Thursday, November 30, 2006

English Smoking ban and Smokers reactions

So on July 1st 2007, smoking in pubs, clubs and other enclosed public spaces will be banned. And i am happy about that ban. One of the reasons that i don't like pubs all that much is because of all the second hand smoke. I am asthmatic and that second hand smoke makes me ill (brick wall on chest kind of feeling time). I have seen at first hand what smoking related diseases do to people. It's not nice and makes smokers arguements all the more stupid. I'd ban smoking outright, but that is unlikely for the time being, seeing as it's a good source of tax for the British Government. Smokers have made the typical arguements about people having the right to smoke, one even went onto thump on about it being a side show to deflect attention from Iraq - BBC News Article Though in the long run, getting people to quit smoking will save money for the NHS. Who have to deal with the results of smoking related diseases. I don't think there will be a total ban on smoking in the near future. But hopefully people will come to realise that smoking is one of the stupidest habits one can take up. There are cheaper and healthier ways of getting pleasure. I am a rabid anti smoker, and have been since my grandmother died some years ago. I've never smoked and do not intend to. Even though a certain person who shall remain nameless thought it would be a good idea if i did because i'm mentally ill. I will continue attempting to get my parents to quit, even though my dad is a typical smoker, blinded by his need for nicotene and his right to smoke. If any smokers are offended by my views then tough. I don't like having asthma attacks due to inconsiderate smokers who light up and accuse me of being a spoil sport for asking them not to smoke near me.

Radiation found in 12 locations during investigation in Alexander Litvinenko's death

There is new information in the case of Alexander Litvinenko, Russian spy (and ex-KGB agent) who was assassinated via radiation poisoning (polonium-210) while investigating Anna Politkovskaya's assassination. It seems that there was polonium-210 found in 12 locations, amongst them, two British Airways planes. Putin is denying all involvement, but no one else had as much to gain as he did. All I am waiting for is for Putin or his cronies to blame it on the Zionists. I am sure it will happen sooner or later!

What are atheists so angry?

Sam Harris forcefully explains why atheists in the world are so angry. MUST READ!
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

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Penn and Teller debunk the bible

Thanks to Bacon Eating Atheist Jew! (though I saw this video before, I never thought to link it) This goes to the core of my atheism. It explains why I actively reject the bible...but...I do not reject the notion that moral precepts taken from the bible are at the basis of society itself. I understand that. I do reject the notion that following the bibical code is somehow necessary for one to lead a 'moral life,' whatever that is. The bottom line is that I am a believer in science, facts, and history. To the extent that the bible rejects facts, science, and history, I am appalled. To the extent that the bible has pulled together civilization in a common cause of advancement, I am grateful. And most of all, I identify myself as a Jew, and as someone who is deeply affected by Jewish history and philosophy, as distinct from theology. Thankfully, there is actually a movement of people just like myself! It is called Humanistic Judaism. Then again, I consider myself an atheistic Jewish American fag hag. As I said, I pride myself in my infidel status.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Enough Said

A COMMON SUPPOSITION widespread among intellectuals is that pursuing knowledge in a systematic, scientific manner is the singular hallmark of solid scholarship. There is a very fine reason for this; the frontiers of human understanding are advanced only by modifying or discarding theories that fail to explain reality in favour of those that do. In other words, it takes a theory to beat a theory; if you can’t change ‘em, chuck ‘em. In intellectual circles, such is the high standard against which the quality of scholarship is held, and rightly so. But not all is joy and sunshine, it seems. With a regularity that is increasingly disturbing, there are those who now come along and say: sod the scientific method. For these wannabe paradigm-busters, the scientific method, a system which has its roots in the works of medieval scholastics from the lands of Christendom, is terribly old-fashioned and just doesn’t cut it anymore. And in a culture of learning in which ideas stem from positional, as opposed to rational, authority, such attitudes, whether brazen or not, will be common. An intellectual comes to be regarded as such through the view that he alone is in possession of some hidden truth, seemingly impervious to the workings of logic, for which he allows only a selected and privileged few the rights of restricted access, but none to scientifically verify. In his vocabulary, verification means not logical assessment with reference to external reality, but simply awe and agreement. One thing such biased ideas will not be, however, is to be benign in their effects. Extending such “scholarship” to its logical conclusions is likely to bring trouble in its wake. Genuine scientific inquiry, wherever and whenever practiced, is indifferent to issues of shame and honour; this great enterprise is subordinate to no man. But in cultures where the scientific method has been ditched, and where self-styled renegades are the movers and shapers of public discourse, the claims of the elite against its more scientifically-minded members take unconditional priority over such individuals against the elite. Having borders verging on the boundless, scientific inquiry, at some point or another, will pass, undeterred, through the borders of social defection; a high price is paid by those brave souls who dare to go across. Ultimately, however, for society as a whole, the long-term costs of preventing exploration will far outstrip whatever short term-benefits are gained from doing so. IN THE U.S., as well as Britain, Middle Eastern Studies seems a culture unto itself, a dark vacuum devoid of the light of scientific brilliance. Since the publication of Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient by the late Edward Said, the study of the Middle East has been driven heavily by insidiously shaming scholars into harbouring parochial viewpoints, rather than meticulously analysing the intellectual import of the subjects under scrutiny. Never has an established academic field so widely degenerated into emulating what is meant to be the remote object of its study. And the important, albeit timely, advent of Campus Watch reflects an overwhelming need to readdress such unwarranted bias in an era where silencing critics of Said and his followers has become more widely institutionalised ever since the days when Orientalism was first published. Said's book was purportedly aimed at "deconstructing" the writings of past and present Orientalists, who served, according to Said, only to justify and advance the New Imperial Order, where Europe’s and America’s mighty armadas moved to subjugate the stupid and hapless Oriental. Orientalism ignited a whole field of “post-colonial studies” which reiterated the standard quasi-Marxist accusations towards Western nations, especially America, for having hijacked the Orient for its own evil ends, thus taking much of the blame for the present pathetic and humiliating state of the Arab world. And yet, in spite of claiming to “deconstruct” Orientalists whose fallacious writings, Said believed, were seen to be always infused with an air of incomparable contempt directed against the Oriental, nowhere did Said introduce a new way of thinking about the Arab world; nowhere did he provide an alternative, superior theory and framework that contained none of the alleged defects of Orientalist theories. As Martin Kramer has pointed out, Said admitted in the afterword of the 1994 edition of Orientalism that "I have no interest in, much less capacity for, showing what the true Orient and Islam really are." In other words, Said was not interested in advancing scholarship, but only anti-Western polemical screeds, being mostly content with hurling vitriolic and malicious invective against past and present Orientalists, such as Silvestre de Sacy and Bernard Lewis. Said was not so much a professor who happened to be a militant activist, as he was a militant activist who happened to be a professor. Despite his Arab heritage, there is also a peculiar condescension towards Arabs and Muslims that weaves its way throughout many of Said’s works. This is disturbing, given that many Arabs and Muslims share much of Said’s conclusions of who is to blame for their mess. And yet for Said to place much of the blame on Western shoulders strongly implies that Arabs and Muslims are inherently incapable of beginning to sort out their societies; that such people are pathetic, downtrodden children, utterly bereft of any capacity for being instrumentally rational, aside from a talent simply for acting to gain attention the way a two-year-old child throws a tantrum to get Mommy's attention. Surely this is condescension of the worst kind. Despite what the Arab world has been through, no reasonably sane person could believe that Arabs and Muslims are inherently devoid of operating by the Golden Rule: to treat others as you would have them treat you. And yet it is there hidden away, couched beneath Said’s heavy denunciations of the Western “rape” of the Orient. It is, perhaps, not surprising that this is so. In implying such a contemptible viewpoint, whether consciously made or otherwise, Said is forced to necessarily raise the intensity of abuse hurled against his Western targets in order to obscure the obvious insinuation made within. This also acts as a useful relief mechanism for assuaging such pent-up guilt from such condescension by releasing it elsewhere, much of it at the usual suspect, the West. This, incidentally, is quite common practice among quasi-Marxist interpretations of history. Indeed, for Said to remain above the inconvenience of having what he asserts being subject to scientific cross-checking, he expounded on areas outside the realms of falsifiability, casting dark conspiratorial aspersions on those who would disagree with him, in a manner that remains as blasé as it is tendentious. As Lee Smith has written:
"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)

Insanity in Crown Heights, Brooklyn

I found this link via Kesher Talk. It seems that ultra-ultra religious Jews, in a group known as the 'Bochurim,' who are students from the Tzefas yeshiva, vandalized a synogogue in Crown Heights. It is not yet clear what their beef was with the rabbi who ran the synogogue or what their motives were, but it was an intra-Jewish rivalry. THIS IS TOTAL INSANITY. Jews are such a tiny population in the world, and to engage in this form of self destruction is outrageous and pitiful. To engage in it in Crown Heights, home of the famed riots in 1991, is especially sad. More about the 1991 riots here and here. I remember the Crown Heights riots in 1991. I was a young girl at the time, and it made a very indelible impression. It was my first exposure to localized antisemitism. To see Jew on Jew violence at this location is just especially tragic. UPDATE: More on this incident, courtesy of Mental Blog. UPDATE: More on this incident, coutrey of - seems it was the Bochorim (whoever they are), that were responsible. They seem to be ultra ultra religious Jews from Israel, on a visa. There is now a call to pull the visas from these people.

True dialogue

Starting this site, I hoped to have a dialogue with those who think differently. As such, I have not been censoring opposing viewpoints (with exception, the spammer Citisucks, who refused to stop blaming literally every problem on the 'white corporate male terrorist') However, with time, I have started to wonder if a dialogue is really possible. It started with this post, and culminated with my posting on Eteraz's website. I started to see that the gulf between how I think, and how most regulars on this website think, is just so wide, that I wonder if there really is any hope of influencing those who sympathize with jihadists or make excuses for them. My question to all your culture for all regulars you believe any real dialogue is possible? How do you engage in a real discussion with these people, or is it rather pointless? As was recently showcased on Shlemazl's blog, those who appear to have changed often are the same people they always were. I have noticed that it is almost as if I live in an alternate reality from these people. A perfect example of this alternate reality can be seen in the recent imam airport incident in the US. Six imams were escorted off a plane after they had disturbed passengers by praying so loudly and openly, and repeatedly praising allah. To that I say a few things. 1) It is clearly understandable, in an age of international terrorism, post-9/11, why passengers would be worried about six imams loudly praying on a plane. Any attempt to paint airplane passengers as bigoted crazies is politically correct garbage. I would be crapping my pants if I saw that on a plane, as would any person who is honest with their emotions. 2) It is clearly Islamic fundamentalism, not Christian or Jewish, that is the driving force behind airplane terrorism. The amount of Christian and Jewish terrorism is nothing compared to Islamic terrorism. Let's cut the PC bullshit already and admit that! 3) This is not to say that all or most Muslims are terrorists, though I believe the proof is in and most Muslims are antisemites. (see Pew Global Research poll, very well respected) 4) The imams in question were innocent of any designs on committing airplane terror, but not all were necessarily innocent flowers. One of them, Omar Shahin, has links to Osama Bin Laden and Hamas (via the Kind Hearts charity - linked with Hamas) 5) CAIR now wants to criminalize 'racial profiling' at airports as a result of this incident, but refuses to acknowledge the above facts. 6) Wouldn't it be more effective, in terms of getting Americans to be cool with Muslims, for CAIR and other groups to work to stop support for terrorism in mosques and madrassas? Why is that never brought up in any of these discussions? I stated before: You upset? DO SOMETHING! I am hoping there will soon be a mass movement at new Quranic, Hadith, and Sunnah interpretations. I am hoping that there will be a mass rejection of terrorism. Perhaps I am an optimist. What can be done to bridge this gulf? Of course there will be racial profiling, as long as it is generally Muslims who are committing acts of terror. (or at least, while it goes on in the name of Islam) Why is the Female Quran committee so rare? Why is there so little effort being done to reform the faith, and a great deal of effort paid to just reforming how Westerners VIEW the faith? Am I tilting at windmills? Is there any real dialogue?

The 'hudna' in Israel and other such nonsense from Olmert

Carl in Jerusalem wrote a very detailed must read about how the current 'hudna' is a joke, as is the prospect of giving up 'land for no peace,' which is what Olmert is proposing. (please re-read my statements on the Palestinian statehood options here) An excerpt:

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?

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.

Creationism in British Schools

It seems truth in science want children to debate intelligent design alongside Darwin's theory of evolution. I've had a look at the website and it has the air of "We can't possibly be descended from chimps". They have also sent out creationist teaching materials to schools. Now i'm all for open debate, but the evidence for Evolution is far stronger than the evidence for intelligent design aka creationism. I am scientifically trained and to me truth in science are not following the scientific method, which is evidence based. They are instead picking apart the weak spots of Darwin's theory and not even attempting to take on Darwin's later researches while he was finding the evidence for his theory. To be frank i find the idea of creationism quite silly. Indeed for all the creationists know, Evolution could be what their god put in place to sustain life on planet earth. Let us test Darwin, teacher says Truth in science And in other intresting news, Richard Dawkins is setting up his own charity to flood schools with anti religious literature. Which is quite amusing. Though more than likely it's just Dawkin's way of staying in the public eye. People should be free to pursue religious beliefs. However they should also be tolerant of science, which has done a lot of good things for human kind. I am aware that not all science is used for good. However as with anything in life, people will abuse progress for their own ends. Be it religious or scientific progress.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

This post has been brought to you by the letter P.

As some of you know I intend to become a teacher after my tour of active duty ends. While I plan to teach High School, I may one day marry and start a family, and this post will be very relevant, and I will definitely give the Van Damme Academy a look. For now, I present a good post about the value of challenging your kids, and avoiding the dangers of lowered expectations.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Another thing to be thankful for...

...That we are not Jonathan Pollard, wrongly rotting in prison for 20 years. Steven found an audio file interview with Esther Pollard, and she brought up facts I was not aware of, and have since panned out. Shocking. Please listen to the audio file, and tell everyone you know about Pollard's case. UPDATE: Facts about the Pollard case.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope all the American posters have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Cheers!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Semper Fi

Now, as some of you may know, I am a Finance soldier for the US Army, and from time to time I enjoy joshing the Air Force, Navy, and Marines. One time I had a roommate who was prior service Navy, so I played In the Navy on my CD player just for him :) Despite all good fun, I also know we are all on the same team. One organization to applaud is the Marine's Toys for Tots, which has been around for almost 60 years to provide toys for poor children, and through private channels. Unfortunately, a group of fanatics has attacked them for not carrying an indoctrination Jesus doll. Frankly, not every poor child is Christian. Those who are are already getting a religious education from their parents and I bet any fundie church will gladly give those kids this doll, especially if done in some flashy, glitzy way that gets more money in the collection basket. Other kids don't need this doll. How'd Protestant parents like it if Catholic Charities started handing out glow-in-the-dark rosaries and Virgin Mary dolls to their kids. Sure it may be an improvement, but that isn't my call or the call for Catholic Charities to make, and I'm not even practicing anymore, but I have my preferences, still. Personally, I'd rather we dump Christmas as a Federal Holiday and just celebrate World Capitalism Day, on June 3, 2007. Of course, that would eliminate a nice round of days off in December and January for me, but it will contribute to a round of extra days off for Memorial Day weekend timeframe, instead :) More American that way, too.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pierre Gamayel, Christian leader in Lebanon - assassinated

Pierre Gemayel, Lebanese cabinet member and leader of the Lebanese Christians, was gunned down, shot in the head in the streets of Beirut. See the story here. I guess it doesn't pay to be a Gemayel. His uncle was previously assassinated. Right now, I am worried about the health and safety of Walid Jumblatt, leader of the Lebanese Druze. Thus far, no one as brought to justice for Hariri's assassination. I doubt anyone will be brought to justice for Gemayel. But I do worry that this was done by Hizballah, in an effort to force their way into the Lebanese government. Mustapha at Beirut Spring had this to say:
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

And now for some pregig monotony

Cos i think Boxfive is the greatest thing since sliced bread. And this is culture of a sort, if you count Mary waving a pink fairy wand in the air.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Muslim feminists want to start a Koran council

ASMA recently held a women's conference, and at the conference they called for something extreme: they called for women to start a Koran council to reinterpet the Koran according to womenly perspectives! They claimed the Koran was a pro-woman document, but the interpretation of it was anti-woman, and as applied is anti-woman. All I can say is...good luck. (see previous post about this here) What do you all think? Will this be successful?

For your viewing delight

I don't think too mnay people here are endeared to Dhimmi Carter, so I thought I'd make a brief funny post, based on some amusing political pictures from Michael Totten's blog. Here is the true form of Jimmy the Dhimmi Carter:

Dave Bender asks: why is Sderot ignored?

Please read Dave's post! This sums up the post best:
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?

This is why I do not believe a word from Karen Armstrong

I have been told again and again to read Karen Armstrong's writing on Islam, as if somehow her books unlock life's mysteries. I have read articles of her's that glossed over all of the questionable parts of Islam, pretending as if it doesn't exist. Then I read the following article in 'Islam For Today.' Ms. Armstrong discusses Israel, and has the following to say:
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.

Was the US intervention in Bosnia justified?

Without a doubt, Bosnia is now a hotbed for terrorism. See the following links here, here, here, and here. That is just the start of links, there are so many more I could link to! I do not mean to imply the vast majority of Bosnian Muslims were bad/evil/Islamists. But the leader, Alija Izetbegović, wrote a paper calling for an Islamic fundamentalist Bosnia, seized control illegally, and was in the SS Waffen Brigades, even founding a chapter of it! That is a fact, not even up for debate. There is no dispute that the leader of Bosnian Muslims was literally Nazis. What is up for debate is whether or not there was a genocide or civil war. In any case, I was not rooting for the death of Bosnian Muslims or said it was good that Bosnian Muslims were killed. I also contended that in fact Izetbegović led the slaughter of Bosnian Muslims and non Muslims. It is clear there WAS massive death on the Serbian side as well as Bosnian Muslim side. Peter Brock's new book Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting reveals that of the 8,000 Srebrenica "dead," 5,000 were Muslim troops who fled the enclave before the Serbs took Srebrenica, after regularly ambushing nearby Serb villages, to join other fighting. Their families claimed they had been killed, but 3,000 have since registered to vote in elections (though some of them are no doubt among the voting dead). The 2,000-3,000 bodies that have been unearthed belong to people who died during all three years of fighting around Srebrenica -- not just from the time the Serbs took Srebrenica. Nor is it clear how many of the bodies are Muslim and how many are Serbian. Brock's messier version of the otherwise tidy "8,000 slaughtered" event is consistent with this easy-to-read "Srebrenica Fact Sheet," as it is with this Globe and Mail article last year by the UN's first peacekeeping commander in Sarajevo, retired Maj. General Lewis MacKenzie. The 2,000-3,000 count is on par with the number of Serb civilians killed in and around Srebrenica, but no agency was tasked with counting dead Serbs and no humanity cries out for or commemorates dead Serbs. Indeed, upon being convicted of war crimes at the Hague, Srebrenica's Serb-hunter-in-chief Naser Oric was immediately released -- and got a hero's welcome home. As most Serb-killers do before pursuing political careers in the region. What is not up for debate is the way Islamic fundamentalism has now taken hold where it formerly had not, in Bosnia and especially Kosovo. (not saying all people are Islamic fundamentalists or that the nation is an Islamic fundie nation, but rather, that there is heavy recruitment and a propaganda base there) If there was no genocide and it really was a civil war, then without a doubt, it was not worth going in. I read reports of genocide, but the same people who say there was a genocide in Bosnia say there is a current genocide in Israel, and that is why I am rather sceptical when I read such reports. What do you all think? Am I barking up the wrong tree here?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I wonder when they will enact fist control

Well, I was reading Reason Magazine's Hit and Run and found an interesting but disturbing sign. That kind of mentality is unfortunate, to say the least. It is also possible to take a life with your bare hands, so I guess eventually we will be forced to don foam rubber mitts at all time, unless granted Government permission to free our hands. Also, this news is heartbreaking. What has become of my beloved, ancestral homeland (well one of many)? First this Marxist turd, and now they are banning swords. What next, outlawing plaid? Of course, broken bottles kill people, too I guess after banning plaid, butterscotch, and bagpipe music, it will be illegal for Scots to save money, too.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Just another day and a half until Nintendo WII comes out. WIIIIIII!!! I know you are all crapping bricks with anticipation!

Enjoy, Jason!

ASMA Society

I accidently stumbled upon a genuinely good, positive, and improvement-based organization: the American Society of Muslim Americans. They are sponsoring the following conference, which I wanted to attend in order to cover, but evidently is sold out: Muslim Women Leaders Launch Global Movement to Empower Muslim Women. This is one cause I support 100%, but as I said, the conference is sold out. Oh well! Hopefully, more organizations such as these will flourish in the future.

Religious Jewish intolerance

Haredi Jews protested the "abomination parade" (Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem) by burning municipal cars and garbage bins. The march along Jaffa Road was reduced to a rally at the Grossberg Stadium at Givat Ram and mercifully passed almost without incident. Above is a picture of the havoc wrecked by these people. It is due to these violent protestors that the so-called "storm troopers" were called in to provide safety and security for the residents of Jerusalem and the parade goers. This cause is anti-civil rights, it is violent, and if it represented mainstream Judaism, I would be embarrassed to be a Jew and renounce all ties to the religion. That is how appalled I am by this conduct. The Haredi Jews are extremists, often living on welfare in Israel, and generally do not join the IDF. In fact, some of them are extremely anti-Israel. From the article:

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.

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.
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

A Tribute

This morning, I learned that my great uncle Douglas Worthington passed away, and I am saddened, though I only met him once, though I was looking forward to seeing him again on Thanksgiving. He fought in WWII and devoted his life to teaching. In fact, he had a good career of it and was even able to assist my mother after my grandfather died. I only met him once, but as I serve in the Army and plan to teach in NYC, I feel I am carrying on a part of his legacy, and from what my mother told me, he has two grandchildren in the Army and I hope they will be there for Thanksgiving dinner as well. But another man died today as well, and while I was never fortunate enough to meet him, he had an impact on my life in other ways. In College I was an Economics and Finance double major, and one Economist I heard about very favorably was Milton Friedman. Today, Milton Friedman died at 94, so he lived to a ripe age blessing generations with his wisdom, and undoubtedly his wisdom and philosophy had a tremendous effect on my Education at Loyola's Business School. I consider myself a conservative in the model of Barry Goldwater, and in a sense I could be regarded as a liberal in the regard of Milton Friedman. Of course both of these great men helped define libertarianism. Also, both my Uncle Doug and Milton Friedman were born in Brooklyn, and they both died of heart failure. Andrew Sullivan has a wonderful tribute to this great and wonderful man, through you tube. Requiest in Pacem, Douglas and Milton. I hardly had a chance to know either of you, but you both have an influence in my life that is ultimately for the better.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

'Pearls' by my law school Democrats

I used to be very active in my law school's Democrat organization. After the Dems won, I received the following 'pearl' in my email box, by one of the members. This is an exact quotation of the email:
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 itself
If 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!

The IDF does not commit 'murder' or 'state terror'

I think a clarification in our international discourse is needed! Beit Hanoun was not terrorism because the Israelis did not aim for civilians. The IDF, as its policy, do all they can to avoid civilian deaths, but they sometimes make mistakes. That is what happens in war. This contrasts with the Palestinians. Looking at a listing of fatalities is meaningless, since most Palestinians are killed by Palestinians. The people in charge of the Palestinians are terrorist criminals who terrorize the local population into submission. They kill more Palestinians than Israelis! Let's compare the reactions of the Israelis and Palestinians... Israelis: When Palestinian civilians are killed, there is a national mourning and inquiries into war tactics uses. Palestinians: When Israeli civilians are killed, there are celebrations, and an inquiry into what was done to kill so many civilians, so it can be replicated in the future for greater effectiveness. This is not murder. It was not deliberate. When the Palestinians act, it is murder. They purposely aim for civilians. I spoke to someone whose uncle was killed by a suicide bomber, and was on the scene and heard a Palestinian ululating over her uncle's death. THAT is murder. When Palestinian terrorists hide amongst civilians on purpose, knowing they are endangering the lives of the civilians, THAT is murder. What the Israelis did at Beit Hanoun was fight back after constant rockets being fired into their country, but missed. They engaged in self defense. It is as far from murder as one can get. Anyone who claims the IDF committed 'murder' at Beit Hanoun are saying so because they place unreasonable demands upon Israel, that they never would any other nation. They engage in 'the soft bigotry of low expectations.' They are also upset that Israelis do not lay down and die when the Palestinians ask them to. Sorry, that is not acceptable to me!


I passed the New York State Bar Exam! WOOOOHOOOOO!!!! I am so relieved and happy, I think I am going to vomit! I love you all, and godspeed!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Carpe Opportunatis

Psst!!! Republicans. You lost the election, but you can still do some power plays. Now, this may be a violation of silly party discipline and some unwritten solidarity rules, but I found some publicly available info from Reason Magazine's blog. There may be some dissension in the ranks as Pelosi is backing Murtha instead of Hoyer for Majority Leader. Also, moderate Los Angeles Democrat Jane Harman may get passed over for Intel Committee Chairman and the slot would go to impeached judge Alcee Hastings. Also, if you look at the election, it wasn't a progressive, Naderesque, left-wing mandate, merely anger over bad leadership and the desire to toss out some knuckleheads like Weldon, Santorum, Allen, Chafee, and JD Hayworth. Now, you're in the minority, but party labels be damned!!! There are Blue Dogs and these sensible people you can work with, especially if you belong to this wise group, or love liberty, and let them enjoy the party. The choice is easy. A coalition of the sane and balanced, or partisan bickering. Put principle over party so these guys and the holier than thou can beg for the table scraps of power. It's time Americans really win an election.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

One pardon I can support

I just found an interesting article about Jonathan Pollard. I have only recently learned about Jonathan Pollard through Irina's blog and from my good friend David. Basically, what I learned was that all Jonathan Pollard did was acquire information the US promised Israel, but reneged on. The information was given not to the USSR or China or even France, but to Israel, a nation that the US should be sharing such information with anyway. I am severely disappointed in Ohlmert for not even presenting the case for granting a pardon to a man who acted for his (Ohlmert's) interests, especially if Bush would pardon him, which is a great gesture, though better late than never. Of course I don't know if Bush would do it, especially now that he is kowtowing to Baker and the other fringe of anti-semitic, oil-happy WASPs his dad used. But regardless the request is at least worth asking. As far as I am concerned Jonathan Pollard is a political prisoner. What he did was basically a misdemeanors, except it exposes the US's guilt in not sharing vital information with a friend. I love my country and happily serve America, but when my country is wrong, she's wrong, and when it comes to Jonathan Pollard, my beloved nation is in the wrong, and needs to do the right thing. He not only deserves a pardon, but an apology and compensation for all the time taken from him, and oh yeah...a trial, too.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veteran's Day

The day is almost over, and I don't want to sound like I'm tooting my own horn, but today is Veteran's/Armistice Day, one could even say my day. Tammy Bruce makes a great tribute to the veterans. I also found the following on the net and I imagine it is a well-known meme: Who is a veteran? Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others my carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of internal scar forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe and free wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a veteran just by looking. So, who is a veteran? Who are these extra special people? He's the policeman on the beat or patrol car, who spent six months in Saudi Arabia seating two thousand gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers and aircraft didn't run out of fuel. He's the barroom loudmouth, dumber than a wooden post to us, but whose overgrown school-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery, exhibited near the 38th parallel. He is the old man bagging groceries at the supermarket, very palsied now and aggravatingly slow to us in today's fast paced lifestyle, who helped liberate Nazi Death camps, and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when his nightmares return. He is the priest or minister in the local parish, who delivered the last rights to dying young boys more times during one year in Vietnam, than most other priests or ministers could deliver in ten lifetimes. He or she is the nurse we see in the hospital, who fought against futility, watching young boys die, or remain permanently disabled, and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in DaNang. He is the prisoner of war, who went away one person, and came back another....or hasn't come back yet at all. He is the drill instructor, who has never seen combat himself, but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account, rednecks and gang members, inexperienced young men and women, into Soldiers and Marines, and taught them to watch each other's backs in a time of need. He's the parade-riding Legionnaire, who proudly pins ribbons and medals to his chest with prosthetic hand - courtesy of a battle forgotten by everyone, but him. He's the career Quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by, but whose function is indispensable during an active campaign. There are the anonymous heroes in the "Tomb of the Unknowns" whose presence at the Arlington Memorial Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all anonymous heroes that made the supreme sacrifice, and whose valor died unrecognized with them on the battlefields and on the oceans of the world. He's an ordinary, and yet extraordinary human being; a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country - who sacrificed his ambitions so that others wouldn't have to sacrifice theirs. He is a soldier, and a savior, and a sword against the darkness. He is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known. And we must never forget all that they have given to us, which most of us take for granted today living in our great nation- Because: It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the organizer, who has given us the freedom to assemble and demonstrate. And it is the soldier, who proudly salutes our Flag. Who faithfully serves beneath our Flag. And whose coffin is honorably draped under our Flag. Now, I am not posting this as self-promotion, but for all the folks like me who have served or are serving, esepcially to those who do their utmost to make the title "soldier" an honourable one.

Shocking police brutality video from Egypt

I warn you. The police brutality video you are about to see is so shocking, that you may lose your lunch. I am not kidding. It actually is so disgusting, I felt violently ill watching it. And yet this is an important video to watch, to see the sort of wonderful democracy we are supporting in Egypt, with $2 billion a year. Inexcusable. Vomit-inducing. I found it via Sandmonkey, who calls the Egyptians experts at torture. He was not kidding. Watch at your peril. As a side note, the idiot Twosret decided in the comments on Sandmonkey's blog to use this as yet another excuse to bash Israel. This all makes a great deal of sense to me. You see, Israel is at the root of all evil, dontcha know? And as such, Israel is responsible because its very presence causes the poor Egyptian police to be bewitched with evil! No wait, better yet, it is not the Egyptian police who are torturing! It is all Mossad! Mossad=evil=Israel. See, that was simple enough! When in doubt, blame Israel. Twosret should be ashamed of herself, but she is shameless, and as such, nothing shocks me anymore. This is what the brilliant Raccoon said in the comment section re: Twosret:
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

Know thy Enemy

Granted, we all know who my new boss is likely to be, but I figure it would be good to link the players: Daddy's errand boy Robert the spook Dhimmi Carter Ten points if you can pronounce his name These are the four people to research and learn about for events to come. I encourage additional names if you find them.

A little levity

Here is something that I found amusing, especially the irony at the end.

Mr. Gates (nominee to be secretary of defense) believes we should hold talks with Iran

Not only is Robert Gates tainted by Iran-Contra, he also believes we should have comprehensive talks with Iran. Who do you think would be doing the talks? You guessed it! Articles on Gates and his attitude on Iran: one, two (Caroline Glick must read), three Please especially take note of the Caroline Glick article, sharp as always. (I am amazed that I was one of the first to post on this, I am like a prophet, hehehe)
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

Jihad Watch proves that Eteraz's 'no death for apostasy' development is not convincing

I earlier wrote that Eteraz stated that death for Islamic apostasy has been disproven, via an examination of the Quran. Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch shows that in fact Eteraz posted what amounts to a hoax of a post, and was highly deceptive. *sighs* Spencer is very convincing, sadly. "Breaking the neck" for apostasy is hardly an improvement over death for apostasy. UPDATE: Eteraz replied to Spencer's post, and then Spencer replied to the reply! Fascinating reads! But in the end, Spencer's posts hold the greater intellectual water.

Death threat on Eteraz's blog

I would like to share with you a death threat I received on Eteraz's blog. It made me smile and my heart sing. ---- Red Tulip: You’ve just made me into a PLO supporter. I’ll stop supporting them after they get you. And, you’re living in the distant past, ’cause the PLO ain’t nothing anymore; its Hamas you need to worry about. And, despite my spite towards Islamists, I’m temporarily going to root for them to get you, too. Comment by OmarG — November 9, 2006 @ 1:18 pm Thanks, OmarG, you have made my day! I just love the sight of death threats in the morning!

French UNIFIL troops nearly fired at Israelis; world does not care about Israelis

Amidst the global condemnation of the Israeli firing at Hamas (attacks where Bush urged 'restraint'; let's see his reaction if anyone claimed the US should be 'restrained' in its fight against Islamofascists! Talk about double standard), the French nearly fired on Israeli planes in Lebanon. Evidently they were seconds away from firing. Of course, the French being the French, they didn't do anything. Still, very troubling. Remember the earlier post on here - the two reactions of the UNIFIL troops were to ask the Lebanese troops whether they should proceed if Hizby had weapons, and to fire at IAF planes, regardless. Some 'neutrality.' (but Culture for All readers already know about the UN being a corrupt, feckless, terror-enabling organization, which aids and abets Hizballah, and is far from 'neutral') The world has no patience for Israel. No matter what it does is wrong. If it dare has the audacity to fight back, they are a genocidal nation, bent on the Palestinian destruction. If they do not fight back, they are prime targets for more attacks. It is lose-lose-lose for Israel. So sad and tragic. While the world weeps for the Palestinian victims of a recent attack, an attack that was based on the Israeli need to defend itself and would not have occurred had the Palestinians not been attempting to wipe out the Israelis for decades, let us take a second to mourn the Israeli victims of terror. Let us also take a moment to mourn the fact that the Palestinians necessitate a fight for survival, and necessitate us to kill their children, by turning their children into killers and hiding behind children. As Golda Meir said:
We can forgive them for killing our children. We will never forgive them for making us kill their children.

Storm Troopers

Article by Akiva:


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.

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.

My general thoughts on the Dem victory

As I previously had written, I was rooting for the Dems to win, though I didn't care a hell of a lot. I certainly do not believe, as Entercenter does, that this was the 'most important election, ever.' So, why did I root for the Dems to win, and what changes do I see upon the horizon? I rooted for the Dems to win for a few primary reasons:
  1. The Republicans had lost their right to govern, given their myriad of scandals and inability to keep the bloated budget in check.
  2. I believe in checks and balances and a balance of power.
  3. I am hoping for some accountability and subpoenas to fly around - at least with regards to intelligence failures in Iraq.
  4. I am hoping for gridlock and a minimum amount of bills to be passed.
  5. 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.
What changes do I see upon the horizon?
  1. 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.
  2. Subpoenas flying around will bring some accountability back to the White House. Again, this is positive.
  3. 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.
  4. The minimum wage will be raised. This is a positive change, despite Professor Kurgman's 'reservations.' ;-)
  5. 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.
So what do I think overall? There is a net positive for America, but certainly not the 'dawn of a new era,' as many Dems would like to think. Despite Entercenter's proclamations, this is not a case of 'welcome back, America.' America will be relatively the same after Dems have taken office that they were prior to them taking office. That said, Sandmonkey has an interesting take on this election. He thinks it is a net positive for the Republicans. This is what Jonah Goldberg had previously written. Personally, I think it is a wash whether it helps or hurts the Republicans. It helps them because the Dems will likely not make major changes, and then the state of the economy will blamed on them in 2008. It hurts the Repubs, because now the Dems no longer look like a pathetic and defeated party. They are riding on the wave of success, and they need that to even have a chance in 2008. Moreover, they finally have a platform to air their views, and if they have anything of note to say, this will help them. Anyway, that is my analysis. We shall see what the future brings!

Rumsfeld gone; Iran-Contra in

As we all know by now, Rumsfeld has resigned after the Dem victory two nights ago. In his place is Robert Gates. Well, who is this Mr. Gates? He has the pedigree - he was the Secretary of Defense under President Ford, and he was the CIA director under Reagan. But is this the right pedigree? Global goes through Robert Gates's involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal, and it is not pretty. Go read about it. What does the report say? It says that Robert Gates was head of the CIA and either knew what was going on concerning Iran-Contra, or he was ridiculously incompetent. The independent counsel did not have enough information to charge Mr. Gates, but there is substantial evidence to worry about his involvement in this black mark on American history. Why does this matter? Because it gives credance to Francisco Gil-White's theory that the US is no ally to Israel. Lest we forget what Iran-Contra was, it was the US government's arming of Iran while saying they supported Iraq. They armed Iran while ostensibly fighting Hizballah. The US government used the proceeds to fund the anti-communist contras in Nicaragua. Gates was the CIA director at the time this occurred. This is very troubling. But there's more! Not only is Gates in, but so is Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, who fought alongside Manuel Noriega against, you guessed it, the Contras! Ortega is now trying to calm investors after his electoral victory. More on Ortega. (he has sloppy hair) In any case, these are very interesting turns of events. You know the famous curse, "may you live in interesting times." UPDATE: More on Gates and Iran-Contra.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Time for the GOP to listen up!!

Now, that the election is over, it is time for Republicans to think about why they lost, and there is plenty to think about. One thing is that the fiscal conservatives have been abandoned for the religious right. Democrats are wise to consider that as they may want to push a progressive agenda, but hopefully the new class in Congress won't play that kind of ball game. Now, I present an article reminding Republicans that if they want me back, they may want to dump the Christianist crap and remember stuff like individual rights, fiscal conservativism, and that a number of close defeats for Republicans had Libertarians with enough votes to put the GOP dude over the top. Otherwise, maybe it is time to revive the Bourbon Democrats.

Apostasy hadith revealed and disputed by Ali Eteraz

Go read about it yourself. This is genuinely good news. I know Monkey Chops is angry with me for my opinions on Islam, but when I read things like this, I do feel encouraged. It is good to see Islamic scholars determine that a hadith that calls for the death penalty for apostasy should not be followed. I only hope that this is widely followed by other Muslims and Islamic nations.