Saturday, January 21, 2006


Israel
Is Getting
Ready


The other nations of the world are circling too. Iran doesn't have a chance:


JERUSALEM - Israel's defense minister hinted Saturday that the Jewish state is preparing for military action to stop Iran's nuclear program, but said international diplomacy must be the first course of action.

"Israel will not be able to accept an Iranian nuclear capability and it must have the capability to defend itself, with all that that implies, and this we are preparing," Shaul Mofaz said.

His comments at an academic conference stopped short of overtly threatening a military strike but were likely to add to growing tensions with Iran.

Germany's defense minister said in an interview published Saturday that he is hopeful of a diplomatic solution to the impasse over Iran's nuclear program, but argued that "all options" should remain open.

Asked by the Bild am Sonntag weekly whether the threat of a military solution should remain in place, Franz Josef Jung was quoted as responding: "Yes, we need all options."

French President Jacques Chirac said Thursday that France could respond with nuclear weapons against any state-sponsored terrorist attack.

Friday, January 20, 2006


What's
Going
On
With
Our War?


Well, here's Victor Davis Hanson's take:


On the principle of one-person one-vote, the United States has somehow enfranchised the hated Shia and Kurds, without demonizing the Sunnis. And the Sunnis will probably end up with political representation commensurate with their numbers, despite a horrific past association with Saddam Hussein and the blood of American soldiers on their hands.

And the response?

Shiites claim that we are caving in to the terrorist supporters of al Qaeda and the former Hussein regime. Sunnis counter that we are only empowering the surrogates of Iranian crazies.

The Iranians show their thanks for our support for their spiritual brethren in Iraq by humiliating European diplomats with promises to wipe out Israel.

In the larger Middle East, the democratic splash in the Iraqi pond is slowly rippling out, as voting proceeds in Egypt and the Gulf, Syria leaves Lebanon, and Moammar Gadhafi and Pakistan’s Dr. Khan cease their nuclear machinations. Hundreds of thousands of protesters hit the streets in Lebanon and Jordan—not to slur the United States, as predicted, for removing Saddam Hussein, but to damn Bashar Assad and al-Zarqawi as terrorist killers.

Walid Jumblatt, the Lebanese Druze leader, now calls for Western pressure to root out the Syrian Baathists.

You’d never know all this from the global media or state-run news services in Europe and the Middle East.

We have sent tens of millions of dollars in earthquake relief to Pakistan, even though for over four years it has given de facto sanctuary to the killers responsible for murdering three thousand Americans. In response, the Pakistani Street expects Americans to provide debt relief, send them aid, excuse their support for our enemies—and then goes wild should we ever cross the border to retaliate against al Qaeda terrorists in their midst who are plotting to trump 9/11.

Americans tried to remain idealistic on the principle that Iraqis, if freed and helped, could craft a workable democracy, and that such consensual governments would make the volatile Middle East safer, since elected and legitimate governments rarely attack their own kind.

In response, the supposedly idealistic Left charged that we were bellicose and imperialistic — as if being on the side of the purple-fingered Iraqi voter was not preferable to being on the side of the terrorist and insurrectionist, who masked his fascism with national rhetoric.

Summarize what the media, the Europeans, the Middle East, and the opposition at home say about Iraq, and the usual narrative is that an initial mistake was made far worse by ideologues, leading to a hopeless situation that only makes the U.S. appear foolish and impotent, while ruining the military, creating a police state at home, and emptying the treasury.

Yet these same critics surely don’t want Saddam Hussein back. They concede that after three successful elections, Iraq just might be the first truly democratic society in the history of the Middle East. And they privately acknowledge that the reputations of Osama bin Laden and Al Zarqawi are on the wane. How was that possible when almost everyone fouled up?


Ahmadinejad
Meets
With
Leaders Of
Palestinian
Terror
Organizations



UPDATED
AT BOTTOM
OF POST

What do you think they needed to discuss?


DAMASCUS (AFP) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met in Damascus with the leaders of 10 radical Palestinian movements including Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

Ahmadinejad said he "strongly supports the Palestinian people's struggle" during the meeting, according to Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) official Maher Taher Friday.

Taher said the militant chiefs pledged to Ahmadinejad that the "Palestinian resistance and struggle would continue" against Israel.

"We expressed our solidarity with Syria, which is under pressure due to its national positions, as well as with Iran which has the right to possess nuclear technology for peaceful purposes," he added.

Islamic Jihad chief Abdullah Ramadan Shala, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and PFLP-GC leader Ahmed Jibril were among those at the meeting, Taher said.

The meeting came one day after Islamic Jihad claimed a suicide attack in Tel Aviv that wounded 19 people. Israel blamed Tehran and Damascus for supporting the attack.

"The attack was financed by Tehran, planned in Syria and carried out by Palestinians," Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz was quoted as saying by a ministry official.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad did not attend Ahmadinejad's meeting with the Palestinian chiefs, though he and Ahmadinejad met Thursday in Damascus as the two allies reaffirmed their ties amid increasing international pressure.

During his first visit to sole regional ally Syria since his shock election win in June, Ahmadinejad described Israeli Jews as "migrants" and asked if Europeans would be willing to accommodate them.

"Give these migrants authorization to come into your countries and you will see that they no longer want to live in occupied (Palestinian) territory," Ahmadinejad said during a meeting with high-ranking Syrian officials.

"Are you prepared to open the doors of your country to migrants so that they can move freely throughout Europe? Are you going to guarantee their security and no longer engage in anti-Semitic repression if they come into your countries?" he asked, adding that he doubted Europeans' "sincerity."

Ahmadinejad and Assad were to meet later Friday before the Iranian leader ended his two-day visit to Damascus.


UPDATE From The Astute Blogger:


... do the Iranians know about an impending LARGE SCALE jihadoterrorist attack - in Europe, or the USA, or anyhwere else in the West? After all, this move comes DIRECTLY on the heels of Binladen's announcement/truce-offering/warning: "preparations are underway." I believe that it is in anticipation of a series of large scale jihadoterrorist attacks.

JP at Americans for Freedon expressed why very succintly:

I am toubled by the combination of the following recent events:OBL tape, Amadinejad visiting Damascus, the upcoming IAEA / UN talks, Sharon's incapacitation and Chirac's vow to nuke any state that attacks France with WMDs. Throw this together with the large disposible cell phone purchases in the past couple months in the US and it seems to me that Iran/Syria and Qaeda are whipping up some terror coordination in the near future to prevent action against the Iran nuke regime.



Add to that list, the information in the above article, that Ahmadinejad is meeting with terrorist organizations, and that he is, apparently, warning Europe to open their borders to Israelis, and it looks like something big may be in the works.


Iran
Moves
Money
Out Of
Europe


Ali Akbar, beat-writer for the Associated Press, brings us the news that Iran is moving money out of Europe:


Iran is moving its foreign currency reserves out of European banks as a pre-emptive measure against any possible U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program, the Central Bank Governor said Friday.

Ebrahim Sheibani told reporters that Iran has started transferring the foreign currency reserves from European banks to an undisclosed location, the semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency reported.

"We transfer the foreign exchange reserves to wherever we deem fit," Sheibani was quoted by ISNA as saying. "We have begun transferring. We are doing that."

Sheibani would not say how much money was involved and it was not immediately clear whether Iran's investments in Europe would be affected by the move.

Iran's assets in the United States were frozen shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the pro-Western Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and installed a clerical regime.


So, let's think about this. Apparently, Iran doesn't have any money in the U.S., and hasn't since the "Islamic revolution." I didn't know that. I knew that the U.S. hadn't bought oil from Iran since the late-90's. So, what does this tell us?

It tells us, America stands on principle and Europe doesn't.

And, what it tell us that Iran is taking money out of its European investments?

It tells us that Iran is not only afraid of sanctions, but also, of possible war.

Now, one of the questions in my mind throughout this whole escalation, has been, does Iran already have a few nukes? And, if they did would they would continue on with their "cheat and retreat" policy, or would they draw a line in the sand, as they are now doing?

Or, does this mean that they are very close to having nukes, so they are drawing the line in the sand because they know they are so close to achieving their goal?

How fast can they produce weapons, once they have the enrichment process up and running?

I don't know the answers to any of these questions, and I have not, thus far, trusted the opinions of any "experts" I have read, because it seems to me, everyone has their own political agenda. Some want us to go to war now, and some want to delay any possible was, as long as they can.

What is going on? Any thoughts?

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Chirac
Tells
Terrorists,
"Go Ahead,
Make My Day"


I wonder what Chirac's "friend" and musical theatre partner thinks of his latest pronouncement?

Heh:


French President Jacques Chirac has said France would be ready to use nuclear weapons against any state which launched a terrorist attack against it.

Speaking at a nuclear submarine base in north-western France, Mr Chirac said a French response "could be conventional. It could also be of another nature."

He said France's nuclear forces had been configured for such an event.

France has had an independent nuclear deterrent since 1960, after an arms programme ordered by Charles de Gaulle.

The BBC's Alistair Sandford in Paris says this is the first time that Mr Chirac has so clearly linked the threat of a nuclear response to a terrorist attack.


On a visit to L'Ile-Longue base in Brittany, Mr Chirac said leaders of states who would "use terrorist means against us, just like anyone who would envisage using, in one way or another, arms of mass destruction, must understand that they would expose themselves to a firm and adapted response from us".

The president spoke of new threats in a post-Cold War world, without mentioning any specific threat against France.

"In numerous countries, radical ideas are spreading, advocating a confrontation of civilisations," he said, adding that "odious attacks" could escalate to "other yet more serious forms involving states".


While it is funny to hear Chirac talk like such a Dirty Harry, the truth is, this is the policy of the United States, and it ought to be the policy the whole West is united under.


Bin Laden
Offers
Truce
And
Threatens
U.S.


I must say, I'm really surprised the guy's alive. That being said, if he is alive, you can be sure he's threatening the Infidels:


DUBAI (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden warned that al Qaeda was preparing new attacks inside the United States, but said the group was open to a conditional truce with Americans, according to an audio tape attributed to him on Thursday.

It was the first purported tape by bin Laden since 2004. Al Jazeera television, which aired the tape, said it was recorded in December.

"The operations are under preparation and you will see them in your houses as soon as they are complete, God willing," said the speaker on the audio tape, who sounded like bin Laden.

In the tape, bin Laden said al Qaeda was willing to "respond" to U.S. public opinion in favor of withdrawing troops from Iraq. He did not specify conditions for the truce, but indicated that it was linked to U.S. troops quitting Iraq.

"Based on the substance of the polls, which indicate Americans do not want to fight Muslims on Muslim land, nor do they want Muslims to fight them on their land, we do not mind offering a long-term truce based on just conditions that we will stand by," he said.

"There is nothing wrong with this solution except that it deprives the influential people and warlords in America from hundreds of billions of dollars, -- those who supported Bush's election campaign with billions of dollars."

Responding to the truce offer, the White House said that the United States "does not negotiate with terrorists."
Bin Laden also offered a truce to Europe in a tape in April 2004 but not to the United States.

Jazeera declined to give any details about how it had obtained the tape and an editor said there was a reference in the recording that indicated it had been made in December.


Al Jazeera
And Their
Pals At
CNN
Say New
Bin Laden
Video Is
On The Way


Maybe, he's not dead. We shall see.


Hilary
Clinton
Faults
Bush For
Lacking
Toughness
On Iran


Don't ever let anyone tell you this woman doesn't have ideas.

Classic Clintonian positioning:


PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton called for United Nations sanctions against Iran as it resumes its nuclear program and faulted the Bush administration for "downplaying" the threat.

In an address Wednesday evening at Princeton University, Clinton, D-N.Y., said it was a mistake for the United States to have Britain, France and Germany head up nuclear talks with Iran over the past 2 1/2 years. Last week, Iran resumed nuclear research in a move Tehran claims is for energy, not weapons.

"I believe that we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and chose to outsource the negotiations," Clinton said.


It is possible, though, that Bush has outpositioned Hilary, and her ilk. Because, Bush has been explicitly tough on Iran, and no one has listened. In a 2004 interview with Bill O'Reily, Bush had said that Iran will not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, and that if they keep trying to do so "all options are on the table."

That is quite a statement for a President to make regarding a potentially nuclear nation. I thought it was Bush's Cuban Missile Crisis Moment, and I celebrated his courageous stand. I expected a vigorous public debate. I expected fear to surge. But, what did we get?

Crickets chirping, loudly.

The fact that Hilary is saying Bush needs to be tougher only gives Bush more political capital to be even tougher than he has already been.

Thanks, Hilary.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Are French
Trains
Dar al-Islam?


Nidra Poller from Tech Central Station:


Paris 5 January 2006 -- French opinion makers are against the clash of civilizations the same way they are against the war in Iraq: fervently sure of their own moral superiority. But reality has a way of its own, and the Great Train Razzia that rang in the New Year on the Côte d’Azur is a smashing illustration of the clash of civilizations.

One hundred drunk and disorderly “youths” from the “sensitive neighborhoods” outside of Marseille were let loose in a train carrying revelers from Nice to Lyon via Marseille. They vandalized the train, terrorized the passengers, stole from them, sexually assaulted several young women, made convincing death threats and, when all these wicked deeds were done, pulled the emergency brake and jumped the train on the outskirts of Marseille.

It took several days for the story to break. Apparently management of the state-owned SNCF railway system and local police officials thought they could avoid bad publicity by keeping the information to themselves. Even more surprising: no local journalist scooped the story, no eyewitnesses came forward to reveal it, the media blissfully announced that New Year’s Eve had been surprisingly calm -- only 425 cars torched and 13 gendarmes injured -- that the state of emergency was lifted.

The news broke on the 4th: 600 passengers returning at dawn from Nice to Lyon were terrorized for three hours by a gang of “youths.” As the bare details filtered through several layers of protective screening, it became clear that a major clash of civilizations…in fact a head on crash of civilizations had taken place on the 1st day of the year 2006. Joyful partygoers on the star-studded Riviera were delivered into the hands of a hundred drunken marauders. Every official involved in the incident behaved stupidly, no one communicated, no one took responsibility, and the result would be comical if it were not so ominous.

The train was not hermetically sealed. The conductor’s cabin was not occupied by terrorists armed with box cutters. There are all sorts of stations between Nice and Marseille. Though the hoodlums stole cell phones, several hundred remained in the hands of their owners. And the ordeal went on for hours.

Here, as far as one can gather without having been in the train, is what happened:

Police shoved a hundred drunken rowdies into regional train N° 17430 that was carrying 600 passengers home at dawn on the 1st of January. The SNCF had been running a promotional New Year’s Eve fare of 1€20 since 2001. The idea was to save lives by discouraging people from driving after partying all night. Civilized idea, n’est-ce pas?

For the rest of the voyage, imagine a 1950s French comedy on the Riviera combined with a slapstick version of a medieval jihad raid. Now think of the train chugging its way along a breathtakingly beautiful coastline, and crossing approximately 20 frontiers in the space of three hours. Yes, France without Borders is cross-hatched into a muddle of intersecting administrations governed by a bevy of chiefs, préfets, commanders, divisionary commissioners, and assorted petty officials whose indecisions outweigh their decisions.

The four SNCF security agents who boarded the train at 6:30, seeing nothing amiss, got off at St. Raphaël at 6:50. And the rambunctious young people immediately started roughing up passengers, stealing from them, threatening to kill them if they resisted or tattled. They took possession of a first class car, ripped up the curtains, bashed the seats, vomited and who knows what else. Cultural difference, if you see what I mean. For a civilized traveler, first class means greater comfort for a higher price. For the marauders it means épater la bourgeoise, or more precisely vomit on them.

At approximately 7:30 AM, the conductor decided that the train was no longer safe and stopped at les Arcs. Employees have the right to lay down their tools and walk off the job if their safety is endangered. According to some accounts the gendarmes were waiting on the platform, others claim it took them half an hour or more to arrive. One gendarme describes “prostrate passengers who didn’t dare intervene.” Little by little the gendarmes fanned out through the 10 cars of the train, “without confronting the troublemakers.”

The train was immobilized for an hour-and-a-half, the gendarmes tried to encourage passengers to file complaints, but for some reason didn’t get much of a response. A few passengers fled the train. Including one young woman who had been sexually assaulted. When she resumed her voyage on a later train with a higher fare, the conductor made her pay the difference.

Bonk! Clash of civilizations.

A law-abiding young woman, victim of the traditional jihad treatment of conquered peoples, is expected to pay the correct fare. A horde of wild bandidos is allowed to run riot up and down the train. And when a handful, a tiny handful are caught, the judge sets most of them free.
Except for Aziz Ed Doubia of Moroccan origin and a repeat offender named Ashraf Bouzizoua; they are in prison awaiting trial.


The train pulled out of Les Arcs, under a light guard of fifteen gendarmes, who got off in Toulon as three policemen got on but for some strange reason were not able to curtail the razzia. As the train reached the outskirts of Marseille, the junior jihadis pulled the emergency brake, jumped the train, turned around and bashed and stoned it, and then scattered to their just abodes, there to sleep off a most exciting New Year’s Eve escapade.

It is easy to understand why the “youths” preferred to leave before the train pulled into the station, but who can understand why the passengers didn’t flee while it was docked at Les Arcs? Were they too terrified to try to escape? Did they think the “youths” would catch them and slit their throats? They did promise to bleed (meaning in fact to slaughter) anyone who dared denounce them. Or were the passengers so dhimmified that they considered their punishment to be justified? Or normal?


Go read the rest.

El-Baradei
Gives
Iran
A
Deadline


According to Mohammed El-Baradei, the head of the UN nuclear inspection team, Iran has until March 6th to start cooperating, or he will officially declare that investigation has reached a dead end:


As Britain, France and Germany prepared the ground to report Iran to the United Nations, the usually cautious Mohammed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, spoke with unprecedented bluntness about his frustration with Iran.

"We are coming to the litmus test in the next few weeks," he said in an interview in Newsweek magazine.

"Diplomacy has to be backed by pressure and, in extreme cases, by force," he said. "We have rules. We have to do everything possible to uphold the rules through conviction. If not, then you impose them. Of course, this has to be the last resort, but sometimes you have to do it."

He gave Iran seven weeks to answer the IAEA's outstanding questions - including intelligence reports of secret work on nuclear warheads.

If Iran did not comply by March 6, Mr ElBaradei said he would formally declare that his investigation had reached a dead end.


And then what?


"Youthful"
Ahmadinejad
Tells
Europe
To F-Off


Youthful?

Reuters is a barrel full of laughs in this piece about Iran's response to Europe's nuclear resolution:

By Louis Charbonneau (Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi and Parinoosh Arami in Tehran, Kerstin Gehmlich in Paris, Chris Buckley in Beijing and Edmund Blair in Cairo)

BERLIN (Reuters) - European powers began circulating a draft resolution on Wednesday that asks the U.N. nuclear watchdog to report Iran to the Security Council, drawing a scornful response from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"It is clear this is politically motivated," he said when asked about the text drafted by France, Britain and Germany.

"We are asking them to step down from their ivory towers and act with a little logic," the youthful president told reporters.


Amazing, huh? Reuters thinks it's important to let us know, in a hard news article about a hardcore Islamofascist anti-Semite, who has called for the destruction of Israel, and who is on the brink of aquiring nuclear weapons, that the anti-Semite is "youthful."

Hitler was the sprightly Chacellor of Germany.

Idi Amin was the robust dictator of Uganda.

Stalin was the vivacious leader of the Soviet Republic.

Let's see what else Reuters thinks it's important to let us know:


The West suspects Iran is seeking nuclear arms. Tehran, which resumed uranium enrichment research last week, says its atomic program aims only to generate electricity.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said nuclear weapons were against Islamic teachings, as well as Iranian interests, but he vowed to pursue atomic energy.

"The Islamic Republic, based on its principles, without being scared of the fuss created, will continue on its path of scientific developments and the world cannot influence the Iranian nation's will," state television quoted him as saying.

"The International Atomic Energy Agency has accepted that we are now part of the atomic club," said Khamenei.


Not so fast there, Khameini. The world community does not at all accept what is going on with your country.

Anyway, isn't Reuters hilarious?


Iran
Must Be
Getting
Close:
El-Baradei
And France
Are Getting
Nervous



Yesterday came the news that UN Nuclear watchdog, Mohammed El-Baradei may be growing a set of stones. He's actually starting to talk about the use of force:



Newsweek: What if the Iranians are just buying time for their bomb building?

El Baradei: That’s why I said we are coming to the litmus test in the next few weeks. Diplomacy is not just talking. Diplomacy has to be backed by pressure and, in extreme cases, by force. We have rules. We have to do everything possible to uphold the rules through conviction. If not, then you impose them. Of course, this has to be the last resort, but sometimes you have to do it.


He also said this:


El-Baradei: ... if they have the nuclear material and they have a parallel weaponization program along the way, they are really not very far—a few months—from a weapon.

Newsweek: With all due respect, the Iranians don't seem to care what you think.

El-Baradei: Well, they might not seem to care. But if I say that I am not able to confirm the peaceful nature of that program after three years of intensive work, well, that's a conclusion that's going to reverberate, I think, around the world.


In the past I have questioned whether El-Baradei was working for the other side. If he is, then this is just a clever smokescreen. Let's hope he means what he says. He does sound like a man who is fed up.

And, let's note something else here. Repeatedly, in past weeks, Reuters and AP have published articles indicating Iran is years away from having a bomb. But, here, El-Baradei himself is saying that for all he knows, Iran could be just months away.

Why do you think AP and Reuters are doing what they are doing?

The thing is, things must be getting awfully dangerous because even the French are starting to draw a line in the sand:


TEHRAN, Iran - France rejected Iran's request for more talks on Iran's nuclear program, saying Wednesday that Tehran first must suspend its atomic activities. Iran asked for a ministerial-level meeting, but its decision to resume some activities "means that it is not possible for us to meet under satisfactory conditions to pursue these discussions," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Denis Simonneau said in Paris.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sometimes You Just Gotta Love Your Enemy
Please Don't Hit Me There Edition


Reliapundit points out that Iran attacked the Iraqi Coast Guard yesterday, in a dispute over the Shatt al-Arab waterway which marks the Iran-Iraq border.

As I always say, you just gotta love your enemy when he tells the truth. In this case, Iran is telling us exactly how to bait them into a confrontation which could give us the pretext we need to destroy their nuclear facilities.

You know, in Milton's Paradise Lost, the demons, after they are cast out of heaven, convene a symposium on how to overthrow God, and cast Him from His throne. They begin by talking strategy, but soon, they fall to arguing, and that breaks into anarchy.

That is what evil does. I have been saying on CUANAS for the past couple of years that eventually our enemy will fall to anarchy. We see it happening in the Peaceful State of Palestine, where Fatah and Hamas can't get along, and now, we see it here, with Iran attacking Iraq.

If this goes on, this is the best news of the war so far. This is all the permission we will need to destroy the Iranian regime. Iran is so stupid to not realize that simple fact. But, evil is stupid, because evil is caught up in great anger and pride.

Now, that we see what their Achilles Heal is, we ought to have Iraq repeatedly prod them, until they do something really stupid.


Golden Globe-Winning,
Terror-Supporting
Film
Not Hardcore
Enough
For Palestinians


Terrorists try on lovely new corset.

No matter how hard the liberals try, they just can't seem please the big, tough terrorists who get them so hot:


Although the film — which snared the Golden Globe in Los Angeles on Monday — has never been screened in Nablus, residents here said the clips they saw on satellite television portrayed the bombers as godless and less than heroic.

“This movie doesn’t help the Palestinian cause,” said an armed Palestinian militant who would not give his name because he’s on the run. “People who go to carry out bombings do not hesitate so much.”


Next time they should just try fellating those Palestinian bad boys. I hear they like that.


Pakistan
Says
Four
Terrorists
Died In
Zawahiri
Strike


Pakistani man protests American strike against terrorists.

At least four died, and the United States says they are not yet sure that Zawahiri is not among the dead. From CNN:


PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) - At least four foreign terrorists died in the purported U.S. airstrike aimed at al-Qaida's No. 2 leader in a Pakistani border village, the provincial government said Tuesday.

A statement, issued by the administration of Pakistan's semiautonomous tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, also said that between 10 and 12 foreign extremists had been invited to the dinner at the village hit in Friday's attack.

It was the first official confirmation by Pakistani authorities that foreign militants were killed in the attack on the village of Damadola. Women and children also died, triggering outrage in this Islamic nation. The statement did not identify who the foreigners may have been or who was the target of the missile strike.

Pakistani intelligence officials have said Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant, had been invited to a dinner in the targeted village of Damadola to mark an Islamic holiday but did not show up and sent some aides instead.

There have been conflicting accounts from Pakistani officials and witnesses over who, if anyone, reclaimed bodies from the scene of the missile strike.

Damadola residents claim all the victims were locals and they buried them all. One Pakistani official told The Associated Press Saturday that the bodies had been taken away for DNA tests, although it wasn't clear by whom.

The statement, citing the chief official in the Bajur region where the Damadola is located, said its findings were from a report compiled by a ``joint investigation team'' but gave no specifics on who was included in the team.
``Four or five foreign terrorists have been killed in this missile attack whose dead bodies have been taken away by their companions to hide the real reason of the attack,'' the statement said.

``It is regrettable that 18 local people lost their lives in the attack, but this fact also cannot be denied, that 10-12 foreign extremists had been invited on a dinner,'' it said.

In Washington, a U.S counterterrorism official said Monday it was not yet known if al-Zawahri was killed.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said a compound that was hit has been visited in the past by significant terrorist figures.

``There were strong indications that was happening again,'' the official said, adding that it appeared that some damage was done, even if al-Zawahri was not there.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao, however, would only say Tuesday there was a ``possibility'' that foreigners were killed in the strike, which destroyed three houses and killed 18 people.

He told AP the government had ``no information'' about the presence of al-Zawahri.

The attack has become an embarrassment for Islamabad, a staunch U.S. ally in the war on terrorism. Many in this nation of 150 million people oppose the government's backing of the United States in the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Frustration has been growing over a recent series of suspected U.S. attacks along the porous and ill-defined frontier aimed at militants. Washington has 20,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, but Pakistan says it does not allow them to hunt down or attack militants across the border.

Thousands of Pakistanis took to the streets over the weekend, chanting ``Death to America'' and calling for the resignation of military leader President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said Islamabad ``cannot accept any action within our country'' like the missile attack but stressed the bilateral relationship with Washington remained important.

Aziz reiterated he was pressing ahead with an official visit to Washington. He was due to depart Pakistan late Tuesday.

``Pakistan has committed to fighting terrorism but naturally we cannot accept any action within our country which results in what happened over the weekend,'' Aziz said.

``The relationship with the U.S. is important, it is growing,'' Aziz said. ``But at the same time such actions cannot be condoned.''

He made the comments during a joint press conference with former President George H.W. Bush, who is touring Pakistan as a U.N. envoy for the relief effort in areas affected by October's monster earthquake.


The Most
Fertile
Irish Man


Sounds like a joke, but it's not. Scientists have found him:


DUBLIN (Reuters) - Scientists in Ireland may have found the country's most fertile male, with more than 3 million men worldwide among his offspring.

The scientists, from Trinity College Dublin, have discovered that as many as one in twelve Irish men could be descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, a 5th-century warlord who was head of the most powerful dynasty in ancient Ireland.

His genetic legacy is almost as impressive as Genghis Khan, the Mongol emperor who conquered most of Asia in the 13th century and has nearly 16 million descendants, said Dan Bradley, who supervised the research.

"It's another link between profligacy and power," Bradley told Reuters. "We're the first generation on the planet where if you're successful you don't (always) have more children."


Question: Is it a good thing that power is no longer linked to breeding?


The
Latest
In
Islamic
Fashion


Ooh, sexy. Hope my wife will wear that.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Saudi Arabia
Condemns
Iran's
Pursuit
Of Nuclear
Weapons


On the same day that the Egyptian Foreign Minister came out and condemned Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, the Saudi Arabian Prince Saud al-Faisal is doing the same thing.

Remember what I said?

"I would like to believe they really feel this way, but the way the Egyptian Foreign Minister phrased that makes me nervous. I have to wonder if this may be the first step in an Arab-world wide initiative to take Israel to the UN Security Council."

That was less than two hours ago. Looks like I was correct. Check out the way the Saudi Foreign Minister phrases his condemnation of Iran:


In an interview broadcast Monday by the British Broadcasting Corp., Prince Saud al-Faisal said Western nations’ failure to stop Israel from becoming a nuclear power “has done the damage we are all suffering from now.”

In a separate interview with the Times of London, al-Faisal said: “Nobody mentions that Israel has 100 nuclear weapons in stock, even through it is an open secret.”

The prince, in London for a conference on terrorism, said he hoped Iran would not seek to develop nuclear arms.

“Where are they going to use these weapons? If they hit Israel, they are going to kill Palestinians. If they miss Israel, they are going to hit Saudi Arabia or Jordan,” he said. “Where is the gain in that?”


Expect to hear more of this in the next few days, followed by an effort by the Muslim countries of the world to take Israel to the United Nations Security Council for violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.


VI Day:
Hitchens Says
We've Won
In Iraq


Christopher Hitchens declares that we have won in Iraq:


The best news from Iraq this year would certainly be the long New York Times report of Jan. 12 on the murderous strife between local “insurgents” and al-Qaida infiltrators. This was also among the best news from last year.

For months, coalition soldiers in Iraq had been telling anyone who would care to listen that they had noticed a new phenomenon: heavy fire that they didn’t have to duck. On analysis, this turned out to be shooting or shelling apparently “incoming” from one “insurgent position” but actually directed at another one.…

The significance of this, and of numerous other similar accounts, is three-fold.

First, it means that the regular media caricature of Iraqi society is not even a parody. It is very common indeed to find mixed and intermarried families, and these loyalties and allegiances outweigh anything that can be mustered by a Jordanian jailbird who has bet everything on trying to ignite a sectarian war.

Second, it means in the not very long run that the so-called insurgency can be politically isolated and militarily defeated. It already operates within a minority of a minority and is largely directed by unpopular outsiders. Politically, it is the Khmer Rouge plus the Mafia—not the Viet Cong. And unlike the Khmer Rouge, it has no chance at all of taking the major cities. Nor, apart from the relatively weak Syrian regime, does it have a hinterland or a friendly neutral territory to use for resupply. And its zealots are now being killed by nationalist and secular, as well as clerical, guerrillas. (In Kurdistan, the Zarqawi riffraff don’t even try; there is a real people’s army there, and it has a short way with fascists. It also fights on the coalition side.)

In counterinsurgency terms, this is curtains for al-Qaida.

Which is my third point. If all goes even reasonably well, and if a combination of elections and prosperity is enough to draw more mainstream Sunnis into politics and away from Baathist nostalgia, it will have been proved that Bin-Ladenism can be taken on—and openly defeated—in a major Middle Eastern country. And not just defeated but discredited. Humiliated. Is there anyone who does not think that this is a historic prize worth having? Worth fighting for, in fact?


Let's hope he is correct.

It does indeed seem that we have won. I've been thinking that for several weeks now. However, this did not begin as a traditional war, therefore, I don't know that any of the signals of a traditional war coming to an end mean anything in this war.

I really don't know. All I can say is, we shall see.


Egypt Says
It Rejects
Iran's
Pursuit
Of Nuclear
Weapons


Egyptian Foreign Minister
Ahmed Aboul Gheit

Egypt says it supports the international communities efforts to deny Iran the ability to build nuclear weapons:


Egypt on Monday said it supported using nuclear technology for peaceful purposes but rejected the emergence of a nuclear military power in the region, in its first official reaction to the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.

“All countries should adhere to their commitments in a way to allow the international community to be sure of the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program, as we do not accept the emergence of a nuclear military power,” Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said in a statement.

Aboul Gheit said Egypt was “closely watching” the development of the Iranian nuclear issue “out of its absolute keenness to support all the efforts aimed at consolidating the nuclear nonproliferation (policy) not only at the regional level but all over the world.”


I would like to believe they really feel this way, but the way the Egyptian Foreign Minister phrased that makes me nervous. I have to wonder if this may be the first step in an Arab-world wide initiative to take Israel to the UN Security Council.

What do you think?


Israeli President:
No Nukes For Iran


Israel has announced it will not allow Iran to build nuclear weapons:


MADRID (AFP) - Israel will not allow "a totalitarian" Iran which exports international terrorism to have a nuclear capability, Israeli President Moshe Katsav said in a newspaper interview.

"It would be the first step for atomic bombs to fall into the hands of terrorists of the (Shiite fundamentalist movement) Hezbollah, the (Islamist) Hamas or Al-Qaeda for example," said Katsav who was born in Iran in 1945.

"We don't have a conflict of interest with Iran, we don't have a common border but we cannot allow a totalitarian country which exports international terrorism to have a nuclear capability," he told the conservative ABC newspaper on Monday.

Iran is a threat for Israel and for the rest of the world, he added.


God, we live in frightening times.


Why Do
Muslims
Do The
Nazi Salute?



Fatah (Palestinian Authority)

Fatah Youth Rally

Hezbollah

Hezbollah Youth Rally


A Dream
(Modified by Pastorius)


We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if the world is to live up to God's promise, this must become true.

Let freedom ring from the claustrophobic, tilting cities, and the amber huts of China, where baby girls are left to crawl to their deaths, because the state denies parents choice in the blessing of children. Let freedom ring from the aged minarets of Saudi Arabia, where the peoples of the world are denied entry, and the peoples of the land are denied humanity itself. Let freedom ring from plains of the Sudan, where the women are violated with the sex organs of supremacism, and the men are beheaded, and ground into the dust of the earth. Let freedom ring from the darkened starving land of North Korea, where a leader starves his people and feeds his dreams of nuclear nightmare. Let freedom ring from the the hearts of people of Persia, where ancient hatred sits coiled in its castle and sucks the blood of all that lives.


From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Muslims, Buddhist, Hindus, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual,

"Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Come
Down
In Time


Song by Elton John

In the quiet silent seconds
I turned off the light switch
And I came down to meet you
in the half light the moon left
While a cluster of night jars sang some songs out of tune
A mantle of bright light shone down from a room

Come down in time I still hear her say
So clear in my ear like it was today
Come down in time was the message she gave
Come down in time and I'll meet you half way

Well I don't know if I should have heard her as yet
But a true love like hers is a hard love to get
And I've walked most all the way and I ain't heard her call
And I'm getting to thinking if she's coming at all

Come down in time I still hear her say
So clear in my ear like it was today
Come down in time was the message she gave
Come down in time and I'll meet you half way

There are women and women and some hold you tight
While some leave you counting the stars in the night


The
Foundation
Of
Western
Democracy



Yesterday, I posted a passage from The Drama Of Atheist Humanism, by Henri De Lubac, which showed how, in the Christian worldview, man sits at the pinnacle of God's creation. He is given charge of the gallery, caretaker of God's beautiful artwork. Indeed, not only is man caretaker, but he is preeminent. He stands above and beyond creation. The totality of God's creation can not contain the soul of man, which like God's has an infinite and immortal quality to it.

These are dramatic ideas. They are a bit frightening to fathom. And, in all my years as a Christian, I do not recall ever having heard a Pastor say anything of the like.

In the days, since 9/11, I have begun to think through the implications of my faith, and of what I know of the Bible. I had come to these same conclusions, when I started reading the works of Catholic thinkers within this past year. Oh, what a joy it is to find that I am not a blasphemous heathen, but that, instead, my conclusions are considered to be orthodoxy by some of the most profound thinkers to have ever walked the Earth; Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict, and Mr. De Lubac himself.

Today, let's look at a passage that talks about what man has come to believe of himself, and what man is, and, of how the human race needs to be reminded of its purpose:


Philosophers have told man that he is a "microcosm," a little world made of the same elements, given the same structure, subject to the same rhythms as the great universe; they have reminded him that he is made in its image, and that he is subject to its laws; they have made him into part of the mechanism, or at most, into the epitome of the cosmis machine.

Nor were they completely mistaken.

Of man's body, and of all that, in man, can be called "nature," it is true. But, if man digs deeper and if his reflection is illuminated by what is said in the Sacred Scripture, he will be amazed at the depths opening up within him.

Unaccountable space extends before his gaze. In a sort of infinitude he overflows this great world on all sides, and in reality, it is that world, "macrocosm," which is contained in this apparent "microcosm."

That looks like a paradox contained in one of our great modern idealists. Far from it. First formulated from Origen, then by Saint Gregory Nazianzen, it was later repeated by many others. Saint Thomas Aquinas was to give much the same translation of it when he said that the sould is in the world contiens magis quam contenta - containing it rather than contained by it.

Man, to be sure, is made of dust and clay, or, as we should say nowadays, he is of animal origin - which comes to the same thing. The Church is not unmindful of this, finding a warrant for it in the same passage of Genesis ("God made man in His own Image and Likeness... from dust ... He breathed life into him ...").

Man, to be sure, is also a sinner. The Church does not cease to remind him of that fact.

The self-esteem she endeavors to instill into him is not the outcome of a superficial and ingenuous view of the matter. Like Christ, she knows "what there is in man."

But, she also knows that, that the lowlinessof his origin in the flesh cannot detract from the sublimity of his vocation, and that, despite all the blemishes that sin may bring, that vocation is an abiding source of inalienable greatness.

The Church thinks that this greatness must reveal itself even in the conditions of present-day life, as a fount of liberty and a principle of progress, the ncessary retaliation upon the forces of evil.

And she recognizes in the mystery of God-mad-man the guarantee of our vocation and the final consecration of our greatness. Thus, in her liturgy she can celebrate each day "the dignity of the human substance" even before rising to the contemplation of our rebirth.


Man was made for greatness. We may have gotten a little off-track, but God still sees in us, the greatness, the infinitude of creativity and imagination, the power of love, and the longing for righteousness. Because He sees these things in us, he laid Himself down as a sacrifice, the Passover Lamb, whose blood on the doorposts of our hearts, causes death to shrink away and escape in fear.

One is not required to believe what I wrote in the preceding paragraph to understand that, whatever you believe, it is upon an idea of such greatness in man that the founders of liberty, and the Western ideal, undertook their mission to free all men from the chains of slavery to monarchies, and fiefdoms.

When the idea was first proposed, that Kings would not own men, but that, instead, men would own their kings, the powers who had always ruled, shook, and were overcome with the nausea of men set adrift at sea.

How can common people be trusted to rule themselves? How can the rabble be expected to mind the china shop of civilization? How can the bungled and the botched be expected to preserve the culture we have worked so hard to construct?

We see these same questions being asked about the Muslim world today.

How can we expect men, who are slaves to an violent ideology, a religion of the sword, to ever become civilized like us? How can we entrust them with the power of Democracy? How can we allow them to rule themselves?

The answer is to understand that they are humans too, created in God's own likeness and Image. We need to return to the foundational beliefs of our civilization. We need to do so with confidence knowing that the rights of man, firmly established, will work their magic on the frightening culture of the Muslim world.

We need to trust and enforce the rights of man, and we need to know that Muslims have the infinity of freedom and creativity within themselves, as surely as we do, and that this infinitude, connected as it is to the world of our Creator, will guide their culture in the right direction, gradually, but surely.

They will find their way to freedom, just like we did.

We weren't a very pretty bunch when we started either. Just ask the Kings who had ruled us.


Why
God
Chose
The Jews


In light of the human catastrophe, Ahmadinejad, the LA Times this morning featured an article called "Why God Chose The Jews" by crime novelis Andrew Klavan. Here's a bit:


THERE IS ONE good thing about anti-Semitism: It lets you know who the bad guys are. Right, left, black, white, freak or straight, the minute someone starts rattling on about the evil Jews, you know your train just pulled into Slimeball Station.

All bigotry is wrong, of course, but there's something about this particular form of prejudice that is weirdly reliable as a sign of deeper wickedness. Perhaps it's because the Jews contributed so much to humanity's moral code that to hate them as a race is to despise the restraints of morality itself

Whatever the reason, true, virulent anti-Semitism is such a good indicator of the presence of evil that I'm tempted to believe that when God made the Jews his chosen people, this is what he chose them for: to be a sort of Villainy Early Detection System for everyone else.

Unfortunately, in his infinite love for his creation, I suspect the Big Guy may have overestimated our intelligence. Maybe he thought that after Hitler we'd just, you know, like, get it. Instead, we still see apparently intelligent people appeasing, making excuses for and even embracing the sorts of stinkers who ought to set off the Big Alarm.

That's why I think the system could use more bells and whistles — a loud honking noise perhaps, or even closed captioning for the morally impaired. Thus, when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the Holocaust is a "myth" or that Israel "must be wiped off the map," you would hear a loud honk and words would appear in the air below his face:

"Hello. I am an evil madman. Please stop negotiating with me now and proceed to cripple my nuclear capability by any means necessary."

Or how about when Venezuelan leader — and anti-American Iran ally — Hugo Chavez warns that "descendants of those who crucified Christ … have grabbed all the world's riches for themselves"? Honk. His subtitle:

"Hi. I know you lefties are still enamored of the idea of socialism — fine. But personally, I'm a jerk and a friend of tyranny. Oh, and Mr. Belafonte? Go home before you make an ass of yourself."

Now, I understand the situation in the Middle East is morally and politically complex, as is the situation in South America. I know that honorable people can hold conflicting opinions about the issues in these places. But when the entrenched misery of an area nearly as large as the United States is consistently blamed on 5 million people in a country the size of a shoebox, or when the ills of the world are loaded onto less than 1% of its population, I begin to become suspicious.

(Pastorius note: Suspicious? That's what I call restraint.)

If it were only a matter of hating Jews, we could say: "Feel free, hate everyone, knock yourself out." The trouble is the suffering, the slaughter of innocents and indeed the destruction of entire nations that seems inevitably to follow when anti-Semitism is allowed to spread beyond the cesspool of the mind that contains it. History is too full of lowlifes who thought all their problems would be solved if they could just kill enough Jews — or thugs like Pontius Pilate who thought it was a matter of killing the right Jew — for us not to realize that their Final Solutions aren't final and are no solution. They are often the first, and sometimes the last, road sign pointing the way to an earthly hell.

So here's a plan. The next time you express an opinion on what's wrong with the world, take a look around to see who's nodding in agreement. If it's some clown who thinks the Jewish state should be pushed into the sea, or that the Jews killed Christ or are conspiring to subvert the world economy or the government or the media, I beg you to consider that you might be wrong.

There is no shame in changing your opinion. Falling into step with wicked fools — that's shameful, and it's dangerous too. God gave you an early detection system. Use it.



Very good. Very, very good. I wish I would have written that.


Iran
Announces
Conference
On
Holocaust


Iran pledges to get to the bottom of the Holocaust. The question is, just how low can they go?"


TEHRAN, Iran - Iran said Sunday it would sponsor a conference to examine the scientific evidence supporting the Holocaust, an apparent next step in hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's campaign against Israel and a move likely to deepen Tehran's international isolation.

Ahmadinejad already had called the Nazis' World War II slaughter of 6 million European Jews a myth and said the Jewish state should be wiped off the map or moved to Germany or the United States.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi did not disclose where or when the Holocaust conference would be held, nor would he say who would attend or what had prompted Tehran to sponsor it.

On Saturday, however, Ahmadinejad urged the West to be sufficiently open-minded to allow a free international debate on the Holocaust. Asefi adopted that theme.

"It is a strange world. It is possible to discuss everything except the Holocaust. The Foreign Ministry plans to hold a conference on the scientific aspect of the issue to discuss and review its repercussions," Asefi told reporters.

Earlier this month, the Association of Muslim Journalists, a hard-line group, proposed holding a similar conference, but Asefi said he was not aware of the association's wishes. He said the conference he announced was planned and supported by the ministry.


Honestly, I'm getting a little sick of this term hard-line. I know it's the kind of phrase journalists must use in place of using judgemental words like insane, or evil, but the problem with it is, the phrase "hard-line" implies that Ahmadinejad's attacks on the Holocaust occupy an actual space in intellectual reality, from which he refuses to back down. However, the truth is, the only space he occupies is in fantasy land.

And, by the way, is it just me, or do the forces of evil seem to be accelerating their attacks on the Jews, and on decency itself?


Pre-Futurism
vs.
The
Singularity:
"The
Next Level"



To what are we giving birth?

Al Fin discusses the coming changes in humanity as the result of cyborg technologies and bio-engineering. In doing so, he hits upon why I call our present age, The Pre-Future. He also makes a very important moral/intellectual distinction at the end of this essay:


When referring to the progress of humans, I typically refer to the impending higher stage of mental and physical development of humans as "the next level." The term, "the singularity," is reserved for a technological evolution of increasing machine sophistication (including nanotech) and increasing sophistication of information technologies. The singularity can occur without significant change in human nature, simply because science and technology development does not require very many people, in relative numbers.

The singularity is a technological and scientific event.

The next level is a human event, the transformation of humans.

At the present time, what I call "between-levels humans" are simply too short-lived and too stupid to take care of this part of the universe. Look at the pollution, the religious wars, the third world deforestation, the primitive and wasteful energy technologies. Look at the insane politics, the oppression, the dictators starving their people. Look at the drug abuse, the general escapism, the strong drive to retire without ever achieving anything.

Technological and scientific advances can occur at a dazzling rate, and not change basic humanity. There will be more sophisticated means of escape, virtual reality being one such grail to be sought. Machine intelligence is looked on by many as either a benign form of slavery, or as an act of creating another intelligent species with which to commune. The more likely result of machine intelligence is a dizzying escalation of non-human intelligence, engineered by non-humans, for the benefit of non-humans.

That is, unless humans become more intelligent themselves, intelligent enough to understand and anticipate their creations, before they are created.

The laws of complexity suggest that emergent phenomena can always surprise a designer. Simple starting rules give birth to complex resultant phenomena. Humans must become more intelligent, and longer lived. There has always been a shortage of wise, intelligent, experienced humans. Look at contemporary society in the western world, where the vanity and rashness of youth are valued over the wisdom and perspective of maturity. Passion and excitement are valued, which is good, but they are valued above many other things that are more integral to a satisfying life.

We must not allow ourselves to lag too far behind our technology. Evolution by natural selection is a slow worker, requiring millenia and millions of years to accomplish great things. Evolution has done its work on each of us, for good or ill. But now we are not content to wait. Diabetics take genetically engineered insulin, in order to live and function. Critically ill patients in emergency wards and ICUs are given genetically engineered potions to allow them to survive the crisis and heal. Victims of malignant tumors are given genetically engineered drugs to combat their malignancies, and other genetically engineered drugs to help their bodies rebuild.

We drink milk produced by cows given genetically engineered BGH. We consume breads and pastas made from genetically engineered grains. We are encouraged by the improvement of health in third world countries, where genetically engineered "golden rice" prevents illness and death of children.

Genetic engineering, and soon stem cells and tissue engineering, are becoming a natural part of daily human existence. Most people shy away from the gene engineering of the human genome, but that too is becoming more common. Innocent children, through no fault of their own, are born with fatal genetic illnesses. In the opulent western world, we are generally happy to do whatever we can to provide these unfortunates with any advantage possible, including genetic therapies.

On the singularity side, cyborg technologies are becoming extremely common. Cochlear implants prepare the way for retinal implants. High technology titanium prosthetics make way to pressure sensing and active responding prosthetics. We are becoming more comfortable with the idea of prosthetic technologies to assist in compensating for any deficits. Mental prosthetics are very near, in fact in many ways personal computers and communications networks are forms of mental prosthesis, taking over from the printed page and spoken word.

What I am referring to with this discussion, is the difference between a consciousness that is biologically enhanced, and a consciousness that is technologically enhanced. Yes, I realize that technology is involved in any "artificial" enhancements. The distinction is useful, nonetheless. Next levels put humans first, singularitarians put technology first, whether intentionally or not.


I want to talk, briefly, about the four points I highlighted here. Al Fin said:

1) Look at the drug abuse, the general escapism, the strong drive to retire without ever achieving anything.

Pastorius comment: Yes, that's why, to me, it's such a frightening prospect that humans are now coming to understand the DNA switches which start and stop the aging process. If we humans are, generally, such imaginatively weak creatures that we can't figure out what to do with 70 years here on Earth, why would we want to live 700 years? That's an important question to ponder. What kind of mischief will humans get themselves in with that much time on their hands?

2) That is, unless humans become more intelligent themselves, intelligent enough to understand and anticipate their creations, before they are created.

Pastorius note: This is the essence of the Pre-Futurist Age. The technologies we are currently in the process of developing are so epochal, and they are coming at us so fast, so inevitably, that we must begin to make decisions about them now, almost as if these technologies were already present with us. In a sense, we are living with the ghost of technologies future.

3) Mental prosthetics are very near, in fact in many ways personal computers and communications networks are forms of mental prosthesis.

Pastorius note: Yes, computers are mental prosthetics. That sounds like a poetic statement, but it isn't in the least. Here's why. As I have noted, we have already devloped chips which interact with the brain to both download and upload information between computer and brain. In the future, chips will be developed which will help humans speed up their ability to download and upload information to their brain. At a certain point, this transfer of informtion between computer and brain will go wireless.

At that point, there will be no distinction between the internet and human brain. The internet will, literally, be a mental prosthetic for human beings.

What will humans do with the capacity of all-known knowledge? What will happen when humans achieve this kind of functional omniscience?

4) Next levels put humans first, singularitarians put technology first.

Pastorius note: I'm not as concerned as many futurists are with the prospect that computers will take over for humans. Why? Because I think there will be a seamless melding of humans and computers, as described in the above point. The Human Will will, quite literally, possess the internet.

So, the problem isn't a loss of the human, or of humanity, but instead, the problem is whether we, as Pre-Futurists, envision the future to be set up in a humane way, or whether we set it up as a Technocracy.

What do I mean by that?

Well, what did I mean, for instance, by the phrase, "functional omniscience?"

Well, by functional omniscience, I mean, possessing all known-knowledge, including all the knowledge of the other human beings with whom we share our space. And, what does that entail?

The problem, as I say, is not whether humans will continue to exist, but whether humans will exist in a tolerable state. Will humans live in a way that is conducive to their humanity?

Can humans, for instance, live in a world where hackers can hack their mind at any time? Do such violations of privacy take away the ability to let the imagination run free? Will such technology destroy our capacity for creativity? In that sense, will we be able to fulfill our humaness?

How can we ensure that the future will hold a zone of privacy for each human, so that each human is able to retain his own mental space, and be an individual, so that each human is able to be an individually cretive entity?


U.S. Faults
Saudi
Anti-Terror
Efforts


"I'm setting up a government commission to investigate myself."


Lately, there has been much discussion on this blog about how Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are not really allies of the United States. Sure, they produce a terror suspect once in a while. And, sure, they crack down on terrorists within their borders, when terrorists attack them. But, the truth is, they support terrorism aginst the United States. Pakistan does allows the Madrassas to continue preaching Jihad against America, and Saudi Arabia continues to fund the spread of Wahabbism in America.

Here's more evidence, from the front page of this mornings LA Times:


WASHINGTON — Although Saudi Arabia has cracked down on militants within its borders, the kingdom has not met its promises to help prevent the spread of terrorism or curb the flow of money from Saudis to terrorist cells around the world, U.S. intelligence, diplomatic and other officials say.

As a result, these critics say, countless young terrorism suspects are believed to have escaped the kingdom's tightening noose by fleeing across what critics call a porous border into Iraq.

U.S. military officials confirm an aggressive role by Saudi fighters in the insurgency in Iraq, where over the last year they reportedly accounted for more than half of all Arab militants killed.

And millions of dollars continue to flow from wealthy Saudis through Saudi-based Islamic charitable and relief organizations to Al Qaeda and other suspected terrorist groups abroad, aided by what the U.S. officials call Riyadh's failure to set up a government commission to police such groups as promised, senior U.S. officials from several counter-terrorism agencies said in interviews.


Let's be honest, it says this money flows through Saudis, because the government has failed to stem the tide. Well, that's because the Saudis are the government. Saudi Arabia is governed by the Saudi family.

If the Saudi family is sending money to terrorists, why would they set up a government commission to force themselves to stop sending money to terrorists?

If they wanted to stop, they would simply stop. They don't need a government commission to put a halt to their own actions.