enforce the ideas and beliefs of a self-regarding and dogmatic elite?
Beyonce Knowles says she will perform in Malaysia in October, two years after canceling a show in this Muslim-majority country after protesters threatened to disrupt the concert because of her sexy image and clothing.
The R&B superstar's upcoming show is already drawing the ire of conservatives[Erratum: note the mispelling of "Muslims"] in this country, where female performers are required to cover up from the shoulders to knees with no cleavage showing.
Knowles said on her Web site that she will take the stage at a stadium in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia's biggest city, on Oct. 25. "Beyonce for the first time ever has decided to make Malaysia part of her 'I am.' World Tour," her Web site said.
Knowles canceled a planned concert two years ago following protest threats by Malaysia's opposition Islamic party. At the time her talent agency said theshow was called off due to a scheduling conflict.
"We are not against entertainment as long as it is within the framework of our culture and our religion," Sabki said.
Read this article in the Financial Times magazine where Dr Suhaib Hasan is given a chance to speak. He describes himself as a judge (or qazi) with the Islamic Sharia Council. What isn’t in the article but which I know already is that Hasan works out of the mosque and Sharia Court situated at 80 Leyton High Road.
There are several very good reasons contained in this article which reinforce my view that we don’t want Sharia law in this country in any form.
Hasan tells of his work mainly in the field of divorce. He tells how, should a woman want a divorce, a more complicated affair for her than when a man wants one (talaq being so very, very, simple) she has to return her dower to him. She may argue that she needs that financial security to bring up the children but he does not allow her to escape her obligations to her husband on the pretext of taking care of the children, The UK has child benefit so at the Sharia court they know that she will get money from the state. That money is paid from my taxes so that should I, or any of my neighbours fall on hard times there is a safety net. It is not designed for Muslim men to renage on their responsibilities to support their children.
Or he may suggest that if she cannot support them that she gives custody of her children to her husband; generally the woman will refuse. In any event, according to sharia once a boy is aged 7 he can decide where and with which parent he wishes to live. And at the age of 14 a girl is considered responsible, she can trade or marry, and so she should be returned to the man then as it is his responsibility, not her mother’s, to find her a husband.
He also says he and his colleagues want two things to be accommodated into British law.
First the dower.
Second that the 12 Sharia councils be recognised as mediation bodies and the British courts enforce their decisions. Thankfully he isn’t actually getting that yet, despite the appearance to the contrary sometimes. This apparently would ease the pressure on the British legal system, were one section of the population allowed to take care of their own affairs.
Dream on Dr Hasan. What are you Dr of, by the way?
uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or
displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,
within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.
(2)An offence under this section may be committed in a public or a private place, except that no offence is committed where the words or behaviour are used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation is displayed, by a person inside a dwelling and the other person is also inside that or another dwelling.
(3) It is a defence for the accused to prove—
that he had no reason to believe that there was any person within hearing or sight who was likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress, or
that he was inside a dwelling and had no reason to believe that the words or behaviour used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation displayed, would be heard or seen by a person outside that or any other dwelling, or
that his conduct was reasonable.
(4) A constable may arrest a person without warrant if—
he engages in offensive conduct which [a] constable warns him to stop, and
he engages in further offensive conduct immediately or shortly after the warning.
(5) In subsection (4) “offensive conduct” means conduct the constable reasonably suspects to constitute an offence under this section, and the conduct mentioned in paragraph (a) and the further conduct need not be of the same nature.
(6)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.
The CPS own website says of the offence -
Whether behaviour can be properly categorised as disorderly is a question of fact. Disorderly behaviour does not require any element of violence, actual or threatened; and it includes conduct that is not necessarily threatening, abusive or insulting. It is not necessary to prove any feeling of insecurity, in an apprehensive sense, on the part of a member of the public: (Chambers and Edwards v DPP  Crim LR 896). The following types of conduct are examples, which may at least be capable of amounting to disorderly behaviour:
causing a disturbance in a residential area or common part of a block of flats;
persistently shouting abuse or obscenities at passers-by;
pestering people waiting to catch public transport or otherwise waiting in a queue;
rowdy behaviour in a street late at night which might alarm residents or passers-by, especially those who may be vulnerable, such as the elderly or members of an ethnic minority group;
causing a disturbance in a shopping precinct or other area to which the public have access or might otherwise gather;
Section 5 should be used in cases which amount to less serious incidents of anti-social behaviour. Where violence has been used, it is not normally appropriate to charge an offence under section 5 unless the physical behaviour amounts merely to pushing or undirected lashing out of a type likely to cause no more than a glancing blow, minor bruising or grazing. Such conduct may also be classified as disorderly and suitable for a charge under section 91 CJA 1967 in appropriate circumstances.
There must be a person within the sight or hearing of the suspect who is likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress by the conduct in question. A police officer may be such a person, but remember that this is a question of fact to be decided in each case by the magistrates. In determining this, the magistrates may take into account the familiarity which police officers have with the words and conduct typically seen in incidents of disorderly conduct. (DPP v Orum  Crim LR 848)
Although the existence of a person who is caused harassment alarm and distress must be proved, there is no requirement that they actually give evidence. In appropriate cases, the offence may be proved on a police officer's evidence alone.
Police officers are aware of the difficult balance to be struck in dealing with those whose behaviour may be perceived by some as exuberant high spirits but by others as disorderly. In such cases informal methods of disposal may be appropriate and effective; but if this approach fails and the disorderly conduct continues then criminal proceedings may be necessary.
In deciding whether a charge under section 5 is appropriate, the nature of the conduct must be considered in light of the penalty that the suspect is likely to receive on conviction.
Where there is reliable evidence that the accused was drunk in a public place at the time of the alleged offence to the extent that the accused had lost the power of self control, a charge of drunk and disorderly behaviour should be preferred where otherwise a section 5 charge would be appropriate.
By virtue of section 31 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, section 5 is capable of being racially aggravated - refer to Racially Aggravated Offences.
Racially aggravated section 5 is a summary only offence, with the maximum penalty being a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.
By virtue of Schedule 7 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, section 5 is capable of being an arrestable offence if the criteria in section 24A PACE (as amended by section 110 'SOCAP' Act 2005) is satisfied.
As the editor of the Mail on Sunday says it is difficult to assess the case as both prosecution and defence cannot discuss it. But I agree with the Mail that these circumstances are hardly what the legislators had in mind.
I was strongly reminded of this incident when a Catholic Priest was questioned by the Police for his comments in the parish magazine about Islam – thankfully there the police had the sense to see that his remarks were free speech and fair comment.
Surely the following matches more clearly the definition of public disorder given in the act under which the Christian hoteliers are charged? From the Daily Mail:
A top Foreign Office civil servant said the Israelis should be ‘blown off the face of the earth’ during an outburst at a gym, a court heard yesterday.
Rowan Laxton, 48, was allegedly heard shouting ‘f****** Israelis, f****** Jews’ at a TV news bulletin while working out.
The incident happened in January, during the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip.
Gideon Falter, who is Jewish, said he confronted Laxton, £70,000-a-year head of the Foreign Office South Asia desk.
Mr Falter told Westminster Magistrates Court Laxton said: ‘It’s f****** despicable what they’re doing in Gaza’ and ‘It’s not racist. If I had my way, the international community would be sent in and if the Israelis got in the way, they would be blown off the face of the f****** earth.’
Laxton denies stirring up religious hatred.
He told the court: ‘I am embarrassed. I offended somebody, I embarrassed the Foreign Office, I’ve caused anxiety to friends and family.
'I regret using foul language and I regret using imprecise language.’
He said he was upset at a TV report of the death of a Palestinian farmer.
Defending, Julian Knowles said Laxton had no reason to believe anyone could hear him as he was alone on the top tier of the gym.
This is "abusive", "insulting" and will have caused "harrassment, alarm or distress". It is also somewhat surprising - as a rule, FCO/upper class anti-Semitism is subtle and sneery rather than sweary and shouty.
Merely stating the FCO party line on Israel, though disgustingly anti-Semitic, would not be disorderly conduct. But yelling "F****** Israelis, f******* Jews" (oops, he forgot to say "Zionists") definitely is. And Laxton was in a public place (a gym) so it is nonsense to say that he thought nobody could hear him.
Laxton has been charged with inciting "religious hatred". I think this is a nonsensical, imprecise offence - so imprecise that Laxton will probably get off - while "disorderly conduct" is far more objective and entirely applicable. And it is the conduct that should be the basis of the charge, not somebody's hurt feelings.
Matthew Moore gives his take in the Telegraph, but if you want to read a more intelligent and well-written article on this subject, read The Importance of Being Google by G. Kim Blank in this month's NER.
Roger Kimball writes in his tribute to Irving Kristol:
Whether the topic was the welfare state, foreign policy, the totalitarian temptation, or the terrible legacy of the 1960s, Irving always articulated exactly what was at stake in the subject under discussion. He was a practical man, consummately attuned to what, for lack of a more elegant term, I will call the “policy implications” of ideas. But he saw with unusual perspicacity that ideas mattered. In a 1973 essay called “On Capitalism and the Democratic Idea,” he put it thus:
For two centuries, the very important people who managed the affairs of this society could not believe in the importance of ideas — until one day they were shocked to discover that their children, having been captured and shaped by certain ideas, were either rebelling against their authority or seceding from their society. The truth is that ideas are all-important. The massive and seemingly solid institutions of any society — the economic institutions, the political institutions, the religious institutions — are always at the mercy of the ideas in the heads of the people who populate these institutions. The leverage of ideas is so immense that a slight change in the intellectual climate can and will — perhaps slowly but nevertheless inexorably — twist a familiar institution into an unrecognizable shape.
Naturally enough, Primo Levi took against the German language. This was not the language of Goethe but of snarling concentration camp guards. With less justification, I find myself taking against Arabic. The Islamic sermon linked below is offensive because it is stupid, and because it is delivered in a harsh, loud monotone, but mainly because it is riddled with SWTs and SAWs and other ugly Arabic incantations. These sit poorly with the speaker's northern accent; indeed they all but crowd it out, just as Islam crowds out the human being.
Readers of C.S. Lewis' Narnia books will remember Tisroc, a thinly disguised Mohammed, whose name could not be mentioned without the mantra "may he live forever". Are Mohammed and Allah so fragile that they need such slavish, mechanical praise?
SWT, incidentally, stands for subhanahu wa tala, which means "Glory be to Him and He is High above those things ascribed to Him." What a mouthful, and what an ungainly thought.
And let us not forget the old saw - or rather SAW - sallahu alayhi wa salam, meaning "peace be upon him" and trotted out without fail whenever a Muslim mentions Mohammed. You sometimes see this abbreviated to PBUH, which is easily transposed as PUBH - which is where you feel like going to drown out an Islamic sermon.
The repetition, particularly of SAW, is obsessive, occurring not just after Mohammed but after "he" or "him". Islamic writing is full of mangled, twisted, Arabic-ridden English like this:
Each hukm has its own method to fulfil. As for the prioritisation of the maruf and mukar, this has certain method for it to be fulfilled which is the way that the prophet (SAW) showed us how to fulfil. As for the work to establish Khilafah, this has its own method and the two are not dependant upon each other. Addressing one ma’ruf or addressing one munkar does not fulfil the obligation; rather it is continuous for whatever munkar may arise and whatever ma’ruf may be absent.
SAW SAW SAW. I saw Esau sitting on a seesaw. Methinks the peacemongers do protest too much. It's horrible. Almost as bad as toothache.
There is ijma of the u’lemaa’ that amr bil ma’roof wan nahi anil munkar is fard due to the explicit commands in the Quran and Sunnah and the condemnation, curse and criticism connected to those who neglect it. The u’lemaa’ differed over the nature of the hukm, some said amr bil ma’roof wan nahi anil munkar is fard kifaayah in itself due to its nature and due to the ayaat of the Qur’an and ahadeeth related to it. The majority of u’lemaa’ and mufassireen said the duty was fard kifaayah and some said it is fard ul a’yn in general and fard kifaayah for some from the ummah to be dedicated to it as a continuous role. Others said it was fardul a’yn and that the ayah referred to by some as a proof implying kifaayah was actually fardul a’yn and was in a form which was apparently a command to the part but implied the whole. Allah (swt) says “And let there be among you an ummah inviting to al Khayr and commanding the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar, those will be the successful. And be not like those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment.” (aali I’mraan 3:104-105) The first ayah is in command [amr] form and this implied an obligation for either some people from the ummah to perform the duties or for all to perform the duties according to a difference in the interpretation of the Arabic language in this verse. The end of the first verse also described those who performed this duty as ‘muflihoon’ [successful ones] and ‘falaah’ implies paradise and is the opposite of ‘khusr’ which implies jahannam.
In an amazing bit of irony, a Qatari government fund is creating the Al-Qaradawi Centre for Islamic Moderation and Renewal, named after leading Sunni scholar and self-proclaimed "Mufti of martyrdom operations" Yousef Al-Qaradawi. Its director claims that the center will direct its "moderation" towards "politicians and economists," train imams, and show the "huge difference between terrorism and jihad."
Yet all of these stated goals directly contradict Al-Qaradawi's statements in support of terrorism, his desire to overthrow capitalism, and his position as a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Director Hasan Khalifa is a professor of Comparative Religion at Cairo University and a great admirer of Al-Qaradawi. He stated that the organization "would direct its works at politicians and economists to help them promote moderation in their respective areas."
In the realm of politics, there are numerous examples of Al-Qaradawi's "moderation." He has openly permitted the killing of American troops in Iraq and praised the "heroic deeds" from "Hamas, Jihad, Al-Aqsa Brigades, and others." Reports by prominent London newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, repeated Israeli claims that Al-Qaradawi was funding "the heart of Hamas," the Al-Islam Charity, through his Welfare Coalition. He has also pledged to fight the United States if it attacked Iran, stating:
"When America threatened it [Iran], I said I am against America. Iran has the right to possess peaceful nuclear power, and if America fights it, we would stand up against it [America]."
To top it all off, Al-Qaradawi has proclaimed himself the "Mufti of martyrdom operations" and stated:
"I have been affiliated with a group considered by Zionists as their first enemy; it is the Muslim Brotherhood that has provided and still provides martyrs for the cause of Palestine."
Al-Qaradawi is known for advocating the overthrow of Western capitalism. While sitting together with Hamas leader Khalid Mishal in a public meeting of the Al-Quds International Institution, an organization in which the two of them are both board members, Al-Qaradawi stressed:
"We have our own economic philosophy and system which others do not have. The collapse of the capitalist system, which is based on usury and securities rather than commodities in markets, shows us that it is undergoing a crisis and that our integrated Islamic philosophy, if properly understood and applied, can replace Western capitalism."
The center claims that it will "also publish and translate books about moderation so as to reach out to Western readers." Perhaps they will also disseminate Al-Qaradawi's Priorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase, which advocates violent jihad and supports nearly all of the Mujahideen movements affiliated with Al-Qaeda. In this book, Al-Qaradawi has stated:
"The Islamic Movement should consider itself at the 'beck and call' of every Islamic Cause and respond to every cry for help wherever that cry may come from. It should stand with Eritrea in its jihad against the unjust Marxist Christian regime… It should stand by Sudan against the treacherous Christian racist rebellion… It should support the Muslims of Philippines against the biased Christian regime… It should also help the Muslims of Kashmir in their struggle… [against] Indian imperialism which … is trying to turn it into a base of conspiracy against Pakistan and the whole Muslim world as a whole... Hamas is an embodiment of the Palestinian people's belief in its Muslim and Arab origins, and a testimony that the people are still alive and will never die and that jihad will be carried on by pure hands and clean hearts until victory is achieved with the Will of Allah."
Another goal of the center is to train preachers and imams "because they have more close contact with the masses and can spread moderation to them." Al-Qaradawi's "moderation" includes his views on how to achieve victory over the Jews, in which he stated:
"When I was asked why we did not achieve victory over the Jews and why the Jews' state was established, I said because they entered the battle as Jews and we did not enter it as Muslims… In fact, we have stripped the battle of any religious meaning. Therefore, we will never achieve victory except by religion and faith. This is a religious nation. It has religious roots. If you advocate to it socialism, nationalism, democracy, or any such thing, it will not affect it. However, if you say there is no God but Allah and Allahu Akbar, raise the Koran in front of this nation, and say O winds of paradise blow and O Allah's Brigades set out, you will find the entire nation behind you… they [the Arabs] will never get anything except by resistance. Resistance is our support in front of our enemy. Our enemy will not give us anything free or do us a favor. Independence and freedom are not given or granted to people. The tree of freedom is watered by blood."
Al-Qaradawi "has always been calling for acceptance of others, 'whether they are Muslims or not,'" said Center director Hasan Khalifa. Al-Qaradawi expressed such views in the following quote, fromPriorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase:
"It is not right, in my view, that Christianity should monopolize all these [Western] countries unrivalled, or rivaled by Zionist Judaism that only joins forces with it against us. This is what I told our brothers in America, Canada, Australia, and other countries many years ago."
Perhaps, the statement to which he was referring was his 1995 speech at the MAYA conference in Toledo, Ohio, where he stated:
"Conquest through Da'wa [proselytizing], that is what we hope for. We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through sword but through Da'wa."
With all of his radical statements and hate speech, it is unbelievable that the Qatari Emir and Queen would sponsor a foundation in the name of Al-Qaradawi. This is especially worrisome, as the center is a part of its Western-oriented Education City, an effort to reach out to non-Muslim students. If these are the voices of a moderate Islam, which "are trying to fight extremism," what is left for the extremists?
Medvedev: Israel Attacking Iranian Nukes "Worst Thing That Can Be Imagined."
Don't everyone raise your hands at once. We know there is something worse to be imagined....much worse.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Israel promised Russia it would not launch an attack on Iran, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview aired on Sunday in which he described such an assault as "the worst thing that can be imagined."
Israel has hinted it could forcibly deny Iran the means to make an atomic bomb if it refuses to suspend uranium enrichment and has criticized Russia for agreeing to supply to Tehran S-300 anti-aircraft weapons that could complicate an attack.
In an interview with CNN recorded on Tuesday, Medvedev denied Moscow was backing Iran but said it had the right to supply defensive weapons and said sanctions against Tehran should only be used as a last resort.
An attack would lead to "a humanitarian disaster, a vast number of refugees, Iran's wish to take revenge and not only upon Israel, to be honest, but upon other countries as well," Medvedev said, according to a Kremlin transcript.
If Russia is afraid to stand up to them when they are weak, how will they ever stand up to Iran?
"But my Israeli colleagues told me that they were not planning to act in this way and I trust them."
During a meeting in the Russian resort of Sochi in August, Israeli President Shimon Peres said Israel would not attack Iran, Medvedev said. After the meeting, Peres told journalists Medvedev had promised to reconsider a contract to sell S-300s to Iran...
Oh well then, I guess the Israelis can call the whole thing off. (S-300's are anti-aircraft guns - nothing to do with Iran's nuclear capability.)
In this Q&A session following a presentation on Iblees (demons) and Shaitan (Satan), this "top scholar" (not to be confused with "top scientist") of Islam explains that Iblees come from the smoke of coral, through the pores. It sounds confusing when I say it, but it actually makes perfect sense, until the end of the session when it is revealed to all have been an irrelevant lie: Satan GOTCHA!
ISLAMABAD – A feared Taliban commander known for beheading opponents died in custody Sunday from wounds sustained during a fierce firefight with Pakistani security forces last week, the military said.
Sher Muhammad Qasab died after being critically wounded in the gunbattle in Swat Valley, the army's media center said in a statement. Qasab's three sons were killed when he was captured.
Qasab is an Urdu-language word meaning "butcher." He was given the title because of his ruthlessness toward enemies.
The arrest of Qasab — who had a $121,000 bounty on his head — was the third from the army's list of 10 most-wanted Swat militants. Qasab allegedly decapitated many Pakistani troops in Swat when the Taliban was in control.
A violent Muslim jihadi has died while in custody? Unleash the full fury of the "human rights" protests!
Wait. His captors were Pakistani Muslims? Cancel the "human rights" protests.
Whenever a government minister offers the British people increased choice within a monopoly public service such as the NHS, he acts as if he were an absolute monarch who, from the sheer goodness of his heart, was conferring an inestimable benefit upon the ignorant and impoverished peasantry. He forgets that he is, or should be, a servant of that very peasantry, and is soon himself to sink back into (often well-merited) obscurity.
Andy Burnham is the latest of a succession of health secretaries to offer the British public increased choice: this time of general practitioner. Those of us in the medical profession who recall the fiasco of the choose-and-book system, introduced without any preparation and even less thought a few years ago, and those of us who live in areas where there is a natural monopoly of general practice, might be excused a hollow laugh.
A cynic might even suggest that reforms are introduced not so much to improve services, as to keep the Department of Health busy: for without a major reform every 18 months or so (just before the last one can be shown not to have worked), what would there be for it to do? The one indisputable advantage of the NHS is that it employs a lot of people.
The first thing to say about Mr Burnham's proposal is that it takes for granted that choice is, always and everywhere, a good thing, and that more choice will solve most of our problems. Is this so?
In medicine, choice presents disadvantages as well as advantages. It is a very crude view of the professions that sees them in the same light as owners of convenience stores. Every government since Mrs Thatcher's has appeared to take a proto-Marxist view that they are conspiracies against the laity, constituted to extort the maximum money from the rest of the population; and while there is an element of truth in this, it is very far from being the whole truth. Professions have standards internal to themselves; and, ideally, it is not only because he is paid to do so that your doctor has an interest in your welfare, nor does that interest increase in proportion to his pay.
A doctor is more an adviser to his patients than a provider of what they want. A patient may take his doctor's advice or not as he sees fit, but he has no right to demand what the doctor does not think advisable. In my view, the doctor has an inextinguishable duty to be paternalistic, to concern himself not with the wishes of the patient alone, but with his interests. When this is lost sight of, you end up with stories like the death (and come to that, the pitiable life) of Michael Jackson.
At least 50 per cent of British GPs have been threatened or assaulted by a patient in the past 12 months, and it is a fair bet that the principal cause of this was the failure of the GPs to do exactly what their patients wanted. The fact is that patients are not always the best judges of their own interests, and doctor-shopping, going to different doctors until you get what you want, not infrequently ends in drug addiction and unneeded and dangerous procedures, to say nothing of wasteful expenditure.
There was a famous cartoon in Punch in the 1920s, in which a man asks an obviously rich surgeon at his club what he operated on Jones for. "A hundred guineas," replies the surgeon. "No, I mean what did Jones have?" asks the man. "A hundred guineas," replies the surgeon. And I hesitate to quote a man so terminally ignorant and arrogant about matters medical as George Bernard Shaw, but he had a point when he said that if you pay a man to cut off your leg, he will. Drug addicts will gravitate to those who prescribe most drugs – what William S Burroughs, in his book Junkie, contemptuously called "the writing croakers".
But of course there are great advantages as well as disadvantages to choice. Not all doctors are technically competent, let alone clinically wise. And it is in the nature of human nature that some people do not get on well together. A good relationship with your doctor is not only pleasant, but often strongly therapeutic. To have to consult a doctor whom you dislike, or even detest, is not good medically, although recently the Government seems to have solved this problem by the simple expedient of making it extremely difficult for a patient to see the same doctor twice (even in hospital).
Being able to choose a doctor, then, will be a great advantage to sensible people. They will exercise their choice with discretion, realising that the best doctor is not necessarily the most pliable doctor. He is the one who will do his best for you, not what you want, and therefore you trust him.
Afghan commandos try persuasion in strategic towns
If at first you don't succeed, just keep on trying the same strategy, no matter how many times it fails and no matter how much it costs you. Never, ever change your course, never, ever reconsider your position. From AP:
GHOWS KALAY, Afghanistan – The village is little more than a handful of mud huts surrounded by wheat fields, but the runway at NATO's main air base in Afghanistan's south is visible from the town center. There, the Afghan commando, his beard still youthfully scraggly, tried to persuade a small audience of countrymen to turn against the Taliban and rebuild their country.
Aziz once hoped to be a doctor, but instead found himself in uniform, offering a formal speech carefully printed on folded white paper [printed by who, his filthy kufr masters?], as NATO cargo jets rumbled overhead to and from the Kandahar base. A surface-to-air missile in hostile hands could wreak havoc on the stream of flights.
Col. Farid, deputy commander of the Afghan Commando Brigade, said a Taliban mullah near Kandahar once warned that international forces would not let the Afghan troops pray. Farid and his men prayed at the mosque that Friday, then Farid visited the mullah and prayed with him as well. That was all it took, Farid said, for the villagers to give him information about roadside bombs and enemy fighters.
Okay, I've got to call "bullsh*t" on this one. All's he had to do was pray with the villagers, and then they turned in their fellow devout Muslims to the kufrs? Color me EXTREMELY skeptical.
"We need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder to build up again," said Aziz, who is from eastern Afghanistan hundreds of miles away. "This country is our mother and our father. Fighting does not benefit us."
When he was done, the commandos backed up a tan Ford Ranger full of soccer balls, prayer rugs and backpacks. The special operations sergeant watched in amazement as the villagers walked to the truck. In 10 minutes, most of the village was kicking a soccer ball or running home with a prayer rug or hygiene kit.
A special operations sergeant working with Aziz's unit near Kandahar looked on with a wide grin.
"Sometimes in the class I don't think they are getting it, but seeing them in action blows my mind," the sergeant said. "You put a local in there and the words go straight to their ears."
The villagers accepted free trinkets from the filthy kufrs, therefore they've accepted the words of a straggly bearded youngster probably from a rival tribe in a far-away part of Afghanistan who is working with the filthy kufrs, over the words of their tribal elders and their Allah and their holy, holy Qur'an?
I will make a Simon-Ehrlich wager that the Afghan people will not end the killing of Coalition soldiers by IED's due to this persuasion, or any other form of reasoning. I will wager that the number of deaths of Coalition troops will not decrease, and the number of jihadis turned in to the foreign invaders will not increase (other than the occasional squabbles where the filthy but useful kufrs are used to attack/weaken rival tribes by identifying them, falsely or truthfully, as jihadis).
Muslims mass-producing children to take over Africa, says Archbishop
From The Times
One of the most powerful figures in the Anglican Church believes that Africa is under attack from Islam and that Muslims are “mass-producing” children to take over communities on the continent.
Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, 56, was elected Primate of Nigeria last week and his elevation could exacerbate tensions at a time when Anglicans are working to build bridges with Muslims. I don't know about that - I reckon he is speaking no more than the truth. Dr Michael Nazir-Ali resigned as Bishop of Rochester earlier this year to work in countries where Islam is the majority religion.
Archbishop Okoh made his controversial comments about Islam in a sermon in Beckenham, Kent, in July. He said that there was a determined Islamic attack in African countries such as Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.
“They spend a lot of money, even in places where they don’t have congregations, they build mosques, they build hospitals, they build anything. They come to Africans and say, ‘Christianity is asking you to marry only one wife. We will give you four!’ ” Archbishop Okoh described this as “evangelism by mass-production”.
He said: “That is the type of evangelism they are doing: mass-production, so if you have four wives, four children, sixteen children, very soon you will be a village.”
Africa was “surrounded by Islamic domination,” he said, and he urged Christians to speak out now or lose the authority to speak. “I am telling you, Islam is spending in Uganda and in other places, it is money from the Arab World,” he claimed, accusing Christians of abdicating their responsibilities. “Who is the leader in the Christian world? There is no leader.”
One senior member of Britain’s Muslim community said: “The views presented by the Archbishop are extremist and overwhelmed by Islamophobia and his elevation will certainly foster misunderstanding and extremism. Knowing the communal geography of Nigeria, he will be a massive danger to community relations and cohesion in his country, besides places like London.” Muslims are getting a bit rattled these days - I think they know that some are getting wise to them.
Muslims are getting a bit rattled these days - I think they know that some are getting wise to them.
Indeed. As are Islam apologists. For example, when confronted with the fact that members of the English Defence League were chatting amicably with Iranian protesters, they cannot process the information and they panic.
And for panic across the pond, see Hugh's post at Jihad Watch on Michael Kruse.
US Republicans, who identify missile defence as a key part of US national security, were also critical. John McCain, the presidential candidate who lost to Mr Obama, criticised the move as "seriously misguided". John Bolton, former US ambassador to the United Nations, a leading Bush-era hawk, was scathing.
"I think this is a near catastrophe for American relations with Eastern European countries and many in NATO," he said. "It was the kind of unilateral decision that the Bush administration was always criticised for and I think the clear winners are in Russia and Iran."...
Now that the Obama Administration has shut down missile defense against Iran in Eastern and Central Europe, pleasing Medvedev in Russia and the Mullahs in Tehran, the suspicion is that the masters of misinformation must have been busy in the National Intelligence Council (NIC). Just like the December, 2007 NIE that mislead us on the Iranian nuclear program, the NIC did it again in May, 2009 on the Iranian Missile threat. Thomas Jocelyn had a post on the Weekly Standard blog that spells out the disturbing facts. Jocelyn notes:
The press has sniffed out a partial answer. The Obama administration is relying upon a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) drafted in May of this year that differed from a previous intelligence assessment, which was current less than two years ago.
Behind the change, officials said on condition of anonymity, was a May 2009 National Intelligence Estimate which deemed Iran unlikely to have intercontinental missiles capable of striking the United States and all of Europe until 2015 to 2020.
A previous intelligence estimate, which former President George W. Bush cited publicly in October 2007, concluded that Iran could develop that long-range capability by 2015.
Three quick observations:
First, note that the Obama administration, in its fact sheet on missile defense, does not currently intend to deploy a missile defense system capable of intercepting Iran’s long-range missiles until 2020. Phase Four of Obama’s plan, which is “in the 2020 timeframe,” reads (emphasis added): “After development and testing are complete, deploy the SM-3 Block IIB to help better cope with medium- and intermediate-range missiles and the potential future ICBM threat to the United States.” All three of the previous phases deal with short to intermediate-range interceptors.
That is, Obama’s plan does not envision the deployment of a missile defense capable of countering Iran’s long-range missiles until the tail end of the current estimate of when the mullahs will have that capability. The current estimate is that Iran will have an ICBM capability between 2015 and 2020. Obama is therefore assuming the best-case scenario (for us) with respect to long-range missiles within that range. So, the current plan does not envision deploying long-range interceptors in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, or 2019, which are all possibilities in the current estimate. The Obama plan says things may change, of course, but for now they’ve assumed the best-case scenario from the West’s perspective.
Second, as I discussed earlier, it is still very likely that the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) does not really have a firm grasp on when Iran will deploy ICBM’s. Just as with the 2007 NIE on Iran’s nuclear program, the IC has once again modified its views within a relatively short period of time. The previous estimate said that the mullahs “could” have a long-range missile capability by 2015. This estimate was cited as recently as President Obama’s inauguration day, January 20 of this year. 2015 is still apparently a possibility, but the IC has now pushed back the tail-end of its range of possibilities. This means that it could be in 2015, or in 2020, some time in between, or whenever.
Of course, Iran continues apace with its satellite program (e.g. Iran launched its first satellite into space in February 2009), which can be used to push along its development of ICBM’s. So, it is not clear why the IC now thinks, on average, it will take longer than previously anticipated for Iran to develop a long-range missile capability.
Third, the timing of the news of this revised NIE is certainly inauspicious. An IAEA document reportedly showing that Iran has the capability to make a nuclear bomb and is developing a missile system capable of carrying it has been leaked to the Associated Press. The IAEA responded by issuing a statement saying it “has no concrete proof that there is or has been a nuclear weapon program in Iran.” This is transparently false as the AP’s account makes it clear that the IAEA’s document says Iran has mostly likely worked on both the ability to detonate a nuclear weapon as well as the capability to deliver it.
Thus, at the precise moment the Obama administration is telling us there is less to worry about with respect to Iran’s long-range missiles, a leaked IAEA document is telling us that there is more to worry about with respect to Iran’s nuclear program in general. The Obama administration’s entire rationale for its missile defense plan rests on the assumption that Iran will not be able to deliver such a weapon with a long-range missile for ten more years.
We can only hope that the administration is right, but even then having a missile defense shield already in place would be wise.
Michael Goldfarb has a post on The Weekly Standard blog that bares the extent of calumny among the wisemen advising the Obama Administration on Middle East policy. Zbig Brzezinski, Carter's NSC head suggested in an interview on the Daily Beast, that it might be okay to shoot down Israeli aircraft over flying Iraq intent of taking out Iranian nuclear weapons and missile delivery sites.
It is no wonder that less than 4% of Israelis polled trust Obama. Whatever happened to the special relationsip with Israel as an ally and conduit for vital military and strategic intelligence in the Middle East. Brezezinski's comments gives aid and comfort to the Mad Mullahs and Ahmadinejad in Tehran and to the rabid radical leftists in the US seeking to marginalize Israel in any Middle East peace negotiations.
DB: How aggressive can Obama be in insisting to the Israelis that a military strike might be in America’s worst interest?
Brzezinski: We are not exactly impotent little babies. They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch?
DB: What if they fly over anyway?
Brzezinski: Well, we have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren’t just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a Liberty in reverse.
The "Liberty that Brezezinski is referring to is the USS Liberty a Naval intelligence ship that was hit on June 8, 1967 by Israeli aircraft and motor torpedo boats while it was parked overshore from the Gaza/ Egyptian coast monitoring the combat communications traffic. 34 were killed and 171 wounded in the 'friendly fire' attack. Israel subsequently paid more than $20 million in worngful death reparations to the surviving families and those injured in the incident. We guess what Brzezinski has in mind is retribution for the Liberty incident should Israel unleash an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, given that the US will not and Russia's Medvedev judges that scenario as disatrous given alleged Israeli assurances to the contrary. In an AP report Medvedev said:
Although Russia has no defense agreement with Iran "this does not mean we would like to be or will be indifferent to such an occurrence. This is the worst thing that can be imagined," Medvedev said of a potential Israeli strike.
"What would happen after that? Humanitarian disaster, a vast number of refugees, Iran's wish to take revenge — and not only upon Israel, to be honest, but upon other countries as well."
"But my Israeli colleagues told me they were not planning to act in this way, and I trust them," Medvedev said.
Given Israel PM Netanyahu's mystery trip to Russia, anything is possible, including informing Medvedev about possible actions he might take with Russian technicians in Iran.
O Sweet Mary Mother Of God, He's An Alawite For God's Sake -- Who Does He Think He's Fooling?
Syrian president performs Eid al-Fitr prayer at Umayyad Mosque
DAMASCUS, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Sunday performed Eid al-Fitr prayer at the Umayyad Mosque, one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world, the Syrian Arab News Agency reported.
He was accompanied by some senior governmental officials when performing the prayer.
After the prayer, al-Assad listened to the Eid al-Fitr sermon which talked about the supreme meanings of the joy of Eid, the report said.
The sermon also hailed the mutual convergence and cooperation with neighboring Turkey which shares with Syria the same history and the Islamic civilization.
Eid al-Fitr, which began Sunday, is a three-day festival, during which Muslims exchanged visits and celebrated the end of fasting month of Ramadan.
John Edwards promises his girlfriend not the moon, and not the stars, but an appearance by the Dave Matthews Band:
"In the proposal, which The New York Times examined, Mr. Young [a former aide for Edwards who was asked to claim paternity of the child Edwards apparently had with Rielle Hunter] asserts that he assisted the affair by setting up private meetings between Mr. Edwards and Ms. Hunter. He wrote that Mr. Edwards once calmed an anxious Ms. Hunter by promising her that after his wife died, he would marry her in a rooftop ceremony in New York with an appearance by the Dave Matthews Band."