Read his latest about the need for political parties to "evolve" or be rendered obsolete. He writes in part: "As the old politics lie in ruin from hypocrisy and incoherence, the Left needs to get a new life. Here are a few more suggestions: Remember that multilateral inaction — whether in the Balkans, Rwanda, or Darfur — is often calculated, selfish, and far more lethal to millions than risky interventions like removing the Taliban and Saddam. Quit idolizing Europe. It was a far larger arms merchant to Saddam than was the United States; it supplied most of Dr. Khan’s nuclear laboratory; it financed much of the Oil-for-Food scandal; and it helped to create and tolerate the Balkans genocide. It has never freed any country or intervened to remove fascism and leave behind democracy — silly American notions that are to be caricatured except when it is a matter of saving Europeans. Stop seeing an all-powerful United States behind every global problem. China is on the move and far more likely to disrupt environmental protocols, cheat on trade accords, and bully neighbors. The newly expanded Europe has a larger population and aggregate economy, stronger currency, and far less in trade and budget debts than does the United States — and is already using that economic clout for its own interests, not global freedom from dictators and autocrats. Don't believe much of what the U.N. says anymore. Its secretary general is guilty of either malfeasance or incompetence, its soldiers are often hired thugs who terrorize those they are supposed to protect, and its resolutions are likely to be anti-democratic and anti-Semitic. Its members include dozens of nations whose odious representatives we would not let walk inside the doors of the U.S. Congress. The old idea of a United Nations was inspiring, the current reality chilling. Stop seeing socialists and anti-Americans as Democrats. When a Michael Moore compares beheaders to our own Minutemen and laments that too many Democrats were in the World Trade Center, he deserves no platform alongside Wesley Clark or a seat next to Jimmy Carter or praise for his pseudo-dramas from high Democrats. Firebrands like Al Sharpton and Michael Moore are the current leftist equivalents of 1950s right-wing extremists like the John Birchers. They should suffer the same fate of ostracism, not bemused and tacit approval. Ignore most grim international reports that show the United States as stingy, greedy, or uncaring based on some esoteric formula that makes a Sweden or Denmark out as the world's savior. Such "studies" always ignore aggregate dollars and look at per capita public giving, and yet somehow ignore things like over $100 billion to Afghanistan and Iraq or $15 billion pledged to fight AIDS in Africa. These academic white papers likewise forget private donations, because most of the American billionaires who give to global causes of various sorts do so as either individuals or through foundations. No mention is made of the hundred of millions that are handled by American Christian charities. And the idea of a stingy America never mentions about $200 billion of the Pentagon's budget, which does things like keeping the Persian Gulf open to world commerce; protecting Europe; ensuring that the Aegean is free of shooting and that the waters between China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan are relatively tranquil; and stopping nasty folk like the Taliban and Saddam from blowing up more Buddha monuments, desecrating Babylon, or ruining the ecology of the Tigris-Euphrates wetlands. Action and results, not rhetoric and intentions, are what matter. Cease blaming others for declining popularity. There is neither a Karl Rove conspiracy nor an envisioned red-state theocracy. No, the problem with our Left is what killed the dinosaurs: a desire to plod on to oblivion in a rapidly evolving world." Take a moment to read it all.
For those who think that traditional Islam (and the application of Sharia) can comfortably co-exist with Western values and culture, take a look at what goes on in Dubai, considered a more liberal and westernized culture by middle eastern standards.
James Bond movie trivia for the 007 buffs (scroll down for answers): Q1: In the 20 Bond films to date (Dr. No through Die Another Day), in how many did Sean Connery play 007? Q2: Of all the Bonds since, and including, Sean Connery only one appeared in only one film. Who was it? Q3: Who was the only villain to appear in more than one film? Q4: Which actor has played Bond the most times? //// //// //// //// //// A1: Six: Doctor No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever. A2: George Lazenby in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. A3: Blofield in You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Diamonds Are Forever A4: Roger Moore with seven films.
I know, I know, but I just love Mark Steyn's writing style. The right blend of fact and funny. There's been enough of an expose on the efforts to take the "Christ" out of Christmas, but since he references foolishness from my state of birth (hint: same as Frank Sinatra, John Travolta, Jon Bon Jovi, Jack Nicholson (bet you didn't know that), Bruce Springsteen, Meryl Streep, Shaquille O'Neill et al) I thought I'd link it.
As I was googling this a.m. I came across this article on a Christian website arguing that there is ample evidence for the existence of God. Of course, it was equally easy to find the counterpoint, that there is no basis for a monotheistic belief. Check out the Bane of Monotheism for these arguments.
Here is an interesting article about the inevitable question asked after a natural catastrophe results in the loss of countless innocent lives. Why would a compassionate, loving God allow such things to happen? The corollary is the question put to believers along the lines of doesn't an event like a catastrophic earthquake or tsunami shake (no pun intended) your faith in the existence of God? I hadn't thought much about this until recently and I'm not sure this is a direct answer to those questions, but let me give it a try. My belief is in a God that created humankind in his image and, in so doing, made us sentient and gave us the ability to choose our paths and react to events that are placed before us, both good and bad, both major and minor. Life is one extended test and, when we are called back for the paper to be graded, how we dealt with these situations presented to us will determine our result...and there is no grade inflation. We were placed on this earth with the ability to choose between good and evil, between a life focused within or one extending outward to others. God will not intervene and prevent an evil. That choice will come home to roost at a later time, but that evil sets in motion a chain of tests that will confront a web of other persons and have impact on many for perhaps years to come. We will be graded on whether and if we rose to the occasion. As a professor once told me, if it were any other way, we'd be no better than plants.
When the gay marriage debate began sometime ago, the observation was made that allowing same sex marriage would inevitably lead, on the grounds of comity, to the necessary recognition of other "unions". That argument was summarily dismissed by advocates as simply a foolish, straw man unrelated to the issue. I have argued that the stated basis for same sex marriage necessarily opens the door to all other sorts of living arrangements to be sanctified in the same fashion. Indeed, it ultimately compels that result. Specifically, the argument in favor of same sex marriage, when distilled to its essence, is that persons have the right to have their relationships recognized by society as a "marriage" under certain circumstances. Those are that they have committed themselves to each other no less than a heterosexual couple, and love each other no less than a heterosexual couple. Therefore, what right does society have to deny them the opportunity to marry and avail themselves of all the benefits of that institution? Putting aside for the moment issues of what is in the best overall interests of a society and of its children, the question I and others have raised is: if that is the standard, what compelling interest does a society have to prevent a brother and sister from marrying? or two brothers? or an adult daughter and father? ...or three or more persons? This last "foolish" example is precisely what is being debated in England as we speak, and of which Mark Steyn writes so eloquently. Under Sharia law, Muslim men may take more than one wife. English law, under which polygamy is illegal, recognizes only one wife for inheritance purposes. However, in the interests of "fairness" Muslim men are asking that England recognize up to four wives so that inheritance can be divided up among the multiple wives. The inevitable is simply..inevitable.
A blog by the name of The OCD Gen X Liberal has made it to "...the Bad..." This is another short on facts but long on vitriol and insult attack on all things conservative. Which is NOT to say that all that made it thus far to the second of our three categories are identical in tone and tenor. Indeed, some like Matt at Cerulean Blue, although wrong, are thoughtful in their remarks and analysis. However, it just seems that most of the attacks from the left are very emotionally based as evidenced by the name-calling and ad hominems, but practically devoid of any sort of dispassionate analysis. Enjoy.
Inasmuch as we're still celebrating the Christmas holiday and are anticipating the impending arrival of my brother, sis-in-law and new niece/goddaughter, I have had neither the time nor the inclination to deal with anything political. However, that doesn't mean I don't have the urge to post. I've been getting into cigars lately and, like many other pleasures in life, the more you learn the more interesting and fun it becomes. The study of cigars is much like the study of wine...and they go together so well! If you enjoy an occasional cigar, and like them mild to medium bodied and reasonable priced, try the Carlos Torano line. I'd recommend for starters the Reserva Selecta Robusto Madura. It received an 86 rating (very good to excellent) by Cigar Insider (part of Cigar Aficionado) and is sized at 50 ring gauge and 5" long. [ Note: the ring gauge is the measure of the diameter of the cigar itself and the number assigned is the numerator of the measurement in 64ths. For example, the Carlos Torano cigar we're discussing has a diameter of 50/64 inches]. I'd also recommend the Reserva Selecta Churchill. It has a ring gauge of 48 and is 7.25" long. It received a 90 rating (outstanding). Both these cigars can be had for $5 to $6 each. Today's Trivia Q1: what is the Scoville Scale? Q2: what is a panagram? A1: the method to chart the comparative heat of different chillis (by Wilbur Scoville in 1912) A2: sentences containing every letter of the alphabet.
Read about what is going on in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation where only 8% of the population is Christian. Apparently there is fear that churches will be bombed and worshipers attacked on Christmas Eve: "With foreign governments warning of holiday terror attacks, tens of thousands of police officers will guard churches in the world's most populous Muslim nation. Metal detectors will be in place for most services and armed escorts will accompany parishioners, church officials said. " Of course, there is the obligatory quote about the "majority" of Muslims practicing a more moderate, peaceful, loving, understanding, peaceful, inclusive, sensitive, peaceful form of Islam. If that is true, and I must admit I am beginning to doubt it, where are the voices of this vast majority condemning the violent hyper-minority? On the other hand, when a statement about the moderate nature of the majority of Muslims is inevitably made, from where do the various authors get that statistic? Is there a survey or poll of, in this instance, Indonesian Muslims that backs up that assertion? Finally, please note that Indonesia is not an Arab country yet it is still experiencing Islamist terror. There is no Israel/Palestine issue there. There is no war in Iraq issue there. There are none of the flashpoint issues there that exist in the Middle East, yet there is still this conflict between Muslims and the 8% of the population that is Christian (i.e. non-Muslim). What should that lead the rational person to conclude?
Diane Feinstein intends to propose a constitutional amendment to do away with the electoral college, labeling it an "anachronism." She believes that a one-person one-vote system is preferable. I intend to discuss this in greater detail later, but let me make one point. If anything other than a one-person, one vote system is an anachronism, then I suppose Senator Feinstein should be out of a job. Why should each state, regardless of population, have two senators? Why should New Hampshire have as many senators as California or Texas and therefore as many votes in regard to federal legislation as those much more greatly populated states? Vote on this issue in our new blogpoll.
Read this from MEMRI and then explain to me how "dialogue" and "sensitivity" and "understanding" will work to bring a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and in the Middle East generally, when state-run Iranian television broadcasts a series about how the Israelis are stealing the eyes (yes, you read it right) of Palestinian children for use in transplant surgeries. When all that a closed society hears is the propaganda of its ruling despots, it is impossible to reach the next generation before they are corrupted. That's why a successful and relatively open and democratic society in the middle east has the potential to start a domino effect.
Here is a link to a blog maintained by Army Chaplain Lewis who was present in the aftermath of the recent suicide bombing of our troops in Iraq. It is not easy reading, but I believe necessary reading even for those of us who are firmly behind the mission in Iraq, so that we never forget the human cost that is always involved.
Being a lawyer myself for over 20 years, I have access to some of the best and brightest legal minds, at least here on the West Coast. I therefore requested that they draft for me a disclaimer that can be included with your Christmas cards or handed out as you greet someone this holiday season with a hearty "Merry Christmas!" The following is the first draft which can modified to suit your particular politically-correct situation (special thanks to S. Harrell): "A Christmas Greeting (without prejudice) From me ("The Wishor") to you (hereinafter called "The Wishee"): Please accept without obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice-holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all, and a financially successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2005, but with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures or sects, and having regard to the race, creed, class, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform or dietary preference of the wishee. By accepting this greeting you are bound by these terms that follow: This greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal. - This greeting is freely transferable, provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the proprietary rights of the wishor are acknowledged. - This greeting implies no promise by the wishor to actually implement any of the wishes. - This greeting may not be enforceable in certain jurisdictions and/or the restrictions herein may not be binding upon certain wishees in certain jurisdictions and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wishor. - This greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably as may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first. - The wishor warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wishor. Any references in this greeting to "the Lord", "Father Christmas", "Our Savior", or any other religious or festive figures, whether actual or fictitious, dead or alive, shall not imply any endorsement by or from them in respect of this greeting, and all proprietary rights in any referenced third party names and images are hereby acknowledged. " OK...subject to the above...MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
Interesting (but of course non-scientific) poll over at MSNBC. The question is: Should Christmas carols be banned at public school events? As of the time of this post, 90% have answered "no" while only 7% have answered "yes". The rest are either ignorant or apathetic. (The penultimate line to an old joke: Professor: "Son, are you ignorant or simply apathetic?" Student: "I don't know and I don't care.")
Merry Christmas to all whatever your background or belief! This holiday speaks to all those who care to listen because the message of the baby in the manger is a universal one. One need not be a practicing or even believing Christian to understand the desire for peace, fellowship, caring and goodwill.
I've been struggling to figure out why my sidebar content will sometimes decide to take residence somewhere below my earliest post. I seem to have stumbled across the cause but would like any input from those more knowledgeable than I on these matters: Whenever I use italicized letters in a post, to highlight a quote for example, it results in the sidebar shift. Why would that be?
Here is a fascinating opinion piece from the Irish Examiner concerning the looming crisis in Europe brought about by changing demographics combined with the rise of secularism. Here is an excerpt: "ACCORDING to George Weigel, biographer and friend of the Pope, Europe’s problems stem from “a crisis of civilisational morale”. In a book to be published next spring, he links Europe’s recent failure to acknowledge its Christian roots in its draft constitution and a despairing, defeatist approach to life which now characterises European life and thought. Weigel asks why, in the aftermath of 1989, Europeans failed to condemn communism as a moral and political monstrosity. “Why was the only politically acceptable judgment on communism the rather banal observation that it ‘didn’t work?’” He also wonders why there are “disturbing currents of irrationality in contemporary European politics”. He asks why one-in-five Germans (and one-third of those under 30) believed that the US was responsible for 9/11, while 300,000 Frenchmen and women bought a book which argued that the US military destroyed the Twin Towers using remote-controlled airliners. “Why do certain parts of Europe exhibit a curious, even bizarre, approach to death? Why did so many of the French prefer to continue their summer vacations during the European heatwave of 2003, leaving their parents unburied and warehoused in refrigerated lockers? Why is death increasingly anonymous in Germany, with no death notice in the papers, no church ceremony - as though the deceased did not exist?” The answer, says Weigel, is that Europe has lost faith in God. And when you lose faith in God, you lose faith in humanity. Like the great Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said in his 1983 Templeton Prize Lecture: “The failings of the human consciousness, deprived of its divine dimension, have been a determining factor in all the major crimes of this century.” The loss of faith that has led to European depopulation and cynicism may also prevent us from integrating our Muslim brothers and sisters. The irony of trying to build a Europe that doesn’t mention God in its constitution is that we are left with no rational basis for tolerance and respect towards others, apart from the rather thin argument that ‘tolerance is good because it works better’. Why in the absence of God should we be fruitful and multiply? Why should we postpone short-term gratification in the interests of society? Why should we welcome immigrants? Why, in turn, should they accept standards of freedom of religion and expression, the dignity and equality of women and the values of democracy, if they believe their values are better? Christianity offers an answer through the Pope who in his 1989 encyclical, Redemptoris Missio (The Mission of the Redeemer), argued that: “The Church proposes; it imposes nothing.” A Christian Europe would defend tolerance as a Christian virtue - while also giving European society a sense of identity and the confidence to integrate people of different cultures and traditions. " Please take the time to read it all.
What is happening in Canada is also happening in the UK and in Australia and in the Netherlands and I'm sure to some degree or another elsewhere in the tolerant West. That is, under the banner of multiculturalism (...gone bad) there is now serious talk of allowing followers of Islam to apply a separate set of laws (i.e. Sharia) to fellow Muslims. This trend should raise many societal issues and concerns, not the least of which is the inevitable chipping away of the mortar that holds the bricks of a nation together. Being a first generation-er myself, I appreciate the cultural diversity that in many ways on balance makes this country such a wonderful place. Probably a much better and more interesting place than one which is more homogeneous. However, there has always been an unspoken compact of sorts between this country and its immigrants. We will not stand in the way of your desire to retain tradition, religion and culture if you agree to honor the universality (figure of speech to mean country-wide, not world-wide or solar system-wide) of our laws, language and basic cultural norms. Despite the fact that, for example, back in the old country women risk violent reprisal if seen in public unescorted by a male family member, our society will not allow you to inflict a beating on your wife while we look the other way. Just because, back in the old country, girls were not allowed to go to school does not mean you can withhold your daughter from public education. This is what is meant by assimilation. Not that everyone must eat the same food, listen to the same music, worship the same God, wear the same clothes. It does mean that there are certain basic standards that we insist you adhere to whether you agree or not. Such insistence is not "intolerance" it is just good civics.
Scroll down the right sidebar and just below the "Eastwood Triptych" you'll find The Hot-Button Question Of The Day poll. Please vote early and often!! Still having intermittent problems with my sidebar positioning, so you'll need to scroll down to the end of the content for now.
Who holds the record for No. 1 hits in the USA? Not The Beatles (they were second). Not Elvis. None other then "Der Bingle"...Bing Crosby had 38 No. 1 hits. That was 14 more than The Beatles had. He also sold more than 400 million records worldwide. How is this Christmas trivia? Well, as most know, Bing sang the Irving Berlin penned classic "White Christmas" which, since it was first heard in the 1942 movie "Holiday Inn", has sold 31 million copies...and that's just Bing Crosby's version. I like the Frank Sinatra version as well. Can't avoid the political: if some have their way, this timeless classic will not be heard in the public square because it may offend a non-Christian. I'm sure it's not playing in the dining halls of the University of Illinois.
This is what will happen if we don't put the brakes on out of control politically correct thinking. In Australia, a Christian group was found guilty of "religious vilification" for having made comments derogatory of Islam. The penalty seems to be a monetary fine of some sort...at least for now. This is similar to the law being debated in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe. The problem here is whose ox is being gored? One person's "vilification" is another's "fair comment." Note the following statement by the Australian judge: It was done, not in the context of a serious discussion of Muslims' religious beliefs... It was presented in a way which is essentially hostile, demeaning and derogatory of all Muslim people, their god, Allah, the prophet Mohammed and in general Muslim religious beliefs and practices. When we place the task of discerning the offender's state of mind in the hands of the judiciary, we're in for big trouble. Yes, we have the requirement of "intent" in our criminal law, but that is a different concept than this Australian law contemplates. In a murder trial, a jury may need to determine if the defendant formed the intent to kill and, if so, when was that intent formed. Was the act premeditated? That is often a hard enough decision when there is physical or corroborative evidence of intent, such as the purchase of a hand gun the day before, lying in wait for the victim, etc. However, deciding whether a negative comment about a religion was or was not part of a "serious discussion" requires looking into the soul of the speaker...and trust me, the eyes are NOT often a window. There is little basis to apply an objective standard and, like the Christmas tree story below, it will devolve into simply whether someone took offense. Finally, when did Muslims become a "race"?
I'm struggling with this story about Rumsfeld's failure to personally sign the condolence letters to the families of our fallen soldiers. On the one hand, a machine signed letter is awfully impersonal coming from the person much responsible for my son or daughter having been stationed in harm's way and then making the ultimate sacrifice to God and country. On the other hand, before passing judgment I'd like to know a few things such as did former secretaries of defense personally sign such letters in time of war. Also, as a parent myself, I'm not sure how much I would care if the letter offering condolences for the loss of my beloved child was personally signed or not. I don't think it would make any difference to me as I struggled in my bereavement. I understand we lost an average of 40 soldiers per day during the Vietnam war. Did the various secretaries of defense during that conflict personally sign the thousands of letters? Just asking...I'm not sure where I come down on this one.
Here is an interesting article from the Daily Telegraph (London) about the ongoing debate over their "religious hatred" law. I've posted about this before but the following caught my eye: "Fiona Mactaggart, who is minister for race equality, has accused critics of the new law of a misunderstanding. It is not a blasphemy law, she says. You can say anything you like about the beliefs: what you will not be allowed to do is to insult the believers because of what they believe." Does George Orwell come to mind when you read that title? John Leo write about the denuding of the traditional Christmas displays and music at Macy's and Bloomingdale's in Manhattan. Having grown up in the New York Metropolitan area, I remember as a child being taken by my parents for a walk down Fifth Avenue to view the Christmas decorations and window displays. I remember the traditional Christmas carols playing on the department store PA systems. It's sad that my kids won't be able to experience this holiday in the same way, but instead something much more sterile. More stupidity at the University of Illinois where Christmas trees set up in residence dining halls had to be removed because it made some knucklehead "uncomfortable." And last, but certainly not least, now the PC-crowd apparently is not content to preach tolerance and inclusiveness. It will now be imposed by acts of...intolerance. Read about how nativity scenes and creches are being vandalized nationwide.
Great satire from Transterresterial Musings re if today's media was reporting on WWII and the Battle of the Bulge. One of my favorite excerpts is as follows: Some staffers on Capitol Hill implied that the timing itself of the offensive was suspicious. "Hitler wanted Roosevelt to be reelected, so that he could continue to fight a war against a sick, senile incompetent. Had he started this offensive before the election back on November 7th, everyone would have seen what a disaster this president has been on foreign policy, and Hitler would have had to confront a young, vibrant Tom Dewey." Take a few minutes to read it all including the link in the body to "...invasion of Europe..."
I have no idea what's going on here..but it sure looks funny...and calls for a tasteless and moronic caption..."No weapons of mass destruction here, Mr. President." I came across this picture at a number of other web sites but don't know who those two guys are with the President or what is actually taking place...Dennis Miller would have a field day with it though I'm sure.
Now here's an HTML oddity for you. The reason my sidebar content has been screwy is because of something in the Vox Blogoli VI post in response to Hugh Hewitt's call. I've had to remove it for know until I can find the glitch that is causing content "to spill over" into my sidebar and push everything downward. Any suggestions (keep it clean) would be appreciated.
This appears on both Little Green Footballs and Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch and is just another example of why I am increasingly of the belief that there are fundamental and perhaps irreconcilable impediments to the assimilation and full integration of devout Muslims into non-Muslim cultures. Here is an excerpt from "Play and Learn," a Muslim catechism for children: No Love Towards The Unbelievers In order to live with the morals of the Qur'an, one should completely leave the culture and all the moral values of the profane society. One of the first things to be left is the love towards it. In a profane society, all the relations are based on selfish interests. A person gets along with the other one only if there is a benefit from him or if he is been taken care of the other or at least he treats him good. Another measure is the family tie. People love others just because that they are from the same family; or from the same dynasty, or from the same society or sometimes even from the same nation. However these are not the criteria for the believers. Because, believers love Allah more than anything or anyone. "Yet there are men who take (for worship) others besides Allah, as equal (with Allah): They love them as they should love Allah. But those of Faith are overflowing in their love for Allah. If only the unrighteous could see, behold, they would see the penalty: that to Allah belongs all power, and Allah will strongly enforce the penalty."(AL-BAQARA 165) Believers respect Allah above anything, therefore the believers love people according to their sincerity with Allah, and they dislike them according to their disobey to Allah. No matter if these people are close to him or not. This characteristic of the believers is described in the Qur'an as: "Thou wilt not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with a spirit from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, to dwell therein (for ever). Allah will be well pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of Allah. Truly it is the Party of Allah that will achieve Felicity."(AL-MUJADILA 22) Having even a little bit of love towards the unbelievers would never be a proper attitude for a believer Think about our experience with racism. Children are not born hating those that are different from them. This is something that they are taught either directly or by example. There are so many examples of the indoctrination of Muslim children into the world of "jihad" and hate for "non-believers" that there is not enough time and space to list them here. Suffice to say that it goes on and is widespread, including in this country. It is painful and sad to acknowledge, but acknowledge it we must if we are to understand the direction we are headed.
As a follow up to posts about our obsession with tolerance and desire to "offend" no one, please read this World Net Daily article about real intolerance in Saudi Arabia. This take place to one degree or another wherever Islam has come to dominate.
Many thanks to Hugh Hewitt for linking ReleaseTheHounds! to his site based upon my "Vox Blogoli VI" post. Read the various other posts linked there to see how the blogosphere is quick to shine light on and learnedly rebuke transparent efforts by the MSM to try to undermine those it cannot understand. ...still trying to fix my sidebar problem...but feel free to scroll down to the bottom for added goodies including "The Eastwood Triptych"
"...the Bad..." has a new addition. Visit FreeTheSpeech for a unique take by a former vet. P.S. due to technical difficulties, all sidebar content for some reason is at the bottom of the page view...so please scroll all the way down.
Hugh Hewitt has called for Vox Blogoli VI and asked the question: "What does Newsweek's story on Christmas tell us about MSM?" Jon Meacham, the author of the piece, through selective presentation of scholarly works and one-sided arguments, concludes that the Gospel accounts of the Virgin Birth and the Nativity cannot be historically factual, but instead had been fabricated by the church for any number of reasons. Not being a Biblical scholar myself, I cannot comment on the substance and scholarship of the various sources in Meacham's article. However, being in the business of critical thinking and analysis, I know an advocacy piece when I read one, even one masquerading as a "balanced" analysis. One example is Meacham's repeated elevating of the corollary to the central such as when he writes: "If the virginal conception were a historical fact, however, it is somewhat odd that there is no memory of it recorded in the Gospel accounts of Jesus' ministry or in the Acts of the Apostles or in the rest of the New Testament. It is also striking that in parts of the Gospels Mary herself appears unaware of her son's provenance and destiny. " The use of phraseology such as "somewhat odd" and "striking" reveals the perspective of the writer when there are other, perfectly sensible, explanations for his self-described oddities. For example, Mary does appear aware of her child's divine origins in other parts of the Gospels. Also, a profound lack of understanding of the religious is evident when Meacham writes: "If we assume, for the sake of argument, that the virginal conception is not a fact but an article of faith... " "Faith" can be described as the confident belief in the truth of a value, idea or thing. Thus, those of faith believe in the Virgin Birth as fact, granted but without empirical proof. They do not consider, as Meacham seems to, that articles of faith and facts are mutually exclusive. Now, what does this Newsweek story say about the MSM? Nothing that should come as a surprise to those paying attention. There is, and has been for some time, an open hostility by some to people of faith in this country, particularly Christians. Indeed, I would not expect a "debunking" of any central tenet of Islam during Ramadan by Newsweek, Time or any other main-stream news publication. This hostility has been compounded by talk leading up to President Bush's electoral victory of the red state/blue state dichotomy and the evangelical vote, and discussions of "moral values" since. What better way to show contempt for those frightening Christian conservatives than to explain to all how their beliefs sit on ephemeral foundations.
Please read Richard Miniter's column on the ties between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden going back to 1994. The reason I dug this back up was in response to a debate going on at Cerulean Blue concerning the Bush Administration's justifications for the war in Iraq. Despite the conventional wisdom as articulated in the MSM (remember "wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time") regarding the lack of a nexus between Iraq and terrorism, the opposite seems to be true. If Miniter is correct, this alone is certainly justification. If you believe him to be incorrect, please explain why and on what basis.
Let me see if I understand this correctly. A chapel at a Canadian hospital covers up a stained glass portrait of St. Luke (Physician) in order to not offend Muslims or Jews (Note: Assuming that St. Luke was present in this chapel for some time, I sincerely doubt that the primary concern was over our Jewish friends' sensibilities). Why isn't "tolerance" expected of the non-dominant cultures?
All I can say is, if you don't read Mark Steyn, you're missing a real treat. No one else can tie together global warming and the changing demographics of Europe as neatly as he does.
Please pardon the appearance of ReleaseTheHounds! while we mess around with some "improvements."
Here is a great deconstruction by Prof Bainbridge of the argument that there are legitimate explanations, other than bias, to explain the gross disproportion of liberal versus conservative academics at today's college campuses. If you haven't heard, the French wanted to sue Carl's Jr. (yeah, that one) for "discrimination" over a commercial they ran in late '03 because of the following language: "* At the Waterloo, the French surrendered.* In the Franco-Prussian War, the French surrendered.* In World War 2, well, the French surrendered.* Don't be a big chicken. Eat one" I don't remember the ad...maybe it was regional, but it sure is funny as good satire should be. The effort never left the launch pad. This is old news, from the standpoint that it happened a while ago as opposed to actually having been reported about in any length, but if there was any doubt that bin Laden desperately wanted President Bush to lose this election, please read this. Finally, Michael Moore equates Republicans to abusive oppressors and Democrats...to..battered...women? Here's a snippet: "You stand tall, with 57 million people at your side and behind you, and you look right into the eyes of the abuser and you tell him to go to hell. Then you walk out the door, taking the kids and gays and minorities with you, and you start a new life. The new life is hard. But it's better than the abuse. " My apologies for having denigrated this stuff as unhinged ravings....my bad.
A new feature has been added to ReleaseTheHounds! I call it the "Clint Eastwood Triptych." Scroll down and you will see in the right sidebar "The Good...the Bad...The Ugly!" The "good" is self explanatory. The "bad" are blogs that, although advocating from a different perspective, seem thoughtful and sincere. The "ugly" are blogs that are simply...ugly. These placements are not static and a "bad" can become an "ugly", and vice versa, over time...and even rise to the top in the event of an epiphany (although I would caution against breath holding). Visit them all at your leisure and get a sense of what we are and what we're up against.
Victor David Hanson is one of the most insightful and prosaic commentators you will find. His most recent column describes in richer detail and with deeper insight what I had posted about concerning the problems that flourish when assimilation is not considered a societal objective. Here is an excerpt: "The Netherlands was a litmus test for Europe. Unlike Spain or Greece, which had historical grievances against Islam, the Dutch were the avatars of the new liberal Europe, without historical baggage. They were eager to unshackle Europe from the Church, from its class and gender constraints, and from any whiff of its racist or colonialist past. True, for a variety of reasons, Amsterdam may be a case study of how wrong Rousseau was about natural man, but for a Muslim immigrant the country was about as hospitable a foreign host as one can imagine. Thus, it was far safer for radical Islamic fascists to damn the West openly from a mosque in Rotterdam than for a moderate Christian to quietly worship in a church in Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Algeria. And yet we learn not just that the Netherlands has fostered a radical sect of Muslims who will kill and bomb, but, far more importantly, that they will do so after years of residency among, and indeed in utter contempt of, their Western hosts. Things are no less humiliating — or dangerous — in France. Thousands of unassimilated Muslims mock French society. Yet their fury shapes its foreign policy to the degree that Jacques Chirac sent a government plane to sweep up a dying Arafat. But then what do we expect from a country that enriched Hamas, let Mrs. Arafat spend her husband's embezzled millions under its nose, gave Khomeini the sanctuary needed to destroy Iran, sold a nuclear reactor to Saddam, is at the heart of the Oil-for-Food scandal, and revs up the Muslim world against the United States? Only now are Europeans discovering the disturbing nature of radical Islamic extremism, which thrives not on real grievance but on perceived hurts — and the appeasement of its purported oppressors. How odd that tens of millions of Muslims flocked to Europe for its material consumption, superior standard of living, and freedom and tolerance — and then chose not merely to remain in enclaves but to romanticize all the old pathologies that they had fled from in the first place. It is almost as if the killers in Amsterdam said, "I want your cell phones, unfettered Internet access, and free-spirited girls, but hate the very system that alone can create them all. So please let me stay here to destroy what I want." Please read it all.
As a father I try to pay attention to what my child is exposed to in the popular culture. I believe many parents simply don't have a real idea of what their kids are listening to on a daily basis, especially when it comes to "hip-hop." I've therefore decided to periodically post portions of lyrics from some popular music (loose use of that term) in the hope that even one other parent begins to pay more attention to and monitor what their child is listening to or buying. Don't get me wrong. By ranting against what I consider to be a nadir of popular culture, I don't for a moment advocate censorship. These folks have the right to record, sell and have played on public airways whatever people are willing to buy or listen to since this is, indeed, a free country. But that means we also have the right to shine a light upon and criticize what we may consider to be inappropriate. Let me warn and apologize in advance for some of what you may read. The language is vulgar and often misogynistic. If you have a desire to confirm the accuracy of what I am quoting, there are many websites out there devoted to cataloging lyrics, for example, www.hit-rap-lyrics.com. So let's turn the spotlight on a few highlights from "Stand Up" by Ludacris: "How you ain't gon' FUCK! bitch out me? I'm the GOD DAMN reason you in VIP CEO you don't have to see ID I'm young, wild, and strapped like Chi-Ali... Go on wit ya big ass! lemme see something Tell ya little friend he can quit mean mugging I'm lit and I don't care what no one thinks But where the FUCK is the waitress at wit my drinks?!... Most girls lookin right some lookin a mess That's why they spilling drinks all over ya dress But Louie Vuitton bras all over your breasts Got me wanting to put hickies all over ya chest-ahh C'mon! we gon party tonight Y'all use mouth to mouth bring the party to life Don't be scurred, show another part of your life The more drinks in your system the harder to fight! " Next, and last for now, on the hit parade is "Holidae In" by Chingy with some help from Snoop Dogg and Ludacris: "Bomb ass pussy Ma ooh you got that bomb, know you got it Ma ooh, you got some bomb ass pussy Ma I know you got that bomb bomb pussy... I took a chick in the bathroom seeing what's poppin You know what's on my mind, shirts off and panties dropping Niggaz knocking on the door drunk, and silly The girl said "can I be in yo video" I'm like "yeah!", "oh really?" Now she naked strip teasing, me I'm just cheesing She gave me a reason to be a damn heathen Handled that, told ol' G, bring tha camera Then I thought about, no footage while I ram her... Yeah, let the party begin, bitch Ching-a-ling Ling, all the way in St. Louis My nigga Chingy, Disturbing Tha Peace Luda, Luda, going hard on you hoes Yeah bitch, bring four of ya friends Meet me at the Holidae In..." Nice.
Here is a definitely below-the-radar story of legal action over property rights. In 1990 the City of San Francisco instituted an ordinance compelling certain private property owners to provide low-cost housing. In this instance a 62-room downtown hotel was ordered to set aside a certain number of rooms for low-income permanent residents. The failure to do so resulted in a $567,000 "fee." The infamous Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this ordinance. It is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. Without getting overly technical (and, consequently, overly boring), the issue is whether this constitutes an unconstitutional taking of private property. As you can imagine, I have a rather narrow view of when the government is authorized to "take" private property for public use. The same is true for "regulation" of the use of private property. There are very legitimate reasons such as public health ands safety (e.g. building codes) or, to some extent aesthetics (e.g. no late model autos on cinderblocks in the front yard) to restrict the unfettered use of private property. However, requiring that the owners of a hotel set aside a percentage of rooms in essence as low-cost housing is probably not one of them. Not all is bad in the City by the Bay. There are some sane voices from that locale speaking out against the anti-Christmas climate found in our "cultural centers" these days. In fact, Gov. Arnold has struck a blow for tradition by refusing to call that large Noble fir festooned with lights and decorations located in the California state capitol building a "holiday" tree. He is actually referring to it by its given name..."Christmas tree." A small victory, but a victory nonetheless.
Remember shortly after 9/11 when President Bush announced we were going into Afghanistan and remove the Taliban? What was the reaction from many on the left? We heard gloomy reminders of how both the British and the Soviets had found themselves mired on the snowy peaks (or was it in the rugged valleys?) of the forbidding Afghan terrain with no way out but to admit failure and slink away. That this war mongering administration must learn from history or be condemned to repeat it. Well...it didn't exactly pan out that way, but that didn't stop the naysayers on the left. Next was the prediction that there could never be free elections and the beginnings of a democratic process in Afghanistan. The tribalism, the warlords!! What was President Bush thinking that he could "democratize" a nation with no history, understanding or appreciation of the concept. Again, it didn't exactly pan out that way. Charles Krauthammer reminds us not only of the run-up to the first elections in Afghan history, but the deafening silence regarding this monumental accomplishment in the MSM.
My ancestral homeland, the land of the Vatican, Rome and countless popes and saints...a clearly historically Roman Catholic land... is at it again. This time instead of merely taking the word "Jesus" out of a hymn so as not to offend any Muslim listeners, an Italian elementary school decided to throw the Christ child out with the bath water and substitute "Little Red Riding Hood" for a traditional Nativity play regarding the story of Christmas. Why? So as not to offend any Muslim children. First question: Why would any Muslim children be offended? And if so, quite frankly so what? The real question that should be asked is, do they have any legitimate reason to be offended? Of course they don't. Second question: Why would this scenario not be played out in any Muslim country? Because there is none that allows the free and complete exercise of any religion within its borders other than Islam. The irony should be obvious.
I'm not sure what to call this other than another example of the institutional small-mindedness of our bureaucracies. Apparently, it is more important to protect "sensitive habitats" than to protect our borders, at least as far as the California Coastal Commission is concerned.
I wrote earlier that our friends the British unfortunately were suffering from historical amnesia when a poll showed that 45% had no idea what "Auschwitz" was or represented ("It's Not Just America That Has Been 'Dumbed Down' " 12/2/04). Well, this affliction is apparently not confined to the UK. A German poll reveals that over 50% of Germans equate what Israel is doing to defend itself from Palestinian terrorists to what the Nazis did to the Jews 60-plus years ago. But our British allies just can't help but provide grist for this mill. There is a bill being proposed in Parliament that would make it a crime to criticize a person's religion by equating it to "inciting hatred." It was left for Rowan Atkinson ("Mr. Bean") to make the painfully obvious distinction between mistreating someone for an immutable characteristic such as race (add: gender, size, ethnicity, disability etc.) and criticizing, parodying or satirizing someone's belief. If we can joke about or criticize someone's political beliefs with impunity, why not their religious beliefs? I know this may sound harsh to some, but we must make the distinction between what is merely perhaps coarse, crude and, yes, sometimes offensive and that which is truly harm-inducing. I may have thought that Andrew Dice Clay's patter was absolutely offensive, but he should not have been prevented from spewing it forth.
Here are examples from Great Britain of what happens when there is no incentive or impetus placed upon immigrants to assimilate: a woman stabbed to death on her wedding day for planning to wed a divorced man, a girl killed because a love song was dedicated to her on the radio, a woman murdered for bringing dishonor upon her family...the crime? Having been raped. Here is the problem rearing its politically correct head again. The prosecuting authorities had been aware of these situations but had "been a bit sensitive" to them. In other words, looked the other way for fear of...all together now...OFFENDING anyone. Well, not just anyone since I don't expect the same level of "sensitivity" would be present if it was just your regular, pint-drinking, British ne'er do well doing the honor killings.
Please read this story and this story about ethnic conflict in, of all places, the hyper-tolerant Netherlands and consider this question. If the underlying premise of the multicultural dogma of acceptance is that we will all be able to happily coexist if we are simply more accommodating of differences, why then the emerging nightmare facing the Dutch in what is probably the most liberal, non-judgmental, bend-over-backwards society on the planet? This is not a rhetorical question on my part, although I do have (surprise!) some thoughts on the matter. I believe the genius of our American society can best be summed up in the simple, elegant phrase "e pluribus unum"...out of many, one. Without resort to sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, sensitivity trainers, etc. it was reasoned that we could open our shores to all with the understanding that we will not stand in your way to prosperity if, in turn, you accept the tacit agreement to ASSIMILATE into our culture. That is not to say you cannot worship, celebrate and associate how you wish, but that is done on your own time, so to speak. But if any accommodations must be made, they must be made by and large by the guests, not the hosts. I believe the problems we are seeing in the Netherlands, and elsewhere, is the direct result of the failure to hold immigrants to their end of this bargain compounded by policies that actually encourage separatism.
I'm sure Dennis Prager had surfed ReleaseTheHounds! and come across "Offended By Those Who Take Offense" before penning this very insightful piece...NOT! His point, made much more artfully than mine, is that the leveling of criticism is now labeled as offensive conduct by those criticized. This time-honored high school debate tactic serves to deflect from the fact that there is little substantive response to the criticism so instead let's label the criticism scurrilous and avoid the issue entirely. Charles Krauthammer hits the nail on the head regarding the Iraqi "civil war." His point is simple and clear. If the Sunni Arabs (20% of the population) refuse to participate in the January elections that will be their loss. Their refusal is not cause to postpone the elections. If the Nader supporters had proclaimed they would not participate in the presidential election unless and until Ralph appeared on more state ballots, I don't think we'd hold up the process until we could get them on board. Michael Barone points out what the less-fevered of us have known for quite some time. Namely, the Michael Moore wing of the Democratic party, which includes a significant number of Senators and Representatives as evidenced by the turnout for the screening of Fahrenheit 9/11 and the prominent placement of the large, unshaven one to the right hand of Jimmy Carter at the Dem Convention, does not understand the threat of Islamic radicalism. For that reason they are on the way to marginalization.
The "offensive" seal of the City of Redlands, California Although this happened several months ago, I recently came across this story about the ACLU's thus far successful effort to strong-arm the City of Redlands to redesign its 80+ year old seal and remove the cross from its lower right quadrant. This came on the heels of the also successful effort to coerce the City of Los Angeles to remove a Latin cross from its seal. Looking for the silver lining, there must no longer be any compelling civil rights issues to be addressed in 21st century America if this sort of thing takes up the time of the ACLU's southern California chapters.
Release The Hounds! has added a contributor whose favored nom de plume is "Georgina" ...AKA... "The Last Moderate." Look forward to her insightful, if not a bit wordy, posts that will add much needed elements of philosophy, religion and centrisim (whatever that may be) sorely lacking to date.
Remember my "Life Imitates Satire" post? If not, scroll down to the November 24 posts for a quick read, then go to this Reuters article about the "unacceptability" of singing the word "Jesus" in a Christmas carol...in an Italian middle school no less. The money quote is the following: "But before the latest standoff exploded into a full-blown controversy, the 10- and 11-year-old students resolved the issue by opting to stick to the original lyrics. The director of the school, Pasquale Capria, told reporters on Sunday: "The foreign students themselves told me it wasn't a problem for them to sing Jesus."" This so much exemplifies the problem with the politically correct crowd and their fervent bowing to the altar of multiculturalism. It's a combination of too much hubris and too little common sense. The sad thing is that in ten years many of those 10 and 11 year olds that thought nothing of singing a Christmas carol during the month in which Christ was born, will be leading the protests against it.
Despite everyone's raised expectations of the potential for peace by way of "truce" both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have very clearly and unequivocally said there will be no cessation of their respective efforts to obliterate the state of Israel. There is a bright side to this. There seemed to be at least some prior moderation in the "death to Israel" rhetoric in light of the Sharon government's proposition to pull back from Gaza in 2005, perhaps evidencing a rift in the Palestinian leadership. However, as I have said multiple times in the past, there can be no realistic chance for peace if a significant percentage of the Palestinians are unwilling to accept non-violent, side-by-side co-existence with Israel. So long as a significant number hold the view that Israel today sits upon ancient "Palestine" and the ultimate goal is to retake their birth-right, there will never be peace. So long as the people willing to recruit suicide bombers, no matter how small in relative numbers they may be, are allowed to continue to operate, there will never be peace. And the only way to ultimately stop groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad is for the "moderate" Palestinians to do so. Look at it this way, if there was a violent movement afoot in Montana (the "Butte Jihad" ?) that believed the province of Alberta should be part of the United States, was unwilling to peacefully live side by side (I hope my geography is correct!) and began sending suicide bombers into Edmonton, popular opinion would be against these lunatics and we would expect our government to do whatever could be done to stop them. That's because the majority of Americans would not be sympathetic to these Montana terrorists and their aims. I fear, however, that the same can't be said of the majority of Palestinians with respect to the terrorist organizations acting on their purported behalf. If I am wrong on this and the true peaceful desires of the Palestinians have been hijacked by groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, please point me in the right direction.
The Groningen Protocol is apparently not an isolated and recent development in the European Union. Please look here and here for shocking and heart-wrenching stories of parents begging doctors to keep their children alive in contravention of court decisions authorizing doctors to withhold life support. The truly revolting part of this is the substitution of the court's wishes and judgment concerning what is in the "best interests" of the child over that of competent parents: "Dame Elizabeth, the president of the High Court family division, ruled yesterday that doctors were legally entitled not to put Luke on a ventilator. She said the procedure carried the risk of the baby then becoming dependent on a ventilator, which would deprive him of his close relationship with his mother during the last weeks or months of his life. His life "would not be worth living", the judge said." I have struggled to reach an understanding of this and the only thing I can fathom is that this ceding of the decision-making authority over what would seem to be intensely personal decisions is a direct result of the social welfare state mindset. If you expect the government to take care of your health, provide you with lifetime employment and a healthy pension, and insure that you are housed and fed, then it is not as long a reach to get to the point where the government will make life and death decisions for you as well. Courts in this country will step in if it is shown that the parent is not able or willing to care for the child or act in his or her best interests. We have not yet come to the point where our local, state or federal government will decide for otherwise able and loving parents whether their child's life "is worth living." And I hope we never do.
If you've been visiting lately you may have noticed some problems getting to the "comments" sections of certain posts, text being cut-off, etc. This seems to have been the result of HTML code corruption and I think I've fixed the problem...for now. Keep your fingers crossed.
I came across this absolutely hilarious piece on The Evangelical Outpost which I have reprinted in full. Satire is often a wonderful tool: She’s Having a Fetus Overheard at a local shopping mall: Jan: “Marsha! How are you girl? I haven’t seen you in ages.” Marsha: “Hey Jan, you’re looking great. How’ve you been?” Jan: “Just peachy. Hey, guess what? I’m going to have a fetus!" Marsha (excited): “That’s wonderful! Oh, I’m so happy for you. Now we both have parasites growing in us.” Jan: “Yeah, but you’re having twins. I’m so jealous.” Marsha: “Oh, I only have one now. Greg didn’t get his promotion so we decided to selectively reduce one of them.” Jan: “Aww...well, that’s a valid choice. I was hoping to have two fetuses because this one is going to be used to harvest organs for Alice. It took us forever to find an IVF facility that would help us with a ‘designer fetus’” Marsha: “I’m glad everything worked out. So when is it due?” Jan: “My doctor says I’ll be delivering sometime in July.” Marsha: “No, I mean when’s it due to become a human.” Jan: “Oh, well, Bobby and I draw the line sometime within the first few weeks after birth.” Marsha: “Hmm, Greg and I think it occurs in the third trimester but I can respect that. It’s a valid choice.” Jan: “Hey, what happened to Cindy? I heard she was having complications with her pregnancy. Did she ever deliver her fetus?” Marsha: “She did. Back in September. But the baby was born retarded so, you know, she did the right thing and took a trip to Holland.” Jan: “That is so like Cindy. She has always been so compassionate.” Marsha: “Oh, I know. She was really thinking about the child. I mean, what kind of quality of life would it have?” Jan: “Exactly. It’s just a shame that she has to go all the way to Europe.” Marsha: “Tell me about it. Until we get rid of Hitler, though, that’s what we have to put up with. At least Cindy has the money to travel. Just think about the poor women that have to resort to back-alley euthanasia.” Jan: “You know, I cried for two weeks after that evil man was reelected.” Marsha: “Me too, girlfriend. I don’t know what those Red State voters were thinking.” Jan (mockingly): “The election was about moral values.Marsha (rolling her eyes): “Yeah, some values they stand for.” Jan: “Hey, I hate to run but I have to finish up my Christmas shopping. You know, it's depressing how commericalized the holidays have become.” Marsha: "Haven't they, though? People have completely forgotten the 'reason for the season.' Well, it was great seeing you again. Give me a call sometime." Jan: "I'll do that. Hope you have a great Christmas." Marsha: "You too. Bye."
This poster reads: "This person suffering from hereditary defects costs the people 60,000 Reichmarks during his lifetime" It was used to advance the cause of Hitler's eugenics program (i.e. "mercy killings") which quite obviously by then had devolved into a question of the monetary burden of caring for these "defective" persons.
As I continue to reflect upon the "Groningen Protocol" as it is now popularly referred to, my mind was drawn to thoughts of Malthus, Darwin, Nazi Germany, etc. The unspoken premise in the Netherlands is that the objects of "mercy killing" have no productive reason to live. The subjective questions of quality of life, pain and pain management are quite simply that...subjective. Each individual and/or his loved ones will approach those questions differently, as is their right. The truly frightful thing is that the decision to euthanize is based upon the perceived needs and desires of the society as those needs and desires are interpreted and applied by the state. In cradle-to-grave welfare states like the Netherlands, how long before these now bureaucratic decisions will be influenced by, if not entirely based upon, the financial costs to society to care for these children? I found the following in Wikipedia as I did a bit of research on the history of eugenics, which is precisely what this is: The word "eugenics" (from the Greek for "well-born") was coined in 1883 by Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, to refer to the study and use of selective breeding (of animals or humans) to improve a species over generations, specifically in regards to hereditary features. Within a few years, Galton had improved his definition to include the specific varieties of "positive" eugenics (encouraging the "most fit" to reproduce more often) and "negative" eugenics (discouraging or preventing the "less fit" from reproducing). A eugenicist can be vaguely construed as anyone who is an advocate of, a follower of, or a researcher for eugenics. Also this: Germany under Adolf Hitler was infamous for its eugenics programs, which attempted to maintain a "pure" German race. Among other acts, the Nazis performed extensive experimentation on live human beings to test their genetic theories. During the 1930s and 1940s the Nazi regime forcibly sterilized hundreds of thousands of people who they viewed as mentally "unfit," and killed tens of thousands of the institutionalized disabled in their compulsory euthanasia programs. They also implemented a number of "positive" eugenics policies, giving awards to "Aryan" women who had large numbers of children, and even encouraged a service in which "racially pure" single women would become impregnated by SS officers. Please read the entire article.
Here is an article describing this year's "toned-down" Christmas in Sydney, Australia. Of course, the reason is in order to not "offend" the "immigrant non-Christian community" [read: Muslim]. This story has been and will be repeated in any number of cities and towns here and abroad under the banner of multicultural understanding and the fear of creating a climate of "exclusion" or some other such nonsense. Whenever I hear or witness this sort of conduct, two questions repeatedly come to mind. The first is why would any rational-thinking, fair-minded bloke from a foreign country be offended by this by-far-predominantly-Christian-nation's celebration of the birth of Christ? This reaction is as far-fetched to me as it would be if I was living in a predominantly Islamic or Buddhist or Hindu nation and was offended by celebrations of the birth of Mohammed, Buddha or Vishnu. I would never expect for a moment that the citizens of my host nation would or should care about my sensibilities in this regard. As the saying goes, when in Rome... Second, if a Muslim or Jew or Hindu or Buddhist or anyone else was truly "offended" by our Christian displays at Christmas, our response should be, so what. We should not be asking ourselves what we can do to lessen this poor fellow's psychological plight but rather why we should care a whit what this hyper-sensitive "victim" thinks about our Christmas. We should be offended that they have the temerity to be offended, call it a draw...and not change a thing.
It's is heart warming to know that it is not a peculiarly American trait to supposedly have little knowledge of what came before. It seems that our buddies, the Brits, have forgotten what they were fighting against 60 years ago. To 45% of Britons over the age of 16 "Auschwitz" is just a quiet little town in Poland. This lack of understanding does however explain the readiness of some on both sides of the Atlantic to label President Bush a "Hitler" or a "Nazi." They literally do not know what they are talking about. Please visit this site and view the photographs. Then tell me the analogy is a good one.
Following up my post regarding "mercy killing" of newborns in the Netherlands, it is imperative that you read this article fleshing out what is referred to as the "Groningen University Hospital protocol." This stuff is truly frightening and the devil is in the details: "Under the Groningen protocol, if doctors at the hospital think a child is suffering unbearably from a terminal condition, they have the authority to end the child's life. The protocol is likely to be used primarily for newborns, but it covers any child up to age 12." [emphasis mine] "A parent's role is limited under the protocol. While experts and critics familiar with the policy said a parent's wishes to let a child live or die naturally most likely would be considered, they note that the decision must be professional, so rests with doctors." [emphasis mine] "Dutch doctors have some intentional role in 3.4 percent of all deaths, according to statistics published in the medical journal The Lancet. About 0.6 percent are patients who didn't ask to be euthanized, the journal said." [emphasis mine] "Opponents of expanding euthanasia to the young cite a recent Dutch court ruling against punishment for a doctor who injected fatal drugs into an elderly woman after she told him she didn't want to die. The court determined that he'd made "an error of judgment," but had acted "honorably and according to conscience." [emphasis mine] I don't know what to say. This is truly shocking. Let's set aside issues of religion and morality for the moment. Does it occur to anyone that having a panel or review board or whatever you want to call it making decisions on who should or should not live smacks of eugenics? Or the justifications used in Nazi Germany? Does it not outrage anyone that the wishes of a parent of a disabled child up to the age of 12 will only be "considered" but are not determinative? The decision as to who should live and who should die is being shifted from the individual to the state. Can this be a good thing under any set of circumstances? Now, I know some clever person is thinking that the state does make that decision when it comes to criminal penalties. Well, not in the Netherlands where the death penalty has been abolished for all crimes since 1982. So, the Dutch status quo is that the state is not permitted to take the life of a murderer of children no matter how heinous the nature of the acts, but is empowered to take the life of the innocent child if it so chooses. Please explain that to me.