Saturday, 31 July 2010
A Musical Interlude: Moon Country (Jack Payne Orch.)

Listen here.

Posted on 07/31/2010 8:34 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Muslims In Pakistan Murder Five Christians, Set Churches Afire

From Compass News Direct: 

Suspected Islamists Shoot Five Christians to Death in Pakistan

Christians meeting at their church building to discuss security concerns over Islamist threats were sprayed with gunfire as they came out.
Christians meeting at their church building to discuss security concerns over Islamist threats were sprayed with gunfire as they came out.
Muslim extremist groups had threatened church for two years.
A dozen masked men shot five Christians to death as they came out of their church building here on July 15, two months after a banned Islamic extremist group sent church leaders a threatening letter, relatives said.
Pastor Aaron John and church members Rohail Bhatti, Salman John, Abid Gill and Shamin Mall of Full Gospel Church were leaving the church building after meeting to discuss security in light of the threats they had received, said the pastor’s son, Shahid John.

“As we came out of the church, a group of a dozen armed gunmen came and opened fire at us,” said Shahid John, who survived a bullet in his arm. “Fear struck the area. The police arrived 45 minutes after the incident, and we waited for over 45 minutes for the ambulance to arrive.”

Besides Shahid John, five others were wounded in the attack.

In May church leaders received a letter from Islamic extremist group Sip-e-Sahaba (formerly Sipah-e-Sahaba until it was banned) warning the Christians to leave the area, said Kiran Rohail, wife of the slain Rohail Bhatti.

“It said to vacate the land, Christians are not welcomed here, they are polluting our land,” Kiran Rohail said.

The Sip-e-Sahaba and Sunni Tehrik extremist groups are both linked with an area madrassa (Islamic school) whose students had been threatening the church since 2008, Christian sources said.

“In 2008 a group of Muslim students started making threats for the church to vacate the land, as there are only 55 Christian families living in the area,” said the pastor’s widow, Naila John, who also lost her son Salman John in the attack.

The masked gunmen of July 15 had young physiques like those of students, Christian sources said, and their manner of attack indicated they were trained extremists.

The madrassa students that have threatened the church since 2008 belong to the Sunni Tehrik extremist group, the sources said.

Pastor John and Bhatti had reported the threats of the past two years to police, but officers at the local station did not take them seriously, said Naila John.

When they received the threatening letter in May, Pastor John, his son Salman, Bhatti, Gill, Mall and another member of the church, Arif Gill, went to the police station to register a First Information Report (FIR), according to Shahid John.

“Police just took the application but didn’t register the FIR,” he said. “The station house officer just provided two police constables for security.”
On the evening of July 15, the pastor called a meeting to discuss needed security measures, his widow Naila John said. The meeting ended around 7:30 p.m., when they left the building and were sprayed with gunfire.

“No FIR has been registered due to the pressure from the local Islamic groups,” said Kiran Rohail, referring to Sunni Tehrik, Sip-e-Sahaba and the local mosque. “The police came and took our statements, but they didn’t show up again.”

An independent government source confirmed the shooting deaths of the Christians, adding that local Islamist pressure had prevented media from reporting on it.

The church began in 1988, and Pastor John had been leading it since 2001.

Sukkur, in southwest Pakistan’s Sindh Province, has been the site of previous violence against Christians. Last June or July, area Christians said, students from the local madrassa beat Pastor Adnan John of Multan, severely injuring him, after they saw him walking in front of the mosque wearing a cross and holding a Bible. In another instance, the Muslim students prevented Christian students from holding a Christmas program at a park.

In 2006, some 500 Muslims burned down two churches in Sukkur and a convent school on Feb. 19, reportedly over rumors that a Christian threw a copy of the Quran into a trash can. A crowd wielding gasoline bombs torched St. Mary’s Catholic Church and St. Savior’s Church of Pakistan after media and government sources floated the rumor, but local sources said the violence occurred after a Muslim was arrested for burning pages of the Quran and trying to frame his Christian father-in-law, Saleem Gill, with the deed.

After torching the inside of St. Savior’s, the mob turned on Pastor Ilyas Saeed Masih’s home, then went five minutes away to destroy the 120-year-old St. Mary’s edifice.
Posted on 07/31/2010 7:07 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Muslim Groups Attack FMU with Double-Speak

by Nonie Darwish

Some Muslim leaders in America deny that there are any threats to the lives and safety of Muslims who decide to leave Islam. It is as though they have no role to play in changing the status quo of tyranny of Islam. Muslim groups who call themselves ‘moderate’ are strangely silent about the persecution, torture, killing and imprisonment of apostates, women and non-Muslims all over the Muslim world. All they seem to care about is to pacify the American public and convince them that Islam is a religion of peace, while hiding from view the fact that 1.2 billion Muslims are living in the tyranny of Sharia Islamic law, and how that tyranny is creeping into the West.
Whenever asked about what is happening in the Muslim world and its tragic impact on the West, they accuse those who question of being Islamophobes who need sensitivity training. What they say is: “we believe that Islam is a religion of peace and thus you too must believe the same, and never mind what your guts tell you or what is happening to your country from Islamic invasion”. They want us to disregard those who issue fatwas of death against Western politicians such as Geert Wilders, cartoonists, film makers, apostates and practically any one who dares ask the difficult questions Islam refuses to answer since its inception.
On Nov. 19, 2009 Sheila Musaji, editor of The American Muslim, wrote an article attacking Former Muslims United (FMU). Ms. Musaji stated “This FMU pledge is simply another attempt to create propaganda. Thus, she [Darwish] planted the idea that American Muslims have not taken a position against punishments for apostasy and attempted to make it seem as if only former Muslims can stand for what is right, and frankly to attempt to increase the visibility of the FMU at the expense of the Muslim community. This is shameful behavior (although typical of members of this group who go beyond denouncing Islamic radicalism to denouncing all of Islam) and is simply another example of attempting to marginalize the Muslim community."  

FMU sent over 165 letters (Muslim Pledge for Religious Freedom and Safety from Harm for Former Muslims) to various Muslim leaders in America. We needed their support and for them to prove how dedicated they are in reforming the radicals whom they believe are not true Muslims. The pledge states that they repudiate the laws and commandments that condemn apostates to death and discrimination under Islam.
But unfortunately, Muslim groups operating in America have not signed our plea letter or even responded. Only two Muslim reformists signed the pledge, Dr. M. Zhudi Jasser of the American Forum for Islam and Democracy and Dr. Ali Alyami of the Center for Human Rights and Democracy.
On September 24, 2009 however, two days after we mailed our pledges, Musaji wrote an article stating that “We live in a country where such freedom (of religion) is a foundational principle and must be defended. We must continue to insist on the Islamic principle that there is 'no compulsion in religion.'” Musaji is an educated Muslim and she must be fully aware that the “no compulsion in religion” verses have been abrogated by all the learned Imams of Islam who wrote the Sharia and who found commandments in Koran and Hadith to kill apostates. She posted a list of a few peaceful verses in the Koran while willfully ignoring the majority of Islamic scriptures stating otherwise.
Muslim apologists often speak from both sides of their mouths. On the one hand, they assure Americans that Islam has nothing in it that condemns apostates to death. On the other hand, they state that announcing publicly that one has left Islam and stating the reasons for leaving, are grounds for charges of treason. After world condemnation of Islamic tyranny, many Muslim countries are working around the law of apostasy by still killing apostates but for a different stated reason. If a Muslim declares publicly that he has left Islam and why, that in itself is considered treason, and thus governments can arrest apostates, torture, imprison and kill him, but they officially state that it is due to treason, as if the person had committed espionage or some other crime against national security. As long as a Muslim keeps silent about his apostasy and acts as a Muslim, he is left alone. But the minute he or she starts attending a church all Hell breaks loose. They are arrested for disturbing the peace, causing ‘Fitna’ (chaos) divisions and treason; that is the modern way of killing apostates inside Egypt today.
The only religion on earth that has multiple answers to every question is Islam. If you ask a Catholic what is the Vatican position on abortion, the answer is clear, even if they disagree with the Vatican, they will say that Catholicism does not allow abortion. But Muslims in America seem to teach, at least temporarily, religious principles that stand in stark contradiction with the core ideology of Islam. Such lies about what Islam is have worked in favor of Muslim expansion. This confusion and double talk in Islam works well in silencing others.
Musaji tells her community “we need to deal with the issue of apostasy within our community.” She tries to convince us that this issue is just a small community matter but ignores the true source of the problem which is: 45 Muslim countries around the world who legally state that Sharia law supercedes any other law. She has never stated unequivocally that she condemns any laws in Islam that state that apostates must be killed. She was very careful in how she words her objections to killing apostates. From her writing you can tell she is trying to have it both ways, not openly objecting to Islamic law while still trying to tell America she is for freedom of religion. Apparently her seemingly more tolerant views are a form of adaptation to American law until her dream of Islamizing America is accomplished and the ugly reality of Sharia will be the law.
On her website, Musaji has a map of the USA with Arabic Islamic “in the name of Allah” pasted on the center of the map, the same as the Saudi flag. This speaks for itself as to the true goals of Islam in America.
Nonie Darwish, human rights activist,  author  of “Now They Call Me Infidel” and “Cruel and Usual Punishment, ” is President of  Former Muslims United.
Posted on 07/31/2010 3:39 PM by Nonie Darwish
Saturday, 31 July 2010
The Dream of Abbie Burgess
by Mark Anthony Signorelli (August 2010)

Is that the noise of the agonized sea,
 That roars at my window-pane?
Is that the bawl of the northeast gale
 That bears the wreck and the rain?
And is that the boom of the iron coast
 Fronting the wild white crest
That even in this, my final bed,
 Permits me little rest? more>>>
Posted on 07/31/2010 3:25 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Revival: Memorials and the Gate to the Human Heart
by Thomas J. Scheff (August 2010)

It is our sorrow. Shall it melt? Then water
Would gush, flush, green these mountains and these valleys,
And we rebuild our cities, not dream of islands.
                   -- Paysage Moralisé, by W. H. Auden

When I was a child growing up in the South, I found religious services boring. But I once sneaked into a tent revival meeting. People were laughing, crying, shaking, dancing, and rolling around on the floor. I was delighted because I had never seen anything like it, especially not in my own family. Like many families, we seemed to have a no-emotion rule. more>>>
Posted on 07/31/2010 3:22 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Work, Rest and Play - By Golly It Does You Good.

by Esmerelda Weatherwax (August 2010)

There are two old adverts that stick in my mind from the days of black and white television and only one commercial channel.

One was for chocolate Mars bars, ‘A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play’ and the other for Mackesen stout. Bernard Mills would hold his glass and declare ‘Looks good, tastes good, and by Golly it does you good’.  more>>>

Posted on 07/31/2010 3:17 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Struggle Itself is Victory
The American Utopian Imperative
By DL Adams (August 2010)

The intense political discord currently on display in the United States no longer has its basis in a conflict between left and right, conservative and liberal, Democratic and Republican. This fundamental shift in the nature of the debates around culture, politics, foreign policy, history, immigration, and so many other contentious issues is indicative of a shift to polar opposites within the culture.

We are no longer Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives, now we are utopians or not. more>>>
Posted on 07/31/2010 3:13 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 July 2010
The Byzantine Scribe

by Geoffrey Clarfield (August 2010)

Many years ago, while walking through the grounds of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian's greatest temple, the Hagia Sophia, in what is now the city of Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, I marveled at how it is that some great civilizations decline, disappear and are renewed from the outside. more>>>

Posted on 07/31/2010 3:07 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 July 2010
English National Alliance return to Downing Street

Readers may recall that on 22nd May a march of English Patriots handed in a letter to the Prime Ministers Office appealing for, amongst other things, an amendment to the Arbitration Act 1996 to abolish the clause that has allowed 85 or more Sharia Courts to set up in England and which deny Muslim women their full rights under English Common Law.

If the reply was not satisfactory they vowed to visit No 10 again. The reply when it came was from an official of the Ministry of Justice and was the standard ‘fob off’ letter of that department. Believe me, I recognise it!

So today English Patriots returned to Whitehall. I got there early to have a look around and about. A counter protest was expected and I had heard that this would be contained in the usual space  the other side of Parliament Street opposite Downing Street. When I got there I could hear Christian hymns and Gospel Music. It was a rally of the Bengali Christian Fellowship, Pakistani Christians, including the British Pakistani Christian Association, and a Sikh organisation calling for a end to the persecution of Christians and minorities in Pakistan. Their key speaker was Bishop Michael Nazir Ali (I didn’t catch the name of the other Bishop present) His speech was in Urdu so I can’t tell you what he said. They too had handed a petition into Downing Street.

Pompey Dave and a couple of the men from MfE spoke to Bishop Michael afterwards. I can report that he is well and since his retirement from the see of Rochester is working on an international education project in Nigeria, Egypt and elsewhere.

I then went to see the ENA march form up outside the Old Star Pub (where I had my farewell drink the night I retired – this was slightly noisier) then returned to Whitehall where some Free Palestine and Class War protesters were gathering in the space so recently vacated by the Bengali and Pakistani Christians.

The march entered Parliament Street from Parliament Square where the men and women of MfE joined them. We stopped at Downing Street and the second letter was handed in.

A few of the Pakistani Christians decided to join the march in order to learn more about this effort in England in the fight against Sharia and jihad. I spoke in particular to two brothers, from a Catholic family about the prejudice their fellow Christians experienced in Pakistan, and in England including the threat of death for their continued refusal to convert to Islam. They believe England will be unrecognisable in 10 years.

There was a lot of jeering from the Pro Palestinians who decided to follow the march down Whitehall on the other side of the road. The police made sure they stayed on the pavement and away from the barrier. At some point before Trafalgar Square they beat a retreat while the march skirted Trafalgar Square and made its way to the steps below the Duke of York monument in Waterloo Place for speeches.

Michael Johnson spoke. He told us that the English are 3/5ths of the United Kingdom and that we must come together. Today we are various English organisations, March for England, English Shieldwall and the English Defence League.

He spoke of Richard the Lionheart. He emphasised that the fight is not against the majority of Muslim people but against those who care nothing for their Muslim brothers but whose only care is to create an Islamic state. We cannot allow this.

Michael has promised to send me a full copy of the speech later and I also have the press release to study. The rally ended and various groups made their way for refreshment. As well as old friends I was glad to meet in person members of the LGBT and Jewish Divisions. Who included Zeus, who has the coldest wettest nose in any division of the EDL.

A final untoward incident before I left. Some young men appeared about to attack some members of MfE and/or EDL who were standing with their drinks outside a pub, insisting that ‘You are all Nazi racist scum’. The police ushered them further down Whitehall to a chorus of ‘Cheerio, cheerio, cheerio’.

Following the advice received from the two brothers I have looked up the website of the British Pakistani Christian Association. The protest should have been covered by Premier Radio the Christian Station.

This wasn’t the most important event of the day. That was the rally in Blackpool in support of the family of Charlene Downes who was murdered five years ago.  Her killers were never brought to justice and the men suspected of the crime, who are known to have sexually abused her and other teenage girls in their kebab shop are still in business, in the same premises.

Apparently all went well there.

I have more photographs of the day - they are now here on the Flickr website. 

Posted on 07/31/2010 3:05 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Why I Am A Zionist
by Robert Wolfe (August 2010)

In the year 2001 of the Christian era my wife and I became Israeli citizens and moved from New York City to Netanya in Israel. We are living there still. I guess that makes me a Zionist. But when people in Israel ask me why I gave up our comfortable life in the United States to live in a nation under siege, I have trouble coming up with a good answer. I usually say, “Because I want to live in a Jewish neighborhood.”

That answer is not false, but it’s not entirely true either. more>>>
Posted on 07/31/2010 3:03 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Michael Totten Thinks All Of Israel Is "Up For Grabs According To Some"


You can come to Israel as a tourist and tune out the conflict if you want, as long as you don’t stay for a long time, even on days like yesterday when a Grad rocket fired from Gaza struck the center of Ashkelon. Not a single person I spoke to mentioned it even in passing. They’re used to it. I’m used to it. I wouldn’t have even known about it if I didn’t have Internet access.

This place, though, can be existentially stressful because it’s so fiercely contested. I felt this acutely when roaming around the West Bank the other day with Dror Etkes, but even Tel Aviv—which is deep within Israel proper—is up for grabs according to some.

You may have heard about the Palestinian BDS movement. The letters in their acronym stand for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction. They really ought to add another D for Destroy. Their goal—and they aren’t shy about saying so publicly even in English—isn’t peace between Israelis and Palestinians, which is what all civilized people should want, but the end of Israel.


Michael Totten reports frequently from the Middle East and other Muslim areas.

How can he, at this point, express any surprise at all to the notion that "even Tel Aviv" is "up for grabs," as he puts it, "according to some"? 

Those "some" include all those who take Islam seriously. Does Michael Totten have any evidence to suggest that those who take Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira to heart desire only to have Israel within the ridiculous 1949 Armistice Lines -- which is the accurate way of describing the demand for "the 1967 pre-war borders" which the Arabs themselves never recognized as "borders."

Does MIchael Totten at this point not know that Israel's borders or armistice lines, Israel's size, does not matter, that the Infidel nation-state of Israel must cease to exist, and that the only real quarrel is over tactics and timing, between the Fast Jihadists of Hamas and the Slow Jihadists of Fatah?:

He still hasn't sunk beneath the surfrace of Islam, still has not discovered what cannot be seen, and thus reported easily on , but is in the minds of men, and can be detected by long familiarity with the texts of Islam, the Muslim and Western scholars of those texts, and of other elements that contribute to the mental makeup of Muslims, and Western historians of the history of Islamic conquest over the past 1350 years? Has he not been reading Bassam Tibi or Antoine Fattal or Majid Khadduri (especially the latter, on the significance of the Treaty of Hudaibiyya)?

Perhaps he should travel a little less, and sit in one place, and read, and read, and read, and then think about what he has read, and allow it to enable him to make sense of what he has observed.

It's late, but it's never too late, to learn what one ought to have learned before setting off on trips to the Middle East or Central Asia. One ought to start out well-prepared, so that one can be the person on whom -- as Henry James described the artist -- nothing is lost.


Posted on 07/31/2010 2:53 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 31 July 2010
What is a Mosque? An Interview with Sam Solomon
by Jerry Gordon (August 2010)

Gordon: Greetings Mr. Solomon and thank you for consenting to this interview. Let us start with the simple question, what is a mosque and what is its basic function in the Muslim community?

Solomon: A mosque, totally unlike a church or a synagogue, serves the function of orchestrating and mandating every aspect of “life” in a Muslim community from the religious, to the political, to the economic, to the social, to the military. In Islam, religion and life are not separate. They are indivisible. more>>>
Posted on 07/31/2010 2:57 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 July 2010
The Golden Calf Idols of the World Cup, The Olympics, and What Happened in Berlin, 1936

by Norman Berdichevsky (August 2010)

Few NER articles have resulted in the avalanche of readers’ responses as did Theodore Dalrymple’s July 2010 piece “Of Snobbery and Soccer.” The reason is the enormous controversy over Dalrymple’s critical look at those aspects of the World Cup that appeal to hero worship, the manipulation of national pride, and the absurdities of a mega-billion dollar industry hiding behind the facade of sport. For me, as for Dalrymple, The World Cup represents the worst aspects of chauvinism in which tens of millions of spectators invest the players on the field with a national mission designed and elevate their own egos. For many Americans soccer is not just a "boring" sport but frequently looks corrupt with more than just a few players routinely acting out feigned injuries to win a referee’s penalty award of a free kick or the punishment of yellow or red cards handed to an opposing player.  more>>>

Posted on 07/31/2010 2:53 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Libert?, ?galit?, Boulangerie
by Nidra Poller (August 2010)

Le grand prix de la baguette de tradition française de la ville de Paris was awarded on March 27th to Michel Galloyer, proprietor of Le Grenier à Pain, a network of 25 boulangeries in France, soon to be extended to Japan in partnership with Nihon Gastronomie Kenkyujo. The Grenier à Pain, which will be purveyor of baguettes to the presidential palace for one year, is in fact made up of small local bakeries, and the winning baguette was crafted in the Montmartre shop by Djibril Bodian a master baker of Senegalese origin. “La baguette tradition” is a richer, tastier, heartier, more elastic version of the ordinary baguette, which ranges from horrible to middling. La tradition, as its name indicates, is good old fashioned genuine bread. And whatever you say for or against France, you’ve got to admit that our bread is phenomenal.  more>>>
Posted on 07/31/2010 2:49 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Gy?rgy Faludy's Happy Days in Hell

by Thomas Ország-Land (August 2010)

ook after translated book, a soft-spoken poet who spent a long life writing in an awkward minority language unrelated to most others is taking his rightful place among the giants of world literature -- even in his homeland. more>>>

Posted on 07/31/2010 2:35 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Why Fiction May Be Twice as True as Fact
Fiction as Cognitive and Emotional Simulation

by Keith Oatley
(August 2010)

Although fiction treats themes of psychological importance, it has been excluded from psychology because it is seen as flawed empirical method. But fiction is not empirical truth. It is simulation that runs on minds of readers just as computer simulations run on computers. In any simulation coherence truths have priority over correspondences. Moreover, in the simulations of fiction, personal truths can be explored that allow readers to experience emotions — their own emotions — and understand aspects of them that are obscure, in relation to contexts in which the emotions arise.   more>>>
Posted on 07/31/2010 2:31 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Elites, Real and Otherwise

by Mark Anthony Signorelli (August 2010)

The declining literacy of our present age has been lamented many times, and yet, it seems to me, never sufficiently. The enormous changes in our culture and in our laws, which we have observed and which we are likely to observe in the future, stemming from the decline of our common discourse ought to be a matter of urgent concern to any sensible person, and yet I sense little urgency towards this phenomenon in the writings of most contemporary authors. more>>>

Posted on 07/31/2010 2:27 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 July 2010
To The Lighthouse: Feminine Mastery Of Inner Dialogue

by Thomas J. Scheff (August 2010)

Can artists point the way toward solutions of the complex problems of human experience? There is a tradition in literature of the study of the stream of consciousness that might provide hints on the sources and structure of consciousness. A crucial problem for social scientists who study consciousness is that most of us, indeed, virtually all of us, are not highly gifted in noticing and remembering a vast array of concrete details. In this respect, we are much like the rest of the human race.  more>>>

Posted on 07/31/2010 2:23 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Mohamed Ahmed, from Cairo to Nashville

by Rebecca Bynum (August 2010)

Sheikh Mohamed Ahmed recently arrived in Nashville to take his post as imam at the Islamic Center of Nashville (ICN) on 12th Avenue and was welcomed by a
flattering profile in The Tennessean written by religious affairs editor Bob Smietana. Smietana, like most local reporters covering Islamic issues has little more than a passing acquaintance with the doctrine of Islam and tends to champion Muslims as underdogs and a misunderstood minority. Had he more detailed knowledge of contemporary Islam, the educational background of Mr. Ahmed might have raised questions about the 12th Avenue mosque’s intentions; specifically, whether the ICN is deepening or strengthening its connections with the Muslim Brotherhood. more>>>

Posted on 07/31/2010 2:17 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Mega-Mosque Conflicts in America
by Jerry Gordon (August 2010)

Tennessee is considered to be the heart of the Bible belt in the United States. Yet, the swirl of controversies surrounding the acquisition and development of so-called mega-mosques in Tennessee is emblematic of a civilizational conflict emerging in the American heartland between Muslim and non-Muslim communities over how Islam and Sharia are viewed and defined. More fundamentally, it is about the question of whether Islam is a religion or a political doctrine seeking domination with a thin veneer of religious practices. What is a mosque? Is a mosque a worship center or something else? more>>>
Posted on 07/31/2010 2:12 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Aeschylus: Dignity of and Sympathy for the Persians, Or, Why Edward Said is Wrong Yet Again
by Ibn Warraq (August 2010)

Ye Powers that rule the skies,
Memory recalls our great, our happy fate,
Our well-appointed state,
The scenes of glory opening to our eyes,
When this vast empire o’er
The good Darius, with each virtue bless’d
That forms a monarch’s breast,
Shielding his subjects with a father’s care,
Invincible in war,
Extended like a god his awful power,
Then spread our arms their glory wide,
Guarding to peace her golden reign:
Each tower’d city saw with pride
Safe from the toils of war her homeward-marching train.
—The Persians, Chorus, Strophe I
For Aeschylus, it is also reason that has contributed the most to the growth of human civilization.  more>>>
Posted on 07/31/2010 2:07 PM by NER
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Bradley Manning And Adult-Onset Islam

Here is a news report on Bradley Manning, the apparent source of all the stuff about Afghanistan and Pakistan and the American military that Julian Assange has been self-righteouslly posting  urbi et orbi: 

Report: Wikileaks suspect blasted Army, society on Facebook

Army broadens inquiry into disclosure of classified materials

Image: Bradley Manning. Manning has told of leaking classified diplomatic reports, along with this secret video, to the whistleblower website
This undated photo obtained by The Associated Press shows Bradley Manning, the prime suspect in the leaking of Afghan war files to the whistleblower website



LONDON — Bradley Manning, the prime suspect in the leaking of the Afghan war files, raged against his  Army employers and "society at large" on his Facebook page in the days before he allegedly downloaded thousands of secret memos, a U.K. newspaper reported Saturday.

The U.S. Army intelligence analyst, who is half British and went to school in Wales, U.K., appeared to sink into depression after a relationship break-up, the Daily Telegraph said. It quoted Manning as posting he didn't "have anything left" and was "beyond frustrated."

In an apparent swipe at the Army, Manning also wrote: "Bradley Manning is not a piece of equipment," and quoted a joke about "military intelligence" being an oxymoron, the Telegraph said.

The Facebook revelations come as The New York Times reported that Army investigators were broadening their inquiry about the recent disclosure of classified military information to include Manning's friends and associates who may have helped the alleged leaker.

Manning, 22, is on suicide watch after being transferred from Kuwait to a Washington, D.C., prison, where he is awaiting court martial.

He is suspected of leaking more than 90,000 secret military documents to the Wikileaks website in a security breach that U.S. officials claim has endangered the lives of serving soldiers and Afghan informers.

Supporters claim the war logs leak exposed Afghan civilian deaths covered up by the military.


I find  it passing strange, I find it almost incredible, that Bradley Manning did not convert to Islam and then work from within the American military to help the cause of Muslims.

I can't get over it. He didn't convert to Islam, despite exhibiting all the early signs  of Adult-Onset Islam.

Perhaps he was a little impatient. Perhaps he felt there simply wasn't time. Or perhaps it didn't occur to him.

But it will occur to other bradley-mannings  in the future, as it has in the past.

And not all of them will be detected, and some of them will, no doubt, rise high in the army, the police, and the civilian governments of the West.

And we will figure it out too late.

Posted on 07/31/2010 12:21 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 31 July 2010
David Cameron As That Hollow Man, Homo Economicus

David Cameron went out to the Muslim East, went to Turkey, not as a statesman but as a salesman, flogging his nation's wares. He wore a suit which, at least in the photographs, is so cheesy-looking in cut and  fabric (it's an art in reverse to spend so much money and be so ill-dressed) he was like the Head of the Board of Trade, or the thrusting C.E.O. of some company. When he talked in Turkey, to Turkey, about Turkey, it was all about economic matters. The rest was mere fluff -- or rather the rest Cameron took to be merely unimportant, additional material to win Turkish good-will. And in his indifference to other matters, his nonchalance about a threat to Great Britain and to other members of the E.U. and to all the countries in the imperiled and confused West, a peril that would become gigantic were Turkey admitted to the E.U., David Cameron revealed himself to be a perfect specimen of a certain species that now rules over us, almost everywhere -- that is, grasping Economic Man, Homo Economicus, who hardly understands that anything exists other than getting and spending. 

This new Economic Man would not only support, but he would "fight," for Turkey's admission to the E.U. He seemed to have no idea why others, including many in the present governments of France and Germany, would be so against Turkey's entry into the E.U. Surely it was all based on unseemly prejudice against Muslims, a misconception about Islam, for who, looking around the world today, or recalling the events of the past 1350 years, and especially the many encounters between  Christendom and Islam, could possibly have any reason to feel a sense of alarm, at the prospect of Turkey, with 80 million people (99% of whom are Muslim), entering the E.U., and its citizens -- and any other Muslims who might, as Erdgoan recently suggested, be granted Turkish citizenship upon request -- could travel everywhere, live anywhere, in the member states of the E.U.

He didn't care what he said, or what it might take, as long as he made a good impression on this new "economic power" (a power that has been greatly exaggerated, as will become apparent by the next election in Turkey) so that Turks would buy British goods.

He proved not only that he had no sense of what was most important, and was willing to come as a supplicant to Erdogan, that is to a regime that has become, pari passu with the Return To Islam that has been orchestrated so relentlessly, and with such cunning, and in so doing, to damage the morale of Turkish secularists.

Those secularists have a good chance to defeat Erdogan at the next election, if they can obtain the support of the Alevis alarmed by new Sunni aggression, and if they can unite around a single candidate instead of, as in the past, being hopelessly divided. And if they return to power, one suspects that they will not be kind to those who, like Cameron, came and paid tribute to the worst regime in Turkish history -- worst, that is, if you define "worst" as you and I and all educated people do, as that which is most sinisterly imbued with the spirit and loyal to the letter, of Islam.

Cameron perhaps does not know what Gladstone wrote about the Turks and their malign acts, at the time of the Bulgarian Wars. Perhaps Cameron has never heard of the Bulgarian Wars. Perhaps he's never heard about what happened to any of the South Slaves, perhaps he could not understand the reference in "Anna Karenina" to Vronsky and the campaign to help fellow Slavs against the Turks. Or perhaps he, Cameron, never read "Anna Karenina" and has no idea why he should -- any more than American generals or civilian makers of war policy have any idea why they might have saved a few trillion dollars had they read "War and Peace" and learned about  wily Kutuzov's refusal, after Borodino, to confront Napoleon and the Grande Armée, and possibly even begun to think of the relevance of Kutuzovshchina in Iraq, in Afghanistan.

Cameron's a boy-child of his times alright, un enfant du siècle, the siècle in question being this very one, that is the 2lst unappetizing and dangerous century, in his  thinking that what Great Britain needs and wants in a Prime Minister is a salesman, to be rewarded, that is supported, only if he makes his sales, because, you see, he   works on commission.

History, and the history of Great Britain, which is even older and certainly far more impressive than the history of Islam, is not his strong suit.

I suspect that Cameron's knowledge of English history may consist of only a handful of vague memories. 

He might remember two dates -- 1215 and January 30, 1649 --but I'm not even sure about  the second, or if he could put that event into context.

And he probably knows a handful of remarks, the kind of thing that appear misapplied or misremembered in "1066 And All That."

One remark he surely must know is that with which Napoleon, Great Britain's great antagonist, described England as "a nation of shopkeepers." ("L'Angleterre est une nation de boutiquiers." ). He was echoing, by the way, Adam Smith, whose own view of the mad pursuit of economic self-interest  has to be read in the light of his "Theory of Moral Sentiments." 

When Napoleon used the phrase, it was meant to be dismissive.

Apparently, David Cameron misunderstood.


Posted on 07/31/2010 9:44 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Dueling Protests over Temecula, California mosque
As we are going to press with articles on Mega mosque controversies in America in the New English Review, we received this report in The Californian about “dueling protests’ courtesy of Man Bakh, an Iranian American apostate and board member of Former Muslims United. In our article we referenced the 25,000 square foot Temecula, California mosque project and connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. 
Balkh was part of a group protesting the Temecula mosque project. He noted in The Californian Report:
On one side of the debate stood a group of about two dozen sign-bearing men and women, some wearing American flag T-shirts and hats with slogans such as: "Proud American."
For this group, standing on the south side of Rio Nedo, the center's plan to build a 25,000-square-foot mosque is part of an "Islamic expansion" that could lead to the country being taken over by Muslims.
"We don't have to let that happen," said Mano Bakh, a Wildomar man who said he escaped Islam when he left Iran in 1979 to come to America.
On the other side of the debate ---- and the other side of Rio Nedo ---- stood about 60 members of the Islamic Center and members of local churches who support the center's construction plans.
The Muslim Brotherhood connection was evident in the person of Salaam al-Mayarti,  Executive Director of front group, Muslim Political Action Council (MPAC). Note the controversy over dogs brought by the protesters to this rally and al-Mayarati’s response:
An e-mail that circulated in Southwest County calling for mosque opponents to bring dogs to the anti-mosque side of the rally didn't really have much of an impact. As of 1:45 p.m., there were only two people with dogs, both of which were well-behaved pooches restrained by leashes.
The call for dogs, animals that some Muslims consider unclean, was criticized by members of the Interfaith Council as a sign of disrespect.
One of the women who brought a dog, Zorina Bennett of Temecula, said she attended the rally to stand with those opposed to the spread of Islam.
"They don't fit in; they don't belong in this country," she said. "It's spreading all over the U.S. like a cancer."
Asked whether she was making a statement by bringing her dog, Bennett said she brought along Meadow, her 6-year-old Vizsla, because she takes her almost everywhere she goes and because "American families all have dogs."
Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said the call for dogs was "not in good taste."
"We love God and God's creatures," he said, adding that any concern Muslims have with dogs has to do with them wandering around in their prayer areas for cleanliness reasons.
Later, Al-Marayati and Hadi Nael, president of the Islamic Center's board of directors, addressed the members of the Interfaith Council at 12:30 p.m., thanking them for their support.
"Thank you for embracing the mosque and the great values of America!" Al-Marayati said. "The value of hope, not fear."
Bakh and a woman protester  gave some cogent arguments about why mosques in Temecula, Mufreesboro and Ground Zero are being opposed:
Diana Serafin, a Murrieta woman who helped organize the rally, said people opposed to the mosque have been unfairly criticized as religious bigots.
"It's not just the mosque," she said. "It's a political way of life that they're trying to force on us. It's not religion; it's a political movement."
Bakh, the Iranian immigrant who said he has cast away Islam, said the problem with the religion is that there is no moderation, no respect for opposing viewpoints.
Asked if there were some good things about Islam, Bakh said, and “I've seen the worst side of Islam. ... There is a good side of the Muslim, but there is no good side of Islam. If you believe in Islam, you have to believe in the writing of the Quran. There is a moderation in the Muslim people, but there is no moderation in the Islamic ideology. It's black-and-white.
Watch this KABC-TV, Los Angeles, video of the dueling protests over the Temecula mosque project:

Posted on 07/31/2010 9:30 AM by Jerry Gordon
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Prison Works

Mr Kenneth Clarke was quite right to say that short prison sentences are not effective but, with the practised lack of logic of a man who has spent far too long in politics for the good of his own mind, he has drawn precisely the wrong conclusions from it. His error will cause much unnecessary suffering.

There are indeed many arguments against short sentences. The recidivism rate after such sentences are completed is very high. They pose large administrative costs on the prison system. They do not reassure victims that the suffering or loss inflicted upon them by criminals has been taken seriously by the state. They discourage and demoralise the police, who labour mightily, if mainly bureaucratically, to procure a conviction for very little result. They promote intimidation of witnesses.

Remember, I'll been walking the same streets as you in six weeks' time

has deterred many a crucial witness (criminals having absolutely no doubt about the value or effectiveness of deterrence).

In the sub-culture from which many criminals live, they are a badge of honour rather than a mark of shame. And if rehabilitation were one of the aims of prison - personally, I think it is a very minor one - short sentences would do nothing to contribute to that aim.

But it is quite wrong to suppose that if something is not very effective it has no effect at all. Short prison sentences are ineffective by comparison with long ones, but that is not to say that they are ineffective by comparison with no prison sentences at all.

It is a fact that a large proportion of crimes are committed by a relatively small number of people. It is not unusual for career criminals to commit a hundred or more offences a year. Therefore, keeping them in prison for six weeks, say, prevents the commission of 12 crimes. Of course, if they were kept in prison for four years, 400 crimes would be prevented. But it is better to prevent 12 crimes than no crimes at all.

The only possible argument against the logical response to a high recidivism rate after short sentences being a lengthening of sentences is that something more effective than imprisonment exists: but it doesn't. Community sentences (except if used very selectively indeed) are quite useless.

Let us examine the ways in which our grossly dishonest official class, of which Mr Clarke is perhaps a victim, has sought to persuade us otherwise. Success is often measured by the percentage of "completion" of a community order, for example of probation. But from the law-abiding public's point of view this is irrelevant.

What is important is how many crimes people on a community order commit while they are on it or soon afterwards. And the fact is that the recidivism rate, as measured by the re-conviction rate, is very nearly as high as that of imprisonment after short sentences, despite the fact that the latter are probably slightly worse to begin with, which is why they were sent to prison. (Almost all prisoners are graduates of community sentences.)

It is easy to show that huge numbers of crimes are committed by people already on bail or serving community sentences: so many, in fact, that they represent a considerable proportion of all recorded crimes. There are about 150,000 people on probation at any one time. At least 50,000 of them a year, and probably more, are re-convicted. Furthermore, the reconviction rate used in measuring outcome does not measure re-re-convictions, that is to say those who are convicted more than once, of whom there are many.

Now the conviction rate for all recorded crime in Britain is a shade over one in twenty. If the criminals on bail or serving community sentences are typical of criminals as a whole (there might be some criminals who never get caught and some who always get caught, but assuming a normal distribution, most will fall somewhere between these two extremes), then at least 1,000,000 and probably more than 2,000,000 crimes are committed annually by people on bail or serving community sentences. Thus at least 20-40 per cent of recorded crime is committed by people serving the kind of community sentences that Mr Clarke wishes to extend.

If we add in the numbers of crimes committed by people who have just served short prison sentences were added to this, we can see that it is highly likely that, if long prison sentences were imposed upon criminals as a matter of course (bearing in mind the need to take account of exceptions, extenuating circumstances and so forth), it is likely that the recorded crime rate would decline by more than fifty per cent, irrespective of any deterrent effect such a policy would exert. In reality, the effect would be even greater.

Why does something so obvious escape our political and official class? The late Lord Bauer wrote:

When nonsense shows systematic bias, it probably reflects the pursuit of unacknowledged objectives which often have political or emotional bases.

It is so in this case.

Those who argue against imprisoning criminals think they are being kind to those poorer than they because most criminals are poorer than they. What they forget is that most of the victims are also poorer than they, and furthermore that the class of victim is much larger than the class of perpetrator (if it were not, poverty would be in itself a marker of criminality, which it is not).

So those who argue for the non-incapacitation of criminals are arguing for victimisation of the poor, whether they intend so to argue or not. Of course, it might be possible to argue that what Mr Clarke is trying to do is to ensure that the costs of crime remain where they arise, ie among the poor, and not transfer them to the middle classes.

An unfortunate effect of this is that it de-legitimises the state, one of whose indisputable tasks is to keep the peace. A state that wilfully fails to do so for a large section of its population can hardly be regarded as legitimate: a reason, perhaps, why so many people do not vote.

If I were a Marxist, I might add as another possible explanation the need of lawyers for clients and criminologists for subject matter. The class of lawyers and academic criminologists has increased greatly in the last few decades, and crime is one way of ensuring them employment (under- or unemployed lawyers and academics are very dangerous). The last thing, therefore, that lawyers and criminologists as a class would want is a decrease in crime.

But I am not a Marxist.

First published at Social Affairs Unit.

Posted on 07/31/2010 9:25 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
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