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



















These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 30, 2010.
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Potter, Former Mayor Of Portland, Once Crowing And Now Eating Crow

Byron York at The Washington Examiner: 

Portland averted its eyes as terror threat grew

So said Tom Potter, mayor of Portland, Oregon, on April 28, 2005 as he and the city council voted to bar Portland police from participating in one of the federal government's key anti-terrorism initiatives, the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. In Portland's deep-blue precincts, there was intense opposition to the Bush administration's conduct of the war on terror; residents worried the task force might violate state anti-discrimination laws by targeting Muslims for their religious and political views. So city leaders forbade police from taking part in it.

They made brave statements. "Here in Portland, we are not willing to give up individual liberties in order to have a perception of safety," city commissioner Randy Leonard told reporters a few days before the vote. Yet there was still a little note of concern in Mayor Potter's words: What if there were a terrorist attack after we refused to work with the FBI to prevent it?

Last Friday, that nearly happened. FBI undercover agents arrested would-be jihadi Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a 19-year old Somali-born naturalized U.S. citizen, in connection with a plot to set off an enormous car bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square. Mohamud told the agents he wanted to stage a "spectacular show" in which hundreds, perhaps thousands of Portlanders would die. He also said he wasn't worried about getting caught because the authorities in Portland "don't see it as a place where anything will happen."

Mohamud's plot -- uncovered by the very FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force that city leaders rejected -- has rekindled the security debate in Portland. Tom Potter is no longer mayor, but his successor, Sam Adams, says it is time to "re-think" the city's rejection of the FBI task force. Council members who weren't in office in 2005 say the same thing.

Looking back at the '05 debate, it's striking how deeply concerned city officials were with the well-being of possible terrorist suspects, and how relatively less concerned they were with the threat of actual terrorist violence. The debate focused on whether, if Portland allowed its cops to take part in the task force, the FBI would abide by an Oregon law strictly barring police from collecting "information about the political, religious or social views, associations or activities" of anyone unless that information directly related to a criminal investigation and there were reasonable grounds to suspect that person was involved in criminal conduct.

The mayor demanded the FBI give him top secret security clearance so he could keep an eye on any investigation his police were involved in, just to make sure the anti-discrimination law was being observed. The FBI said no. When the city council acted, the people who advocated breaking with the FBI framed the issue as one of secrecy and transparency. "Portland has stricken a blow against government secrecy by deciding to pull out of the Joint Terrorism Task Force," said ACLU associate legal director Ann Beeson.

Opponents of the FBI often cited the bureau's mistaken arrest of Brandon Mayfield, a Portland lawyer and convert to Islam, for the 2004 train bombings in Madrid, Spain. But there's little doubt that Portland officials were angry over the war on terror well before the Mayfield incident, slamming the Bush administration over the Patriot Act and efforts to question Muslims in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Portland wanted to strike a symbolic blow against Bush, and it did.

There was one dissenting voice on the council. Before the vote, Commissioner Dan Saltzman warned that the action was "a step backwards" and that "the threat of terrorism is...real." Now, after the Mohamud incident, Saltzman is again calling for Portland to change its mind. "The events of this holiday weekend have made it clear that we need to have seamless communication with our regional and federal law enforcement partners," he said in a statement Monday. "We need to rejoin the Joint Terrorism Task Force."

The bottom line of all this is that the FBI saved Portland from a potentially horrendous attack. But city leaders weren't involved in saving themselves because they were more concerned about the possibility of discrimination than the reality of terrorism. Even as he cast his vote, Mayor Potter worried that something might happen. And now that Portland almost experienced his worst fears, shouldn't someone be toast?

Posted on 11/30/2010 7:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
A Musical Interlude: My Baby Just Cares For Me (Jack Payne)

Listen, and sing along if you feel like it, here.

Posted on 11/30/2010 1:15 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Police surveillance results in cancellation of islamic Revival conference

 Opinion was that this 'conference' would not take place - I missed this report in The Sun yesterday.

RADICAL Muslims scrapped a secret conference featuring hate preachers Omar Bakri and Sheikh Faisal after it was rumbled by police. They were due to appear by video link from overseas at the Islamic International Revival Conference on Saturday in London's East End.

Faisal was deported to Jamaica in 2007 for urging the murder of Jews, and Bakri fled to Lebanon in 2005 after praising the 7/7 bombers. Rabble-rousers Abu Izzadeen, just out of jail for inciting terrorism, and Anjem Choudary, who urges Sharia law in the UK, were to address followers in person.

Scotland Yard blocked a first venue, so the extremists switched to a second hush-hush spot. But they called off the meeting after finding cops knew of that one too.

An organiser whined yesterday that their right to freedom of speech had been infringed. He said: "The owner of the back-up premises was warned to cancel and not tell us till the last minute." Choudary, 43, said it exposed "a burning hatred" against Islam but vowed the seminar will take place.

Posted on 11/30/2010 2:29 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Israeli eye surgeons visiting Maldives to “illegally harvest organs”, claims Islamic Foundation

From the Minivan News

The Islamic Foundation of the Maldives has reiterated calls to the Maldives government to "shun all medical aid from the Zionist regime" with a team of seven Israeli eye surgeons due to arrive in the country next month, claiming that Isreali doctors and surgeons "have become notorious for illegally harvesting organs from non-Jews around the world."

"The health authorities in Maldives have to take utmost caution in allowing Israeli medical surgeons into this country and Maldivians who apply for treatment from these doctors have to take precautionary measures to avoid any foul play," it reads.

A day after the government-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) announced the imminent arrival of the Israeli doctors, the Islamic Foundation called on the government not to normalise relations with the Jewish state or "accept any sort of assistance from Israel as long as they are in the lands of Palestine."

President of Islamic Foundation Ibrahim Fauzy told Minivan News last week that the Foundation does not recognise Israel as a state, asserting that "it is also against our religion to have relationships with Jews."

In November last year, Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed narrowly survived a vote of no-confidence forwarded by the opposition for his role in the government's plans to normalise relations with Israel.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Political Counsellor at the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, Itay Tagner, stressed that the delegation was coming to the Maldives "on a purely humanitarian mission". relations with Israel. The team of surgeons will conduct eye camps in Male', Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo and Addu Atoll Gan "for free, for no cost", Tagner explained, and will bring surgical equipment, including a mobile surgery unit. He added that a 10 to 15 minute procedure performed by the eye surgeon could restore eyesight to the blind: "Once you see a person come out after 15 minutes and his whole life has changed, that picture is worth more than ten thousand words."

Addressing supporters at a rally Thursday night, opposition Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Afrashim Ali claimed that Israelis and other foreign elements that "should not be allowed to enter a 100 percent Muslim country" will gain a foothold in the Maldives as a result of handing over management of the Male' International Airport to Indian infrastructure giant GMR. "[The airport deal with GMR] will open a big doorway for the people of Israel, who are brutalising Palestinians without any justification, to come to the Maldives and take over," he said.

The leader of DRP's religious wing asserted that it is "expressly forbidden" to give any assistance to Israel as "they forced Palestinians out of their homes and brutalised them only because they say 'We are Muslims'." He added that "the loss of this airport from Muslim hands" would open "a huge door to help those who deliberately, antagonistically torture Muslims."

Warning of the consequence of foreigners exerting influence on domestic affairs, Dr Afrashim said that "when foreign kings and businessmen and company heads get a foothold in a small country like the Maldives, the result will be that they will never leave."

He added that the second step of the foreign invasion would be to "sow discord" and ferment chaos "to destroy the country". To back his assertion, Afrashim quoted from the Quran 27:34: "She said: 'Verily! Kings, when they enter a town (country), they despoil it, and make the most honourable amongst its people low. And thus they do.'"

"They will destroy Islam in the Maldives," he warned.

Posted on 11/30/2010 2:45 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Some belated reports from the Australian front: 1. Muslims meet resistance, claim victimhood

There are a number of stories that came up, during November, that are of some interest but that for one reason and another I didn't bring forward here at the time of their first appearance.  I will post them now as a series, a little belatedly.

Here is the first one, from mid-November, in Sydney's 'Sunday Telegraph', Barclay Crawford reporting.  Unsurprisingly, it features Muslims claiming victimhood when they do not get things all their own way.  I have bolded certain passsages for emphasis.

www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/sunday-telegraph/new-monsque-rules-to-spark-holy-row/story-e6frewt0-1225953127805

'New planning rules 'target Muslims'.

'Muslims claim they are the targets of new planning laws preventing religious groups from taking over empty churches abandoned by other faiths in south-western Sydney.

'The controversial regulations have been proposed by Canterbury Council - which includes the Islamic community strongholds of Belmore, Campsie, Canterbury and Lakemba.

(At this point it is worth recalling to mind exactly how it was that these suburbs became 'Islamic community strongholds'.  Good descriptions of the methods used by a significant percentage of Muslims, in order to precipitate the flight of non-Muslims from those parts of Sydney, are found in retired policeman Tim Priest's Quadrant article from Jan-Feb 2004, "The Rise of Middle Eastern Crime in Australia", which may be read here:

www.australian-news.com.au/Tim_Priest.htm

and in Paul Sheehan's Sydney Morning Herald article of August 14 2006, 'Ideals become casualties of war: a minority causes collateral damage to the way we live' -

www.smh.com.au/news/paul-sheehan/ideals-become-casualties-of-war/2006/08/13/1155407666922.html

in which you will find, for example, the story of Sheehan's friend Jenny D., who "used to live in Lakemba.  She began receiving insults from people in the street, usually Muslim women wearing headscarves, and sometimes Muslim men.  If she wore a short skirt, she could expect abuse or comment.  She left Lakemba".   As did, Mr Sheehan discovered, many others - pursued by similar, or even worse harassment - CM).

'The move is being backed by the Labor mayor Robert Furolo, who is also the state MP for the seat of Lakemba, and residents opposed to a mosque on the site of an ex-Roselands church.  

'The new planning controls would require all religious bodies to adhere to strict planning guidelines in residential areas.

'Planning laws in most NSW local government areas do not require religious organisations to make a new application to council if they buy a site zoned as a place of worship for use by another faith.

'But Canterbury's planning order would require a new approval of each purchase and restrict service times.  Muslims pray five times a day.  (And can, therefore, cause much greater traffic-and-parking problems in local streets than do the worshippers at your average suburban Christian church or, for that matter, Jewish synagogue - CM).

'The regulations follow a long-running controversy over the redevelopment of a former Chinese church as a mosque in Ludgate St, Roselands.

'Many in the Muslim community believe the council is playing the race card in the lead-up to the state election. (Did the Muslims use the word 'race'?  Or is the reporter simply being sloppy?  Either way, it's nonsense, for Islam is an ideology, not a race.  - CM).

"Robert Furolo wants to stir up the anti-Muslim thing", Ahmad Kamaledine, who is a director of the Lebanese Muslim Association, said.  "He wants people outside screaming and shouting and getting emotional about this".

(Now, let us recall all the news footage we've seen of huge Muslim mobs screaming and shouting and getting emotional about perceived - and in some cases, entirely trivial or even fabricated - insults or injuries to Muslims in places far, far away from themselves. Mr Kamaledine clearly thinks, however, that no non-Muslim outside of Roselands has any right to express an opinion about the impending Muslim makeover of a former Christian church in Roselands - CM).

'But Mr Furolo said the planning control would streamline processes. "The most controversial planning decisions are those surrounding places of worship.  They create more controversy than brothels."  He said he was not anti-Muslim.

'Ludgate St resident Ron Howe said he knew the official reason residents opposed the mosque was because it would bring too much traffic to the quiet residential area.  (Which it will - CM).

'But there was another reason.  "Of course it's got to do with the fact they are Muslim", the resident of 42 years said.  "There's a real feeling they [Muslims] are taking over around here.  (He is right.  Read Paul Sheehan's article that I linked above. - CM).  They already have at least three mosques in the area; why do they need another one?"

'Frank Waring, 72, feels the same way. "They will take over the whole neighbourhood if they open the mosque", he said. (Again, he is right.- CM).

'The mosque, which initially involved former Bulldogs star Hazem El Masri (who I understand may be going into politics - CM) and boxer Anthony Mundine, has been approved for three days a week but wants to operate from 4.30 am - 11 pm daily.

(Which is a very different kettle of fish from a church.  Very few churches would have services at 4.30 am, DAILY.  And note the pattern here.  The Muslims, having gotten approval for one thing, instantly up the ante.  It will be a minaret and a muezzin and the azan full-blast from loudspeakers five times a day, unless Canterbury Council and the remaining non-Muslim residents are prepared to confront them  - CM).

Posted on 11/30/2010 4:49 AM by Christina McIntosh
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
A Rahm-Emanuel Musical Interlude: Sweet Home Chicago (Robert Johnson)

Listen here.

Posted on 11/30/2010 7:50 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Mick Davis Shows, Yet Again, That Having Lots Of Money Is Not A Substitute For Detailed Knowledge

Candidly Speaking: The de-Zionization of Anglo Jewry


Chaim Weizmann would turn in his grave were he aware of the public attacks on the Israeli government by some in the UK Jewish leadership.

Mick Davis, the South African-born chief executive of the powerful mining group Xstrata, is chairman of Anglo Jewry's United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA) - the principal fund-raising institution for Israel of the UK Jewish community.

He also heads a body known as the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) - essentially comprised of a group of wealthy British Jews and their acolytes who, by virtue of their financial largesse, assume a dominant influence on many levels of communal life. The power represented by their collective wealth enables them not to be accountable to anyone and few would dare question their policies.


Anglo Jewry has been blessed in the past with rich philanthropists, many of whom were also endowed with wisdom. Despite his immense wealth and access to the most important leaders in the land, Sir Moses Montefiore was devoted to his people and, far from radiating hubris or arrogance, generated respect and love.

In striking contrast, Mick Davis, also known as "Big Mick," displays characteristics associated with the nouveau riche, akin to the behavior of some of the Russian- Jewish oligarchs. His opinions are rarely challenged and he contemptuously rejects the suggestion that holding a communal role in any way precludes him from publicly expressing views which would normally be considered incompatible for anyone occupying such a position.

Needless to say, Davis is fully entitled to say whatever comes to his mind. Nobody seeks to deprive him of freedom of expression.

Many Jews are critical of Israeli governments.

But for a person holding senior public office in a major Diaspora community to indulge in crude public attacks on Israeli leaders and relate to Israel's security requirements in relation to their impact on his image in non-Jewish circles is surely bizarre and utterly unconscionable.

While occupying the role of chairman of the UIJA in a country in which hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism have reached record levels, Davis brazenly incites his fellow Jews to criticize Israel.


RESIDENT IN London, he had the chutzpa to berate the Israeli prime minister "for lacking the courage to take the steps" to advance the peace process, arguing that "I don't understand the lack of strategy in Israel." He also employed the terminology of our enemies, predicting an "apartheid state" unless Israel was able to achieve a two-state solution - unashamedly blaming Israelis rather than Palestinians for being the obstacle to peace.

His sheer arrogance was best demonstrated in his most outrageous remark: "I think the government of Israel has to recognize that their actions directly impact on me as a Jew living in London, UK.

When they do good things, it is good for me; when they do bad things, it is bad for me. And the impact on me is as significant as it is on Jews living in Israel... I want them to recognize that."

Aside from implying that Israel is responsible for the anti-Semitism he is encountering, Davis is effectively warning that when considering defense issues which may have life-or-death implications for Israelis, the government must be sure not to create problems for him in his non- Jewish social circles. From his London mansion, he blithely brushes aside suicide bombers, rockets launched against our children and the threat of nuclear annihilation because his gentile friends might complain about the behavior of his Israeli friends.

Jonathan Hoffman, vice president of the UK Zionist Federation (one of the few Anglo-Jewish leaders courageous enough to criticize Davis), expressed outrage that the UIJA chairman could make such a remark. "We are not aware that Hampstead is within range of Iranian or Hamas missiles, nor that its residents have to send their children to the IDF for three years," he said.

It is telling that over recent years, Davis has not been renowned for condemning the shameful policies of British governments in relation to Israel. And it is no coincidence that immediately after the UK abstained from the UN vote on the Goldstone Report, Davis chaired a JLC reception at which former foreign minister David Miliband was the key speaker. On that occasion, the "outspoken" Davis felt constrained not to express a single word of complaint or disappointment at the perfidious behavior of the British government in relation to this issue.

Admittedly, Davis' latest outburst is neither intellectually challenging nor persuasive.

But emanating from a Jewish "leader" in the anti-Semitic UK environment in which campaigns to boycott and delegitimize Israel are at an all-time high, and at a time when Israel is under siege and fighting for its existence, it surely represents a level of unprecedented vulgarity.

IN ANY self-respecting Diaspora Jewish community, Davis would have been obliged to tender his resignation immediately after making such outrageous remarks.

Not so in sunny London.

Instead of condemning him, the Anglo- Jewish establishment groveled. Many even seemed delighted that one of their leading spokesmen had distanced himself from what many of them may regard as the unsavory government which the people of Israel had democratically elected.

With the exception of Jewish National Fund head Samuel Hayek, not a single member of the JLC criticized Davis.

The president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Vivian Wineman, said, "Mick Davis is entitled to make his remarks - there are a wide range of views in the country and in Israel on these issues."

Simon Hochhauser, president of the Orthodox United Synagogue and a JLC trustee, may one day regret and feel ashamed for having stated that "there is nothing in the quoted comments I would disagree with."

Former UIA chairman Brian Kerner said that he was "broadly supportive" of the views expressed by Davis, but questioned voicing them in public because "it is only picked up by our enemies, distorted and used against us."

Harvey Rose, chairman of the Zionist Federation, also agreed with "much" of the position expressed by Davis, noting that "how Israel is perceived in the UK has a direct bearing on our comfort levels in Britain."

The non-Orthodox groups, some of whom had always been inclined against Zionism, applauded Davis as "a remarkable leader and a true Zionist leader."


Anglo-Jewish leaders share a long tradition of burying their head in the sand, avoiding confrontation and displaying a determination not to rock the boat under any circumstances. One of their leaders actually wrote in The Jerusalem Post, proudly boasting how their pro-Israel advocacy approach was based on "whispering" rather than "shouting."

Today, by lacking the courage to challenge the propriety of one of its most senior "leaders" indulging in coarse public condemnations of Israel, the trembling Israelite establishment has further undermined the standing of the UK Jewish community.

When one proudly recalls the outstanding contribution of British Jews to the development of Zionism, and the role played by leaders of the caliber of Chaim Weizmann, one is left with a sense of profound sadness. The Anglo- Jewish Zionist pioneers would turn in their graves were they aware of the irresponsible behavior of those who have currently assumed the mantle of leadership of their community. ["leadership" apparently means, in the context of Anglo-American Jewry, simply having a lot of money -- why should that entitle anyone to be listened to with respect? Why? This is absurd.]

Posted on 11/30/2010 8:53 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
A Musical Interlude: The Man Who Broke The Bank At Monte Carlo (Charles Coborn)

Watch, and listen, here.

Posted on 11/30/2010 9:17 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Mick Davis, "Jewish Leader"

Mick Davis is apparently a "Jewish leader" only because he is head of the United Jewish Israel Appeal -- a post for which not intrinsic merit, not knowledge or intellectual distinction, is required, but mere money, and lots of it.  He is not alone as being one of thsoe rich men who, believing his heart is in the right place, doesn't think his mind needs to be educated. Being, as he fondly sees it, "pro-Israel," the exact contents of that "pro-Israel" feeling are not examined, and many, especially these "Jewish leaders" who are all about fund-raising and donations, apparently believe themselves  exempt from any requirement of learning, in detail, about the history of the Middle East, or about the texts and tenets of Islam that explain the treatment of Jews under Muslim rule, and explain, too, the nature of the Jihad against Israel that can be contained, but is not susceptible of a "solution." Mick Davis is made 'uncomfortable" in his most comfortable London existence because he does not know enough to answer back when others criticize Israel, has never allowed himself the one luxury that matters -- the luxury of time to study, and assimilate, material that could provide him with the intellectual wherewithal to properly understand Israel's plight, and to defend Israel, rather than to adopt a hectoring tone toward it, the desperate result  of his own ignorance and consequent inability to defend Israel.

Mick Davis, head of a South African mining company, apparently has time to be a "Jewish leader" -- or to assume a "leadership role" (dinners, plaques, photographs of bigshots dripping withJihad against Israelz) -- but has no time to read a few books, such as those that would explain to him the nature of Jihad, and why the Infidel nation-state of Isreal cannot rely on treaties and agreements with Muslim countries (vide "Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyya"), and a great deal more, without which it is simply impermissible to comment sensibly on what the Jews of Israel should or should not do to defend themselves iin their permanently beleaguered country. 

If Mick Davis feels like learning about this, he can inquire from those connected to this very websent, and be sent a reading list that, if he actually goes through systematically, might chasten him. Should he opt -- as he would, if he had any sense,a private tutorial that will 'splain it all to him, and make him the cynosure of all eyes at the next gathering of "Jewish leaders," there are even those waiting to offer private tutorials. .Given the gravity of the matter, and the gravamen of the charges made  against him for arrogant ignorance, he might think about it. And let's, like Finnegans Wake, end with the same theme with which we began:  the cost of tuition would be most reasonable.  He could even bring a friend.

Yes, Mick Davis has so much money and I at the moment am practically broke. On the other hand, Mick Davis does not possess nearly enough enough information about Israel and Islam, and I have some of that information  to spare. Comparative advantage. Ricardo. David Ricardo. An English Jew, but one without the wherewithal which, nowadays, is apparently de rigueur if you want to be that self-proclaiming much-pontificating thing, a "Jewish leader." 

Posted on 11/30/2010 11:45 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Pseudsday Tuesday

When is a meme not a meme? Never. We are all memes now.  From NOOP.nl. Nope? Meme neither:

Santa Clause is a meme; the Christmas tree is a meme; putting presents in stockings (or in shoes as we do here in Holland) is a meme; Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a meme; the birth of Jesus Christ is a meme; and angels and elves are all memes.

It is the same with rules, procedures, and practices for software development. They are ideas, concepts and beliefs that people copy from each other through mimicry, interaction, and learning. Stand-up meetings are a meme; pair programming is a meme; refactoring is a meme; iterative development is a meme; and user stories are a meme. Memetics is the study of evolutionary models of information transfer, often in a cultural context.

We refer to a collection of interdependent memes as a memeplex. Christmas is a typical memeplex. And so is agile software development. Universal Darwinism shows us that memes group together in a memeplex because they will copy themselves more successfully when they are "teamed up." (Genes do the same thing, in which case they are called gene complexes.) Christmas is a successful memeplex in that all the different memes, despite having many different origins, now reinforce each other, rendering them virtually indestructible. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer probably wouldn't have survived on his own. But the meme has, quite literally, teamed up with Santa Claus, and now seems to have reached an immortal status.

Well, not quite literally.

Posted on 11/30/2010 2:18 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Good Night, Vienna

Things aren't looking good for Austria at the moment. What with Elisabeth Fritzl, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolf , the man fined for offending Muslims with his yodelling and what Obama calls the "Austrian" language, they may as well call it a day. Over three centuries ago, one man nearly did. He may have been drunk, but he was the full Schilling. From Wikipedia:

"Oh du lieber Augustin" is a Viennesefolk song, composed by Marx Augustin in 1679. In 1679, the bubonic plague became epidemic in Vienna (see Great Plague of Vienna). Lieber Augustin was a popular street musician, who, according to legend, fell into a pit filled with bodies of plague victims, late at night when he was drunk. Assuming that he was certain to catch the disease they left him for dead. Augustin did not contract the disease, which may have been owed to the influence of the alcohol. The story lives on in the song Oh du lieber Augustin. The tune is nearly identical to the tune of Did You Ever See a Lassie?, as they share the same notes, but the only difference is that it is longer and more melancholy than that song:

O, du lieber Augustin, Augustin, Augustin,
O, du lieber Augustin, alles ist hin.
Geld ist weg, Mäd´l ist weg,
Alles hin, Augustin.
O, du lieber Augustin,
Alles ist hin.
Rock ist weg, Stock ist weg,
Augustin liegt im Dreck,
O, du lieber Augustin,
Alles ist hin.
Und selbst das reiche Wien,
Hin ist's wie Augustin;
Weint mit mir im gleichen Sinn,
Alles ist hin!
Jeder Tag war ein Fest,
Und was jetzt? Pest, die Pest!
Nur ein groß' Leichenfest,
Das ist der Rest.
Augustin, Augustin,
Leg' nur ins Grab dich hin!
O, du lieber Augustin,
Alles ist hin!

Text and melody: Marx Augustin (1679)
Translation here
Here's the tune, played by someone who could be a Gumby from Monty Python:

Posted on 11/30/2010 2:30 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Buy Israeli Goods

H/t Harry's Place:

Buy them here.

Posted on 11/30/2010 3:09 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
When Irish Eyes Are Crying
by Theodore Dalrymple (December 2010)


By far the most revealing comment on the Irish crisis was made - inadvertently, of course - by the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland when he announced that he would resign, dissolve parliament and hold a general election in the near future, once the austerity budget that was the condition of a financial bail-out of his country had been passed.  more>>>
Posted on 11/30/2010 3:59 PM by NER
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Fighting Shariah Through the Law: An Interview with David Yerushalmi, Esq.
by Jerry Gordon (December 2010)


Shariah, Islamic law, has become increasingly visible in the debates concerning possible Islamization in the West. It is at the core of opposition to and debate about expansion of mosques in this country. more>>>
Posted on 11/30/2010 4:05 PM by NER
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Some belated reports from the Australian front: 2 - Sydney Muslims flex political muscle, demand pro-Muslim candidates

This story appeared on November 17 in Sydney's 'Daily Telegraph', Geoff Chambers reporting.  Do click on the link, as the picture that goes with the story - depicting Muslims at Lakemba listening to speakers - is most revealing.

www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw-act/fed-up-muslims-to-take-on-alp/story-e6freuzi-1225954634101

'Fed-up Muslims to Take On ALP'.

'Islamic leaders have declared war on the State Government, calling for pro-Muslim candidates to run in key western Sydney Labor seats.

'Lebanese Muslim Association president Samier Dandan yesterday used the Eid-al-Adha festival at Lakemba to outline his group's political ambitions.  

'In front of more than 5000 followers, Mr Dandan said Labor had to be kicked out of office at the March [i.e. March 2011 - CM] election.

'"We want the Muslim people to have their say.  We are telling them that Labor has not done the job (translation: Labor has not submitted sufficiently grovellingly? - CM)  and that it's time for them to go", he said. 

'Mr Dandan said the seats of Auburn, Lakemba, Liverpool, Bankstown and Canterbury would be targeted.

(These are the most heavily Islamified suburbs of Sydney.  I have already referred, in an earlier post in this series, to Australian journalist Paul Sheehan's article from the Sydney Morning Herald of 13 August 2006, describing the means by which they have been Islamified.  Here it is again.

www.smh.com.au/news/paul-sheehan/ideals-become-casualties-of-war/2006/08/13/1155407666922.html

And here are the most telling passages from that article:

 'One of the edges of the global clash between Muslims and the rest is a bottle shop in a small and ratty shopping mall in western Sydney.  The owner of the bottle shop is suffering low-level but steady harassment from his neighbours, who want him gone.  He's a Christian [and later in the article Sheehan notes that this man is a Lebanese Arab Christian - CM] who has been told repeatedly: "This is a Muslim area", and he is selling alcohol, which is proscribed by Islam.

'The one-hour parking zone outside the bottle shop is always occupied because local Muslims leave their cars there all day.  The owner has written to the local council to complain, and nothing has been done.  He does not want to be identified because he fears retribution.  His reaction is sensible.

'A friend of mine, Jenny D., used to live in Lakemba.  She began receiving insults from people in the street, usually Muslim women wearing headscarves, or sometimes Muslim men.  If she wore a short skirt, she could expect abuse or comment.

'She left Lakemba.  [And one wonders how many others like her, did the same - CM].

'Soon after, I moved to America, stayed away for 10 years, and thought nothing more of her story.  But after I came back to Sydney I found Jenny's experience had been part of a larger pattern.

'One particularly strong witness to this pattern was Judith, who managed an agency helping war widows, because she encountered dozens of cases where people were harassed by Muslim neighbours who wanted them gone. "It was common", she told me. "A lot of these ladies couldn't take it and moved out.  It happened in Campsie, Belmore, Lakemba, Bankstown, Punchbowl...

"It was everything...throwing rubbish over the fences, screaming abuse, blocking the driveway, knocking fences down.  One guy would throw coffee grains on the windows and bottles on the roof late at night...I confronted some of them, and the men would call me a lot of names, mostly in Arabic"...'.

Sheehan also quotes from an incident report prepared by Bankstown police in 2005 - 

'On the evening of 12/ 12/ 05 numerous vehicles were sighted congregating in the vicinity of Punchbowl Park situated on Rose Street, Punchbowl. 

'These vehicles and the crowd that had gathered were suspected to be Middle Eastern criminals who have been involved in malicious damage and civil disobedience offences throughout the Sutherland Shire and St George areas.  

'A direction was given to police about midnight not to enter the area and antagonise these persons".' END EXCERPT. 

In other words: Muslims have been seizing control of portions of western and south-western Sydney by all the usual methods.

Now, back to the Daily Telegraph and Muslims who, having succeeded in demographically Islamifying certain suburbs, are aiming for political power. - CM).

He [Mr Dandan] did not rule out the possibility of running independent candidates at the election. "I can't disclose our strategy but our message is clear.  We need change. Our people have been marginalised and left behind", Mr Dandan said.

(Reread the passages I quoted from Paul Sheehan's article, above, especially the bit about Muslim harassment of war widows so they will sell out cheap to Muslim buyers, and then ask yourself who has been marginalising whom - CM).

Mr Dandan, a member of the Arabic Chamber of Commerce who served as a Muslim Reference Group adviser to former prime minister John Howard, said councils and Labor MPs had discriminated against Sydney's Muslims.

(Ah yes, the familiar cry of 'persecution!'.  Actually, if one asked the local non-Muslims, such as the Christian bottle-shop owner who Paul Sheehan spoke with in 2006, I suspect one would find that their main complaint would be that in general the councils and MPs were bending over backwards to appease and flatter and stroke Muslims, at the expense of everyone else - CM).

"Enough is enough.  Labor thinks these are safe seats.  That's why they don't spend the money", he said.  "And the Liberal Party, why would they bother?"

'Former NRL [National Rugby League - CM] star Hazem El Masri has been sounded out by the Liberal Party to stand.  While Labor MPs were nowhere to be seen, Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell sent an Arabic-speaking spokesman.

(Uh-oh: contrary to Mr Dandan's pronouncements, it appears that the NSW state Liberal Party is being well and truly tempted by the Muslim voting bloc.

And then the article moves on to give us some boilerplate platitudes about how there are so many Muslims and they are so very devout and well-behaved...- CM).

'More than 25 000 people attended the Lakemba Mosque yesterday to celebrate the second most important day on the Muslim religious calendar.

' About 4500 Sydney Muslims travelled to Mecca for the annual pilgrimage, joining two million followers of Islam from across the globe as they descended from Mount Arafat.  

'The religious festival is held roughly 70 days after the end of Ramadan and remembers Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God'...

(And does reporter Geoff Chambers know or care that  the book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible, a text over a millennium older than the invention of Islam, states plainly that it was Isaac, not Ishmael, who was offered?  Or know that there is no historic record of any rival claim that Ishmael was the offered son, until after Islam came along in the 6th century AD?  If Chambers did not know, he should have done some research. If he does know, but chooses nevertheless to mindlessly reproduce the Muslim theft and rewrite of the Biblical story, he is doing a great disservice to the many 'Telegraph' readers who do not know their Bibles well enough to see what the inventors of Islam were up to.  - CM). 

'Wangee Rd was shut down until 10 am for the festival, and police reported no incidents'.

'Police reported no incidents'.

(Would one read such a sentence at the end of a newspaper report describing a Hanukkah lamp-lighting, or a 'carols in the park' gathering?  Why is it noteworthy that a gathering of some 25 000 Muslims for a religious 'festival' should pass without 'incidents' requiring  police intervention? Especially given the reporter's curious turn of phrase at the opening of his article -  'Islamic leaders have declared war on the State Government..'. -  CM.)

Posted on 11/30/2010 3:12 PM by Christina McIntosh
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
The Rule of Art

by Mark Anthony Signorelli (December 2010)


Let me begin with an uncontroversial assertion: we produce no art. What I mean is that for two or three generations western peoples have not, by their collective or individual endeavor, produced any artifacts which can be identified, on any intelligible principles, as the same kind of thing which had been referred to as music, poetry, drama, sculpture, or painting by all preceding generations of Western man, and which were the varied accomplishments of such figures as Virgil and the anonymous poets of the Border Ballads, Scarlatti and Shubert, and the craftsmen of the Duomo of Siena. What we have become accustomed to referring to as "our arts" no more merit that title than a sow deserves to be called a thoroughbred.  more>>>

Posted on 11/30/2010 4:15 PM by NER
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
What Does Hezbollah Do For A Living?
by Geoffrey Clarfield (December 2010)


If you are thinking of smoking a joint and escaping from the ongoing depressing news in the Middle East, you may want to think twice, for in smoking that joint or wedge of hashish you may be inadvertently funding Hezbollah.  more>>>
Posted on 11/30/2010 4:19 PM by NER
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
The First Hebrew Textbook Set in Modern Palestine
by Norman Berdichevsky (December 2010)


Language textbooks often try to present the cultural aspects of a tongue in its homeland as well as the formal training in the various learning skills of speaking, listening comprehension, reading and writing. Obviously, where English, French, Spanish, or Portuguese is spoken in many different lands with quite distinct literatures, dialects, social relations and a wide range of national idiomatic expressions, the textbooks often provide clarifying footnotes to varying usage. If the language is spoken only in a single nation such as Danish or Hungarian, there may be more space to help the student understand the history of the linguistic homelands, their national traditions, music, and culinary specialties. more>>>
Posted on 11/30/2010 4:24 PM by NER
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Issues for 112th Congress: Sharia, Energy Independence, National Security and Immigration Reform
by Jerry Gordon with George Abraham (December 2010)


On Election Day, November 2nd,  Senior Editor Jerry Gordon and New York-based Talk Radio host George Abraham on Vicksburg talk radio station WVBG 1450 AM held a wide ranging discussion on several issues that the new 112th Congress might face in the wake of what some political observers called the Tsunami 2010 MidTerm election. The result of that electoral tsunami gave control of the US House of Representatives to the Republicans and diminished Democratic control of the US Senate. Among the issues discussed by Gordon and Abraham were questions about how to deal with the threat of Sharia law in the US, the necessity to spur energy independence, purging our intelligence and national security agencies, the reform of humanitarian refugee immigration as a deterrent against Islamization in America and the rise of home grown terrorism among émigré Muslims. Abraham, a Vicksburg native, is a New York business consultant. more>>>
Posted on 11/30/2010 4:28 PM by NER
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
The Truth About Islam: In Rebuttal to a Recent Article Published in The Tennessean

by Vijay Kumar (December 2010)


To an open minded, rational thinking person engaging in a fact-based assessment comparing the fundamental tenets of Islam with the founding principles of our Constitution, the essential opposition of these two ideologies should become quickly and readily apparent. Examples of this unmistakable opposition abound and are easily discerned.  more>>>

Posted on 11/30/2010 4:33 PM by NER
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
The Downfall of Political Islam

by Samir Yousif (December 2010)


Introduction


The theme of my argument is the following statement: Islam, as a religion, has nothing to offer to economic or political theory. This simple idea has serious consequences. Political Islam, when it runs the country, will ultimately fail. It has no appropriate agenda that provides solutions to real political or economic challenges such as underdevelopment, unemployment, inflation, recession, poverty, just to mention a few. more>>>

Posted on 11/30/2010 4:37 PM by NER
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Business & Education
by Rebecca Bynum (December 2010)
 
By Mark William Roche
University of Notre Dame Press, 2010
 


I
f asked which section of society currently controls our education system, one might casually and unthinkingly reply that government does, but that would be untrue. Control of education, which once rested in the hands of the church, passed straight through the government and landed directly in the hands of big business quite some time ago.  more>>>
Posted on 11/30/2010 4:40 PM by NER
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Genuine Romantic Love: Attraction, Attachment, and Attunement

by Thomas J. Scheff (December 2010)


An excerpt from What's Love Got to Do with It?: The Emotional World of Popular Songs

Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2010



Everyone already knows that romantic love requires sexual attraction, that's a given. The second component is almost as well known. It's called attachment, and its part of the show in both romantic and all other kinds of love, including love within families. Attachment is found in other mammal besides us humans: our cats Mischa and Wolfie have become attached to me and my wife, and we are attached to them.  more>>>

Posted on 11/30/2010 4:45 PM by NER
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Art and Communication

by David Hamilton (December 2010)


There is confusion about what art is. Distinctions and classifications are needed to clarify it. First, the qualities that make something art are intrinsic, not external. It is in the artifice, the organising of elements, perspective, choice of colour etc that makes it art because the result is obtained by transforming reality and thus nature, through human imagination and realised by skill and technique. more>>>

Posted on 11/30/2010 4:50 PM by NER
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
U. S. Condemns The Most Egregious Of Arab Muslim Denials Of History
US condemns Palestinian claim on Western Wall

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration on Tuesday strongly condemned a Palestinian official's claim that the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem has no religious significance for Jews and is actually Muslim property.

The State Department said the U.S. rejects the claim as "factually incorrect, insensitive and highly provocative." Spokesman P.J. Crowley said statements of that kind damage U.S. efforts to revive stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and could incite violence.

"We have repeatedly raised with the Palestinian Authority leadership the need to consistently combat all forms of delegitimization of Israel, including denying historic Jewish connections to the land," he told reporters.

"As the United States has long maintained, the status of Jerusalem must be resolved in final status negotiations between the parties," Crowley said. "We recognize that Jerusalem is a deeply important issue to Israelis and Palestinians, to Jews, to Muslims and to Christians everywhere."

Last week, a senior Palestinian official endorsed a study stating that the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, is Muslim property and has no link to Judaism. The study has drawn fierce criticism in Israel but Al-Mutawakil Taha, deputy Palestinian information minister, said the document is the official position of the Palestinian Authority.

Crowley stressed that neither side should do anything to prejudice the negotiations, including unilateral acts in Jerusalem. When pressed, he noted that the United States had also frequently expressed its concerns to Israel about the construction of Jewish housing in traditionally Arab east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians claim as their future capital.

"They both have responsibilities here," he said. "Both have to take the responsibility to create conditions for negotiations to resume."

The Palestinians have refused to return to peace talks unless Israel halts Jewish settlement activity in the West Bank and stops similar construction in east Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering U.S. incentives to implement a three-month slowdown in West Bank building but has refused to consider a halt in east Jerusalem.

_____________________

The Muslim  claim to Jerusalem, and to the Temple Mount, depends on religious belief -- that is, both on the belief that Muhammad's Night Journey (Miraj), to "the furthest mosque" (al-masjid al-aksa) mentioned in the Qur'an, must be, as an early Umayyad caliph sitting in Damascus decided (thus ending a controversy over where to locate that  "furthest mosque") insisted for reasons both of Muslim supremacy and to enlarge his own power, right on top of the Jewish Temple Mount.

Jerusalem is important to Jews because of their own long historical connection: "The Land made us, and now we are making the land" David Ben Gurion testified. Jerusalem is important to Christians because of the many sites associated with Jesus, the historical Jesus.The Muslim  claim to Jerusalem, and to the Temple Mount, depends on religious belief -- that is, both on the belief that Muhammad's Night Journey (Miraj), to "the furthest mosque" (al-masjid al-aksa) mentioned in the Qur'an, must be, as an early Umayyad caliph sitting in Damascus decided (thus ending a controversy over where to locate that  "furthest mosque") must have been located on top of the Jewish Temple Mount. You have to be a Believer, a Muslim, in order to believe that Muhammad ascended into Heaven on his winged steed Al Buraq, and that he did so, what's more, from the top of the Temple Mount. credit that story. But anyone -- the furthest HIndu or Buddhist or atheist, can recognize the Jewish and Christian connections to Jerusalem that do not depend on religious belief.

There is a difference.

Posted on 11/30/2010 4:41 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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