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Sunday, March 26, 2006

We're Here, We're Illegal, Get Used To It

Size of L.A. March Surprises Authorities
Mar 26, 12:25 PM EST
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Thousands of immigration advocates marched through downtown Los Angeles in one of the largest demonstrations for any cause in recent U.S. history.

More than 500,000 protesters - demanding that Congress abandon attempts to make illegal immigration a felony and to build more walls along the border - surprised police who estimated the crowd size using aerial photographs and other techniques, police Cmdr. Louis Gray Jr. said.

Wearing white T-shirts to symbolize peace, the demonstrators chanted "Mexico!" "USA!" and "Si se puede," an old Mexican-American civil rights shout that means "Yes, we can."
Yes you can? Yes you can demonstrate. But what exactly is the message? That there are more than 11 million of you? That you can violate US immigration laws with impunity? That you can live off the generosity and under the protection of the stupid gringos while you wave Mexican flags in their faces?
"We construct your schools. We cook your food," rapper Jorge Ruiz said after performing at a Dallas rally that drew 1,500. "We are the motor of this nation, but people don't see us. Blacks and whites, they had their revolution. They had their Martin Luther King. Now it is time for us."
You crowd our schools. You clog our emergency rooms. You are only one component of the motor of this nation, and you are quite visible, especially lately. WTF does MLK have to do with any of this? Is that some kind of lame attempt to play the race card?
"Enough is enough of the xenophobic movement," said Norman Martinez, 63, who immigrated from Honduras as a child and marched in Los Angeles. "They are picking on the weakest link in society, which has built this country."
Let's get this straight. You leave your home, illegally enter another country, take credit for building it, and then call those who object xenophobes? Now that's cajones. Mui grande huevos. I say enough is enough of the alien scofflaw movement.

These cries of xenophobia and racism are meant to intimidate people into silence. There is clearly rational justification for opposing illegal immigration. The fact for instance that it is illegal. In the US if you don't like a law you can call your Congressman and convince him to change it. If you don't like your Congressman vote for another. And no, criminals generally don't get to vote, except in Vermont. The system is called constitutional democracy, and it's generally acknowledged to work better than mob rule. Demonstrating in the street is how things get decided in less stable countries, like France.

If there's an irrational position on this issue, one that literally taps into people's emotions rather than their their reason, it's the one that supports illegal immigration. It doesn't matter whether the motive is compassion or self interest. The compassionate ones want to fling open the borders because they see human beings suffering and they want to help. And they want everybody else to be compelled to help too. And that's where it goes over that little invisible line between harmless altruism and insidious collectivism.

Of course most religious leaders and certainly the majority of bleeding hearts and socialites have no socioeconomic agenda. They sure don't think of themselves as "collectivists". They just know it makes them feel good to feel bad for other people. But to paraphrase what they say in court, ignorance of history is no excuse. In evaluating his theories we have the advantage over Marx of more than a century of practical experience. Collectivism invariably requires centralization of control which invariably produces totalitarianism which invariably leads to widespread human suffering. Worse than the worst of the notorious Robber Baron excesses ever were. There is no better proof of the addictiveness and deranging effect of pure utopian thought than the fact that to this day so many "intellectuals" pine for just one more chance to get collectivism right. Fortunately they are in the minority, but unfortunately their audience is not. They prey on those who incorrectly reckon they have nothing to lose. Castro, for example, came to power as a champion of the people and has spent the decades since burning through the wealth he seized by pursing one idealistic collectivist scheme after another. Soft-headed sympathizers in the US swoon over Castro and his "paradise" even though there are shortages of just about everything and complaining or trying to get away will get you thrown in jail. The poor huddled masses of Central and South America are smarter than Marxist "intellectuals". Smart enough to steer clear of Cuba.

Instead they flock to the US and create a situation which very clearly contradicts and should greatly embarrass the negativist natives (and more than a few legal immigrants) who take every opportunity to point out how terrible the US is. Illegal immigrants often work very hard for low wages, but they quickly discover they don't have to. Health care and education are essentially free. An 800 square foot house is like a mansion - for all 10 occupants. The "taxes" they pay are mostly sales taxes. Which of course doesn't come close to covering the burden they and their dependents put on the roads and schools, never mind the hospitals. Car accident? Baby? Oops, no insurance. Obviously they don't want to give this up. The worst crime infested low rent neighborhood in the US is infinitely better than living in some shithole without running water and no TV outside Mexico City. Obviously. Because if it wasn't they'd head home.

Which is where self interest comes in. You'd think from all the one-sided slinging of ad hominems like "xenophobe" and "racist" that the only people who could possibly be motivated by fear and greed are the rich white gringos who want to stop illegal immigration. As if the greedy desire to keep something good or the fear of living in a shithole isn't universal. The US demonstrates the kind of wealth that can be created by the right combination of respect for freedom and rule of law. It is not immune to the effects of a breakdown in that balance.

Give us your tired and poor indeed, but please don't flood us with hordes of ingrates waving Mexican flags.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Little Protest That Couldn't

Anti-war protesters in SLC, elsewhere lament apathy
The Salt Lake Tribune
03/20/2006 11:01 AM MST
"There's just about more policemen here than people," said the Democratic candidate for the Utah House of Representatives in District 40, nodding to the squadron of eight motorcycle officers parked alongside 400 South. "I guess the longer the war goes on, the more people accept it."
I guess the longer the defeatist tantrums go on, the more people accept it. And not just in Utah, but apparently around the world.

Three Years On, Iraq Protests Smaller
By JOSEPH B. FRAZIER Associated Press Writer
March 20, 2006, 9:51AM
Protesters marking the third anniversary of the Iraq war made their voices heard around the world, with the largest marches in London, Portland and Chicago, though in numbers that were often lower than in previous years.

About 10,000 anti-war protesters in Portland took nearly an hour to pass through downtown streets Sunday, some carrying signs that said "Impeach the Evildoer."
Clearly the more unhinged the anti-war rhetoric becomes the more its support erodes.
"We attacked a country who never did anything to us," said Philadelphia resident Al Zappala, whose 30-year-old son was killed in Iraq in 2004. "He was sent to Iraq based on lies."
When it first came into vogue the "Bush lied" line was at best a cynical distortion of reality, repeated mantra-like without any sense of irony by the very same kind of people who ordinarily insist nothing is objectively knowable. But we just know Bush made up everything about Iraq. Iraq never did anything to us. Impeach the criminal terrorist-in-chief already.

Of course to ever feel this way you'd have to ignore the reasons the US Congress cited for going to war in Iraq:
* Iraq's noncompliance with the conditions of the 1991 cease fire
* Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, and programs to develop such weapons, posed a "threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region"
* Iraq's "brutal repression of its civilian population"
* Iraq's "capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people"
* Iraq's hostility towards the United States as demonstrated by the 1993 assassination attempt of former President George H. W. Bush, and firing on coalition aircraft enforcing the no-fly zones following the 1991 Gulf War
* Iraq's alleged connection to terrorist groups including Al Qaeda
* Fear that Iraq would provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists for use against the United States
And now it seems these reasons, which have been perfectly defendable ever since they were made in 2002, are corroborated by evidence gathered in the wake of the war. Saddam's tapes and translations of even a few captured documents confirm that Bush wasn't lying and that Iraq actually was up to no good. Not exactly a big surprise for those of us who never forgot that Saddam was a brutal, manipulative, scheming tyrant.

Most war protesters will never acknowledge this. They'll just stay home.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Books By Fascists

Cathy Seipp
A FRIEND of mine took his daughter to visit the famous City Lights in San Francisco, explaining that this store is important because years ago it sold books no other store would - even, perhaps especially, books whose ideas many people found offensive. So, though my friend is no Ward Churchill fan, he didn't really mind the prominent display of books by the guy who famously called 9/11 victims "little Eichmanns."

But it did occur to him that perhaps the long-delayed English translation of Oriana Fallaci's new book, "The Force of Reason," might finally be available, and that, because Fallaci's militant stance against Islamic militants offends so many people a store committed to selling banned books would be the perfect place to buy it. So he asked a clerk if the new Fallaci book was in yet.

"No," snapped the clerk. "We don't carry books by fascists."

Eurabian Nightmares
By Andrew G. Bostom | March 13, 2006
While Europe Slept chronicles Bawer’s personal encounter with Europe’s ongoing Islamization since late 1998. And his riveting narrative is a testament to Bawer’s intellectual honesty. Shunning glib moral equivalences between America’s Christian fundamentalist movement, and the infinitely more radicalized and destructive Islam rapidly transforming a self-deluded Western Europe into Eurabia, Bawer was acutely aware, even prior to September 1, 2001 that

..Europe was falling prey to an even more alarming fundamentalism whose leaders made their Protestant counterparts look like amateurs…Western Europeans had yet to even acknowledge that they had a Religious Right. How could they ignore it? Certainly as a gay man, I couldn’t close my eyes to this grim reality. Pat Robertson just wanted to deny me marriage; the imams wanted to drop a wall on me. I wasn’t fond of the hypocritical conservative-Christian line about hating the sin and loving the sinner, but it was preferable to the forthright fundamentalist Muslim view that homosexuals merited death.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Mr. Hollywood

I have to admit Clooney has a certain je ne sais quoi. He is a gifted actor and I enjoy most of his work. Three Kings for instance. A great film in which the chemical weapons Saddam never had play a significant role. Anyway my fixation on Clooney has at least a little to do with his poster boy qualities. He symbolizes America in a way that makes his anti-American politics especially perplexing. How can a man living the American dream have such distaste for his home? How can someone so priviledged whine and complain as if he's oppressed? How dare he pose as a rebel?

I focus on Clooney so often not so much because I dislike him personally, but because he symbolizes to me that all too common Western elitist mentality, detached from ordinary concerns, that somehow enables the most blessed among us to act as if they are superior. Somehow in their jetting and partying around the world they know better how everything works. On the contrary their pampered lives render them the least qualified to make such judgements. These communist aristocrats who would sell everyone else out to keep themselves looking cool and sauve and chic. "I'm out of touch, and proud of it!" he crows. Well today we need every American on our side. The betrayal of our elites hurts. They should be setting the example that it's cool and sauve and chic to love and be proud of a country that does so much to fight poverty and disease and injustice, not helping to tear it down.

Peggy Noonan has some insightful comments on Hollywood and the Oscars and more than a little to say about Clooney:
Which gets us to George Clooney, and his work. George Clooney is Hollywood now. He is charming and beautiful and cool, but he is not Orson Welles. I know that's like saying of an artist that he's no Rembrandt, but bear with me because I have a point that I think is worth making.

Orson Welles was an artist. George Clooney is a fellow who read an article and now wants to tell us the truth, if we can handle it.

More important, Orson Welles had a canny respect for the audience while maintaining a difficult relationship with studio executives, whom he approached as if they were his intellectual and artistic inferiors. George Clooney has a canny respect for the Hollywood establishment, for its executives and agents, and treats his audience as if it were composed of his intellectual and artistic inferiors. (He is not alone in this. He is only this year's example.)

And because they are his inferiors, he must teach them. He must teach them about racial tolerance and speaking truth to power, etc. He must teach them to be brave. And so in his acceptance speech for best supporting actor the other night he instructed the audience about Hollywood's courage in making movies about AIDS, and recognizing the work of Hattie McDaniel with an Oscar.

Was his speech wholly without merit? No. It was a response and not an attack, and it appears to have been impromptu. Mr. Clooney presumably didn't know Jon Stewart would tease the audience for being out of touch, and he wanted to argue that out of touch isn't all bad. Fair enough. It is hard to think on your feet in front of 38 million people, and most of his critics will never try it or have to. (This is a problem with modern media: Only the doer understands the degree of difficulty.)

But Mr. Clooney's remarks were also part of the tinniness of the age, and of modern Hollywood. I don't think he was being disingenuous in suggesting he was himself somewhat heroic. He doesn't even know he's not heroic. He thinks making a movie in 2005 that said McCarthyism was bad is heroic.

How could he think this? Maybe part of the answer is in this: The Clooney generation in Hollywood is not writing and directing movies about life as if they've experienced it, with all its mysteries and complexity and variety. In an odd way they haven't experienced life; they've experienced media. Their films seem more an elaboration and meditation on media than an elaboration and meditation on life. This is how he could take such an unnuanced, unsophisticated, unknowing gloss on the 1950s and the McCarthy era. He just absorbed media about it. And that media itself came from certain assumptions and understandings, and myths.

You Know Illegal Immigration Has Gone Too Far...

...when they show up in massive numbers (on a work day) to literally demonstrate just how out of control the problem is. Michelle Malkin has photos and links to several stories about the protest against H.R. 4437 in Chicago yesterday. Just look at all those flags, such a fine display of patriotism. So what are they protesting?
By a 239-182 vote the House of Representatives approved the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act, H.R. 4437, on December 16. The legislation, authored by Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), would make improvements in this nation’s ability to control rampant illegal immigration.

H.R. 4437 calls for a variety of steps to rein-in mass illegal immigration. At the southern border, the legislation authorizes construction of an additional 700 miles of security fencing, similar to the highly effective barrier already in place in the San Diego area. The bill would also require implementation of an electronic verification system to be used by all employers to ensure that the workers they hire are legal residents. Failure to comply with the verification procedure could result in fines of up to $7,000 per violation for a first offense and as high as $40,000 the third time an employer gets caught hiring illegal aliens.

Illegal aliens themselves would also face stiffer penalties for violating U.S. immigration laws under H.R. 4437. Illegal entry, now considered a misdemeanor offense, would become a felony and illegal aliens could receive jail time for immigration violations.
According to Pat Buchanan "Reagan said, the country that can't control its borders isn't really a country anymore." It's hard to argue with that, unless you think the U.N. is the only country anyone needs.
The focus now shifts to the Senate, which must also pass an immigration enforcement bill before it can be sent to the president for his signature. The Senate is expected to take up immigration matters in February, but the prospects for an enforcement-only bill are less favorable than in the House. While Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has offered legislation similar to the Sensenbrenner House bill, it is widely believed what comes out of the Senate will look more like the McCain-Kennedy legislation that includes a massive guest worker amnesty program. The plan among open borders Senators, who also have the backing of the Bush administration, is to pass their guest worker amnesty bill then combine theirs with the Sensenbrenner bill in a conference committee.
Ironically enough (again according to Buchanan) "Twenty years ago, Ronald Reagan was persuaded to grant a one-time amnesty to millions of illegal aliens who had been here for years. Result: Some 1.5 million illegal aliens were caught almost every year after. They had missed out on the amnesty, and they, too, wanted in. When Bush first broached his "guest-worker" program two years ago, there was a surge to the border from Mexico."

Many people say they're willing to pay more taxes to fund the government they want. Well I'd pay more for goods and services to keep an unprecedented flood of illegal immigrants from overwhelming our country's cultural norms and civil infrastructure. The Bush tax cuts demonstrated that lower tax rates can actually increase tax revenues. Likewise stemming the flood of illegal immigrants won't necessarily ruin our economy or produce even a net rise in consumer costs. America was built by immigrants and remains strong because the best and brightest from all over the world continue to come here legally. The only way you can think legitimatizing the illegal immigration status quo with amnesty or a guest worker program makes sense is if you A) have no respect for those who immigrate legally, and B) ignore the below average tax contribution made by illegal immigrants (or guest workers) and their families and the above average burden they place on our health care, justice, and education systems. A country's citizens have every right to be selective about who they let into their country, and it makes sense to start by excluding those who cut the line.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Sharia in England

Mike Jericho points out an interesting article posted last month by the UK Telegraph that has just recently been removed. He's blaming the victim however when he calls it self-censorship, especially if the Telegraph has been threatened with violence or a lawsuit. Artists try not to offend Muslims as satire festival treads softly and It's so cowardly to attack the church when we won't offend Islam provide better examples of the kind of self-censorship we're starting to see as a response to the Toonifada violence.

The yanked article, as it turns out, starts off talking about exactly this. It then goes on to lay out the uncomfortable reality of what Muslims want, and how they're going about getting it. This is required reading for all infidels, whether you live in England or not.
ENGLAND: The day is coming when British Muslims form a state within a state

By Alasdair Palmer
The Telegraph Group
February 19, 2006

For the past two weeks, Patrick Sookhdeo has been canvassing the opinions of Muslim clerics in Britain on the row over the cartoons featuring images of Mohammed that were first published in Denmark and then reprinted in several other European countries.

"They think they have won the debate," he says with a sigh. "They believe that the British Government has capitulated to them, because it feared the consequences if it did not.

"The cartoons, you see, have not been published in this country, and the Government has been very critical of those countries in which they were published. To many of the Islamic clerics, that's a clear victory.

"It's confirmation of what they believe to be a familiar pattern: if spokesmen for British Muslims threaten what they call 'adverse consequences' - violence to the rest of us - then the British Government will cave in. I think it is a very dangerous precedent."

Dr Sookhdeo adds that he believes that "in a decade, you will see parts of English cities which are controlled by Muslim clerics and which follow, not the common law, but aspects of Muslim sharia law.

"It is already starting to happen - and unless the Government changes the way it treats the so-called leaders of the Islamic community, it will continue."

For someone with such strong and uncompromising views, Dr Sookhdeo is a surprisingly gentle and easy-going man. He speaks with authority on Islam, as it was his first faith: he was brought up as a Muslim in Guyana, the only English colony in South America, and attended a madrassa there.

"But Islamic instruction was very different in the 1950s, when I was at school," he says. "There was no talk of suicide bombing or indeed of violence of any kind. Islam was very peaceful."

Dr Sookhdeo's family emigrated to England when he was 10. In his early twenties, when he was at university, he converted to Christianity. "I had simply seen it as the white man's religion, the religion of the colonialists and the oppressors - in a very similar way, in fact, to the way that many Muslims see Christianity today.

" Leaving Islam was not easy. According to the literal interpretation of the Koran, the punishment for apostasy is death - and it actually is punished by death in some Middle Eastern states. "It wasn't quite like that here," he says, "although it was traumatic in some ways."

Dr Sookhdeo continued to study Islam, doing a PhD at London University on the religion. He is currently director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity. He also advises the Army on security issues related to Islam.

Several years ago, Dr Sookhdeo insisted that the next wave of radical Islam in Britain would involve suicide bombings in this country. His prediction was depressingly confirmed on 7/7 last year.

So his claim that, in the next decade, the Muslim community in Britain will not be integrated into mainstream British society, but will isolate itself to a much greater extent, carries weight behind it. Dr Sookhdeo has proved his prescience.

"The Government, and Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, are fundamentally deluded about the nature of Islam," he insists. "Tony Blair unintentionally revealed his ignorance when he said, in an effort to conciliate Muslims, that he had 'read through the Koran twice' and that he kept it by his bedside.

"He thought he was saying something which showed how seriously he took Islam. But most Muslims thought it was a joke, if not an insult. Because, of course, every Muslim knows that you cannot read the Koran through from cover to cover and understand it.

The chapters are not written to be read in that way. Indeed, after the first chapter, the chapters of the Koran are ordered according to their length, not according to their content or chronology: the longest chapters are first, the shorter ones are at the end.

"You need to know which passage was revealed at what period and in what time in order to be able to understand it - you cannot simply read it from beginning to end and expect to learn anything at all.

"That is one reason why it takes so long to be able to read and understand the Koran: the meaning of any part of it depends on a knowledge of its context - a context that is not in the Koran itself."

The Prime Minister's ignorance of Islam, Dr Sookhdeo contends, is of a piece with his unsuccessful attempts to conciliate it. And it does indeed seem as if the Government's policy towards radical Islam is based on the hope that if it makes concessions to its leaders, they will reciprocate and relations between fundamentalist Muslims and Tony Blair's Government will then turn into something resembling an ecumenical prayer meeting.

Dr Sookhdeo nods in vigorous agreement with that. "Yes - and it is a very big mistake. Look at what happened in the 1990s. The security services knew about Abu Hamza and the preachers like him. They knew that London was becoming the centre for Islamic terrorists. The police knew. The Government knew. Yet nothing was done.

"The whole approach towards Muslim militants was based on appeasement. 7/7 proved that that approach does not work - yet it is still being followed. For example, there is a book, The Noble Koran: a New Rendering of its Meaning in English, which is openly available in Muslim bookshops.

"It calls for the killing of Jews and Christians, and it sets out a strategy for killing the infidels and for warfare against them. The Government has done nothing whatever to interfere with the sale of that book.

"Why not? Government ministers have promised to punish religious hatred, to criminalise the glorification of terrorism, yet they do nothing about this book, which blatantly does both."

Perhaps the explanation is just that they do not take it seriously. "I fear that is exactly the problem," says Dr Sookhdeo. "The trouble is that Tony Blair and other ministers see Islam through the prism of their own secular outlook.

They simply do not realise how seriously Muslims take their religion. Islamic clerics regard themselves as locked in mortal combat with secularism.

"For example, one of the fundamental notions of a secular society is the moral importance of freedom, of individual choice. But in Islam, choice is not allowable: there cannot be free choice about whether to choose or reject any of the fundamental aspects of the religion, because they are all divinely ordained. God has laid down the law, and man must obey.

'Islamic clerics do not believe in a society in which Islam is one religion among others in a society ruled by basically non-religious laws. They believe it must be the dominant religion - and it is their aim to achieve this.

"That is why they do not believe in integration. In 1980, the Islamic Council of Europe laid out their strategy for the future - and the fundamental rule was never dilute your presence. That is to say, do not integrate.

"Rather, concentrate Muslim presence in a particular area until you are a majority in that area, so that the institutions of the local community come to reflect Islamic structures. The education system will be Islamic, the shops will serve only halal food, there will be no advertisements showing naked or semi-naked women, and so on."

That plan, says Dr Sookhdeo, is being followed in Britain. "That is why you are seeing areas which are now almost totally Muslim. The next step will be pushing the Government to recognise sharia law for Muslim communities - which will be backed up by the claim that it is "racist" or "Islamophobic" or "violating the rights of Muslims" to deny them sharia law.

"There's already a Sharia Law Council for the UK. The Government has already started making concessions: it has changed the law so that there are sharia-compliant mortgages and sharia pensions.

"Some Muslims are now pressing to be allowed four wives: they say it is part of their religion. They claim that not being allowed four wives is a denial of their religious liberty. There are Muslim men in Britain who marry and divorce three women, then marry a fourth time - and stay married, in sharia law, to all four.

"The more fundamentalist clerics think that it is only a matter of time before they will persuade the Government to concede on the issue of sharia law. Given the Government's record of capitulating, you can see why they believe that."

Dr Sookhdeo's vision of a relentless battle between secular and Islamic Britain seems hard to reconcile with the co-operation that seems to mark the vast majority of the interactions between the two communities.

"Well, it isn't me who says Islam is at war with secularisation," he says. "That's how Islamic clerics describe the situation."

But isn't it true that most Muslims who live in theocratic states want to get out of them as quickly as possible and live in a secular country such as Britain or America? And that most Muslims who come to Britain adopt the values of a liberal, democratic, tolerant society, rather than insisting on the inflexible rules of their religion?

"You have to distinguish between ordinary Muslims and their self-appointed leaders," explains Dr Sookhdeo. "I agree that the best hope for our collective future is that the majority of Muslims who have grown up here have accepted the secular nature of the British state and society, the division between religion and politics, and the importance of allowing people to choose freely how they will live.

"But that is not how most of the clerics talk. And, more significantly, it is not how the 'community leaders' whom the Government has decided represent the Muslim community think either.

"Take, for example, Tariq Ramadan, whom the Government has appointed as an adviser because ministers think he is a 'community leader'. Ramadan sounds, in public, very moderate. But in reality, he has some very extreme views. He attacks liberal Muslims as 'Muslims without Islam'. He is affiliated to the violent and uncompromising Muslim Brotherhood.

"He calls the education in the state schools of the West 'aggression against the Islamic personality of the child'. He has said that 'the Muslim respects the laws of the country only if they do not contradict any Islamic principle'. He has added that 'compromising on principles is a sign of fear and weakness'."

So what's the answer? What should the Government be doing? "First, it should try to engage with the real Muslim majority, not with the self-appointed 'community leaders' who don't actually represent anyone: they have not been elected, and the vast majority of ordinary Muslims have nothing to do with them.

"Second, the Government should say no to faith-based schools, because they are a block to integration. There should be no compromise over education, or over English as the language of education. The policy of political multiculturalism should be reversed.

"The hope was that it would to ensure separate communities would soften at the edges and integrate. But the opposite has in fact happened: Islamic communities have hardened. There is much less integration than there was for the generation that arrived when I did. There will be much less in the future if the present trend continues.

"Finally, the Government should make it absolutely clear: we welcome diversity, we welcome different religions - but all of them have to accept the secular basis of British law and society. That is a non-negotiable condition of being here.

"If the Government does not do all of those things then I fear for the future, because Islamic communities within Britain will form a state within a state. Religion will occupy an ever-larger place in our collective political life. And, speaking as a religious man myself, I fear that outcome." Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2006.
Reproduced in full from a mirror of the original article at VirtueOnline.

If you're not familiar with Tariq Ramadan you may be interested to read a bit more about him. The description fits many of the supposedly moderate apologists for Islam living amongst us whispering their sweet nothings:
"Doublespeak is the key to understanding Tariq Ramadan." In his audio recording Islam and the West, Ramadan sets out his strategy as follows: "I must speak in a way that is appropriate for the ear hearing me... yet faithful to the religious sources of authority." He advises his listeners to adopt a cautious media strategy: "We must know how to speak to those who do not share our history."

Guindy explains that lying and misleading are prominent Muslim Brotherhood characteristics, and that the principle of taqiyya (hiding one's true belief out of fear that it will be repressed), which is common amongst the Shi'a for historical reasons, is found in all streams of Islam. "Today, this method [of doublespeak and taqiyya] is used in the heart of the Western democracies, not due to fear of exposure, but in order to continue the secret advance [towards defined goals] without worrying anyone.

Monday, March 06, 2006

When Bile Displaces Reason

The only reasoned debate left in US politics is amongst conservatives. If you're not a conservative, too bad. Your pundits are letting you down. They've traded reason for bile. What distinguishes reason from bile are rules. Primarily the rules of logic, but also rules of decency. One thing that distinguishes conservatives from their leftist opponents is moral equivalence - the idea that there is no objective right or wrong, only different points of view. Leftists believe in moral equivalence. Unfortunately you can't claim moral equivalence is right without contradicting yourself. The idea is not only illogical, it is indecent. Without right and wrong logic and decency have no meaning. But we know they do have meaning. They are important. In good politics, as in science, to be taken seriously when advancing your ideas logic and decency are not optional. But the leftist belief in moral equivalence at least explains why they come unarmed to every exchange of ideas, and why those exchanges inevitably get nasty.

Among the several gathering places of non-conservative opinion I have to admit visiting truthout is my guiltiest pleasure. Most visitors I suppose go there because it reinforces their worldview. There they find the mendacity and corruption of Bush and his cronies exposed, harrowing alarms of religious extremist influence and imminent environmental doom, disturbing pictures of trouble and strife from around the world. It's a veritable smorgasbord of sour, cynical messages. Strange that anyone would enjoy such depressing fare, but they must because the site is popular.

For me the pleasure comes from looking at the arsenal of my ideological enemies and seeing nothing but spitballs. That and confirmation of the source of the wacky ideas I often hear from political sparring partners. Ideas disconnected from reality. Ideas that form in the kind of philosophical and informational bubble that President Bush is sometimes accused of living in. truthout is a window into a giant leftist conspiracy theory echo chamber from which inanities continuously leak out and find their way into the mouths of your liberal friends and family. "Global warming." "The American Taliban." "Bush lied." A previous generation of nattering nabobs of negativity were upset about similar things. "Global cooling." "The Moral Majority." "Bush lied." It's hard to take such pollyannish fears seriously. truthout however does provide a useful service even to those of us whom it repels. It gathers leftist ideas together in pure form, where we can see them in all their glory before they are disguised and diluted and disseminated to the unsuspecting masses through more popular and supposedly objective outlets.

'No One Could Have Anticipated ...'
By William Rivers Pitt
Thursday 02 March 2006
It is gut-wrenching, more than anything else, because of this: four days later, when questioned about his flaccid response to the catastrophe in Louisiana, Bush stated, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." Right. No one anticipated the breach of the levees except the Director of the National Hurricane Center, the Director of FEMA, and a half-dozen other experts who implored Mr. Bush to take this storm seriously a full day before the hammer dropped.

No one could have anticipated it? That has a familiar ring to it.

No one could have anticipated the failure of the levees.

No one could have anticipated the strength of the insurgency in Iraq.

No one could have anticipated that people would use airplanes as weapons against buildings.

No one could have anticipated these things ... except all the people who did. We are forced to get into some very large numbers today to accurately assess the body count from all the things the Bush administration would have us believe no one could have anticipated.
Readers of Power Line, where reasoned arguments rule, know they skewered this variation of "Bush lied" the same day AP released it. Pitt, on the other hand, eagerly supplied the conclusions AP could only dream their readers would jump to. By ignoring the difference between "overtopping" and "breaching", and twisting "I don't think" into "No one could have" Pitt beats up a classic straw man. He simply asserts that more than half a dozen people warned Bush of levee failure, and verily it becomes so. He hath seen it even though it doth not reside in the source he quoteth. Is a professional like Pitt, who has taught and written books, unaware that it's logically invalid to just make shit up, or is he counting on the fact that his readers are weak-minded sheep?

We can anticipate that Pitt will continue to blame Bush for everything he thinks is wrong with the world. We can anticipate that he will never provide his favored alternatives to the things he criticizes or estimates of the body counts such alternatives would produce.

Iraq: Pure War, Pure Crime
By David Swanson
Friday 03 March 2006
The Iraq War is a pure war, a war for the sake of war. Congress is debating whether to spend another fortune on it, another fortune that could completely remake this nation if spent on useful projects, and Congress has no reason for the war. The reason is purely that the media won't like you if you vote against a war, but there's no actual reason for the war - not the weapons of mass destruction that Bush always knew weren't there, not the ties to 9-11 that Bush always knew did not exist on behalf of a ruler who, anyway, is no longer in power, not reducing terrorism which has been increased by this war, not improving global relations when this war has driven global opinion of the US to a record low, not preventing a civil war which the US attack and occupation have created, not supporting the troops when most of the troops want to come home - and almost half of them openly admit to pollsters that they don't know why they're there.
A war for the sake of war. That's right. We just went there to kill people and blow stuff up. Oh, and to burn money and piss off the world. Yes these things have happened. No it is not why we went to war. If Swanson wants reasonable explanations for why we're at war he'll have to broaden his information sources. If he wants to be reasonable he should avoid confusing cause and effect.

Which media won't like you if you vote against the war? And why would it matter anyway? Congress gets their mandate from the people (or their lobbyists), not the media. Bush is by far the politician most maligned by a hostile press, and it seems to affect his decision making not one wit. That quality alone is a sound reason to respect the man, though I suspect Swanson would find some way to contradict his own standards on that point.

Like most leftists Swanson seems not only to have tremendous powers of hindsight, he can read minds as well. He knows so well what's inside Bush's head he should write a book about it.

The Pursuit of Democracy
By Michael Kinsley,
Friday 3 March 2006
The case for democracy is "self-evident," as someone once put it. The case for the world's most powerful democracy to take as its mission the spreading of democracy around the world is pretty self-evident, too: What's good for us is good for others. Those others will be grateful. A world full of democracies created or protected with our help ought to be more peaceful and prosperous and favorably disposed toward us. That world will be a better neighborhood for us than a world of snarling dictatorships.
There is no valid case against democracy. You used to hear a lot that democracy is not suitable for some classes of foreigners: simply incompatible with the cultures of East Asia (because deference to authority is too ingrained there), or the Arab Middle East (because everybody is a religious fanatic), or Africa (because they're too "tribal," or too predisposed to rule by a "big daddy," or something). But this line of argument has gone out of fashion, pushed offstage by free and fair elections in some surprising places. Even those who still harbor doubts about whether democracy is possible in this place or that - and even those who think that any democracy achieved in such places is likely to be a real mess - don't generally oppose the attempt. As someone else once said, "Good government is no substitute for self-government."

But the case against spreading democracy - especially through military force - as a mission of the U.S. government is also pretty self-evident, and lately it's been getting more so. Government, even democratic government, exists for the benefit of its own citizens, not that of foreigners. American blood and treasure should not be spent on democracy for other people. Or, short of that absolute, there are limits to the blood and treasure that the United States should be expected to spend on democracy elsewhere, and the very nature of war makes that cost hard to predict and hard to limit.
Kinsley is much more clever than Pitt or Swanson. His positions are reasonable and his argument is almost sound. The best reason to spend American blood and treasure on democracy for other people is because it helps preserve our democracy. Kinsley is honest enough to admit that, and to step away from absolutes. Because of this and in that same spirit I will say not everything at truthout is completely illogical.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Roots of Islamofacism

Apologists claim that the Islamofacist war on the West is motivated by desparation resulting from poverty or colonialism, or worse has been deliberately concocted by the US Military Industrial Complex to fill the void left by the Soviet collapse. On the contrary when you hear Islamist leaders talking to their followers they brim with triumphalism and superiority and clearly state that they are motivated to war by the simple fact that they wish to crush all that is not Islam and will not stop until they succeed. In other words no amount of infidel appeasement and diplomacy - withdrawing from Iraq, closing Gitmo, electing Gore, censoring cartoonists, letting Iran have nukes - will satisfy them. Erikson's essays trace Islamist personalities and events back to the 1930s. The philosophy and methods of jihad trace back to Mohammed himself.

Islamism, fascism and terrorism
By Marc Erikson (Nov-Dec '02)
Al-Zawahiri wrote several books on Islamic movements, the best known of which is The Bitter Harvest (1991/92), a critical assessment of the failings of the Muslim Brotherhood. In it, he draws not only on the writings of Sayyid Qutb to justify murder and terrorism, but prominently references Pakistani Jamaat-i-Islami founder and ideologue Mawdudi on the global mission of Islamic jihad.

Mawdudi had written, "Islam wants the whole earth and does not content itself with only a part thereof. It wants and requires the entire inhabited world. It does not want this in order that one nation dominates the earth and monopolizes its sources of wealth, after having taken them away from one or more other nations. No, Islam wants and requires the earth in order that the human race altogether can enjoy the concept and practical program of human happiness, by means of which God has honored Islam and put it above the other religions and laws. In order to realize this lofty desire, Islam wants to employ all forces and means that can be employed for bringing about a universal all-embracing revolution. It will spare no effort for the achievement of this supreme objective. This far-reaching struggle that continuously exhausts all forces and this employment of all possible means are called jihad."

And further, "Islam is a revolutionary doctrine and system that overturns governments. It seeks to overturn the whole universal social order ... and establish its structure anew ... Islam seeks the world. It is not satisfied by a piece of land but demands the whole universe ... Islamic jihad is at the same time offensive and defensive ... The Islamic party does not hesitate to utilize the means of war to implement its goal."
Via Spengler, who has quite of bit to say about Islam himself.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Misdirected Attention

That's the problem with Hollywood. Ann Coulter puts her finger on it when she cracks:
I shall grant my awards based on the same criteria Hollywood studio executives now use to green-light movies: political correctness. Also, judging by most of the nominees this year, the awards committee prefers movies that are wildly unpopular with audiences.
They took the trouble to film The Interpreter on location at the U.N. in order to give it a stronger sense of reality, but then they concocted an imaginary African country to provide villians to bomb New York City. Hmmmm.

The Constant Gardener is about Big Government and Big Pharma conspiring to test drugs on unwitting poor Africans. Nice theory, except that in the real world they test openly. Oddly enough, while it tries hard to whip up fear and loathing toward the greedy bastards who, let's be honest, save more people than they kill, the film provides a brief glimpse into the hellhole otherwise known as Sudan, portraying the problems there as nothing more than random tribal violence. Of course the film makes no effort to describe the real human suffering and the real evil behind it. To do so would make a farce of the conspiracy bogeyman they'd like you to focus on instead.

Radio Blogger's transcript of an interview with Baroness Caroline Cox by Hugh Hewitt may give you some idea what's been going on in Sudan:
HH: Is it primarily Islamic on Christian violence? Or is it tribal?

CC: No, in Darfur, it's not Islamic on Christian. Most of the people in Darfur are themselves Muslims. It's racial. It's of the age old African-Arab conflict, and particularly Africans being trampled on by the Arabs, who on the whole, see themselves as superior, and are trying to take out the African culture, and/or to Arabize the African people.

HH: Now the Christian and Animus of the South have reached a peace, but you were telling me before we began the interview, that peace may be much more destructive of their well-being and faith than the war.

CC: Yes, indeed. The war, which was initiated by the national Islamic front regime in Khartoum in 1989, a jihad, they called it a military jihad, or Islamic holy war, claimed the lives of 2 million dead, and 4 million displaced before Darfur. And these were the battles that were raged right across Southern Sudan. The weapons of that jihad were two-fold and formiddable: military offenses against innocent civilians, manipulation of aid, so the regime would carry out brutal military offensives, aerial bombardment, ground attacks against civilians, and declare those areas as no-go's.
Hollywood isn't likely to make a film about Sudan. Or not one at least that makes any mention of Islam or jihad.

Last but not least we have a dollop of narcissism from poor put-upon George Clooney.

Clooney relishes 'traitor' attacks
From Agence France-Presse correspondents in London
February 25, 2006
Interviewed on BBC television's Newsnight about his latest films Syriana and Good Night, and Good Luck Clooney said that not only did he accept the right to be attacked for his views but he even relished them.

Clooney, who has weathered attacks since opposing the 2003 Iraq invasion, said at one point that it was "frustrating" to be listed as a "traitor" on a set of playing cards, but he also accepted people's right to free speech.

He later admitted he relished the attacks.

"I think it's important to be on the right side of history," Clooney said.
He knows before it's written that he's on the right side of history. Maybe because he knows his posturing appeals to the academics who twisted the history of McCarthyism, and will twist today's.
Clooney has received critical acclaim for Syriana - about oil politics and Islamic extremism - and for Good Night, and Good Luck a reminder of the threat to civil liberties through a story about the anti-communist hysteria in the US of the 1950s.
Then as now we're to believe the "good guys" are the ones who do everything in their power to thwart the "bad guys" who want to seize absolute power under the guise of trying to defend us from an ideology whose evil is purely imaginary. 50 years ago it was Communism, today it's Islamism. Unfortunately for the commie sympathizers the Venona papers and other Soviet documents that have since come to light vindicate McCarthy. Some day the value of the NSA wiretaps and other politically incorrect efforts revealed and destroyed by the self-righteous protestor-patriots will come to light too.
Clooney has said the chilling effect of the September 11, 2001 attacks on US politics had inspired Syriana and its unflinching look at the ways extremism and political instability are fostered by the interests of big oil.
Chilling effect? 9/11 pulled some heads out of the sand and drove others deeper. It stimulated political debate, it didn't stifle it. And that's a good thing, unless you suspect you're actually on the wrong side of history.

UPDATE 4 March 2006: Charles Krauthammer had this to say about Syriana:
The political hero is the Arab prince who wants to end corruption, inequality and oppression in his country. As he tells his tribal elders, he intends to modernize his country by bringing the rule of law, market efficiency, women's rights and democracy.

What do you think happens to him? He, his beautiful wife and beautiful children are murdered, incinerated, by a remote-controlled missile, fired from CIA headquarters in Langley, no less -- at the very moment that (this passes for subtle cross-cutting film editing) his evil younger brother, the corrupt rival to the throne and puppet of the oil company, is being hailed at a suitably garish ``oilman of the year'' celebration populated by fat and ugly Americans.

What is grotesque about this moment of plot clarity is that the overwhelmingly obvious critique of actual U.S. policy in the real Middle East today is its excess of Wilsonian idealism in trying to find and promote -- against a tide of tyranny, intolerance and fanaticism -- local leaders like the Good Prince. Who in the greater Middle East is closest to "Syriana's'' modernizing, democratizing paragon? Without a doubt, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, a man of exemplary -- and quite nonfictional -- personal integrity, physical courage and democratic temperament. Hundreds of brave American (and allied NATO) soldiers have died protecting him and the democratic system they established to allow him to govern. On the very night the Oscars will be honoring "Syriana,'' American soldiers will be fighting, some perhaps dying, in defense of precisely the kind of tolerant, modernizing Muslim leader that "Syriana'' shows America slaughtering.

It gets worse. The most pernicious element in the movie is the character who is at the moral heart of the film: the physically beautiful, modest, caring, generous Pakistani who becomes a beautiful, modest, caring, generous ... suicide bomber.
And he concludes:
Most liberalism is angst- and guilt-ridden, seeing moral equivalence everywhere. "Syriana'' is of a different species entirely -- a pathological variety that burns with the certainty of its malign anti-Americanism. Osama bin Laden could not have scripted this film with more conviction.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Opposing Islamic Totalitarianism

Salman Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali et al Slam Islamic Totalitarianism:
Together facing the new totalitarianism

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.

We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.

The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man’s domination of woman, the Islamists’ domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.

We reject « cultural relativism », which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.

We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.

We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.

12 signatures

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Chahla Chafiq
Caroline Fourest
Bernard-Henri Lévy
Irshad Manji
Mehdi Mozaffari
Maryam Namazie
Taslima Nasreen
Salman Rushdie
Antoine Sfeir
Philippe Val
Ibn Warraq
A fine sentiment that I agree with, but the "ism" hairsplitting is weak. "Nazism" is redundant except as a crutch for citing "Stalinism" rather than "Marxism" or at least "socialism". You're taking a bold public stand here, don't be mealy mouthed about the roots of totalitarianism. Consult Hayek.

The explicit rejection of "cultural relativism" (tee hee another "ism") is sure to drive some of the misguided traitors in our midst even deeper into the arms of their Islamofacist comrades. It's long past time to pick sides. You can recognize that cultural relativism is dangerous piffle, or you may as well get sized for your burka now.

Wretchard as usual has some good analysis:
This represents a substantial -- but not a total -- departure from the strategic idea of treating Islam as a religion of peace and focusing on a narrow group of miscreants within it as the true enemy. The Manifesto shifts the definition of the enemy from a group of people to an ideology.
The enemy has always been the ideology of jihad and Sharia. The rest of Islam is perfectly tolerable. Unfortunately Islam cannot be taken ala carte. The Koran is the infallible word of Allah. His Prophet is the perfect example of a man who waged jihad and imposed Sharia. Reject jihad and you are not a Muslim. Civilized people can fantasize all they want about reforming Islam. The best we can do is stand by our values (like freedom of expression) and help as many people stop drinking the Islamist kool-aid as possible. That will be difficult enough because Muslims are serious, deadly serious, about apostasy.