Wednesday, February 07, 2007

What Would Happen If Christs' Church Was Suddenly Gone?

The Berean Call Daily Email (thanks to Olivia):

Although skeptics Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris denounce "religion,"
their tepid (really timid with good reason) barbs against Islam, for
example, show that it is biblical Christianity they are fighting. For
one reason, it is safer. In spite of all the rhetoric about "religion"
being the greatest taker of life, we know that man-made "isms" such as
Communism take top honors in shedding the blood of their comrades: "20
million in the Soviet Union, 65 million in the People's Republic of
China, 1 million in Vietnam, 2 million in North Korea, 2 million in
Cambodia, 1 million in the Communist states of Eastern Europe," etc.


[TBC: Should Dawkins and Harris meet their goal of removing the
influence of biblical Christianity, they will find they have only given
opportunity for every form of false religion to flourish.]

Monday, February 05, 2007

by Emanuel A. Winston, Member Board of Directors and Research Associate,
Freeman Center For Strategic Studies

I have written 4 prior articles entitled "THE GATHERING OF THE NATIONS"...each was built on prior observations in terms of the gathering of the nations from the north (as it says in the Bible) - each seemingly for their own reasons to attack Israel but, hostility was a common theme for them all. The Arab Muslims, of course, have a religion-driven hatred, based upon the Koran teachings by murderous Islamic clerics. Their interpretation is that Islam is supreme and the Jewish faith and their presence on Land they previously conquered and lost to the Jews, impinges on their testicle-driven manhood and the simple fact that they have always been low achievers throughout history - except for their permanent state of war with all others. "All Others" means Christians, Jews, all other religions and races who do not ascribe to their self-perceived superiority, hiding a much deserved inferiority complex. But, they are a scary bunch as they promise to blow up, cut heads off, torture anyone who gets in their way.

In Europe there is a growing "Diaspora" as native Europeans begin to exodus areas where Muslims have become a dangerous "Critical Mass". There have been projected guesses as to where the French, English, Dutch, ‘et al’ would emigrate once it became unlivable in Eurabia. It is supposed that the French will go to Canada (where French is demanded to be spoken); the English to Australia (to where the English sent their POWs and criminals - but Australia speaks English - sort of) - or America (where they speak a different kind of English). Those of the Netherlands would simply scatter.

One cannot help but think of how the Jews forced into the Diaspora, first by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon who laid the Jews’ First Temple in Jerusalem to waste in 586 BCE, murdered the nobles, blinded and exiled King Zedekiah - along with a large portion of the population who were sent into captivity in Babylon, Persia - today Iran.

The "parable" or lesson in this history is that now, a more cruel leader has arisen in ancient Babylon, Persia which is now Tehran, Iran as represented the Ayatollah Khomeini who toppled the Shah February 1, 1979. Today Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declares he will build his nuclear bombs, has demonstrated today (November 2nd) his missile capability by launching several kinds of short-range missiles. Ahmadinejad opened a big, new naval exercise dubbed the "Great Prophet" with his "cluster warhead" capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. The Shehab 3 has a range of more than 2,000 km., can reach Israel and the American troops in the Middle East and that he will "wipe Israel off the map". Israel’s Arrow anti-missile missile system, developed for defense against the Shehab, is not capable of preventing an attack by large numbers of multiple-warhead missiles. IF the Shehab fulfills Ahmadinejad’s boasts, it will pose a lethal strategic threat to Israel, the U.S. military in the Mid East and Iran’s Arab neighbors. (1)

In 538 CE Cyrus II the Great of Persia proclaimed in his "Edict of Toleration" that the Jewish exiles could return and re-settle in Palestine and rebuild the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. 42,360 Jewish pilgrims returned and began to re-build the Jewish Temple from 535 to 515 CE when it was completed with the help of Darius the Great of Persia.

The Roman Empire achieved the wider Jewish Diaspora after the Romans captured Judea, destroyed the Second Temple, burned the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple to the ground, salting the earth so nothing would grow, killing and exiling the Jews.

Henceforth, the Jews were hunted by the Europeans, the aristocracy and the Church - whenever they needed a target for the ignorant peasantry, the Inquisition (whenever they wanted to make an example of a Jew who was converted by force but still secretly practiced Judaism).

Later, after the rise of Islam in the 7th Century, the conquest by the Muslims of North Africa and all the area of Europe as far as Tours in France. There the Muslims were routed by Charles Martel and pushed back into the Middle East. However, Muslims laws in the Arab countries were quite cruel to Jews and Christians (who they called "Dhimmis": second class). Romantically inclined historians offered revisionist opinions calling this period: "The Glory of Islam" or "The Golden Years" when Islam, Christianity and Judaism created a "golden" civilization.

However, the true history is that throughout the centuries the Christians of Europe tried to force conversion upon the Jews. The worst of these times was the Inquisition (described above) where Jews either accepted conversion, were burned alive or were forced to flee.

"What goes around, comes around."

Now today, like the wrath of G-d playing a grim joke of retribution, the Europeans must soon choose between Islam, death or slavery ("Dhimmitude") or as suggested earlier, simply flee their country.
This is where this homily: "What goes around, comes around." is applicable.

But, the Nations are, indeed, gathering to go against Israel acting out the "Stockholm Syndrome". They wish to blame Israel because the Arab Islamists hate Israel and the Jews who claim their heritage to Eretz Yisrael who actually live there and have made it green. The Muslim nations have chosen Israel as their convenient victim to initiate their march toward their intended Global Caliphate (The Islamic New "One World Order"). While the Muslims are causing havoc, mayhem and murder everywhere in the world, the nations of the world need someone else to blame - other than the Muslims and their "Jihadist" terrorists - because the Free West fears retribution if they correctly label Muslims as the root actors in today’s Global Terror network.

As the Arabs chose Israel to be their stepping stone toward domination of all nations so, too have the nations chosen Israel as their "safe" victim to attack in order to solve the problem of the uprising Muslims. The Europeans and Americans fear facing 1.2 Billion Muslims head on so they choose to victimize Israel - which they think is a safe middle ground and a method of appeasement which, of course, is not working. Israel is supposed to give up Land to the Arab Muslim Palestinians as an appeasement to the Arab oil nations on the off chance they will cease Global Terror. Do you think that will work?

The Arab Muslims, having lost their religious and masculine manhood by being defeated in 7 wars by those whom they call the lowly Jews, must first retrieve their vaunted honor by blood and war. While their real goal is to dominate all non-Muslim nations, forcing Sharia laws on all, attacking Israel provides the short fuse to ignite and unify the "Jihadi" Muslim forces world-wide. Women in the Muslim world suffer greatly, of course, since they are considered only chattel and breeding stock to be totally covered up from sight. Some say Islam means "submit". Women and men who refuse to submit are generally slaughtered in some horribly bloody manner. Decapitation is one favored punishment. This does not mean that they are unified since they also slaughter each other as gleefully as they slaughter those whom they consider the "infidels" (unbelievers).

You have been watching the daily ritual in Iraq where the Sunnis kidnap, torture, and slaughter Shi’ites in large numbers and the Sunnis do the same. Sometimes they even kill those Muslims who are like them. They always manage to find sufficient differences to justify what they do best, namely: pillage, rape and murder.

I have written previously about the day a flotilla would cross the Mediterranean Sea to attack Israel. Presently, there is a large war game of warships off the coast of Lebanon. One of the German ships launched a helicopter which crossed into Israeli air space (seemingly by accident). Given Israel’s sensitivity and high state of alert (for good cause as she is surrounded by hostile terrorists and Muslim Arab countries), it seemed a stupid, if accidental, mistake. Israeli jets did a fly-by and launched a couple of missiles, not at the helicopters but, merely in open space as a brief demonstration to show that crossing unannounced into Israeli airspace was not permitted.

But then, the German ship on another day did it again, clearly with the intention to provoke the Israelis and possibly cause an international incident and a "Casus Belli" to either justify and attack on Israel or generate serious sanctions. The Germans do not do things by accident nor would they have launched a provocation without discussing it first with the American, the E.U. and NATO.

We have already seen the activity of the U.N.’s MNF (Multi-National Force) attached to UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Forces In Lebanon) start a mission of protecting Hezb’Allah as Syria re-arms Hezb’Allah and the PLO in Sidon, Lebanon. Israel has been doing air reconnaissance over Lebanon to track Hebz’Allah’s re-building of bunkers and re-supply of missiles and other arms. The French (part of the UN MNF) issued a warning that it would shoot down Israeli aircraft or camera drones.

The Russian troops Ras-Putin sent to Lebanon are Muslim Chechnyans, Russian soldiers who get along quite well with the Muslim Arab terrorists. Naturally, they will train and arm the terrorists as they have been doing for some time. They have begun building their base in Sidon quite close to the Israeli border.
There is also a large flotilla in the Red Sea, off the coast of Saudi Arabia. (2)

As I said earlier, the nations are gathering. Regrettably, Israel has a pacifistic Government who simply doesn’t know what to do and who cripples her own military from aggressively defending the nation.
Hopefully, as it says in Tanach (Bible) "G-d will curse those nations who curse Israel" with unspeakable horrors.


Each nation expects a return for either attacking Israel directly, assisting others through the sale of arms, penetration of their markets, satisfaction of their xenophobic hatred, oil - either receipt of crude or given leases to explore and drill, thereby profits at two sides and dozens of other known and unknown benefits. For example:

Russia: Endemic hatred plus profits through sale of weapons to Iran and Syria. Sold nuclear technology and building nuclear power plants. Hopes to penetrate all other Arab oil markets by assisting terrorists. Hopes to push America out of the Middle East and uses Israel as a victim to play to Arab xenophobic hatred of Jews and Israel.

America: Here the issues are more complicated: The American people like Israel and generally think of Arabs as terrorists who threaten Homeland Security. On the other hand, the U.S. is the world’s largest consumer of oil, making them feel perceptively vulnerable to the oil nations which principally includes Saudi Arabia. There are those in Washington who would like to see Israel disappear both the oil business and their visceral hatred of Jews.

Europe: Instead of making this complicated by analyzing each of the E.U. members (except for a few), I will compress my thoughts: Christian Europe has carried on a savage vendetta against Jews since they adopted a Jewish man as their connection to G-d. Like the Arab Muslims it was a competition of who would be the heir on earth to G-d’s Covenant with the Jewish people. Would it be Christianity or Islam? Pogroms, Genocide, torture, abduction of children for conversion, attempts to co-opt the Jews to add to the claim of being the only true heirs of G-d’s Presence on earth. Each of the European nations have either slaughtered their Jews, turned them over to others (Nazi Germany) to be slaughtered or exiled them. It didn’t matter whether it was a self-perceived nation like the French, or the Poles, Ukrainians, Dutch, Hungarians, Rumanians, Norwegians, ‘et al’ because each in their own way carried out the teachings of their church.

Arab and/or Muslim oil states: Iran, the Gulf States, Venezuelan, African countries, etc. Saudi Arabia plays two (or more) roles. One, it needs U.S. military support or else surrounding rogue states like Syria, mainly Iran and Egypt would occupy and send the Royal Family either to the Mediterranean Sea or to Hell. The smaller Gulf States like Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain also need a U.S. security umbrella.

The Saudis, however, do fund terrorist organizations both through fear and compelling religious doctrine. They also fund "Madrassas" (Muslim schools) in Europe, America and all other Muslim countries where the curriculum teaches hatred for all non-Muslims and the right of Islam to ritually rule the world in an Muslim Caliphate with strict Sharia law.

Therefore, one finds the Bush Family, the Baker contingent which would include the U.S./Multinational oil companies who genuflect to the wishes of Arab Muslim hatred against Israel in as subtle and hidden a manner as this contingent can politically get away with.

The Arabist U.S. State Department works closely with all of the above to subvert and, if possible, eliminate Israel or, as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says "I’ll wipe Israel off the face of the earth." The State Department and many of the above also carry that xenophobic hatred as a visceral part of their thinking. Eliminating Israel would give then personal satisfaction in addition to the lucrative business they do with the Arabs - especially in high tech arms sales.

Like Russia, the U.S. arms industry counts on selling massive quantities of arms to the Arabs - both terror factions and countries. They should be grateful that Israel exists because their hatred lubricates the sale of weapons to Arab nations. They, like the oil companies and State Department do what they can to carry out Arab wishes against Israel. All of this is called "Lobbying" both the Administration and Congress.

Jews of Europe considered themselves lucky over the centuries to be expelled and all their property and assets confiscated - given the alternatives. Here the Church played a vital role in instilling a deep and personal hatred that has almost became a genetic feature of their civilization.

Strangely, although Islam and Christianity have been natural enemies through the centuries, they do cooperate in attempting to eliminate Israel and the Jews in it. On this they agree, although presently in Europe it has not reached the level (yet) where they can express their hatred too openly. The Arab Muslim immigrants take care of that as Germany and France tell their Jews not to look Jewish on the streets.

Europe also wishes to sell armaments to the Arabs. They also want the oil. Both of these motives drive their official government attitude toward Israel. However, underlying the urge for profit, there is always the taught, but now endemic, hatred of Jews and the Jewish State.

It’s no longer a question of hatred; it’s just a matter of degree. Right now, as Islam threatens their society, by extension, it increases Jew hatred. The European benefits are both money and satisfaction in their hatred of Jews. They would like to see Israel eliminated. After that it’s highly probable they would go to war with the Arab Muslims, hoping for U.S. participation. Expect some form of the Crusades or, as some refer to it, as a Clash of Civilizations.

One last thought: With the elimination of Israel, they could expunge their ever-present guilt for their active participation in the Genocidal murder of six million Jews. In other words: "Out of Sight - Out of Mind!"
As for the rest of either Islamic and or other countries like Indonesia, Venezuela, Argentina - they are minor players whose governments will change by "coup d’etat".

The Nations are indeed gathering. Whether you subscribe to the Biblical forecasts of a coming war of Gog and Magog, causing Armageddon, or you consider yourself a pragmatist seeing the nations girding for war as ‘merely doing what mankind does’, the Clash of Civilizations has begun.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

New Evidence Ties Former
Soviet Spy's Death to
American Hiroshima

From Battalion of Deborah:

by Paul L. Williams and Jeffrey M. Epstein

New evidence has come to light that Alexander Litvinenko may have been involved with Islamic terrorists in the preparation of tactical nuclear weapons for use in the jihad against the United States and its NATO allies.

Litvinenko, a former KGB agent, died in London on November 23 after ingesting a microscopic amount of polonium-210.

Investigators have now uncovered the following:

Litvinenko was a Muslim convert with reported ties to radical Islam.

The former Soviet spy masterminded the smuggling of radioactive material to Zurich in 2000. This finding was corroborated by Mario Scaramella, one of Litvinenko's business associates.

Litvinenko became closely allied with Boris Berezovsky, a Russian billionaire who established close ties with the Chechen leaders, and Chechen leader Ahmed Zakayev. Both men served as pallbearers at the funeral. Several years ago, Berezovsky boasted to the press that the Chechen separatists had acquired a portable nuclear weapon that lacked one "minor" component. That component, Scotland Yard officials now believe, was polonium-210. In a deathbed statement, Litvinenko blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the poisoning -- an accusation which the Kremlin has vehemently denied.

The denial was contradicted by the fact that polonium-210 is a rare radiological substance that is man-made by bombarding Bismuth-209 with neutrons within a nuclear reactor. It is expensive to produce and difficult to handle. Polonium-210 is also rare -- fewer than four ounces are produced annually. All of the reported production comes from Russian reactors. This amount is purchased annually by the United States, simply to keep the substance from leaking into the black market. Several rogue nations have been suspected of clandestinely producing polonium-210 for nefarious purposes. A quantity was detected in Iran by IAEA inspectors and in North Korea by U. S. airborne samplings. When Russian officials resorted to nuclear poisoning in the past -- including the assassination of two Swiss intelligence officials who were engaged with Russia and South Africa in the nuclear black market -- they relied on such readily available radiological substances as cesium-137 in salt form.

According to nuclear expert David Morgan, killing a spy or political dissident with a grain or two of polonium-210 is as ludicrous as shooting a rat with a howitzer. Indeed, if Litvinenko was a victim of radiological assassination, his murder would represent the costliest hit in human history with a price tag of $30 million.

Litvinenko, who was born an orthodox Christian, was a convert to Islam with close ties to the Chechen rebels. His last words consisted of his desire to be buried "according to Muslim tradition."

This wish was not fulfilled. The former spy was buried in a plain wooden coffin from a London mosque but was sealed in a Jacobean oak Garratt casket and laid to rest in Highgate Cemetery -- not the day after his death -- but on December 7, 17 days after his mysterious demise. The imam refused to allow the casket to enter the mosque because of fears of radiation contamination.

In recent years, considerable attention has been paid to suitcase nukes that were developed by U.S. and Soviet forces during the Cold War. Reliable sources, including Hans Blix of the United Nation, have confirmed that bin Laden purchased several of these devises from the Chechen rebels in 1996.

According to Sharif al-Masri and other al Qaeda operatives who have been taken into custody, several of these weapons have been forward deployed to the United States in preparation for al Qaeda's next attack on American soil.

The neutron source or "triggers" of the reported suitcase nukes are composed of beryllium-9 and polonium-210. When these two elements are combined, the alpha particle is absorbed by the nucleus of the beryllium causing it to decay by emitting a neutron. Such "triggers" were a feature of early nuclear weapons in the U.S. and Soviet stockpiles.Polonium-210 has a half-life of 138 days, necessitating the replacement of the triggers every six months. For this reason, the suitcase nukes are far from maintenance-free. In addition, the nuclear core of these devises emit a temperature in excess of one hundred degrees Fahrenheit -- further exposing the weapons to oxidation and rust. Small wonder that al Qaeda operatives including Adnan el-Shukrijumah, who are spearheading "the American Hiroshima" have received extensive training in nuclear technology.

Polonium-beryllium triggers are packaged in foil packs about the size of a package on sugar on a restaurant table. When the twin foil packages are crushed, the elements mix and the neutrons are emitted. A courier transporting nuclear triggers could have had a mishap causing the packages to rupture and a trail of contamination to occur.

Polonium-210 is a fine powder, easily aerosolized. Litvinenko could have inhaled the powder, or had a grain or two on his fingers when he ate the sushi.

The most probable source of the polonium packets, according to investigators, remains North Korea. The nuclear bomb which was tested by North Korea on October 9, 2006, registered 4.2 on the Richter scale -- displaying an explosive yield of five to 15 kilotons. The Bush Administration dismissed the test as a "fizzle." But the explosion matched the yield of a Soviet Small Atomic Munitions Device (SADM), such as a suitcase nuke with a plutonium core.

A dozen associates of Litvinenko have displayed symptoms of polonium poisoning. The list includes Andrei Lugovoi, a former KGB colleague of Litvinenko, who met with the deceased at the Millenium Hotel in London on November 1, 2006, the day Litvinenko became ill; Dimitry Kovtun, Lugovoi's business associate, who attended that meeting; Mario Scaramella, an Italian security consultant, who had dinner with Litvinenko the evening of November 1 at the Itsu Sushi Restaurant; and Litvinenko's Russian wife, Marina.

Traces of the lethal substance have been found in Litvinenko's home in Muswell Hill, two London hotels, and two British Airways 757s.

In an interview with The Independent shortly before the poisoning became public, Scaramella said that Litvinenko had been involved in the smuggling of radioactive material to Zurich. He also said that black market dealings in radioactive isotopes provided Litvinenko with badly need revenue to meet his living expenses. Litvinenko's father said that the former Soviet spy had converted to Islam before his death. He told the press: "He [Alexander] said I want to be buried according to Islamic tradition. I said okay son. It will be as you wish. We already have one Muslim in our family. The important thing is to believe in the Almighty. God is one."
Original Source

Here's my previous report on this issue. I've been reporting on this longer than anyone in the blogosphere, as far back as December 15, 2006.

I also interviewed Paul Williams on this subject on my radio show in early January.

Listen here.

The Peaceful Majority

My friend Michael sent this to me this morning. The origin of this piece is unknown:

I used to know a man whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War Two. They owned a number of large industries and estates. I asked him how many German people were true Nazis, and the answer he gave has stuck with me and guided my attitude toward fanaticism ever since.

"Very few people were true Nazis "he said," but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories."

We are told again and again by "experts" and "talking heads" that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace.

Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history.

It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals.

The hard quantifiable fact is that the "peaceful majority" is the "silent majority" and it is cowed and extraneous.

Communist Russia comprised Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China 's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.

The average Japanese individual prior to World War 2 was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet. And, who can forget Rwanda , which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were "peace loving"?

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points:

Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence.

Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany , they will awake one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.

Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.

As for us who watch it all unfold; we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Brothers In Arms

My favorite guitar player, Mark Knopfler.

Emmy Lou Harris - 1977

When I was in my young teens, my best friends father packed us in the VW and hauled us down to a local amusement park called Knott's Berry Farm to see some chick named Emmy Lou Harris.

I was a big fan of Bob Dylan's Desire album, so I was aware of who Emmy Lou was, but I was unprepared for the brilliance of her performance, and, in such a mundane setting it was all the more stunning.

Bohemian Rhapsody

This guy is the best at what he does that there has ever been. Of that, there is no doubt.

Cairo Book Fair:
Religious Books, MeinKampf
Selling Well

We in the West have to wake up to the fact that the Islamic world is seriously ill. A fire has started in their brains, and they live mental lives of barbarism, racism, and murderousness.

It might sound extreme for me to say that, but when viewed in the perspective of history, you will understand that this has happened in other societies as well. Germany went crazy in the thirties and forties, as did Japan. North Korea is currently a very sick society run by an evil madman. And, of course, we all know that madmen have run various societies into the ground throughout history.

So, you see, it is not racist or bigoted for me to say what I am saying. I am simply stating a fact. And, here is more evidence:

[M]any complain that the crowds are just there to picnic and buy religious books…
Of the 700 Egyptian and Arab publishers at the fair, the vast majority stock religious books on their shelves. “Even we reserve about a quarter of our catalog for them,” said publisher Ansari.
Korans of all styles, from the simple to the leather-bound, share shelf space with collections of religious sayings and fatwas as well as their more modern incarnations on cassettes and compact disks.

The fair also has its darker sides, with anti-Christian polemics advocating conversion to Islam as the only solution to a flawed religion and of course plenty of editions of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” for sale.

“It makes up a big part of our success, especially among the 18 to 25 crowd,” said Mahmud Abdallah of the Syrian-Egyptian Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi publishing house…

Prayer Breakfast

From Joel Rosenberg:

For one brief shining moment yesterday, bitter partisanship was replaced by prayer, and it couldn't have been more refreshing. Lynn and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the 55th Annual National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton, along with 4,000 business and political leaders, diplomats, military officials and journalists representing all 50 states and 160 different countries.

We met and shook hands with Sen. Barack Obama, perhaps the biggest rock star to move through the room since Bono came as the keynote speaker last year.

The President and First Lady were gracious and humble, breaking bread with Democratic leaders while thanking Americans for being "a nation of prayer" and for praying for our troops overseas and our leaders here at home.

Senators Hillary Clinton and John McCain sat together, swapping stories and jokes and taking a respite from what will no doubt be a long and heated presidential campaign. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Missouri as well as a former Methodist minister, was a fabulous emcee -- funny, insightful, collegial and sincerely eager to encourage his fellow Washingtonians to humble themselves before God.

The highlight of the morning, however, was the keynote address by Dr. Francis S. Collins, the director of the Human Genome Project and thus arguably the most important doctor and scientist on the planet today. He and his colleagues have mapped out the 3 billion letters of the human genetic code imprinted into each of our cells. ("Three billion -- that's a very large number," he deadpanned, "even in Washington.") They are figuring out the Creator's "instruction book" for the human body, and thus racing to find cures for cancer, diabetes, and so many other horrible diseases. And for him, it is a journey of faith as well as science.

Dr. Francis explained that he was raised on a small farm in Virginia by a family for whom religion was not that important. He developed a fascination with medicine and science early in his life and along the way, like many of his colleagues, thought of himself as an agnostic, and eventually as an atheist.

But one day, an elderly woman who was a patient of his and dying of cancer, explained to him that she had no fear of dying because she had a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. She explained the good news that God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives, and offers us a way to eternal life through Jesus, and then she asked, "Doctor, what do you believe?" Dr. Collins said he fled the room as fast as he could. He was touched by the woman's story, and moved by her faith, but he didn't have a satisfying answer to her question, and he said it was as if all of a sudden "the atheistic ice under my feet was cracking."

Though he was a scientist, he said he had never really considered the evidence for whether Jesus was the Messiah and Savior that He claimed to be. Why not? What was he afraid of?

So he began to study the life of Jesus. He began to read the works of famed atheist-turned-believer C.S. Lewis, the brilliant British professor. He learned that the New Testament teaches that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," (Hebrews 11:1) so he began pursuing the evidence wherever it led. And along the way he said that he found Jesus a man unlike any other -- humble, caring, willing to love His enemies, ready to forgive sinners of any race, creed or color.

"The evidence demanded a verdict," Dr. Collins explained, and the verdict, he concluded, was that Jesus really was who He said He was: "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6) So one day he bowed his head and prayed for God to forgive him and make him a fully devoted follower of Jesus, and it changed his life.

"But you're a scientist," Dr. Collins said people say to him so often. "Doesn't [all this talk of Jesus] make your head explode? Doesn't this create a huge conflict for you between faith and reason?" His answer, simply, is "no." True, only 40% of scientists believe there is a God, but he said he sees science as a means both of discovery as well as worship. The more he learns of how God has created and wired us, the more he feels he has "caught a glimpse of God's mind."

"There's an unwritten taboo among scientists about talking of one's spiritual leanings," Dr. Collins conceded, but he urged this not to be the case. It was a moving and personal talk from a hero of modern science, and one I hope is reported widely in the coming days in the media. Dr. Collins concluded by asking us to sing a song with him, as he played the guitar. That's not something you see every day at Washington political gatherings. The song was "Praise The Source of Faith and Learning," by Rev. Thomas Troeger. Here's the first stanza:

Praise the source of faith and learning
that has sparked and stoked the mind
With a passion for discerning
how the world has been designed.
Let the sense of wonder flowing
from the wonders we survey
Keep our faith forever growing
and renew our need to pray.

America the Beautiful.

There is no other country on the face of the Earth which affords such sanctuary to the Church. Of course, God doesn't necessarily need our sanctuary, and we ought not be arrogant about it, but the truth is, in countries like Saudi Arabia, China, and the old Soviet Union, Christians were and are horribly persecuted to the point of imprisonment, torture, and death.

Thanks be to God that we are free to choose whom we will worship here in America. Thanks be to God that we can make a choice to follow Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God that we have free and easy access to Bibles, and churches which sit on street corners, instead of darkened rooms with the shades drawn.

Let us all understand the fragility and the exceptionalism of freedom. Let us understand that there are people who want to take that away from us, and that it is possible that they could, if they aquire nuclear weapons.

Let us understand that life would never be the same if we allowed that to happen.

Let us work together to make sure it does not happen.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, at a Democratic National Committee meeting, an Imam, who is a known terror supporter, opened the festivities with a prayer which slyly asked God to take all our rights away from us, and sadly, no Democrat has protested.

Friday, February 02, 2007


Music by the Modern Classical Composer Arvo Part. My favorite Modern Composer.

Here's a pretty cool New Yorker article about Arvo Part (thanks to Reliapundit):

A few years ago, a man who faced a terminal diagnosis of cancer asked a friend to give him some compact disks so that he could have a little music to help him get through the night. Among the recordings that the friend sent was "Tabula Rasa," on the ECM label, which contained three works by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. A day or two later, the man called to thank his friend for the disks, and, especially, for the Pärt. In the last weeks of his life, he listened to practically nothing else.

Several people have told me essentially this same story about the still, sad music of Pärt—how it became, for them or for others, a vehicle of solace. One or two such anecdotes seem sentimental; a series of them begins to suggest a slightly uncanny phenomenon. Patrick Giles, in an article for Salon, reported that when he worked as a volunteer for an AIDS organization, in the nineteen-eighties, he played "Tabula Rasa" for those facing the final onslaught of the disease, and they developed a peculiar, almost desperate attachment to it. Once, when Giles was away, the mother of one of the dying men called with an anxious query. "He keeps asking for 'angel music,' " she said. "What the hell is that?" The music in question was the second movement of "Tabula Rasa," in which a rustling arpeggio on a prepared piano leads into glacial chords of D minor.

According to the unsentimental evidence of record sales, Pärt's music reaches far beyond the conspiracy of connoisseurs who support most new classical music. He is a composer who speaks in hauntingly clear, familiar tones, yet he does not duplicate the music of the past. He has put his finger on something that is almost impossible to put into words—something to do with the power of music to obliterate the rigidities of space and time. One after the other, his chords silence the noise of the self, binding the mind to an eternal present. For this reason, anecdotes of listeners' experiences, whether extreme or mundane, may give a better account of the music than any analysis of its inner workings. For me, "Tabula Rasa" will always be a snowy New England afternoon in 1989, during which there was nothing in the world but this music and that snow.

Earlier this month, a festival called Music Around presented twenty-two of Pärt's works in various Scandinavian cities. The composer travelled from his home in Berlin to observe the event, settling into a hotel in Copenhagen. I talked to him there, in a smattering of English and German, at the hotel's restaurant.

Pärt is a gaunt man with a pale, gentle face and mournfully powerful eyes. His bald pate is balanced by a tightly curled beard of a few inches' length. He has been described as "monkish" so often that a German musicologist has undertaken a deconstruction of the term, but the word still springs to mind unbidden: he could pose for an icon of St. John Chrysostom, or another of the literary saints. Yet, when his large eyes fix on you, he becomes more worldly and formidable; his stare seems to ask, "Are you serious?" At times, he is unexpectedly impish, even antic. He needs few words to make himself understood, using a repertory of quasi-operatic gestures and clownish faces.

"My life is a river, and I am a boat being borne along the current," he told me. "I cannot relate to my life as a story, as a sequence of events, because I cannot get off the boat in order to see where I am. I do not see myself as moving forward or going backward." I asked him whether he believed in musical progress, in the idea of an avant-garde. He vigorously shook his head. "I do not know what this word 'progress' means, at least in the area of art. Progress in science can certainly be measured and described. But to talk about a particular style or a particular work as progressive or regressive is arbitrary, totally misleading. It reminds me a little of Brueghel's painting of the blind leading the blind. One man is tumbling down, his staff held out like a spear or sword in front of him, and the others are following behind him. They are all making progress, and they are all falling down. The story is found in the Bible. How many painters this word 'progress' has made blind! How many composers this word has made deaf! And they carried behind them generations!" He looked stricken for a moment, as if he had just seen a horror out of Bosch.

Pärt was born in 1935, in a small town in the Estonian countryside. According to Paul Hillier's study of the composer, he grew up playing an ancient grand piano that lacked a middle register, so that he made music only at extremes of high and low. He studied composition in the national conservatory, in Tallinn. He moved steadily through all the styles that were available to him, from neoclassicism to socialism and on to Western avant-garde techniques of serialism and chance. He even dipped into John Cage-ish happenings, once participating in a concert at which a violin somehow caught on fire.

Finally, in 1976, he turned inward, discovering a new, radically simplified language. "Tabula Rasa" was one of the first products of this style, which came to be called "tintinnabuli," after the Latin word for bell. In its basic form, it involves the interweaving of two voices, one of which moves by melodic steps while the other rotates through the pitches of a major or a minor chord. The method has something in common with the early minimalist pieces of Steve Reich, but the resemblance is better explained by the fact that both composers drew on the same ancient sources: polyphonic composers of the late medieval and early Renaissance periods.

The tintinnabuli works were also informed by an intense religiosity, flowing from Pärt's embrace of Russian Orthodoxy. This meditative strain contributed to his subsequent popularity in the nineteen-nineties, when records of Gregorian chant mysteriously showed up on the pop charts. But there was nothing fashionable about Pärt's choice of style back in the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. The composer had already established himself as something of a maverick; his 1968 work "Credo," in which a prayerful choral arrangement of Bach's Prelude in C Major sounds defiantly in the middle of musical chaos, drew official censure. By the late seventies, as Pärt began to acquire international fame, he found that he was not permitted to travel freely abroad, and that his works were being taken off the market. In 1979, at a meeting of the Estonian Composers' Union, Pärt denounced official policy while wearing a longhaired wig. The following year, he was able to obtain an exit visa to Israel—his wife, Nora, is Jewish. Alfred Schnittke, who had played the prepared piano in the first Western performances of "Tabula Rasa," arranged for the Pärts to stay in Vienna, and they ended up settling in Berlin.

Pärt said of his early, "wild" years, "I was writing music in which there were many notes thrown down on the page like so." He made a scattering gesture with his hands. "Notes were being strewn about like coins or jewels. I was not guarding these notes as treasures. I was not holding them, one after another, in my hands. Every note is decisive, every note is telling." Yet, for all his love of spare, repetitive textures, he does not treasure the minimalist label that has been attached to him. "Two composers, Philip Glass and Steve Reich, changed the world at that time," he said. "I have great respect for them. Still, I am not a minimalist. I understand that music critics will always find categories for my works and put them away in suitable drawers, but to call me a 'holy minimalist' sounds a bit ridiculous." He cupped his ear and listened to the hollow air.

As Pärt and I talked, a pan-flute arrangement of the "Titanic" soundtrack was playing on the restaurant's loudspeakers. It played over and over, in an endless loop. Although Pärt asked the waitress to turn it down, it refused to go away. The juxtaposition was ironic, because this composer has sometimes been accused of writing background music—a higher Muzak for sensitive souls. His works have been used on movie soundtracks and in other suspect environments. The false association with New Age aesthetics has perhaps inadvertently been aided by the exquisite care that ECM takes in recording him. Since the mid-eighties, Manfred Eicher, ECM's longtime director and chief producer, has given Pärt's music a distinctive ambience, a sonic halo. Even the packaging of the disks, all crisp lines and monochromatic fields, is a beautiful exemplar of minimalist style.

Recordings tell only half the story, however. They remain two-dimensional experiences, whereas Pärt is intensely concerned with the positioning of music in space. It was actively stunning to hear his works in the airy, chilly churches of Copenhagen, where the music seemed to crystallize out of the air and become an organic, multivalent thing. The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, under Tõnu Kaljuste, and the Latvian Radio Choir, under Kaspars Putnins, gave the music enormous immediacy: the voices buzzed against each other, then soared as one. Most commentators have overlooked the dramatic tension inherent in Pärt's work—the way an apparent state of equilibrium is undermined by one or two serpentine notes, or the way small harmonic shifts can turn into seismic shocks. When, in the choral work "Beatitudes," an intricately pivoting chain of modulations leads through twenty of the twenty-four major and minor chords, the effect is of a huge vista opening up from a narrow space. As happens so often, Pärt has found a precise musical image to explicate his chosen text: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven."

In recent years, Pärt has stretched his tintinnabulist idiom in order to accommodate a freer harmonic rhythm. He has set Latin, German, English, Spanish, and Old Slavonic texts, recalibrating his language to fit the demands of each. "Kanon Pokajanen," an eighty-minute-long setting of the Orthodox canon of repentance, mixes the rawness of folk ritual with the fastidiousness of theology. The English works, such as "Beatitudes" and "Litany," echo the soaring forms of Anglican hymns. "Como Cierva Sedienta," a Spanish-language setting of Psalms 42 and 43, has a strikingly vibrant, almost Fauvist orchestration and a richly ornamented vocal line; it is very nearly opulent. This recent work appears on ECM's latest Pärt disk, "Orient & Occident," which contains other intimations of new directions. The title piece, an elegy for strings, echoes the feverish intimacy of Benjamin Britten, whom Pärt reveres, while also forming unexpected links with Indian string writing and Arabic cantillation.

The composer acknowledged his latest tendencies with a guilty smile. "Yes," he said. "I got a little crazy, didn't I?" He mimed a gesture that suggested a flamenco dancer throwing tennis balls. The wild Pärt of the Estonian years, who mocked the authorities and played the holy fool, is still lurking below the surface. The austerity of his present style may really serve to hold the other self in check; one wonders how much turbulence lies deep within these chapels of sound, which come close to Bachian perfection. Often, in the spiritual sphere, faith hovers at the brink of disorder and sorrow.

At the end of our talk, I asked Pärt whether he felt lonely, both as a religious artist in a secular Western culture and as a classical composer in the kingdom of pop. He paused for a while, and the pan flutes filled the silence. "If loneliness brings bitterness and anger," he finally said, "then, I think, loneliness is a disease. We composers cannot brood, we cannot cultivate loneliness. Schubert, for example, never heard his symphonies in performance—they got no interest from publishers. But they are full of life. And his songs are nearer to Heaven than most music written for the church. He had the talent of love and the talent of compassion. Of course he was lonely, but his suffering gave out sweet nectar.

"We cannot know all the good people in the world," he went on. "Not many of the good people are composers. Twenty years ago, my friend Valentin Silvestrov, one of the greatest composers of our time, said that nowadays great music isn't made in concert palaces. Instead, it is created in lofts, basements, and garages. Here you are, with your feet in lukewarm water, and the pan flutes are making noise—"

He stopped, frustrated at the inability of either English or German to bring his image to life. He took a pen out of his pocket and put it in front of me, as if that would explain everything. "Schubert's pen," he said, "was fifty per cent ink, fifty per cent tears."

Ladies And Gentlemen,
The Future President
Of The United States

If the Republicans don't get serious and field a candidate with media saavy, and a story the Americans want to tell themselves, Hilary Clinton will be the next President of the United States.

Check out the look on her face when she says, "... the highest profits in the history of the world."

She has a self-satisfied look of sarcastic bemusement on her face, as if we should all agree with her that a corporation does not have a right to make such profits.

Profits ought to be celebrated. They are evidence of success. It ought to go without saying, but it doesn't for Hilary, that we want corporations to make a healthyprofit. If all corporations failed to make a profit, we would be in a depression.

Watch this video. Honestly, I am astounded.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Give Me Love, Give Me Peace On Earth

I couldn't find a version by George Harrison, but I think Jeff Lynne (singer/songwriter from Electric Light Orchestra) does a good version here.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

George Harrison; the Dark Horse Beatle.

My Sweet Lord

I know he's, supposedly, singing to a different God than I sing to, but I love this song, and I can sing it to God, as I know Him. (I'm sure we're all mistaken about who God Is, to some extent.)

And, besides, it seems to me George Harrison was truly a man of love and peace, but what do I know? One day the fire of God's Love will separate the wheat from the chaff, and I'll bet you an awful lot of what George did will be refined into Gold.

God Bless You, George Harrison.

I See The Lord

This is one of the most beautiful Praise Songs I have ever heard.

Muslim Hottie
The Truth

This woman is on her way to becoming one of my favorite people in the world:

Munira Mirza , an expert on identity, multi-culturalism and radical Islam knows what she is talking about. You might have caught her recent series The Business of Race on Radio 4, or heard her contributions to such programmes as Start The Week on the very same subjects. Or perhaps you may have read one of her articles or think tank reports. Munira is much in demand.
'I'm not quite sure how to explain what I do,' she laughs, when I ask her.

This turns out to be a PhD, freelance research and writing, and a project on the rise of UK radical Islam for much in demand think tank, Policy Exchange. Oh, and then there is are the media appearances.


No matter, because for a woman in such demand, Munira is in no hurry. So we sip milky coffee in a café along from the House of Commons, complain about the miserable weather, and then get down to the subject of race.

Q: I realised the other day that I don't actually understand what multi-culturalism is.

A: There are two ways that you can look at it. First there is the lived experience; we live in a country that has an enormous amount of ethnic and cultural diversity. In London, in particular, there are a lot of languages spoken, different food and arts, etc. That's the cosmopolitan experience of living in a society with lots of differences and that's great. But then there is multi-culturalism as a political idea, which is quite different and which elevates the importance of difference above what we have in common. The message off multi-culturalism is that your cultural identity as an individual is the most important thing, and that we should organise society around that principle. So rather than looking for the things that we might have in common, we instead take all these differences and relate to people through this filter. It is a way of making sense of the relationships between us, and it is also a view of culture that is, in a sense, fixed in the multi-cultural model. So the fact that I am Asian means that my identity, if you are a multi-culturalist, is something that is created for me, and something that I am born with, rather than something that I make for myself.

Q: What was 7-7 about, do you think?

A: I think the terrorists were looking for meaning too. They can't find it here; being British is so discredited in this country that they look for that identity elsewhere. But the most compelling thing about the al-Qaeda identity is its victimhood status; it is the ultimate logic of multi-culturalism, with its claim that it represents an oppressed minority.

Q: But what makes a group of apparently well educated young men put explosives in backpacks and explode themselves on crowded underground trains?

A: You won't find the answer to that question abroad; you'll find it here in the vacuum of meaning in the West. The only value such people believe in is an entirely nihilistic one, which is the philosophy which dominates much of our current western culture. The anti-western sentiment of those bombers was not that dissimilar to the anti-western characteristics of the Left; anti-capitalist and anti-globalist. The almost emotional attachment to hating the West is much stronger than any kind of rational political analysis.

But to combat terrorism we have to present an alternative, to confidently state that we have values, to be clear that they are strong and to not accept the characterisation of the West as something that is entirely destructive. The West has made remarkable strides and its ideas can be universal and understood around the world.

UK: Attacks On
Jews Reach
Record High

Contrary to the constantly propogated myth that there has been a sharp increase in "Islamophobic hate crimes," the truth is, it is the Jews who are being attacked more and more. And few places are more dangerous for Jews than merry ole' England:

Attacks on Britain's Jews have risen to the highest level since records began.

A study published today shows the number of reported anti-Semitic incidents has almost tripled in 10 years, with more than half the attacks last year taking place in London.

The findings prompted the report's authors to warn of a "wave of hatred" against Jews.

The number of incidents increased to 594 last year, up by 31 per cent on the previous year.

Violent assaults soared to 112, up by more than a third on 2005.

Incidents ranged from the unprovoked stabbing of a Jewish man in north London to the sending of hate mail and the vandalism of Jewish cemeteries and synagogues.

The Anti-Semitic Incidents Report 2006, compiled by the Community Security Trust (CST), responsible for combating anti-Semitism in the UK, blames the huge rise on a number of factors ranging from Israel's invasion of Lebanon last summer to the jailing of the historian David Irving in Austria for denying the Holocaust.

The threatened suspension of Ken Livingstone as Mayor for comments made to a Jewish Evening Standard reporter triggered 11 anti-Semitic incidents, according to the report.

When the figures were first compiled in 1984, there were just 154 reported incidents, about a quarter of the total for last year.

Mark Gardner, CST spokesman said of the level of hate crimes: "This is unacceptable racism, that many Jews had hoped and believed was a thing of the past.

"Today's anti-Semitism is a wave of hatred, intimidation and abuse against British Jews, who are stupidly blamed and randomly attacked over international tensions for which they bear no responsibility."

Incidents last year include:

An Orthodox Jew punched in the face and almost pushed off a Tube platform by an Arab man who screamed: "Get back to Stamford Hill, I want to kill you all"
A Jewish man walking to synagogue with his two young sons suffered a broken leg after being punched and kicked by a white man shouting "f***ing Jew"
Seventy incidents of desecration and damage to synagogues, cemeteries, Jewish schools and private homes with attacks including swastikas daubed on walls
Savage assault of a 12-year-old Jewish girl Jasmine Kranat, who was beaten unconscious on a north London bus by two teenage girls who asked her first if she was Jewish.

The physical descriptions of perpetrators in 205 of the incidents show 96 were by white people, 28 by black people, 60 by Asians and 16 by Arabs. The report has been passed to ministers.