Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Perhaps The Most Important Question of Our Age

Although I am a conservative and I often get critical and derogatory comments from liberals when I post a particular column, the most abusive and obscene comments I get come from the extreme-right when I advise moderation in our views and policies towards Muslims. Even the most sanguine American must, by now, have woken up to the fact that some portion of the Muslim population is singularly devoted to taking over the rest of the world and subjecting it to Muslim rule, but does this mean we should hate all Muslims?

These jihadists are working through every Muslim organization that they can infiltrate, and they have demonstrated their barbaric brutality over and over in their slaughter of human beings who disagree with them. They care not of the human toll they take because they believe their faith commands their actions and that the people they kill and maim are unworthy dhimmis anyway. When they are not resorting to violence and killing, they are trying to impose their ways by making rules of their Sharia apply first to themselves (and not the rules of the country where they live) – and then, if successful, to everyone else there.

The policy of the United States under the Bush Administration has been to confront, capture and kill these militant jihadists in the areas of the world that breed and support them and to work with Muslim governments in a program that encourages movement towards democracy, repression of terrorists, and denial of their funding. Over and over again President Bush has stressed that the rights of Muslim-Americans must be respected and that we are not engaged in a ‘holy war’ against all Muslims – that our ‘war’ is solely against the violent jihadists who want to restore the caliphate by any means necessary.

This policy is based on the assumption that most Muslims want nothing to do with jihad, and that turning this into a ‘holy war’ against all Muslims is not only wrong, but potentially suicidal.

This last is the point with which my angry, right-wing commenters take issue. They believe that our fight is with all Muslims, that openly or secretly all Muslims are working toward establishing the caliphate everywhere they can, and that denying that premise guarantees our eventual defeat. Even though we have the most powerful military in the world and possess nuclear weapons, it is doubtful we would or could use them even as a last resort – especially if Muslim domination spreads to reach a certain point. These right-wingers have some evidence on their side because the so-called peaceful majority of Muslims are almost invisible in the war on terror.

This, then, is probably the most important question of our age, and it is not an entirely obvious one to answer given what we have seen happening recently in several countries in Europe, and the cartoon-fiasco violence that spread around the world. I obviously believe that the Muslim world would have exploded when we invaded Iraq if our fight is with all Muslims; also, Pew Research surveys show that a large majority of Muslims do not support Al-Queda, even though they feel dominated by western culture. Pew Research is known to be a liberal organization, and its research results may well be slanted.

I agree with the policy of the Bush Administration, but I am starting to worry. The problem is, I shudder to think where a different policy might take us. What would these right-wingers have us do?

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Monday, February 27, 2006

The Three Easy Questions To Save a Life

A high-school classmate e-mailed my classmates and me the other day with some information that has recently been learned about strokes. We all know that President Ariel Sharon of Israel is now suffering from the effects of a severe stroke and probably will never be able to resume his duties. Because it is now known that getting medical attention immediately is just as important for a stroke as for a heart attack, I did some research on this and verified the following information. The key is to observe the warning signs and then ask the three easy questions:

The warning signs of a stroke are:

• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding.
• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
• Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

The three easy questions are:

• ask the individual to smile.
• ask him or her to raise both arms.
• ask the person to speak a simple sentence.

If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 911 immediately, and
describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

One of the biggest problems people face, with an impending heart attack or stroke, is the fear of looking foolish if it is a false alarm. Be my guest - go look foolish, and stay alive.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

A History Lesson Concerning Palestine

Aside from the knowledge that the Arab states of Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq have attacked Israel in five major wars since 1947, and despite the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a major factor in Muslim terrorism, many Americans have little or no knowledge of the recent history of these conflicts. Today I'd like to present a short history of the last hundred years or so of that area - a history I stumbled on at the American Thinker website. It is long, but not too long, and it is excellent.

How the Israel-Palestine Problem Came to Pass
February 25th, 2006
by Edward Bernard Glick

History doesn’t solve problems, but it explains them, including the evolution of the intractable Israel-Palestine problem.

The idea of revived sovereignty in their ancient homeland has excited Jews for millennia. Until the nineteenth century that excitement was expressed only in religious and poetic terms. Thus the 137th Psalm recalls the mourning of the Babylonian Jews as follows:

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and there we wept, as we remembered Zion. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I do not prefer Jerusalem above my chief joy.”

Even after the Babylonians and later the Romans expelled the Jews from the Holy Land, Jews lived there. Often, there were more Jews there than other inhabitants, particularly in Jerusalem. However, in the 1880s the combination of European nationalism and European anti-Semitism, especially in Czarist Russia, gave birth to Zionism, which is the political expression of Jewish attachment to the Holy Land. In contemporary parlance Zionism is the Jewish people’s movement for national liberation. The 1880s also produced the first modern organized efforts to settle Jews in Palestine, which then comprised all of what we now call Israel, Jordan, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank of the Jordan River.

Until 1948 all inhabitants of Palestine — Jews, Muslims, Christians, Circassians, Druzes, Bahais, and others — were called Palestinians. When they went abroad, they carried Palestinian passports, issued first by the Turks and later by the British, who conquered Palestine in 1917. And when, in 1922, the British and the League of Nations, the United Nations’ predecessor, established an official body to represent the Jews of that land, it was called not the Jewish Agency or the Jewish Agency for Israel, but the Jewish Agency for Palestine.

In 1896 Dr. Theodor Herzl, a Hungarian Jewish journalist who had covered the trial of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish captain in the French Army framed with a false charge of espionage and treason, published his book Der Judenstaat in which he urged the creation of a Jewish state, though not necessarily in the Middle East. The following year, at a meeting in Switzerland, Herzl and other Jews from around the world created the World Zionist Organization, which proclaimed that
“Zionism seeks a publicly recognized, legally secured home . . . in Palestine for the Jewish people.”

Since 1897, Zionist Congresses have met regularly in order to garner moral, political, and financial support for both pre- and post-state Israel.
Great Britain was the first country to support the Zionist cause. On November 2, 1917 its Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour issued this declaration:

“His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

Shortly thereafter, France, Italy, America, and other nations indicated their agreement with the Balfour Declaration.

In July 1922 the League of Nations recognized
“the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine”
and incorporated the Balfour Declaration into the League’s Mandate for Palestine, the document which gave Britain the legal right to govern the Holy Land as well as the responsibility
“for placing the country under such political, administrative, and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home.”

Until the early 1920s, what is today the Kingdom of Jordan was part of Palestine. But in 1921 Britain split it off from the rest of Palestine and gave it as a fief to Abdullah I, the grandfather of the present Jordanian king. The Emirate of Trans-Jordan came into being officially on May 25, 1923.

Many Zionists argue that Jordan, where Jews were not allowed to settle, was and is the independent Palestinian Arab state.

In any case, Jews came to British Palestine in great numbers between the first and second world wars. In 1919 the country contained some 515,000 Arabs and about 65,000 Jews, who comprised 12 percent of its population. By 1938 the Jews were 29 percent and by 1944 they were 33 percent.

As time passed, the Zionist movement stopped calling for a Jewish home and started demanding a Jewish state. But the trouble was that the Arabs had also become enamored with nationalism. The irreconcilability of these two vibrant nationalisms in one tiny piece of land became apparent almost as soon as the British began to rule Palestine.

The Palestinian Jews wanted ever-increasing immigration so that they could eventually become the majority. And the Palestinian Arabs, aware that the number and percentage of Jews were increasing rapidly, demanded that the British stop Jewish immigration, despite the rise of Adolf Hitler and the ensuing Holocaust. Trying to force Britain to convert Palestine immediately into an Arab state, some Arabs engaged in frequent violence and massacres of Jews, for example in 1929 and between 1936 and 1939.

As a result of the 1936 unrest, London sent out to Jerusalem a Royal Commission usually called the Peel Commission after its chairman, Earl Peel. It reported that
“there is no common ground between . . . [the two communities] . . . . Neither Arab nor Jew has any sense of service to a single state, ” and the commission concluded that “the disease [from which Palestine is suffering] is so deep rooted that, in our firm conviction, the only hope of a cure lies in a surgical operation.”
The Peel Commission recommended a three-way partition of Palestine into an Arab state, a Jewish state, and an area under British control. Nothing came of it. It received only limited support from the League of Nations, the British Parliament, and Palestine’s Jews and absolutely no support from Palestine’s Arabs, who responded with new riots and new attacks upon the Jews.

As the clouds of war gathered over Europe, Britain, in May 1939, radically changed its Palestine policy. In a so-called White Paper it declared that its new objective was “the establishment within ten years of an independent Palestine state.” To accomplish this, it was going to take the following steps:
- enact constitutional reforms to give the Arabs “an increasing part in the government of their country.”

- Jewish immigration into Palestine was going to be limited to a total of 75,000 persons between 1939 and 1944, after which time “no further Jewish immigration will be permitted unless the Arabs of Palestine are prepared to acquiesce in it.”
- the British Palestine government would be granted “powers to prohibit and regulate [further] transfer of land [from Palestinian Arabs to Palestinian Jews].”

World War II forced Britain to postpone the pro-Arab constitutional reforms, but its restrictions on Jewish immigration and land purchase were strictly enforced.
Once the Second World War was over, the struggle between the British, the Jews, and the Arabs resumed and accelerated. To their earlier demands for a Jewish state, the Zionist movement added the demand that the survivors of the Holocaust be taken to Palestine immediately, As you might remember from he book and the movie Exodus, the British refused. The Zionists brought Jews to Palestine illegally. With equal tenacity, the British stopped them whenever they could, sending them back to Europe or to Cyprus. In that famous corny phrase, the situation in Palestine went from bad to worse.

So in 1946 Britain proposed to President Harry S. Truman the formation of an Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on the Palestine Problem. Visiting both Europe and Palestine, its members made two recommendations: The first one was
“that 100,000 [immigration] certificates be authorized immediately for the admission into Palestine of Jews who have been the victims of Nazi and Fascist persecution . . . and that those certificates be awarded as far as possible in 1946.”
The second recommendation was that “Palestine be neither a Jewish state nor an Arab state.”

The Anglo-American report satisfied neither community. And the 100,000 immigration certificates were not distributed because Prime Minister Clement Atlee made their issuance contingent upon the immediate voluntary disarmament of both Jews and Arabs in Palestine, as well as American acceptance of a share of the “additional military and financial responsibilities” involved in bringing the Jewish immigrants over.
Since Truman refused to accept Atlee’s conditions, Britain continued to restrict further Jewish immigration.

In February 1947 the British proposed to the Jews and Arabs that
“His Majesty’s Government should administer a five-year trusteeship over Palestine, with the declared object of preparing the country for [binational] independence.”
This, too, was rejected by the two communities. So after thirty years of trying to implement the constantly reinterpreted Balfour Declaration, and to solve the constantly convoluted Arab-Jewish problem of Palestine, Britain, on April 2, 1947, took the matter to the United Nations, And on November 29, 1947 the General Assembly recommended the partition of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state.

The Jews accepted the recommendation, even though it gave them no control over the Holy City of Jerusalem, which was to be governed by the United Nations as a separate entity. The Arabs did not, despite the fact that Israel’s Declaration of Independence, proclaimed on May 14, 1948, after the British left Palestine, contained these clauses:

“WE APPEAL — in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months — to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.”

“WE EXTEND our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.”

Although the Israeli Army beat back the attacks of Arab armies during Israel’s War of Independence, it was not able to seize what became known as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. From 1948 to 1967 Egypt controlled the Gaza Strip, and Jordan controlled East Jerusalem and the West Bank. In these nineteen years they made no attempt to give independence to the Palestinians. It was only after Israel conquered these territories in the famous Six Day War of 1967 that the Arab, Muslim, and European worlds agitated for Israeli withdrawal and for Palestinian independence.

Now why is it that the Arabs and other Muslims have rejected every opportunity to have a sovereign and peaceful Palestinian state next to the State of Israel? Why, in 2000, did Palestine Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat reject Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer to return to the Palestinians 95 percent of the Israeli-occupied territories, including a portion of East Jerusalem to be used as their capital? And why did Arafat respond by launching a suicide-bombing intifada?

Why did the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who knows very well that in 538 BC King Cyrus of Persia let the Jews leave Babylon and return to Judah, vow to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth? And why did Hamas leader Khalid Mish’al write in Britain’s Guardian newspaper soon after his party won the Gaza Strip election that “We shall never recognize the legitimacy of a Zionist state”?

“By wide margins,”reported a 2003 Pew Research Center poll, “Muslim populations doubt that a way can be found for the state of Israel to exist so that the rights and needs of the Palestinian people are met. Eight-in-ten residents of the Palestinian Authority express this opinion.”

In other words, despite the 137th Psalm and the support by the League of Nations in the 1920s and by the UN in the 1940s of a renascent Jewish state in the Middle East, contemporary Muslims, like their brethren before them, deny that the Jews have any legitimate historical and religious ties to the City of David and to the Holy Land — before, during, and after the Holocaust.

Muslims want Israel to disappear because of the geopolitics of their religion. Islam emerged in Arabia. In a short time it enveloped peoples and places as far away as Indonesia. So Islam developed the notion that once a non-Muslim land is conquered, it belongs to the Ummah, the universal community of Islam, forever. Should the Infidel retake his land, such as the Christian reconquest of Spain in 1492, the reconquest is temporary until Islam conquers the Infidel’s land again.

This is a corollary to another Muslim notion, expressed most clearly by the late Ayatollah Seyyed Ruhollah Khomeini, the religious leader who overthrew the Shah of Iran and founded the present Iranian Revolutionary regime:
“Holy war means the conquest of all non-Muslim territories.” The “final aim . . . is to put Koranic law in power from one end of the Earth to the other.”

For those who reject Israel’s right to exist, the issue is not the size of the Jewish state or the boundaries of the Jewish state. It is the existence of the Jewish state.

The rejectionists cannot abide in their midst Infidel Unbelievers who also possess the attributes of sovereignty: a country, a flag, a language, an army, an anthem, and a culture. Even Israeli Arabs, like Ibrahim Sansour, a leader of the Islamic Movement, reject the Jewish state and the other Infidel states in the world.

“We wish to see the establishment of the Islamic caliphate without borders, and that is what scares the West.”

It should scare Israel and the entire Western world.

In 1978, when I mentioned the history of Tel Aviv in a lecture I gave at Oxford University, a Palestinian in the audience said:

“I know the Jews began building the city on the sands of neighboring Jaffa, in the early 1900s, with the personal consent of the Turkish Sultan. But they built it on my sand, and I want my sand back.”

When will there be peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians?

Long before the Palestinians began using suicide bombers and long before Palestinian mothers began to encourage their offspring to become suicide bombers, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir answered the question this way:

“There will be peace between us and our neighbors when they love their children more than they hate ours.”

Edward Bernard Glick is the author of Peaceful Conflict and Soldiers, Scholars, and Society.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Countering the Nonsense About the Dubai Deal

It would really be tragic if the USA insulted one of our good friends and closest allies within the Muslim world by denying the UAE the right to own a ports' operation business in our country. This is mindless xenophobia, racism and anti-Muslim thinking at its worst, and we need all the friends we can get among the 1.3 billion Muslims in this world - 95% of which go about their business peacefully every day.

Guest Commentary
PortGate Speech President Bush SHOULD Give
By Jamie Allman
Feb 24, 2006

My Fellow Americans--

There has been a lot of misinformation circulating about the Dubai Ports World purchase of the Brittish company handing container operations at some American ports. The rhetoric is spinning out of control. It's not going to go away and that's my fault. I should have said something earlier to Congress at the very least so they would have accurate information to modify and fabricate for their own political gain instead of just fabricating information outright.

Here's the deal.

We're not selling our ports. We're not hirings "nasty A-rabs" to protect our ports. We're not replacing longshoremen with Middle Easterners.

Dubai Ports World took over the British corporation that handled the job of essentially writing checks to longshoremen. As you know, the British aren't that great at holding on to things outside of Britain and DP won out.

Many of you have been given the false impression that the United Arab Emirates is a terrorist harboring state that cannot be trusted. Well, that's patently false and has no basis in fact.

The United States has Middle Eastern friends and Middle Eastern enemies. The UAE is a friend.
The United Arab Emirates has allowed the United States unlimited use of its Al Dahfra air base for spy plane and other military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The United Arab Emirates is currently helping train Iraqi security forces as we continue to try to relieve the burden on American troops.

The United Arab Emirates was the first country to sign on to the Container Security Initiative. Bottom line: the Dubai port is among the largest in the world. Boatloads of containers already come from the UAE to the United States. The United Arab Emirates were the first to agree to the tough program designed to screen containers coming to our country. Even as I speak UAE port workers are loading commercial ships bound for our country. They also help load and unload U.S. Navy ships.

The United Arab Emirates is also close to Iran. Iran hates the UAE and the UAE hates Iran. We like that. We're glad we are friends with the UAE. As long as we are, the Gulf will never be taken over by our middle eastern enemies. Never.

Based on all that the UAE has given us and has invested in the war on terror, there is no logical reason to deny a UAE company the opportunity to invest in the U.S. economy and benefit from our interests.

You all know about the need to battle Islamic Fascists. Why encourage friendly countries to retreat into evil based on unfounded fears?

Some have claimed UAE ties to the 9/11 attacks. Those are false. Two of the hijackers came from the UAE but even nine months before the attacks the UAE, in cooperation with the CIA, stopped one of them for questioning because his activities raised suspicion. It was the U.S. that let him go, not the UAE.

As for money ties to 9/11 , money did go through the UAE banking system, but not with the aid of the UAE government.

It should also be noted that the hijackers developed the most critical attack tool of all right here in the U.S. They learned the fly in the U.S., not in the UAE. They used visas granted by the U.S. Government, not the UAE.

Some have claimed that the other reason to oppose the UAE company is because the UAE supported the Taliban. I've got news for you. So did the United States. In 1996 we established diplomatic relations with the Taliban. In 1997 a Taliban delegation came to Houston and took in the zoo and the NASA Space Center. They were guests of a U.S. Oil Company.

In two years I'm headed back to Crawford. My legacy will be determined by you. I have nothing to gain by leaving you with a ticking time bomb. But I won't rest well in Crawford until you know that the UAE is not your enemy today. Your enemy is a multitude of individuals who stand to gain personally and politically by lying and fabricating details of what is really going on and the reasons why.

There are those in the media who are hoping for a short term burst of celebrity by exploiting foreign paranoia and hoping you don't read. And there are those pandering bi partisan politicians who have no interest in facts or, for that matter, anything that happens beyond election year 2006. Yes, I should have briefed them, but the truth was just a phone call away. Do not let them exploit your illogical fears for their own political gain.

Again, what do I have to gain by endangering your safety? What do THEY have to gain by making you think you are endangered?

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Midwinter Boating and Birding In Florida

Finally we get some real Florida winter weather - the reason we bear those hurricanes. Although it was really too early to go up the river for birding, I had not been up there since Hurricane Charley hit, and I wanted to check it out before I took some groups there next month when the birds (mainly wood storks) are there in huge numbers for breeding. I was also anxious to do some boating since the Florida winter so far has not been very good for boating. We were fogged in early, but by 11:00 AM, great weather in the low 80's set in. MOST PHOTOS ENLARGE WITH A LEFT MOUSE CLICK.

The water is so low in spots the only boat we could use was a pontoon boat. We still went aground and touched bottom 3-4 times. Here I am in the driver's seat along with my friend, Ted, who is a serious amateur astronometer, software developer, and a teacher of embedded computer software and hardware applications.

We left Fisherman's Village in Punta Gorda Isles seen in the lower left and headed northeast under two sets of bridges and up the river. The Peace River is only a few hundred feet from civilization, but it seems to boaters to be the middle of the Amazon when you leave sight of houses. The Tarzan movies of the 1930's were filmed on this river, and the vegetation is tropical jungle. I think anyone who comes to Florida for birding, boating or fishing has to become an environmentalist of sorts.

Typical tropical vegetation alongside the river.

A pelican swims by as we head up river.

One of Florida's many vultures looking for a meal.

There are three or four small mangrove islands that are natural bird rookeries. We are approaching one here.

If you look closely you can see a couple of dozen wood storks and a few herons here early. Next month there will be hundreds of storks, herons and egrets.

A closer look at a couple of wood storks.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

We Need To Start Over With The UN

As a moderate-right conservative, it distresses me to reach this conclusion, because I have always thought that having a place where the peoples of the world could meet and talk would always be a good idea, no matter what. However, the obstructionism, the inefficiency, the anti-Semitism, the arrogance and the incredible waste of resources are one thing, but the scandals involving rape and child molestation and oil-for-food bribes are quite another. As more and more information dribbles out, it has become clearer and clearer that these scandals involve the highest levels of UN leadership, and are widespread and so deeply rooted, we will never see meaningful reforms.

In fact, the Oil For Food scandal is so all-encompassing and complex that it is impossible to treat it here in a short report.
For an excellent review of the Oil For Food scandal and the duplicity of UN officials, go here.

Everywhere you look, you see scandal

Speaking of the UN’s role in aiding tsunami victim’s, the Center For Individual Freedom had this to say:

It's clear from the Financial Time's investigation that these findings (as are most involving the U.N.) are only the tip of the iceberg. Consider that if the same general ratio holds true for the entire tsunami fund and the world body essentially paid itself about 20 percent of the money for overhead, the U.N. may have pocketed $2.6 billion of the $13 billion that was contributed.

While the U.N. makes off with the loot, the losers, of course, are the tsunami victims. Their lives destroyed by the disaster, they were supposed to get help from generous souls around the world. But, just as it always does, the U.N. saw a sack full of booty and gladly grabbed a handful.

With the United Nations already under fire for the Oil-for-Food mega-scandal and other corruption, sensational allegations of rampant sexual exploitation and rape of young girls and women by the U.N.'s so-called "peacekeepers" and civilian staffers in the Congo is dragging the global body's reputation to an all-time low.

And Here

Sex scandal in Congo threatens to engulf UN's peacekeepers
They should be rebuilding the country, but foreign workers face serious accusations
HOME-MADE pornographic videos shot by a United Nations logistics expert in the Democratic Republic of Congo have sparked a sex scandal that threatens to become the UN’s Abu Ghraib.

And Here

A United Nations investigation into the sex-for-aid scandal heads for Sierra Leone on Friday after visiting refugee camps in Guinea.
The team from the UN's Refugee Agency, UNHCR, is trying to find out the extent of the abuse of women and children by aid-workers.
A study by the UNHCR and a UK charity made public last month found that some aid agency employees were exchanging food and other supplies for sex.

And Here

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has sent a team of investigators into refugee camps in west Africa following the revelation that large numbers of children have been sexually exploited by aid workers there.
The scale of the problem - revealed in an overview of a report by the UNHCR in conjunction with the British-based charity Save the Children - has surprised relief personnel.

Practically everywhere you look in the operations of the United Nations, you find incredible graft, corruption and disgusting criminal behavior. The time has come to withdraw all support from this organization and let it fall apart – starved of funds. We can find some other use for the buildings and grounds while leaders from the important countries of the world meet to plan a successor organization. Let the United Nations follow the League of Nations into the dustbin of history, as we try again to find a way to resolve the world’s problems peacefully.

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Ann Coulter, “Rag-Heads” and Our Children’s Future

A few days ago I received an e-mail from Homa Arjomand. She is a Canadian, former Muslim lady who has been working to assure that some Canadian Muslims were not successful in getting the Canadian government to accept the Sharia (Muslim law) to be put in place for Muslims there. The e-mail was to announce the success of her efforts, as Canada just shot down this effort.

There are many more than one billion Muslims (just the Sunnis number a billion) around the world. Despite the scenes of death and destruction we see almost every day, carried out by some portion of these Muslims, the policy of the United States is that the great majority of Muslims are peaceful people who want the same things for their children that the rest of us do – a better life in peace and security. The one billion-plus Muslims are reproducing at much faster birth rates than are Americans, Europeans, Chinese and Japanese; and may actually become the largest homogeneous groups in certain European countries in a few years. Although the scary violence we see nightly on TV is widespread and appears to reflect what most Muslims are doing, reaching this conclusion is not only wrong, but could result in a self-fulfilling prophesy.

The worse thing we could do is to lose our nerve and our cool and begin to adopt policies that discriminate against Muslim-Americans and pit us against Muslims everywhere. We are probably going to start seeing some opportunistic politicians calling for support for anti-Muslim measures here and abroad. If we call for an “us or them” decision on the part of the majority Muslims in their countries, we could transform our fight against the Islamofascist terrorists into a holy war since most Muslims live in countries where conditions for the average man breed discontent. If a widespread holy war were to break out, I have no doubt that we have the means and the will to win it, but our world will become a terrible, dark place if this were to happen.

I call on the three main Muslim groups in this country that have supported terrorists in the past, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada (MSA), to turn their energies and their resources to stopping terrorism, before it consumes the very people they think they are protecting; AND I call on certain right-wing conservatives, like Ann Coulter, to stop using terms like “Rag-heads” to make their cute points. We want to drive a wedge between peaceful Muslims and the terrorists – not between all Muslims and us.

By the way, has anyone noticed that Iraq seems to be the only Muslim country, or one of the few, where Danish cartoon-violence has not occurred?

Here are two excerpts from articles that make my points. To read the entire articles, click on the links provided:

More and More Moderate Muslims Speak Out in Denmark
Brussels Journal
From the desk of Hjörtur Gudmundsson on Mon, 2006-02-13 13:16

Dozens of Danish Muslims are joining the network of moderate Muslims, the Demokratiske Muslimer (Democratic Muslims). About 700 Muslims have already become DM members and 2,500 Danes have expressed their will to support the network. The initiative has caused anger among the Danish imams and their leader, Ahmad Abu Laban, who have referred to the moderates as “rats.” The imams feel that they are beginning to lose their control over part of the Muslim population.

What Is a Moderate Muslim?
By Stephen Schwartz, 12 Jan 2006

Muslim moderation is defined by attitudes and conduct, not by abstractions or historical precedents, which, as with all religions, may be interpreted to support any ideological position. Observing and analyzing Sunni Muslims by such positive, practical criteria is extremely easy. There are more than a billion Sunnis in the world, and they are not all jihadists or fundamentalists, so telling them apart should not be difficult with a little effort. Identifying moderate Shia Muslims is harder, but one thing may be said immediately: those who follow Ayatollah Ali Sistani in Iraq prove their moderation daily, by their silent but effective support to the U.S.-led liberation coalition.

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Some February, 2006 Graphics for Fun and Profit

We are pleased to see two of liberalism's propaganda organs sinking beneath the waves of internet and talk-radio truth-telling. Winston Churchill said, "A lie flies around the world before truth gets its pants on". Maybe that's slightly not so true any more.


This is the famous "hockey stick". These are the data that convinced America-hating socialists around the world to demand that the USA join Kyoto. It is interesting to read, therefore, of a description of Greenland, a country now totally buried in ice, in the year 1000 - and then look at the graph.

WORLD HISTORY How did a glacier-covered island get the name Greenland? In Norse legends written in the 12th century and later, it is told that Eric the Red explored the southeast and southwest coasts of Greenland in A.D. 983-986 and gave the country its name because people would be more likely to go there if it had an attractive name. Greenland was warmer in the tenth century than it is now. There were many islands teeming with birds off its western coast; the sea was excellent for fishing; and the coast of Greenland itself had many fjords where anchorage was good. At the head of the fjords there were enormous meadows full of grass, willows, junipers, birch, and wild berries. Thus Greenland actually deserved its name. Another attraction of Greenland was that Iceland and northwestern Europe, including England, had a grievous year of famine in 976, and people were hungry for food as well as land.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

But Maybe I’m Not Wrong About The ACLU

In my last post, I offered the suggestion (somewhat facetiously) that perhaps I was wrong about wanting the ACLU to go out of business – abandoned by their supporters who finally realized what an anti-American program this organization has adopted over the last few years. Gone are those ACLU leaders who watch out for infringements of the civil rights of all Americans. In their place are people with a hard-left, take-this-country-down-a-peg, America-hating agenda. Below I present some excerpts of recent articles about what your ACLU is doing for you now:

Bridgeville Town Council Considering Sex Offender Ban

BRIDGEVILLE- There is controversy over efforts to protect children from sexual predators in Bridgeville.

Town officials are considering a ban on allowing registered sex offenders from living within a half mile from schools, daycares or parks. People that spoke with WBOC say they support such a move.

"Children are innocent and they don't know how to protect themselves and these type of people take advantage of them," said Ronald Celozzi, who supports the proposed law.

But the American Civil Liberties Union in Delaware said the bill would not be fair.

"We have a legal system here in this country that punishes people suitably and tries to return them to their communities and they have to have a community to return," said Drewry Fennell of the Delaware ACLU.

Sex offenders already in banned areas of Bridgeville would not have to move. The Bridgeville Town Council votes on the ban next month.


by Ann Babe
Monday, February 6, 2006

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Jan. 24, challenging the constitutionality of a state statute that prohibits inmate sex changes.
The lawsuit came in response to the complaints of four Wisconsin prisoners currently undergoing hormonal sex changes, who were temporarily forced to discontinue hormonal therapy after the passage of Assembly Bill 184.

The bill, signed into law early last month, mandates that state funds cannot be used to fund the hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery of prisoners or forensic patients.


Fear of ACLU lawsuits forces Scouts to scrap troop charters
Scouts, who pledge allegiance to 'God,' cut ties with local governmental entities

PUBLISHED: February 9, 2006
By Chad Halcom
Macomb Daily Staff Writer

Troops of Boy Scouts in Macomb County and around the country are scuttling their organizational charter agreements with local governments, fearing legal action from the American Civil Liberties Union for requiring allegiance to God.


ACLU takes on Boy Scouts in 9th Circuit
Lesbians want to nix city-owned camp because group 'religious'
Posted: February 11, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2006
An ACLU lawsuit on behalf of an agnostic, lesbian couple seeking to nullify the Boy Scouts' long-standing lease with a San Diego park will be heard in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, widely regarded as the nation's most liberal.

The city of San Diego is appealing a U.S. District Court judge's ruling in 2003, which determined the agreement violates the First Amendment's ban on state-sponsored religion.


ACLU urges no retrial of Al-Arian
It marks the first time in three years the group has taken a stand in the controversial case.
Published January 24, 2006

TAMPA - The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida urged the government Monday not to retry Sami Al-Arian, who was acquitted in December on eight counts of terrorism-related charges in a federal trial in Tampa. The jury hung on nine counts, with 10 jurors favoring total acquittal on all but an immigration charge.

In a letter to federal authorities, the director of the Florida ACLU wrote: "In light of the jury's acquittal ... on the most serious charges and in light of reportedly spending millions of dollars in a trial that led to no convictions, a decision to retry (Dr. Al-Arian) would appear to be pointless and vindictive."

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Maybe I’m Wrong about the ACLU

By now, all my viewers are certainly aware that over my adult lifetime I have changed from supporting the ACLU to opposing them on almost every front. I think they should be abolished, and their contributors should be ashamed for supporting an interest group that endorses the right of NAMBLA to actively promote and solicit man-boy sex and gives advice on how to avoid detection and prosecution for it (Curley case in Massachusetts), and which works actively to undermine and destroy organizations like the Boy Scouts. But perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps I should rather be working to reform the ACLU, not to abolish it. Here is what two former ACLU officials had to say recently:

Mr. Reese Lloyd, a former ACLU lawyer:

“The ACLU played a helpful role in the civil rights movement defending these people, and I can’t turn my back on that. I have to give credit where credit is due.” “But….that being said, what they have done in the past is completely eviscerated by what they do in the present. The ACLU has become a fanatical anti-faith Taliban of American religious secularism.”

“The ACLU is involved in the secular cleansing of our history. This is not just a fight about free exercise, but about the protection of our American history. The ACLU want to deny America the knowledge of their Christian heritage.”

And in another view:


"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
What Voltaire said more than 200 years ago could easily serve as the motto of the American Civil Liberties Union. The right to express unpopular opinions, advocate despised ideas and display graphic images is something the ACLU has steadfastly defended for all of its nearly 80-year history.

But the ACLU, a group for which I proudly worked as executive director of the Florida and Utah affiliates for more than 10 years, has developed a blind spot when it comes to defending anti-abortion protesters. The organization that once defended the right of a neo-Nazi group to demonstrate in heavily Jewish Skokie, Ill., now cheers a Portland, Ore., jury that charged a group of anti-abortion activists with $107 million in damages for expressing their views. Gushed the ACLU's press release: "We view the jury's verdict as a clarion call to remove violence and the threat of violence from the political debate over abortion."

Were the anti-abortion activists on trial accused of violence? No. Did they threaten violence? Not as the ACLU or Supreme Court usually defines it, when in the context of a call for social change.

The activists posted a Web site dripping with animated blood and titled "The Nuremberg Files," after the German city where the Nazis were tried for their crimes.

Comparing abortion to Nazi atrocities, the site collected dossiers on abortion doctors, whom they called "baby butchers." The authors claimed their purpose was to prepare evidence for the future when, they hope, the law will reflect their view that abortion is murder. Murdered doctors had their names crossed out with a black line. The site also featured Old West-style "Wanted" posters that listed the names and addresses of abortion doctors, some offering cash rewards for anyone preventing abortions "through activities within [the group's] guidelines."

This is ugly, scary stuff. But it is no worse than neo-Nazi calls for the annihilation of the Jewish people, or a college student posting his rape fantasies about a fellow coed on the Web, both of which the ACLU has defended in the past.

None of the anti-abortion group's intimidating writings explicitly threatened violence. Still, the ACLU of Oregon refused to support the defendants' First Amendment claims. Instead, it submitted a friend-of-the-court brief taking no one's side but arguing that speech constitutes a physical threat only when the speaker intends his statement to be taken as one.

The judge rejected the ACLU's standard, instructing the jury instead to find a threat whenever "a reasonable person" could foresee that the words could be taken as threatening. This is a much looser definition of a threat, in which the listener's potential reaction controls the speaker, forcing the speaker to guess at how his words will be construed. He risks bankruptcy if wrong. A verdict based on this faulty standard should be challenged, not cheered.

Before anti-abortion zealots started getting sued, the ACLU had much more tolerance for menacing speech. Few of the 20th century's great social movements were entirely peaceable. The labor, civil-rights, antiwar, environmental and black-power movements were an amalgam of violence, civil disobedience and highly charged rhetoric. But to gag fiery speakers who call for harm to the establishment because others in the movement pursue their political goals with fists, guns or bombs would do terrible damage to strong, emotive pleas tot social change. It is something neither the ACLU nor, thankfully, the courts have countenanced in the past.

That's why in 1969 the ACLU helped defend a Ku Klux Klan member who had called for violence against the president, Congress and the Supreme Court. At the ACLU's urging, the Supreme Court ruled that speech advocating violence was constitutionally protected unless it incited imminent lawless action and was likely to produce such action. This case was later used to defend the speech of black militants.

The ACLU also applauded a 1982 Supreme Court decision that found that speeches promising violent reprisals were protected by the First Amendment. During the civil-rights movement, a leader of the NAACP called for "breaking the necks" of blacks who violated a boycott of white-owned businesses in Mississippi, and published a list of those who did. Some of the boycott violators were beaten. The court ruled that despite the atmosphere of fear, all the speeches and lists were part of a debate on a public issue that needed to be "uninhibited, robust, and wide-open."

Interestingly, the ACLU was more concerned with the free-speech rights of anti-abortion activists before a real case cropped up. Thus, when the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act was being considered in Congress, the national ACLU, a supporter of the bill, nonetheless warned that the bill could compromise free-speech rights unless its provisions on threats and intimidation were narrowly construed. In a 1993 letter to Sen. Edward Kennedy, the ACLU's executive and legislative directors wrote that the bill's legislative history should make clear that "only 'true' or meaningful threats of force are subject to prosecution," limited to cases in which "the speaker 'utter[ed] the words in an apparent determination to carry out the threat.'"

That definition of a threat is substantially more protective of free speech than the one offered by the Oregon ACLU. And the Oregon case is not the only one in which the ACLU has been reluctant to defend the rights of anti-abortion activists.

When the National Organization for Women creatively used the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act against anti-abortion groups for their clinic blockades, the ACLU failed to object to the law's use against political advocacy groups. Yet the ACLU had vehemently objected to RICO's broad reach when the bill was first under consideration in Congress.

Then, in 1995, the national ACLU joined its New York affiliate in defending an injunction against anti-abortion protesters, arguing that the imposition of a moving buffer zone that kept protesters 15 feet away from people entering and leaving abortion clinics did not violate the First Amendment.

When the issue reached the Supreme Court, three ACLU affiliates (including the Florida affiliate, where I was executive director), were so appalled by the national organization's stance that we filed a brief opposing it. Our brief challenged the constitutionality of the floating buffer zones, which prohibited most protesters' from getting close enough to hand patients a leaflet or engage them in a conversation. The Supreme Court agreed the floating buffer zone violated free speech and struck it down.

While there have been occasions when ACLU affiliates around the country have represented anti-abortion protesters, the groups' commitment to abortion rights has tended to get in the way of their doing so. They see the anti-abortion-protester issue as a clash of two constitutional rights, free speech vs. reproductive freedom. This, however, is a misleading way of looking at the issue.

The right to choose abortion is constitutionally protected against governmental interference, not against interference by an activist. When Operation Rescue blocks entrances to abortion clinics, it is not violating the constitutional rights of patients; it is violating trespass law. The clash of interests at abortion clinics is between the First Amendment rights of protesters and the government's interest in protecting the public's health and safety. Throughout its history, the ACLU has routinely come out on the First Amendment side of that equation. Until now, that is.

Ms. Blumner is a columnist and editorial board member of the St. Petersburq Times.

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Monday, February 13, 2006

Another Possibility For Iran May Shine Through

Many recent news stories and my own postings have focused on the sheer folly of allowing the madmen in Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. Other stories have focused on the difficulty of targeting nuclear facilities that are widely dispersed, some underground, with reports also that the US military has been drawing up plans to destroy these facilities if all else fails. A great sense of urgency and foreboding accompanies these possibilities, as the recent comments and actions of Iran’s leadership combine with the mindless violence of certain Muslims everywhere to convince us that people like President Ahmadinejad would even sacrifice Tehran in a nuclear exchange to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

Amidst all these scary scenarios come some other possibilities; it has been my contention all along that the great majority of Muslim peoples (while harboring similar resentments) do not support the violence of the Islamofascist terrorists, and realize that these acts of violence may well end up consuming them and their religion.

Over the weekend two reports appeared that offer some hope that the nightmare scenario may be avoided. One is presented in its entirety; the other is an excerpt.

From SMCCDI: (Student Movement Coordinating Committee for Democracy in Iran)
Iranians show massive rejection of the Islamic regime at the occasion of its 27th birthday
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Feb 11, 2006

Millions of Iranians inflicted another heavy slap to the face of the shaky and unpopular Islamic regime by boycotting its "27th anniversary revolution celebration" by staying home, or far from the official gatherings.

The regime's desperate leadership was hoping to bring millions in the streets by playing their nationalistic or religious feelings. But in Tehran, which was supposed to become a show room, the regime was unable to muster more than 70 or 80 thousand professional demonstrators and government employees and schools' students. Many of them, such as most governmental employees, are known to be forced to participate in official gatherings and others are fanatics or paid demonstrators. Hundreds of buses had transferred thousands of such demonstrators to the Capital.

For reference purposes, there are more than 12-million inhabitants in Tehran, the capital of Iran.

The SMCCDI Coordinator, who was interviewed by the Persian service of "Voice of America" (VOA) Satellite TV, slammed the Islamic regime for its dark records and the threats posed to the People of Iran and the world.

In part of the live interview from Washington DC, Aryo B. Pirouznia, who was speaking at the occasion of the Islamic revolution's anniversary, stated: "The dark event plunged Iran in the situation which we're now and has more in its package due to its fanatical and backwarded ideology... Without doubt, millions of young Iranians are wondering how this happened and why the elder generation facilitated the take of power of a group which took from Iranians all their social and economic liberties and plunged the country into the barbarian age..."

"The younger generation of Iran, which is composed by millions of individuals, has long turned its back to the Islamic regime and it’s looking toward modernity, secularity and nationalism... This claim can be easily backed due to the lack of popular participation in the today's official rallies, as well as, the refusal of Iranians to participate in those anti-cartoons' violent demos..." Pirouznia added.

On the question of the prospect of a unified Iranian opposition, he stated:" You have more and more Iranians that are breaking their silence and protesting openly against the regime.. The problem till now has been the negative influence exerted by some of those so-called opposition leaders that are not even able to reach the minds and souls of millions of young Iranians who are fed up with the same usual slogans... A clear National and Secular program, along with persistency and consistency is needed and hoped by millions of Iranians.. They don't want just talks or those looking simply to seize the power by making controversial deals...The road should be open now for active and trusted opponents as Iranians have clearly shown the rejection of the same usual faces and their old methods..."

Excerpt from Jihad Watch
February 11, 2006

“Suppose you were an Iranian, an ethic Persian and a Muslim, and were one of the thousands involved in the nuclear bomb project. And you were not a fanatical supporter of the Islamic Republic of Iran, but were rather disturbed by it. Yet you for some reason allowed your sense of national pride to take precedence, and liked the idea of Iran's refusing to abandon this project, even though you had plenty of evidence that not merely Ahmadinejad, but every Iranian leader in recent history, had made clear that such weapons, if acquired, would be used against Israel. Ahmadinejad does not say something new; he just says it more often and more directly, and with greater evident delight. And you have had your own experiences, or your relatives have, or your friends, with the sheer craziness of the people running Iran. But you wanted Iran to survive….

So you are that Persian nationalist. You are working on this project for the greater glory of Iran, the Persian civilization that goes back to Cyrus and Darius, that once held much of present-day Iraq, and that today contains a kind of Persian Empire because within its domains, scarcely 50% of the population is Persian. The current Persian Empire is now known as Iran. More than one-third consists of Azeris, in the north -- that part of Iran that the Soviet Union seized for a while after World War II (until Western pressure made the Red Army retreat), a place whose population resents Persian domination and has more in common with the inhabitants of Azerbaijan. There are the Baluchis, who have similar resentments. There are the ethnic Arabs of Khuzistan, and its main city, Ahwaz, where so much of Iran's oil comes from, who have again and again demonstrated their resentment, even hatred, of their Persian masters. The forces of entropy and collapse are there, waiting to be stirred by a great outside force coming in to humiliate and reduce, and possibly end altogether, the power of the central Iranian state.

If the Americans, or others, decide to attack because Iran refuses to stop its nuclear policy, or if the outside attempt to end that project altogether will require extensive collateral damage because the attackers have not been informed as to exactly where to attack, and have to attack, therefore, hither and yon, it is likely to be the kind of attack the consequences of which may end, forever, the state of Iran in its present borders. It will be a little like Turkey, reduced after World War I from its former imperial state to, essentially, Anatolia and a European sliver.

If Iranian nationalists do not work to help the Western powers stop this nuclear project, and help to sabotage it altogether in any way they can, then Iran may end up with the loss of Khuzistan, the Azeri lands, and the Baluchi lands. And let us not forget all the lands inhabited by ethnic Kurds so contemptuous of the Persians and so eager to emulate the Kurds now enjoying at least autonomy, and perhaps a good deal more, in northern Iraq -- then Iran may be no more. Greatly reduced in size, greatly reduced in population, deprived of its gas deposits in the north and the oil in Khuzistan, Iran would become much less important to the world, and the ethnic Persians would be left with little ability to sustain the state. They would be without that oil and gas wealth, and with hostile populations rising against the central state.

Is that nuclear project worth it?

Would any Iranian who wished to preserve Iran as a power really protect, rally around, support that nuclear project out of some misguided notion of nationalism?”

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Hypocrisy Here; Cartoon Dangers There

Hypocrisy and preening are nothing new to our politicians, but the extent of the hypocrisy emanating from Washington these days is overwhelming. Hypocrisy is brown stuff, and the stench is covering us all. What I am specifically talking about are the Republican and Democratic senators who voted against extending the Patriot Act late last year because of their supposed concern with civil liberties protections. Now that a few cosmetic changes have been made, and the voices of the folks back home have been heard, these same Congresspersons are rushing to announce that they now support the bill. Apparently the same song and dance is underway concerning the NSA wiretapping of foreign al-Queda conversations with their American accomplices. There will be much breast-beating on the part of those politicians who think we cannot see through their antics. Like John Kerry, they think they want to say that they voted both ways on these issues, and therefore satisfy everyone. I hope, like with John Kerry, this will be thrown back in their faces.

Every Democrat except Johnson of South Dakota and Nelson of Nebraska voted to filibuster the Patriot Act and were joined by these four Republicans: Craig (R-ID), Hagel (R-NE), Murkowski (R-AK) and Sununu (R-NH).

Those Dangerous Cartoons

The “cartoon danger” I am referring to marries the unbelievably violent and widespread reactions (orchestrated by Muslim leaders) to the Danish cartoons - to the statement yesterday by a senior Muslim cleric in Iran, Ahmad Khatami, that the focus of Islamic anger over the cartoons should be directed at the USA, and not at Denmark. A news story detailing this follows this column. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t understand that we have to use whatever means necessary to stop the Iranians from acquiring nuclear weapons? Is there anyone out there who doesn’t understand the implications of this cartoon fiasco? Is there anyone out there who doesn’t understand that Muslim leaders can incite Muslim mobs to support the use of nuclear weapons against us and our western allies when the next trumped-up pretext is orchestrated?

Winston Churchill once said that “democracy is the worst form of government known to mankind, except for all the others”. Democracies are usually led by civilized, decent peoples who can’t imagine such evil can exist in this world and are demonstrably slow to face up to these dangers. Perhaps the deadly cartoon fiasco will have some benefit – that of waking up the Europeans and head-in-the-sand Americans to the dangers western democracies now face.

This article appeared yesterday in Iran Focus:

Iran tells Muslims to target U.S., not Denmark, over cartoons
Fri. 10 Feb 2006

Tehran, Iran, Feb. 10 – A senior Iranian cleric called on Muslims on Friday to direct their fury over cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad at the United States, rather than Denmark.

When crowds of worshippers in Tehran chanted “Death to Denmark” during his fiery sermon, Tehran Friday prayers leader Ahmad Khatami told them, “We shouldn’t say ‘Death to Denmark’. Denmark is nothing! We must say, ‘Death to America’. It’s the Americans who set up the likes of the Danes”.

Khatami, who is not related to Iran’s former president, accused the European Union of “double standards” in its approach to the publication of cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad and Iran’s denial of the Holocaust.

“They talk about human rights and freedom of expression, but at the same time they disgustingly insult more than a billion Muslims”, the ayatollah told worshippers in central Tehran.

“They justify this great crime on the grounds of freedom of expression and the stupid Prime Minister of Denmark says that they are willing to pay the price of freedom. But these very countries who claim to respect freedom of expression do not allow the smallest talk about the myths of Holocaust and persecution of the Jews”, he said.

“The United States and European states are taking advantage of human rights, freedom of speech, disarmament, and the International [Atomic Energy] Agency. All of these are being misused. They want to force their rule upon the world through these methods”, the senior cleric said.

Turning to the situation in Iraq, Khatami said that the U.S. had spent a lot in the country “but they got the opposite result. The Iraqi people entered the scene and voted for Islam”.

He said that the victory of the radical Islamist group Hamas in the Palestinian elections was the “most effective blow” to U.S. prestige.

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Friday, February 10, 2006

The True Motivation of Some Democrats

Every once in a while I start asking myself the same question, “What can be the motivation of someone like Senator Leahy, who was tossed off the Senate Intelligence Committee for leaking classified information, or of Senator Durbin, who compared Guantanamo to Hitler’s death camps and called our soldiers, Nazis?”. Is it really just politics that drives them – a desire to regain power at any cost – even at the expense of the security of our country or of the lives of our soldiers? They certainly are not stupid men; they are US Senators; they must understand the consequences of their acts.

Then my mind thinks back and, in particular, remembers the wisdom imparted by Dinesh D’Souza in his book, “What’s So Great About America”. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand better the attitudes and motivations of the hard left in this country and in Europe. I also recommend giving this book to any young person whose mind is being polluted by public school teachers and by college professors like Ward Churchill, who are teaching their students to hate their country.

These people, like Senators Leahy and Durbin, want to cut their country down to size, and they are supported by millions of leftists who agree with them. They believe that it is not ‘fair’ that one country, ours, should be so powerful, so prosperous and so free. They believe in ‘one world’; that is, they believe everything should be shared equally, regardless of effort or circumstances, and they do not believe that American power should be used to advance or defend American interests. They believe in the old communist maxim, “to each according to their needs, from each according to their abilities”. They do not understand that a combination of freedom, capitalism and initiative built this country, and that courage kept us free; they believe that we became great through luck and oppression. They believe that American culture is of no greater value than the culture of a remote tribe of cannibals – hence their concern with pushing the poison of multiculturalism on us.

Yes, politics is one reason why they obstruct our efforts to defend ourselves, but the main reason is that they want us to fail. We should all remember this as we listen to and watch these scalawags pretend to be concerned about eavesdropping on al-Queda contacts with accomplices in our country, and when they insult our military and call for our retreat from Iraq. If you are thinking, “Don’t they understand what would happen if they were successful?” – my answer is, “When has any present-day liberal ever worried about the unintended consequences of his actions?”.

One final point, if anyone tries to tell you that the USA got where it is because of our size, our great natural resources and our two-ocean isolation from the rest of the world, tell them about Argentina, a huge country with immense natural resources, bounded by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans – and which is the laughing stock of the world.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Clueless in Minnesota, Georgia and Washington, DC

The funeral of Coretta Scott King in Atlanta this week gave friends and admirers an opportunity to honor her life, but in a display of viciousness and deceit not seen since Paul Wellstone’s funeral, the speakers were much more willing to engage in partisan back-biting than in memorializing her life.

While Democrats in Congress were taking the administration to task for trying to save American lives by intercepting communications with foreign al-Queda, the same Democrats who erected barriers that prevented the stopping of 9/11 (remember Jamie Gorelick?), former President Jimmy Carter was spouting nonsense and deceit, and using the platform of Mrs. King’s funeral to launch a cheap partisan attack.

I remember well the presidency of Jimmy Carter. I remember 15% interest rates and record unemployment. I remember $1000 gold, the hostage crisis and the bloody fiasco in the desert. Quite a few other people with long memories remembered Jimmy Carter – including the editors of the New York Post:


Jimmy Carter may or may not have been the worst president of the 20th century — history will have the final word on that — but his disgraceful performance yesterday at Coretta Scott King's funeral marks him as the most shameless.
Maybe of all time.

There is, after all, a time and place for everything — but not for Carter.

In a reprehensible (albeit typical) display of tone-deafness, the former president used the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King's widow to score cheap points against President Bush. (He wasn't alone in that regard, more of which in a bit.)

Carter warmed up by conjuring the outlandish conspiracy theories that still linger from Hurricane Katrina: "We only have to recall the color of the faces of those in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi who are most devastated by Katrina to know that there are not yet equal opportunities for all Americans."

Then he segued on to the Bush administration.

In what could only be taken as a direct attack on Bush's electronic surveillance of suspected terrorists — a program Carter has repeatedly denounced as "illegal" — the ex-prez said of Mrs. King and her slain husband, Martin Luther King, "they became the targets of secret government wiretapping and other surveillance."

True enough — though Carter couldn't quite bring himself to note that the wire-tapping was conducted under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, and was originally ordered by Attorney General Robert Kennedy, all Democrats.

And, frankly, had Carter made better use of electronic surveillance back in his day, 52 Americans might have been spared 444 days of Iranian captivity. (Indeed, the world might well have been spared the Iranian revolution — and the current nuclear crisis — had Carter been up to the job.)

There was a time when former presidents did not publicly attack their successors, but that respect long ago went by the wayside as far as Carter, America's national scold, is concerned.

But to level such attacks at Mrs. King's funeral demeaned the occasion as well as the woman who was being honored by four presidents.

Sadly, Carter wasn't alone in mistaking Mrs. King's funeral for a Democratic pep rally.

Rev. Joseph Lowery, who once upon a time was a figure of some note among Dr. King's colleagues, was even more pointed in his hectoring.

"We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there," he said. "But Coretta knew and we knew that there are weapons of misdirection right down here.
Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war, billions more, but no more for the poor."

To be sure, Mrs. King probably would have agreed with the sentiments — though she was far too gracious to openly insult a president of the United States to his face.

Not Jimmy Carter.
No clue.
No class.
Some things never change.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Follow-up On Danish Cartoons - Conspiracy?

As the Iraqi website Iraq The Model suggested yesterday, the world is waking up to the very real possibility that the extensive violence we are seeing linked to the Danish cartoons depicting the prophet, Muhammed, was a setup. Believable suggestions are being made that these violent protests have been arranged to offset European and American pressures to 1. stop Iran’s development of nuclear weapons (God help us), 2. get Syria entirely out of Lebanon, and 3. reduce or stop financial aid to a Palestine government controlled by Hamas.

What we have learned overnight is that three additional cartoons which were never published, and which are much more offensive to Islamic sensibilities, were added to the Danish cartoons and broadcast by Islamic agencies to heighten and inflame violent protests, which were arranged and sponsored in various locations around the world.

One of many articles suggesting this scenario was by Thomas Lipton (excerpt):
February 7, 2006
The Cartoon Crisis Conspiracy and Moderate Muslims
By Thomas Lifson

“The cartoon crisis which has left embassies ablaze and sparked riots from Beirut to Bangkok and Jarkarta was a set-up job, planned and executed by a group of Muslim leaders from Denmark in concert with leading lights of the Islamic world. The conspirators used supremely inflammatory phony cartoons never published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten to gin up a campaign of violence and intimidation against Denmark, the EU, and the West.

The instantaneous availability of Danish flags for burning in obscure outposts of the Muslim world suggests a great deal of advance planning.

Those involved in taking a four-month-old incident in far-away Denmark and making it into a crisis roiling the streets of Beirut, Bangkok and Jakarta among other Muslim outposts, include Arab League Secretary Amr Moussa, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque Sheikh Mohammad Sayyed Tantawi, and Sunni Islam’s most influential scholar, Yusuf al Qaradawi, according to Lorenzo Vidino of the Counter Terrorism Blog.”

None of this excuses the violent behavior of the protesters, but the three additional cartoons are obviously designed to inflame passions and not to illustrate and inform as the original cartoons were. Now let’s see and hope for a counter-reaction from the sane majority of the Muslim world.

It was also interesting today to see the juxtapositioning the New York Daily News did of the Muslim rioting and the weirdness of the US Senate hearings on eavesdropping of al-Queda:

Rogue regimes exploit the rage

What a jackpot Islam's professional flamethrowers have just hit with this Danish-cartoon business. There hasn't been an eruption of Muslim rage like this since that earthshaking Newsweek squib alleging that Guantanamo guards were defiling Korans, and that was just a brush fire, quickly subsiding. This one's an inferno.

Bloody rioting has broken out in Beirut, Damascus, Tehran, Kabul, New Delhi, Gaza, Mogadishu, Algiers and elsewhere. In London itself, Muslim mobs demanded beheadings. Indeed, the orchestrators of such "spontaneous" uprisings have spotted as gloriously incendiary an opportunity as might ever get handed to them on a plate.

And make no mistake, it's the Islamofascist puppetmasters who are running this show: "A network of fundamentalism that is deliberately fanning the flames," as Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini put it yesterday - specifically, singling out the provocateur Syrian and Iranian governments. "We are sitting on a powder keg."

That we are. Note that Damascus is in high heaven, as Syrian dictator Bashar Assad gave the green light to rioting that attacked the Danish, Norwegian, Chilean and Swedish embassies. As the White House pointed out, violent uprisings of that nature don't happen in Syria "without government knowledge and support."

Note, too, that Tehran has pointedly equated the Danish toons with the International Atomic Energy Agency's referral of Iran's nuclear ambitions to the UN Security Council, as if the IAEA watchdog mechanism is in and of itself Islamophobic.

And the puppetmasters will see to it that those mobs believe exactly that. They are exploiting the offense that many Muslims feel at the depictions of the Prophet Muhammed in cartoons that originated in a Danish magazine and have since been published in numerous outlets. And they are overwhelming the voices of reason that have been few and far between as the conflagration has inexorably grown.


Watching the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, it was all too easy to forget that the U.S. faces an enemy of limitless ambition and fanaticism. The escape of an Al Qaeda operative who masterminded the destroyer Cole bombing, the start of death penalty proceedings against the only 9/11 plotter brought to justice and the rioting across the Muslim world over cartoons all seemed on a plane separate and apart from the Senate - which is to say, in the real world.

The panel's grilling of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales over what's wrongly been called domestic spying amounted to a head-in-the-clouds debate over the limits of presidential power. As commander in chief authorized to combat Al Qaeda, President Bush may eavesdrop without a warrant on conversations to and from abroad, said Republicans. What Bush is doing is patently illegal, his critics asserted.

The committee would have been equally unproductive had it spent the day rehashing whether a falling tree makes a sound if there's no one in the forest. Worse, spurning Gonzales' assurances that the National Security Agency targets only callers believed to be agents, operatives or affiliates of Al Qaeda, the Democrats seemed most intent on battling a phantom menace of perceived civil rights violations - and not the very real threats confronting America.”

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Those Danish Cartoons of Muhammed

You have to click on each one to see the whole cartoon and a translation, but go here to see what has caused the Muslim world to explode.

When the US government funded an artist who showed the Crucifix in a jar of urine, one of our methods of peaceful protest was to elect a Republican Congress; but let ‘Newsweek’ file a phony report on flushing a Koran, or let some cartoons refer to Islam’s prophet, Muhammed, in ways that link him to violence, and the Muslim world goes violently crazy. It is really ludicrous because the acts of these fanatics (killing people, burning down Danish embassies in Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere and driving the cartoonists into hiding in fear of their lives) make the point of the cartoons. They are reacting violently to suggestions that they are violent. If it were not so serious, and if people were not getting killed and maimed, it would almost be funny. I think the cartoons are blasphemous and in poor taste and should not have been published, but the Danish newspaper had every right to publish them.

My regular readers know that I have stressed over and over that we have to see the difference between the great majority of Muslims who only want to live in peace and those few radicals who want to enforce a return to Muslim dominance by killing and terrorizing anyone who stands in their way. But my patience is being tried by these peaceful Muslims who stand silently by (or cheer from a distance) while all forms of terrorism are carried out in the name of their religion. It has already become very clear that the organization in the United States called CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) is not only overly protective of the sensibilities of Muslim-Americans, but is an active participant in the funding and enabling of terrorist acts. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.

Only in Jordan have we really seen an uprising by Muslims against the Islamofascist thugs and murderers – and that only possibly because the recent attack by al-Zarqawi was aimed at a popular Muslim government. Instead we see so-called peaceful Muslims justifying the London bombings and the French car-torchings, with the connivance of liberal news media referring to these thugs and assassins as “youths”, “insurgents” and “freedom-fighters”. Apparently also, the Saudis, while fighting terrorists at home, continue to fund groups here in the US and abroad who have close ties to terrorists. We see the faint beginnings of a rising up of some Muslims against the terrorists in Iraq, but when are we going to see a wholesale rising up across the globe? Only then can there be a major breakthrough and a wholesale reduction in the violence.

We may have reached a tipping point that can go either way. A response by majority Muslims that condemns this violence and takes punitive measures against the perpetrators would tip one way; silence or tacit support will tip the war on terror into a war against Islam. If we can not co-exist, we will come out shooting.

In all fairness I do have to point out this comment made on an Islamic web site in Iraq, Iraq The Model: "You know that those cartoons were published for the 1st time months ago and we here in the Middle East have tons of jokes about Allah, the prophets and the angels that are way more offensive, funny and obscene than those poorly-made cartoons, yet no one ever got shot for telling one of those jokes or at least we had never seen rallies and protests against those infidel joke-tellers.

What I want to say is that I think the reactions were planned to be exaggerated this time by some Middle Eastern regimes and are not mere public reaction.

And I think Syria and Iran have the motives to trigger such reactions in order to get away from the pressures applied by the international community on those regimes.

However, I cannot claim that Muslim community is innocent for there have been outrageous reactions outside the range of Syria's or Iran's influence but again, these protests and threats are more political than religious in nature.

One last thing, even if the entire EU apologizes it won't change a thing; fanatics in our countries here had always considered the west their infidel arrogant crusader enemy and no apology no matter how big or sincere can change that."

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

UPDATE: N.H. town rejects plan to evict Souter

WEARE, N.H. (AP) — Residents on Saturday rejected a proposal to evict U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter from his farmhouse to make way for the "Lost Liberty Hotel."

A group angered by last year's court decision that gave local governments more power to seize people's homes for economic development had petitioned to use the ruling against the justice.

But voters deciding which issues should go on the town's March ballot replaced the group's proposal with a call to strengthen New Hampshire's law on eminent domain.
"This is a game," said Walter Bohlin. "Why would we take something from one of ours? This is not the appropriate way."

Souter, who grew up in Weare, a central New Hampshire town of 8,500, has not commented on the matter and was not at the meeting.

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Whither Social Security?

Last year I presented a piece on Social Security reform. I want to repeat that column just below the following comments taken from an article by Tony Blankley on the President’s State of the Union Address:

“During an election campaign, political operatives are fond of seeking to induce in their opponent a negative "defining moment." That is to say a highly publicized moment when their opponent portrays everything that is wrong with him. In 2004, John Kerry provided that moment when he said he voted for the $87 billion before he voted against it.

Surely, at the State of the Union address the Democratic Party provided such a moment when, as has already been well commented on by others, they wildly applauded President Bush's statement that Congress failed to pass Social Security reform last year….

As the party of reactionary inertia -- as the party that not only doesn't have any solutions to today's dangers and problems but denies that such problems exist -- the Democrats on the floor of the House Tuesday night demonstrated a flawless, intuitive sense of its new, disfunctional self….

If one recalls, last year, the official position of the Democratic Party was not only that they opposed President Bush's Social Security reform, they argued there was no crisis -- no major problem that required rectification.

(In fact, Social Security has $4 trillion of unfunded liability, and if major changes are not made quickly, we will only be able to pay the retired baby boomers about 70 cents for each dollar of promised benefits….)

Until George Bush became president, the Democrats, for better and for worse, were a liberal party. Deformed by hatred of the current president, the Democrats have become a nihilist party.”

Social Security and the Time Value of Money

One of the joys of college teaching always obtained from my course, “Introduction to Computers”, where I taught freshmen how to develop spreadsheets using VisiCalc, then Lotus 1-2-3, and then Excel. I would tell them that they had a unique advantage, their youth, and show them the time value of money by developing a spreadsheet into which they could insert various investment amounts, interest rates and time periods.

I went back to one of those old spreadsheets the other day and found the following results. If you invest $1500 per year for 35 years (the average worklife) at 3% (the best return earned by present practices with Social Security), you end up with $94,209. If you invest at 7% (the average return on the US stock market for the past 100 years), you end up with $233,759. If you invest at 10% (the most prevalent average for various periods), you end up with $500,677. This assumes monthly compounding; with daily compounding, the differences are even more startling.

Here lies the heart of the argument in favor of putting some portion of Social Security taxes into tightly regulated individual or private accounts. Since I know that Social Security is going into the red sometime between 2018 and 2042 (depending on who is doing the forecasting and what assumptions are being made), I want something done now beyond just raising taxes, cutting benefits and/or raising the retirement age – some combination of which is necessary no matter what else we do. I want something done now for the sake of my children, my grandchildren and their children.

Those who say that this involves unacceptable risk simply do not know what they are talking about. If you take any 35 year period and average the stock market returns, the lowest figure you get is 3%, so the worst case of the stock market equals what Social Security earns now. There has to be another agenda at work here to discourage private accounts. Either that, or they have no confidence in the future of this country.

There is one valid argument against private accounts; it will require large amounts to be borrowed by the US government to finance the changeover, since tax receipts will not be enough to cover current expenditures, earlier than forecast. I liken this problem to the couple who continues to rent as they save enough to purchase a home without a mortgage. How foolish this is with rent payments going nowheres and housing prices rising by leaps and bounds from year to year.

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Friday, February 03, 2006

On the Matter of Justice Souter’s House

Justice Souter, of course, is one of the Supreme Court Justices who voted to empower all levels of government with a new power - the power to take by force private property and turn it over to another private owner. This is the essence of the Kelo vs. New London decision. This changed the Constitution from allowing the taking of private property for a public “use” (i.e. a road, a bridge, a school) to the taking of private property for a public “benefit” (i.e. a condominium or a shopping center).

A young man named Logan Darrow Clements has taken it upon himself to lead a crusade to go to Justice Souter’s home town in New Hampshire and have his (Souter’s) home taken by eminent domain in order to become a hotel. He has already gotten the 25 signatures he needed to put the measure on the ballot in March of this year. In fact, nine of ten people approached in Justice Souter’s home town of Weare were willing to sign.

I have mixed feelings about this move. On the one hand I have always stood in opposition to the habit of those on the left to attack personally whomever did not share their views. It is leftists who dig through people’s garbage and mount protests at people’s homes. It is the politics of those who feel that their “oh-so-obviously-right” ends justified any means. It is leftists who vilify, demonize and try to destroy the reputations of those they oppose. I have no reason to believe that Justice Souter made this decision, wrong as it is, for any nefarious or corrupt reason. I believe that he made the decision because he felt it was the correct one.

On the other hand, read what Jay D. Homnick had to say in a recent edition of the American Spectator:

“Here is the dream scenario, the one that would be "more fun than a human being should be allowed to have." Clements wins in the township and Souter sues to get his house back. The case comes before the Supreme Court with Souter forced to recuse himself. Then they vote to overturn Kelo and give their buddy his house back. Thus, Clements who was a suitor to gain the house loses in order for Souter to get clemency; Souter's Pyrrhic victory negates his vote in Kelo and Clements' gambit brings his greater cause the victory.

Whether something like this actually occurs in relation to Souter's house, it remains good advice for conservatives to target Kelo as their first effort to reverse prior misguided verdicts. It has a number of wonderful features: it's pro-little guy as mentioned, it's easy to understand, it's relevant to everyone but a select few wealthy developers (and municipal bureaucrats), and it clearly restores the reasonable meaning of the takings clause; namely, that only governmental needs such as roads and power stations take precedence over private property. Even those who unwisely acquiesced in allowing the "wetlands" to usurp individual ownership will balk at allowing Trump's rights to tower over theirs.”

This dream scenario seems too good to be true; I guess I’ll still come down on the side of a civil society where officials do not have to fear for their lives or homes if they make an unpopular decision. But Justice Souter, we will find a way to reverse this error.

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