Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Milton Friedman - The Free Lunch Myth

It would have been Milton Friedman's 100th birthday today. He's still relevant, and for our own good, we'd better listen to him.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Syria and the Palestinians

Since the world now revolves those eternal refugees, the Palestinians, we must know about their situation in Syria. While reading the article though, I came across some interesting facts. They aren't facts that are normally reported on since they can't be used to discredit Israel. For example,
While not citizens, Palestinians in Syria have greater rights than their brethren in other Arab countries. They can hold government jobs, attend state universities for free and serve in the military. Assad's regime has long billed itself as a champion of the Palestinian cause.
So in other Arab countries, Palestinians can't hold government jobs? They can't attend state universities for free or serve in the military? Let's find out.

In Lebanon,
They are not allowed to own property, and even need a special permit to leave their refugee camps. Unlike other foreigners in Lebanon, they are denied access to the Lebanese healthcare system. The Lebanese government refused to grant them permission to own land. The number of restrictions has been mounting since 1990. However, in 2010 the government of Lebanon removed work restrictions from Palestinians, enabling them to apply for work permits and work in the private sector.
What a relief, at least in Lebanon, things are improving. Palestinians can apply for private sector work permits, but how often are they granted? And if one gets a work permit, does this mean they get the corresponding permit to leave the refugee camp? Am I allowed to ask these questions? Did these changes come about because of the actions of human rights groups and pro-Palestinian organizations. If so, they must have worked a lot more quietly than those groups who focus all of their wrath on Israel.

We don't hear anything about it, so things are probably better in Jordan, right?
Palestinian scholars and political activists including Samer Libdeh and Mudar Zahran have described the political system of Jordan as anti-Palestinian apartheid. According to Libdeh, the royal policy of "ethnic cohesion" amounts to discrimination against the Palestinians, who comprise the majority of Jordanian subjects.
What? I'm outraged! Apartheid outside of the Zionist Entity? There must be plans afoot somewhere to boycott companies who do business with the Jordanian apartheid regime that is oppressing the Palestinians . . . somewhere. Students for Justice in Palestine, where are you? Meanwhile in Israel, Arabs who didn't flee, are citizens of Israel with full rights, They're not "refugees". They don't live in "camps." They aren't denied access to jobs. Not that these minor details matter to people whose food and drink is hatred of Israel and of Jews.
"On the individual level, there's no love for the regime or its tools of oppression, and no one thinks that it will liberate Palestine for us," said a Palestinian refugee expert in Lebanon who visited Syria this month.
Liberate Palestine? Their friends and neighbors are being murdered in the streets in Syria. They've been denied basic human rights by their "supporters" for generations, and their solution is the same self-defeating tactic that created their stateless limbo. No matter what happens they refuse to look past the hatred, which seems to be the only thing they have that gives their lives meaning. Rather than find something positive, there is always "the struggle."
He dismissed the idea that Assad's regime has been a leader in the Palestinian struggle, pointing out that Syria's border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights has been largely quiet since 1974. In fact, he said he hoped a regime change would help the Palestinians achieve their ultimate goal: the return to their ancestral villages in what is now Israel. "We have to work together with the free people to liberate Syria, then we'll go to the Golan and liberate Palestine," he said. "We'll work hand in hand."
With all this talk of liberation, what exactly do they mean? Outside of the destruction of Israel and the murdering of more Jews, what is this "liberation" they speak of? So far, liberation looks like trading a corrupt dictator for the Muslim Brotherhood and Sharia law. It's still evolving in most of the Arab nations who are making that trade, but we only need to look to Iran to see how that liberation worked. The Iranians are not exactly dancing in the streets.

So the question remains, when Palestinians are living under real apartheid conditions in Arab/Muslim countries, why is Israel the one accused of Apartheid?

Vasily Grossman had the answer in his novel, Life and Fate. He devotes a chapter to anti-Semitism. In it, Grossman says,
Anti-Semitism is always a means rather than an end; it is a measure of the contradictions yet to be resolved. It is a mirror for the failings of individuals, social structures and State systems. Tell me what you accuse the Jews of - I'll tell you what you're guilty of.
There is more, and if I ever feel ambitious enough, I will reprint the whole chapter. It's part two, chapter 31, and I think Grossman captures the essence of anti-Semitism and of the anti-Semite. Of course, that kind of thinking will never make into the media. It's not their kind of thinking. We're not supposed to use terms like "anti-Semitism" to describe anyone, any organization, any culture, or any country; especially if it's true. Look what happened at Yale when the Yale Anti-Semitism Institute dared tell the truth about Islamic anti-Semitism.

For now the media will dutifully report enough of the facts to make you think you know what's going on, and so that you read it in the correct frame of mind; that is, it's all Israel's fault.

Meanwhile the Middle East burns.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The More Things Change and All That Jazz

I've been reading a huge book of George Orwell's essays. Besides being a great writer and thinker, he was a pretty good political analyst. He wasn't always right in his predictions, and as of 1943, where I am in the book, he's still a committed socialist, which colored both his political and literary analysis. Many of his essays are essential reading, but I just finished one called, "No, Not One", so that's the one I'm currently fixated on. It's actually a book review, but he uses the review as an attack on pacifism. He also regularly savages the Left and communists, which makes me wonder how he still could have been such a fan of a utopian worldwide socialism, especially since in another essay, he trashes utopias and utopian schemes.

But, getting back to his attack on pacifism,
The notion that you can somehow defeat violence by submitting to it is simply a flight from fact. As I have said, it is only possible to people who have money and guns between themselves and reality. But why should they want to make this flight, in any case? Because, rightly hating violence, they do not wish to recognize that it is integral to modern society and that their own fine feelings and noble attitudes are all the fruit of injustice backed up by force. They do not want to learn where their incomes come from. Underneath this lies the hard fact, so difficult for many people to face, that individual salvation is not possible, that the choice before human beings is not, as a rule, between good and evil but between two evils. You can let the Nazis rule the world; that is evil; or you can overthrow them by war, which is also evil. There is no other choice before you, and whichever you choose you will not come out with clean hands. It seems to me that the text for our times is not “Woe to him through whom the evil cometh” but the one from which I took the title of this article, “There is not one that is righteous, no, not one”. We have all touched pitch, we are all perishing by the sword. We do not have the chance, in a time like this, to say “Tomorrow we can all start being good”. That is moonshine. We only have the chance of choosing the lesser evil and of working for the establishment of a new kind of society in which common decency will again be possible. There is no such thing as neutrality in this war.
How does this relate to today's clash of civilizations? Where the Nazis left off, Islam stepped in. And yes, I know that we're not supposed to accuse others that we disagree with of being Nazis, but if the Jew-hatred, and quest for world domination, and belief that you are the master race deserving and destined to rule over all others, and demands that the rest of the world bow to your constant demands of "sensitivity" as you rationalize the subjugation of your own women and all those who don't believe as you do shoe fits, then wear it. But were not supposed to look at Islam that way. We're supposed to reach out to the Taliban, Al-Queda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and all of the other terrorist organizations and their offshoots so that they will want to live in peace with us. We're not supposed to point out that that tactic hasn't worked since the beginning of Islam, nor has it ever worked against any other totalitarian ideology. Tyrants and other power mongers welcome pacifists on the other side of course, as they are useful tools.

Just as Orwell had them pegged in 1943, he still has the pacifists pegged today.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

But Wait! There's More!

When I wrote my previous post, I was not aware or had forgotten about other destructive endeavors by Muslims against other cultures. Daniel Pipes, who does much more research than I do (which is why I'm lifting his article) has the skinny more Islamic rewrites of history.
The Islamist destruction underway in Timbuktu (including the tomb of Sidi Mahmoudou, d. 955, and the doors of the Sidi Yahya Mosque, ca. 1400) raises a question: What is it about Islam that so often turns its adherents against their own patrimony? Consider some examples: The doors of the Sidi Yahya Mosque, built ca. 1400, which were only to open at the end of time, smashed apart today by Islamists. The destruction of Hindu temples in medieval India. The Mamluks using the Great Sphinx of Egypt as target practice and the Great Pyramid as a quarry. The Turkish destruction of churches in northern Cyprus since 1974. The Saudi destruction of antiquities in Mecca since the 1990s, The Palestinian sacking of the Tomb of Joseph in 2000. The Taliban destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha in 2001. Al-Qaeda's bombing of Ghriba synagogue in Tunisia in 2002, The pillaging of Iraqi museums, libraries, and archives in 2003. The destruction of an historic Malaysian Hindu temple in 2006. The destruction of L'Institut d'Égypte in 2011. In addition, some intentions to destroy antiquities (Khomeini contemplated razing Persepolis, a grand mufti of Egypt banned exhibiting statues) might yet be realized. (On the other hand, the story about Muslims burning the ancient Library of Alexandria appears apocryphal.) Although these examples include both non-Muslim and Muslim artifacts, motives differ in the two cases: eliminating infidel remnants establishes the superiority of Islam, while eliminating Muslim ones establishes the superiority of Islamism. In both cases, the motive is foul and the results are, historically speaking, tragic. (July 2, 2012)
The links and the pictures didn't copy, but you can see them at the link. The important thing is that this is nothing new. But we'll see how long the mainstream press can continue to ignore it in order to clamp down on possible anti-Islamic feeling amongst us infidels.

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Monday, July 02, 2012

UNESCO are you kidding?

I was struck by the following two articles and was also struck that they appeared on the same day. Coincidence? Perhaps. But they do compliment each other, and they should cause everyone reading them to think.

 First, from Rukmini Callimachi of the Associated Press, Islamists continue destroying Timbuktu heritage Yes, it wasn't enough that the Taliban destroyed the Buddahs of Bamiyan Valley in Afghanistan. Now it seems,
Muslim extremists continued destroying the heritage of the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu on Monday, razing tombs and attacking the gate of a 600-year-old mosque, despite growing international outcry.
The tombs they destroyed (and obviously the mosque) are Islamic, but not the brand of Islam preferred by the terrorists. Even worse,
Scholars held out hope that the Islamists would not also attack the city's 20,000-catalogued manuscripts, some dating as far back as the 12th century. Beyond the tombs, the manuscripts are considered to be the real treasure of the region and library owners have succeeded in spiriting some of the manuscripts out of the city, or else buried them in secure locations. "We're talking about generations and generations of culture being destroyed," said New York-based Michael Covitt, chairman of the Malian Manuscript Foundation. "It's an outrage for the entire world."
I agree, it is an outrage. Whether or not anybody with the power to do so does anything except protest, remains to be seen. Nothing was done about the Buddahs.

Getting back to the destroyed tombs,
Meeting in St. Petersburg in Russia, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, last week placed the mausoleums on its list of sites in danger due to earlier attacks by the Islamists, said UNESCO spokesman Rony Amelan.
With that in mind, why did UNESCO side with the Palestinians in granting world heritage status to the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank city of Bethlehem?
UNESCO, the United Nations cultural body, overrode Israeli objections to urgently grant world heritage status to the church worshipped as the birthplace of Jesus. The 13-6 secret vote in Russia's Saint Petersburg to add the Church of the Nativity and its pilgrimage route to the prestigious list was received with rousing applause and a celebratory fist pump by the Palestinian delegation chief.
So while the UNESCO crew in their St. Petersburg meeting are decrying the Islamists' destruction of historic sites in Mali, they are rewarding the Islamists of Fatah with responsibility over the Church of the Nativity. The important thing, I imagine, is that no matter what happens, they absolutely must stick it to Israel.

So now, thanks to UNESCO, one more historical religious site will be overseen by Islamists. What can possibly go wrong?

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