Saturday, September 25, 2004

Musings On A Great William Faulkner Quote

Thanks to No Pasaran for making me aware of this great quote from William Faulkner:

A man's moral conscience is the curse he had to accept from the gods in order to gain from them the right to dream.

Obviously, Faulkner's perspective does not lie within the traditional Christian context. As Christians we would hardly call our moral conscience a curse. However, it is true that our moral conscience, and the feelings of elation and shame which emanate from our conscience, are inextricably linked to our ability to dream, and ultimately, to turn our dreams into reality.

God gave us a free will which, while limited by the dimensions of space and time, is not unlike his own. We can dream of something one day and set out on the path of turning that dream into a reality. History has proven one thing very clearly and profoundly; man can do almost anything he sets his mind to.

That being said, if I may be allowed to go off on a tangent, there are two things I can think of which humans have not been able to do:

1) Get something for nothing (no alchemy or perpetual motion machines)

2) Impede on others free will to choose where they will find meaning. One person can not make another love another person, and one can't make another person become a good person. Those are decisions that the individual can only make for himself.

Interestingly enough, God seems to have placed that second limitation on himself with regards to his dealings with us. He does not force us to love Him, nor does he try to force us to be good.

BBC Ambivalent Over The Destruction Of The West

Thanks to Little Green Footballs for making me aware of this article, entitled "Arabs Are Ambivalent Over Hostage Crisis":

The Arab media has presented the latest hostage crisis in Iraq as just another element in the bloody and chaotic pattern of violence in the country.

The issue of foreign hostages in Iraq was examined this week on the most heated discussion programme on the Middle East's most-watched television station, al-Jazeera.

In the programme The Opposite Direction a fiercely anti-American political analyst, Talat Rumayh, faced off against an Iraqi politician, Karim Badr.

In the Arab media the plight of Iraqis and Palestinians overshadows that of the hostages Mr. Rumayh claimed that the kidnappers were Iraqi resistance fighters and compared the number of their victims to the thousands of Iraqis, who had been killed:

"Two thousand people have been killed since the beginning of the attack on Falluja, which was dismissed in one report, one line or just a couple of words... while we keep hearing about the hostages. It's the hostages and the terrorists, always the terrorists," he said.

Karim Badr responded by saying all Iraq was disgraced by the beheadings.

"We have to prove our humanity. I am addressing my brethren in Iraq: These are masked creatures that resemble humans, who I am certain are uglier than their deeds," he said.

"Is the killing of people and exploding cars in the streets an act of resistance? Is the kidnapping and murder of people in this manner an act of resistance? I am certain they do not represent the Iraqi conscience in any way at all."

Viewers were unmoved. In a phone poll 93% supported the kidnappings.

It seems to be hard for BBC to keep perspective on the situation. Those 2000 people who died in Fallujah were Islamists bent on creating a government by and for Sharia, not by and for the people.

But, the most disgraceful thing about this BBC article is that it's headline says "Arabs are ambivalent," but then it's actual contents show that 93% support the taking of hostages.

That doesn't sound like ambivalence to me.

The BBC is ambivalent about facing facts. The BBC is ambivalent about who should the war, apparently.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Ex-Presidents Weigh In On Iraq War

Well, now all the ex-Presidents have weighed in with their opinion on the Iraq War. George H.W. Bush , yes. Bill Clinton, yes. Jimmy Carter:

As former President Jimmy Carter walked into the Woodruff P.E. Center Wednesday evening, Emory students and faculty gave him a standing ovation.

During his speech, Carter called the war in Iraq one of the most “gross and damaging mistakes our nation ever made.”

Carter said that if he could change one thing about America’s current foreign policy, “it would be to have someone in charge of it instead of George W. Bush.”

In my opinion, George H.W. Bush was a fair to weak President. Bill Clinton was the best peace-time President in the history of the United States, not counting the first twenty years of America history. And Jimmy Carter? Well, he was perhaps the worst President in the History of Presidents. If Liberace was somehow clone-crossed with Caesar Nero and was born a schmaltzy violinist, that would be Jimmy Carter fiddling while America was burning. Do you get me?

When you consider that the takeover of Iran by fundamentalist Muslims happened under Jimmy Carter's watch, I would say that a case can be made for the idea that it was Jimmy Carter who singlehandedly got us into our current predicament.

So, to sum up: the average President, G.H.W. Bush, says, good idea. The great President, Clinton, says, good idea. The worst President ever says, bad idea.

And John Kerry says all of the above and more. Does that tell you anything?

Oh wait, you say I forgot about Gerald Ford? He's still alive. Yeah, I know. But, really, can you blame me for forgetting about him? Was he really a President?

By the way, Praise be to Allah.

More Anti-Semitism On The BBC

Melanie Phillips notes yet another example of anti-Semitism on BBC Television:

For the second week running, BBC Radio Four's Any Questions last weekend reinforced the sense that decency in this country is simply dying. Dr David Starkey, the noted historian, wit and larger-than-life personality who made his name and his fortune as 'the rudest man in Britain', suddenly came out with a piece of the ripest and most ancient prejudice. Musing about the war in Iraq, he said:

'The action in Iraq was driven by one thing, and it was a very understandable desire for vengeance. Americans again are a little bit like Jews (murmur from audience), let me please, I'm being really serious, I'm not calling names but calling for us to understand a different mindset. Here (presumably, he means in England) the notion of vengeance is on the whole regarded as deplorable... In Judaism, Islam and American Protestantism vengeance is a wholly acceptable notion (audience murmur) ... that's the truth, and after 9/11 they wanted to strike back. And that is it. End of story'.

Well I don't know enough about the theology of Islam or American Protestantism, but I doubt whether either regards vengeance as 'wholly acceptable'. What I do know is that in Judaism this is the very opposite of the truth. It is an ancient prejudice that the Jews 'do vengeance', based on an ignorant misunderstanding of the Biblical injunction to take 'an eye for an eye'. In fact, for Jews this doctrine is a limitation on any action that is taken after an offence is committed to ensure that any response is no more than proportionate. In other words, it is all about fairness and justice, not vengeance at all. The claim that for Jews 'vengeance is wholly acceptable' is totally untrue and a racial smear.

This idea that the Jews are vengeful is, in fact, one of the most deeply entrenched, vicious prejudices about the Jews -- and one that currently surfaces again and again in the language used to describe Israel's defence against terror. In other words, whenever the Jews try to prevent themselves from being murdered, this is presented not as self defence but vengeance. When the Americans tried to prevent another 9/11, this was not self-defence but vengeance. (Starkey's inclusion of Islam appeared to be a lame attempt to camouflage the outrageous prejudice of his opinion).

Clearly, in his world view there are certain categories of people who are not entitled to defend themselves against mass murder by removing from the scene those who would perpetrate it. They are instead, it seems, people apart, incapable of the instinct that Starkey himself would presumably have if threatened with annihilation to try to prevent it happening. And note also how subliminally he implied that the Americans were only doing the Jews' bidding in this display of primitive and uncivilised instinct.

So let us not call names but try to understand a different mindset -- the dynamics of ugly prejudice, which reveal that in the most educated of company barbarism may be masked by the thinnest of polished veneers.

American Protestantism is like Judaism in one sense; that is, neither have a central clearinghouse for ideas. The Catholic Church has the Vatican. But, neither American Protestantism, nor Judaism, have such an institution. Instead both have a group of individual denominations with little agreement between them.

I know of not a single denomination that has come out with a statement supporting the War. On the other hand, I know of one denomination who, as an institution, disagrees with the war; the Quakers. In addition, the Presbyterian Church has come out with an official statement against Israel's wall, which to my mind is a statement regarding the War, in that Israel is dealing with the same enemy (Islamofascism) as is the U.S.

On behalf of "American Protestantism" I will say that the war is never discussed in the church I attend. There has never been an attempt by the leaders of my church to justify the war on Biblical grounds. I am affiliated with three other churches, with whom I do business, and whose services I therefore attend on a semi-regular basis. The most that has ever been said about the "War" at any one of those three churches was to pose the vague question,

"How can we have War when the Kingdom of God is supposed to be peaceful?"

There was no attempt to justify the War in the ensuing message. Instead there was merely an attempt to reconcile the fractured emotional/psychological reality of living simultaneously "in the Kingdom" (meaning having the Holy Spirit within so that one is part of God's peaceful Kingdom) and living in a world at War. The message dealt with emotions, not political justification.

One of the four churches I attend is clearly Pacifisit in philosophy. What's more, the missionaries whose work in China I support, are against the War in Iraq, and I believe are against war in general.

George Bush, contrary to popular opinion, has never cited God or scripture to justify the War on Terror.

The closest George Bush did come to citing scripture as a principle in the War on Terror was when he made the statement shortly after 9/11 that, "Those who are not for us are against us." It is my opinion, that it is this statement which is the real "stone in the shoe" for Europeans and others who are in disagreement with American policy.

The statement, to be sure, somewhat vague and threatening. However, it is my opinion that Europeans have focused on this statement as a reason to hate America and demonize George Bush. This is childish behavior on the part of Europeans. Adults judge people by their actions. Children get deluded and entranced by words.

What did George Bush mean by that statement? If you want to understand the meaning, look at America's behavior.

Certainly, the statement has not turned into policy in any extreme sense. France, Germany, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, to name but a few are clearly not "for us." Yet, America continues to work with all these coutries in much the same way as pre-9/11.

There is another lesser known statement by Jesus, that goes like this:

"He that is not against us, is for us."
Luke 9:50

If one looks at Geore Bush's/American behavior since 9/11 this seems to be a more accurate description of our policy.

The only area in which American policy has strictly conformed to the "not for us, is against us" maxim is in our dealings with "the terrorists and those who harbor them."

Back to the original point of this post, I do agree with Melanie Phillips that there is anti-Semitism in David Starkey's statement that "vengeance is a wholly acceptable" notion to "Jews." However, I think we've got to give the guy a little credit for at least trying to think.

It would be better is David Starkey actually broke down the different denominations of Judaism and learned what they have to say about War and vengeance. Even better, would be if Starkey understood that "Jews", as a group, actually intend to vote for Kerry by a 73-27% margin. It would also be instructive for David Starkey to know that just as there are many "Jews" who are neo-conservative, there are also a large number of Jews involved in anti-War organizations.

If Starkey would really break down his statement that "In Judaism ... vengeance is a wholly acceptable notion", I believe he would necessarily fall into a Clintonian sputter and begin questioning what the meaning of "is" is.

It is truly impossible to look at any one issue and say, "here is the Jewish position on this issue." If anything, Jews tend to be more liberal, and therefore more on the side of people who dislike Bush.

But what fun would anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism be without conflation?

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Bushitler Vs. Kofi Annan

Victor David Hanson has become one of my heroes in the past few years. Here, is this article from Opinion Journal, he uses his gifts to sum up our current situation in the world:

These are surreal times. Americans in Iraq are beheaded on videotape. Russian children are machine-gunned in their schools. The elderly in Israel continue to be blown apart on buses. No one--whether in Madrid, Istanbul, Riyadh, Bali, Tel Aviv or New York--is safe from the Islamic fascist, whose real enemy is modernism and Western-inspired freedom of the individual.

Despite the seemingly disparate geography of these continued attacks, we are always familiar with the similar spooky signature: civilians dismembered by the suicide belt, car bomb, improvised explosive device and executioner's blade. Then follows the characteristically pathetic communiqué or loopy fatwa aired on al-Jazeera, evoking everything from the injustice of the Reconquista to some mythical grievance about Crusaders in the holy shrines. Gender equity in the radical Islamic world is now defined by the expendable female suicide bomber's slaughter of Westerners.

After setting up the situation he then lists six points with which President should have stunned the world with his liberalism over the past three years (Numbering system is mine):

1) In response to such international lawlessness, our global watchdog, the United Nations, had been largely silent. It abdicates its responsibility of ostracizing those states that harbor such mass murderers, much less organizes a multilateral posse to bring them to justice. And yet under this apparent state of siege, President Bush in his recent address to the U.N. offered not blood and iron--other than an obligatory "the proper response is not to retreat but to prevail"--but Wilsonian idealism, concrete help for the dispossessed, and candor about past sins. The president wished to convey a new multilateralist creed that would have made a John Kerry or Madeleine Albright proud, without the Churchillian "victory at any cost" rhetoric. Good luck.

2) For years, gay-rights activists and relief workers in Africa have complained that the U.S. did not take the lead in combating the world-wide spread of AIDS. President Bush now offers to spearhead the rescue of the world's infected, with $15 billion in American help in hopes that the world's financial powers--perhaps Japan, China and the European Union--might match or trump that commitment.

3) Nongovernmental organizations clamor about the unfairness of world trade that left the former Third World with massive debts run up by crooked dictators and complicit Western profiteers. President Bush now talks not of extending further loans to service their spiraling interest payments, but rather of outright grants to clean the slate and thus offer the impoverished a new start.

4) International women's rights groups vie for the world's attention to stop the shameful international trafficking in women and children, whether as chattel or sexual slaves. The president now pledges to organize enforcement to stop both the smugglers and the predators on the innocent.

5) For a half century, liberals rightly deplored the old realpolitik in the Middle East, as America and Europe supported autocratic right-wing governments on the cynical premises that they at least promised to keep pumping oil and kept out communists. Now President Bush not only renounces such past opportunism, but also confesses that "for too long, many nations, including my own, tolerated, even excused, oppression in the Middle East in the name of stability." He promises not complacency that ensures continual oppression, but radical changes that lead to freedom.

6) The Taliban and Saddam Hussein were once the United Nations' twin embarrassments, rogue regimes that thumbed their noses at weak U.N. protestations, slaughtered their own, invaded their neighbors, and turned their outlands into terrorist sanctuaries. Now they are gone, despite either U.N. indifference or veritable opposition to their removal. The United States sought not dictators in their place, but consensual government where it had never existed.

But, these six points have not helped Bush on the current world stage:

What was the response to Mr. Bush's new multifaceted vision? He was met with stony silence, followed by about seven seconds of embarrassed applause, capped off by smug sneers in the global media. Why so?

First, the U.N. is not the idealistic postwar organization of our collective Unicef and Unesco nostalgia, the old perpetual force for good that we once associated with hunger relief and peacekeeping. Its membership is instead rife with tyrannies, theocracies and Stalinist regimes. Many of them, like Algeria, Cuba, Iran, Vietnam and Zimbabwe, have served on the U.N.'s 53-member Commission on Human Rights. The Libyan lunocracy--infamous for its dirty war with Chad and cash bounties to mass murderers--chaired the 2003 session. For Mr. Bush to talk to such folk about the need to spread liberty means removing from power, or indeed jailing, many of the oppressors sitting in his audience.

Second, urging democratic reforms in Palestine, as Mr. Bush also outlined, is antithetical to the very stuff of the U.N., an embarrassing reminder that nearly half of its resolutions in the past half-century have been aimed at punishing tiny democratic Israel at the behest of its larger,more populous--and dictatorial--Arab neighbors. The contemporary U.N., then, has become not only hypocritical, but also a bully that hectors Israel about the West Bank while it gives a pass to a nuclear, billion-person China after swallowing Tibet; wants nothing to do with the two present dangers to world peace, a nuclear North Korea and soon to follow theocratic Iran; and idles while thousands die in the Sudan.

Third, the present secretary-general, Kofi Annan, is himself a symbol of all that is wrong with the U.N. A multibillion dollar oil-for-food fraud, replete with kickbacks (perhaps involving a company that his own son worked for), grew unchecked on his watch, as a sordid array of Baathist killers, international hustlers and even terrorists milked the national petroleum treasure of Iraq while its own people went hungry. In response, Mr. Annan stonewalls, counting on exemption from the New York press on grounds of his unimpeachable liberal credentials. Meanwhile, he prefers to denigrate the toppling of Saddam Hussein as "illegal," but neither advocates reinstitution of a "legal" Saddam nor offers any concrete help to Iraqis crafting consensual society. Like the U.N. membership itself, he enjoys the freedom, affluence and security of a New York, but never stops to ask why that is so or how it might be extended to others less fortunate.

Bush has become a man of great liberal vision. The world and half of America do not agree. I wonder how it is that they can not see what is right in front of their eyes.

If Bush accomplishes what he has set out to do, then History will side with him. If Bush fails, it will be disastrous for America and, as a result, it will be disastrous for the rest of the world, who are all lined up at the feeding trough of American money, ideas, and inspiration.

Yet, it is clear, that the world is rooting against George Bush and America. And it is clear that half of America is reeling and tottering, as if they had been hit in the head, from the negativity of the rest of the world. This is a very sad state of affairs.'

The only thing that will save us now is, for the half of America who believes in Bush's vision, to shore up their attitude with a good dose of American "rugged individualism". Because it looks like we, for the most part, are going to have to complete the tasks which lie ahead of us alone.

Reuter's Bravely Fights For Freedom Of Speech In The Muslim World

Yes, the headline is sarcastic.

Thanks to Little Green Footballs for making me aware of this article from Apparently, Reuter's Global Managing Editor has admitted that Arab intimidation influences the way his news agency presents stories:

HonestReporting has repeatedly denounced media outlets' categorical refusal to call terrorists 'terrorists' in news reports (see our special report on this topic).

As Islamic terror continues to spread worldwide, one major news outlet decided that enough is enough ― it's time to call terrorism by its name. CanWest, owners of Canada's largest newspaper chain, recently implemented a new editorial policy to use the 'T-word' in reports on brutal terrorist acts and groups.

So when CanWest's National Post published a Reuters report on Sept. 14, they exercised their right to change this Reuters line that whitewashes Palestinian terror:

... the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which has been involved in a four-year-old revolt against Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank. (Jeffrey Heller, 9/13 'Sharon Faces Netanyahu Challenge')

to this, more accurate line:

... the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a terrorist group that has been involved in a four-year-old campaign of violence against Israel.

Reuters didn't like the adjustment, and took the unusual step of officially informing CanWest that if it intended to continue this practice, CanWest should remove Reuters' name from the byline. Why? The New York Times reported (emphasis added):

"Our editorial policy is that we don't use emotive words when labeling someone," said David A. Schlesinger, Reuters' global managing editor. "Any paper can change copy and do whatever they want. But if a paper wants to change our copy that way, we would be more comfortable if they remove the byline."

Mr. Schlesinger said he was concerned that changes like those made at CanWest could lead to "confusion" about what Reuters is reporting and possibly endanger its reporters in volatile areas or situations.

"My goal is to protect our reporters and protect our editorial integrity," he said.
Schlesinger (right) with Reuters' news exec Stephen Jukes, who instructed editors not to call 9/11 'terror,' since 'one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.' [Schlesinger repeated this statement in a recent
radio interview with CBC, when he described the 'serious consequences' if certain 'people in the Mideast' were to believe Reuters called such men 'terrorists.']

This is a stunning admission.

In every other news arena, western journalists pride themselves on bravely 'telling it as is,' regardless of their subjects' (potentially hostile) reactions.

Scott Anderson, editor-in-chief of CanWest Publications, said that Reuters' policy 'undermine[s] journalistic principles,' and raised the key question: 'If you're couching language to protect people, are you telling the truth?'

An editorial in the Ottawa Citizen, one of CanWest's newspapers, spells out the issue in black and white:

Terrorism is a technical term. It describes a modus operandi, a tactic. We side with security professionals who define terrorism as the deliberate targeting of civilians in pursuit of a political goal. Those who bombed the nightclub in Bali were terrorists. Suicide bombers who strap explosives to their bodies and blow up people eating in a pizza parlour are terrorists. The men and women who took a school full of hostages in Beslan, Russia, and shot some of the children in the back as they tried to flee to safety were terrorists. We as journalists do not violate our impartiality by describing them as such.

Ironically, it is supposedly neutral terms like 'militant' that betray a bias, insofar as they have a sanitizing effect. Activists for various political causes can be 'militant,' but they don't take children hostage.

* * *
The CanWest/Reuters affair is remarkably similar to
CNN's Iraqi cover-up from last year, when CNN's top news executive admitted that CNN's knowledge of murder, torture, and planned assassinations in Saddam's Iraq was suppressed in order to maintain CNN's Baghdad bureau.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I Always Thought Jimmy Swaggart Was Kind Of Cute


09-22) 12:45 PDT BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) --

Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart apologized Wednesday for saying in a televised worship service that he would kill any gay man who looked at him romantically.

A complaint was filed with a Canadian broadcasting group, and Swaggart said his Baton Rouge-based Jimmy Swaggart Ministries has received complaints from gay groups over the remarks made on the Sept. 12 telecast.

In the broadcast, Swaggart was discussing his opposition to gay marriage when he said "I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry."

"And I'm going to be blunt and plain: If one ever looks at me like that, I'm going to kill him and tell God he died," Swaggart said to laughter and applause from the congregation.

On Wednesday, Swaggart said he has jokingly used the expression "killing someone and telling God he died" thousands of times, about all sorts of people. He said the expression is figurative and not meant to harm.

"It's a humorous statement that doesn't mean anything. You can't lie to God -- it's ridiculous," Swaggart told The Associated Press. "If it's an insult, I certainly didn't think it was, but if they are offended, then I certainly offer an apology."

I actually kind of believe Swaggart's explanation. However, I must say I'm getting really tired of this stuff.

We Christians have got to stop tolerating this kind of "humor" from our brothers and sisters.

Israel Must Be Wiped Off The Map
We Will Crush America Under Our Feet

One thing that has come to amaze me about the world's media is how often they run a story which is important in some sense, but which contains an even more important point which they mention, but do not at all highlight. In this story, about how Israel might deal with Iran's emerging nuclear capability (500 pound bunker buster bombs anybody?), we have this little gem:

Western diplomats believe that America, or Israel, could resort to air strikes against nuclear facilities. Israel's bombing of Saddam Hussein's Osirak reactor in 1981, which set back Iraq's nuclear programme, is held up as a model of "pre-emptive action".

Iran has placed some of its facilities, such as the large Natanz enrichment plant, in protected underground sites. Teheran has vowed to retaliate against any attack, and at one point said it might launch pre-emptive strikes if it felt threatened.

Seeking to underline the point, Iran showed off its ballistic missiles at an annual military parade in Teheran near the mausoleum of Iran's revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Khomeini. A banner proclaiming "Israel must be wiped off the map" was draped on the side of a 450-mile Shahab-2 missile. Another saying "We will crush America under our feet" graced a trailer carrying a 930-mile Shahab-3 missile.

Note the lack of of a qualifying "if" in these proclamations. Iran does not say they will "crush America" if we do something particularly egregious to Iran. Apparently, we have already passed the point of no return.

This is called a death threat, my friends.

One of the lessons of World War II is we need to listen to our enemies when they tell us they are going to kill us. Hitler made his intentions very clear years before he set out to turn them into reality.

I have heard it said, on numerous occasions, that we should not take such threats seriously because they are simply examples of Arab bombast. I believe this to be an objection which is, simultaneously, naiive and racist. Naiive because, clearly in the case of Iran, the leaders of the country have been standing in front of crowds shouting "death to America" for 25 years now.

However, it is the racism, inherent in refusing to take the words of entire people seriously, that is particularly offensive.

If you do not take a person's words seriously it means that you do not truly believe in their validity or volitional ability as a human being. In other words, you do not truly believe they are capable of representing their beliefs and feelings, and you do not believe that they have the will to turn their beliefs into reality. In the micro-world, we only take children and insane people with so little seriousness.

Now clearly, Iran, at this point, does not have the ability to "crush America" under it's feet. Such a feat would require weapons of Mass Destruction. But, that's what this Telegraph article is about, isn't it?

1) Iran is in the process of setting up systems which are capable of producing nuclear weapons.

2) Iran is parading missiles which are capable of delivering those weapons to American and Israeli targets.

3) Iran is proclaiming that they will destroy Israel and America.

What else do we need to understand?

We need to cease this racist notion that Arabs are incapable of articulating and accomplishing their goals. We need to take their words and deeds very seriously.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Accidental Metaphorist

IraqWarWrong, over at The Iraq War Was Wrong Blog, gives an accurate, if metaphorical, description of the Kerry campaign thus far:

So I sit down as I do every nite to watch my TIVO of Letterman and Kilborn(the BEST). Turns out Letterman had JON KERRY(yes, that Jon Kerry) on tonight.

And what! My TV picks tonite of all tonites to have the sound crap out! So I'm stuck watching with no sounds.

But relly it's still pretty good(I can tell).It looks like Kerry is talking about serious Policy. (Policy issues). I like what he's doing with his Hands. They are parallel (to eadch other), perpendicular (to the ground), move up and down slightly (like he's grasping a small tree trunk(young spruce, something like that) ready to shinny up). Both thumbs up extended(slightly). They (the hands) move up and down (in unison - coordinated) to punctuate some Point he wants to Emphasize (I assume.)

Good, serious statesmanship there.

It's literal demonstration of how he has a good Grasp of the Issues.Wait now he's started counting something off. Left hand counting something off (bullet points?) on fingers of right hand. I wonder what that is (Probably all the ways in which the W of W. stands for wrong i.e. enumerating Wrongnesses (at least, the top 5).

His fingers look very long Anyone else notice this?

I know IraqWarWrong is a serious Kerry supporter and all,

and I know IraqWarWrong appears to be of too pure a heart to create anything as duplicitous and conspiratorial as a metaphor,

but dang, that's some funny stuff.

Center For Freedom In The Middle East

Thanks to Jihad Watch for making me aware of this announcement from the Center For Freedom In The Middle East. Jihad Watch posts this as a "important announcement from Walid Phares." I've read Walid Phare and this does not sound like his writing. Maybe they meant to say that Walid Phares referrered the announcement over to them.

Whatever the case, this is very good news:

Why a Middle Eastern American Convention for Freedom and Democracy?
Writing to the President of the United States and the US Congress, we relayed a common position reached by a number of Mideast-American leaders and organizations about a historic event to be organized by the largest and most diversed coalition of Mideast Americans ever formed in America.

Over the past few months, intense discussions and many meetings were held by a large number of Mideast-Americans from all religious, ethnic, cultural and social background to assess US position in the Middle East and towards Americans from Mideast descent at home.

American organizations and groups from Lebanese, Iraqi, Syrian, Egyptian, Sudanese, Iranian and other Arab and Mideast backgrounds, met and evaluated the War on Terrorism, the liberation of Afghanistan, the removal of dictator Saddam Hussein, as well as important actions towards the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, the genocide in Sudan, Iran's democracy movement as well as the issues of women, freedoms and education in the broader Middle East.

It is becoming a reality in the United States that most Mideastern-Americans believe in the following facts:

1) Numbers: There are about 4 million Americans from Mideast ancestry. They encompass many ethnicities such as: Arab, ChaldoAssyrians, Lebanese, Persian, Kurds, Sudanese Africans, Copts, Berbers, Turkic, Aramaic, and others. They also belong to many religions and faiths including: Sunnis, Shiites, Maronites, Nestorian, Druze, Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Melkite, Bahais, Zoroaistrans, Jews, etc.

2) Issues: The overwhelming majority of this diverse Mideast-American community loves its country, the United States and stands firmly in support of National Security, Democracy and Pluralism. It is true that Wahabism and other anti-American ideologies are prevalent among a number of immigrants and visiting students from Mideast descent. But the majority, mostly silent, of all Mideast and Arab Americans, not only is opposed to these radical doctrines, but strongly supports the US Government policies on the Middle East and on Terrorism:
a. War on Terror: Overwhelmingly Mideast and Arab Americans are against al Qaida and support the US against Terrorism.

b. War in Iraq: Most Mideast and Arab Americans opposed Saddam and endorsed his removal.
c. Homeland Security: Most Mideast and Arab Americans stand by their Government, nation and support the principles of the Patriot Act. d. Human Rights: A very large manjority of Mideast Americans endorses the promotion of Democracy and the rule of Law in their mother countries. They support freedom for civil societies and increasing rights to women, minorities as well as religious and political tolerance.

Therefore, and after they've noticed how the critics have been trying to undermine the Mideast initiatives triggered by the United States, both overseas and at home, the leaders of most Mideast organizations in America have decided to express their support to the vision and the actions by the US Government in public. They have organized a major national event in Washington, DC to tell the world and the American people, on whose side they are. They want to express their gratitude to the President of the United States, to his Administration and to the US Congress for standing by Freedom in the Middle East.

The leaders of the organizations have formed a coalition and are now working on a Mideast American Convention to be held in Washington on Friday, October 1, 2004 at the Wardman Park Marriott. Speakers will express these views at a forum as well as during the dinner.

If you click on this link you can see who is involved in the event. And George Bush is the Guest Of Honor.

Yes, this is great news. Possibly some of the best news to have come out since the beginning of the War On Terror.

Monday, September 20, 2004


Angry? Who? Me?

How Deep Is Your Love?

Down, down the rabbit hole. Thanks to Roger Simon for making me aware of this, from Fox News:

NEW YORK — It began as a U.N. humanitarian aid program called "Oil-for-Food," but it ended up with Saddam Hussein (search) pocketing billions to become the biggest graft-generating machine ever and enriching some of America's most forceful opponents at the United Nations (search).

Plus, some evidence suggests that some of the money ended up in the hands of potential terrorists who are opposed to the United States.

The roots of the scandal date back to 1991, when a U.N.-backed and U.S.-led coalition expelled Saddam from Kuwait following his hostile takeover of the neighboring country. Although Saddam lost the war, he walked away with one important victory -- he got to stay in power in Iraq.

Thirteen years later, a second U.S.-led coalition made of a smaller group of nations than the first effort finally knocked Saddam out of business. And it did so without the help of the United Nations, which failed to pass a resolution backing the U.S. effort.

As the death toll rises in Iraq -- the number of U.S. military casualties is now above 1,000 and Iraqi citizens continue to die daily from insurgent attacks -- the question arises: Can the United Nations help now?

A new FOX News poll finds that 54 percent of the U.S. public believes the United Nations does not reflect the values of average Americans. Only 29 percent say that U.N. policies reflect said values.

“I believe the U.N., parts of it, have been corrupt for years. But this went to a whole new level,” said Rep. Christopher Shays (search), R-Conn., chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations.

But why did these countries really object to a second U.S.-led war against Iraq?
Some evidence suggests that those countries that said they were opposing the Bush administration on principle were actually making billions from Oil-for-Food.

“I think clearly, American blood is in the hands of a number of European countries, who could have put pressure on Saddam, who could've looked him in the eye and said, ‘the United States is coming in,'" Shays said. “And to me, some of the explanation clearly has to be the Oil-for-Food program.”

Shays added that there is a chance some of the insurgents now operating against the United States and the new Iraqi government are using Oil-for-Food money in their terror campaign.

“I think it's not only possible that insurgents are using Oil-for-Food money -- I think it's very likely,” Shays said.

One casualty was Ihasan Karim (search), the Iraqi official heading an inquiry into the Oil-for-Food program. On July 1, a bomb placed under his car exploded in Baghdad, killing him, and U.S. officials in Iraq told FOX News that they believe Oil-for-Food was the motive in the assassination. That wouldn't surprise Shays.

“I don’t know who murdered him. But I can tell you this: There are a lot of people who don't want this story to come out,” Shays said.

Shays places part of the blame on people inside the United Nations, even though U.N. officials authorized an independent investigation into the scandal.

“They’re doing this investigation, but only after they were outed by an Iraqi free press, and a government leak from the Iraqi governing council,” Shays said.

Shays said the man heading up the probe, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker (search), has a tough job ahead.

Dumb 'murikin here again. So wait a minute here now, yur sayin' that them Frenchies, and the Krauts, and that gosh durn Osama bin Whatsapaloozi, and that Sodom Hussane, and the damn UN was all colludin' against us?

Boy, I'll tell you, who woulda thunk it?

Repeat With Me
France Is Our Friend - France Is Our Friend - France Is Our Friend

From The London Telegraph:

The Italian businessman at the centre of a furious row between France and Italy over whose intelligence service was to blame for bogus documents suggesting Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy material for nuclear bombs has admitted that he was in the pay of France.

The man, identified by an Italian news agency as Rocco Martino, was the subject of a Telegraph article earlier this month in which he was referred to by his intelligence codename, "Giacomo".

His admission to investigating magistrates in Rome on Friday apparently confirms suggestions that - by commissioning "Giacomo" to procure and circulate documents - France was responsible for some of the information later used by Britain and the United States to promote the case for war with Iraq.

Italian diplomats have claimed that, by disseminating bogus documents stating that Iraq was trying to buy low-grade "yellowcake" uranium from Niger, France was trying to "set up" Britain and America in the hope that when the mistake was revealed it would undermine the case for war, which it wanted to prevent.

See, the problem with them Frenchies being so full of nuance and all is that we 'murikins just ain't smart enough to keep up with them and their fancypantsin'.

Dad gurnit, who woulda thunk of that one; an Eyetalian distributin' fony Nigerian documents? Jesus H. Christ!

Besides, I thought we wasn't supposed to use that Nigerian word anymore.

Hell? Yes! But War? Hell No!

John Kerry was out displaying his fine gift for nuance again today:

NEW YORK (AP) - Staking out new ground on Iraq, Sen. John Kerry said Monday he would not have overthrown Saddam Hussein had he been in the White House, and he accused President Bush of “stubborn incompetence,” dishonesty and colossal failures of judgment.

“Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell,” he added. “But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war.

So, John Kerry would send the man to hell, but he would not make war on him. He would rather the Iraqi people continue to live in Saddam's earthly hell before old age dispatches Saddam to "his own special place in hell."

Or something like that.

The Fourth Branch Of Government And The New Media War

Roger Simon makes a good point:

According to the NYT, CBS is about to announce they were "misled" on the National Guard memos. It's worth noting that CBS is not even sure they want to acknowledge their mistake:

But they cautioned that CBS News could still pull back from an announcement. Officials met last night with Dan Rather, the anchor who presented the report, to go over the information it had collected about the documents one last time before making a final decision. Mr. Rather was not available for comment late last night.

... the Times calls it sources CBS News "officials," as if they were some governmental agency, not business "executives," which they are. Doesn't that say it all?

Yeah, I think that does say it all. It has become increasingly obvious since the leadup to the Iraq War that much of the American Media is attempting to enforce a totalitarian state wherein they

1) write the laws dictating the parameters of words and ideas,

2) control the borders of information and the transportation of information across those borders, and

3) act as judge and jury in addition to carrying out the executions of the character of people who transgress against their unwritten laws.

This is why the rise of bloggers is such an important victory for Democracy. The Media has attempted to hijack our governmental system by controlling the flow of ideas and information. Bloggers, thanks to the miracle of the internet, have been able to subvert this coup by attacking the Media in much the same way the terrorists attack the United States; that is through the priniciples of asymetrical warfare. The Media have the money and the guided weapons systems, hell they may even be hiding some weapons of mass destruction, but they can not stop the lone pajama-clad blogger tapping away in the middle of the night.

However, I must make it clear, that while we bloggers are on the diminutive side of this asymmetrical war it is the media the Media who are clearly on the terrorist side. They are the ones who are taking over schools and stringing their explosives up behind lecterns and onto basketball hoops. All you have to do is look at Dan Rather to know that he is wearing a suicide bomb belt. And it's about to go off any minute now.

No, bloggers can not be the terrorists because we exist in a capitalist democractic system, not by choice but by virtue of the very medium of blogging. That is to say, no blogger exists for himself. He exists for the blogosphere at large. Bloggers live to get their ideas out into the blogosphere so they can prompt a discussion. There is no greater thrill for a blogger than to have one of his posts linked to in the post of another blogger. This carrot trumps all. When a bloggers ideas are linked to, that means they are being discussed. And if they are being discussed, that means they are being dissected. And if they are being dissected, they, by virtue (once again) of the nature of the medium of blogger, will be refined.

Bad ideas do not have a long shelf life on the grander scale of the blogosphere. Just as in the free market system the more efficient and less expensive products will ultimately win out, in the free market of the blogosphere it is the more efficient and less costly idea which will triumph.

This is not to say that there are not a lot of bad ideas running through the blogosphere. There are plenty. Infact, I think most bloggers would declare, right along with me, the portion of the unwritten motto of blogging which says,

"There are probably a lot of bad ideas of my very own blog."

But this Media war is a Darwinian war. Natural selection will win in the end.