Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Words and drawings may inflame my hate, but reason will never phase me


This is what freedom of speech allows, even though there is none where it was said. It is also what freedom of speech will destroy where
freedom of speech is allowed.

Deconstructionism is a conceit unique to the West. In its decadence it demeans evil as irrelevant. Evil is not irrelevant to Islamofascists, and we are the definition of it. They are intent on deconstructing our civilization.

This
proves the struggle is not hopeless if we can but summon the will to assert that moral relativism is absolutely wrong.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Chivalry? Yes, it has fallen.


A wonderful post. Chesterton on Islam (1920)

Please read. If you do, I'm sure you will follow the link.

That may well lead to reading the book -
G.K. Chesterton, “The Fall of Chivalry” in The New Jerusalem (1920).

It will for me.

Satanic Verses - Indeed.


I found Satanic Verses unreadable, Islam found it worth killing over. How can -even- an internal debate take place when the Mullahs and the Imams terrorize thought?

So... here's a thought experiment: Jerry Falwell starts giving sermons tomorrow copied word for word from revered Imams in Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The only difference is that he substitutes the word "Muslim" for every reference to "Jew", "Christian" or "Hindu"...

As thought experiments go, that was not what we'd call Einsteinian. The conclusion smacks of predestination - Falwell would be toast and the Imams would sue for copyright violation. And our Liberals would offer redemption to the censors, via the self-loathing they are determined to perpetrate on our behalf.

The WMD story is hardly finished


Investors Business Daily's makes the point that Saddam Had WMD. This is a story you're not hearing from the PNB (parochial narcissist buffoons), (TM) Mark Steyn. I wonder why?
...Yes, the linchpin of opposition to the Iraq War — never really strong to begin with — has taken some real hits in recent weeks. And "Bush lied" — the anti-war mantra about the president, Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction — looks the most battered.

Inconveniently for critics of the war, Saddam made tapes in his version of the Oval Office. These tapes landed in the hands of American intelligence and were recently aired publicly.

The first 12 hours of the tapes — there are hundreds more waiting to be translated — are damning, to say the least. They show conclusively that Bush didn't lie when he cited Saddam's WMD plans as one of the big reasons for taking the dictator out.

Nobody disputes the tapes' authenticity. On them, Saddam talks openly of programs involving biological, chemical and, yes, nuclear weapons.
Read the whole thing.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Offense is everywhere


Today’s Lansing State Journal carried an opinion piece by Asadullah Khan on the topic of “offensive images.” You can find it here: Freedom stops at offended faith

Building on recent Muslim street-rage about caricatures of Muhammed published in a Danish newspaper six-months ago, Mr. Kahn presents a number of anecdotes demonstrating a) that the West mistreats Muslims generally and systematically, and b) religious beliefs should be immune from inquiry – of which mockery is but one form. Taken as written, there is more than enough justification for Muslim fury over the Danish cartoons. Mr. Kahn ends his article with this comment on the Western treatment of Muslims:
Just assemble this collage of double standards, collective hatred, selective freedoms and hubristic hegemony and you may understand the fury of the wretched Muslim masses around the world.

If proponents of "freedom of the press" could realize the double standards of this incident, they all might rethink that individual and collective freedoms stop where others' freedom of choice and belief start. There are higher truths than the secular truth and logic of publishing and uttering such insults.
I have many thoughts about this. Three of them are: 1) In the context of Mr. Khan’s writing the phrase wretched Muslim masses around the world implies that this condition must be laid at the feet of the West. 2) If it were true that individual and collective freedoms stop where others' freedom of choice and belief start, no one would be allowed to say anything. Everyman’s “higher truth” would trump every other man’s truth. Discourse would necessarily cease. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, after all. This idea can only work where one philosophy is more equal than others. 3) Freedom of the press really does not merit derogatory quotes.

Mr. Khan’s conclusion leaves little doubt where he stands, nor do his opening paragraphs:
Western publishers of offensive images overstep their mark.

The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten did not publish simple caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. It demonized him by portraying him, in one editorial cartoon, as a terrorist with a bomb on his head.
These were simple, even crudely drawn cartoons. But, yes, one of them depicted Muhammed as having a bomb in his turban. Editorial cartoons, by definition, are caricatures. Caricatures, by definition, exaggerate some aspect of the entity being caricatured. In this case we can agree that that entity was not the turban.

What, then, is the connection between bombs and Muhammed? Quite simply, it is the bombings those claiming to be his followers claim to commit in his name. Jyllands-Posten did not demonize Muhammed. It demonstrated how some fanatics claiming to be his followers are demonizing his religion.

Mr. Kahn fails to mention that the cartoons in question were presented by Danish Imams to the Muslim world augmented by images of Muhammed as a pig and Muhammed in a sexual encounter with a dog. Those images were added by those same Danish Imams. They never appeared in any newspaper. I’ve heard no charges of blasphemy against these Imams for the needless distribution of the faked images.

Mr. Kahn tells us that the Danish newspaper,
Jyllands-Posten, which published the Muhammed cartoons refused, in 2003, to publish cartoons satirizing the crucifixion of Jesus. He does not acknowledge that these cartoons were unsolicited while Jyllands-Posten had to ask for the Muhammed caricatures, nor does he mention why Jyllands-Posten had to ask for the Muhammed cartoons: The author of a children’s book – sympathetic to Muhammed - could find no artist willing to draw for him. The artists were too frightened. Jyllands-Posten brought this multi-cultural blackmail to Danish attention. Danish Imams then conducted a careful campaign to thrust the cartoons on the world. Some other newspapers showed solidarity with Jyllands-Posten. Then boycotts and riots erupted.

Mr. Kahn does not mention that the Danish cartoons, minus those added by Muslim holy men as noted above, were published in Egyptian papers four months before the rioting was orchestrated. No rioting erupted on the streets of Cairo, no Egyptian newspapermen were threatened with death, no buildings were burned down, no boycott of Egyptian products was demanded and no one was killed. Those things only happened in places the cartoons had never even been seen, and then only after the Danish Imams fomented the rage.

Mr. Khan’s best moment comes where he is able to point to European anti-free speech laws regarding holocaust denial:
"In some European nations - France is one, Germany and Austria are among the others - it is forbidden by law to deny acts of genocide. In France, for example, it is illegal to say that the Jewish Holocaust or the Armenian Holocaust did not happen. So it is, in fact, impermissible to make certain statements in European nations."
He calls this hypocrisy. He is right.

These laws, as I’ve pointed out elsewhere on this blog, are bad ideas: Not least because they give Mr. Khan an opportunity, if far-fetched, to complain of hypocrisy.

While it is not reasonable to compare the Danish cartoons to the Holocaust, and it is certainly impossible to compare the reaction of Muslims to the Danish cartoons with that of Jews to Holocaust denial cartoons, I think he has a point about “hate laws.” I just don’t think that point is what he thinks it is.

Mr. Khan’s overall presentation succeeds more as an argument in favor of special treatment for Islam in Western society than as a critique of Western concepts of the place of religion in the public sphere. If it is religious insult as a concept that is at issue, where was Mr. Khan when “Piss Christ” was on display? If European Holocaust denial laws are hypocrisy, where has he been in criticizing the daily editorial depiction of Jews as drinkers of children’s blood that appear in state controlled newspapers in Muslim lands?

Where is his acknowledgement that courageous Muslim publishers are in jail for daring to print these cartoons? I.e., an acknowledgement that some Muslims think a debate worthwhile even if they risk arrest? The debates the arrests raise involve determining where theocratic states’ rights end.

Mr. Kahn notes that:
The 13th century Christian reconquest of Spain from Muslims is celebrated by week-long fiestas in many small towns and villages of Spain. These events commemorate the ouster of the Muslims and Jews from Spain. Until the Danish incident, annually, the puppet of Mahoma (Muhammad), with its head filled with gun powder, was detonated with a cigar.

Now they only drag the puppet in the streets.
It is, of course, possible to see a celebration originating in occupied 13th century Spain as not entirely directed at 21st century Muslims in Pakistan. Anecdotally, one might even mention Mogadishu - where Americans, there on a UN peacekeeping mission, were dragged through the streets by Islamofascists.

One might anecdotally note that it was a bomb that caused the destruction of a sacred Shiite mosque last week in Iraq, a bomb which I am sure also damaged many Qurans. One might note that this act was most likely carried out by Muslims of another sect. The bombers probably were not wearing turbans.

Mr. Kahn brings up a question of religious freedom in France:
In France, where Le Monde republished the cartoons twice to uphold freedom of expression, Muslim girls are not allowed to express their religious tradition by the ban on hijab (head covering) in French schools.
Treatment of women is another whole topic; but this is the same France which has accommodated gender separated swimming lessons as a concession to Muslims. It is the same France which saw weeks of rioting by Muslim youth over the accidental deaths of some boys who were themselves responsible for the accident. It is the same France where Mark Steyn notes:
Sebastien Selam was heading off to work from his parents' apartment when he was jumped in the parking garage by his Muslim neighbor Adel. Selam's throat was slit twice, to the point of near-decapitation; his face was ripped off with a fork; and his eyes were gouged out. Adel climbed the stairs of the apartment house dripping blood and yelling, "I have killed my Jew. I will go to heaven."

Is that a gripping story? You'd think so. Particularly when, in the same city, on the same night, a Jewish woman was brutally murdered in the presence of her daughter by another Muslim. You've got the making of a mini-trend there, and the media love trends.

Yet no major French newspaper carried the story.

This month, there was another murder. Ilan Halimi, also 23, also Jewish, was found by a railway track outside Paris with burns and knife wounds all over his body. He died en route to the hospital, having been held prisoner, hooded and naked, and brutally tortured for almost three weeks by a gang that had demanded half a million dollars from his family. Can you take a wild guess at the particular identity of the gang? During the ransom phone calls, his uncle reported that they were made to listen to Ilan's screams as he was being burned while his torturers read out verses from the Quran.

This time around, the French media did carry the story, yet every public official insisted there was no anti-Jewish element. Just one of those things. Coulda happened to anyone. And, if the gang did seem inordinately fixated on, ah, Jews, it was just because, as one police detective put it, ''Jews equal money.'' In London, the Observer couldn't even bring itself to pursue that particular angle. Its report of the murder managed to avoid any mention of the unfortunate Halimi's, um, Jewishness. Another British paper, the Independent, did dwell on the particular, er, identity groups involved in the incident but only in the context of a protest march by Parisian Jews marred by ''radical young Jewish men'' who'd attacked an ''Arab-run grocery.''

At one level, those spokesmonsieurs are right: It could happen to anyone. Even in the most civilized societies, there are depraved monsters who do terrible things. When they do, they rip apart entire families, like the Halimis and Selams. But what inflicts the real lasting damage on society as a whole is the silence and evasions of the state and the media and the broader culture.
If the West is to be convinced that a new Crusade is immoral, then arson, homicide and death threats over cartoons must cease.

Let us leave off religious posturing, or pretending as does Tariq Ali that it is racism. This concept of racism might well apply to the broadcast of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion on Islamic television – again state controlled and so representing messages directly from the governments - but criticism of Islam can’t be said be a racial insult to the diverse ethnic groups making up modern Islam.

In closing, I believe Mark Steyn has identified the agenda of those finding deadly insult in some cartoons of Muhammed
What, in the end, are all these supposedly unconnected matters from Danish cartoons to the murder of a Dutch filmmaker to gender-segregated swimming sessions in French municipal pools about? Answer: sovereignty. Islam claims universal jurisdiction and always has.
One sign in a Muslim cartoon protest in Toronto puts it plainly:
“We won't stop the protests until the world obeys Islamic law.”

Saturday, February 25, 2006

We are all Danes now


If you are not aware of the "Support Denmark!" demonstration
yesterday in front of the Danish Embassy in D.C. , you should be. So here's one link to some photos.

Christopher Hitchens features prominently and was the rally organizer.

Check the links to other photos.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Failing all else, one can serve as a bad example


Dust my Broom has a post quoting Margaret Drabble - excerpted from Hating America: A History. I'll note that I am unfamiliar with Ms. Drabble and it may be that her tongue is partially in cheek, nonetheless I left the following comment based on the Drabble excerpts at DmB:
I detest Disneyfication, I detest Coca-Cola, I detest burgers, I detest sentimental and violent Hollywood movies that tell lies about history. I detest American imperialism, American infantilism, and American triumphalism about victories it didn’t even win.
Me too. But lying, venal, capitalist running-dogs should represent an object of pity, not hatred, for persons of superior intellect and moral refinement. What I really resent is the effect of this on others whose thinking is not so pristine as my own. It isn't just Americans, either. Canadians have this idea that they are all cloned from Lester Pearson and Mother Theresa and combined with Greenpeace in some androgynous super-PC-hero.

As Darcey points out:
Blaming America helps to rationalize one’s own situation and prevents you from having to look yourself in the mirror. I’ve been guilty of it myself in probably many ways, laughing at the bubblegum chewing valley girl for example and applying that view to thousands of unfortunate Californians…. In retrospect, I did it because I thought I was better.
Independent of the fact that he's probably correct, the point is made.

Back to Ms. Drabble:
The United States must be behaving as it did because it was the land of irresponsible cowboys, ignorant religious fanatics, greed-obsessed capitalists, uncultured fools, intolerant buffoons, and so on.
Indeed. That's why America has had to stuff its philistine culture down people's throats at the end of a gun barrel. World Wars I and II are obvious examples, as is the modern Hollywood anti-American propaganda machine. I don't watch those movies, but the people who do must be stopped!

Give me a break from this collectivist need to rule on whether I like my burger rare instead of having to eat it well done. Nobody's making YOU eat one AT ALL.

Disney, and for that matter burgers and Coca-Cola, only succeed where people buy them. This formulaic anti-Americanism is purely anti-freedom: "If I don't like it, nobody else should be able to have it."

So, America isn't perfect - sometimes you get an overdone burger. America can be ridiculed without great effort, partly because there's been so much practice at it. But hating America because it enabled Walt Disney to create the possibility of the word "Disneyfication" - and the billions of dollars of wealth and tens of thousands of jobs that go with it - is ludicrous. That isn't about America; it's about freedom of opportunity. If you don't like the results, suspending freedom isn't the answer. Avoid Orlando or move to North Korea where you will definitely not be bothered by Disney, meat in any form, or even clean water - much less Coca-Cola. The DPRK are no
dilettantes at anti-Americanism. I'm sure it will hit the spot.

Our soldiers deserve to die!


It is nice to see some attention being brought to the hateful people who congregate at the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) of Topeka, Kansas. The Other Club condemned their actions in a post on February 13th.

Their schtick is to show up at the funerals of soldiers killed in the War against Islamofascism carrying signs saying the soldiers deserved to die - because America doesn't root out and persecute (killing seems implied) homosexuals.

Let us hope this Captain's Quarters post, Ghouls Land In Anoka, sparks some momentum toward exposing
these spite-numbed pain-feeders to sunlight.

Where are the
cartoons insulting religiously inspired bigotry when you really need them?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Pricking the hot-air buffoons


A long article, but an excellent summary of the disingenuousness of the environmental industry. The links are great, too.

The Anthropogenic Global Warming Doctrine

...The global warming debate has left the realm of science a long time ago. It has become totally politicised. Any scientific criticism is not met with a scientific response, but with name-calling and a stepping up of the scare tactics. Some sceptics have even lost their jobs or are told to shut up or else. Many of the global warming doomsayers seem to be obsessed with a longing for Apocalypse. A good New Zealand example was the acceptance speech of Peter Barrett, when he received the (well-earned) Marsden Medal. He predicted the extinction of the human race by the end of this century due to AGW. Sir David King, the science advisor to the British Government has said that the threat of global warming is more serious that the threat of terrorism. I wonder if he would dare to repeat that in public after the recent London terrorist bomb attacks.

A favourite ploy by AGW alarmists is to repeat ad infinitem that the science about AGW has been settled and that there is consensus among scientists that it is happening and that it will have cataclysmic consequences for our planet. People using these consensus arguments forget that scientific truth is not determined by consensus. But apart from being unscientific, the consensus argument is also a myth. There are thousands of independent scientists who do not accept that the science behind Kyoto has been settled. “Independent” means not being dependent for one’s livelihood on research funding from the public purse controlled by politicians for whom the AGW scare is a godsend. As Bob Carter recently told a Rotary group in Melbourne, each year between 3 and 4 billion dollars is being spent on climate research. Phil Maxwell makes the snide comment that “most of the Global Warming Deniers are elder members of the scientific community desperately carrying on a rearguard action”. It is indeed true that a large proportion of these independent scientists are retired people. They can afford to be independent...
Not coincidentally, I suppose, another area where the press has failed us is reporting on any of the reasoned skepticism about human caused global warming.

Oh, if you have not read The Skeptical Environmentalist, you should.

There he goes again


Is there another Alan Dershowitz who is a professor of law at Harvard? This is two days in a row I'm agreeing with him.

The link does require registration, sorry.

I'll summarize: The Western press is for the most part a bunch of spineless sychophants with a negative attitude about the United States. Most of them don't even understand the obligations of a free press to the culture that makes a free press possible. They are the PNB (parochial narcissist buffoons), (TM) Mark Steyn.

Going to an American jail rather than reveal a source is pantywaist stuff compared to going to a Jordanian jail charged with blasphemy. But some courageous Jordanian newspapers published the cartoons anyway. Yelling that the White House Press Secretary is a jerk, because you didn't get some information fast enough, is a lot less impressive display of moral fortitude.

The registration could be worth it to read an article co-authored by William Bennett and Alan Dershowitz. Here are some excerpts:
A Failure of the Press
By William J. Bennett and Alan M. Dershowitz

There was a time when the press was the strongest guardian of free expression in this democracy. Stories and celebrations of intrepid and courageous reporters are many within the press corps...

Over the past few weeks, the press has betrayed not only its duties but its responsibilities. To our knowledge, only three print newspapers have followed their true calling: the Austin American-Statesman, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the New York Sun. What have they done? They simply printed cartoons that were at the center of widespread turmoil among Muslims over depictions of the prophet Muhammad. These papers did their duty...

The mainstream U.S. media have covered this worldwide uprising; it is, after all, a glimpse into the sentiments of our enemy and its allies. And yet it has refused, with but a few exceptions, to show the cartoons that purportedly caused all the outrage...

What has happened? To put it simply, radical Islamists have won a war of intimidation. They have cowed the major news media from showing these cartoons. The mainstream press has capitulated to the Islamists -- their threats more than their sensibilities...

So far as we can tell, a new, twin policy from the mainstream media has
been promulgated: (a) If a group is strong enough in its reaction to a
story or caricature, the press will refrain from printing that story or
caricature, and (b) if the group is pandered to by the mainstream media,
the media then will go through elaborate contortions and defenses to
justify its abdication of duty. At bottom, this is an unacceptable form
of not-so-benign bigotry, representing a higher expectation from
Christians and Jews than from Muslims...

When we were attacked on Sept. 11, we knew the main reason for the attack was that Islamists hated our way of life, our virtues, our freedoms. What we never imagined was that the free press -- an institution at the heart of those virtues and freedoms -- would be among the first to surrender.
An institution, moreover, for which American service men and women have put themselves in harm's way. This press has no problem offending Muslim sensitivity with, for example, false stories about the flushing down a toilet of a Koran. They have no problem with contributing to terrorist recruitment or inviting riots where a story castigates our military. But then they slither away from a set of mundane drawings and claim they do so so as not to offend.

What they have offended is the concept of a free press.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

In which Professor Dershowitz surprises


If you had asked me this question - "If you and Alan Dershowitz both live until the heat death of the universe, will you ever be able to agree even on the meaning of the word "is"?" - I would have said no.

Note the time and date. Professor Dershowitz forges way ahead of entropy.

All Praise Prof. Alan Dershowitz
By Tony Blankley

In which the professor is described examining some interesting questions with an apparently open mind. Mind you, these questions are not comfortable to contemplate. All the more credit to Dershowitz. Peter Singer, he is not.

Coup against Summers a dubious victory for the politically correct
By Alan M. Dershowitz

I have previously noted the shabby hard-left treatment of Dr. Summers and related Feminist foibles. ... You know, with the sole exception of the Hillary-screech-of-doom tone in which they denounce everything, they've devolved almost to the point of being cute.

Jan 28 05 Feminists prefer scientific hoaxes to scientific inquiries

Feb 20 05 Larry Summers in the Fall

Feb 26 05 Feminism's self-inflicted wounds

Apr 20 05 Monkey Business

May 17 05 My Mistake...

Good news on the cartoon front


Some Muslims are challenging the insanity by which some other Muslims insist on tarring their religion. Perhaps they were embarrassed into it by the disrepute the fanatics are bringing to Islam. Perhaps Western support, anemic as it has been, helps them to know they are not alone. In any case, it is heartening to read that moderate Muslims, thought to be on the endangered species list, are speaking out. This is a significant act of philosophical and physical courage.

Other courageous Muslims have not been treated well at all. American media, from your bunkers, please note.
Two Jordan editors are arrested
Two Jordanian newspaper editors who published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad have been arrested.

Jihad Momani and Hisham Khalidi are accused of insulting religion under Jordan's press and publications law.
Furor Over Cartoons Pits Muslim Against Muslim
In a direct challenge to the international uproar over cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad, the Jordanian journalist Jihad Momani wrote: "What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras, or a suicide bomber who blows himself up during a wedding ceremony?"
The glimmer of a turning tide in Denmark? H/T relapsed catholic
More and More Moderate Muslims Speak Out in Denmark
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.
H/T Nealenews
No charges for publishing Muhammad cartoons
Local Muslims are disappointed the Crown prosecutor's office has recommended no criminal charges be laid against two publications that printed cartoons they find offensive.

"I told them, I disagree with you," said Syed Soharwardy, president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada.

Earlier this month, the Western Standard and the Jewish Free Press printed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that initially ran in a Danish newspaper and led to riots and protests around the world.

Gordon Wong, Calgary's chief Crown prosecutor, said the Criminal Code requires there be an intent to incite hatred against a specific group, and his office had determined there was no intent in this case.

"The intent was to debate the issue within the articles. That's different than inciting hatred," Wong said Tuesday.
Good outcome. Fascist process. The problem with "hate" crime laws in general is evidenced by the police making a judgment about the state of mind of the publisher. Maybe a better lesson would have been available if there had been charges, but I'm happy The Western Standard is not to be criminally charged. We'll see about any civil matters.

This is not different from David Irving's 3 year sentence for denying the Holocaust. Turning Idiots Into Martyrs.

We have a long way to go, but the publication of these cartoons may have started a long overdue debate.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Women are the issue?


I am impressed. Very well written, provoking and optimistic with appropiate caveats.

I urge you to read the whole thing. Reuel Marc Gerecht has written a masterpiece.

I've excerpted the following, because I think those who claim to lead "Feminism" in the West have been, at best, silent about the subjugation of their Muslim sisters in favor of their privileged objectives. The Other Club has commented here, here, here, here, and here on feminisim and Islam. The derision is directed at Islamofascists and American Feminists, because those two groups share a common enemy - women in Islamofascist society.

Here is the Feminist battleground, if they were serious, emphasis mine.
Before the Bush administration, Washington usually gave unquestioning support to dictatorships in the region. And there is the little fact, always near the surface in the Muslim world but often ignored or forgotten in the United States, of nearly 1,400 years of always-competitive, often intimately antagonistic and violent, history between Christendom and Islam. There is Israel, which even the most liberal and moderate Muslims often acutely dislike. (The Jewish state is, after all, an existential insult to both Arab nationalism and Islamic pride, even for Arab Muslims who view Arab nationalism as a cultural catastrophe and view the faith as irrelevant to their lives.) And there is the very tricky issue of women, which often animates progressive, traditional, and fundamentalist conversations.

America is seen by all as a force supporting change in the dynamics between Muslim men and women. Touching the well-ordered, paternalistic home, which Muslim men, poor or rich, have always seen as a bedrock of their identity, is unavoidably convulsive. There is no way to gauge how many recruits fundamentalists have made on the women's issue since the Muslim Brotherhood formed in 1928. It's a decent bet that it has been a more intimate and effective message than the fraternal appeals after 1948 to eject the Jews from Israel.

American foreign policy has long been in the odd position of trying to assuage Muslim anger at Israel by advancing the peace process even though a sober analysis should have told Washington's diplomats that the fundamentalist set--the young men who are most susceptible to making the leap to suicidal holy war--did not see this process as progress. (The victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections has perhaps made evident what should have been obvious for years. But the sclerotic peace-process establishment in Washington, second in influence only to the transatlanticists, may not see what Hamas has tried to write as pellucidly as possible.)

And Washington has consistently advanced, especially in the Bush administration after 9/11, the women's agenda throughout the region, another sure-fire way of angering the young men who are most likely to transmute into jihadists. American foreign policy should never be tailored to appease the anger of Muslim men--though, if we are to be honest, this is in part what we've been trying to do in the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation and in much of our Muslim-oriented public-diplomacy.

What is striking is that Washington has been doing the opposite of what it intends and doesn't know it. Americans have acted, at least on the issues of Israel and women's rights, as if the Muslim world had a liberal silent majority waiting to rise up and embrace these issues as we do. In all likelihood, this isn't so. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani of the holy city of Najaf in Iraq, who has repeatedly saved us from potential disaster in Mesopotamia, wrote numerous fatwas after the fall of Saddam Hussein on the proper comportment and dress for female believers. In Western eyes, his conclusions would hardly be called liberal--yet his commitment to democracy in Iraq is real. (Concerning the cartoons, Sistani also strongly condemned the "misguided and oppressive" elements of the Muslim community whose actions "projected a distorted and dark image of the faith of justice, love, and brotherhood." Though no fan of the caricatures, Sistani is giving a slap to Tehran and its agents in Iraq.)

...This is all about internal Muslim evolution, about coming to terms with the centuries-long absorption of both good and bad Western ideas. It has absolutely nothing to do with whether the Israeli-Palestinian peace process can somehow soon resume. When al Qaeda's princes--bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi--rail against the intrusion of Western democracy into the Muslim world, they know what they are talking about. If it succeeds, democracy will eventually kill them off. It will pull fundamentalist believers--the pool that bin Ladenism must draw from to survive--into the great ethical and spiritual debates that can best happen when free people fight it out in elections. Only Muslims--only fundamentalist Muslims--have the power to kill off bin Ladenism. Historically, there is no reason to believe this will happen under the dictatorships that gave birth to Islamic extremism in the first place.

Like Christendom before it, the Muslim Middle East will have to work out its relation to modernity. The faster democracy arrives, the sooner the debates about God and man can begin in earnest. It will probably be for both Muslims and Westerners a nerve-racking experience. But we have no choice, since continuing autocracy will only make the militants' message stronger and judgment day, as in Iran, a possibly bloody revolutionary event. The electoral victory of Hamas should not give us pause. It should give us hope and encourage us to push for real elections where our national interest stands to gain the most--in Egypt and Iran. We should also not neglect to defend vigorously Christian, Muslim, or Jewish satirists, be they clever, banal, or ugly, wherever they may be found. Both elections and satire are basic to the evolution of the Muslim world.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Three links. Click 'em.


****
1-Why restricting free speech is such a bad idea, perhaps especially if that speech is something like Holocaust denial. It makes you look like a hypocrite later when it comes back to bite you in the ass.

Canadians, take note, similar legislation is being urged against The Western Standard. It originated as a restriction on Nazi sympathizers like former Canadian resident Ernst Zundel. Zundel is a despicable person despite his deportation. So what? The reaction to his poison should subvert a free press? Then guess what? He won.

****
Danish moderate Muslims 2-are emerging in response to the cartoon-jihad. This is a wonderful development, especially if European governments see why supporting such an initiative is important.

****
Quisling was a Norweigan, but 3-The Agora does have some modern Danish candidates for the term.

Tooned out


According to the Globe and Mail in Toronto, 1 out of 3 Canadian journalists have not even seen the Danish cartoons which are still "causing" Islamofascists to riot, burn and kill. Of those who have seen the cartoons, 65% saw them on the Internet.
...while 16 per cent saw then [sic] in a magazine or newspaper. Another 10 per cent viewed the drawings as a result of an e-mail from a friend and 8 per cent saw them on television.

The survey is based on a random sample of 221 journalists who were interviewed between Feb. 16 and 18. In the general population a sample of that size would be considered accurate within about 7 percentage points 19 times out of 20. In the case of smaller populations – such as journalists – the margin of error would be smaller.
This is astounding. Basically, if it weren't for bloggers,
45% of all Canadian journalists wouldn't know what the rioting, burning and killing is about. I have not heard a better example of why refusing to publish these cartoons is an abandonment of the responsibilities of a free press.

It is even more amazing that 3 out of 10 Canadian journalists don't even care. These are supposedly highly motivated news-junkies who all have high-speed Internet access, if not necessarily any friends to email them. One sincerely hopes none of them have had the temerity to express an opinion publicly - even in conversation with a friend, and much less in a newspaper.

The survey also showed that a majority of Canadian journalists thought at least some of the cartoons should have been published in the Canadian press. Why, then, were they not? And where is their spirited defense of those who did publish?

H/T Small Dead Animals

A similar survey of US journalists would be interesting.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Exo-diplomacy

I received an email from E.S. regarding my letter to The Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Defence, Ottawa, on the occasion of his concern about caricatures of Mohammed increasing the dangers to Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. It included this thought:
I am really wrestling with my feelings about this group of people and I've spent a lifetime living/breathing/working at eliminating bias based on group identity. Never have I had such a personal challenge as with the followers of Islam. Is there any other group so intolerant of the differences of others? And I'm very tired of hearing that there is a difference between "secular" Muslims and that the Q'uran does NOT preach violence. Where is the outrage (and the media, of course) from those Muslims? Must EVERY denouncement of violence be equivocal? And why do we let them get away with that!

More importantly, how do we begin to break down such hate at worst and disdain at best when they insist this is ... rooted in the word of God. Throughout history so much evil has been done in His name -- but this seems insurmountable.
My response:

In this country we have group identity issues. For example, the Bloods and the Crips.
At least those groups are mindful of the 21st century.

Until a vocal Islamic plurality minimally accepts a 19th century reality the problem is insurmountable. Otherwise, we are dealing with a 14th century mind-set. It is so foreign that it is like a first contact with aliens (from space). The cartoon-jihad has made this starkly visible. Thanks to Jyllands-Posten.

It is no different for those Islamists now rioting and threatening. How can they understand us? Witness the (milder) demonstration placards saying "To Hell with your Freedom!" and "Freedom of speech is terrorism!" Unlike Reuters or the Associated Press, they need no qualifying quotes around the word freedom. Nobody in the West, except the likes of Noam Chomsky and Ward Churchill, give this the slightest credence.

These differences are the whole f
ellafel. There is a there there, and it is exactly where they say it is. I cannot fathom why we do not accept their insistence that their meaning of "group identity" is that all other groups are subhuman and subject to death upon convenience.

How can this tribal imperative be assimilated by Western minds, given the Enlightenment? Why do we pretend it should be? We pretend because moral and cultural relativism have been ascendent: all groups have equal claim to moral authority. How Liberals apply this to Islam, despite their claimed disdain for religion in general, I will never understand.

It follows that every Islamic denouncement of violence MUST be equivocal for the same reason the Democrats "filibustered" the Alito SCOTUS nomination - "appeal to the base."

Muslim immigrants are told it is OK to lie, cheat, and intimidate to obtain welfare from the dhimmi. See Daniel Pipes here. If 5% of the Danish immigrant population consume 40% of the welfare then the experiment in encouraging immigration is not working to mitigate the Ponzi scheme that is the Danish welfare state.

And when you combine the demands of the Danish welfare state with Danish birth rates, then new workers have to come from outside, though they have to have high skills.

Therefore, the Danes require a higher birth rate of people philosophically commited to "Danishness", skilled immigrants willing to assimilate Western values, or a huge reduction in welfare state expenditures. So far, the choice has been unassimilated, low-skill immigration - i.e., none of the above.

Dime? Not one cent!

MCCAIN'S BUSHIES
Major political contributors to George W. Bush who have never given a dime to prospective 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain received letters, dated Feb. 8, asking for donations to the senator's Straight Talk America political action committee.

Obviously using President Bush's direct mail list, the letter signed by McCain asks for $1,000 or $1,500 to support candidates agreeing with McCain on "key issues." It specifically lists "limiting federal spending, immigration reform, military readiness, global climate change, Social Security reform, reining-in lobbyists, reducing the power of the special interests and putting an end to wasteful pork barrel spending by Congress."

Each recipient received a card to be filled in for McCain's files. "I'm asking you to update your file card," requests the letter, though the Bush contributors had no previous card in the senator's files.
I hope I get a solicitation to contribute to John McCain's presidential bid. If the article is accurate I won't, because I have never contributed any money to George Bush, though I have voted for him.

Still, I would like to be able to reply:

"You, Senator McCain, will not get one dime, and you definitely will not get my vote, until you recant on Campaign Finance Reform and abandon your attempt to bypass Constitutional requirements for agreements with foreign governments by advocating domestic legislation designed to emulate the Kyoto treaty. These are not my only problems with your candidacy, but they are sufficient.

In the first instance, you've severely damaged the First Amendment. What will happen in the first election cycle where a Muslim candidate's platform is Sharia in America, and you've stopped anyone from discussing it - except the PNB (parochial narcissist buffoon) media - who are even now declining to challenge rioting Islamofascists on an issue of free conscience?

You have demonstrated personal courage, why would you hand the sole power of political speech over to these wimps during an election?

In the second instance, the Senate has already rejected Kyoto by a vote of 95-0. You must know that, fully implemented (a joke among the signatories), it will have no discernable beneficial environmental effect, while its cost will not only significantly damage the US economy, but thereby preclude the flexibility we will need if any of the global-warming alarmists' predictions are within 10% of reality.

Both these positions are motivated by your own fascination with "John McCain, World Hero." Give it up. You're wrong about that in general. Being wildly wrong on a couple of populist issues isn't an improvement.

Ask yourself, WWBGD?"

"Bottom" stories of the week

Stories you'd think would be more important than hunting accidents.

Via The American Thinker.
Reader letter
AT just received the following letter and we are passing it on. Absent assume [sic] the writer is who he claims he is, but have not had an opportunity to independently authenticate it. It does make sense...

Ray Robison on the Saddam tapes
Ray Robison, whose letter we published yesterday, writes again, regarding the Saddam tapes, John Loftus, and appearance of Bill Tierny last night on Hannity & Colmes. Here is the complete letter:...

The Saddam tapes (2)

Today the Intelligence Summit released transcripts from the Saddam tapes on the intelligencesummit.org website. There are some interesting revelations in the MS PowerPoint presentation they have posted...

Able Danger Summary
A.J. Strata has summarized the Able Danger open hearings. And it appears that this program was working, that it was used to roll up Al Qaeda quickly after 9/11 , and that the reasons for discarding what it had oncovered [sic] do not pass a laugh test...
These items apparently are not as newsworthy as the press navel-gazing (can you froth at the mouth while doing that?) and finding lint: One of their number apologized, sort of, for calling the White House Press Secretary a jerk because the reporter hadn't been informed immediately of VP Cheney's hunting accident.

These stories cast doubt on the conventional wisdom about Iraqi WMD and raise the possibility of the Clinton administration's misfeasance via Jamie Gorelick's insistence on "the wall" between the CIA and the FBI prior to 9-11. Nope, nothing to see here. Move along.

Mark Steyn has this delightful bit:
The third jolly event of the week was those other excitable fellows -- the Big Media White House reporters -- jumping up and down shouting "Death to Dick Cheney!" NBC's David Gregory, the George Clooney of the press corps, was yelling truth to power about why the Elmer-Fudd-in-gun-rampage story was released to "a local Corpus Christi newspaper, not the White House press corps at large.'' I know how he feels. I remember, like, four or five years ago -- early September, maybe second week -- there was this building collapse in New York and I had to learn about it from the TV because this notoriously secretive paranoid administration couldn't even e-mail me a timely press release. For an NBC guy discovering that some hicksville nowhere-burg one-stop-light feed-price sheet got tipped off before he did is like a dowager duchess turning up at the royal banquet to discover the scullery maid's been seated next to the queen.

So anyway David Gregory's going bananas and yelling "I will yell!" and "Don't be a jerk!" at the White House press secretary, and there's more smoke coming out of his ears than from Ronald McDonald in Lahore, and I'm thinking, you know, maybe Karl's latest range of Rovebots that he planted in American media corporations are just a wee bit too parodically self-absorbed to be plausible. And then this lady pipes up and asks, "Would this be much more serious if the man had died?"...

Meanwhile, from Malaysia to Jordan to Scandinavia, it was a bad week for journalists increasingly constrained -- not to mention fired and otherwise humiliated -- in their ability to cover the big story of our time. If I had to pick a single moment to contrast with the hilariously parochial narcissist buffoons of the Washington press, it would be another press conference in another government building, this time in Oslo, called by Norway's minister of labor. Surrounded by cabinet ministers and a phalanx of imams, Velbjorn Selbekk, the editor of an obscure Christian publication called Magazinet, issued an abject public apology for reprinting the Danish Muhammed cartoons. He had initially stood firm in the face of Muslim death threats and the usual lack of support from Europe's political class, but in the end Mr. Selbekk was prevailed upon to recant and the head of Norway's Islamic Council, Mohammed Hamdan, graciously accepted the apology and assured the prostrate editor that he was now under his personal protection. As the American author Bruce Bawer commented, "It was a picture right out of a sharia courtroom."
All of it here.

Of course, reporting on
press obeisance to Islamic fundamentalists casts the press in a bad light and requires criticizing Islamofascism instead of the Bush administration. What's free speech compared to that?

Update: 19-Feb-06, 2:31PM
MAIN PRESS PLANS ANOTHER WEEK OF CHENEY SHOOTING COVERAGE
That's the PNB press (parochial narcissist buffoons), (TM) Mark Steyn (see above).

You just can't make this stuff up. Too bad.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

First Anniversary

February 19th, 2006 is The Other Club’s first anniversary.

145,000 words and 7,000 unique visitors later (some of whom have even returned) it has been enjoyable and intermittently cathartic.
I’ve followed no template. I’ve written about what struck me as funny, or more often outrageous, on a given day. There is a necessity to this. I haven’t got a lot of time to devote here, so the writing needs to come relatively easily. I’m sure this is common to most part-time bloggers.

A plurality of the posts have involved free speech issues – ranging from the McCain Feingold Campaign Finance debacle through American Feminist attempts to suppress thought. I’ve touched on American corporations’ complicity in Internet censorship and extensively discussed the cartoon-jihad.

There’s been quite a bit about Canada’s political process and some comment on the Supreme Court and the meaning of the Constitution. There has been more than a little criticism of the Bush administration, especially on economics. The UN has been mentioned unfavorably.

Finally, there have been many posts attempting to call attention to partisan opportunism where loyal opposition was called for, especially regarding the War against Islamofascism.

Mostly, I write this blog because I like to write and I think I occasionally have something interesting to say. I really appreciate feedback and I pay attention to it. Comments and email are encouraging. I thank those who have visited, and I especially thank those who visit regularly.

I have come to know a few other bloggers via comments and email and for that I am also grateful. Several have seen fit to compliment this blog by linking to what I have written. Thank you.

So, a toast to The Other Club - Happy Anniversary!

You can't handle the truth...

...so we'll make it up to fit what we think you should think.

A Danish left-wing journalist is apparently propagandizing via the New York Times. Fact checking is what makes the Times a "press entity" for McCain-Feingold purposes, right?

From George Mason University's History News Network.
Advocacy journalism strikes again. This time, it is a Danish journalist who spreads misinformation to advance the cause of the Cartoon Intifada. His name is Martin Burcharth and his venue was the op-ed page of the NYT. Here is a summary of [the, sic] JP article of the subject in which he admits he lied.


The future of cartooning


Gevoelig” means “Sensitive.” Hats off to Joep Bertrams, a man of both conviction and courage.

I started the day yesterday with news from the AP via the Lansing State Journal, that Islamic fundamentalist boycotts of products from Denmark are costing millions.

I was depressed. However, later I found out (H/T Atlas Shrugs) that:
Jyllands-Posten says that the growth in 2006 in Danish exports to two countries alone is larger than our total export to the entire Muslim world. The two countries are Germany and USA, and the estimates are even made without considering the Buy Danish-campaigns, that are unfolding in these two countries. If they have an effect, it'll be an extra bonus.
Let’s make this happen. If you can’t find Danish products in your local stores, start asking for them.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Al-Gorah


I'm glad Al Gore is not our President. Bill and Hillary's buddy just gets scarier every minute.

Not long ago, face crimson, neck veins distended, sweat pouring through his suit and
spittle flying between his pounding fists - he was literally screaming that "Bush betrayed us!"

Now he delivers a speech, in enemy territory, where he tells lies damaging to his country. And there is no doubt he lied.

He makes this lying speech in a country where he'd be beaten for the public lip-lock he laid on Tipper at the Democrat convention, and where she'd be beaten more severely and then subject to arrest for not covering her head.

He attends this conference despite the fact our allies on the field of battle, the Danes, were uninvited because they stood up for free speech.

The conference organizers are a bunch of misogynist, homophobic, church-and-state-are-one thugs who've contributed to huge Hallibuton profits and enabled "global warming" via extraction of massive amounts of crude oil.

They finance madrassas in the United States - Islamic schools dedicated to the eventual imposition of sharia law on Americans.

All of this is anathema to him if he's speaking in the US.

If you hold a former Vice-President of the United States to a reasonable standard, this $250,000 speaking engagement was not betrayal. It was treason.

James Lileks, here, on the same topic. Read it.

INH syndrome


I need to be very clear here about the narrowness of the argument I am about to present. Delusional and self-destructive behavior may take many forms, and there are many detail differences among the groups discussed.

I certainly do not want to provoke further outrage among Muslim fundamentalists by comparing them broadly to Democrats or to the Washington Press Corps. For one example of difference, agree with them or not, extremist Muslims are principled.

Still, these Islamofascists certainly share the gift of incendiary narcissistic hysteria (INH) with the Democrats and with the Press.

These three groups share a self-absorption so sublimely complete that they cannot recognize it when their metatarsals are taking friendly fire.

Fresh off the Alito “filibuster” and “killing” the Patriot Act, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have been kind enough to tell us that Hurricane Katrina, Valerie Plame, Iraqi WMD, NSA wiretaps of terrorists and the failure to find a cure for cancer (I made the last one up), are of a piece with the story of Dick Cheney’s hunting accident. The Democrats are either serious about this or they are unserious... Who can tell?

The White House Press have been rabid to the point of parody, which is saying something, because they weren’t the very first, after Mr. Whittington, to be informed. They are serious about nothing more than their own privilege and status, and voting Democrat.

The militant Islamists understand why a politician might shoot a lawyer; but they are still boycotting insulin, accidentally killing each other with intentional firearm discharges and burning Ronald McDonald statues because of some cartoons they’ve never seen, at least in the Western press. They are serious about replacing Western mores with their own.

They all look ridiculous because they haven’t the slightest idea of the meaning of the word “excess.” Furthermore, they don’t care - as long as they can feel better by threatening everyone else with feeling worse.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Support Canadian troops. Support the Western Standard.


A letter, expanded from part of my last post (also, .05% more civil).

The Honourable Gordon O'Connor
Minister of National Defence
National Defence Headquarters
Major-General George R. Pearkes Building
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1A 0K2

Sir,

I write to you as a fellow citizen of Western democracy, not as a Canadian. I recognize that my opinion regarding the conduct of Canadian politics is open to outright rejection, but I think a dose of "We're all Danes now" would be useful in North American politics generally. My own country, the United States, has by no means lived up to this standard.

In defence of my effrontery, I offer the fact that I lived in Canada for 23 years and was able to observe the conduct of politics, and the changes in society, from the beginning of Pierre Trudeau's government until 1994. You will understand why I say I have heartfelt hope for the change Prime Minister Harper's government may represent. I wish you every success.

In that spirit, I must say that your recent comment regarding publication of the "infamous" Danish cartoons by The Western Standard was well off the mark.

Did you really mean that the exercise of free speech would place Canadian troops, already in a war zone, at greater risk? Did you mean to imply that such risk was a larger concern for the _Defence_ Minister than the concept of defending a free press? I ask, because it sounds like some leftover trope from the former government. They never seemed entirely certain about Canada's status as a Western democracy.

About the Western Standard's publication you said - "It doesn't help. Radicals in Syria and Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq, they get people roused up because their religion's being offended. We don't need any more risk in the area than we have."

Let us assume this is true; these people are going to be even more offended than they were. That isn't all bad. It might take some combat pressure off our allies, the Danes, who certainly don't deserve it. This seems only sporting, if you are unwilling to support them via a free press.

On the other hand, recall how gently Canada was treated at Dieppe before the worst of those insensitive cartoons of Hitler were printed. It would have been worse if the Germans had seen caricatures of Hitler; and sure, Bataan wouldn't have happened if we hadn't depicted Tojo with buck-teeth. What were we thinking?

On the other, other hand - Muslim groups in Canada have already initiated civil suits against The Western Standard. Canadian troops are defending this right, as well. If the jihadists don't care about this fine point, why should Canadians kowtow to their exquisite sensitivities? If decades of anti-assimilationist angst now paralyze the EU, why should we invite it?

I think you insult "real" jihadists, the ones who would be the attackers in the war-zone, by suggesting that they are spurred to more effective effort by some cartoons - several of which had to faked up. This is an invitation to attack Canadian troops; because a) as noted, it insults the jihadi, and b) it tells them attacking Canadian troops will have a significant political effect.

I would have suggested a statement more along these lines: "Well, we hope Canadians' exercise of Western values, in particular that of a free press, does not provoke attacks against Canadian troops. My advice to anyone contemplating such an attack would be that that would be a serious mistake in judgment." If you wanted some real punch, you might add: "We have the Danes' back."

Let us not even supply a hint of apology to people who are killing each other, much less ravening to kill us, over some cartoons; cartoons that did not raise a stir when published in Egypt last October. It's a trumped up sensitivity, and those who are inflamed by it should be severely cautioned, not encouraged.

Sincerely,
Duane Hershberger
Williamston, MI

A Michigan RINO gets his due

The United Auto Workers PAC, known as the UAW VOLUNTARY COMMUNITY ACTION PROGRAM gave a total of $ 7,232,229 to political candidates in the 2004 election cycle. Of that only $30,500 (or 4/10ths of one-percent) went to Republicans. Makes one wonder who were the lucky ones.

It seems that Battle Creek RINO congressman, Joe Schwarz, was one of them. He garnered the maximum $5,000 allowed per election cycle.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The fort' estate - Hunker down

OK, we know the media refuse to get it, but even your average editor should be able to understand these 2nd generation cartoon-jihad cartoons.

How can people know how over the top the Islamofascist reaction is without the FACTS?

H/T Small Dead Animals and relapsed catholic.

In Canada, The Western Standard has published the Danish caricatures of Mohammed and the results are predictable:

Local defender of the faith publicity hounds:
The Canadian Islamic Congress has vowed to seek hate-crimes charges against the magazine on the grounds that the cartoons incite hatred and portray Muslims in a negative fashion.

"I think there is a fine line between freedom of the press and freedom to incite hate. These cartoons cross that line," said Mohamed Elmasry, the CIC's national president. "Canada has a hate literature law and we will be able to test it to see indeed if the law protects the well-being of minorities."
Dhimmi retailers:
Indigo Books and Music Inc., Canada's largest bookstore chain, is refusing to put the latest issue of the Western Standard on its shelves. Air Canada, which normally carries the Western Standard in its lounges and some flights, has also decided pull the issue.
And last, but far from least, Government idiots:
Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor warned the latest edition of the Calgary-based Western Standard, which features cartoons that have sparked riots and protests worldwide, will put Canadian troops in Afghanistan at greater risk.

"It doesn't help. Radicals in Syria and Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq, they get people roused up because their religion's being offended," Mr. O'Connor said in an interview. "We don't need any more risk in the area than we have."
First, assume this is true. It might take some combat pressure off our allies, the Danes. This seems only sporting, since Mr. O'Connor is apparently unwilling to support them via a free press.

Second,
Mr. O'Connor might wish to recall how gently Canada was treated at Dieppe before the worst of those insensitive cartoons of Hitler were printed. It would have been worse if the Germans had seen caricatures of Hitler; and sure, Bataan wouldn't have happened if we hadn't depicted Tojo with buck-teeth. What were we thinking?

The jihadists are spurred to effective effort by some cartoons, several of which they have to fake up. Gordon O'Connor ought to read what he said if he's worried about either making sense or insulting people.

Ezra Levant, publisher of The Western Standard explains his decision to publish the cartoons here: Media runs scared. Indeed.

He could be facing hate crime charges.

Rounding out today's litany of scimitar submission, we have other commentary:

Media's cowardice pales next to politicians'
BY JOHN O'SULLIVAN
What European governments foresee in their future is a terrible combination of economic difficulties, political battles and ethnic hostilities. In order to keep social conflict to a minimum, they now seek to establish rules that would prevent the different groups in a multicultural society from insulting each other. And the cartoon battle is the first skirmish they have engaged in.
American News Media: Little Courage and Little Honesty
By Dennis Prager
But it is difficult to recall a greater blow to the credibility of American news media than their near-universal refusal to publish the Mohammed cartoons originally published in a Danish newspaper that have brought about worldwide Muslim protests.

This loss of credibility owes to two factors: dishonesty and cowardice.
Islamic Chauvinism and the Mohammed Cartoons
By Joseph Tartakovsky
Islamic chauvinism explains why Arab journalists, who continuously lament the censorship in their presses, now demand that European states punish privately owned newspapers. It explains how the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Prince Turki al-Faisal, can tell Wolf Blitzer that matters of faith must "be handled with care and with sensitivity," when the country he represents outlaws wearing a cross or possessing a Bible. Danish Muslim leaders, who appealed abroad to bring down Islamic wrath on their adopted country, decry Denmark's coolness toward its Muslim minority*but they have not urged the thousands of Muslims now queuing up for immigration into tiny Denmark to shred their asylum applications in disgust. This is not hypocrisy. It is strategy.
Such chauvinism does not explain Al Gore's, well yes... treason... but that explanation is probably asking too much of anyone, especially the jihadi.

Are Europeans going wobbly?
Washington Times
By any measure, Mr. Frattini's rhetoric is nothing more than an Orwellian attempt to pretend that moral cowardice is actually social responsibility. Permitting a governmental entity like the European Commission to act as a political facilitator guiding journalists on matters of "prudence" or context should be anathema to all people in free societies. The real goal of this proposal and others like it is to appease violent terrorists who have seized upon the publication of the Muhammad cartoons as a pretext to riot or -- as apparently was the case with the Iranian and Syrian governments -- to encourage others to do so.
Finally, we need to note the sharp attention to issues from the White House Press corps over the last two days. They've just spent 48 hysterical hours demanding to know why they weren't informed immediately about the Vice President's hunting accident.

This firm grasp of the crucial issues of the day, this narcissism squared- a press story about the press - while the Islamofascists riot, Iran restarts uranium enrichment and Helen Thomas still hasn't got a front row seat at press conferences, just shows you the keen grasp they have of what's important.

And, these are the people who are exempt from McCain Finance Reform.

Maximum shareholder value presupposes living shareholders


If this guy could personally face down a tank of one of the most brutal totalitarian regimes in existence, what's with with those huge American companies?




H/T Reporters Without Borders:




* Since 2002, Yahoo! has agreed to censor the results of the Chinese version of its search engine in accordance with a blacklist provide [sic] by the Chinese government. Reporters Without Borders also recently proved that Yahoo! helped the Chinese police identify and then convict a journalist who was criticising human rights abuses in China. The e-mail servers of Yahoo!’s Chinese division are located inside China.

* Microsoft censors the Chinese version of its MSN Spaces blog tool. You cannot enter search strings such as “democracy” or “human rights in China” or “capitalism” as they are automatically rejected by the system. Microsoft also closed down a Chinese journalist’s blog following pressure from the government in Beijing. This blog was hosted on servers located in the United States.

* All sources of news and information that are censored in China have been withdrawn by Google from the Chinese version of its news search engine, Google News.

* Secure Computing has sold Tunisia technology that allows it to censor independent news and information websites such as the Reporters Without Borders one.

* Fortinet has sold the same kind of software to Burma.

* Cisco Systems has marketed equipment specifically designed to make it easier for the Chinese police to carry out surveillance of electronic communications. Cisco is also suspected of giving Chinese engineers training in how to use its products to censor the Internet.
Try using Ask Jeeves for searches. Google and Yahoo! need a message about markets and freedom.

S
eriously consider Linux, or a Macintosh, instead of Windows. Try D-link instead of Linksys (a Cisco division) for home use routers.

Note: this blog depends on Google's free "Blogger" offering. I am considering alternatives.

Monday, February 13, 2006

É, si muove!

At the age of 70, Galileo was condemned by The Italian Inquisition and forced, on his knees, to recant all of his proofs that the planets moved around the sun.

The title of this post is what Galileo said as he stood up. It translates as “Still, it moves!”

At issue was a fundamental article of Catholic dogma, that God moves the spheres of the heavens about the earth.

I chose that title because I’m writing about the fundamental dogma of a certain set of modern American Christians who are stuck on stupid in the 17th century.

If you can bear to examine the sewage that these people bathe in, compare and contrast it with the words we hear from the Islamofascists.
Families Seek Legislative Remedies From Funeral Protesters
Monday, February 13, 2006
By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

It was a typical scenario for the Westboro Baptist Church — another demonstration outside the funeral of a soldier killed in Iraq. This time the venue was Meadowood Baptist Church in Midwest City, Okla., noted a full rundown of the event recorded later by church members on their Web site.

The signs held by members that Feb. 2 were dutifully noted on the church's web-journal: "Steve held 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers,' 'You're Going to Hell' and 'Fags Doom Nations' while Shirl held 'America is Doomed,' 'God is America's Terror' and 'Don't Worship the Dead' with a flag tied around her waist."

The Kansas-based church, which believes God is punishing America for its tolerance of homosexuality by sending home U.S. soldiers "in body bags," chose as one of its most recent demonstration sites the funeral of Army Staff Sgt. Lance Chase, 32, father of two sons, who died from a roadside bomb while on duty in Iraq on Jan. 23. On Sunday, Westboro's adherents traveled to Yankton, S.D., to the memorial service for 21-year-old Army National Guard Spc. Allen D. Kokesh, Jr. … more
I followed the link in that Fox News story, and found that it has currently been redirected to a Microsoft site. This deflection may simply be an attempt to divert massive traffic, though if I were Microsoft I’d be suing, because when you look for Westboro Baptist Church on Google you’re given links like these:

http://www.godhatesfags.com/main/aboutwbc.html
http://www.godhatesfags.com/main/

That’s right, this church owns the “godhatesfags” domain name, and they invite you to explore it for as long as you can keep your supper down. It more than lives up to its URL. I did do a “whois” search against the possibility that this name and ownership are somehow faked. It was inconclusive, but the site itself is highly credible as the site of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) of Topeka, Kansas.

This is as fine a bunch of faggot haters as you’ll find outside Tehran. These folks justify the use of the word “Taliban” to describe Americans.

You probably haven’t heard much about them yet. But you will, because they are going to keep showing up at the funerals of American soldiers who have died in Iraq. The reason these men and women died, you see, is because God hates America’s gays. And the Westboro Baptist congregation is determined to let the grieving families know that.

This is an insult to Christianity and to America.

Interested in what free speech means when exercised by true American bigots? Want to find the source for the cartoons Islamofascists should not only publish, but that they already agree with? Godhatesfags.com is your answer.

If you make allowances for hierarchy, the spelling of the name of a quasi-deity or two, and a few minor dietary restrictions and doctrinal impedimenta; these people want the same world the Inquisition wanted 400 years ago - and same world the Islamofascists want today.

This is an example of where free speech needs to be constrained. If we can pass laws restricting demonstrators at abortion clinics, and if we can pass traffic laws restricting interference with funeral processions, then I think we can keep these cretins at bay for the duration of an interment.

If they were actually serious about this they’d instead be showing up at the funeral of every person who died of HIV, and if they had done that you would have heard of them. It would probably be prosecuted as a "hate" crime.

Let them spew their hate, but no First Amendment purpose is served by allowing them to inject their vile publicity hunting into the private pain of the family of someone who gave their life to defend the right to inflict it.

Update on Epoch Times

The story mentioned yesterday regarding The Epoch Times, "whose American employees actually are being beaten", seems to be confirmed. And it seems likely the Chinese Communists are behind it.

Forbes writes about it today, and offers insight into why a computer tech was the target. Think Internet and bypassing censorship. Take that Google.

When All Else Fails: Threats
Richard C. Morais

I'll drink to that!

If sales of this category of Danish products is suffering much from the Muslim boycott, then certain people were drinking far more alcohol than is consistent with their faith.

On the other hand, we now know that depiction of Mohammed is not totally forbidden after all. Maybe there are more Muslim imbibers than we've been led to believe.

Either way, I cannot keep the boycott at bay solely via consumption of beer. Even what seems to be GOP beer.

Our press could learn something here

Islamic Protestors in Paris Come Face to Face with an Unexpected Counter-Protest
"An eye for an eye! A tooth for a tooth!" Echoing protests around the world and wearing all kinds of costumes from the Middle East and the Muslim world, 4,000 Islamic demonstrators march through Paris denouncing the cartoons and the alleged (and convenient) lack of respect towards Islam.

When they arrive at La Nation, they are met with two figures wearing slightly different costumes and slightly different signs.

One, in red and white, is (silently) wearing a sign with the Danish flag saying "Support Denmark, Support free speech". Besides (silently) wearing a sign reading "Free Cartoonist" on it, the other, the founder of the BAF protest warrior-type organisation, is holding a (fake) severed hand, a pen among its fingers.

Voices start to ring out. "It's provocation!" "You tread on 1.5 million Muslims!" "Connards!" "Rat faces!"
Read the rest, see some pictures, click some links.

It seems to me that since there are approximately a billion Muslims, finding out who are the 1.5 million being trod upon in this instance is a matter of some urgency.

These guys seem to think free speech is worth defending directly: In France.
Two of them. Against thousands of Muslim protestors. Only the Philadelphia Inquirer has come close to this level of commitment to free speech in this country.

The Washington Post and New York Times need to read this.

My admiration to ¡No Pasarán!, which has been added to the blogroll.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Thought provoking Muslim discussion


Islamic moderation. It's not your father's moderation.

Read it and encourage it and challenge it.

A Wake-up Call : Almost all terrorists are Muslims..

Abdel Rahman al-Rashed*

7 Questions
The Sandmonkey

The decline and fall of the free press

It has been said that Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent tactics could probably not have succeeded against a power with lesser discipline and lacking the grandiose sense of fair play of the British. Certainly the Russians would have had him shot early on. India would be quite a different place today.

There is a connection here to the reverence with which the press in this country regards itself. For one example, the Russians would have dragged reporter Helen Thomas out and had her shot too, whether she was conciliatory after a press conference or not.

Thomas is famous for making rambling criticisms instead of asking coherent questions. What passes for the practiced exercise of speaking freely to power in the dotty doyen is unfortunately all too commonly regarded by our press in general as the level of journalistic courage to which they should aspire.

Not that some members of our press corps have no courage. ABC newsmen Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt were courageous because they exposed themselves to combat in
Iraq. But not because they were seriously injured by an IED. Courage comes first.

They did have the advantage of being more protected by their government than they will be ever again in their lives, and they volunteered to be in a war zone. Journalists in the
United States haven’t volunteered and should not need to worry about IEDs. Still, they seem to be worried about something.

In the
United States only three major newspapers have published any of the Danish cartoons being used to incite riots in Muslim populations worldwide: The Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Sun and Riverside Press-Enterprise.

I have my doubts, but perhaps not publishing was a prudent approach at the beginning of the cartoon controversy, even though the cartoons were not published to insult a religion; they were solicited in order to examine the extent of the intimidation that had already grown in concert with a blind assumption of universal moral equivalence. Is it trivial to publish relatively innocuous cartoons about Islam?

We have been informed, in no uncertain terms, that this question is not trivial. The
US newspapers still treating it with kid gloves appear to be more intimidated than they are committed to the excuse of amoral sensitivity. Neither position brings them much credit.

The Boston Phoenix has had the honesty to admit it. They give three reasons why they have not and will not publish any of the cartoons, even though they’d like to. Two of those reasons are standard relativist tropes: non-judgmental respect and uncritical hope for civil dialog - but the primary reason is fear:

Out of fear of retaliation from the international brotherhood of radical and bloodthirsty Islamists who seek to impose their will on those who do not believe as they do. This is, frankly, our primary reason for not publishing any of the images in question. Simply stated, we are being terrorized, and as deeply as we believe in the principles of free speech and a free press, we could not in good conscience place the men and women who work at the Phoenix and its related companies in physical jeopardy. As we feel forced, literally, to bend to maniacal pressure, this may be the darkest moment in our 40-year publishing history.

Indeed. For anyone arguing that in their treatment of this cartoon jihad affront to reason Western institutions have not reached a nadir last seen prior to the enlightenment, it would be well to keep that statement firmly in mind. To facilitate retention, we will take an immediate slight diversion before returning to the Islamofascist intimidation machine.

On the free speech question, I’ve recently criticized Google for hypocrisy because they have modified their service to communist
China to make that totalitarian regime’s job of censoring the Internet easier. A competitor of Google’s, Yahoo!, has done them one better. Based on information Yahoo! released to the thugs in Beijing, people are going to jail for a decade.

A simile can be tortured out of this. Yahoo! is to the
US media as China is to Islamofascism. A point worth some consideration, but for the central reason for our diversion I draw your attention to The Epoch Times, whose American employees actually are being beaten.

It is worthwhile noting that this report is in a newspaper clearly involved in a political struggle, and there is yet no independent verification regarding the nature of the criminals. However, for obvious reasons, this publication has endured a long history of threats and violence from the communist Chinese. For evaluating journalistic courage, verification of this specific story isn’t required: Epoch Times has many good reasons to be afraid. If you haven’t already checked out the Nine Commentaries, do so. It provides significant context.

As much as The Epoch Times stands in contrast to US newspapers, there are yet Middle-Eastern newspapers, where the Islamofascist intimidation factor is higher by an order of magnitude, that have published the Danish cartoons. We can learn a couple of things from those examples.

As documented here most of the Danish cartoons were published in
Egypt in 2005 without the slightest controversy. This isn’t a question of Muslim sensitivities, then. US newspapers can stop worrying about that.

The cartoons were also published in
Jordan, after the controversy began, and the editors have been arrested for it.

The danger of arrest does not exist in the
US and the Muslim "sensitivity factor" is surely higher in Jordan, but as we have seen - in the United States only three major newspapers have published any of the cartoons. Even this has not been without consequence.

Philadelphia Inquirer editor Amanda Bennett, publisher Joe Natoli, and deputy managing editor Carl Lavin circulated among protestors gathered outside their offices as a result of the Inquirer's publication of one cartoon.

Where is similar courage from the rest of
America’s newspapers? Why is a major element of this major story gone missing?

By now it is obvious that the content of the cartoons is important to understanding how very far apart are the philosophies of Islamofascism and the average American. That is one reason why it is important to publish the cartoons.

Another reason is that the West should be showing solidarity with our Danish allies who are fighting alongside us in
Afghanistan and Iraq.

Reason magazine also makes the point:

Free expression advocates have made an effort to frame the Jyllands-Posten cartoons as a responsible attempt to broaden the conversation on religious freedom, when in fact (as several of the cartoonists themselves acknowledged) the stunt is unambiguously provocative, juvenile, offensive, and irresponsible. That's why it needs to be defended.

The cartoon jihad is phony, yet it is having success in shutting down the same newspapers that brought us pictures of American contractors’ burned bodies hanging from a Fallujah bridge.

Freedom of the press obviously includes the freedom not to publish, but since the intimidation plot being conducted by The Muslim Brotherhood has become obvious the stakes have changed, and the press in the United States needs to step up to the challenge.

In closing I suggest checking out the "The Hall of Capitulation":
THE WAR ON THE FREE PRESS
By Michelle Malkin

Update, 5:50PM 13-Feb: the word "unprovoked ", the result of an incompletely re-edited sentence, was deleted from the 16th paragraph.