These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 6, 2014.
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Hillary Compares Putin To Hitler
Her attempt at giving a history lesson, by making a false analogy, is here.
And presumably, for her the Crimea is just like the Sudetenland. But the Sudetenland ran along the northern and western border of Czechoslovakia, was often mountainous, and was well-fortified by the Czechs, who were also well-armed and many think, had they held onto that Benes line, might have put up fierce resistance to the Germans That's why it was so important for Hitler to have Konrad Heinlein, leader of the Sudeten Germans, to stage protests that would then be suppressed by the Czechs, who could then be depicted -- in a German-sponsored campaign -- as cruelly preventing self-determination. Hitler spoke about this more than once, and on the most memorable occasion, spoke for the "self-determination" of the "Sudeterns" and of the "Arabs of Palestine." And the Sudeteners were told to "make demands that can never be met." Mahmoud Abbas is doing just that. And just as the Czechs needed the Sudetenland to survive militarily, the Israelis need the territory they currently possess -- all of it -- if they are to survive militarily. The true analogy for Hillary to make is not between Putin and Hitler, but between the endless demands of the Nazis and the endless demands of those engaged in Jihad. These are ideologies for whose adherents there are no limits -- the entire world belongs to them. .
Stripped of the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia was helpless before Hitler's invaders. The Crimea, however, was controlled by Russia and peopled by Russians for several centuries, becoming part of the Ukrainian SSR only when Khrushchev, thinking it hardly mattered, transferred it from the RSFSR to the USFSR.
There's a lot wrong with Putin and the mobsters. But too many indiscriminately employ the epithets "fascist" and "Nazi" and "racist" in an intolerable fashion, and invoking Hitler is another example of such insidious exaggeration and unvigilance.
Posted on 03/06/2014 8:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 6 March 2014
A Literary Interlude: To The Slanderers Of Russia (A. S. Pushkin)
In Cyrillic (so I'm unable to post the text but not the link) here.
Posted on 03/06/2014 8:34 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 6 March 2014
A Musical Interlude: The Brazilian Cruiser (Aleksandr Vertinsky)
Posted on 03/06/2014 8:44 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 6 March 2014
African Christians Tortured and Enslaved by Bedouin Muslims
I lived for one year among the Sinai Bedouin. Among them were an endogamous (intermarrying) group of former Sudanese slaves, whose elders told me how hard their fathers' lives were as slaves of these tribes. The British freed the slave in the 1920s but it seems that the practice has returned. Martin Barrilas writes in Spero News:
Reports are emerging from the Sinai Peninsula, currently controlled by Egypt, of Bedouin Muslim Arabs who abduct Christians from Africa and hold them for ransom for exorbitant sums of money. When their often destitute families are unable to pay for their release, the Christians are tortured to death in ways reminiscent of the earliest days of Christianity and also the 7th Century AD when Islam emerged from the wastes of the nearby Arabian Peninsula and swept through the Christian Mideast and North Africa.
Eritrean and Ethiopian Christians are fleeing their homelands, seeking safety in Europe and Israel. Frequently, they are abducted from refugee camps in the Horn of Africa and then smuggled to the Sinai Peninsula where their ordeal truly begins. The Christian Broadcasting Network reports, "Sinai was always a place for human smuggling, but since around two years ago -- even a bit more -- it started also to be a place of human torture," ShaharShoham, director of Physicians for Human Rights, told CBN News.
Shoham has documented more than 1,300 cases of torture in the Sinai. Those survivors ... made it to Israel. But most of the cases of torture are not documented.
"They torture them in horrible methods, like hanging upside down from the ceiling, like using electric shocks, like burning them on their bodies," Shoham said.
The abductors often ask for ransoms of $40,000 to $50,000, a huge sum many families cannot afford. A favorite method of torture for the Bedouins is crucifying the victims, a symbol of their Christian faith.
"They hang us the way He was hanged and they take off their clothes. While they are naked they will hang them. And they will just hit them with big bats like all day for hours."
The CBN article states that Egyptian authorities are aware of these torture camps, but so far have done nothing to close them down. Egypt's native Christians, whose presence predates the onset of Islam, have been subjected to bombings, assassination, rape and forced conversion and marriage in incidents that have only increased in frequency and violence since the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring that brought about the end of the Hosni Mubarak regime and ushered in the Muslim Brotherhood government of the now deposed Muhammed Morsi.
Arab enslavement of black Africans has gone on for centuries. Indeed, the Arabic word Abd is often used to mean either “slave” or “black.” Islamic scholar Ibn Khaldun of Medieval times once wrote, “The Negro nations are as a rule submissive to slavery, because they have attributes that are quite similar to dumb animals.” Muslim Arab enslavement of black Africans predated the trans-Atlantic slave trade by several centuries. Europeans who landed on the western shore of Africa took advantage of thriving slave markets that were established hundreds of years before by Muslim Arab and African slave traders. Slave traders from Muslim northern Africa once ranged into not only Mediterranean Europe but also into northern Europe to take white Europeans to slave markets in Africa and Ottoman Turkey, as documented in The Barbary Slaves by Stephen Clissold.
Posted on 03/06/2014 9:27 AM by Geoffrey Clarfield
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Release of Heidegger’s ‘Black Notebooks’ Reignites Debate Over Nazi Ideology
When I read this article I asked myself, "When will European intellectuals finally admit that Heidegger was an anti semite Nazi?" Paul Hockenos writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education:
For decades, controversy has marred the legacy of Martin Heidegger, whose theories and complicity with the Nazi regime led many to brand him an anti-Semite.
Yet there was never a smoking gun in the late German philosopher’s expansive work, an explicit pejorative reference to Jews or Judaism as such. Heidegger admirers and critics battled over certain passages, concepts, and personal anecdotes. But neither side could issue unequivocal evidence to put to rest the long-running feud.
This, however, may change with the publication in March of Heidegger’s "black notebooks," a kind of intellectual diary he kept during the 1930s and 40s. Officially the new material is under embargo until publication, but leaked excerpts, as well as statements by Peter Trawny, the collection’s editor, seem to illustrate beyond a doubt that Heidegger harbored anti-Semitic convictions during the Nazi dictatorship.
The excerpts have also triggered their own acrimonious debate. In recent interviews and commentary, the German editor has faced withering criticism from philosophers in France, where Heidegger’s philosophy has long found favor, over his interpretation of the notebooks and of the true nature of one of the 20th century’s philosophical giants.
In his will, Heidegger, who died in 1976, stated the order in which his unpublished writings were to be released. That drawn-out process is why the 1,200 pages of the 1930s and 1941 notebooks are being published only now.
The new material "is something very surprising, something we’ve never seen before," says Mr. Trawny, director of the Martin Heidegger Institute at the University of Wuppertal. The scholar was chosen by the Heidegger family to edit the three volumes of the leather-covered black notebooks.
"In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Heidegger was very angry," says Mr. Trawny. By then, he says, the philosopher realized that both Nazi ideology and his own philosophical mission, which was predicated on a national revolution and Germany’s dominance in Europe, were going to fail. "In this anger, he makes reference to Jews, including some passages that are extremely hostile. We knew that he had expressed anti-Semitism as private insights, but this shows anti-Semitism tied in to his philosophy," says Mr. Trawny.
The editor says Heidegger’s references to a controlling "world Jewry" and to a collusion of "rootless" Jews in both international capitalism and communism are essentially the logic that informs the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the infamous, early 20th-century, anti-Semitic forgery that claims to show a Jewish conspiracy for global domination. "He doesn’t say he’s read The Protocols," says Mr. Trawny, "but that’s not necessary to share a certain kind of anti-Semitism with the Protocols. Nazi propaganda was full of exactly this kind of anti-Semitism."
According to the editor, some of the material became public when he sent several sections of his own forthcoming book on the wartime notebooks to a French colleague. The passages found their way to others in France, and fuming responses to the notebooks—and to Mr. Trawny’s interpretation of them—started appearing in the French news media and on blogs late last year. Mr. Trawny says one Heidegger supporter even lobbied the Heidegger family to have him removed as editor.
French Heidegger loyalists, like the Heidegger translator François Fédier, say Mr. Trawny erred egregiously by linking Heidegger’s thoughts about Jews to Nazi ideology. Heidegger’s remarks, Mr. Fédier told Le Nouvel Observateur, taken out of context, can indeed seem odious. But, understood in the context of Heidegger’s philosophical system as a whole, these notes have nothing to do with anti-Semitism. Mr. Fédier did not respond to a request for an interview.
Another critic of Mr. Trawny, the novelist Stéphane Zagdanski, wrote a long blog post that called the new interpretations "delirious." "Should we really accept Trawny’s conclusions that Heidegger’s theory of Being is contaminated by anti-Semitism?" he asked.
To be sure, Heidegger’s critics had already assembled a significant trove of evidence against him. For one, Heidegger was elected rector of the University of Freiburg in early 1933, just a few months after Adolf Hitler came to power. Heidegger joined the Nazi party shortly after that and remained a member until the end of the war, even though he stepped down from the rectorship in early 1934. As late as 1949, he talked about the "fabrication of corpses in gas chambers and death camps."
Continue reading here.
Posted on 03/06/2014 1:43 PM by Geoffrey Clarfield
Thursday, 6 March 2014
The Lost Spring: U.S. Policy in the Middle East and Catastrophes to Avoid
This month, my book The Lost Spring: U.S. Policy in the Middle East and Catastrophes to Avoid will be in libraries across America and online. This new book, published by Palgrave-McMillan in New York, is an analysis of the evolution of the Arab Spring and its future. It also addresses other democratic revolutions, upheavals and civil wars in the Middle East, including events in Iran, Turkey, Sudan, and beyond.
In Future Jihad (2005), a book that was selected for the U.S. House of Representatives Summer Readings 2006, I projected the rise of the global Jihadist movement, including its surge in the West. My previously most recent book published in English, The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East (2010), predicted the Arab Spring, its successive waves, and the civil wars it would cause. I projected three cycles before they even happened: the rise of civil societies, the takeover by Islamists, and the comeback of the seculars to push back against the Islamists. And this is the very pattern we witnessed in both Egypt and Tunisia. My book in French, Du Printemps Arabe a l’Automne Islamiste (From the Arab Spring to the Islamist Fall), which was published in November 2013 in Paris and launched at the European Parliament in Brussels, described the global race between Islamists and seculars in the region.
My new book of 2014 is taking analysis and projections even further. It explains why the West and the United States failed to predict the Arab Spring and why they failed to handle it effectively. The book also addresses the direction these upheavals are headed and how to correct U.S. policy before irreparable catastrophe strikes the region. From bloody and expanding civil wars in Syria, Iraq and Libya to the fight against terror in Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia; from genocide in Sudan, Darfur and beyond to the persecution of Christian and ethnic minorities and the rise of al Qaeda and Hezbollah; so much in the region appears hopeless, but one must also recognize the emergence of reformers, women, minorities and civil societies.
In The Lost Spring I tackle the deep impact the “Islamist lobby” in the West has developed regarding U.S. foreign policy and show the link between petrodollars influence, Middle East studies, and the political weapon of Islamophobia—designed by this influential network to weaken American support to Middle East, Arab and Muslim democrats actively opposing Salafists, Khomeinists, and Jihadists.
In essence, I argue that the Obama administration made strategic mistakes from the moment it took power in 2009—by striking the wrong alliances while simultaneously abandoning friends and ideological allies. I share with readers what could have been more effective policy had the election of 2012 had swung in the other direction. As a senior national security and foreign policy advisor of presidential candidate Mitt Romney, I had prepared alternative ideas for the Middle East — ideas a Romney administration could have adopted.
Introducing the book to the public, the publisher’s reviewer wrote: “One of the greatest unanswered questions after the massive and violent changes that hit the Middle East in 2011, known to some as the “Arab Spring” and to others as the “Islamist Winter,” is how the West failed to predict both cataclysmic seasons in world affairs and to meet their challenges. The so-called spring didn’t last long, quickly unraveling into a collection of civil wars, civil unrest, and secessions. The author argues that Washington is too hesitant to take action when necessary, that U.S. policy is highly disoriented on counterterrorism efforts, and that the effects of these errors have already proven costly. In Benghazi, U.S. foreign policy failed to see the explosions coming, didn’t meet the challenges of political transformation where and with whom it should, and failed in isolating the Jihadi terrorists worldwide. Too many strategic errors were committed. In this fascinating new book, the author, the only expert who accurately predicted the Arab Spring, will foretell a major demise in U.S. and Western policies in the Middle East, unless a deep change in strategies and policies is made in Washington and around the world.
Nevertheless, the book argues that although there is still a chance to avoid catastrophe if the current administration and Congress implement dramatic change in foreign policy, there will be a high price for the next administration to pay if Washington maintains its current direction. I know readers will enjoy reading this historical-future analysis, and I am looking forward to their reactions and the debate it will generate.
Dr Walid Phares is the author of The Coming Revolution
and of the new book The Lost Spring
coming out in March 2014. He advises members of the U.S Congress and the European Parliament on the Middle East. www.walidphares.com
Posted on 03/06/2014 8:09 AM by Walid Phares
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Man who wore 'burka' sentenced in estranged wife's murder
From the Toronto Sun
TORONTO - A Muslim man who wore a burka and women’s shoes before he strangled his estranged wife was sentenced Wednesday to life imprisonment with no chance of parole for 17 years.
Justice John McMahon passed the sentence for second-degree murder against Abdul Malik Rustam, who admitted he donned the headdress — which disguised his face — and wedge shoes when he killed his 21-year-old wife, Shaher Bano Shahdady, after she asked for a divorce. Rustam left their almost two-year-old son abandoned with his mother’s body for 15 hours before she was discovered in her Scarborough apartment.
“The accused demonstrated an exceptionally callous disregard for that young child’s well-being,” McMahon said. “It’s hard to fathom what that child went through. The only glimmer of hope is that he’s so young it will fade into that child’s memory.”
After the murder, the deeply-religious Rustam returned to his victim’s parents home and accompanied his father-in-law to mosque for prayers at 4:30 a.m. Later that day he confessed to his brother that he had “finished her by the throat.”
The brother alerted the victim’s family to go to her home. While they were knocking, Rustam showed up and opened her door. When he saw her corpse, he rushed away in grief and confessed the killing to police, saying he had “certain justifications for his actions.”
The judge sharply disagreed, saying women “have an absolute right to end their relationships” without fear of violence.
Shahdady had lived apart from her older, jealous husband from an arranged marriage for almost two years — using a cellphone and the Internet and expanding her social network while raising their son who had heart problems from birth. In May 2011, Rustam reunited with his wife in her parents’ home. But his wife refused to surrender her cellphone and the tensions flared again. The killing occurred only two weeks after the woman received social assistance and moved into an apartment at 3131 Eglinton Ave. E.
McMahon said that Rustam displayed elements of “planning and forethought” by donning a burka, women’s footwear and gloves. He manipulated the surveillance camera in front of the victim’s doorway away so that he couldn’t be seen when he went inside.
Defence lawyer Peter Zaduk insisted this homicide wasn’t an honour killing.
Posted on 03/06/2014 4:27 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Planning for the Future
I think others must know something about me that I don't. Yesterday, for example, a newspaper called me to ask for my comment on the claim of some Finnish researchers to be able, by means of blood tests alone, to estimate statistically who was likely to die in the next five years. Would I want such a test, asked the newspaper?
The test offered statistical likelihood, not certainty. What would one do with the knowledge that one had a 23 per cent chance of dying within five years instead of, say, a 4 per cent chance according to life tables? The knowledge would be useless unless one also knew what one was going to die of and how to avoid whatever it was. A fortune teller at Battersea Fun Fair told me when I was sixteen that I was going to live to be 84, and that is good enough for me, though whether I will feel the same when I am 83 remains to be seen.
However, this morning through the e-mail I received an offer of funeral insurance so that, according to the advertisement, I and my relict could face the future with complete serenity. I know that as one ages one's horizons contract and one's ambitions cease, but this seemed to be a little unambitious even so. All I had to do to achieve this complete serenity was pay about £4 a month fixed premium for the rest of my life and I need never worry again. My life would be anxiety-free and, according to the picture, I could spend the rest of it frolicking on a beach.
How much does the average funeral cost? In 2012 in Britain it was about £3200. Does that mean that, assuming the growth in the value of the accumulated premiums more or less equalled the rate of inflation, the insurance company expected me to live another 800 months, that is to say about 67 years, or that I would have a much below average funeral?
Of course, I would only live 67 years if I didn't 'let alcohol win the battle,' 'broke the cycle of alcohol dependency' and went into 'a safe retreat and rehab centre' that was also offered me by e-mail this morning. Perhaps it was my drinking habits that caused the premiums for my funeral insurance to be so low.
According to this morning's e-mails I could also restructure my debts (before I die, of course) and avoid the forthcoming economic collapse (if I survive that long).
First published in Salisbury Review.
Posted on 03/06/2014 5:44 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Stop ritual slaughter of animals, says top vet
From The Times and The Telegraph
Religious slaughter of animals to produce halal and kosher meat should be banned if more humane methods are not adopted, the leader of Britain’s vets has said.
John Blackwell, who took over as president elect of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) last year, claimed killing animals by letting them bleed to death after slitting their throats causes unnecessary suffering.
The halal market is estimated to be worth up to £2 billion in Britain. Mr Blackwell said that he respected religious beliefs but “the Danish unilateral banning [was done] purely for animal welfare reasons, which is right”. He called on Muslims and Jews to allow the livestock to be stunned unconscious before they are killed. “As veterinary surgeons, it is one of the most important issues on our radar. This is something that can be changed in an instant.,” he told The Times.
“The Danish unilateral banning [was done] purely for animal welfare reasons, which is right,” he added, insisting it was not a question of religious freedom. We may well have to go down that route. One of the Jewish politicians said it demonstrates [that] a continuing undercurrent of anti- Semitism still pervades Europe. That’s very emotive, isn’t it? That’s the difficulty with engagement. . . We have tried to keep it out of the religious sphere. It is not an attack on religious faith, it is a view that we have taken on animal welfare.”
An investigation by The Times can also reveal:
· A large proportion of meat from animals killed by kosher and halal slaughterers goes unlabelled into the general food market;
· The European Commission is considering a “modified health mark scheme” to identify meat from animals slaughtered without stunning;
· Jewish campaigners, who fear any new labelling system could be seen as targeting the customs of religious minorities, are working with their Muslim counterparts to lobby in defence of their beliefs.
He said: “They will feel the cut. They will feel the massive injury of the tissues of the neck. They will perceive the aspiration of blood they will breathe in before they lose consciousness.”
Likening the feeling of blood in the windpipe to the pain felt when food is swallowed down the wrong way, he said: “When you check the lungs of these animals there is clearly blood that has been aspirated. People say we are trying to focus on the last five or six seconds of an animal’s life when it could be 18 months old. It’s five or six seconds too long. I don't think an outright ban is a long way off, there is enough of a view that this practice is inhumane and causes suffering at the time of death/ . . .It would be more productive if we can have a meeting of minds rather than to say, ‘You can’t do it’
Lewis Grant, of the Veterinary Public Health Association, said surplus cuts from religiously slaughtered animals were sold to the general meat trade for production into food such as burgers without consumers realising.
It is the first time a veterinary leader has called for an outright ban.
Posted on 03/06/2014 6:22 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax