Thursday, November 30, 2006
And yet, while the religious divisions in our world are self-evident, many people still imagine that religious conflict is always caused by a lack of education, by poverty, or by politics. Yet the September 11th hijackers were college-educated, middle-class, and had no discernible experience of political oppression. They did, however, spend a remarkable amount of time at their local mosques talking about the depravity of infidels and about the pleasures that await martyrs in Paradise. How many more architects and mechanical engineers must hit the wall at 400 miles an hour before we admit to ourselves that jihadist violence is not merely a matter of education, poverty, or politics? The truth, astonishingly enough, is that in the year 2006 a person can have sufficient intellectual and material resources to build a nuclear bomb and still believe that he will get 72 virgins in Paradise. Western secularists, liberals, and moderates have been very slow to understand this. The cause of their confusion is simple: They don’t know what it is like to really believe in God. The United States now stands alone in the developed world as a country that conducts its national discourse under the shadow of religious literalism. Eighty-three percent of the U.S. population believes that Jesus literally rose from the dead; 53% believe that the universe is 6,000 years old. This is embarrassing. Add to this comedy of false certainties the fact that 44% of Americans are confident that Jesus will return to Earth sometime in the next 50 years and you will glimpse the terrible liability of this sort of thinking. Nearly half of the American population is eagerly anticipating the end of the world. This dewy-eyed nihilism provides absolutely no incentive to build a sustainable civilization. Many of these people are lunatics, but they are not the lunatic fringe. Some of them can actually get Karl Rove on the phone whenever they want. While Muslim extremists now fly planes into our buildings, saw the heads off journalists and aid-workers, and riot by the tens of thousands over cartoons, several recent polls reveal that atheists are now the most reviled minority in the United States. A majority of Americans say they would refuse to vote for an atheist even if he were a “well-qualified candidate” from their own political party. Atheism, therefore, is a perfect impediment to holding elected office in this country (while being a woman, black, Muslim, Jewish, or gay is not). Most Americans also say that of all the unsavory alternatives on offer, they would be least likely to allow their child to marry an atheist. These declarations of prejudice might be enough to make some atheists angry. But they are not what makes me angry. As an atheist, I am angry that we live in a society in which the plain truth cannot be spoken without offending 90% of the population. The plain truth is this: There is no good reason to believe in a personal God; there is no good reason to believe that the Bible, the Koran, or any other book was dictated by an omniscient being; we do not, in any important sense, get our morality from religion; the Bible and the Koran are not, even remotely, the best sources of guidance we have for living in the 21st century; and the belief in God and in the divine provenance of scripture is getting a lot of people killed unnecessarily.Read the whole damn thing. While you are at it, please check out samharris.org.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
"The problem, as I came to believe while rereading his books and keeping up with his columns, was that while my interest in Arab culture had partly been inspired by Said, his work generally tended to discourage readers from conducting their own research. He dismissed authors of any opinion he disagreed with. To him, they were -- to use the once-neutral phrase he had turned into an insult -- Orientalists, and all too often they were just straight-out racists. "[...] Orientalism is essential reading for anyone interested in the meeting of the West and the Orient, but its canonical status, and frequent tone of condescension, convinced far too many readers they had an explanation at hand and needed to go no further."Said's writings, and those of his acolytes, have received rebuttals in the past, of which among the most notable are by Bernard Lewis and Keith Windschuttle. More recently, Ibn Warraq of the Institution of the Secularisation of Islamic Society (ISIS), has also joined the fray. Ibn Warraq, an ex-Muslim who is no stranger to defecting from established conventional wisdom having written and edited some excellent books on the origins of Islam, has now turned his attention towards the Saidian polemicists and penned a rather exhaustive essay decrying the pretensions of Edward Said towards harbouring any conceptions of intellectual scholarship. Ibn Warraq’s dissection of Orientalism is a masterfully written, albeit long, catalogue of Said’s errors and misconceptions. Indeed, one of the most absurd charges made by Said was one levelled against Bernard Lewis. In an essay, Lewis had discussed the etymological root of the classical Arabic term thawra [revolution] as follows:
“The root th-w-r in Classical Arabic meant to rise up (e.g. of a camel), to be stirred or excited, and hence, especially in Maghribi usage, to rebel. It is often used in the context of establishing a petty, independent sovereignty; thus, for example, the so-called party kings who ruled in eleventh century Spain after the break-up of the Caliphate of Cordova are called thuwwar (sing. tha’ir).”Said responded thus:
“Lewis’s association of thawra with a camel rising and generally with excitement (and not with a struggle on behalf of values) hints much more broadly than is usual for him that the Arab is scarcely more than a neurotic sexual being. Each of the words or phrases he uses to describe revolution is tinged with sexuality: stirred, excited, rising up. But for the most part it is a ‘bad’ sexuality he ascribes to the Arab. In the end, since Arabs are really not equipped for serious action, their sexual excitement is no more noble than a camel’s rising up. Instead of revolution there is sedition, setting up a petty sovereignty, and more excitement, which is as much as saying that instead of copulation the Arab can only achieve foreplay, masturbation, coitus interruptus. These, I think, are Lewis’s implications ....”To which Ibn Warraq has this to say:
"Can any rational person have drawn any conclusion which even remotely resembled that of Edward Said’s from Lewis’s scholarly discussion of Classical Arabic etymology? Were I to indulge in some prurient psycho-biography, much in fashion, I would be tempted to ask, “What guilty sexual anguish is Said trying to cover up? Just what did they do to him at his Cairo English prep school?”. Lewis’s concise and elegant reply to Said’s conclusions is to quote the Duke of Wellington: “If you believe that, you can believe anything”."And it certainly does not end there. Ibn Warraq’s essay is full of delightful rejoinders at Said’s expense. In reading this piece, one recalls the apt words of Stephen Schwartz on Said's book:
"Said's Orientalism, a ridiculous imposture from its first page to its last, is now a standard text in Anglo-American universities, but reads like the product of a rather dense college student who has just discovered Marxism; there can be no more telling condemnation of the present state of the American academy than the ascendancy of Said.”Indeed. As in life, as in death: may he be long remembered as thus. (NB: This post is an edited version of an article that I originally wrote for Winds of Change.NET, on 16/01/03)
It seems Olmert's response to the Palestinians is to slowly commit state suicide. But that is nothing new, as I have stated for quite some time that I believe he might be suicidally incompetant.
Olmert still doesn't get it. First, this conflict is not about territory - it's about Israel's existence. If this conflict were about territory, Gaza would not have become a terror base when it was gifted to the 'Palestinians' in 2005, and the 'Palestinians' would not be demanding that Israel vacate the towns that border Gaza. After all, those towns are within the 'green line,' and in Olmert's delusional world, the 'Palestinians' make no claim to them.
Second, the hudna that began at 6:00 AM yesterday (subject to its violation) has nothing to do with a 'new path' and everything to do with the IDF's effective fighting against the 'Palestinian' terrorists. The terrorists needed a break to regroup and rearm. They have said so. The IDF has said so. But Ehud K. Olmert, who was never even an officer in the army, thinks he knows better than the IDF. After all, he's a lawyer....
Third, Olmert has nothing to offer that will satisfy the 'Palestinians'. He's a lawyer. Note those carefully chosen words: "the Palestinians could establish an independent, viable state with contiguous territory in the West Bank, and have full sovereignty over recognized borders." But there's an elephant in the living room of the 'Palestinian' state. You see, the 'Palestinians' 'minimalist' demand (for now) is a contiguous 'Palestinian' state reichlet in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. You can't get from Judea or Samaria to Gaza without going through pre-1967 Israel. And of course, the 'Palestinians' don't want to be 'humiliated' with 'inspections' every time they go from one to the other. There's also a second elephant in the living room of the 'Palestinian' state - it's not economically viable whether or not Judea and Samaria are contiguous with Gaza.
Fourth, Olmert says that in return for kidnapped IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit's release, "Israel would be willing to release many Palestinian prisoners, including those who were sentenced to long prison terms, in order to increase the confidence between us and prove that our hand is outstretched in true peace." Forget for a minute that Olmert is just encouraging the next kidnapping. If he's releasing "those who were sentenced to long prison terms," he's releasing convicted murderers. What makes Olmert think they won't return to terrorism and murder?
Fifth, Olmert believes that many of the 'Palestinians' are "tired of the high price extremism is exacting on their society." Really? Where are they? Over 50% of the 'Palestinian' children between the ages of 6 and 11 want to grow up to be suicide 'martyrs'. Do your kids want to God forbid grow up to be 'martyrs'? Do Olmert's? Heck, Olmert's kids won't even fight in the IDF.
Sixth, Olmert says that "if the Palestinians responded, Israel would significantly reduce the roadblocks, increase freedom of movement, open and improve border crossings for goods and merchandise, and release Palestinian tax revenues held in Israel since Hamas's victory in last January's elections." Reduce the roadblocks? Let terrorists back into the country after we finally have a handle on it? Maybe next he'll offer to tear down the 'security fence' that has apparently been somewhat effective in stopping terrorism. And then he's going to release tax revenues to Hamas.... That'll make the Euroweenies happy anyway....
Seventh, Olmert is advocating an 'international conference,' at which Israel will sit across the negotiating table from twenty-two Arab countries, Eurabia, Russia, and the UN - and he will expect George Bush's lame duck State Department to protect him from the wolves? Has he gone mad? And on top of that, he's willing to accept 'parts of' the so-called 'Saudi initiative' (which has only been offered as a whole), which includes the 'right of return' that would innundate Israel with 'Palestinian refugees.' (And that's forgetting for a minute that most 'Palestinians' would not be satisfied by the 'Saudi initiative.')
And the 'Palestinian' response to Olmert's insanity?
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Samir Geagea, another Christian anti Syrian leader had warned a few days ago that the Syrians and their Lebanese supporters are attempting to assassinate two sitting ministers to complement the 6 that resigned, so that the government will be automatically dissolved...Meanwhile, Hizballah has been arming itself to the teeth, with many thanks to UNIFIL. I truly believe war is afoot...again. UPDATE: It took longer than normal to blame the Jews with this one... but it was only a matter of time. - Steven
Monday, November 20, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
The fear of military casualties and the subsequent hesitation on part of Israel's leadership to conduct military operations also constitute a violation of the basic social contract around which a state is built. The Zionist rationale was founded on the desire to end the helplessness of the Jew in the Diaspora by building a Jewish state whose main function was to defend its Jewish citizens - by force if necessary. (...) While foolproof defense is not always a realistic goal, the Jewish state seems to have difficulty in fulfilling its most basic function - providing security to its citizens. Four thousand Katyushas during the last summer as well as the continuous downpour of Kassams on Israeli settlements in the Northern Negev raise the question: Why should Israelis pay taxes to build and strengthen an army, if the state is reluctant to use the military force at its disposal for the protection of its citizens?
Earlier, in the mid 1980s, Armstrong was commissioned by Channel Four television in Britain to make a documentary about the life of St. Paul. This required visits to the Holy Land and to Jerusalem. However, when Armstrong went to Israel and saw the kind of racism against Arabs that dominated Israeli society, she realised that "there was something fundamentally wrong" going on in Israel. (LIE: Israel is no apartheid state) "I was deeply shocked that people could call other people 'dirty Arabs' when some 30 or 40 years before they had talked in Europe about 'dirty Jews'. I was struck by the inability of the Jewish people to learn from past sufferings, but of course it is human nature that suffering does not make us better. The problem with Israel now is that it cannot believe that it is not 1939 any more; the Israeli people are emotionally stuck in the horrors of the Nazi era," she says. Could it be that this is an Israeli ploy to manipulate public opinion? Armstrong answers that "I don't think that this is the case at a profound level. Of course, there are politicians who will use this, but I think there is a profound inability among Israelis to believe that they have left the past behind. They still regard the present as a period of Jewish weakness, when in fact it is a period of Jewish power." "The West has to share a responsibility for what is happening in the Middle East. If it had not persecuted the Jews, there would not have been the need for the creation of the State of Israel. The Muslim world did nothing to the Jews, and the Palestinians are paying the price for the sins of Europe. (lie: see article on Grand Mufti) Therefore, a solution has to be found because there will be no peace in the world without one. But if Israel has America behind it, it does not have to worry about what the rest of the world thinks. This gives a sense of omnipotence. At the moment there is no hope; they, the Israelis, can do what they want because America will always support them. I wish Europe would play a better role, but Mr Blair is running after Mr Bush like a poodle." (sounds exactly like Galloway) Armstrong believes that the Israeli occupation is responsible for the kind of violent resistance it meets from the Palestinians. (total lie: see Dersh article) "The resistance will be as ruthless and violent as the occupation is," she says. "Every occupation breeds its own kind of resistance." Armstrong believes that the phenomenon of the Palestinian suicide bombers has more to do with politics and hopelessness than it does with religion. "I don't think people sit at home and read the Qur'an and say, yes, I must go and bomb Israel. (LIE: see Walid Shoebat - they are taught religious based hatred from age 0 onwards, whether it is 'true Islam' or not) This is not how religion works, and I see just absolute hopelessness when people have nothing to lose. Palestinians don't have F- 16s, and they don't have tanks. They don't have anything to match Israel's arsenal. They only have their own bodies." (Lie: what are the Qassam rockets, then???) "Violence of any sort always breads violence, and the occupation itself is an act of extreme violence, domination and oppression. The way things have been moving has been aggressively against the Palestinians." While she believes that there has been a shift in the way British public opinion views the Palestinian struggle, she warns that the killing of civilians could create a backlash. "In the news coverage after every suicide bombing you see Israeli mothers with their children talking in plain English about their sufferings. One does not get to see the same sufferings of the Palestinian mothers and their children, though they are the weaker party in the conflict." (Lie: What was the media coverage over Beit Hanoun then? When was the last time you saw a picture of Israeli suffering??) Armstrong thinks that charges of anti-Semitism in Europe play into the hands of the Zionist lobby (LIE: see Dersh's article debunking this!) in America because "this will discredit anything Europe says. They say Europe is anti- Semitic because for the first time Europe is becoming aware of the plight of the Palestinians. It is part of a campaign to discredit European input in any future peace process."Ms. Armstrong, I am very glad you said those things in Islam Today. By doing it, and by parroting Yassir Arafat, you have proven you are no scholar and rather, you are an Islamic propogandist. I already have documented the various lies spread throughout the article, and I do not pretend to be the 'Middle East expert' that Ms. Armstrong pretends to be. Ms. Armstrong is an apologist for the worst sorts of behavior of the Palestinians, and this article proves she is no scholar. I might as well learn about Israel from Sheikh Nasrallah. What is funny is that it took me 5-10 minutes to debunk this babble, and I do not claim to be an Islamic, Middle Eastern, or Israeli scholar. 5-10 minutes! She is put forth as an example of virtue and shown to be the #1 scholar on Islam. Baloney. EDIT: Let me add some more 'pearls' from the article I found - Armstrong little 'gems.'
The key question would be, "why do they hate us?" Armstrong said, followed by others, such as: "What do Muslims think of Christians and Jews? Is Islam an inherently violent religion? Why do we always hear bad rhetoric about Christians? What about women in Islam? Is Islam against modernity?" (LIE: They hate us because THEY HATE. Armstrong implies they have legitimate concerns!)Then there's more!
"They thought I am an apologist for Muslims, because my article was about the prophet as a peacemaker, and this did not suit their agenda as much as Lewis's did. Both [Bernard] Lewis and Kramer are staunch Zionists who write from a position of extreme bias. But people need to know that Islam is a universal religion, and that there is nothing aggressively oriental or anti-Western about it. Lewis's line, on the other hand, is that Islam is an inherently violent religion," she said. (LIE: Lewis is simply no Islamic apologist. He never said the religion is inherently violent, but rather that it has violent tendancies - go read his writings, yourself!)Let me quote even MORE from this heinous Armstrong article:
Armstrong thinks that charges of anti-Semitism in Europe play into the hands of the Zionist lobby in America because "this will discredit anything Europe says. They say Europe is anti- Semitic because for the first time Europe is becoming aware of the plight of the Palestinians. It is part of a campaign to discredit European input in any future peace process." Turning to the recent rise of the extreme right in European politics, Armstrong feels that this has been more hostile to Europe's Muslim population than it has to European Jews. (total distortion of reality: the Nazi right in Europe hates Jews more, but the POINT is that the communist left of Europe CLEARLY hate Jews as well, and have had a huge impact upon foreign policy: SEE: Chirac, Ren Ken, Galloway, just as examples!)But then there's the most egregious line of Armstrong's:
Armstrong believes that both sides should try and deal with the extremism in their midst. "The West, like it or not, is a fact of life," she says. "Muslims should try to use the media; they have got to learn to lobby like the Jews, and they have got to have a Muslim lobby, if you like ....this is a jihad, an effort, a struggle, that is very important. If you want to change the media, then you have got to make people see that Islam is a force to be reckoned with politically and culturally. Have a march down the street at Ground Zero in New York, call it 'Muslims against Terror'. They need to learn how to manage the media and how to conduct themselves in the media." (So as to not be accused of out of context quoting, done all the time by Islamists, I quoted the whole paragraph. She called on Muslims to have a Jihad, the most popular meaning of it to be holy war. She also said that somehow the Jewish lobby has taken over. Hellooooo Protocols of Zion! And she wholly dismissed CAIR and MPACUK, amongst other hate groups that double as Islamic lobbying groups! What a total crock! And she believes the marching on Ground Zero should be done to symbolically prove Islam is peaceful. Advocating actual reforms of the religion...nooooo...can't do that, eh?)All I can say is...whoa. She is held to be a scholar on Islam? She is a joke, a travesty, a pathetic faux-scholar, who is clearly devoted to spreading lies and hatred against Jews.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Eventually, the parade was able to go on by limiting the parade route and making it a mechanical, and without any of the pagentry of other parades. But this shows in stark contrast how the "anti-Zionist" Jews are the most bigoted, intolerant, and hate mongering of all of World Jewry. I note in particular the disgusting words of American Jews, who attended the 'protests.' If they represented American Jewry, I would again renounce all ties on the spot.
In the lead-up to the parade, Eda Haredit members tried to stop haredi youth who were pelting police with rocks, cinder blocks, bottles, angle irons and wood planks, telling them that the Torah forbids taking actions that endanger lives. Their declaration of a curfew and of a step back from the brink of violence came after months of incitement in the fervent yet fractured world of haredi Jewry. Founded in 1919, the Eda Haredit is a coalition of a number of groups of mitnagdim (opponents) and Hassidim such as Toldot Aharon, Satmar and Jerusalem Hassidim. The extremist sect, well known for its kosher food certification, should not be confused with ultra-Orthodox society as a whole, which is also called haredi, meaning trembling [before God]. The Eda is vehemently anti-Zionist and does not recognize the existence or authority of the State of Israel [see box]. In 1945, Agudat Israel, formerly aligned with the Eda, broke away and today forms part of the United Torah Judaism party together with the Lithuanian faction Degel Hatorah. Typically, with the breathless narration one might expect from a World Cup finale, Kol Haredi (The Haredi Voice) - a telephone hot line that broadcasts recorded news - provided "live updates and ongoing and direct reports from all the developments and demonstrations in Jerusalem and all over the country against the parade of abomination." ... Meanwhile, although they belong to an even more fanatic faction, the members of Natorei Karta - who similarly do not recognize the legitimacy of the State of Israel - heaped fire and brimstone on the Eda's anti-gay crusade, which they saw as a paradoxical expression of identification with the blasphemous Zionist government. "Their war is for the 'character' of the Zionist state, so that this will be a country no worse than the other nations of the world," the newspaper Mishmeret Hayehadut wrote about the Eda Haredit - which since 2002 has been headed by Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss, formerly the dayan (judge) of Antwerp, Belgium. "They are also sitting with the heads of the Zionist police to consult with them about how to cancel this impurity." Meanwhile Israel's chief rabbinate issued a statement on November 6 calling the country's homosexuals the "lowest of people" and urging the public to assemble for a nationwide prayer vigil as gay rights marchers gathered in Jerusalem.
SOME OF the zealots who disobey Badatz are American yeshiva students looking for some excitement to lighten the tedium of constant Torah study. Avraham Erezel is a 20-year-old from Brooklyn who studies at the prestigious Mir Yeshiva. Acting in his opinion on the orders of Rabbi Elyashiv, almost every night in the week preceding the gay pride rally he left the Lithuanian seminary's study hall with hundreds of other students to clash with police. "Friends in New York told me that Israel is a crazy place, but I didn't imagine how crazy," says Erezel, who scorns the police here. "In New York they would have let us have it long ago. We especially are not afraid of the police. As soon as they see an American passport, they release you on the spot. Half the people here are Americans. We're all Jews and we all have a common goal: to stop the parade and to have some fun." (SOME IDEA OF FUN, YOU SICK BASTARDS!) Israel Rosenbaum of Brooklyn, now studying at the Brisk Yeshiva, explained, "Not everybody has a rabbi whom they follow. They see action and they come running." Ezra Rubinowitz, 21, of Los Angeles, was equally keen not to miss the action in the streets of Mea She'arim. "The rabbis are in favor of it," he explained. "They think it will stop the parade. They tell themselves, 'It's not so bad for the young people to enjoy themselves a little, the main thing is that the parade is stopped.'"*pukes* These people should be ashamed of themselves. It is disgusting to read these words spoken by ANYONE, let alone Jews.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
IMPEACHMENT! ! IMPEACHMENT! ! IMPEACHMENT! !IMPEACHMENT! !IMPEACHMENT! !IMPEACHMENT! !IMPEACHMENT! !IMPEACHMENT! !IMPEACHMENT! !IMPEACHMENT! !IMPEACHMENT! !IMPEACHMENT! !IMPEACHMENT! !IMPEACHMENT! !IMPEACHMENT! !IMPEACHMENT! !IMPEACHMENT! !IMPEACHMENT! !IMPEACHMENT! !vIMPEACHMENT! !IMPEACHMENT! ! Followed closely by........ HANGING FOR TREASON!!!!! HANGING FOR TREASON!!!!! HANGING FOR TREASON!!!!! HANGING FOR TREASON!!!!! HANGING FOR TREASON!!!!! HANGING FOR TREASON!!!!! HANGING FOR TREASON!!!!! HANGING FOR TREASON!!!!! HANGING FOR TREASON!!!!! HANGING FOR TREASON!!!!! HANGING FOR TREASON!!!!!This is what passes for 'rational discourse.' In response to this outlandish email, the president of the law school Democrats wrote:
Investigate, and the impeachment will take care of itselfIf the Democrats follow this path, they will overplay their hand, to put it mildly. Is it too much to ask to see moderation and positivity? *sighs* Of course it is!
Monday, November 13, 2006
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Thanks to psychopaths like Twosret and X, this sort of thing will just continue in the Arab world. They just… don’t care, I think - for Twosret it’s a reason to bash Bushitler and Evil Joooz, for X it’s a reason to bash Evil Christians, Evil Jooz, and everyone who’s not insane in exactly the same way as him. This just slides off of them like water off a duck. But by the Gods, shouldn’t the man’s face be at least obscured? He has tortured and horribly molested - there is no reason to have his Imam or whatever see him and declare that he must be killed as a homosexual. Sandmonkey - if you have any idea who runs that site or how to contact them, I beg you, man, ask them to obscure his face. Here’s to hoping there’s enough people in the Egyptian society who are not like Twosret and X… and who will be shocked enough to actually get off their arse and DO something (and that this something will not include Ikhwan or blowing themselves up).As usual, the Raccoon is right.
Friday, November 10, 2006
In recent years, Gates made one notable foray into the world of international affairs. In 2004 he collaborated with Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security advisor in the Carter administration. Like former president Jimmy Carter, Brzezinski is one of Israel's greatest adversaries in US policymaking circles. It is hard to recall a problem, conflict, crisis or war in the Middle East over the past thirty years that Brzezinski has not managed to blame on Israel. Gates and Brzezinski co-chaired a Council on Foreign Relations-sponsored Task Force charged with recommending a US policy for dealing with Iran. In July 2004 they published their recommendations. The Task Force called for the Bush administration to directly engage the mullahs and to use "fewer sticks and more carrots" to convince the regime in Teheran to stop enriching uranium, and to stop supporting al Qaida and the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. In an effort to convince the Iranians to cooperate, the two recommended that the US discard regime overthrow as a policy option and move more forcefully to establish a Palestinian state as quickly as possible. They also recommended that the US pressure Israel not to take any military action against the Iranian nuclear facilities arguing that such Israeli actions would undermine US national interests. In recent months, Gates has been serving as a member of the Iraq Study Group chaired by Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton. The Congressionally mandated committee is scheduled to recommend new strategies for managing the war in Iraq to Bush later in the month. In a series of recent press interviews, Baker and Hamilton have indicated that they will recommend that Bush enter into negotiations with Iran and Syria. The proposed talks they say, will serve to motivate Iran and Syria to stabilize the situation in Iraq in a manner that will pave the way for a retreat of US forces from the country. Since it is Iranian and Syrian sponsorship of the insurgency that is causing the war to continue, it is fairly clear that Baker is egging for a temporary ceasefire that will last long enough to enable a pullout of US forces. The fact that the price of the temporary ceasefire will be a US defeat in Iraq and the surrender of Iraq to the tender mercies of Iran and Syria is apparently okay by Baker. (note to culture for all readers: Jihad Watch and Zeyad of Healing Iraq convinced me that we should leave Iraq, for different reasons)In any case, these are scary times indeed. I have previously told my Republican friends of my fear of people like James Baker. The response of Bush Jr to the midterms, it seems, is to empower the James Baker wing of the Republican party. This is NOT good for Israel, but more importantly, NOT good America. Whatever Rumsfeld's foibles, he was not mixed up with the Iran-Contra scandal, and he was pro-Israel. Gates fits into neither camp. This fits way too much into Franscisco Gil-White's predictions, it is scary. I am really just hoping that the other predictions of Gil-White's do not pan out, because the nomination of Robert Gates is a horrible new development I will be following closely.
Thursday, November 9, 2006
We can forgive them for killing our children. We will never forgive them for making us kill their children.Indeed.
UPDATE (Red Tulips): Evidently the 'storm troopers' are guarding against the protestors against the gay pride parade. I believe in the gay pride parade and disagree with Akiva on this one. Given that he is glossing over the FACT that at last year's gay pride parade, there was a stabbing committed by a Haredi Jew that injured three people, he loses credibility. Police presence is necessary, and his cause is not just. That said, it is possible that the police are going overboard here. However, his cause is hardly the sort of 'civil rights' cause of Gandhi that he makes it out to be. It is anti-civil rights.
When Ariel Sharon came to power and decided on a radical path directly counter to his election mandate, he remembered the civil obedience movement. He would not let a minor thing like public opinion or protest affect his plans. So he ordered the preparation of a new security unit. Yassam. Young men, non-religious, preferably non-Jewish, trained to deal with protest. Their methods? Not arrest, not crowd control, not tear gas or water cannon. No. They trained exclusively with riot gear and just-barely non-lethal violence techniques. Metal batons, armored fists, causing broken bones and head serious head wounds. Stun grenades and huge oversized riot control horses for charging crowds. Black armor, grey uniforms, black shielded helmets, black armored gloves, black jack boots. No id, no badge, crew cuts. No females, no yalmuka's, no handcuffs (no arrests). Beatings, rage, trampling, that's their training. Religious may not apply, Zionists are forbidden. They exist to break the will (and bones) of protestors. They are the Yassamnikim, the Israeli government's private storm troopers. They were deployed in Gaza, but only at the 'severe' protesting points. They were deployed in Chevron to clear the Jewish owned market, the shuk. And they were deployed in Amona in all their gory (sic), trampling, beating, breaking. They physically threw a friend's 15 year son out a second story window (they were sitting waiting to be annoying by being dragged away). He survived, no bones broken, but they broke his spirit, today he's thrown away his kippah and his observance. They exist to break bones and break spirit. Their name is well earned. Storm troopers. This week, they are deployed to the ultra-religious neighborhoods of Meah Shearim and Geulah in Jerusalem. Tonight reports are they are literally storming yeshiva's and beating the SITTING student population. Report here. Storm troopers.
- The Republicans had lost their right to govern, given their myriad of scandals and inability to keep the bloated budget in check.
- I believe in checks and balances and a balance of power.
- I am hoping for some accountability and subpoenas to fly around - at least with regards to intelligence failures in Iraq.
- I am hoping for gridlock and a minimum amount of bills to be passed.
- The Dems need to show the nation what they stand for, and quit being just a gadfly - they need to have a stake in the future of this country, just as Republicans do. This will hopefully unify the nation.
- The budget should be tighter, as it was when Clinton was president and the Repubs were in Congress. The idea is that with checks and balances, the president will threaten to veto a pork-ridden budget, thus requiring a tighter, leaner budget. Furthermore, the Dems swept into office on the notion of fiscal responsibility. This is a positive change.
- Subpoenas flying around will bring some accountability back to the White House. Again, this is positive.
- Immigration reform will not happen. Any serious research into alternative fuel sources will not be undertaken. We will still be in Iraq. Gays will still be forbidden from the military, and there will not be any gay marriage. Abortion stays as is with the various restrictions in place. There will not be any serious social changes, just as there were no (serious) changes under Bush and the Repubs! This is neutral.
- The minimum wage will be raised. This is a positive change, despite Professor Kurgman's 'reservations.' ;-)
- We will continue to fund the UN, and the Dems will push for a more doveish UN ambassador. This is negative. The relations with Israel may be somewhat more sour. Again negative.