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Recent Publications from New English Review Press
Easy Meat
by Peter McLoughlin
The Tongue is Also a Fire
by James Como
Out Into The Beautiful World
by Theodore Dalrymple
Unreading Shakespeare
by David P. Gontar
Islam Through the Looking Glass: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J. B. Kelly, Vol. 3
edited by S. B. Kelly
The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum

Saturday, 30 September 2006
Television hits bottom, digs deeper

Brent Bozell III is righteously--and rightly--inflamed over tele-sleaze and wants to see it go away.  (Consider converting to Islam, Brent--it may get you the right audience.)  He knows his TV history, including the long-running, mega-popular, 70s series "Little House on the Prairie," based on the Laura Ingalls Wilder books much loved by First Lady Laura Bush.   Michael Landon may have been the heart-throb star of the show, but Bozell had a soft spot for Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls,  "'Half-Pint,' as she was lovingly called by Pa Ingalls."   Since that time, though, Ms. Gilbert's career has taken a bizarre turn.  Bozell explains:

Perhaps this is a classic example of how pathetically low our society's morals have fallen in 25 years: Melissa Gilbert just guest-starred on the FX cable network's grotesque show "Nip/Tuck." Are you ready for this? As a woman needing to have a nipple replaced ... because her dog bit it off ... during sex.


It was somehow not enough to have a little light fun of sex with a cow (ABC's "Boston Legal"), or sex with a horse (on Fox's "Keen Eddie") or even violating a parrot with a finger (on the aptly named UPN show "Shasta McNasty").

If you can stomach reading about the show, Bozell has more analysis of "Nip/Tuck" here
Posted on 09/30/2006 8:37 AM by Robert Bove
Saturday, 30 September 2006
Neither complacency nor panic?yet
Richard John Neuhaus gets impatient:

Clearing our minds of cant, which Dr. Johnson said is the first step toward understanding, was the great contribution of Benedict XVI in his Regensburg lecture of September 12. In the November issue of First Things, which will be out mid-October, I explain why his lecture may be referred to, five or twenty years from now, as “The Regensburg Moment,” meaning a moment of truth preparing us for the long struggle ahead.

Of course, not everybody is convinced about the nature of the threat. We still have with us people like John Esposito of Georgetown and the bestselling Karen Armstrong assuring us that Islam is a religion of peace. “Why can’t we all just get along?” as Rodney King plaintively asked, with the answer implied, and frequently made explicit, that we could all get along just fine if only “we,” meaning mainly we Americans, were not so terribly unpleasant to the people who are trying to kill us.

On the wishful-thinking side of these discussions is also John Tierney of the New York Times. His September 9 column (Times Select) touts a new book by John Mueller, a political scientist at Ohio State. The book is Overblown, referring to the threat posed by the Jihadists. Tierney writes that Mueller calculates that “the odds of an American being killed by international terrorism are about one in 80,000. And even if there were attacks on the scale of September 11 every three months for the next five years, the odds for any individual dying would be one in 5,000.”

Oh well, that’s all right then. In a city of 50,000, that’s only ten people killed. Or in New York City, about 1,600 killed. One is reminded of Mad magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman: “What, me worry?” Hundreds or thousands of dead from terrorism cannot, contra Mueller, Tierney, et al., be compared to the thousands killed in automobile accidents, which involves a familiar calculation of risks without lethal intent.

Had the Jihadists recently arrested in Britain gotten away with their plan of blowing up ten airliners over the Atlantic, it is likely that international travel would have come to a screeching halt, at least for a time, with inestimable economic and other consequences. Were a dirty bomb exploded in Times Square—and the relevant experts claim they know that Jihadists are working on such measures—a hundred thousand or more would die immediately, with untold effects upon the lives of all Americans and the rest of the world.

This is not a time for either complacency or panic. I can be as caustic as the next guy about some of the apparently silly measures imposed by airport security checks. (This week on a flight to Birmingham, Alabama, I was deprived of my shaving cream.) But anybody who has read, for instance, The Looming Tower will appreciate the hundreds of police and intelligence agents who are working, however fumblingly, to track and contain deadly threats. Rejecting both complacency and panic, we do well to brace ourselves for a future of very real danger, and to be grateful also for the lucidity and courage of people such as Benedict XVI who recall us to truths worth defending, even as they call upon the Muslim world to effectively propose a future that is not dominated by the dark night of Jihadism.

The rest is here.

Posted on 09/30/2006 7:16 AM by Robert Bove
Saturday, 30 September 2006
Radio Derb
This week's issue here.
Posted on 09/30/2006 7:07 AM by John Derbyshire
Saturday, 30 September 2006
Jim McGreevey's's Book
David Letterman's Top Ten discarded titles for Jim McGreevey's autobiography.  (Parental guidance suggested.)
Posted on 09/30/2006 6:57 AM by John Derbyshire
Saturday, 30 September 2006
Iraqi poll

WASHINGTON - About six in 10 Iraqis say they approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces, and slightly more than that want their government to ask U.S. troops to leave within a year, according to a poll in that country. - from this news item

The complete text is worth reading. More than 90% of the Sunni Arabs support attacks on American troops; about three-quarters (74%) of the Shi'a Arabs support such attacks. Only the Kurds show less than overwhelming support for such attacks -- about 34%.

At the same time, many in Iraq are perfectly willing to keep the Americans around for another year or so, if the American presence is deemed more useful to them than to their local enemies. American training, American weaponry, American soldiers fighting their enemy for them, continued American billions in aid -- all this might lead either the Sunnis, or the Shi'a, or both, each making a calculation that might be right or wrong, to want the Americans to stay a bit longer. According to these polls the Sunni desire for Americans to leave has decreased (as some now see the Americans as protecting them from Shi'a militias) and the desire of Shi'a Arabs for Americans to leave has increased (as the Americans are seen as a brake on the Shi'a militias).

How the Administration can insist on keeping troops in Iraq when 90% of one main Arab faction support the killing of those troops, and 3/4 of the other main Arab group also support such killings, and to speak about the freedom-seeking "Iraqi people," is cause for wonder and alarm.

Posted on 09/30/2006 6:50 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 30 September 2006
Teacher forced into hiding after attacking Islam

Details here

Both the article by Redeker, and his description of his current plight, sent to his friend Andre Glucksmann, are harrowing.

I urge others to read the entire text at Michelle Malkin's website, and to sent Redeker's article, and Egon Flaig's article, and Redeker's description of his current situation, far and wide, urbi et orbi. To everyone you can possibly think of, and then have them send it on again to everyone else.

Only thus.

Posted on 09/30/2006 6:35 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 30 September 2006
First Lady's top five "literacy events"

"The books," Mrs. Bush tells us, "that inspired me to champion literacy."  Included is a Dostoevski, but not his Demons.  I'd wait until I was back in Crawford, safe on the ranch in 2009, before I tackled that one.
Posted on 09/30/2006 6:12 AM by Robert Bove
Saturday, 30 September 2006
First Sumonauts adapt to life in International Space Station

Grand champion Asashoryu, left, and Hakuho trip in
the air during a Sumo tournament in Tokyo AP photo
Posted on 09/30/2006 5:53 AM by Robert Bove
Saturday, 30 September 2006
Jimmy Choos for clever clogs

In my August article, inspired by Churchill’s comment on the name Bossom - “neither one thing nor the other” – I instituted the Golden Bossom award for things that fall between two stools or are neither fish nor fowl. These include Intelligent Design, vegetarians and modern hymns. Here, from this week’s Spectator, is another contender: intelligent chick lit.


I am not a great reader of chick lit. Even on holiday or when relaxing in the bath, I prefer a good detective story, albeit with a female detective such as Kinsey Millhone from A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar. (What will Sue Grafton do when she gets to X? Will she stop at Z, or will she go on to numbers like Janet Evanovich?) However, if I decide to read chick lit, I want it to do what it says on the box, that is entertain me but not tax my brain.


This is not good enough, according to Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman, who have written a novel, Literacy and Longing in LA.


Noun or noun phrase plus location seems to be a syntactical winning formula for a novel, by analogy, perhaps, with Reading Lolita in Tehran - or could it be Black Hearts in Battersea? I may try and write one someday: Tapas and Trauma  in Tufnell Park, or  Bonking and Bruschetta in Belsize Square. Or perhaps, after a memorable line from Death of a Salesman, Arch Supports in Archway.


Anyway, let’s get back to our click lit for blue stockings, who, one suspects, are the kind of blue stockings who whip their nerdy glasses off to allow raven tresses to tumble down while the man gasps: “My God, you’re beautiful!”


Dora is your quintessential chick-lit heroine: thirtysomething, single, with self-esteem issues and acres of time on her hands in which to obsess about the two interlinked questions of supreme importance in her life — cellulite and finding the right man. Except that instead of indulging in Marlboro Lights, magnums of Chardonnay and designer shops to assuage her emotional traumas, Dora binges on books. ‘Women do different things when they’re depressed. Some smoke, others drink, some call their therapists, some eat. ... I do what I have always done: go off on a book bender that can last for days. I fall into this state for different reasons’s symptomatic of my state of mind, ennui up to my ears, my life gone awry, and that feeling of dread when-ever I’m asked what I’m doing. How can anyone sort all this out? All things considered, I’d rather read. It’s the perfect escape.’…

In keeping with her less literary counterparts, Dora likes to disconnect the phone and run herself a bubble bath, before getting hopped-up on a killer cocktail of Hemingway and the Brontë sisters. The aftermath of these excesses is described in much the same way as one of Bridget Jones’s hangovers: ‘My eyes are bloodshot and I have bruised circles beneath them. My matted hair is sticking up in clumps and my eyebrows look like someone combed them with a whisk. I am surrounded by the wreckage of my apartment, where heaps of discarded clothes lie.’

You see what too much Tolstoy can do to a girl. Though an amusing project written with journalistic polish, Literacy and Longing in LA would have worked better if it were firmly tongue-in-cheek. The problem is that the all-American earnestness shows through, the heroine is too self-consciously bookish for this literary experiment to be enjoyed without prickles of annoyance throughout. In real life one rather hopes that women are perfectly able to reconcile the two sides of their character: reading Proust while having a pedicure. But in anti-elitist cultures like America or Britain, writing about an all-consuming love of literature can only come across as pretentious. ‘I’m really just another boring bibliomaniac,’ sighs Dora with audible pleasure. And since the Americans tend to regard good writing as morally improving, one might have hoped that the knowledge accrued by ploughing through the world’s great authors would endow Dora with a more mature and responsible approach to life. Which in most people’s eyes would, of course, finally destroy her as a plausible chick-lit heroine. We are even treated to Thomas Carlyle saying, ‘The best effect of any book is that it excites the reader to self-activity.’ So why does Dora remain so obstinately flaccid, and resolutely blind to the fact that she is still in love with her ex-husband until the very end of the book?

Good question. The bookishness is, of course, artificially implanted into an otherwise empty head, and can easily be dispensed with when Mr Right comes along.


I am in two minds about whether to classify Anita Brookner as chick lit. I have written about her novels here, here and here.

Posted on 09/30/2006 5:46 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 30 September 2006
Children on God and Jesus

According to a study, (reported in The Times) funded by the Jerusalem Trust, a Sainsbury family charity, Jesus has been turned into “a very nice secular humanist, a nice chap, who wanted everyone to be nice to each other”.

Researchers at the University of Exeter surveyed nearly 500 children. They included children aged 7-11 in ten junior schools and children aged 11-14 in one comprehensive, one Church of England, one Methodist and two independent schools. Nearly half the children were Christian and nearly a third were Muslim.

The aim of the research, part of a project started in 2000 and led by Terence Copley, a former teacher, is to help with the production of teaching materials for religious classes. While most of the children knew that Jesus had a reputation as a caring person, fewer than one in ten believed that Jesus was, or is, God. A third found Him “a bit confusing” and more than a quarter thought him “hard to believe in”. The children struggled to understand Jesus’s death and Resurrection, (don’t we all struggle with that at times, wonderful though it is?) and resorted to the language of magic to describe him, linking the miracles with the magic tricks of Paul Daniels.

“There is a perception that the Church and Christianity has an image problem and is perceived as, at best, outdated and, at worst, weird,” the report says. It also exposed differences between the faiths. “The Christian influence on non-Muslim children is different to the Muslim influence on Muslim children, for whom there is a much stronger and positive identification with their faith tradition.”

Christian children would say: “I believe in God.” A Muslim child would say: “I am a Muslim.”

A Muslim child would say: “I am a Muslim.” And there is the difference, between the personal relationship with God, and the orthopraxic blind obedience to a set of rules and membership of the ummah. Summed up in one tiny sentence.

Six of the group were atheists who said that they did not believe. None of these was Muslim. Many of the other children were guarded about faith, describing it as “too fantastic” or saying there was “no evidence”. This is the age when young people question and can express their doubts. I wondered the same thing at that age. They need to keep questioning to strengthen what could be a lifetime faith.  I would not want a child of that age dismissed as a confirmed atheist just yet, which is what could happen.

Professor Copley said: “They weren’t anti-Jesus. The best way of summing it up is ‘pallid respect’. They thought He was important but He didn’t excite them.”



These are howlers, no more, I don’t think they show a lack of belief, just confusion with longish words. They make me  chuckle rather than despair.


Q: What does the Bible say about the birth of Jesus that makes Christians believe he is special?

A: Jesus is the prophet of Allah (alright that one isn’t a howler)

Q: Why is the cross an important symbol for Christians?

A: Because he was crossified on a cross

... Because Jesus was crusified on one to replenish our sins ...

Q: Why do you think Jesus chose fishermen like Simon and Andrew to be his disciples?

A: Because he liked fishing. And fishing is a wise sport. (fishing is indeed)

...To fight for him

Q: According to the Bible, why did some people want to arrest and kill Jesus?

A: Because everybody thort he was a wizard.

... Some for shopping the cheats, and one for money.  (these are not actually wrong answers, just a bit limited; I can see hope there)

I tell, rather than teach, bible stories to pre school children at a toddler and baby club. At that age I really want the children to absorb a sense, a memory that coming into he church premises can be fun, that it’s a good place to visit, and receive an underlying sense of God that they may not even realise is  there when they hear the more formal teaching of Sunday school and RE.

I do worry about the blandness of RE teaching for young people. We have gone to the trouble of employing a youth worker and a children’s worker at our church, caring hardworking women who try hard, but are products of a dumbed down system which so far fails to inspire. The most successful activity is run by a gifted amateur who has a spark in her which does catch the soul. We have to thank God for men and women like her. Who can inspire excitement about Jesus, and love for him, beyond "pallid respect". 

Posted on 09/30/2006 3:07 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 29 September 2006
This is today’s news from The Barnabas Fund.
The latest anti-Christian violence in Iraq saw a car bomb outside a cathedral in Baghdad which killed 2 and injured at least 17 others, and two attacks on a church in Mosul.

On the morning of Sunday 24th September a cathedral of the Ancient Church of the East suffered a double attack apparently designed to maximise casualties. . . These two explosions resulted in two people being killed, one a security guard for the church and the other a child.  There were also at least 17 injured, of whom 9 were members of the church. Two of these remain in a critical condition. The cathedral itself was badly damaged.

On the same day at 11.15 a.m. in Mosul a church was attacked when armed men fired around 80 shots. There was no service in progress at the time and no one was killed or injured. . . Christians courageously went to the church for an evening service later in the day. Two days later on Tuesday 26th September the same church was attacked with rockets and an explosive device detonated outside a door. There were no casualties.

The violence may be linked to the uproar in response to the Pope's speech on the 12th September which was followed by a bomb attack on a church in Basra in Iraq on Friday 15th September. Terrorist groups in Iraq also made threats to Christians following the Pope's speech.
It should also be noted that the latest three attacks have fallen with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began last Sunday. Ramadan is often a time when Christians experience greater hostility from Muslims. Some Islamists in Iraq have called for more violence during Ramadan.

Largely unreported in the Western media, attacks on Christians in Iraq have been occurring frequently. As a small minority Iraqi Christians are very vulnerable.  They do not have militias to protect them like other ethnic and religious groups in Iraq.

Barnabas Fund's International Director, Dr Patrick Sookhdeo commented,

"The attacks in Mosul and Baghdad came just days after an attack on a church in Basra.  Whether in the north, the centre or the south of their country, Iraqi Christians are facing hostility and violence.  This is an ongoing situation, made worse by the anti-Christian threats issued by some Islamist groups in Iraq after the Pope's speech on 12th September. For example Al-Qaeda in Iraq said, "We will destroy the cross. Then all that will be accepted will be conversion or the sword (death). May God enable us to slit their throats."  The fact that we are now in Ramadan is also exacerbating the situation.  We need to pray for the protection of Iraqi Christians, particularly on Fridays and Sundays, the two most dangerous days of the week for Christian minorities."

Prayer Points

1. Pray for the families of those who have been killed and for those who were injured in this attack. Thank the Lord for the courage of the Iraqi Christians continuing to gather for worship despite these attacks.
2. Pray that both Muslim religious and political leaders in Iraq and also Western governments will work to protect Iraq's Christian minority.
3. That there will be no other attacks on Iraqi Christians, particularly today (Friday) and this coming Sunday. 
Posted on 09/29/2006 5:25 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 29 September 2006
Harif Events
Harif, the Association of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa have announced their autumn programme.  This term the programme, all at London venues, concentrates on Iraq.
Posted on 09/29/2006 5:18 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 29 September 2006
Myra Buttle

"Maybe he [Bush] need not be "endured" any longer, Hugh, as there is a very simple, and legal, remedy for this problem: vote Democrat. Since the "Great Hallucinator" has pointedly refused to hear what the American people demand, impeachment will (justifiably?) be Item Number One on a Democrat congressional agenda."
-- from a reader

No, Bush should not be impeached. Many of his policies -- such as those on the need for wiretapping, and the refusal to endow non-citizens with the same constitutional rights as citizens -- deserve support. Almost everything he, or his administration, has asked for when it comes to Congressional approval of surveillance methods, and methods of interrogation, deserve support.

It is his sentimentalism, his inarticulateness, his confusion about Islam, his singleminded belief that "terrorism" is the problem and not Islam itself, his fantastic squandering of resources in Iraq which is the result of his blind belief that "freedom" or "prosperity" or "freedom and prosperity" can and should be brought to Muslim lands by Infidels, and somehow, in some unspecified way, this will necessarily lead to a permanent reduction in the menace presented by the permanent and various instruments of Jihad. That's what's wrong with him, and remaining in Iraq may ensure the triumph not of the merely stupid (like Bush) but of the deliberately appeasement-minded.

It is true, however, that if American troops are withdrawn from Iraq, and there is no falling for the nonsense that "we created it so we have to stay and make things right" or, a variant, "we have to provide large amounts of aid to make up for all the chaos and confusion we brought to Iraq," then the mere act of leaving will allow, once again, the sectarian and ethnic divisions uncovered when Saddam Hussein's murderously heavy lid was removed from the Iraqi pot, to bubble over, a cheerful sight for watching Infidels, not so wonderful for members of the Muslim kaffeeklatsch.

Meanwhile, get out those Diogenes lanterns and go in search of, or help to locate, create, and support, candidates who are in the mold of, Henry Jackson, in either party. "A Good Man Is Hard To Find (You know you always get the other kind)" is a book by O'Connor. And it's a song by Bessie Smith. And it's the motto of the past several decades of presidential politics. Nonetheless, that hard-to-find good man (he can be a not impossible she) has to be found.

As for the suggestion in the posting above that the answer is to "vote Democrat," the question is why? Have the Democrats shown themselves capable of offering a coherent and intelligent criticism of the war in Iraq, one based on the notion that it is ineffectual, and instead sounded the alarm about the islamization of Europe? No, they haven't. Vote for those who see things correctly, of either party. That's the banal, obvious, only conclusion to be drawn. Why should anyone wish for such dangerous Democrats as James McDermott or Dingell to be re-elected, or Ellison to be elected? On the other hand, why should anyone wish to have Chafee re-elected?

When you suggest that the Democrats are just fine, I can only fall back on a quote:

"That's not what I meant at all. That's not it, at all."

Yes, despite his creator (the unpleasant son of a St. Louis furrier), Prufrock himself has his points. Especially when he can be enrolled in the same effort as one of my favorite authors, who was also no fan of his creator, the composer of "The Sweeniad," Miss Myra Buttle.

Posted on 09/29/2006 1:53 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 29 September 2006
A reader has asked me to comment on the rather alarming document reproduced in last August's Epoch Times here.  It purports to be the transcript of a speech given, presumably to high-level Party cadres, by old Party warhorse (and China's SecDef until the 2003 musical chairs) Chi Haotian (pronounced "Chrr How Tee-en") early last year.  The Chinese-language version is here.  Some samples:

—-Hitler was "too soft."

—-"Our ancestors left us with the two most essential heritages, which are atheism and great unity."

—-"If we let all Chinese people listen to God and follow God, who will obediently listen to us [i.e. the CCP] and follow us?"

—-"But the term 'living space' (lebensraum) is too closely related to Nazi Germany. The reason we don't want to discuss this too openly is to avoid the West's association of us with Nazi Germany, which could in turn reinforce the view that China is a threat. Therefore ... 'living,' but not 'space' ...  Western countries established colonies all around the world, therefore giving themselves an advantage on the issue of living space. To solve this problem, we must lead the Chinese people outside of China, so that they could develop outside of China."

—-"Whether we [i.e. the CCP] can forever represent the Chinese people depends on whether we can succeed in leading the Chinese people out of China."

—-"Our economic development is all about preparing for the need of war! Publicly we still emphasize economic development as our center, but in reality, economic development has war as its center!"

—-"Comrade Mao Zedong taught us that we must have a resolute and correct political orientation. What is our key, correct orientation? It is to solve the issue of America."

—-"Only countries like the United States, Canada and Australia have the vast land to serve our need for mass colonization."

—-"In the long run, the relationship of China and the United States is one of a life-and-death struggle."

—-"We must put up with America; we must conceal our ultimate goals, hide our capabilities and await the opportunity."

—-"In the past years we have seized the opportunity to master weapons of this kind [i.e. biological]. We are capable of achieving our purpose of 'cleaning up' America all of a sudden. When Comrade Xiaoping was still with us, the Party Central Committee had the perspicacity to make the right decision not to develop aircraft carrier groups and focus instead on developing lethal weapons that can eliminate mass populations of the enemy country."

—-"This yellow land [i.e. China] has reached the limit of its capacity."

—-"Here some people may want to ask me: what about the several millions of our compatriots in the United States? They may ask: aren't we against Chinese killing other Chinese?  These comrades are too pedantic; they are not pragmatic enough. If we had insisted on the principle that the Chinese should not kill other Chinese, would we have liberated China?"

[Derb]  The authenticity of the piece needs addressing.  The Epoch Times is a Falun Gong publication and its journalistic standards have been questioned.  I take the speech to be authentic just on general grounds.  I.e. that is how old Party warhorses—like my father-in-law—tend to talk.

To what degree Chi's sentiments can be said to represent Chinese govt. policy is highly debatable.  Certainly these sentiments are widespread in China, particularly among young males.  There is a strong vein of amoral fascism in modern Chinese political thinking, along with the ancient conviction of racial superiority.  The CCP carefully nurtures this tendency, with endless appeals to racial/national (they are the same thing in this context) pride and destiny, and constant reminding of past national humiliations.

Whether China will actually have the will and ability to depopulate North America by biological warfare in the near future is pretty doubtful, though.  For one thing, the demographic issue Chi makes much of is a passing phase:  all the signs are that the demographic cratering we already see in Japan and S. Korea is in China's near future, too.  For another, Chinese society is at present too chaotic and uncontrolled (yes, really) for any unified effort of the kind Chi is fantasizing about.  If you still harbor any residual Mao-era notions of a nation of drilled blue ants acting in regimented harmony, go stand at a traffic circle in Beijing for a few minutes.  China has to work through some major systemic problems before embarking on any great national project like the de-population and colonization of North America. 

The value of documents like this is to show us a ruthless and amoral strain that is not uncommon in modern Chinese thinking, but which is inchoate and, in my opinion, not likely driving any current policy.  It could turn to action only in extraordinary circumstances, and personally I'm not losing any sleep over the opium dreams of an old revolutionary.

Posted on 09/29/2006 1:38 PM by John Derbyshire
Friday, 29 September 2006
Happy Jewish New Year
Posted on 09/29/2006 1:33 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 29 September 2006
more hallucinations

"Iraq has said it wants to join NATO."["Iraq" has said this? Or at some point some idle dreamer proposed this as he whispered sweet nothings in an American official's ear?]

"Iraq's democracy was interrupted by a military coup." [when was this? Is this a reference to the coup of Qassem in 1958, by which the despotism run by Nuri es-Said (the "strongman" as he was always called in TIME Magazine) was overthrown? Was it the later military coup in which Qassem was killed? When was there "democracy" in Iraq -- ever?]

"Anything you want a strongman to do, you can get Karzai and Maliki to do. Another thing you can do is topple the neighbours!" [Karzai is a "strongman"? Helplessly dependent on the United States, unable to control even Kabul, how is he a "strongman"? And Maliki, afraid to even begin to hint at dismantling the Shi'a militia, a ditherer who hasn't any idea what to do -- a "strongman"? And my, that phrase about how, in a pinch, you can simply "topple the neighbours"? Really? Which ones? Iran? Just "topple it" just like that? My.]

"All we can do is set things up so that their [unidentified possessive pronoun, referring to Sunni "insurgents" or Shi'a militias or god knows what] efforts amount to nothing, because there's a limitless supply of new recruits to the government forces."[Actually, what is endlessly replenishable is the supply of people in Iraq who hate the Infidels, and want them out, or at least -- see the latest opinion polls taken in Iraq -- support attacks on Americans even if some of them supporting attacks also, incredibly, may want the Americans to remain a bit longer in order to protect them against their sectarian and ethnic enemies. Yes, stay to protect us, but we also have the right and even the duty to keep killing you.]
-- all from the same reader, with replies in brackets


Posted on 09/29/2006 12:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 29 September 2006
The Great Hallucinator

The Great Hallucinator will not leave Iraq, nor Afghanistan, for he is convinced that he is right and, we are now told, he is telling others "I will stay in Iraq even if only Laura and Barney [his dog] support me." We are supposed to be impressed. Are you? Does this soothe you? Do you think he has some conception of this as more than merely a "war on terror" as he so idiotically has named it? Do you think his energy policy demonstrates the recognition of the need to diminish the wealth weapon of the Arabs and Muslims? Do you think he is secretly worrying about the islamization of Europe, secretly communicating to others that plans must be drawn up to prevent this from happening, and to protect the armories of fellow NATO members? Does he give the impression of being mentally well-prepared, highly intelligent, ruthless, good at articulating the problem through language that may at times be aesopian, or calculated to prevent Muslims from being able to openly object, determined to reunite the Western alliance as an alliance of threatened Infidels, but not by succumbing to the temptation that they present, of greater appeasement. Do you think Bush has any notion of working to create the conditions which will force Muslims, and allow all Infidels, to make the connection between Islam's political, economic, social, moral and intellectual failures, and Islam itself? What do you think?

Instead we get a misunderstanding of democracy, including the nature of American democracy and of the Framers (the idiotic comparisons made between the primitive "Iraqis" and the men who attended the Constitutional Convention, for example), and a mad and messianic polypragmonic belief that "democracy" can be transplanted --"democracy" interpreted merely as head-counting -- into the stony and unyielding -- because Muslim -- soil of Iraq. No understanding of how political legitimacy in Islam is located in the will of Allah, not in the expressed will of mere mortals, and no understanding, either, that the habit of compromise with one's rivals, so essential to the functioning of Western democracy, is discouraged by all the attitudes of victor and vanquished that fill the Qur'an, the Hadith, and the "exemplary" life of Muhammad.

Meanwhile, The Great Hallucinator ignores what "democracy" should mean in this country. What does it mean when he proudly insists that even if everyone in the country except his wife and dog are with him, he will "stay in Iraq" (well, not he, he's not there, but all those hapless American soldiers being kept on a fool's errand to bring all kinds of wonderful and often impossible things to people who, by and large, support attacks on those same Americans: 91% of the Sunni Arabs, 74% of the Shi'a Arabs. Would you wish your husband, father, brother, son or daughter, to risk his, or her life, in order to help such people? Why? Because otherwise you would be cutting-and-running, and we just can't do that? Because in the chaos and civil war of Iraq, which would alarm Muslims outside Iraq and cause all kinds of dangerous problems for them (for them, but not for us, the Infidels), none of our political leaders has the wit to see how this is not an outcome to be deplored (and in any case, can only be delayed, cannot be prevented) but to be welcomed and exploited.

Two-thirds of the people in this country want the United States out of Iraq. Given that, it is not democratic, or "democratic," for any hallucinator to overlook the desires, the will, of the people, and above all he has no right to keep overlooking all those who want the soldiers out of Iraq not because they are appeasers, but precisely because they are not. Dismissed by Bush as "cut-and-runners," they include those who wish to weaken the Camp of Islam intelligently, wish to direct attention to matters much more important than whether or not Sunnis finally acquiesce in the transferal of power to Shi'a, above all to the problem of islamization, through demographic changes and Da'wa, in Western Europe. Not a peep about this, not a peep about what could happen to the armaments in Germany, for example, were there to be not 3.2 million Muslims, but 10 or 20 million. Not a peep about the already observable constraints on the foreign policies of many Western countries. Nothing -- nothing but the goddam "war on terror."

How dare he continue to damage the American military? How dare he continue to think he can endlessly prate about bringing "victory" (an irrelevant and stupid word, in the context of the without-end war of self-defense against the Jihad -- there is no "victory" but only the possible attainment of reducing the scope of the threat)? How dare he call those who want a much more ruthless policy enforced, those who wish to "cut and run"? And his claque, those who at certain web-sites are automatically cheered for the supposed "brilliance" of their analyses, analyses that consist entirely of sticking by their man, The Great Hallucinator, no matter what folly he persists in, deserve not continued praise but blame, for encouraging Bush in his own obstinacy, stupidity, timidity, and willful waste of lives, money, matériel, and morale.

There is apparently no hope that Bush will change. He is proud of his refusal to change, proud of his inflexibility. Those who keep cheering him on or defending this, often not because they have thought about the waste his policy engenders, but because they are infused with hatred for those who attack Bush most violently, and for all sorts of things where he does not deserve attack (as in his arguments for surveillance), might begin to consider that if American soldiers are still in Iraq in a year, there will almost certainly be a strengthening of those who are urging withdrawal for all the wrong reasons, as part of what one might call a comprehensive policy of appeasement. Bush has no sense of this, no sense about how to ensure, once he is out of office, that appeasement does not take place -- but the unhappy experience with tarbaby Iraq, if not quickly ended, will make that appeasement more likely, perhaps even certain.

His incessant and essentially stupid talk about that "war on terror" diverts attention from, never quite gets to, all the other instruments of Jihad -- Da'wa and demographic conquest and the money weapon, which are the main problems that need somehow to be addressed by the nations of the Infidel West, and that cannot be addressed if war is regarded, as it now seems to be regarded in Washington, as a matter of soldiers conducting raids to round up those whose ranks are endlessly replenishable, and Humvees avoiding explosives - in other words, "war" understood merely as a military matter when it is, or should be, much more.

He has been hallucinating for a long time. Too many have been too willing to overlook the timidity and stupidity reflected in the dreamy, colossally expensive $500 Billion Misunderstanding that constitutes what has so far been undertaken in Iraq, and have overlooked the opportunity costs of that mad focus on that hopeless three-vilayet concoction. For some, their inability to reconsider has to do with wounded amour-propre; they don't quite know how to gracefully distance themselves from their own previous enthusiasm, their own participation in a claque's campaign that may have temporarily confirmed Bush in the rightness of his own certitude, kept the ship of state on its sickeningly naufragous path, but did nothing to help force him to study Islam, or to have others study it and to come up with something other than an example of American messianism at its naive and clumsy worst, and to instead fashion quite a different policy, one that ceased to focus on a "war on terror" and on "Iraq as the center of the 'war on terror'" and instead, would focus on attempts to educate and arouse rulers and ruled among the threatened Infidels of the world. This would require someone capable of seeing everything at once, able to construct a coherent, articulate, resolute, and cunning policy, which would be determined to exploit every pre-existing division, sectarian, ethnic, and economic, within the Camp of Islam, and to create, in Iraq and elsewhere, not Lights Unto the Muslim Nation, but rather spectacles of disorder and instability that would tell the Infidels much about the natural tendencies of Muslim peoples when despots are removed, would cause Muslim states, instead of the United States, to expend money, war matériel, and lives, as co-religionists of both Sunnis and Shi'a made Iraq a proxy war, and the struggle for power between them in Iraq, in turn, caused internecine difficulties wherever Sunnis and Shi'a elsewhere might conceivably clash -- in Saudi Arabia, in Lebanon, in Kuwait, in Bahrain, in Pakistan.

Bush is "tough-minded"? Really? If so, he is merely a tough-minded sentimentalist. He has misstated, and misrepresented to himself and to those whom he has a duty to protect and instruct, the nature of the conflict. He must be endured for another two years. His policies need not be.

Posted on 09/29/2006 10:07 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 29 September 2006
Holiday swapping to sweep Scotland

I'm getting a headache trying to figure this one out (reported in the Scotsman):

MSPs performed a spectacular U-turn yesterday and approved plans to create a new national holiday on St Andrew's Day.

Proposals for the holiday were voted down by 66 to 58 when in parliament last year.

But Jack McConnell, the First Minister, has since given his personal backing and the Scottish Executive's support to the idea.

The effect of his patronage was reflected in yesterday's vote, with many MSPs backing plans they had previously opposed. Yesterday, the plan was passed by universal acclaim in the chamber, without need for a vote.

The new holiday will be neither an official bank holiday nor a universal public holiday.

Starting next year, 30 November will become a holiday. If it falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, then the holiday will fall on the following Monday.

Workers will be allowed to take the day off if they can swap the day for one of their existing public holidays: the most likely option is the autumn holiday in September or October, which varies from region to region.

However, the day off will not be made statutory and it will be up to employers to decide whether they want to give staff the time off. There has been considerable doubt as to how many private companies will do so.

Many employers, including the main banks, do not observe the local autumn public holiday so they have nothing to trade for the 30 November holiday. But the confusion as to who would benefit from the holiday did nothing to curb the enthusiasm of MSPs for the plan - all of whom will get the holiday, with the rest of the public sector.

Celebrating St Andrew's Day. But the new holiday
will not be for all, and it is a moot point just how many
will benefit. Picture: Colin Hattersley

Posted on 09/29/2006 8:19 AM by Robert Bove
Friday, 29 September 2006

Rick Moran makes a careful case that Jonah Goldberg is wrong on the issue of torture.  I find Moran's position to be more defensible: We don't live in a made-for-TV Jack Bauer/"24" world where we always catch up with terrorists just as they're about to destroy something and/or somebody, a situation where torture might be justified as mortally necessary.

Moran correctly identifies the slippery slope argument:  To torture to stop catastrophe is one step, or a half step, from torturing because it expedites the gathering of information, itself a step or half step from practicing torturing to stay in tune.  Then, there is torture for its own sake, one having developed a taste for it.

Some societies, some peoples long ago seem to have taken that downward slope.  Another way of looking at it is that the human race began at the bottom of that slope—and there some remain.  We know who they are by their works.

A further point: torture is a final option.  Sould we bungle the strategy and tactics necessary to win this world war, we will find torture and other forms of mayhem to be the only options—the point at which we have become them.
Posted on 09/29/2006 7:03 AM by Robert Bove
Friday, 29 September 2006
Tom and Jerry: Zionist conspiracy

Tom and Jerry were borrowed by Hanna-Barbera from tales of Regency bucks (I can't remember whether apaches or mohicans), by Pierce Egan, detailing the adventures of Jerry Hawthorne and Corinthian Tom. Pierce Egan, some seminar taught me, may have been an influence, or the characters Tom and Jerry may have been, on Dickens and his "Pickwick Papers." The very phrase "Tom and Jerry" entered the language -- see Eric Partridge -- to mean "disorder, rowdiness, etc."

Pierce Egan's "Life in London" should not be confused with a later "Life in London," this one a decided influence on Dickens, the sociological study avant la lettre "Life in London, or London Labour and the London Poor" by Henry Mayhew, reprinted in four volumes by the samaritan house of Dover Publishing some 30 years ago.

For further proof that the cat-and-mouse cartoon of MGM using the names supplied by Pierce Egan must indeed be just as sinisterly anti-Islamic as is claimed, one can offer lexical evidence: the dismissive phrase "street Arab" occurs in the books of Pierce Egan, of Henry Mayhew, and of Dickens as well.

And the anti-Islamic conspiracy being conducted through cartoons pitched to the young has no end. Think of that outwardly innocent beep-beeping Road-Runner, who keeps inveigling poor Wile E. Coyote into setting traps for him, and then manages to turn the whole thing on its head, so that again and again and again, it is Wile E. Coyote who has terrible and undeserved damage inflicted on him by the implacable and cruel Road-Runner, while the Road-Runner, who should be destroyed, never is. Don't overlook the fact that the blithe Road-Runner makes repeated use of WMD supplied by the Acme Missile Company, which apparently puts no conditions on its use by him, and nowhere, not in a single Road-Runner cartoon, does anyone -- not even the United Nations -- seem able to stop the Road-Runner from behaving in such a consistently brutal fashion toward the tormented Wile E. Coyote, whose every well-meaning endeavor is so consistently foiled.

We know what that cartoon is really about.

We weren't born yesterday, you know.

Posted on 09/29/2006 6:08 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 29 September 2006
Columbia U. dean resigns in wake of cancelled Ahmadinejad invite
The NY Sun reports here.

Captain's Quarters has some sensible commentary here.

Rumors that  Col. Moammar Gaddafi has been tapped to replace her have not been confirmed.
Posted on 09/29/2006 5:51 AM by Robert Bove
Thursday, 28 September 2006
Confront Muslim extremists

John Reid talks the talk, but can he walk the walk? From the BBC:

Extremist Muslim "bullies" must be faced down, John Reid told the Labour conference in a speech which heightened speculation of a leadership bid.

Mr Reid, recently heckled when he urged Muslim parents to guard against their children being radicalised, said: "We will not be brow beaten by bullies."

So far so good.

Mr Reid said Muslims were "owed our support" and he insisted there was no clash of civilisations.

"It's not Muslims versus the rest of us," he said. "It's evil terrorists on one side against all civilised people on the other."

Arguably it is not Muslims versus the rest of us, but it is Islam versus the rest of us. Islamic terrorism does not come from nowhere; it is sanctioned by the Koran.

"Because if we in this movement are going to ask the decent, silent majority of Muslim men - and women - to have the courage to face down the extremist bullies, then we need to have the courage and character to stand shoulder to shoulder with them doing it."

He said there would be no "no go" areas: "We will go where we please, we will discuss what we like."

Fine. Reid goes on to discuss anti-Americanism.

Mr Reid argued that global alliances were needed to fight terrorism, which meant Labour members overcoming some misgivings with the UK's friendship with President Bush.

He said the UK should tell President George Bush when he was wrong on climate change, stem cell research, civil partnerships and tax cuts.

But people should also remember they were engaged in a common struggle.

"You don't have to love everything George W Bush stands for to hate everything that Osama Bin Laden stands for," he said.

True, but is it all spin? Reid may well be challenging Brown for leadership of the Labour Party when Tony Blair steps down.  Is talking tough, and sounding pro-American, an attempt to fill the gap left by Cameron, who seems intent on wooing the bruschetta-eaters of Islington?

Time will tell.

Posted on 09/28/2006 6:46 PM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 28 September 2006
Needed: Devout Muslims with advanced weapons knowledge...

AP: CAIRO, Egypt The new leader of al-Qaida in Iraq said in an audio message posted on a Web site Thursday that more than 4,000 foreign insurgents have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.


It was the first known statement from insurgents in Iraq about their losses...


Abu Hamza al-Muhajir — also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri is believed to have succeeded Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who died in a U.S. airstrike north of Baghdad in June.


On the 20-minute tape, he called for experts in the fields of "chemistry, physics, electronics, media and all other sciences — especially nuclear scientists and explosives experts" to join his group's holy war against the West.


"We are in dire need of you," he said. "The field of jihad (holy war) can satisfy your scientific ambitions, and the large American bases (in Iraq) are good places to test your unconventional weapons, whether biological or dirty, as they call them." ...

Posted on 09/28/2006 5:45 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 28 September 2006
Modern Hebrew?s Dilemmas
Our Norman Berdichevsky has a piece over at The World and I Online, Modern Hebrew’s Dilemmas. It is by subscription, however.
Posted on 09/28/2006 5:24 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 28 September 2006
My cummerbund is killing me

Meet Ahmadinejad's dream date.

Posted on 09/28/2006 5:01 PM by Robert Bove
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