Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Walter Williams and Carl Levin on Gasoline Prices

I like Walter William. He, like Thomas Sowell, is an economist who looks at some of the issues that drive today's hysteria and explains them in ecomomic terms that the rest of us can understand. Here is his column on the current spike in gasoline prices.
Few people realize that the U.S. is also a major oil-producing country. After Saudi Arabia, producing 10.4 million barrels a day, then Russia with 9.4 million barrels, the U.S. with 8.7 million barrels a day is the third-largest producer of oil. But we could produce more. Why aren't we? Producers have a variety of techniques to win monopoly power and higher profits that come with that power. What's a way for OPEC to gain more power? I have a hypothesis, for which I have no evidence, but it ought to be tested. If I were an OPEC big cheese, I'd easily conclude that I could restrict output and charge higher oil prices if somehow U.S. oil drilling were restricted. I'd see U.S. environmental groups as allies, and I would make "charitable" contributions to assist their efforts to reduce U.S. output
Contrast that with the dopeyness coming from our political class

Following unusually large and sudden increases in the price of gasoline throughout Michigan and other Midwestern states in the spring of 2000 and again in 2001, in May, 2001, Senator Levin directed the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to determine the causes of these spikes in gasoline prices, and what actions could be taken to stabilize gasoline prices.

In April 2002, Senator Levin issued a report entitled Gas Prices: How Are They Really Set? [download file] One of the major findings of this report is that the decline in the number of refineries and increasing concentration within the refining industry are major reasons prices have become so volatile.

On April 30 and May 2, 2002, Senator Levin held hearings on this subject, with testimony from oil industry executives, economists, and state officials, including then-Attorney General of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm. [download large pdf file] At this hearing Senator Levin expressed his concern to the oil companies that some refiners have limited the supply of gasoline in order to boost prices. He has also urged the Federal Trade Commission to more closely review proposed mergers to ensure that mergers do not reduce supplies or increase prices.
Huh? Oil Companies? Hasn't he been paying attention? In the entire report there is not a single mention of OPEC or any of the Muslim oil-producing nations. I hope someone on his staff reads Walter Williams' column to him before he does some serious damage to the economy.

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

A View of the Israeli disengagement

The Detroit News ran a great column by Rabbi Aaron Bergman on the Israeli disengagement from Gaza, with a bit of background.
I have never been prouder of Israel or prouder to be a Jew than I have been this past week during Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Israel did what almost no country has ever done. It gave back land it won from a war declared by enemies whose goal was to destroy it.

Israel did so without financial gain and without any guarantees that its enemies would stop trying to eradicate it from the earth.

[. . .]

Arab leaders have had numerous chances from 1948 to 1967 to create a Palestinian state when they controlled all those territories. They never attempted to do so. They did not even protest the expulsion of the Palestinians from Kuwait during the Gulf War.

Their interest in a Palestinian state is as a tool to get rid of Israel. Each leader knows the strategic value of the Palestinian territory and would never risk letting a rival take control. Egypt, in particular, fears that Hamas, an internationally recognized terror organization, will invite the Muslim Brotherhood, an extremist terrorist group dedicated to overthrowing the secular Egyptian government, into Gaza.
It's refreshing when Israel is presented in a positive light in the generally anti-Israel main stream press.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

How to Confront Rising Gasoline Prices

If you're a politician in Michigan the proper reaction to current record high gasoline prices is - HYSTERIA! As this article from today's Detroit Free Press demonstrates, politicians continue in their ignorance about basic economics and the current world situation.
Gasoline pumps are the latest targets of suspicion as public and political anxiety mounts over record-high gas prices.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Tuesday ordered the immediate hiring of 10 more gas pump inspectors to assure that motorists aren't cheated by pumps that give them tainted gasoline or less than their money's worth.

The state Department of Agriculture will spend $1.3 million to eventually hire 16 inspectors in coming months. That will double the number of inspectors through next year.

And today, a House joint meeting will hear testimony on whether gas stations are tweaking profits illegally. House Republicans are backing bills to increase fines for gas stations that shortchange customers or misrepresent the octane level of gas from their pumps.

The scheduled hearing has ruffled gas retailers, who say they believe they are scapegoats for the price of gas. There are about 5,100 gas stations in Michigan.

"This is much ado about nothing. It's a blatant attempt to get political gain on the backs of gas stations," said Mark Griffin, president of the Michigan Petroleum Association/Michigan Association of Convenience Stores.
Granholm is posturing, as I'm sure she feels she must, since Michigan has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. That coupled with current gas prices are seriously dampening her chances for reelection.
In Washington, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin on Tuesday asked President George W. Bush to insist that oil companies reduce prices or face an excess profits tax.

"The president should call the oil companies into the Oval Office and give them a piece of the public's mind," the Michigan Democrat said in a letter to the White House. "It's just been silence on the part of the administration."

Levin's letter also suggested that Bush tell oil companies that he'll seek a federal investigation into rising gasoline prices.
I wish I could say he was joking. So let me suggest here in my own tiny voice that Senator Levin tax the Saudis on their excessive profits. Then seek a federal investigation into the extensive use of petroleum products in the expanding economies of China and India.

And then, shut up and find something useful to do with your time and energy!

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Yes, we know, they're not ALL terrorists.

The Detroit Free Press has an almost regular feature, or at least it seems that way. There is always a different writer, but the writer always reminds us that not all Muslims are terrorists, or Islam and terror do not go together like love and marriage, or there are (the occasional) Jewish or Christian terrorist; you get the idea. Today's guest apologist is Victor Ghalib Begg, chair of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan. He informs us
. . . it should equally be common sense not to name suicide bombers, whether in London, Israel or in New York, Islamic terrorists -- these terrorists do not and must not be allowed to represent 1.3 billion faithful. Furthermore, Islamic leadership should not have to issue religious edicts denouncing such acts when an average Muslim has nothing to do with it.

Should we ask the pope to apologize for the IRA or have local Catholic communities come forward with statements denouncing IRA bombings in London? Do we constantly harass American fundamentalist Christian leadership to be sorry for the acts of Timothy McVeigh, David Koresh and Eric Rudolph?

An Israeli Jew recently attacked and killed four innocent Arabs in a bus. Should we then expect the Board of Rabbis to issue an apology in the name of Judaism and the Jewish populations? Should we have named this killer a Jewish terrorist? Religious killers come in every denomination, but unless they are Muslim, we routinely brush off such incidents as acts of a few crazies. Why then does it become mandatory for Islamic leaders to issue "fatwas" -- religious edicts -- confirming terrorism is not compatible with Islam?

It is wrong to back the Muslims in a corner and force them to plead not guilty for a crime neither they nor their faith is responsible for.

Sure, a few imams are guilty of inciting hatred but which religion has not produced a few zealots? The war on terror begins with the battle for the minds and hearts of the Muslim populations, so says our State Department. Demonizing the Islamic faith will not win the support of the faithful -- it will only be a strategic error.

Let us isolate the terrorists, but not dignify and sanctify their act in the holy name of a religion.

Let us not hold a fifth of humanity guilty for the crime of a small minority. It is against the American justice system and against international norms.
OK, Mr. Begg, I agree. Not all Muslims are terrorists. Muslims are murdering Jews in Israel, Christians in Lebanon and the Philipines, Hindus in Kashmir, Buddists in Thailand, other Muslims in all kinds of places, whoever gets in their way in Europe, and they are enslaving Christians in Sudan. But not ALL Muslims are doing it. Some are just supporting the efforts of the few, or trying to make us feel guilty for noticing that, like it or not, the vast majority of terrorists in the world are Muslim.

By the way, the Jewish terrorist mentioned in the article was condemned roundly by every Jewish organization on the planet. He was called a terrorist by the government of Israel. There was no obfuscation, no excuses, no request to examine "root causes", no blaming anyone else. Muslims could take a lesson. If they were serious about getting along with the rest of us on even terms.

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Lisa Vincent Responds to Juan Cole

It's always gratifying watching someone who deserves it get the ripping they deserve. Go to Murdoc Online to see Juan Cole's ignorant post on the murder of Steven Vincent, followed by the response to that post by Mr. Vincent's widow, Lisa Ramaci-Vincent. She lets him know what a total dope he is. Not that he'll take note, or admit that he was totally off-base. After all, he is the darling of Newsweek.

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Our President's Reading List

According to an article in today's Detroit News
When he isn't biking up hills or slashing overgrown brush, President Bush has 1,500 pages of reading material to fill his down time. The White House said Bush took three heavy books with him on his five-week stay at his Texas ranch. The titles are: "The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History"; "Salt: A World History"; and "Alexander II: The Last Great Czar."
Since they pounced on him for exercising, including this dopey cartoon by Oliphant, what stupidly insulting things will the Bush Derangement Syndrome sufferers have to say about his reading habits?

By the way, I hope we remember that Bush had a higher GPA than John Kerry did at Yale.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Men in Coats

Need a good laugh? Go here.

I found this link on Barking Moonbat Early Warning System.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Not Religious Persecution?

The Detroit Free Press, like every other newspaper, I'm sure, ran an editorial on the Israeli withdrawl from Gaza. It was typical, hoping for the best and all that, until the end -
This is not an easy move for the Israelis, who have occupied parts of Gaza for 38 years, since the 1967 Middle East war. Generations are being wrenched from their homes by government edict and relocated, a sadly familiar scenario for Jews through history.

This, however, is not religious persecution but political decision-making that Israeli leaders hope will ultimately preserve a Jewish state in the world.
Who are they trying to kid? How stupid do they think their readers are? For another more intelligent take on this whole miserable situation go to Different River.
Note the double standard here: Arabs have the right to self determination, so Jews living in majority-Arab areas “have to go.” But Arabs living in Jewish-majority areas must be free of discrimination that they are assumed to suffer from. Arabs may not be discriminated against in any way; Jews must be expelled completely.

. . . because nearly everyone seems to say the same thing, but this advocacy of an ethnic/religious double standard is so blithe . . .

. . . they will “not be able to live there without an army to defend them.” In other words, the Arabs are going to murder the Jews living among them, so the Jews have to leave, and furthermore “they probably shouldn’t have gone there in the first place.” If that’s not rewarding violence and blaming the victim, I don’t know what is!

One other hand, since the Jews will not murder the Arabs living among them, they get to stay – but they need extra protection against “discrimination.” Arabs deserve protection from discrimination, but Jews do not deserve protection from murder. If Jews don’t want to be murdered, it’s their responsibility to stay away from Arabs, not Arabs’ responsibility not to murder them. But if Arabs want to live free of discrimination, Jews are obliged to provide such a life.

Arabs can choose to live in either the Israeli or Palestinian zones – but Jews must be prohibited from entering Palestinian zones.

This double-standard, hypocritical view is standard fare in the diplomatic community, the State Department, the European capitals, and academia. Almost everyone I know who is not an ardent Zionist subscribes to this view – and is utterly and completely oblivious to the fact that they are advocating blatant racial/ethnic/religious discrimination against Jews.
Maybe the Free Press doesn't believe it's religious persecution because Jews are being ethnicly cleansed and the acceptance of that has become so mainstream that we're not supposed to be bothered by it anymore. It's merely "politics." And they're only Jews. I think the moral compass at the Free Press has broken, along with moral compasses of so many others.

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Dhimmi in Detroit?

A couple of interesting articles caught my attention last week. And how could they not? They were both on the front page of the Detroit Free Press. Big news? You be the judge. The
first one concerns halal products being advertised and served in the Detroit area.
Suehaila Amen and her family relish Mexican food, but because they are observant Muslims, they were unable until recently to enjoy one of their favorites dishes, chicken fajitas, when eating out.

Non-halal products include pork and alcohol. If observant Muslims consume non-halal products unknowingly, they can ask God for forgiveness.

The Wayne County ordinance prohibiting the false labeling of halal products is to take effect next month.

The reason? Under Islamic law, all consumed meat must be halal -- the Muslim equivalent of kosher. And the meat in most restaurants doesn't meet the strict doctrinal standard.

But last month, Camelia's Mexican Grill opened near the Amens' home in Dearborn, becoming the only halal Mexican restaurant in the city and possibly the region.

It's the latest restaurant in metro Detroit to feature halal products, which are becoming increasingly popular in the region as the Muslim population continues to grow and expand into other suburbs.

On Thursday, the Wayne County Commission passed a law to address the concerns of observant Muslims who want to be sure what they are getting is really halal. It penalizes those who mislead consumers by falsely advertising halal or kosher products.

No specific butchers or restaurants have been accused by the county of misleading customers, but some Muslim residents worry that businesses might skirt the rules to save money.
OK, I can understand a restaurant in a heavily Muslim area wanting to cater to the widest possible clientele. That's business. Does it deserve the front page? I don't think so.

The next day, again on the front page was this article.
When Shereen Solaiman and her husband, Brandon Metzger, bought a home in Ypsilanti eight years ago, they had to make a difficult compromise.

Solaiman, who was born into Islam, and Metzger, who embraced the religion 13 years ago, took out a conventional mortgage that charged interest.

By many interpretations, Koranic law forbids the payment or receipt of interest on the theory it creates a culture of debt slavery, which begets other evils.

But when Soliaman and Metzger moved to Canton earlier this year, they found a new way to finance their house that didn't compromise their principles.

They obtained an Islamic mortgage that was in Sharia -- or compliance with Islamic law. In Islamic mortgages, an intermediary such as a bank buys the property, and the homeowner eventually obtains the home through a lease-to-own arrangement.

Solaiman and Metzger were thrilled to find that University Bank in Ann Arbor had begun offering Islamic mortgages locally and they cost only a little more than a regular loan.

It's a step toward helping the Detroit area's large and growing Muslim community obtain the American dream of home ownership without sacrificing their beliefs.
This one bothered me. First of all, in this country, we are blessed with a capitalist economy. If this violates your principles, there are other countries that may better suit you. Second, this sounds like a discriminitory practice to me. Third of all, the mental gymnastics needed to pretend that the interest charged is not really interest, but something else occupies brain cells that could certainly be put to better use.

I didn't bother writing to the Free Press, but others did. And I'm glad they did. I was surprised that they were printed.
Are we in America living under American laws, or do the laws swing to the beat of every religion or culture that establishes roots in this country? According to the 1977 Fair Lending Act, a lender or banking institution cannot discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, marital status, national origin or ancestry.

When American banking institutions start lending money on noninterest-bearing loans, it should be across the board to all Americans and not based on religion or race.
I am always heartened to see others responding to the attempted Islamic take over of our country by at least objecting to it. The Free Press seems to be celebrating it.

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Left Loves Failure and Hates Success

There was an article in the Sunday Detroit News about Merab Morgan who lost 37 pounds eating nothing but McDonald's for 90 days. We know that she will get nowhere near the publicity that Morgan Spurlock received for his "documentary" slamming McDonald's for his weight gain. There are two differences in the stories beyond the gaining and losing of weight. One is that Merab Morgan took responsibility for what she ate while Morgan Spurlock didn't. I'll return to that later.

The second difference is that we are supposed to hate McDonald's. The left has been conditioning us to hate all chains, whether they be food, clothing, convenience, or a combination. The bigger the chain, the more we are supposed to hate them. Look at Wal-Mart. Not only are we being encouraged to hate them. We must also fear them. We are told that they will drive down wages, they will destroy our downtowns. All of those wonderful "mom-and-pop" operations that used to supply our needs back in the "good-old-days" will be put out of business. They will destroy competition!

There are times I shop at the local chain store. And while I'm not a big McDonald's fan, I love Taco Bell. I don't know if I would eat there every day, but I wouldn't mind eating there more often.

Shopping at a chain store though, I miss the surprise of what you can find in an independent store that you might not find in a chain superstore due to the expected consistancy of a chain. When I travel, I most certainly go to the local businesses rather than the chains to get the flavor of the place I'm visiting. My feelings are mixed, but I patronize both chains and independent operations. The fact that the independent stores and restaurants still exist and are still being opened by entrepreneurs shows the argument of reduced competition to be invalid.

I thought that part of the mistrust of national chains may be due to nostalgia, but when I recall other bogey-men of the left, I think there's a deeper, darker reason. Let's look at some other loves and hates of the left. I'm going to generalize like crazy here, realizing that not everyone on the left shares all of these loves and hates exactly, but the loudest ones on the left and those folks far to the left certainly do.

They hate Capitalism - and love Socialism and Communism.
They hate Christianity and Judaism - and love Atheism and Islam.
They hate Israel - and love Palesinians.
They hate Western culture - and love various other cultures.
They hate G.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan - and love Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.
They hate the military - and love pacifism.
They hate Rush Limbaugh - and love Al Franken
They hate Condoleeza Rice and Ward Connerly - and love Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton
They hate responsibility - and love blame.

I'm sure there are more, but if you look at what the left hates vs. what they love, what do you notice?

I notice that everthing and everyone they hate has been successful at creating weatlth, freedom, or both. Sure, they offer reasons for hating all of the things on the hate list; colonialism, lack of empathy, stupidity, occupation, a perceived bias, etc. They will never admit that Capitalism has brought more wealth and freedom to more people than Communism, a systems that actually destroyed wealth and freedom, and brought misery and death to millions. They are always willing to condemn Capitalism as being "unfair", while excusing the faults of communists because their motives are "noble and unselfish".

They continue to denigrate Reagan and Bush who succeeded in freeing millions from tyranny, but laud Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, whose weak, milquetoast foreign policies and decisions insured that millions would remain under the thumb of vicious terror-supporting rulers, who grew stronger under their presidencies.

They go nuts trying to destroy Rush Limbaugh who unabashedly celebrates and takes pride in his success and the success of his country, while they worship Air America, an entity that sees only evil in the success of the West. They print the nastiest, most racist bile about Condoleeza Rice, who worked hard to enter the corridors of power, but show respect to Al Sharpton who began his rise to power with the Tawana Brawley Affair and continues as a race huckster.

I could go on, but the pattern I see is that the left hates success. The most successful country in the Middle-East is the only Democracy and the most despised by the left - Israel. And yet, they love and actively support the Palestinians who have squandered billions in foreign aid over the years, who take no interest in actually developing a functioning society or even the skills to build a functioning society; who are so mired in Jew-hatred that they train their children to dream of strapping bombs to their bodies to murder Jewish children. Somehow the left sees more to admire in this vile culture than in an Isreali culture that has built a free, democratic country from nothing and at the same time works to build a better world. Again, they use the "occupation" for their twisted view, but they also refuse to learn the real history of the Middle-East so they could separate the truth from the lies. They demand perfection from the West but excuse the worst excesses of everyone else.

Even in Europe and the United States, Jews are villified for succeeding against all odds, while Muslims in their seething, and whining, and refusal to take responsibility for their failures, are excused in their hatred for anything Western and refusal to become members of the Western countries they've emigrated to. Never mind that the Muslim countries are almost as dysfunctional as the Palesinian masses. For the most part, they are a chain of poverty-stricken, tyrannical countries, who, rather than trying to innovate and create, try to move themselves and the entire world backward into an insane 8th century theocracy. Even Saudi Arabia with billions from oil can't create anything on its own. All of its expertise is imported. The left loves them, because these failed societies hate the successful, wealthy West.

Notice also, that the left, and the Muslims, and the Communists before them blame the West and Capitalism for their failures. They refuse to take responsibility for their own pathologies that lead to these failures. And they hate those who do take responsibility for creating their own wealth - the brave entrepreneurs who built Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Borders, and the other big chains. They hate the even braver members of our military who put their lives on the line so that we (and they) can continue to enjoy freedom. I don't recall from any of my history books any pacifists who stopped Communist, Nazi, or Islamic invaders. These barbarians were all stopped by strong militaries.

When did this perversion start? Didn't we used to celebrate success? Didn't we admire those of us who made it to the top? Now even among some of the richest among us (Hollywood) it's become trendy to degrade the people who sacrificed to build this civilization. When you look at how these rich entertainers who degrade those who succeeded by working for a living, it becomes even more sickening.

That, to me, is the worst aspect of the left. I'm sure they don't see it that way, but they wouldn't admit it if they did.

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Call Any Vegetable

Frank Zappa and I go back a long way, that is, I've been listening to his music for many a year. Way back when I was about 14 and had never heard of Zappa or the Mothers (around 1969) my family went to a resort in Wisconsin. Parents had their activities, and we teens had ours. We were well supervised during these activities, but sometimes at night we had coffee house type musical entertainment from some of our supervisors, basicly a bunch of college students working for the summer (you know, like in the movie, Dirty Dancing). One of the guys sang Zappa's "What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body?" a few times. I thought he wrote it until I heard in on We're Only In It for the Money.

Later, one of my high school jobs was working in a cheesy hippie-type cheap clothing store. Every Saturday, all of the employees were scheduled and the manager would bring in his collection of Zappa 8-Tracks and we listened to them all day long. It was very special.

In college I attended a Zappa concert. He had just released Sheik Yerbouti. It was a good concert. The bass player, brought on board recently to replace the original bass player who had broken his hand got lost once or twice. I saw 200 Motels. It wasn't that great. The one stroke of genius in the movie was having Ringo Starr play Frank Zappa.

The first Mothers album I ever bought was, Just Another Band from L.A. back when it first came out. Then I bought more. Some of them wore out over the years. One of those was, Absolutely Free. I knew I'd find it again some day. That day was yesterday. It's a Japanese CD pressing put out by Rykodisc. It's a limited edition, whatever that means. It includes the libretto in English and Japanese and a bunch of liner notes . . . in Japanese. There are also two extra cuts.

The first important part though, is that it sounds great. I was leery about buying it at first becuase I'd heard that Zappa remastered some of these early albums and they didn't sound as good - which probably means different than we remember. Or maybe not. I played the original album on stereo systems that didn't produce all of the sounds that were in the album. I heard a lot more on the CD, horns, voices, percussion, it's more beautiful, hard-driving, complex, and sarcastic than I remember.

The second important part is that the music still holds up. But then, great music is timeless. Some of the lyrics are dated and immature, "Plastic people, oh baby, you're such a drag", "Be a jerk, go to work", but lyrics do hold up, "Call any vegatable, pick up your phone. Think of the poor vegetable lonely at home." The highlight of the disc for me is the musical interlude; The Duke Regains His Chops. It's where the Mothers show that they can PLAY with the best of the bands, and beyond most of the bands of their day.

And did I mention the packaging? It's not something I pay a lot of attention to, but the people at Rykodisc obviously did. It is lovely. It's just like the original album, only smaller, of course. But it's crisp, not muddy, as if they reshot it, rather than just shrinking the original photos.

I'm hoping the Japanese Rykodisc company people decided to do Freak Out and We're Only in it for the Money too. For me, those, along with Hot Rats are the highlights of Zappa's ouvre. Although, Burnt Weeny Sandwiches and Weasels Ripped My Flesh are pretty tasty too.

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Our Friends the Kurds

Rancher, over at Llano Estacado has a thoughtful and important post on the plight of the Kurds. Read it. You will learn a lot about how the world works. Warning: It ain't pretty.

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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Because we should all know why we are at war.

A lot of blogs will probably post these links, but go here for a reminder of why we are battling the Islamofascist menace and why we need to keep fighting them. It's short. It's important.
Radio communication broke down. Commanders lost contact with their squads. Noise and dust obscured the senses. One paramedic likened it to being in an infantry unit overrun by enemy troops. Yet, in the confusion at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, firefighters and emergency medical technicians improvised, and kept working.

Without direction from superiors and no plan to guide their actions, they followed their instincts and extinguished blazes, triaged casualties and comforted the injured, at a time when they could have surrendered to panic.

More details of their rescue efforts that day have emerged in an archive of interviews and audiotapes released by the city this week as a result of a court order.

Among the hundreds of pages of transcripts are scores of instances where trained rescuers realized they were on their own.

Then go here to the Oral Histories From Sept. 11 Compiled by the New York Fire Department. There are a lot of them. I read two and had to stop. If you don't find these stories haunting, you are more cynical than I've ever been.
A rich vein of city records from Sept. 11, including more than 12,000 pages of oral histories rendered in the voices of 503 firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians, were made public on Aug. 12. The New York Times has published all of them.

The oral histories of dispatch transmissions are transcribed verbatim. They have have not been edited to omit coarse language.
In order for Western Civilization to survive this latest barbarian onslaught, we must keep reminding ourselves that no matter how "moderate" they pretend to be, there is a large portion of the Islamic world that is at war with us. They will keep attacking us whether or not we want to respond. Forget root causes. Apeasement won't work. We have to fight back and we have to win. These oral histories serve as a permanent reminder of what they are willing to do to us, and anyone else who does not believe as they do.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

PETA Sinks to a New Low

I found this link at Michelle Malkin. When it comes to the opposite of smart, there is now stupid, really stupid, and PETA stupid.
A two-hour animal rights demonstration on the Green Monday sparked outrage instead of sympathy from the public.

"This is the most racist thing I’ve ever seen on the Green. How dare you," roared Philip Goldson, 43, of New Haven at the protest organizers at Church and Chapel streets.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a national animal rights group, posted giant photographs of people, mostly black Americans, being tortured, sold and killed, next to photographs of animals, including cattle and sheep, being tortured, sold and killed.

"I think it is an apt comparison," said Josh Warchol, 26, of Wallingford, president of the Southern Connecticut Vegetarian Society, which is aligned with PETA.

[ . . .]

Eight of the 12 banners compared the suffering of black Americans to the suffering of cattle, sheep, an elephant, a seal and a rooster. Other banners showed Native Americans exiled from their homes, children in a factory and men in a counter-demonstration against women’s rights.

A photo showing a concentration camp inmate with a number tattooed across his emaciated chest was juxtaposed against a shot of a monkey in a laboratory with a number branded across its chest.
This certainly begs the question, how stupid can a person be and still function as a human being?

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Saturday, August 06, 2005

When Will the Sleeping Giant Wake?

Some of us have awakened to the fact that there are those in the worldwide Muslim community who want to murder us because we don't hold the same beliefs they do. Not only are they willing to die, but many of them (as we have seen) covet death and the deaths of their children in order to murder us and our children. Because some of us express this uncomfortable fact, and try to convince others of the reality of the Islamic threat, we are labeled as racists, islamophobes, haters, extremists, and other more unsavory epithets.

At American Digest there's this post that asks, "what will it take to awaken us to the threat?"
THE RUTHLESS DEDICATION OF OUR ENEMIES TO OUR DESTRUCTION was written across our sky with two pillars of flame and smoke in our largest city. We've seen that dedication continue, punctuated by car bombs, mortars, and random attacks against our soldiers. We've seen it continue in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Spain, Russia, Italy and England.

Our unluckiest citizens have had their heads severed from their bodies as pilot episodes of what promises to be a long running reality television series in which American heads are held up, to our horror and for the delight of those many millions that support those that take the heads. The message beyond this madness is that they would be pleased to extend this television series to 300 million beheadings in which each of us would have his "star" turn. Our enemy has not yet taken a woman or a child for a beheading, but both clearly on their programming schedule.

[ . . .]

Several years ago we came awake briefly as 3,000 of us were slaughtered at our desks on a bright September morning. For some time after we were united in our horror, mourning and anger. For almost 18 months we stayed awake enough to roll back some of the gains we had freely given our mortal enemies during the long peace. For awhile we prevailed even if we could never quite reconcile ourselves and our image of ourselves with the sterner measures necessary to eradicate the enemy.
Their Ancient Intellectual Insanity

As the fresh horror faded and the images of the burning towers were no longer allowed to remind us, many among us reverted to their ancient intellectual insanity.

They proclaimed that the enemy who had sworn to destroy them root and branch was not an enemy at all, but only a misunderstood and oppressed people that, offered love, understanding, compassion, tolerance and control of the world's oil supply, would consent to kill no more and retire quietly to some distant picturesque desert -- an indigenous people pursuing the colorful old ways.

This faction among us grew and came to believe -- had never ceased to believe -- that our enemy had a value worth preserving even if it meant our own destruction. They believed that respecting and leaving their lands would render them harmless to others and themselves. Instead we would give them our gift, we would raise the sign of democracy.

It mattered not that the enemy told them, in escalating words and deeds across decades, that his goal was to convert and kill them all. They heard this as saying he only wanted to be left alone. He gave them death by fire and decapitation and they responded with "What is wrong with peace, love and understanding?"

This bankrupt mantra, or one of its infinite variations, is now repeated and repeated from multiple sources without and within the mass of the sleepwalkers until many actually begin to believe its soothing promise and drift back into their trance of "if only..." and "What can we give them to make them leave us alone?" Indeed, they sleep with us, but their sleep is even deeper and it is a drugged sleep.
It's actually quite a moving piece.

Today - well, tomorrow in Great Britain - there is this story in the Times Online.
Inside the sect that loves terror
By the Insight team
AN undercover investigation has caught leaders of a radical Islamic group inciting young British Muslims to become terrorists and praising the Tube bombers as “the fantastic four”.

A Sunday Times reporter spent two months as a recruit inside the Saviour Sect to reveal for the first time how the extremist group promotes hatred of “non-believers” and encourages its followers to commit acts of violence including suicide bombings.

The reporter witnessed one of the sect’s leading figures, Sheikh Omar Brooks, telling a young audience, including children, that it was the duty of Muslims to be terrorists and boasting, just days before the July 7 attacks, that he wanted to die as a suicide bomber.

After the attacks that claimed 52 lives, another key figure, Zachariah, justified them by saying that the victims were not “innocent” people because they did not abide by strict Islamic laws. In the immediate aftermath the sect’s leader, Omar Bakri Mohammed, said: “For the past 48 hours I’m very happy.” Two weeks later he referred to the bombers as the “fantastic four”.

The evidence compiled by The Sunday Times in hours of transcripts and tapes will lend weight to moves, announced last week by Tony Blair, to proscribe such organisations for providing a breeding ground for would-be terrorists. The attorney-general’s office said last night it would investigate the recent comments by a number of Islamic radicals with a view to prosecution.
We can only hope that this article will serve to awaken more people. And we certainly must thank the anonymous sources of this expose.

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Friday, August 05, 2005

Over There

I watch very little TV and I haven't seen Steven Bochco's show, Over There at all, but I've been reading posts about it on various blogs. From Totalitarian Democracy I linked to Faces from the Front: American Marines in Iraq for a fascinating, informative critique of the show. Not only does JD Johannes explain in detail how and where the shows writers and producers screwed up in their alleged efforts to make it "real", he explains the reality of our soldiers in Iraq.
FX's new drama OVER THERE about an Army unit in Iraq is well produced and visually arresting but takes a sharp left turn from reality.

After watching the Pilot episode of 'Over There,' I conclude that the only thing they got right were the uniforms which, right down to the black socks used to cover goggles, were spot on.

Unfortunately, the costume designer is the only person who seems to have actually studied the war, pictures of the war or video of the war.

As someone who has been over there it was easy to see that if Steven Bochco hired a military consultant, he didn't pay attention to him or, if they did listen to him, that consultant should be fired.

In Bochco's depiction of the war, the tactics are wrong, the dialogue is wrong, the set-ups are wrong and the scenarios are ridiculous.


In the pilot episode of 'Over There,' the heroes of the show, an Army squad/fire team is holding the cordon around a mosque while the brass negotiates with the terrorists inside. The reason for the negotiation is because an Al Jazeera reporter is inside the mosque with the terrorists and is broadcasting live over an Inmarsat system.

The grizzled leader of our heroes, Sgt. 'Scream', complains that they are stuck there holding the cordon so some stupid general 75 miles away can look good on TV. And so the soldiers hunker down for a 36 hour siege while the brass in Baghdad cow-tow to the Mainstream Media and negotiate with the terrorists.

In the real war, the commanders on the ground would have returned fire and shot the building full of holes before anyone watching Al Jazeera on the satellite in Baghdad could figure out what was going on.

In the real war, as evidenced by Fallujah and other cities, the mosque would have been shot up and probably destroyed. The following day, the media would be grilling the generals about how they killed an Al Jazeera reporter and destroyed a mosque. The media would complain loudly, the Arab media would scream bloody murder and the anti-war left would demand that Sgt. 'Scream' and the fire team be investigated for war crimes because they killed terrorists who were offering to surrender.

That is what would happen in the real war.
The whole post is well worth reading and there's a link to some short videos from Iraq.

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Double Standards

Yesterday a lone Israeli murdered four people on a bus in Israel. He acted alone. He was not sent by anyone. There is no excuse for what he did. There will be hell to pay. Go to Mere Rhetoric for a post vividly illustrating the prevailing double standard between Arabs who kill Jews, and Jews who kill Arabs.
When a Jewish terrorist kills Arabs - and let's be clear, this one's a terrorist - Jews condemn him for it. When an Arab terrorist kills Jews, Arabs celebrate.
That's the beginning. Go and read the rest.

Almost forgot, I found the link originally at Little Green Footballs


More Idiocy from the U.N.

From a link at Atlas Shrugs, there is this article. Some "experts" at the U.N. decided that
The barrier Israel is building to seal off the West Bank is a violation of Israel's human rights obligations
No surprise there. According to the U.N. (You can't spell corruption without the U.N.-IMAO) the existance of Israel has become a violation of human rights. Here is the list of "experts"
The independent experts, who are appointed by the 53-nation UN Human Rights Commission, are Yakin Erturk, who reports on violence against women; Miloon Kothari, housing; Vernor Munoz Villalobos, education; Paul Hunt, health; Doudou Diene, racism; Leila Zerrougui, arbitrary detention; Sigma Huda, trafficking; and John Dugard, conditions in the Palestinian territories.
Let's see, we've got the experts on - violence against women, education, racism, health, arbritrary detention, and trafficking; yet they have nothing to say about conditions in any of the Muslim countries, or Zimbabwe? HEY, MILOON KOTHARI! Ain'tcha heard that Mugabe is bulldozing houses and gardens of the poor? The ones who won't leave are jailed. Of course the ones who do leave most likely starve. Shouldn't you be saying something about that? YO, YAKIN ERTURK! Don'tcha know about the tribulations faced by women in Muslim societies just because they're born as women? It begins with genital mutilation! And then there's rape and forced marriage! And there are more outrages, enough to keep a whole gaggle of U.N. experts busy for the rest of their useless lives. So if I've been too subtle, I'll repeat myself. Examine conditions in the Muslim world you dolts!

With this kind of entrenched idiocy, how much reforming can even John Bolton do?

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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Cal Thomas on Israel

Too many Jews in the United States shun evangelical Christians. They're afraid that evangelicals just want to convert the Jews. But if more Jews paid attention to the actions of various religious groups, they would lose their fear. It's the more liberal denominations that are demonizing and divesting from Israel, and siding with the enemies of Israel and of civilization. Evangelicals in the United States are the best friends Israel has right now.

Cal Thomas, who used to make me nervous before I realized that he's right, has a disturbing, yet thoughtful and truthful piece in the Jewish World Review today.

Only after Israel is destroyed will the West realize what it did and failed to do, but it will find convenient and comforting explanations to absolve itself from any blame. Jews, you see, are always responsible not only for the world's problems, but for bringing destruction upon themselves by virtue of their being Jews.

[ . . .]

Have we forgotten what produced the Israeli "occupation" of the Gaza Strip? In May, 1967, the armies of Egypt, Jordan and Syria gathered on Israel's borders in another attempt to eradicate Israel. These armies enjoyed backing from several other Arab countries, much as Hitler's "final solution" enjoyed similar support from some of the same Arab states. Israel's pre-emptive strike allowed it to gain control of Gaza and the West Bank.

Has anything changed in the Palestinian and Arab world? Has the rhetoric in mosques, schools and media cooled toward Israel or the objective of eliminating it? It has not. If anything, the rhetoric has become even more volatile. The Israelis are held in such contempt that they must dig up their dead from cemeteries in Gush Katif, including six graves of area residents murdered by terrorists, to avoid the desecration they've experienced in the past. Not a single Jew, living or dead, will be allowed to remain.

Based on past performance, once Israel's retreat is finished, the Palestinian-Arab side may digest its latest prey like a giant boa constrictor swallowing a large mouse. But after swallowing, it will want more. Look for another intifada and then look for the State Department and the rest of the administration to again pressure Israel to "do more."
And remember, this is by Cal Thomas, an evangelical Christian. There are more like him. They are on our side!

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Equal Time for Islamists?

In an article by Daniel Pipes he explains why he doesn't argue in public with apologists for terror.
The more important reason for selective debate concerns extremism. For example, I have argued that television programmers should “close their doors” to one person because his fringe views preclude a constructive discussion (he lauded Chinese mass-murderer Mao Tse-tung for achievements which “can hardly be overstated”). After advocating this course of action, how can I then be party to this person’s appearing on television?

Television offers a unique medium for getting one’s ideas out to large numbers of people, especially when presented in a lively debate format, so I regret not appearing on screen. I find myself in a dilemma, wishing to accept television invitations but sometimes unable to.

This dilemma results from the flawed reasoning of television executives in democracies. My conversations with insiders reveal that they include extremists for three main reasons. First, because good viewer ratings are generated by impassioned, articulate, and known panelists with sharply clashing viewpoints. With this, I have no problem.

Second, today’s media strives toward impartiality. For instance, a memo distributed to Canadian Broadcast Corporation staff cautions against using the words “terrorist” and “terrorism,” because these “can leave journalists taking sides in a conflict.” The conceit that media have no stake in the outcome of war is terribly wrong; just imagine how television talk shows would be after these same terrorists took over. (They did not flourish under the Taliban, to put it mildly.)

Third – and quite contradictorily – when pressed about the appropriateness of broadcasting the enemy’s view, producers assert they are doing a public service by exposing these. Is freedom of speech, they ask, not premised on the open marketplace of ideas? And does that not imply having faith that an informed citizenry will discern the sensible from the wrong-headed?

Yes, but also no. Freedom of speech means speaking one’s mind, without fear of going to jail; it does not imply the privilege to address a television audience.
He also mentions how he was blindsided by a terror-supporting writer from Newsweek Magazine.

Francis Porretto at Eternity Road elaborates on this theme and carries it a bit further.
Consider all the following statements of opinion:

1. Blacks are inherently inferior to whites, and therefore laws to keep them apart are desirable.
2. Jews are incapable of assimilating into Christian cultures, and should be kept out of them.
3. Women's mental and physical capacities are unequal to the demands of the workaday world; therefore, they should all stay at home where they'll be safe.
4. Homosexuals are a threat to the purity of our precious bodily fluids, and should be herded into concentration camps in the name of public safety.
5. The humiliation of Islam by American actions and policies justifies any violence whatsoever, even the mass murder of women and children, to redress the crimes America has committed.

Your Curmudgeon cannot even imagine a twenty-first century American television station allowing the expression of opinions 1 through 4 over its airwaves. But several have allowed opinion 5 to play. Sometimes they even seem to solicit it.

No pretense of "objectivity" can account for this contradiction. If the first four stances, none of which explicitly advocate murder, are unacceptable and must be precluded from televised discourse, then why is opinion 5 deemed otherwise? Do broadcast executives hold different moral standards than your Curmudgeon? Do they think their viewers' standards are in accord with theirs, or are they hoping to bend their viewers' opinions of the unacceptable by implicitly legitimizing it?
I would like to add to that. We are also subjected to a barrage of "blame the Jews" in order to excuse the murder of innocents around the world. There was a time, not too long ago, when the "blame the Jews" attitude was ridiculed as it should be along with the hate-spewing groups like the KKK, White Supremacists, etc.

The Detroit News runs a column every Saturday by a local religious leader. They rotate among the various religions and denominations. The Imam Elahi is the Muslim representative. While the other religious writers talk about religious or cummunity issues, Iman Elahi is unique in that no matter what his theme is, there is always at least one sentence either implicitly or explicitly condemning Israel and/or Jews. His most recent rant is here. I'm not a fan of censorship, but when running Imam Elahi's screeds, the Detroit News editors need to ask themselves if they would run columns blaming any other minority group who was being viciously attacked, by constantly writing articles claiming that the group is question is bringing it on themselves. Especially when they know that those claims are totally bogus.

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Steven Vincent on why words matter

The more I read this part of his interview, the more I think it needs to be posted in as many venues as possible. A lot of what he talks about in his FrontPage interview is important, but this quote holds the lesson that will determine whether we win or lose against the forces of Islamofascism.
FP: You discuss how crucial words are in describing the war in Iraq and how the liberal media has damaged the cause of freedom by manipulating them.

For instance, you stress how important it is that we refer to the American “liberation” rather than “occupation,” since “occupation” infers certain meanings that do not apply to anything the Americans are doing in Iraq.

What startles me is how the media refers to the terrorists as “insurgents.” This is simply incredible. We have foreign fighters coming in from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya, Pakistan and other nations to fight a holy war against the West in an effort to impose Islamo-fascism on the Iraqi people. And yet, somehow, the media is informing us that this is some kind of domestic “resistance.”

Can you talk a bit about this -- how the Left shapes the boundaries of debate and dialogue by controlling our language?

Vincent: Words matter. Words convey moral clarity. Without moral clarity, we will not succeed in Iraq. That is why the terms the press uses to cover this conflict are so vital. For example, take the word “guerillas.” As you noted, mainstream media sources like the New York Times often use the terms “insurgents” or “guerillas” to describe the Sunni Triangle gunmen, as if these murderous thugs represented a traditional national liberation movement. But when the Times reports on similar groups of masked reactionary killers operating in Latin American countries, they utilize the phrase “paramilitary death squads.” Same murderers, different designations. Yet of the two, “insurgents”—and especially “guerillas”—has a claim on our sympathies that “paramilitaries” lacks. This is not semantics: imagine if the media routinely called the Sunni Triangle gunmen “right wing paramilitary death squads.” Not only would the description be more accurate, but it would offer the American public a clear idea of the enemy in Iraq. And that, in turn, would bolster public attitudes toward the war.

Supporters of the conflict in Iraq bear much blame for allowing the terminology—and, by extension, the narrative—of events to slip from our grasp and into the hands of the anti-war camp. Words and ideas matter. Instead of saying that the Coalition “invaded” Iraq and “occupies” it today, we could more precisely claim that the allies liberated the country and are currently reconstructing it. More than cosmetic changes, these definitions reflect the nobility of our effort in Iraq, and steal rhetorical ammunition from the left.

The most despicable misuse of terminology, however, occurs when Leftists call the Saddamites and foreign jihadists “the resistance.” What an example of moral inversion! For the fact is, paramilitary death squads are attacking the Iraqi people. And those who oppose the killers--the Iraqi police and National Guardsmen, members of the Allawi government, people like Nour—they are the “resistance.” They are preventing Islamofascists from seizing Iraq, they are resisting evil men from turning the entire nation into a mass slaughterhouse like we saw in re-liberated Falluja. Anyone who cares about success in our struggle against Islamofascism—or upholds principles of moral clarity and lucid thought—should combat such Orwellian distortions of our language.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Steven Vincent

Thanks to Mystery Achievement for posting the link to an obituary for Steven Vincent at Gates of Vienna. I had read one of his posts from Iraq without knowing who he was. After reading more from him, I realize how important his voice and perspective were to this war and our society. He demonstrates that Western Civilization is fighting for its life, not only against vicious and devious Muslim agression, but also against their allies; Multiculturalism and the spoiled, pampered, grievence-mongering, self-loathing left. While your're at it, read this interview with Steven Vincent at FrontPage Magazine.

Sometimes you really don't what you've got until it's gone.

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Finally a British Newspaper is Truthful About Radical Islam

Read this absolutely truthful, unafraid, unabashed opinion piece by Anthony Browne at The Times Online.
ELEMENTS WITHIN the British establishment were notoriously sympathetic to Hitler. Today the Islamists enjoy similar support. In the 1930s it was Edward VIII, aristocrats and the Daily Mail; this time it is left-wing activists, The Guardian and sections of the BBC. They may not want a global theocracy, but they are like the West’s apologists for the Soviet Union — useful idiots.

Islamic radicals, like Hitler, cultivate support by nurturing grievances against others. Islamists, like Hitler, scapegoat Jews for their problems and want to destroy them. Islamists, like Hitler, decree that the punishment for homosexuality is death. Hitler divided the world into Aryans and subhuman non-Aryans, while Islamists divide the world into Muslims and sub-human infidels. Nazis aimed for their Thousand-Year Reich, while Islamists aim for their eternal Caliphate. The Nazi party used terror to achieve power, and from London to Amsterdam, Bali to New York, Egypt to Turkey, Islamists are trying to do the same.

The two fascisms, one racial and one religious, one beaten and the other resurgent, are evil in both their ideology and their methodology, in their supremacism, intolerance, belief in violence and threat to democracy.

The London bombings revealed only to those in denial the extent to which Islamic fascism has taken root. But we have a long way to go until we reach the level of understanding in mainland Europe. With one of the smallest Muslim populations in Western Europe, just 3 per cent of the total, Britain has been able to afford a joyful multicultural optimism. Other countries, with far bigger Islamic populations, from France to Germany to the Netherlands, have had to become far more hard-headed.

The support of Islamic fascism spans Britain’s Left. The wacko Socialist Workers Party joined forces with the Muslim Association of Britain, the democracy-despising, Shariah-law-wanting group, to form the Stop the War Coalition. The former Labour MP George Galloway created the Respect Party with the support of the MAB, and won a seat in Parliament by cultivating Muslim resentment.

When I revealed on these pages last year both the fascist views of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the fact that he was being welcomed to Britain by Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, it caused a storm that has still to abate. Mr Livingtone claims that Sheikh al-Qaradawi is a moderate — which he is, in the same way that Mussolini was.

The BBC and The Guardian regularly give space to MAB to promote sanitised versions of its Islamist views. John Ware, one of the BBC’s most-respected reporters, spent years trying to make a programme on Islamic fundamentalism in Britain, but was repeatedly blocked by senior editors who feared it was too sensitive.
I'm sure Mr. Browne will be accused of racism, islamophobia, insensitivity, and being a right-wing extremist. But that's what happens when someone speaks the truth about militant Islam - they get attacked with libels and character assassination. I only hope more reporters gain the intelligence, the fortitude, and the bravery to bring more light to the pathological nature of our Islamic enemies.

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The War Against Israel

From Atlas Shrugs comes this report.
New York – A senior leader of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, Ismail Haneya, has described the upcoming Israeli withdrawal/expulsion of 10,000 Jews from their homes, schools, synagogues, farms and businesses in Gaza and Northern Samaria as "a national achievement." In an interview, Haneya was quoted as saying, "Hamas sees in the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza Strip a national achievement by the Palestinian people. It is the fruit of the resistance and steadfastness of the Palestinian people. That is why Hamas is interested to see a full withdrawal from the Gaza Strip so the Palestinian people can enjoy freedom as a first stage on the path of liberating the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories"
I wonder if the Hamas supporters, that is, the governments and newspapers of Eurabia, the U.N., and the Vatican will also be celebrating this "achievement", since they all had a hand in it. It's the anti-semitism of all of these organizations and countries that will be the death of European civilization. They're too stupid to figure out that their best interest and best chance for survival against the Muslim barbarian hordes lie in an alliance with Israel. Notice also, the claim that ". . . the Palestinian people can enjoy freedom . . .". Obviously he's talking about freedom from prosperity, freedom of poverty, freedom from peace, and freedom from freedom. And just as they continue to attack European civilization, they will keep attacking Israel; further proof of the lie that "poverty and occupation are the root cause terrorism."

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

And They Continue to Demand More Money

Soon Palestinians in Gaza will be able to live Hitler's dream, a Jew-free society, promoted not only by Palestinian terrorists, but with the support of other Muslim governments, (which you have to expect), but also with the support of Europe, the U.N., and the United States. And that's monsterous. As Jeff Jacoby wrote:
And yet there is no getting around the fact that Israel is about to become the first modern, Western nation in more than 60 years to forcibly uproot a whole population — men, women, children, babies — solely because they are Jews. There is no getting around the fact that the forthcoming expulsions are rooted in the belief that any future Palestinian state must be Judenrein — emptied of its Jews. And while it goes without saying that Sharon and every member of his government abominate the Nazis and all they stood for, there is no getting around the fact that disengagement is meant to appease an enemy that has always regarded the genocidal hatred of Jews in a very different light.

Long before there were "occupied territories," Haj Amin El-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem and leader of Palestine's Arabs, urged Hitler to "solve the problem of the Jewish elements in Palestine and other Arab countries . . . by the same method that the question is now being settled in the Axis countries." When five Arab armies invaded the newborn Israel in 1948, the secretary-general of the Arab League vowed to wage "a war of extermination and a momentous massacre, which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades."

More than half a century later, how much has changed? The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, is the author of a book denying the Holocaust and claiming that Zionists collaborated with the Nazis against the Jews of Europe. Palestinian Authority TV broadcasts poisonous diatribes, like one Friday sermon by Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris. "The Jews are a virus resembling AIDS, from which the entire world suffers," he preached. "The Jews will not enjoy a life of tranquility under our rule, because they are treacherous by nature and have been throughout history."

Israel's withdrawal from Gaza changes nothing, the senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahard said recently. He told an Italian newspaper that Israel's existence would be unacceptable even if it were to retreat to the armistice lines of 1949. "In the end, Palestine . . . must become Muslim," he insisted. "And in the long term Israel will disappear from the face of the Earth."

And as the New York Times reports
The Palestinian Authority has commissioned tens of thousands of national flags as well as mugs, bumper stickers and posters with the slogan ''Today Gaza, tomorrow the West Bank and Jerusalem'' -- props for planned mass celebrations meant to portray the pullout as an achievement of the Abbas government.

Hamas is striking back, preparing for military-style victory parades. Hamas supporters are sewing thousands of martial uniforms and flags in the group's trademark Islamic green and activists are buying up privately owned jeeps and pickup trucks to lead the marches.

The winner of the competition may well be the next ruler of Gaza.

Hamas, increasingly popular because of disaffection with government corruption and chaos, could make an even stronger showing in upcoming parliament elections if seen as the liberator of Gaza. That image could be reinforced if Hamas militants fire on Israeli soldiers and settlers during next month's pullout. Hamas has claimed all along that its shooting, bombing and rocket attacks during the past five years of fighting have forced the Israelis out. . .

Much depends on Israel's willingness to coordinate the pullout, but Palestinian negotiators complain Israel is dawdling.

While waiting for a deal with Israel, Abbas is trying to wrest control of the streets from the militants, at least symbolically.

Banners and posters of militant groups have been banned from public places, but removing them is an overwhelming job. Shop shutters and walls of houses across Gaza are covered with political graffiti and posters of gun-toting militants. Police have cleared a few areas in Gaza City, but militant art still dominates most streets.

The Palestinian Authority is spending $1.7 million on withdrawal celebrations. It has ordered tens of thousands of Palestinian flags, from small pennants to two-story banners, that are being sewn in small workshops across Gaza.
The Palestinians constantly play on the sympathies of the stupidly-generous, victim-loving West, demanding money from the west to help alleviate their staggering poverty. There's never enough money for life's necessities. And yet, there always seems to be money for weapons. And now Abbas has found a spare $1.7 million for a glorification of evil, a further celebration of terrorism. They claim, as they blame the Jews for all of their self-inflicted pathologies, that they want justice, when, if you listen, not only do they want a Jew-free Gaza, they want a Jew-free Israel. How far will the world go to help the Murderous Palestinian society achieve that dream?

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Monday, August 01, 2005

From Thucydides

The election is long over. No matter how much some poor saps try to deny it, Bush beat Kerry. Kerry backers throughout the world have questioned and continue to question the intelligence of President Bush and those (like me) who voted for him. The conventional wisdom on the left, before Kerry's grades from Yale were released, was that Kerry, unlike that dopey G.W. Bush was an intellectual heavyweight. Kerry certainly believed it when he said,
I can't believe I'm losing to this idiot.
I'm sure Kerry and his supporters still believe he's smarter.

I bring this up because I just finished reading Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. And I found an interesting quote from 2500 years ago that rings true today. As you read it, think of that genius Kerry, and the Rhodes Scholar, Bill Clinton.

According to Cleon, who was taking part in the Mytilenian Debate, in book 3 of History of the Peloponnesian War by the Greek historian Thudydides, translated by Rex Warner (copyright 1954), and published by Penguin Classics:
And this is the very worst thing - to pass measures and then not to abide by them. We should realize that a city is better off with bad laws, so long as they remain fixed than with good laws that are constantly being altered, that lack of learning combined with sound common sense is more helpful than the kind of cleverness that gets out of hand, and that as a general rule states are better governed by the man in the street than by intellectuals. These are the sort of people who want to appear wiser than the laws, who want to get their own way in every general discussion because they feel that they cannot show off their intelligence in matters of greater importance, and who, as result, very often bring ruin on their country. But the other kind - the people who are not so confident in their own intelligence - are prepared to admit that the laws are wiser than they are and that they lack the ability to pull to pieces a speech made by a good speaker; they are biased judges, and not people taking part in some kind of competition; so things usually go well when they are in control. We statesmen, too, should try to be like them, instead of being carried away by mere cleverness and a desire to show off our intelligence and so giving you, the people, advice which we do not really believe in ourselves.
As an interesting comparison, Thomas Hobbes also translated Thucydides. His translation of the same passage reads:
But the worst mischief of all is this, that nothing we decree shall stand firm, and that we will not know, that a city with the worse laws, if immoveable, is better than one with good laws, when they be not binding; and that a plain wit accompanied with modesty, is more profitable to the state than dexterity with arrogance; and that the more ignorant sort of men do, for the most part, better regulate a commonwealth than they that are wiser. For these love to appear wiser than the laws, and in all public debatings to carry the victory, as the worthiest things wherein to show their wisdom; from whence most commonly proceedeth the ruin of the states they live in. Whereas the other sort, mistrusting their own wits, are content to be esteemed not so wise as the laws, and not able to carp at what is well spoken by another: and so making themselves equal judges rather than contenders for mastery, govern a state for the most part well. We therefore should do the like; and not be carried away with combats of eloquence and wit, to give such counsel to your multitude as in our own judgments we think not good.
Either way you translate it, this rings true. Also, as economists Thomas Sowell and Milton Friedman have pointed out, keeping stable laws is better for our economic well-being.

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