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Threats of Pain and Ruin
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The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
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by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
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edited by S.B. Kelly
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by J. E. G. Dixon
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by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
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by Kenneth Hanson
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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





















Thursday, 30 November 2006
A wee dram only
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Whisky, I am now told, is the Scottish spelling. None of this usquebaugh stuff, apparently. And Whiskey, I'm told, is the Irish. So Compton Mackenzie's book made into a movie must have been "Whisky Galore" not "Whiskey Galore."

You must know the wish:

"To an isle in the water/with her would I fly"

When you are sailing to that isle and you are three sheets to the wind, you would  write (because you would say) it thus:

If Scottish:

To an isle in the water/Wis her would I sky.

If Irish, and with a necessary anagrammatic metathesis at the end:

To an isle in the water/Wis her would I skye.

And the American couplet about  "whisky, whisky, whisky/that makes you feel so frisky" could not possibly be rewritten using "whiskey" rather than "whisky" because that would then call for an eye-rhyming "friskey" and we can't have that.

Don't touch the stuff myself. Only once in my life. In Stornoway. To be polite. That wee dram of The Macallan.  But I do like a little bit of butter for my bread.

I will now go back and correct the spelling in the posting below, following the no-nonsense strictures  of the Official Orthographer (By Appt. To Her Majesty the Queen, 4-6 Thurs.) of this Website, and Unicorn Pursuivant of Unordinary Charms, Mary Jackson Moncrieffe of the Easter Moncrieffes.

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Posted on 11/30/2006 7:09 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Re: a wee dock and doris
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Which is what Hugh probably meant. I'm not a great drinker of spirits myself, although I am a spirited drinker. Here, as posted here before, is Wendy Cope, who got bored making cocoa for Kingsley Amis and decided to parody Shakespeare's "The expense of spirits in a waste of shame/Is lust in action ....":

The expense of spirits is a crying shame,
So is the cost of wine. What bard today
Can live like old Khayyám? It’s not the same—
A loaf and Thou and Tesco’s Beaujolais.
I had this bird called Sharon, fond of gin—
Could knock back six or seven. At the price
I paid a high wage for each hour of sin
And that was why I only had her twice.
Then there was Tracy, who drank rum and Coke,
So beautiful I didn’t mind at first
But love grows colder. Now some other bloke
Is subsidizing Tracy and her thirst.
I need a woman, honest and sincere,
Who’ll come across on half a pint of beer.

—Wendy Cope (1986)

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Posted on 11/30/2006 7:18 PM by Mary Jackson
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Lewis and Harris
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"Stornoway" - from Dozy Bint of the Week

I was there once, propellor-jetted to the capital of Lewis and Harris, the island which I confused with Eriskay and South Uist, and was poking around looking for leftover bottles of whisky from Whisky Galore.

It was the birthplace of Alexander Mackenzie, the first white man to cross Canada in a sled, or by canoe (portage not included) or possibly on snow shoes which counts as pedibus calcantibus. I forget. But somehow he did it. Well, I think I can speak for Alexander Mackenzie's ghost and ghosts of many Christians past from before and after the Enclosures to say: Lewis and Harris are all about the dyes for the Harris tweed made from the moss and the machair. They are about a wee dram of The Macallan to keep the chill off. They are about salmon-fishing at a grand estate by the sea. They are not about hijabs and hadith and an unchangeable desert dogma cobbled together 1350 years ago to justify and promote conquest of others and used right up to today  -- and will be tomorrow , and the day after tomorrow-- for the same purpose.

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Posted on 11/30/2006 6:37 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Too easy and too obvious
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"A glimpse at how the sectarian conflict in Iraq will widen upon the departure of US troops, siphoning off money, arms, and personnel that jihadists could otherwise employ against nonbelievers." -- from Robert Spencer's comment here

That would be too easy. That would be too obvious. It simply cannot be considered. It wouldn't be fair. It wouldn't be right. We broke it, we fix it. We can't conceivably let Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran fight a proxy battle in Iraq. That would be wrong.

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Posted on 11/30/2006 5:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Is there is Muslim equivalent of "Uncle Tom?"
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The phrase "Uncle Tom" exists as a pejorative, intended to describe a certain kind of black man deemed subservient to whites. But another phrase needs to be invented, to describe the black man who is subservient to Arabs and to Muslims. For the long history of Arab Muslim enslavement of black Africans, in a cruel trade that specialized in castrating young boys in situ and then marching them by slave coffle and then sometimes by dhow from Pemba and Zanzibar (see the islamized women still today, clad in their bui buis, in Zanzibar, where a revolt by black Africans finally overthrew, a few decades ago, their Arab masters but left intact the legacy of Islam) thence to the entrepot of Muscat, and then on to Riyadh and Jiddah, Damascus and Baghdad, Cairo and Constantinople, or across the Sahara to Algiers and Tunis and Sale. Perhaps someone knows that such a word or phrase already exists, most likely in Swahili, but possibly in one of the Kwa languages of West Africa, or in Igbo, Yoruba, or Hausa.

Such a term is needed. We need such a term to describe the likes of Mahdi Bray, and to describe all those who, thinking they have thrown off all mental yokes, in fact willingly become slavish adherents of Islam, the vehicle for Arab linguistic, cultural, and political imperialism.

Anyone out there have suggestions for the Muslim equivalent of "Uncle Tom"?

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Posted on 11/30/2006 5:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
On the sofabed to heaven
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Birder that I am, I'm surprised I haven't looked at this before.  From Submission.org:

Do they not see the birds committed to fly in the atmosphere of the sky?
None holds them up in the air except God. This should be
(sufficient) proof for people who believe. (16:79)

And this:

Have they not seen the birds above them lined up in columns and spreading their wings? The Most Gracious is the One who holds them in the air. He is Seer of all things. (67:19)

And this:

Do you not realize that everyone in the heavens and the earth glorifies God, even the birds as they fly in a column? Each knows its prayer and its glorification. God is fully aware of everything they do. (24:41)

Interpreting this last quote, Submission.org's Lydia Kelley writes the following:

While the ornithologists and scientists struggle and experiment and test out theories, we know the truth. A bird flies because God is the One who holds it in the air. It migrates along mysterious routes because it follows God’s plan. Its flight is part of its glo-rification of its Creator.

The robin doesn’t wish it were an ea-gle. The crow doesn’t care that he’s not colorful like the cardinal. The hummingbird doesn’t want to try fish for change like the duck.

That’s a lesson for us. A sign for people who understand and take heed. Our job is to worship God alone. If we can do that job even a fraction as well as birds do their jobs, we might just be fortunate enough to fly with them in heaven.

Her odd hyphen usage aside, what I hear Ms. Kelley saying (pardon the cliché—or don't) is that birds are better at being unconscious of themselves as birds than humans are at being unconscious of themselves as human.  And apparently God, who gave us consciousness, doesn't want us to use it.  Does the whole Qur'an present us with these sorts of paradoxes?  (Not that there's anything wrong with paradoxes.)
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Posted on 11/30/2006 4:28 PM by Robert Bove
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Dozy bint of the week
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Yvonne Roberts at The Guardian should not be confused with Yvonne Ridley. They are both dozy bints with no appreciation of the the West's unique and unprecedented respect for women. But only one of them wears a tent. Yvonne Roberts believes that a twelve-year-old girl has all the knowledge and independence she needs to make an objective assessment of Islam, under which women can never be equal:

Whatever the reasons for Misbah wishing to stay - and, contrary to some prejudices, an affluent life in relatively liberal Lahore may have more plusses than living with an allegedly prickly step-father in
Stornaway - Misbah's mother, Louise Campbell, has the
law on her side....

In Pakistan as in Stornaway and Stambrook, families vary in their levels of education, affluence and religious commitment. Misbah might actually feel happier - as do many children - in a family that does not contain the complicated dynamics that sometimes comes with the arrival of a step-parent.

What if her father, who has been treating her like a princess while her future was uncertain, decided to take a second wife her own age? Or to marry her off to a cousin his own age?

Dozy bints like Yvonne R and Yvonne R should shut up and go back to the kitchen.

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Posted on 11/30/2006 3:33 PM by Mary Jackson
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
The Donald disarms (some) critics
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More on Trumpville on the North Sea:

DONALD Trump's dream of building one of the world's greatest golf courses on an environmentally sensitive stretch of Scottish coastline is "powerfully" supported by local and national planning policies, it was claimed yesterday.

A detailed planning document in support of the £1 billion golf resort development claims that, despite the fears of bird charity the RSPB and other environmental groups, birdlife will benefit because there will be no shooters left on the former sporting estate to kill them.

Comment #9 to this story is interesting:

The enviroment is far better off having a hunt club there, golf courses by their very nature are the most chemically-treated places you will ever visit, the are no insects or any other normal types of life in their soils..here, in illinois, a developer bought a 18 hole course that was about 75 years old. When the bulldozers began to work, the air-borne chemicals were in such high concentration, it caused the EPA to issue a 'stop work' order! Hunters look at the whole picture, IMHO, and see themselves as a part of the life-cycle of this increasingly nutty planet...

I haven't met all the hunters out there, but the ones I've known fit that portrait.  As for myself, I've hunted wild dogs endangering cattle in my charge and I've shot my share of rabbits trying to eat kitchen gardens.  Can't say I enjoyed it, the killing, but getting better at it with practice gave me some small satisfaction.  Aberdeenshire needs to study Atlantic City, especially the part of that city's story where a Donald Trump was the only thing between them and sliding into the sea.  What a choice!
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Posted on 11/30/2006 3:19 PM by Robert Bove
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
The changing face of Molly Campbell
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Molly Campbell is supposed to return to her mother in Scotland.  Has anybody else noticed the change in the child's appearance this last 3 months?

Here she is with her mother prior to her enticement  from her mothers home to her rich daddy in Pakistan. 

 

Here she is in Pakistan shortly after she arrived, pretty in pink, in a shalwar kameeze with a gauzy scarf, worn as an accessory. She and her sister match very nicely.     

And here she is today, jilbabed, head down, walking behind her father.   Misbah/Molly           Image: Court victory for <b>Misbah</b>'s mother

Dad didn't impress the Judge in Pakistan one little bit by all accounts.  This report in The Times  "In this regard, I have examined and interviewed the child in my chambers," wrote Judge Nisar. "Though she said she wants to live in Pakistan, in my view the reason given by her that she has been prevented by the petitioner (her mother) from leading her life according to Islamic virtue seems to me to have been tutored as at present she is under the influence of the respondent (her father)." He continued: "I’m constrained to hold in this case that the respondent has not been an upright, fair and honest man. He has removed the child and is guilty of showing disrespect and violating court orders, which is tantamount to fraud. And thus he cannot be allowed to have the benefit of such fraud."

So she did get to give her view, contrary to what her father said yesterday, and to the concern of a reader here.  I will be happier when I see a photo of her back on her bicycle in Stornoway. 

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Posted on 11/30/2006 2:12 PM by Esmerelda WEatherwax
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
I can annoy like nobody's business.
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"Fortiter in re, suaviter in modo - Resolutely in action, gently in manner. (To do unhesitatingly what must be done but accomplishing it as inoffensively as possible)"-- from a reader

Now you know perfectly well that I know perfectly well what "fortiter in re, suaviter in modo" means. I was careful to include a little discussion -- I went seemingly out of my way to do so -- to signal that I was playing "fast and loose" with the Latin. See the last paragraph.

"you are annoying."-- from the same reader

As for being "annoying" I hope that with this additional posting I have not disappointed you. I can annoy like nobody's business.

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Posted on 11/30/2006 12:33 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
An immiscible, un-integrable population
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Hanif Malik, an Islamic leader in Britain, said some time ago: “Yes, everyone agrees the Muslim leaders must be more pro-active in fighting radical thought. But it's just empty words when Muslims feel the world is against them.”

The world is against them? One may be able to swallow this if one does not dwell on all those passages that preach Jihad and the need for Islam to spread and for Muslims to dominate, or if one does not pay attention to all those passages that inculcate hatred of Infidels that are all over the Qur'an. One may accept this if no attention is paid to how non-Muslims -- no matter how disparate they might be, whether Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Confucians -- have historically been treated wherever Muslims have had the upper hand.

Yet those Infidels have allowed Muslims by the millions into their countries. This creates an essentially immiscible, un-integrable population, a permanent security and societal threat. This creates a presence that makes the lives of those indigenous Infidels not full of some "rich diversity" that would otherwise not exist, but rather far more unpleasant, expensive, and dangerous than they would otherwise be, and precisely unpleasant, expensive, and dangerous in proportion to the size of the local Muslim population. Well, that does not appear to me to be a sign that "the world is against them."

Far from it. "The world" has swallowed whole Muslim propaganda or Muslim acts everywhere. The genocide against Christians, the "Jihad" in southern Nigeria that led to the declaration of an independent Biafra, did not lead to any expression of Christian solidarity. No one came to Biafra's aid, or even recognized a free Biafra (where Christian villagers were strafed by Egyptian pilots), save for Israel and Ghana. That was in 1967-1969, and even today the army of Nigeria acts as an occupying force in Ibo lands. The Arab Muslim genocide, conducted on clear Islamic grounds and prompted by the Muslim texts, that has led to the slow-motion murder of largely helpless Christian and animist black Africans in the southern Sudan and which took place over 20 years, has only now, and only thanks to efforts by private Christian groups, received some attention.

In the Balkans, no one in the Western world even began to understand the fears of the Serbs. Even today no government in the West has analyzed carefully what Izetbegovic threatened, and which helped push fearful Serbs into supporting the awful Milosevic. Today, no one does a thing about the Muslim destruction of ancient Orthodox churches, or the mass expulsions of Serbs. The Serbs are "bad" and the Muslims are "good" -- or at least "the persecuted ones" are. That seems to be an immutable article of faith. It is nonsense.

In Pakistan and Bangladesh Hindus are persecuted, expropriated, beaten to death.

In Thailand the Muslims attack Buddhist monks, teachers, farmers, and the world appears to think that it is the "policies" of the former Thai government that are at fault. But matters have scarcely improved so far under the rule of the new Muslim leader.

In Indonesia, Muslims massacred in the 1960s 600,000 ethnic, but non-Muslim, Chinese. It was presented as a pre-emptive strike on "Communist fifth columnists." The world chose to believe that. In East Timor, which was illegally seized by the Indonesians from the Portuguese, one-third of the East Timorese population – Christians -- were killed until rescued by the Australian army. In the Moluccas, in Sulawesi, churches by the thousands have been destroyed (see the reports of the Barnabas Fund). Christians are being murdered, as are other non-Muslims.

In Pakistan, Christian schools and churches are bombed.

In India, in Indian-held Kashmir or in Delhi itself, nothing is safe from Muslim attack -- the temple at Ayodhya, the Parliament building in Delhi.

As for Israel, its entire history has been one of fighting off a Jihad.

And yet these Muslims persist in their belief that "the whole world is against them."

What the Muslims in question really mean is that it is extremely irksome to have to accommodate Infidels, Infidel laws, Infidel arrogance (meaning: refusal to give up, at least right away or on the fast-track schedule that Muslims think only right). These are for those Muslims all reasons to deplore the situation, to attack, to demand changes, to demand special recognition, to threaten, to attack. Yes, it all fits the world-view that Islam inculcates, that the model of Muhammad offers, that the Hadith support, that the Qur'an itself requires.

Why should anyone be surprised? These "angry" and "frustrated" Muslims are acting naturally. And so far the taqiyya-and-kitman "moderates" only attempt to retain their own position in society, and to deflect Infidel attention. For they know, or suspect, that the Muslims are not yet strong enough, the time is not right, and it was very silly of Bin Laden and others to strike in such a way so soon -- for things were going so swimmingly without the need for any terrorism whatsoever.

And that is the problem. For if there are no terrorist acts, will Infidels cease to educate themselves about Islam and let down their guards -- which, by the way, are hardly up at all? The mental inertia, the impulse not to find out too much, or to make sense of too much, for fear of what it might do to your own equanimity, is strong. But it has to be overcome -- not by everyone, but by enough people to put up a fight, to resist. And resistance does not mean only, or mainly, girding on body armor and marching off to Iraq.

It means a thousand things.

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Posted on 11/30/2006 10:39 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Big Enough Military?
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Stanley Kurtz writes that: "We have been shown in no uncertain terms that our military is far too small to handle the demands of the war on terror."

Couple of weeks ago I wanted to write a sentence saying: "The U.S. spends more on its military establishment than the next N highest-spending nations."  Of course, I needed to find a value for N.

I went to the CIA factbook, always a good stop for this sort of thing.  Sure enough, they have a neat table of nations ranked by military expenditure.  Starting with number two on the table, I worked my way down, intending to just keep adding up the numbers until the total surpassed the U.S. figure.  From that I could deduce N.

After about twenty additions, I gave up.  The sentence never got written.

Regarding the value of n, it is either 43 or 44, reader opinion is divided.

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Posted on 11/30/2006 10:34 AM by John Derbyshire
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
We yield to no one
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Mary, yes, the verbal incomprehension of Mrs. Malaprop and all her tribe is larger, on the Spooner scale (named such after Count Marrowsky, the first to use it to weigh and find wanting), than the verbal incomprehension of the listener guilty of what I continue to insist can be called "aural malapropism." That is, I continue to insist until a better, possibly pre-existing term, is either brought to my attention or invented for my approval. Both things – Malapropism and Aural Malapropism, express a unilateral mistake. In the first case it is the Speaker who makes the mistake, and the listener who recognizes the mistake. In the second case it is the Listener who makes the mistake, and the Speaker (or the Text, if the text has ears, the way little pitchers do, or used to) who recognizes the mistake, though speakers, like Jesting Pilate, tend not to stay for an answer.

Both are mistakes involving sound. Mrs. Malaprop confuses “alligators” and “allegories.” And “odious” and “odorous.” The person who hears “laid him on the green” as “Lady Mondegreen” similarly is homophonically discombobulated, and in attempting to overcome phonetic distress, assigns the wrong words to the right sounds. Perhaps I should have written phonetic and phonemic distress.

In both cases there is insufficient understanding of the language. Confusion Gracelessly Abounding. For all I know, the Malapropism of Mrs. Malaprop begins, possibly, in a pre-existing Aural Malapropism: she heard someone say the phrase “comparisons are odious” and thought she heard “comparisons are odorous” and then repeated the latter later. And then there was that intrepid Englishwoman, a lady traveler famous for having sailed all the way down the Nile beyond Ptolemais and Apollinopolis Magna to the First Cataract at Assuan, and whose public lecture she had eagerly attended, and came away convinced she had heard mentioned riparian “allegories” rather than “alligators” spotted basking near Giza.

These are Things to Think About. These Are Questions for Study and Discussion.

But on one thing no study and no discussion is, by now, necessary. Both the quite (at times) contrary Mary and I share a virtue and also a fault. We both yield to no one in our desire to yield to no one.

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Posted on 11/30/2006 10:07 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
What Turkey's secularists want, or should want
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There is no chance Turkey will be admitted to the E.U.

It should put the blame right where it belongs. That blame belongs to Islam, and to the way Muslims have historically treated non-Muslims. But since the Cult of Muhammad was replaced by the Cult of Ataturk, and Islam at least provided with a rival in the Cult of the Turk and the Turkish Nation, now is perhaps the time for secular Turks to use the denial of Turkey's admission as a way of encouraging more secularism rather than a retreat into the psychic consolation prize of more Islam. Erdogan and his primitive followers should not be allowed to use what they will paint as "Christian hostility" to further the cause of Islam. Rather, the intelligent Turkish secularists, who make up about one-quarter of the population, should realize they took Kemalism for granted for too long, and did not do enough to defend and expand upon what Ataturk accomplished, nor did they ever make clear what was wrong with Islam -- using for that pedagogic task the examples of all of the Arab states and Iran. That would have been enough. That would have been more than enough.

Who to blame for Europe's Nay-saying neinsagen gigantic and obvious NO? The horrible Iranians. The even more horrible Arabs. It is they, and "their Islam," that gave nice "moderate" and "forward-looking" Turkish Muslims such a bad reputation, and now just look at what they've gone and done, those Arabs and Iranians -- they've turned the West against us.

Keep up that theme. Spread it around. If you are a secularist in Turkey, you want that certain rejection used for your benefit, and not for the benefit of Erdogan and Erbakan and all the rest. You want to weaken Islam, and to turn the Turks away from the Iranians and, above all, the Arabs. Even if Turkey cannot become a member of the E.U., you want it to become more like a European, i.e., non-Muslim state, and less like one more Muslim one.

Don't you?

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Posted on 11/30/2006 9:02 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Give me Morison and Commager
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"I thought Islamic History was taught in Israeli schools."-- from a reader

No. None.
And still worse, Israeli history -- the real history of the Land of Israel -- is not taught in Israeli schools either.

But do you think Islamic History is taught in the schools of Western Europe? Do you think it is taught in the United States? I mean the real thing, not what Esposito and MESA Nostra members put out, or Muslim-financed "teacher workshops" are now pouring into the ears and down the throats of willing, naive teachers, happy to have a "Summer Institute on Teaching About Islam" to go to, proud that they will be "pioneers" in this new field, and utterly unaware of what they are being fed, and how they are being used.

And do you think the history of the United States is now properly studied in American schools? Those idiotic textbooks full of pictures and a thin rivulet of text, the prose such that cats and dogs can understand, and only cats and dogs would not be bored with such phrasing, carefully written and vetted not to offend (except to offend against the God of Truth, who doesn't much care for what he has been reading lately in the American history textbook line).

Give me my Morison and Commager. Give me my Arrows of Desire.

And so on.

You too.

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Posted on 11/30/2006 8:57 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Close Scrutiny, or Does Everybody Love Raymond?
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The New York Sun newspaper reported Thursday that Raymond Close, an expert advising the committee, is in favor of engaging Iran and Syria .

"Close, who retired from the CIA in 1977, and has been doing business in Saudi Arabia since his retirement, expects the report to recommend that Israel be pressured to make concessions.

A memorandum sent to expert advisors Close says that the commission is likely to advice the Bush administration holds a summit, which will include Israel, "to enlist the support of neighboring states in establishing stability in Iraq," the New York Sun reported.

Israel might have to give up Golan

Close said that Israel's participation in the summit is crucial as it will give the US the only leverage to enlist the support of Iran and Syria in helping to curb violence in Iraq."-- from a reader

Ah yes.

Longtime no see.

I wondered about Raymond Close. He should be the subject of Congressional and journalistic investigation. His entire career should be carefully scrutinized by investigators -- for it is scandalous, from the very moment that he "retired" early in 1977 from being C.I.A. station chief in Riyadh in order to go into business with two Saudis, to his subsequent years in up to his neck in the B.C.C.I. scandal, and then as an "international business consultant" (and just who was in charge of the Stimson Fellows Program at Yale who allowed someone like Raymond Close to be named a Fellow?) has for decades been giving lectures and publishing Op/Ed articles as a supposed "expert" on the Middle East, and presenting his "American-national-interest-only" views, his ostentatiously "disinterested" views (anyone investigate whose checks, directly or indirectly, Mr. Raymmond Close has been cashing, as he cashed in so well on every aspect of his Saudi connection?).

Oh, Raymond Close deserves close scrutiny and should have recevied it  -- should have been on the receiving end of it -- from the 9-11 Commission whose co-head, Lee Hamilton, now serves with James Baker as co-head of the Iraq Study Group.

And where, you might ask, is Raymond Close today, the Raymond Close  whom perhaps you now think should be seen as a shill for the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia, and hence a traitor to Infidels?

Well, he, Raymond Close, is now an "expert" for that very same Iraq Study Group.

Care to protest? Care to write letters? Care to howl with fury?

(Google, to learn more, "Jihad Watch" and "Posted by Hugh" and "Raymond Close." Be patient as you go through the many dozens of hits. At least one or two will be a real hit, a palpable hit.)

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Posted on 11/30/2006 8:45 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Still more re: Worse than Nazism
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The reader below appears to think, by quoting that unhelpful and idiotic line "better red than dead" that those who over the past 1300 years were forcibly converted to Islam should all have cheerfully or stoically accepted death. That is that poster's way of fending off my pointing out that the Nazis wished to kill, and did kill, whole categories of people, and those categories would only have inexorably expanded had the Nazis been victorious, and not, as he (or she) may think, have generously been done away with, and the term "Aryan" made capacious enough to include many of those peoples who were conquered.

I summarize, and repeat: Islam is harder to fight than the Nazis for several reasons.

First, there is Islam's false universalist claim, a claim that hides Arab supremacism sufficiently, it seems, to allow 80% of the world's Muslims, so far (but not if I had my druthers) to avoid noticing this, which should be obvious.

Second, Islam is harder to fight because its instruments of Jihad include things that are not recognized as instruments. This includes relentless, well-financed, carefully-targetted campaigns of Da'wa, with the economically and psychically marginal the first but not the only victims.

Third, Islam includes among its adherents people of varying levels of belief, from those who were simply born into it, remain ignorant or a little fuzzy (sometimes deliberately so) about some of its textual commandments, and continue to exhibit a filial piety but not much more, to those who exhibit the fanaticism of members of Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Gemaa Islamiyya, Lashker-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Ansar al-Sunna, and all the mix-n'-match variants on these, with "hezb" and "jaish" and "laskar" and "jemaa" and "ikhwan" and "jihad" and "sunna" and "ansar" the lexical building blocks for these groups of black-balaclavaed bezonians, clutching their kalashnikovs, goosestepping down the streets of camps and cities wherever they can, intent on impressing their followers and terrorizing their enemies.

But Islam qua Islam is not more hideous or viciious as a doctrine than was Nazism. It still allows for the life-saving forced "reversion" that one can still choose. It is horrible, and the status of "tolerated" non-Muslim is one of permanent degradation, humiliation, and physical insecurity. But anyone hunted down by the Nazis would certainly have been glad to accept such a status rather than go to Treblinka, Belzec, or Auschwitz. Let's not muddy the moral or mental waters in our understandable passion and fury over the menace of Jihad. Let's keep things straight.

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Posted on 11/30/2006 8:39 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Worse than Nazism (con't)
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"Hugh says:

'But there is no need to make such pronouncements as 'Islam is worse than Nazism.' Few will be convinced, and many will be repelled, by such hyperbole. Islam, as a doctrine, is dangerous, very dangerous. It is more effective and potent in its appeal than Nazism, but not worse in its ideology."

"I am not out to convince anyone but I politely disagree with you. For one thing, it is NOT an ideology it is a religion - a religion incorporating extreme cruelty and infinite capacity for hate. Because its a religion this is more evil than Nazism."-- from a reader

Why should whether or not some belief-system is called a "religion" make any difference in our judgment of it? For you, the fact that Islam is called a "religion" makes it more evil than Nazism, even if the victims of the Nazis could do nothing to escape their fate, of being murdered, whereas non-Muslims can do something to avoid the same fate -- accept permanent status as dhimmis (in the case of the Ahl al-kitab, People of the Book, but not Hindus or Buddhists or others) or "revert" to Islam. Horrible, but not death.

For Bush and company, the fact that Islam is a "religion" is a point in its favor, because they are of the mind that a "religion" is necessarily a Good Thing. One should neither attribute Good nor Evil to this or that belief system depending on whether it is, or is not called, a religion. Stick to its actual contents, as demonstrated by what is in the texts, by what can be interpreted away or not, why how the adherents of that particular religion, invoking its tenets, have behaved over time and through space.

That's what matters. Why anyone should find Islam "worse than Nazism" because it is called, by some (not me) a "religion" is beyond me (but apparently not some).

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Posted on 11/30/2006 8:29 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Celebrity malapropisms
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The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that more makers of malapropisms make mondegreens than makers of mondegreens make malapropisms. Malapropistes would write things incorrectly as well as say them, whereas mondegreeners would not read things incorrectly. I think Lady Mondegreen is more intelligent and more of a femme fatale than Mrs Malaprop, but I wouldn’t go to the barracudas over this.

 

Here is my article, Malaplomb, which plummets the deaths of this subject. I also stumbled across some celebrity malapropisms here: 

  • Your ambition - is that right - is to abseil across the English channel?"
       Cilla Black
     
  • "It is beyond my apprehension."
       Danny Ozark, baseball team manager
     
  • "Listen to the blabbing brook."
       Norm Crosby
     
  • "This is unparalyzed in the state's history."
       Gib Lewis, Texas Speaker of the House
     
  • "She's really tough; she's remorseful."
       David Moorcroft
     
  • "And then he [Mike Tyson] will have only channel vision."
       Frank Bruno, boxer
     
  • "Cardial - as in cardial arrest."
       Eve Pollard
     
  • "Marie Scott... has really plummeted to the top."
       Alan Weeks
     
  • "He's going up and down like a metronome."
       Ron Pickering
     
  • "He's on 90... 10 away from that mythical figure."
       Trevor Bailey, cricket commentator
     
  • "Unless somebody can pull a miracle out of the fire, Somerset are cruising into the semi-final."
       Fred Trueman
     
  • "We cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile."
       George W. Bush
     
"The police are not here to create disorder, they're here to preserve disorder."
   Richard Daley, former Chicago mayor

I wonder what would happen if Mrs. Malaprop got together with Rev. Spooner.
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Posted on 11/30/2006 8:14 AM by Mary Jackson
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
"Nouns are the handles with which we grip reality."
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Ralph Peters then goes on to say:

There is a genuine problem here: The ever-accelerating pace of change since the end of the Cold War has left us with an inadequate vocabulary. Words literally fail us. We don't know what to call things. No military lexicon offers a useful term to describe the situation in Iraq.  

Sorry, Ralph, words (and therefore the concepts they embody) are failing you, not us.

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Posted on 11/30/2006 8:02 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Baker Commission -- Why Stop at Iraq?
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This "bipartisan study group" approach that has real possibilities, no?  Imagine ...

 

WATERFRONT STUDY GROUP TO ISSUE RECOMMENDATIONS

 

The New York Times, Dec. 6, 2006

 

The bipartisan Waterfront Study Group has achieved consensus on a plan to address rampant crime on New York City’s docks.  Its top recommendation will urge the Justice Department to pressure the FBI to scale down its enforcement efforts in order to entice John Gotti and Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, leaders of the Gambino and Genovese crime families, to attend a “Good Neighbors Conference” aimed at carving up stabilizing commerce on the waterfront….

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Posted on 11/30/2006 7:57 AM by Andy McCarthy
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Re: aural malapropisms
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I'm not sure. I think malapropisms are more the fault of the speaker than mondegreens are the fault of the hearer. Mondegreens generally arise from songs, which very often make as much sense if not more the wrong way as the right way. There could well be a Lady Mondegreen. It isn't as silly to think there is one as to suggest that she is the pineapple of perfection.

To put it another way, many makers of mondegreens often speak or write good English and would never make a malapropism. They might, however, spake a moonerism.

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Posted on 11/30/2006 7:11 AM by Mary Jackson
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Aural malapropisms
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You are quite right to say that Lady Mondegreen has a life of her own. She is a mischievous creature, and her utterings are sometimes a little salacious, as: "Buy, buy me some merkin pie." Don McLean cleaned this one up for his audience of good old whisky drinking chevy drivers.

Mondegreens and malapropisms are not exactly the same. Mondegreens are just mishearings, whereas malapropisms reflect a certain mangling of words and are the fault of the speaker. --Mary Jackson

The phrase "aural malapropism" conveys exactly the same idea and contains the same elements, translated to another sense, of a verbal mistake that only one party, either the utterer or the hearer of what is uttered, makes.

In the case of the malapropism, the mistake is made by the utterer of the words and the audience recognizes it as a mistake as expressing the imperfect understanding of the utterer. In the case of the aural malapropism, the mistake is made by the listener, who "mangles" the words in his understanding of them as he hears or mishears them, because he hasn't grasped the full sense of what the phrase must mean (hence "laid him on the green" becomes "Lady Mondegreen" for the hearer who hasn't paid sufficient attention to the context, thus has not been able to understand words that could, without that attention, lead to homophonic confusion.

I think "aural malapropism" is fine. But then I also ride allegories along the banks of the Nile.

Erratum sheet:

For "ride" read "fill in"
For "allegories" read "the blank"
For "along the banks" read "within the solander"
For "the Nile" read "her smile"

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Posted on 11/30/2006 6:54 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Nepotism for me, but not for thee
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Read this morning's NY Sun editorial, which expertly flays the often laughably clueless New Duranty Times.
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Posted on 11/30/2006 6:30 AM by Robert Bove
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Re: The busy business
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Robert Louis Stevenson:

Extreme BUSYNESS is a symptom of deficient vitality, and a faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity.
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Posted on 11/30/2006 6:26 AM by Robert Bove
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