Democracy In The Middle EastFaster Please
From an article by Victor David Hanson, via National Review
... what makes Americans think we can plop down a democracy on the ashes of Saddam's Gulag, or see free elections in a Beirut that was once the Murder, Inc. of the 1970s and 1980s? How can we even imagine that Dr. Zawahiri's dream of theocracy won't follow from the end of the Mubarak dictatorship?
As the ripples from Iraq and Afghanistan spread, we are warned that success, not failure, is our new concern: The problem is not that the Middle East cannot vote, but that it can — and that the results will be worse than the mess that preceded it.
Aside from the fact that we could never have even dreamed of such a "problem" less than four years ago when an ash cloud hovered over the crater in Manhattan, we need to reflect on a few often-forgotten realities.
First, America had few alternatives. This war was never between good and bad choices, but always a call between something bad and something far worse. The challenge was not about a post-Nazi Germany, which for a decade and a half ruined the old protocols of Prussian parliamentarianism. Iraq was not quite like prompting post-Franco Spain to allow elections when surrounded by European democracies.
No, the dilemma was an exclusively autocratic Arab Middle East. It was a mess where every bankrupt and murderous notion — Soviet-style Communism, crack-pot Baathism, radical pan-Arabism, lunatic Khadafism, "moderate" monarchy, old-style dictatorship, and eighth-century theocracy — had been tried and had failed, with terrible consequences well before September 11.
Only democracy was new. And only democracy — and its twin of open-market capitalism — offered any hope to end the plague of tribalism, gender apartheid, human-rights abuses, religious fanaticism, and patriarchy that so flourished within such closed societies.
It was not just idealism but rather abject desperation that fueled the so-called neoconservative quest to try something new.
Second, while the nature of man remains unchanged, how he communicates has been reinvented. What is bringing the Middle East to the crisis stage is the spread into traditional societies of Western-style popular culture, liberality, and materialism — with all its destabilizing and unforeseen consequences. DVDs, the Internet, rap music, wide-open television and movies — all this and more have titillated once-closed cultures.
Just as Western globalization reminds the Arab Street of what it is missing out on, so too it can offer instantaneous encouragement and support for political reform in a way impossible just years earlier. Demonstrations are flashed onto millions of television screens. Dissidents can fly back and forth to the Middle East in hours ...
While it is accurate to say that there is almost no history of free voting in the Middle East, one can also hope that millions of Arabs see and learn from democracy everyday as they watch European, American, Turkish, and now Iraqi and Afghan democratic societies in action.
Democracy is now the rule, not the exception, and the Arab world is not so much in fear of going out on a limb as of being left behind.
Finally, there were historical accidents that helped to isolate the Arab world in ways that precluded the democratic evolution now going on in unlikely places like Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Most important was the curse of oil. Petroleum made the Middle East the battleground of the Cold War, where the West excused right-wing autocracy if it promised to keep Communists out and keep the oil flowing. Petrodollars, in turn, warped the economy, allowing corrupt elites to avoid structural reforms and to stave off internal revolt by bribing the masses with entitlements, which only created greater appetites and resentment all at once. Nigeria, Venezuela, and Mexico are proof enough how petroleum either ensures a corrupt status quo or makes it even worse.
It was not so much the creation of Israel but the startling success of the Jewish state in a sea of Arab failure that so distorted Middle East political discourse — and out of envy and pride diverted all indigenous failure onto the Jews. Their liberal and successful nation, in an otherwise inhospitable terrain, was a daily reminder of what could be possible in such an impoverished region. The Israelis, after all, had plenty of enemies, no oil, few people — and yet thrived in the desert in a manner unthinkable in Egypt, Jordan, or Syria.
There is still oil and there is still Israel. Yet slowly there has grown a new realism about both. While elite Westerners may drive to their 'no blood for oil' rallies in upscale cars, in the Middle East most acknowledge that oil is not stolen, but hawked at sky-high prices.
The villain is no longer the old idea of Aramco or 'big oil,' but the absence of transparency that allows an Arab elite to rake in billions without popular scrutiny. For all the hatred of Israel, millions in the Middle East are beginning to see that Arafat was more a kleptocrat than a leader, and that Israel, not Syria, got out of Lebanon.
In Iraq, we do not see mass rallies castigating Americans for the presence of oil tankers in the Gulf or protests daily damning the Jews. Iraqi democrats control their own oil and have enough problems with car bombs and Islamists without wasting time blaming them on Israel.
None of us know whether we are witnessing the foundations of radical and positive changes in the Middle East, or false starts and brief detours from the usual pathologies. Many of us have written of the perils in thinking that mere voting is ipso facto the answer. But for better or worse, here we are and we can only press on in ways that transcend even threatening tyrants and encouraging reformers.
Sooner rather than later, Americans must also face the embarrassing fact that giving billions to the Egyptian dictator Mubarak, providing good-behavior money to the king of Jordan, and now giving jets to a Pakistani autocrat are all in the long-term as damaging to the United States' efforts to reform the Middle East as they are in the present smoothing the ruffled feathers of hurt strongmen.
The next problem we face is not that we have pushed democracy too abruptly in once-hostile lands, but that we have not pushed it enough into so-called friendly territory. It is, of course, dangerous to promote democracy in the Middle East, but more dangerous still to pause in our efforts, and, finally, most dangerous of all to quit before seeing this bold gambit through to its logical end — an end that alone will end the pathologies that led to September 11.
It takes a tremendous amount of faith and will to push such a project through to the end. It seems like it would be tempting to make a quick exit soon, and rest on our successes. It would be easy to say, "Of course, this war is very expensive for America, and we're not really having any trouble with those terrorists anymore, maybe we should get out."
Such a decision would probably lead to disaster within a few years. Can you imagine how let down the people of Lebanon would be, if we didn't see through on our promise? Can you imagine how emboldened the Mullahs of Iran would be if, after all our bluster about not allowing them to have nuclear weapons, we simply pulled out?
We must see this through to the end. I believe George Bush knows that. I hope he does.
Rain rolls of a rosary placed on the hand of a Pope John Paul II statue at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, Saturday, April 2, 2005 in Washington.
(AP Photo/Haraz Ghanbari)
Jews Are Vermin
Thanks to Little Green Footballs for making me aware of this cartoon which appeared in the Arab News
, a daily paper owned by the Saudi family. As Charles notes, this slur was also a favorite of the Nazi's
America Is An Ecological Disaster Area ...NotHow Capitalism Will Save The Environment
From Jonah Goldberg at Town Hall
The bad news is that a new United Nations report says the world's coming to an end.
But, first, some good news: America's doing great!
Seriously, forests are breaking out all over America. New England has more forests since the Civil War. In 1880, New York State was only 25 percent forested. Today it is more than 66 percent. In 1850, Vermont was only 35 percent forested. Now it's 76 percent forested and rising. In the South, more land is covered by forest than at any time in the last century. In 1936 a study found that 80 percent of piedmont Georgia was without trees. Today nearly 70 percent of the state is forested. In the last decade alone, America has added more than 10 million acres of forestland.
There are many reasons for America's arboreal comeback. We no longer use wood as fuel, and we no longer use as much land for farming. Indeed, the amount of land dedicated to farming in the United States has been steadily declining even as the agricultural productivity has increased astronomically. There are also fewer farmers. Only 2.4 percent of America's labor force is dedicated to agriculture, which means that fewer people live near where the food grows.
The literal greening of America has added vast new habitats for animals, many of which were once on the brink of extinction. Across the country, the coyote has rebounded (obviously, this is a mixed blessing, especially for roadrunners). The bald eagle is thriving. In Maine there are more moose than any time in memory. Indeed, throughout New England the populations of critters of all kinds are exploding. In New Jersey, Connecticut and elsewhere, the black bear population is rising sharply. The Great Plains host more buffalo than at any time in more than a century.
And, of course, there's the mountain lion. There are probably now more of them in the continental United States than at any time since European settlement. This is bad news for deer, which are also at historic highs, because the kitties think "they're grrrreat!" In Iowa the big cat was officially wiped out in 1867, but today the state is hysterical about cougar sightings. One of the most annoying tics of the media is always to credit the notion that human-animal encounters are the result of mankind "intruding" on America's dwindling wild places. This is obviously sometimes the case. But it is also sometimes the case that America's burgeoning wild places are intruding on us.
Anyway, there's more good news, of course. According to Gregg Easterbrook, air pollution is lower than it has been in a generation, drinking water is safer, and our waterways are cleaner.
America's environmental revival is a rich and complicated story with many specific exceptions, caveats and, of course, setbacks. But the overarching theme is pretty simple: The richer you get, the healthier your environment gets. This is because rich societies can afford to indulge their environmental interests and movements. Poor countries cannot.
Unsurprisingly, rich countries tend to have a better grasp of economics and the role of markets, private stewardship and property rights, reasonable regulations, and so forth. With the exception of some oil-rich states, they're also almost always democratic and hence have systems that can successfully assign blame to, and demand restitution from, polluters.
So, when will Hollywood stop making movies about how corporate greed is destroying the world?
In The Presence Of The Lord
Pope John Paul II has gone to be in the Presence of the Lord. Let us remember one of his great accomplishments
BERLIN - Karol Wojtyla became a priest in 1946, just as the Iron Curtain descended across Europe. The inspiration he provided as Pope John Paul II helped to tear it down.
Lech Walesa, founder of the Solidarity movement that toppled communism in Poland in 1989-90, recalled the power of John Paul's visit to Warsaw in 1979. It was the first to his homeland after becoming pope a year earlier, and he ended Mass with a prayer for the Holy Spirit to "renew the face of the Earth," words that became a rallying cry.
"We know what the pope has achieved. Fifty percent of the collapse of communism is his doing," Walesa told The Associated Press on Friday. "More than one year after he spoke these words, we were able to organize 10 million people for strikes, protests and negotiations.
"Earlier we tried, I tried, and we couldn't do it. These are facts. Of course, communism would have fallen, but much later and in a bloody way. He was a gift from the heavens to us."
The pope's role in the fight against communism was largely symbolic and moral.
Soviet dictator Josef Stalin had once disparaged the influence of an earlier pope, as reported by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill: "The pope! How many divisions has he got?" Yet John Paul turned out to have forces at his disposal beyond the imagination of the communists who ruled Poland after Soviet troops occupied the country at the end of World War II.
Originally, the Polish secret police were not worried at Wojtyla's promotion to archbishop of Krakow in 1963, considering him a poet and apolitical dreamer.
His coronation as pope was different. The fact that a Pole, from an eastern Europe penned behind barbed wire, could become the most prominent religious figure in the West was immensely powerful, said Alexander Rahr, an expert on Russia and the Soviet Union at the German Council on Foreign Relations.
"For many Poles, it was the fact that one of their own made it in the West, which was closed at the time for Poland, made it to the top of the Catholic Church and played a political and moral role as one of the leaders in the world," said Rahr. "That mattered. It mattered politically; it mattered as a moral matter."
Pictures of John Paul giving his blessing or Holy Communion to a kneeling Walesa, himself a churchgoing Catholic, did much to undermine Poland's atheist regime. And the strong Catholic element in Solidarity helped make it a nonviolent movement, though its miners and factory workers could have purloined all the explosives they needed if terrorism had been their choice.
John Paul did not call for an open uprising against communism, and seemed to have a kind of rapport with Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, the Polish leader who imposed martial law in 1981 in a vain attempt to suppress Solidarity. Some think Jaruzelski's move saved restive Poland from a catastrophic Soviet invasion.
A few years later, a reform-minded Soviet leadership under Mikhail Gorbachev gave the long-suffering Poles their chance. Strikes in Gdansk in late 1988 forced the government into bargaining with the opposition in February 1989. The crumbling of party authority gathered speed and spread to Czechoslovakia, Hungary, East Germany, Romania and Bulgaria.
Poles say the pope's charismatic visits and Masses let people feel their collective power in defying the authorities.
Anna Bohdziewicz, who helped distribute underground books around the time of the pope's first visit to Poland, recalled the electrifying feeling in the huge crowd that formed even the day before the pope arrived, among people walking to Victory Square in Warsaw where he was to speak, and later during his Masses.
"This feeling was something absolutely new because people were together, happy and somehow free, because they came because they felt like it, putting flowers on the square where the Mass was supposed to be," said Bohdziewicz, 54.
"And the next year you had Solidarity, and it was the same feeling. I think it broke some kind of fear — I'm sure because suddenly people saw that there were a lot of people who feel the same, who think the same, and this was a kind of power."
The pope gave people confidence a peaceful struggle was not a pipe dream, said Tadeusz Mazowiecki, a Solidarity activist and Poland's first democratically elected prime minister after the fall of communism.
During that 1979 visit, "society felt its strength and saw that it was able to organize itself against the existing system — and especially toward a peaceful fight," Mazowiecki said.
"This is what the pope always taught us. When martial law was implemented, the pope never gave up. He constantly spoke about Solidarity — about holding it up and keeping it alive."
I pray that God will Bless the Catholic Church with another Pope who will stand for freedom and righteousness.
Chomsky: The Theory Unified and Deconstructed
There is an article, by John Williamson, posted over at Front Page Magazine currently, called Chomsky: The TheoryUnified and Deconstructed
. The ideas of Noam Chomsky are important to understand because he is the most quoted living author
and, as such, he exerts an enormous influence, not only upon academia, but upon popular culture as well. Much of the sputum that flies from the lips of people like Michael Moore, originates with Chomsky.
In my opinion, this is an important article to read for anyone who wants to understand the American political landscape. It is the first time I have ever seen anyone explain how the Linguistic ideas of Chomsky are related to his political ideas. As such, the article demonstrates how Chomsky has managed to poison the wells of almost all intellectual endeavor in the Humanities. The reason I think it is so worthwhile to understand this is because I think the article explains some basic lines of demarcation in our culture. In other words, I think it will help explain many political and social issues that come up.
The thing is, it is long and, in my opinion, needs to be read as a whole to be understood. I can not, at this time, find a way to edit it, so I will simply say, go read it
Polls Says65% Of American College Professors Are Communists
From Cal Thomas
College faculties are not only mostly liberal, but lean even further to the left than conservatives have imagined.
According to a study by professors at Smith College, George Mason University and the University of Toronto (they surveyed 1,643 full-time faculty at 183 four-year schools), 72 percent of professors at American universities labeled themselves liberal, while just 15 percent said they are conservative. 50 percent of faculty members identified themselves as Democrats and only 11 percent Republicans.
Political Science professors Robert Lichter of George Mason University, Neil Nevitte of the University of Toronto and Stanley Rothman of Smith College also found that 51 percent of those surveyed said they rarely or never attend church or synagogue.
These liberal leanings translate into liberal political beliefs. 84 percent of those surveyed are strongly or somewhat in favor of abortion rights, 67 percent think homosexuality is acceptable, 88 percent want more environmental protection “even if it raises prices or costs jobs” and 65 percent want the government to ensure full employment, which puts the professors to the left of the Democratic Party.
It doesn't just put them to the left of the Democratic Party. It makes them Communists.
One has to stop and ponder that for a moment to understand the magnitude of this fact. These are the people who are trusted to educate our best and brightest, starting at age eighteen.
I remember I had lunch with a Vice President at one of the major networks a few years ago. During the course of this lunch, this VP let it be known that she used to be a member of SDS. She admitted that she had "done very bad things, things for which I could have been arrested."
I will let you surmise what this women was trying to say.
Anyway, her nostalgia for those heady days of the 60's made her melancholy, and I'm sure the wine was helping. As the conversation progressed she admitted that she felt she had compromised her life by selling out to the corporate system. She lamented that the movement had not achieved their goals.
I stopped her and told her that the truth was that the leftists of the sixties had taken over academia, and the judicial system. This poll, and the events of the past few weeks involving state and federal courts, bear out the truth of what I told her that day.
Changing the subject, I have to wonder how that question about homosexuality was phrased. The way the result is phrased is absurd. Cal Thomas writes that "67% think that homosexuality is acceptable."
Of course, it's acceptable. What else would it be, not acceptable? Would we have a society where homosexuality is not acceptable? How, would we enforce that? By law? Would we have police ensuring moral conformity as they do under the Mullahs in Iran?
Post 9/11 I find myself siding with conservatives most of the time, but a good 15% of the time I find myself wanting to puke. Really, I don't simply want to tell you that I am disgusted by this. I want to convey the fact that I feel physically ill when I contemplate what kind of world some of my fellow Conservative Christians appear to desire.
I wish to God, Cal Thomas would clarify himself on this issue.
Pray For The Pope
Bolivian Woman, Mathilde Santander, prays for the health of Pope John Paul II, at Nuestra Senora da la Paz Cathedral in La Paz, Bolivia on April 1, 2005.
Mahmoud Abbas - A Symbolic President?
From the Christian Science Monitor
RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - Three months after campaigning for the presidency on a pledge to bring law and order to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Mahmoud Abbas's authority has been challenged on his home turf by a rampage of militant gunmen. The shooting escapade started late Wednesday night at the Muqata, Mr. Abbas's headquarters here, after officials ordered the eviction of armed fugitives who had been given refuge there by the late Yasser Arafat. After the gunmen from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades militia, which is affiliated with Abbas's Fatah movement, fired inside the compound, they went onto the street and shot up restaurants and stores. Although the shooting spree injured no one, it is raising fresh questions about whether the Palestinian Authority (PA) or armed militants control the streets of Palestinian cities.
"The Palestinian Authority has to act immediately to arrest and punish those responsible," says political analyst Hani Masri. "If they don't, Abbas will find himself becoming a symbolic president who will not be able to control anything."
Misunderestimating Just How RadicalThe U.S. Can Be
From Wretchard, at the Belmont Club
Syria is being beaten and we can hardly believe our eyes.
Herodotus was the first known author to approach history as inquiry; to transform it from a mere recitation of events into an attempt to identify cause and effect. And that is no easy task. The fading of the Iraqi insurgency, the Syrian retreat from Lebanon are now growing clearer before us, but what do they mean?
By way of context, Publius Pundit, a blog dedicated to following democracy moments all around the world, is filled with the rumor of mass rallies and political movements shaking the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and even North Korea. These developments are widely presumed to favor the United States; and in the narrow sense that collapsing empires play into the hands of the nation which holds the balance of power, this must be true.
But first and foremost, they are evidence of dysfunction: proof that the Soviet model, Middle Eastern authoritarianism and to a certain extent transnational liberalism have lost their grip. In that respect the sudden and unexpected weakening of the United Nations is less the result of Kofi Annan's individual shenanigans than a symptom that the bottom has fallen out of the whole postwar system.
If this analysis is correct, the world crisis should accelerate rather than diminish in the coming years and months, not in the least because the United States seems to have no plan to fill the power vacuum with anything. The promotion of democracy is at heart an act of faith in the self-organizing ability of nations; it means getting rid of one dictator without necessarily having another waiting in the wings. It is so counterintuitive to disciples of realpolitik as to resemble madness.
Or put more cynically, the promotion of democracy is a gamble only a country with a missile defense system, control of space, homeland defense and a global reach can afford to take. If you have your six-gun drawn, you can overturn the poker table.
In retrospect, the real mistake the September 11 planners made to underestimate how radical the US could be. This does not necessarily mean America will win the hand; but it does indicate how high it is willing to raise the stakes.
I remember telling my relatives, on the day of Sept. 11, that there would be a big, big war. It seems the world thought that we were just going to stage a little show of strength. Maybe topple Afghanistan just for saber-rattling purposes. But, since WWI, the U.S. has never gone to War without a grandiose plan.
That's only appropriate. Considering we are the giant that rumbles the entire planet every time we move, it would be irresponsible for us to conduct a war as a show of strength. No, if we are to war, let it be with a reason.
Wretchard points out that we don't have "a plan to fill the power vacuum with anything." Well, of course. That's Democracy. It's not a plan, it's a an ever-evolving system. Wretchard refers to it as the self-organizing ability of nations. I think it would be better to call it the self-organizing ability of people who are free, and guided by their own pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.
How high are we willing to raise the stakes? All I can say is I am very proud of the way this country has gambled on our vision and on the potential freedom of hundreds of people across the world.
Europe Haunted By It's DemonsFinds Asolution By Agreeing With It's Enemies
From No Pasaran
Elizabeth Bryant in a UPI item identifies a change in attitude of the garden-variety French citizen about the war in Iraq. Especially now that it's over in any substancial way, the outcome was good, and no-one will ask anything of them:
«Anonymous callers threatened him by phone. Strangers insulted him on the street. Friends and colleagues told Bruckner, a prominent French novelist and intellectual, that he had taken a gutsy but mistaken stance against the mighty antiwar tide in France. Two years later, 56-year-old Bruckner is hearing very different reactions." People are saying that even if Americans are making a lot of mistakes, they are changing things," said Bruckner, who supported ousting Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein but is sharply critical of the Bush administration and its handling of the conflict, "while Europe -- and especially France -- remains terribly conservative. We're the world champions of the status quo."»
Described as both a deep thinker and still a radical, his own words indicate quite boldly that the wet blanket of middle-mind types won't muzzle him. In Dissent Magazine he wrote:
«For the last half century, Europe has been haunted by the demons of repentance. Ruminating over its past crimes-slavery, imperialism, fascism, communism-it has seen its history as nothing but a long litany of murder and rapine culminating in two world wars. The typical European man or woman is a sensitive creature always prepared to feel pity for the sufferings of the world and to assume responsibility for them, always asking what the North can do for the South rather than what the South can do for itself. By the evening of September 11, a majority of our citizens, despite their obvious sympathy for the victims, were telling themselves that the Americans had it coming.»
«Make no mistake: the same argument would have been made if the terrorists had destroyed the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame. Sensitive souls on both right and left would have urged us to flagellate ourselves: we've been attacked, so we're guilty. Our attackers are really poor people protesting against our insolent wealth and our western lifestyle. We Europeans spontaneously agree with our enemies in the way we judge ourselves ...»
The Beginning of The Melding Of Computers and The Human Brain
From the Guardian
There's a hand lying on the blanket on Matt Nagle's desk and he's staring at it intently, thinking "Close, close," as the scientists gathered around him look on. To their delight, the hand twitches and its outstretched fingers close around the open palm, clenching to a fist.
In that moment, Nagle made history. Paralysed from the neck down after a vicious knife attack four years ago, he is the first person to have controlled an artificial limb using a device chronically implanted into his brain.
The experiment took place a few months ago as part of a broader trial into what are known in the business as brain-computer interfaces. Although it is early days, aficionados of the technology see a world where brain implants return ability to those with disability, allowing them to control all manner of devices by thought alone. There are huge hurdles ahead.
No one knows how much information we can usefully decipher from the electrical fizz of the brain's 100bn neurons. More importantly, scientists are still in the dark as to what effect, if any, long term implants will have on the human brain, or how its circuitry will cope with the new tasks demanded of it.
As I mentioned a couple weeks back in my post on Pre-Futurism
, I fully believe that, in the not-so-distant future, human brains will be connected to the internet and, thus, will be able to access all known information at any time, and with the heightened speed of thought which the future of computing will bring us.
It will be both amazing and frightening.
The potential for oppression is huge. The invasion of the zone of privacy required for people to retain individuality, thus, creativity will become the biggest human rights issue of the 21st century.
I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on these issues.
What's Going To Happen Next?
It looks like the Pope will be going to see the Lord very soon. While there have been many issues on which I have disagreed with the Pope, overall I think he has been a force for good, and a rock upon which to build the Church. The Kafir Constitutionalist has some thoughts on what will come after the Pope's death
I believe that among other things, these three things will result from the Pope's death:
1. Attention will be focused on Christianity in South America and Africa, and more people will become aware that Christianity is spreading there faster than Islam. This will disillusion many of the seemingly invincible demographic progress of Islam.
2. Catholics will connect his death to Terri's. There will be a massive backlash against all those who supported Michael Schiavo.
3. In reviewing the Pope's historic condemnation of communism, the next pope may be chosen for his analogous condemnation of Islam.
I had never before detected such a note of Pollyannaism in the Kafir. No, actually I am just kidding. While it does seem possible that these things could come to be true, it seems almost to much to hope for.
By the way, for my part, let me say that I don't think we need to make a "condemnation of Islam." I think we need a condemnation of Islamofascist Jihadi ideology. And, I do hope that the next Pope chosen by the Vatican will stand strong, not only against the Jihadi ideology, but also against those nations who support it.
If such a new Pope would arise it would be analogous to the role Pope John Paul II played in the downfall of Communism. Oh, that would be wondrous.
And, I also hope that the new Pope is able to shine the light on South America and Africa. There is a stunning rise of Christianity on those continents. As Dennis Prager was saying today on his radio show, truly the West has been superseded as the center of the Christian world. Prager was saying that he hopes the next Pope is from Africa. That's seems like a good idea from where I'm standing.
Arab Heroes On Israeli Soccer Team
Thanks to TVD from Philosodude
for sending me this article from Al Jazeera
Israel suddenly has two Arab heroes. In a country where Jewish-Arab alienation runs deep, a pair of critical goals in World Cup soccer have created an instant connection across the divide.
For years, Abas Suan and Walid Badir endured racist taunts from the bleachers. Now they're the toast of the predominantly Jewish state.
Badir scored Israel's only goal in a 1-1 tie with France on Wednesday in a World Cup qualifying match, repeating Suan's feat in a Saturday match against Ireland, keeping Israel in contention for a slot in the prestigious tournament.
The two are among Israel's minority Arabs, who make up about 20% of Israel's 6.8 million people and describe themselves as second-class citizens, targets of discrimination in employment, education and living conditions.
Most Israeli soccer teams have Arab players, and often they are greeted with racist chants when they touch the ball. Suan heard the epithets when he played for Israel's national team in a recent match in Jerusalem. "No Arabs, no terrorism," goes one of the slogans.
Now that the two Arab players have rescued Israel's World Cup hopes, there's a new slogan featured in headlines in Israeli newspapers: "No Arabs, no goals."
Ahmad Tibi, an Israeli Arab member of parliament, said there are mixed feelings among Arabs about rooting for Israel in the fervor following the goals by Suan and Badir.
"As Arabs we're normally pushed away from the Israeli political issues, and then suddenly we're pulled into this ultra-national patriotism," Tibi said.
The euphoria and goodwill of the moment may be fleeting, said Zouheir Bahloul, an Israeli Arab who broadcasts sports for Israel Radio and TV and is known for his sophisticated turns of the Hebrew phrase.
Part of the problem is how Israel Arabs fit into Israel, dominated by its Jewish majority.
Bahloul said when Israeli Arabs see the athletic heroics of Suan and Badir, they feel more a part of Israel. But sport creates a virtual reality, he said, generating successful examples for Arabs while doors continue to close for those trying to progress in other areas.
(Pastorius note: That sounds familiar, huh? We have the same problem here.)
"If the state can create more opportunities in other fields, this type of inspiration gives Arabs the confidence to make things happen for themselves," Bahloul said.
Badir, a tall, rangy defender, burst into the penalty area and headed a bullet shot past famed French goaltender Fabien Barthez, salvaging a tie score.
Badir's first comments were about his sport. "You have to give 200% in your job. I'm doing my best to fulfill my dream of reaching the World Cup," he said.
But his family's history in Israel is tainted by conflict and tragedy. His grandfather was one of about 50 Arabs killed by Israeli border police in 1956 at the Arab town of Kafr Qasim in an incident described by Jewish Israelis as a terrible mishap and by Arabs as a massacre.
Yet Badir stands at attention with the rest of the Israeli national soccer team as the Israeli anthem is sung before games, with its lyrics about Jews returning to their ancient land. It makes him uncomfortable.
At a conference on racism in soccer last year, Badir hoped that one day the anthem would incorporate something that represents him as an Arab Israeli.
"Then I'll be able to sing it as well," he said.
Suan hopes the goodwill can endure, and he feels he's made a contribution.
A native of Sakhnin, an Arab town in the northern part of the country, Suan said that through sports, athletes can set an example by relating to each other through friendship and dialogue.
"I think we get along better than politicians do," Suan said.
What a great article. It's from Al Jazeera, so we can wonder how much the emphasis on racism in Israeli culture is overblown, although I'm sure it's there, and that it is probably quite significant, considering Israel is in the midst of an undeclared war with the Palestinian Authority. But still, what a great article.
Take note of Zouheir Bahloul, the Arab sportscaster on Israel Radio and TV. In the Palestinian territories, Jews are called "settlers" and they are shot at and terrorized. If the Palestinian Authority had their way, there would be no Jews in their territory. Conversely, as we see in this article, 20% of Israel's population is made up of Arabs. There are Arabs in the Israeli parliament, and there are Arabs, such as Zouheir Bahloul, who are beloved figures in Israeli popular culture.
This is because Israel is a democratic and open society.
Another thing to note is that Walid Badir pines for the day that the Israeli National Anthem includes something about it's Arab citizens. I hope, right along with him, that someday it does.
The thing is, Israel is a Jewish state. And, as we can see from the Columbia University/New York Times anti-Semitism scandal, which I have been writing about the past couple of days, it is a necessity that Israel be a Jewish state, and a potential asylum for Jews everywhere. One thing that history has taught us is there will always be someone who is hellbent on decimating the Jews. For this reason, Israel must remain a Jewish state.
Institutionalized Anti-SemitismAt Columbia University and The New York Times
Following up on the story from yesterday about Columbia University whitewashing its findings with regards to the anti-Semitism of its professors, now, it seems the New York Times helped them out. From the New York Sun, via Little Green Footballs
In an effort to manage favorable coverage of its investigation into the complaints, the university disclosed a summary of the committee's report only to the Columbia Spectator, the campus newspaper, and the New York Times. Those newspapers, sources indicated to The New York Sun last night, made an agreement with the central administration that they would not speak to the students who made the complaints against the professors.
According to one student, senior Ariel Beery, one of the campus's most outspoken critics of the professors, a Columbia spokeswoman told him that students were not being shown the report yesterday "for your own good."
Late last night, however, after some of the students who made the charges demanded to see the report, the administration relented and showed it to them.
The committee's report - four months in the making and the product of dozens of interviews with students and faculty members - represents a significant victory for Columbia's Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures.
One of the incidents not mentioned by the report involves assistant professor Joseph Massad, who allegedly told a class that it was Israelis - not Germans or Palestinians - who shot to death the Israeli Olympic athletes in the 1972 Munich Massacre, according to one of Mr. Massad's former students.
Mr. Massad's alleged interpretation of events is sharply contradicted by historians, who say the 11 Olympic athletes were murdered by their Palestinian hostage-takers in a botched rescue operation conducted by German authorities. Historians have debated whether some of the athletes died in the crossfire between German police and the kidnappers, but the notion that the athletes were killed by Israeli gunfire has not been given credence.
In an admonishment to students, the committee stated, "There is a thin line between participating fully and enthusiastically in a discussion, and intervening in a fashion which significantly disrupts the class."
The panel also essentially cleared the professors who on April 17, 2002, canceled classes on the day of an anti-Israel rally on campus and encouraged students to attend the demonstration.
The committee investigating concluded: "That faculty construed Rabbi Sheer's intervention as inappropriate is understandable; that Rabbi Sheer and the students whom he believed he was supporting were frustrated by that response is equally unsurprising."
What we have here is expertly managed institutional anti-Semitism. Of course, there is an element of simple CYA (cover your ass, for my non-American readers) at play. But, that does not pan out as an excuse. Simply ask youself the question:
If a white Professor of African-American studies made the comment that blacks had, in fact, enslaved themselves, would any university in the country react in the manner that Columbia has here?
For that matter, would the New York Times react in the manner that it has, by agreeing to help Columbia out by not interviewing the students involved?
This is a disgusting display of anti-Semitism, and it is particularly frightening because of it comes in the form of institutionalized totalitarianism.
This melding of institutionalized totalitarianism with anti-Semitism is a frightening development for America. Where are we headed?
American Anti-SemitismColumbia University Absolves Itself Of Charges That It's Professors Are Anti-Semitic
I criticize and make fun of Europeans here quite a bit, for their idiocy, and anti-Semitism. Today I must say that Columbia University has demonstrated that such idiocy and anti-Semitism is not unique to Europeans. From the New York Times, via Little Green Footballs
An ad hoc faculty committee charged with investigating complaints that pro-Israel Jewish students were harassed by pro-Palestinian professors at Columbia University said it had found one instance in which a professor “exceeded commonly accepted bounds” of behavior when he became angry at a student who he believed was defending Israel’s conduct toward Palestinians.
But the report, obtained by The New York Times and scheduled for release today, said it had found “no evidence of any statements made by the faculty that could reasonably be construed as anti-Semitic.”
It did, however, describe a broader environment of incivility on campus, with pro-Israel students disrupting lectures on Middle Eastern studies and some faculty members feeling that they were being spied on.
As Charles Johnson of LGF notes, basically, the Columbia report blames the problem on "uncivil" Jews. This is an outlandish and disgusting whitewash of the problem.
Let's look at some of these problems caused by the uncivil Jews. Do you think, for instance, a Jews uncivility could have caused these offenses by Columbia Professor Joseph Massad
Then Joseph Massad took the floor, and the floodgates of hatred opened wide. Mr. Massad is one of the MEALAC professors accused of demanding of one Israeli student, "How many Palestinians did you kill today?" At the forum, he used the phrase "racist Israeli state" more than two dozen times. He used seemingly universalist language of anti-racism to drive a fascist argument. Mr. Massad is so extreme that he argued that Arafat was in effect an Israeli collaborator for even talking about compromise.
Whatever can be said of this rant, its "academic" content was hard to discern. But to judge by the applause he received, Mr. Massad was the star of the evening.
Or, how about when Columbia featured speaker Ilan Pappe
... who has stated openly that his so-called scholarly work is an attempt to create a counter narrative to official Zionist historiography and to undermine the international legitimacy of the state of Israel. He bizarrely insisted that the destruction of Israel would pave the way for enhanced rights for women, and the feminist students in the audience cheered.
Read the truth about the anti-Semitism at Columbia University here
, and here
, and here
And let us ponder this question; if America allows this kind of open assailing of Jews at it's major universities, what kind of future do Jews have here? And where can they go that they will be safe?
Terri Is Dead
PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged woman whose 15 years connected to a feeding tube sparked an epic legal battle that went all the way to the White House and Congress, died Thursday, 13 days after the tube was removed. She was 41.
Schiavo died at the Pinellas Park hospice where she lay for years while her husband and her parents fought over her fate in the nation's most bitter — and most heavily litigated — right-to-die dispute.
The feud between the parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, and their son-in-law continued even after her death: Brother Paul O'Donnell, an adviser to the Schindlers, said they and their two other children "were denied access at the moment of her death. They've been requesting, as you know, for the last hour to try to be in there and they were denied access by Michael Schiavo. They are in there now, praying at her bedside."
I haven't written about Terri for days now, because I've been through this kind of death before. My father organs shut down and he died several days later. As others have noted, once hydration is stopped, the body begins a process of digesting itself. After a week, I would imagine there is nothing much left to save, so I gave up hope days ago.
To all of you who did not, who believe in miracles, God Bless You.
Let us all hope and pray that the fact that the "right-to-die" crowd has now had a chance to parade their Masque of Death for all to see, has been an education to those who had never previously thought about the issue.
The Effect of The War On TerrorOn The Popularity of Extremists
Behind Fallujah, the Iraqi city of Najaf was the second-most feared seat of Islamic extremism. A new poll shows the effects of the Democratic revolution on Islamofascist influence. From Powerline
Haider Ajina has translated poll results that appeared today in the Iraqi newspaper Almendhar. What makes this survey particularly interesting is that it was conducted in Najaf, which Haider describes as "the center of the Shiite branch of Islam and possibly the most religiously conservative city in Iraq if not in the northern middle east." The poll, conducted by the school of political science of Najaf University, includes the following results:
62% of those polled said they wanted Islam to a beginning sources of the constitution. 38% wanted Islam to be the only source for the Iraqi constitution. 49% support a federal government. 50% support allowing those who boycotted the election to have input in writing the constitution. 63% support the multi national forces staying in Iraq for the current time. 85% expect the new transitional government to succeed in its goals. 78% expect the new national assembly to successfully write a constitution by the dead line. 1% said they expect civil war to break out.
This is just one more item in a rapidly-expanding body of evidence that the overwhelming majority of Iraqis reject fanaticism and sectarian conflict.
Keep repeating to yourself, "Bush = Hitler. Bush = Hitler. It's all about oil and American Imperialism."
The media is all aflutter, trying to figure out why us "right-wing" wackos are so upset about the murder of Terri Schiavo. Well, it's partially because the Terri Schiavo case has a precedence in history which makes us rather uncomfortable. Thanks to the Anchoress for leaving this
in my comments section:
" Between September 1939 and April 1945 the defendants . . . willfully,and knowingly committed war crimes, as defined by Article II of ControlCouncil Law No. 10, in that they were principals in, accessories to, ordered, abetted, took a consenting part in, and were connected with plans and enterprises involving the execution of the so-called "euthanasia" program of the German Reich in the course of which the defendants herein murdered hundreds of thousands of human beings, including nationals of German-occupied countries.
"This program involved the systematic and secret execution of the aged,insane, incurably ill, of deformed children, and other persons, by gas,lethal injections, and diverse other means in nursing homes, hospitals,and asylums. Such persons were regarded as "useless eaters" and a burdento the German war machine. The relatives of these victims were informedthat they died from natural causes, such as heart failure. German doctors involved in the "euthanasia" program were also sent to Easternoccupied countries to assist in the mass extermination of Jews."
(Count 2, section 9, of the indictment in "the Doctor's Trial" at the Nuremberg war crimes trial;United States Holocaust Memorial Museum )
You can read it all here.
So, yeah, you know, we're a little uncomfortable with the idea of becoming such a society.
Israel = NazismThe Historical Context
This is from an article by Rory Miller, a Senior Lecturer in Mediterranean Studies at King’s College, University of London, via Little Green Footballs
The historian Yaacov Shavit once argued that the main question to be debated within Jewry in the wake of the Holocaust was whether “Nazism [was] an inherent feature of the European essence or was it a diverted characteristic, an historical accident?” It is one of the great historical and intellectual perversions of our times that many westerners are now asking the same question about Israel and Zionism as Jews asked about Europe.
From polls in Germany in which 51% of respondents expressed the view that Israel’s current treatment of Palestinians is similar to that meted out to the Jews by the Nazis, to posters in Paris reading “Hitler has a son — Sharon”; from information signs in the Spanish town of Oleiros, flashing “Let’s stop the animal!!! Sharon the assassin, stop the neo-Nazis”, to banners in a Dublin march demanding an end to the Palestinian holocaust and equating the Star of David with the Nazi swastika. Wherever we look we are being bombarded by attacks on Israeli “storm troopers” pursuing “SS tactics” and engaged in “Blitzkrieg” operations.
But Israeli actions in the Occupied Territories have no relation to the horrors carried out by Germany during the Nazi occupation of Europe and there is absolutely no moral equivalence between Hitler’s industrial slaughter of the Jews and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
If you doubt this ask yourself the following questions: would it have been possible for Jewish schools in German-occupied Holland, Poland, Hungary and numerous other countries, to indoctrinate their students with the most outlandish anti-German propaganda and incitement?
Would these same school children fresh from their brainwashing classes have been free to enroll, in the glare of the world’s media, in summer camps dedicated to training a new generation of anti-German guerillas? Would their religious and secular leaders have been able to go on their own TV channels and call their occupiers the “sons of monkeys” with impunity?
Of course not — the Jews under Nazi rule were too busy trying (in most cases unsuccessfully) to escape being bundled on trains and shipped to the gas chambers. Yet all this, and much more, is standard practice among Palestinians in areas controlled by the PA.
Teaching That Jews Are BlasphemousAnd America Is Worth Nothing
The other day I wrote about Rashid Nasim, a Muslim from Ottawa, Canada who was shocked to find that his daughter's school was employing teachers who were exhorting students to violent Jihad against the Jews.
Mr. Nasim blew the whistle and put an end to the problem.
In this article Daniel Pipes tells us
of just how prevalent these kinds of teachings are in the Islamic schools of the Western world:
And “shocked” was how Mumtaz Akhtar, president of the Muslim-Community Council of Ottawa-Gatineau, described his own reaction to the front-page news about the Abraar school.
But they may have been the only two persons on the planet to be “shocked” to learn that teachers at an Islamic school are promoting anti-Semitism or other aspects of the Islamist agenda. The fact is, inquiries into Islamic schools repeatedly discover just such a radical Islamic outlook. Some examples:
New York City: An investigation by the New York Daily News in 2003 found that books used in the city’s Muslim schools “are rife with inaccuracies, sweeping condemnations of Jews and Christians, and triumphalist declarations of Islam’s supremacy.” Los Angeles: The Omar Ibn Khattab Foundation donated 300 Korans (titled The Meaning of the Holy Quran) to the city school district in 2001 that within months had to be pulled from school libraries because of its antisemitic commentaries. One footnote reads: “The Jews in their arrogance claimed that all wisdom and all knowledge of Allah was enclosed in their hearts…Their claim was not only arrogance but blasphemy.” Ajax, Ontario, 50 kilometers east of Toronto: The Institute of Islamic Learning is a Canadian emulation of the extremist Deobandi madrassahs of Pakistan. It focuses exclusively on religious topics, has students memorize the Koran, demands total segregation from the Canadian milieu, and requires complete gender separation. Former students complained about the school’s cult-like devotion to its head, Abdul Majid Khan, and complained that it “twisted religion and used it to its own benefit.”
Then there are four leading Islamic schools in the Washington, D.C., area:
The Muslim Community School in Potomac, Maryland, imbues in its students a sense of alienation from their own country. Seventh-grader Miriam told a Washington Post reporter in 2001, “Being American is just being born in this country.” Eighth-grader Ibrahim announced that “Being an American means nothing to me.” The Graduate School of Islamic Social Sciences of Ashburn, Virginia, referred to as a “purported” educational institution in an affidavit justifying a raid on the school, had its financial records seized in 2002 on suspicions of links to terrorism.
Sex Appeal And Democracy
From National Review
The accounts were grim. One can only imagine the hell reporters witnessed last month in Tehran's Mohseni Square.
"Women and girls in tight clothes and transparent scarves and guys dressed in Western fashion lit candles and laughed their hearts out," wrote Ya Lesarat Weekly, organ for the vigilante group Ansar-e Hezbollah. Equally indignant, the conservative daily Jomhuri-ye Eslami reported, "In this disgraceful event, which was like a large street party, women and girls...as well as boys...mocked Muslim beliefs and sanctities in the most shameless manner.... Some long-haired guys would openly cuddle girls, creating awful and immoral scenes. Fast, provoking music...nearby gave the street party more steam."
Worse, this depravity occurred during Ashura, holiest of Shiite holidays. But rest assured, Ansar-e Hezbollah broke up the gangs of spooning youngsters, returning the commemoration to its solemn purpose of observing the martyrdom of Imam Hussain. "Let the officials realize that the heroic and passionate people of Iran can easily deal with a handful of hoodlums and promiscuous elements that ridicule our sanctities," Jomhuri-ye Eslami vowed.
Across Mesopotamia, however, the Syrian chapter of Hezbollah is having more trouble shoving the erotic djinn back in the bottle. As the world has witnessed, the Lebanese have been smart-mobbing Beirut's Martyr's Square with protest rallies, which, if the media is to be believed, are comprised entirely of attractive women. Already, Internet pundits (a largely male lot) have dubbed these bodacious avec-culottes the "Babes of Democracy," while the cover of Newsweek gave them star treatment.
Meanwhile, mainstream media is taking increasing note of a phenomenon that has been percolating through the Middle East the last few years: Arab music videos. Beamed throughout the region via satellite networks such as Saudi-based ART-TV, these superbly-produced "clips," as they're called, showcase singers like Lebanon's Nancy Ajram and Haifa Wahby and Egypt's Roubi in erotically charged tableaux filled with beauty, glamour and sex appeal that owe more to The Arabian Nights than Koranic scripture. Produced primarily for entertainment and star promotion, these videos are fast becoming political as well, with many young women seeing in the exotic settings, flamboyant clothes and sensual fantasies encouragement to take control of their identities and social roles.
Can I get a Hallelujah for all the beautiful women?
This is what Democracy looks like, my friends. In a Democracy people are free. They can do what they want, as long as it doesn't hurt otherts. For too long religious people around the world have denied repsonsibility for their own wanton actions, and tried instead to lay the blame at the feet of the female body. Sorry, that doesn't cut it with me, and it won't cut it with God.
Imagine yourself standing in front of God and He says, "Why did you use all those women with no thought for their feelings?" And you answer Him, "Well God, I just couldn't help myself. They were dressed too provocatively."
You might as well blame God, because He's the One who created your sex drive.
The biggest problem with societies who blame liscentiousness on women is that the net effect is they place strict controls on women. I believe power over women is the real issue, not sanctity, or virtue.
U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Did Her Best To Shut Down The Search For Bin Laden
From Little Green Footballs
Richard Miniter at the New York Sun blows the whistle on an outrageous decision by US Ambassador to Pakistan Nancy Powell, shortly after September 11, to refuse distribution in Pakistan of material advertising the $25 million reward for the capture of Osama Bin Laden: How a Lone Diplomat Compromised the Hunt for Bin Laden.
WASHINGTON — A lone U.S. ambassador compromised America’s hunt for Osama bin Laden in Pakistan for more than two years,The New York Sun has learned.
Ambassador Nancy Powell, America’s representative in Pakistan, refused to allow the distribution in Pakistan of wanted posters, matchbooks, and other items advertising America’s $25 million reward for information leading to the capture of Mr. bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders.
Instead, thousands of matchbooks, posters, and other material — printed at taxpayer expense and translated into Urdu, Pashto, and other local languages — remained “impounded” on American Embassy grounds from 2002 to 2004, according to Rep. Mark Kirk, Republican of Illinois.
While the American government was engaged in a number of “black” or covert intelligence activities to locate Al Qaeda leaders, Mr. Kirk said, the “white” or public efforts — which have succeeded in the past in leading to the capture of wanted terrorists — were effectively shut down in the months following the September 11 attacks. ...
Mr. Kirk accidentally learned of Ms. Powell’s impoundment policy as part of an official congressional delegation visiting Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, in January 2004.
During the course of his visit, Mr. Kirk met with several intelligence officers to discuss the hunt for Mr. bin Laden. Mr. Kirk, a moderate Republican from the North Shore of Chicago, also serves as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves.
Citing his experience in intelligence matters, Mr. Kirk asked embassy intelligence officials about the distribution of matchbooks in local languages.A single matchbook helped lead to the capture of Mir Amal Kansi, who gunned down several CIA employees at the front gates of the agency’s Langley, Va., headquarters in 1993. Kansi was arrested in Pakistan in 1995 when a local fingered him for the $5 million reward.Mr.Kirk pointed out the similarities between the Kansi and bin Laden cases. “Both are cases gone cold in Pakistan,” he said.
Embassy intelligence officials agreed with his assessment, Mr. Kirk said, but surprised the lawmaker by saying that the ambassador had ended the distribution of printed materials advertising the $25 million price on Mr. bin Laden’s head.
Security personal were unhappy with the decision, according to the congressman. “There was a lot of discord among the staff,” he said.
I can't wait to find out the explanation for this. I wonder if it's anything like the Oil-for-Food Scandal.
The future history books which will tell the story of the War On Terror are going to be labyrinthine and full of Machiavellain intrigue.
Rules To Live By In The War On Terror
Some rules to live by for the War On Terror, from the Kafir Constitutionalist
Jeff Goldstein posts some of Robert Satloff's advice to the president's undersecretary of state:
* Banish the terms “Arab world” and “Muslim world” from America’s diplomatic lexicon; be as country-specific as possible, in both word and deed. Radical Islamists want to erase borders and create a supranational world where the lines of demarcation run between the “house of Islam” and the “house of war.” Don’t cede the battlefield to them without a fight.*
Never read polls: If you judge your success by America’s poll numbers, you will fail--both in your mission and your job. In the Middle East, polls tend to distort and exaggerate; public opinion is episodic and driven by news cycles; and popular attitudes seem to have little impact on people’s behavior. In your old job, polls may have been essential; in this job, they are toxic.*
Don’t try to accommodate, co-opt, or “dialogue” with Islamists. They are much better at this game than we are and, in the process, we confuse and demoralize our allies. And don’t try to tell Muslims how to be “good Muslims” or suggest that America knows what is “true Islam.” Focus on what we really know something about, i.e., running a reasonably well-functioning democracy for 229 years.
I use the term Islamofascist all the time. By using this term I mean to distinguish the militant Islamists from the everyday Muslim who doesn't go through his day hating the Infidels. While I think it is appropriate for me to phrase my disagreement with militan Islam in the way that I do, I can see Robert Satloff's point. What do I know about who is, or is not, a "good" Muslim?
Well, I do know this, a person who calls for violent jihad against a whole group of people is not a good human being. How's that?
No, No, No, Astute BloggerThe Sky Is Surely Falling
The Guardian channels Chicken Little, and the Astute Blogger counters rather astutely
The human race is living beyond its means. A report backed by 1,360 scientists from 95 countries - some of them world leaders in their fields - today warns that the almost two-thirds of the natural machinery that supports life on Earth is being degraded by human pressure. ... "Human activity is putting such a strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted," it says.
Didn't Paul Ehrlich say this in 1970!? Sheesh.
Today - as compared to 1970, (when Dr. Erhlich said we had ONLY 25 years left) - ALL commodities are more plentiful and cheaper, and the standard of living has gone up for hundreds and hundreds and HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of people (especially China and India). Industrialization and globalization have done more to IMPROVE the living standards and health of humanity than anything else - EVER! And yet there are still a couple of BILLION people whose lives need improving - who need more freedom and prosperity, and I say helping them become freer and richer takes precedence over rare species and remote ecologies. ESPECIALLY when dire "sky is falling" predictions like these have ALWAYS been proven FALSE in the past.
The truth is, forestation actually increased
over the second half of the 20th century, increasing significantly in North America.
Dogs And Cats Running Wild In The StreetsCondoleeza Rice has "alarmed" the "reformist" Arabs
. Oh no, what will we do?:
CAIRO (Reuters) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has alarmed many reformist Arabs with comments suggesting a new U.S. approach that promotes rapid political change without regard for internal stability.
Rice said in an interview with the Washington Post last week the Middle East status quo was not stable and she doubted it would be stable soon. Washington would speak out for "freedom" without offering a model or knowing what the outcome would be.
"This a very dangerous scheme. Anarchy will be out of control," said Hassan Nafaa, a professor of political science at Cairo University and an advocate of gradual change.
A liberal Arab diplomat, who asked not to be named, said: "They seem to be supporting chaos and instability as a pretext for bringing democracy. But people would rather live under undemocratic rule than in the chaotic atmosphere of Iraq, for example, which the Americans tout as a model."
Oh yeah, people would rather not be free. Especially Arab people. Arab people are more likely to rather not be free than any other people would rather not be free, or, uh, something like that, anyway. Or rather, I don't know. Never mind, forget it, you wouldn't understand anyway.
I love that line: "Anarchy will be out of control."
Just remember, the last thing you ever want to do, ever, is "alarm" the "reformist" Arabs. Those types of Arabs, they don't like to be "alarmed" I tells ya.
I think I better start writing Screaming Memes again. This kind of stuff really get to me.
The Sudanese Give the UN
Just The Present They Wanted
TOMORROW, the Security Council is to vote on a French resolution calling for those committing mass murder and ethnic cleansing in the Darfur region of Sudan to be tried by the International Criminal Court. Suspiciously, with only hours to the vote, the Khartoum regime says it has arrested 15 men who are accused of murder and burning villages in Darfur. If past examples of Khartoum’s "justice" are anything to go by, these men - guilty or not - will be tried and executed very quickly, thus evading UN involvement.
For two years now, the Arab Janjaweed militia has been murdering African farmers in Darfur, with the connivance of the Sudanese government, which wishes to put down a separatist rebellion in the province. At least 70,000 people have been murdered. For more than a year, the UN has been calling on the Khartoum regime to disown the Janjaweed, but to no avail.
The arrests are only a charade designed to delay compliance as long as possible. Khartoum will only be made to end the mass murder in Darfur if the UN is willing to back words with action. The UN must impose sanctions on the regime and indict the real murderers - who are not a million miles from Khartoum itself.
The UN does not want to have to declare the situation in Darfur a Genocide, because if they do they are bound by their by-laws to act. The last thing they want to have to do is actually do something, so this "arrest" is the present the UN always wanted.
Yay. Thank you, Sudan. Mwahh.
Could the Islamic Reformation Be Under Way?Moderate Muslims CelebratePublic Rebuke Of Bin Laden
From the Washington Times, via Front Page Magazine
:CAIRO -- The condemnation of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda by the Islamic Commission of Spain on the first anniversary of the train bombings in Madrid that took 200 lives is making waves throughout the Muslim world. The Spanish commission's fatwa, or condemnation, follows other signs of the kind of public theological debate rarely seen in the Muslim world, openly challenging the dominance of Saudi Arabia's wealthy Wahhabi fanatics.One Islamic scholar even calls it a sign of "a counter-jihad." In a recent interview with the Qatari daily newspaper Al-Raya, for example, Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, the former dean of Shariah and law at the University of Qatar, urged his fellow Muslims to purge their heritage of fanaticism and adopt "new civilized humane thought." Such humane thought, he said, "must be translated [into deeds] in educational ways, via the media, tolerant religious discourse, nondiscriminatory policy and just legislation." "We must purge the school curricula of all sectarian implications and elements according to which others deviate from the righteous path and the truth is in our hands alone. We must enrich the curricula with the values of tolerance and acceptance of the other who is different [in school of faith, ethnic group, religion, nationality or sex]. "The political regime must refrain from sectarian or ethnic preference; it must respect the rights and liberties of the minorities and must guarantee them through legislative action, practical policy and equal opportunity in the areas of education, media and civil positions." Other Muslims quickly attacked the Spanish fatwa. A group calling itself al Qaeda in Iraq -- the name Jordanian-born militant Abu Musab Zarqawi gave his organization after he aligned himself with bin Laden -- mocked it in the familiar religious rhetoric. "Allah has promised us victory," it said in a posting on its Internet Web site. "... Terrorizing enemies of God is our faith and religion, which is taught to us by our Koran." Nevertheless, the reaction to the Spanish fatwa astonished its authors, who were swamped with e-mail messages of congratulations. "I couldn't even read them all -- there's at least a thousand, maybe more," said Mansur Escudero, secretary-general of the Islamic Commission of Spain. "The tone was nearly all the same: 'It's about time someone did it. Bravo!' " Says Khaled Abou El Fadl, an authority on Islamic law at the University of California at Los Angeles: "The long and painful silence of moderate theologians and experts in Islam jurisprudence -- who had been bought off or intimidated into silence -- is finally starting to break apart. We are seeing signs of a counter-jihad." The response to the Spanish fatwa was dominated by Muslims outside the Middle East, suggesting most moderates live outside traditional Muslim areas. "I'm glad that someone of authority in Islam is taking a stand and demanding their religion back from the terrorists who have hijacked it," a respondent from the United States wrote. "This shows the Muslim world is tired of the harm that radicals and terrorists are doing to Islam," said Mr. Escudero, whose declaration carried the support of Muslim leaders in Morocco, Algeria and Libya. "We hope this will inspire others to speak out."