Release The Hounds!

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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

UC Irvine To Display Cartoons

I remain amazed at the failure of our politically correct society to see and state the obvious. UC Irvine will be hosting a panel discussion on Islamic extremism at which the cartoons will be displayed. Naturally, the usual suspects are protesting and boycotting. But why? Think about it for a moment. There will be a discussion held at a major college campus (of all places!) where a controversial subject matter will be placed front and center. There will be criticism leveled at some adherents of Islam...those that burn and destroy and kill in the name of their religion. Hypocrisy will be pointed out by cartoons and images and language clearly offensive to members of the Jewish and Christian faiths, but regularly published in Muslim-dominated countries. It may be uncomfortable for some, but that's life in a free society. However, we have supposedly educated college students saying things like: "To have a negative portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad is a slap in the face and we have an obligation to defend our prophet against slurs on his reputation...They're trying to draw a link between Islam and terrorism and that's what we've been trying all along to stop." First, the link has been long established and if you don't want to see it, delude yourself in private and don't display your ignorance and bias to the world...it makes you less believable. It would be like living in 15th century Spain and stating that there was no connection between Christianity per se and the Spanish Inquisition, and that Torquemada was a free lancer. Feel free to defend all you want your prophet, but not at the expense of open discussion and not by arguing that all religiously "offensive" speech should be curtailed. Don't presume to speak for the rest of us who realize that taking occasional offense is a very small price to pay for the right to be able to think and express ourselves freely. Face the fact that you are the only group in this debate that is demanding special treatment and that you do disservice to whatever chance your faith has of being accepted as co-equal in the West when you insist this way. Instead, spend your time and efforts looking for like minded souls to help pull your belief system into the 21st century.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Let's Hope The Bandwagon Keeps Rolling Forward

"Enough now with this turning the other cheek! It's our duty to protect ourselves," Monsignor Velasio De Paolis, secretary of the Vatican's supreme court, thundered in the daily La Stampa. The Vatican, and others, are now beginning to say the right things, the obvious things. But why has it taken so long to state the obvious: Neither Muslims, nor any other group, has the right to expect a certain treatment if it is unwilling to reciprocate in kind and extend the same to others. It is the height of hypocrisy for Muslim dominated governments to remove ambassadors in protest the the publication of images, but at the same time provide lesser or no rights to its non-Muslim populations. This is not news, but the liberal west is chooses only to look inward and criticize, and is paralyzed when it comes to critically examining other countries, cultures and customs.

Got To Get To Australia Soon

“If you don’t want to take your shoes off, don’t go into a mosque. If you want to come into Australia, you will be asked respect for its values,” Mr Costello told the Nine Network this morning. “If you don’t have respect for those values, don’t ask to come into Australia. This is what we ask of people. We have to preserve a way of life which makes us the greatest country in the world.” This is the attitude all western governments should have, rather than be held hostage by political correctness. It's the point that I've made before. If you have no belief that your culture and society have anything special to offer, and therefore worth preserving, it will wither away and be replaced by something usually quite different. [Hat tip: LGF]

"Cookbook For Terrorists"

This is why Europe is doomed unless it wakes up to the cancer within.

The Saddam Tapes

On one of the tapes, made in 2000, two years after Saddam kicked out U.N. weapons inspectors, two Iraqi scientists can be heard briefing Hussein on their progress in enriching uranium using plasma separation. *** In one exchange taped in April or May 1995, Saddam's son-in-law, Hussein Kamil al-Majid, briefed Saddam and his aides on his success at concealing Iraq's WMD from inspectors. "We did not reveal all that we have," he said. "They didn't know the extent of our work on missiles." Read about it here.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Where Were You The Night The Mosque Exploded?

This is why I was not particularly convinced by the arguments that the publication of the cartoons, although certainly within the western concept of free speech rights, was an unnecessary provocation. My position was that it doesn't matter what we do, we will be tarred with Islam's broad and fanatical brush. That is evident by the morphing of the "protests" over the cartoons to anti-American and anti-Israeli affairs. Now, the president of Iran has blamed us (and Israel) for the bombing of the mosque. Since it is inevitable that these complete fabrications will be pronounced, and believed, throughout most of the Arab world, what's the point of bending over backwards (and jettisoning our principles) in order to appease these people?

"A Culture of Hate"

Nonie Darwish was born in Cairo and raised in Gaza. Her opinion piece entitled "We were brought up to hate - and we do" appeared in Britain's Daily Telegraph. It must be read and understood: In school in Gaza, I learned hate, vengeance and retaliation. Peace was never an option, as it was considered a sign of defeat and weakness. At school we sang songs with verses calling Jews "dogs" (in Arab culture, dogs are considered unclean). **** As a young woman, I visited a Christian friend in Cairo during Friday prayers, and we both heard the verbal attacks on Christians and Jews from the loudspeakers outside the mosque. They said: "May God destroy the infidels and the Jews, the enemies of God. We are not to befriend them or make treaties with them." We heard worshippers respond "Amen". **** Is it any surprise that after decades of indoctrination in a culture of hate, that people actually do hate? Arab society has created a system of relying on fear of a common enemy. It's a system that has brought them much-needed unity, cohesion and compliance in a region ravaged by tribal feuds, instability, violence, and selfish corruption. So Arab leaders blame Jews and Christians rather than provide good schools, roads, hospitals, housing, jobs, or hope to their people. Please read it all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

More From The Moderate Muslims

Speaking of the United Arab Emirates, the following is from an interview with the founder of the "Creative Thinking Center" and broadcast on television there: Haven't we heard about the blessed mothers in Palestine who go to their sons and prepare them for martyrdom for the sake of Allah? The son sets out and on his way, he calls his mother from his cellphone, and tells her: "I've arrived at the place, I am going in." Then he says, "I'm ready," and the mother guides him and encourages him until she hears the bombs go off over the cellphone. Then she bows, thanking Allah for granting her son martyrdom for His sake. Then she utters cries of joy and refuses to accept condolences. She does not open a grieving tent, but rather a congratulation tent, because Allah granted her son martyrdom. Such Hansaa-like women have appeared again in our times. Some of these women commit martyrdom themselves. They may be married women or students, but even so, they are not tempted by this life, and they carry out martyrdom operations for the sake of Allah. These people, their society, their culture...it is sick. There is something fundamentally and grossly pathologic with much of Middle Eastern Arab/Muslim societies. I am not a sociologist or a psychologist, but I don't need to be to make this observation. These are not the rantings of some isolated hermit in a cave. This is the Arab mainstream, and make no mistake about it. [Hat tip: MEMRI]

It's Apparently Only Absolute If You Agree With It

This is the sort of muddled thinking that passes for cogent analysis on college campuses these days. "The right to free speech is not absolute...It does not give a right to defame Prophet Muhammad or any other" religious figure. I can assure you as a trained member of the legal profession with a fair amount of experience with First Amendment issues...yes, it most certainly does.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"Do You Feel Lucky...Punk?"

What in the world is happening to us? Why are we so intimidated? Do we hold our culture in so little esteem that we allow a bully cult that calls itself a religion to run roughshod over our time honored principles? Yahoo!Mail will not allow the letters "allah" in email names even if they are legitimately part of another word or name...such as Callahan. It has no problem with "god" or "jesus" or "jehovah" or "messiah."

[hat tip: Dhimmi Watch]

"But The Vast Majority Are Peace Loving..."

A recent poll shows that 56.2 percent of Palestinians support the suicide bombing of Israeli civilians. And, coincidentally, so does Hamas. Go figure. [Hat tip: LGF]

Thank You, Sir...May I Have Another?

It seems to me rather ironic that many religious leaders in the West are stumbling over each other to apologize for the offensive cartoons. The latest are members of the Danish Lutheran church heading over to Egypt to seek absolution. Remind me when last it was that anyone from the Arab/Muslim world made a pilgrimage to apologize for the anti-Semitic publications that are legion throughout the Middle East?

Monday, February 20, 2006

JasonColeman.com

Two hee-lar-i-ous send-ups from JasonColeman.com. The first is entitled "Who knew..." The second is courtesy of Zipperfish. Both deal with a current topic of interest. Watch them both, but be careful because the second contains some adult language.

Some Random Notes

Bin Laden vows never to be captured alive...seems a reasonable compromise. Read "Bush Fails to Prevent East Coast Blizzard" at The People's Cube...great, great satire. A taste: As President Bush and his staff cowered in the White House, the snow continued to pile up on the many poor and African-American victims who could not afford to get out of town or to safety in Florida. [Hat tip: Radaractive]

Religion Of Peace...And Nukes

Clerics and spiritual leaders in Iran have issued a fatwa stating that the use of nuclear weapons is acceptable. Take that in conjunction with Iran's attempted buildup of its nuke capabilities and its president's pronouncements re Israel, and I say all the ingredients to a disaster are present...unless something is done soon. Could anyone ever envision any such sentiment or pronouncement from a Christian or Jewish cleric? Or Hindu? Or Buddhist? If that were to happen, he would be immediately labeled a fringe dwelling lunatic by his co-religionists. Don't hold your breath here, however.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Worried About The Wrong Detainees In Cuba

While the left goes berserk over terrorists imprisoned at Gitmo, they say not a word about the human rights abuses perpetrated by their darling Fidel. Please take a moment and sign this Petition drawing attention to the plight of 21 Cuban journalists jailed since March of 2003 in the workers' paradise.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Today's Brief Catalog Of The Impending New Dark Age*

Photo from an Islamic rally in Pakistan. [Hat tip: LGF] Turkish journalist attacked for not wearing a headscarf and sitting "inappropriately" while the Koran was being read... Enraged Muslims (now a redundancy) in Nigeria burn churches and attack Christians with machetes killing, among others, a priest and three children... Riots in Libya after Italian minister wears offending T-shirt... My point and challenge remains quite simple and direct. With examples such as these appearing literally every single day in the Muslim world, how can anyone report with the semblance of a straight face that the "vast majority" of Muslims do not share these sentiments? On what basis is that assertion made other than wishful thinking conjoined with the multicultural ethic? *Special recognition and thanks to Mark Alexander.

Gwyneth Paltrow: Citizen of the World...Well, At Least Not Of The U.S. If She Can Help It

I've been cut to the quick. One of the deeper Hollywood thinkers out there, Gwyneth Paltrow who lives in London, believes the British are much more "intelligent and civilised" than we Yanks. She obviously hasn't attended a Manchester United match.

Friday, February 17, 2006

"It was like asking a rape victim whether she regretted wearing a short skirt"

The editor of the Danish paper that first published the offending cartoons remains (properly) unrepentant. And does anyone still think it's a good idea for Iran to have nuclear weapons? [Hat tip: Dhimmi Watch] [Photos of protest at Danish Consulate in NY courtesy of LGF]

More Lovliness

Win cash...gold..a car...other valuable prizes. What game show are we talking about? It's the latest from Mullah Productions called Kill The Cartoonist. And all you have to do is murder the Danes who drew the caricatures of the prophet (peace be upon him...but no one else apparently).

Bryant Gumbel - Race Baiter

"Finally, tonight, the Winter Games. Count me among those who don't like them and won't watch them ... Because they're so trying, maybe over the next three weeks we should all try too. Like, try not to be incredulous when someone attempts to link these games to those of the ancient Greeks who never heard of skating or skiing. So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention. Try not to point out that something's not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what's called a kiss-and-cry area, while some panel of subjective judges decides who won ... So if only to hasten the arrival of the day they're done, when we can move on to March Madness -- for God's sake, let the games begin." Bryant Gumbel made these remarks the other night on his HBO program. So what exactly is his point? That because there are few blacks participating in the Winter Olympics the competition is illegitimate? Are blacks being kept out of winter sports by a racist establishment? Are black kids, at least those those clamoring for snowboards and bobsleds, being denied? Should I not watch the NBA because of a "paucity of whites"? Why is it that if blacks (or any other minority du jourexcludesh excudes Asians in many instances) are under-represented in a field or sport, there is bigotry afoot, but if they are over-represented it is the natural course of events? Let's be honest, the unstated but obvious premise in Gumbel's remarks is that blacks are generally better athletes than whites, so their absence renders the the winter games counterfeit. [Note: does the absence of whites in hip-hop speak ill of that genre of "music"?]

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Just Like You And Me

A Pakistani Dad takes his sons out for a bit of father and son bonding at the most recent cartoon rage demonstration. Lovely people. Lovely religion. [Hat tip: LGF]

A New Dark Age Is Dawning

A New Dark Age Is Dawning Check out this site by a Brit blogger who is being censored because of his content.

But The Equivalent Of Sucking On A Tailpipe Is Of No Concern

So I can now walk down a busy street in Calabasas, CA and not have to worry about breathing in any second hand cigarette smoke...just exhaust fumes from buses, cars and trucks. The citizens of that fair town must feel so much more protected and healthful. I believe Manhattan has a similar ordinance prohibiting smoking in its parks for the same reason. So I can sit in Washington Square Park surrounded by one of the largest concentrations in the world of carcinogen-billowing vehicles but the worry is that I might inhale the smoke from a cigarette burning in the hand of the guy at the next park bench. Makes perfect sense...if you're a left wing nut that prays at the altar of health.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

St. Martin Airport - French West Indies

Talk about up close and personal! [Hat tip: Mrs RTH!]

One Culture's Strongly Worded Letter Is Another's Arson and Mayhem

Maybe it's a cultural thing that transcends perceived religious slights. Remember the Egyptian ferry disaster of a few weeks ago where the capsizing of a vessel resulted in hundreds of deaths? It seems that the angry relatives of the passengers attacked and burned the offices of El Salam Maritime, the ferry company. I'm pretty sure cartoons of Mohammed were not involved in any meaningful way.

The Fever Swamp Beckons

Here is a perfect example of the mental disease that affects most liberals. Without literally an iota of evidence, the talk among the tin-foil-hat brigade is whether VP Cheney was drunk at the time of the accidental shooting, and how high up the "cover-up" goes. [Note: O'Donnell was, I believe, a producer of the TV series, The West Wing]

Country, Rock and Now "Gay Country"

The "Brokeback Mountain" effect has now led to Willie Nelson trying his hand at a new genre of music singing gay country. Please note the following lines found in the song..."What did you think all them saddles and boots was about?" and "Inside every cowboy there's a lady who'd love to slip out." This is a hit right here.

The MSM Has Lost It Again

VP Dick Cheney was involved in an unfortunate hunting accident, as we all know by now. The press is hyperventilating. The latest example is provided by David Ignatius at the Washington Post who, quite incredibly, writes: Nobody died at Armstrong Ranch, but this incident reminds me a bit of Sen. Edward Kennedy's delay in informing Massachusetts authorities about his role in the fatal automobile accident at Chappaquiddick in 1969. Oh, really. Kennedy is responsible for the death of a women not his wife while out partying, and covers it up for at least a day before reporting it to local authorities. The VP's hunting accident, and his role, was immediately known to dozens of people. And since there was no issue of wrongdoing or compromising position, what is there to cover up? Amazing.

My Head Hurts!

Let me get this straight. The Islamic Republic of Iran's military has what they themselves term a “Lovers of Martyrdom Garrison” prepared to fan out into the West. They are commanded by Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Jaafari. However, it is insensitive and offensive to suggest in a political cartoon a link between Islam and political violence.

Cartoon Rage In Pakistan

[Hat tip: Michelle Malkin] The Colonel and Ronald suffer the ire of enraged Muslims protesting the spurious association made between Islam and violence.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Israeli Anti-Semitic Cartoon Contest

This is how a mature culture deals with foolishness like cartoon rage. [Hat tip: LGF] For you movie buffs out there, remember the scene in Tombstone when Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn) and Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) meet for the first time? Ringo goes through an elaborate gunslinger's challenge of skillfully and repeatedly drawing and holstering his Colt 45. Holliday responds by doing the same...with his whiskey cup. That's what we have here. Responding to childish bluster with comic relief.

The Tax Cuts Worked...And Other Stuff

Busy day today, so just a few scattershot items for now. Dennis Prager exposes the MSM's cowardice and deceit: [T]he argument that publishing the images would inflame Muslims' passions is another coverup for cowardice. No American newspaper or TV news show exhibited the slightest concern with inflaming Muslim passions when they endlessly published and depicted Abu Ghraib abuse photos. Whether to extend the Bush tax cuts will be an issue soon. Nancy Pelosi is her usual calm and collected self when she says "Democrats will fight the president's anti-widow and anti-children agenda." This is a flat out lie. The Chicken Little-ing of the Democratic party is a sight to behold, and the reality is it has become the party of bitching, griping and complaining without the offer of any constructive alternatives. For those interested in facts to refute the impending challenges from your liberal friends, be advised that federal revenues have risen 20% since the 2003 tax cuts. Again it has been demonstrated that tax cuts result in economic growth and more money going to the federal government coffers, not less. The following is absolutely fascinating..and chilling: With few exceptions, the states [in the Muslim world] are marked by poverty, ignorance, and stagnation. It is full of discontent and frustration, yet alive with consciousness of its inferiority and with determination to achieve some kind of betterment. Two basic urges meet head-on in this area, and conflict is inherent in this collision of interests. These urges reveal themselves in the daily news accounts of killings and terrorism, of pressure groups in opposition, and of raw nationalism and naked expansionism masquerading as diplomatic maneuvers. Sounds like another rather direct analysis of the turmoil we are seeing, no? Well, this was part of a U.S. government study issued in 1946. Daniel Pipes discusses it in greater detail.

Monday, February 13, 2006

What Century Are We Living In Anyway?

Over 20,000 Muslims in Egypt flock to see a calf whose skin folds supposedly formed the words, "There is no god but Allah." [Kind of reminds me of the lady who was a guest on the Tonite Show with Johnny Carson and brought potato chips she believed were shaped like various famous persons' profiles] Rather than teach their kids something useful, the Palestinians use them as photo ops in a protest against the cartoons by having them destroy the Danish flag and yell anti-Danish slogans. Some were as young as four years of age. [Insuring the next few generations of hate-filled suicide bombers] There is something truly pathologic about all this. I don't know the solution, but I do know we need to wake up and realize that we cannot expect to find any true middle ground or compromise with people such as these.

The Dance Begins...

Iran has backed off on threats to withdraw from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Haven't we been down this road before? Fiddling while Rome burns? The diplomats can all pat themselves on the back for "securing" compliance or concessions while Iran cleverly (and obviously to most) continues with it nuclear arms development programs until it becomes too late for anything to be done.

Burning At The Stake

I don't know Cathy Young or her politics, but her column today is the sort of mushy thinking that just torques my skivvies. It's another exercise in relativism that seems like bad case of the flu that just can't be shaken. She equates radical Muslims (who were termed living with a "pre-Enlightenment" mentality by David Brooks) with: "that a large segment of the population in the West, and especially in the United States, [that]rejects the progressive, rational mindset and embraces pre-Enlightenment values as well. Fundamentalist Christians, traditionalist Catholics and ultra-Orthodox Jews do not, with very few exceptions, call for violence in response to heresy; that is a key distinction. But they too often equate criticism (let alone mockery) of their beliefs with ''religious bigotry" or ''hate speech." In some situations there are of course differences in degree. But equating simply calling Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ" a form of religious bigotry with calling a cartoon of Muhammad with a bomb shaped turban a form of religious bigotry and also calling for and delivering death and destruction, is disingenuous. The distinction isn't that both sides of the debate are able to find offense in what they each may consider to be the heretical. It is, as has been said time and time again, the manner in which the heretic is treated. We stop burning ours at the stake centuries ago. Much of the Islam has not.

Al Gore Alert: Still An Idiot

Al Gore tells a group of Saudis that Arabs have been "indiscriminately rounded up" and held in "unforgivable" conditions" by the U.S. government.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

It's About Culture

Leonard Pitts writes one of the most succinct and intelligent commentaries regarding the cartoon controversy and Muslim rage: The argument is not about religion, but culture. Note that American Muslims - surely as offended by the cartoons as Muslims elsewhere - have felt no need to riot. They are writing letters to editors and holding peaceful rallies while their co-religionists are burning embassies down. No, the argument is about what happens when any culture anywhere is so bereft and so closed that its people have no way of comprehending or even imagining lives and beliefs beyond their own. That is precisely the point. The civilizational clash is not simply or merely about religious differences, but how those differences--when they brush up against each other--are viewed by the co-religionists. In cultures that spawn violent reaction to perceived religious affronts, we are dealing only in matters of degree. The response to the affront will be violent, the only question is how severe and drawn out that violence will be dependent upon how significant the affront. Religion may be at the top of the list, but in cultures that are based upon honor and face (or, ironically, western liberal theory), there seems to be a bottomless well of items to which offense is taken. My theory has always been that if a person, or group, has such a wildly different response than you to a given situation or set of facts, it is more likely the tip of the iceberg of differences rather than an anomaly.

Just Another Thought

Will some one take a moment to explain why making comments offensive to the President at Coretta Scott King's funeral is defended as an appropriate exercise of free speech, but publishing cartoons offensive to Muslims is not?

Friday, February 10, 2006

"Freedom Of Expression Is Western Terrorism"

[Hat tip: Infidel Bloggers Alliance] Taking a page from our own liberal moral and cultural relativists (or is it the other way around?), the authors of this placard have entered the twilight zone. This is not a joke so learn from it. The people many are explaining "are just like you and me" with the same attitudes, goals and aspirations, have no trouble equating strapping C4 to your midriff and detonating yourself in a crowded restaurant with the exercise of our rights under the First Amendment, and its conceptual equivalents elsewhere. To them, by their own admission, flying jetliners into skyscrapers is tantamount to publishing biting editorial commentary. And please don't tell me it's only a small percentage of Muslims actually out there raging and demonstrating so not to worry because you well know that, for every nutbag out there expressing these untenable sentiments, there are probably 10,000 who agree with him wholeheartedly but would prefer to watch it play out on al-Jazeera. It is a true clash of civilizations.

When The Going Gets Tough...Liberals Try To Change The Rules

...and please don't tell me I have no way of knowing whether the folks behind this lawsuit are lefties. Your apparently dumb kid cannot pass the California high school exit exam (which tests at the 10th grade level), so rather than get him or her some extra help, you sue to have the requirement done away with. I do understand that many of these schools are failing to teach, but there really is no excuse for a kid to get through high school and still not be able to handle sophomore level math and English problems. But when you get reasoning such as "They worry the test may prevent the students from graduating" from the adults, what do you expect. The freakin' purpose of the test is to prevent some kids from graduating...those that haven't learned the material! And I'm truly sorry and sympathetic to those kids who are non-native English speakers and who may be having additional difficulties. But realistically, we either do not apply the standards to them (which is not doing them any long term favors), or they don't graduate until their English comprehension is up to par. I look at it in this apparently very reactionary and Neanderthal-like way: If I uprooted my family, moved them to Paris and enrolled my non-French speaking kids into French speaking schools, I would not be surprised and dismayed to learn that perhaps they were falling behind the other (French) kids. I also wouldn't wait until they were two months away from their graduation date to start worrying about it.

"Multicultural Gobbledygook"

The entire controversy over the cartoons is ludicrous, but often in history the trivial and ludicrous can wake a people up before the significant and tragic follow. Read all the words of Victor Davis Hansen.

Hypocrisy and Fear = Cartoon Controversy

A commentator for whom I have great respect (and did even before he agreed with me!) is Charles Krauthammer, and he weighs in on the hypocrisy to be found on both sides of the cartoon debate: A true Muslim moderate is one who protests desecrations of all faiths. Those who don't are not moderates but hypocrites, opportunists and agents for the rioters, merely using different means to advance the same goal: to impose upon the West, with its traditions of freedom of speech, a set of taboos that is exclusive to the Islamic faith. These are not defenders of religion but Muslim supremacists trying to force their dictates upon the liberal West. And these "moderates" are aided and abetted by Western "moderates" who publish pictures of the Virgin Mary covered with elephant dung and celebrate the "Piss Christ" (a crucifix sitting in a jar of urine) as art deserving public subsidy, but who are seized with a sudden religious sensitivity when the subject is Muhammad.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Marsellus Wallace Would Be Proud

(click to enlarge) Do you remember Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) from the movie Pulp Fiction? He uttered the oft quoted line: "I'm gonna go medieval on your ass." Take in deeply the photo, and then read on. Tens of thousands of Shiite Muslims in Iraq engaged in their blood-soaked celebration to mourn the death in 680 AD of Muhammed's grandson: Following dawn mosque prayers, about 8,000 people, including young children, dressed in black as a sign of mourning and marched between the two shrines to the beat of deep bass drums. Some slapped chains across their backs until their clothes were soaked with blood, while others beat their heads with the flat side of swords and knives until blood ran freely. In Pakistan, a Sunni Muslim suicide bomber detonated himself among a crowd of Shiite Muslims celebrating this most holy day. The Shiites, predictably, went on a "rampage" afterwards destroying shops and cars. The schism between Sunnis and Shiites arose out of the death of Muhammed's grandson (Imam Hussain) in 680 AD and the rivalry between the two sects over who should succeed the prophet has lasted for the last 1326 years, with no obvious signs of abating. These people in large part still exist in the Middle Ages and there are no two ways of looking at it. If you accept that premise, you cannot at the same time expect to deal with them as we would with, say, Belgium in a trade dispute.

The Story Of The "Cartoon Controversy"

You just must take a look at the terribly funny, but terribly accurate, video at Junkyard Blog describing how this whole thing really got started. [Hat tip: Michelle Malkin]

Ann Coulter

Sometimes Ann Coulter is a bit too snarky for me. Other times, her expertise with satirical prose is evident. Today it is the latter: One showed Muhammad turning away suicide bombers from the gates of heaven, saying "Stop, stop -- we ran out of virgins!" -- which I believe was a commentary on Muslims' predilection for violence. Another was a cartoon of Muhammad with horns, which I believe was a commentary on Muslims' predilection for violence. The third showed Muhammad with a turban in the shape of a bomb, which I believe was an expression of post-industrial ennui in a secular -- oops, no, wait: It was more of a commentary on Muslims' predilection for violence. In order to express their displeasure with the idea that Muslims are violent, thousands of Muslims around the world engaged in rioting, arson, mob savagery, flag-burning, murder and mayhem, among other peaceful acts of nonviolence. **** The rioting Muslims claim they are upset because Islam prohibits any depictions of Muhammad -- though the text is ambiguous on beheadings, suicide bombings and flying planes into skyscrapers.

More On That Lovely Religion

I may have reached a point where I cannot help myself. Each time I tell myself "No more cartoon controversy posts" I come across something else I can't resist. 3000 to 4000 Pakistanis in Lahore (the capitol city of Pakistan) rioted the other day destroying two movie houses (what was playing?) and dozens of vehicles. Why? Because someone supposedly found copies of the Koran lying in a drain. No one knows how they arrived there or why, but the word spread and, presto, instant Muslim rage. A case under Pakistan's blasphemy laws as been filed against "unknown people." [Hat tip: LGF]

"When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?"

I don't believe we are beating a dead horse when we continue to place the counterpoint before the public eye. As the banner above this blog reads, we continually search for clarity and perspective. A Denver theater is hosting a play called "Jesus Hates Me" about a mother who runs a Bible-themed miniature golf course. Norman Lear just loves it. The new book by George Carlin (who ceased being funny decades ago) is titled "When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?" in which he apparently compares people of faith to UFO believers and has a chapter entitled "The Continuing Story of Mary and Joseph." I'm certain many devout Christians would find much of this offensive, especially the cover art on Carlin's book depicting him seated at the Last Supper. The mark of modernity in a culture or civilization is not whether its people take offense with the expressions of others, but how they respond to that offense. Simply because much of the Muslim community refuses modernity is no reason for the rest of the world to play along. By the way, if you did not know or believe that this was mostly a contrived affair, read here and here.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Pot Calling The Kettle Black

Let's take a look at what regularly appears in Arab media. These anti-Semitic cartoons were all first published before the Muhammad cartoons appeared in the Danish newspaper. More of the same can be found at the ADL site. Who is kidding whom here? It will not take more than a few minutes of research to satisfy yourself that anti-Semitic images and prose are a daily staple of the Arab media. Nevertheless, offense is taken if the Western press is perceived as denigrating Islam. Either the offended Muslims are hypocrites, or they truly consider their faith to be superior and deserving of special treatment, even from non-believers. My point is simply that those who are looking to find offense will find it.

The Tide Of Opinion May Be Turning

Jihad Watch brings us this photo taken on 2/1/06 at Ground Zero....Manhattan...USA. Jim Geraghty chronicles the rising tide of recognition by clear thinkers that the problem with Islam may just be...Islam. He painfully describes his own realization that perhaps the problem is much, much larger than many thought (wished-?) it to be: I'm trying to articulate my positive experiences with Muslims over here to my readers, but it's not as powerful and penetrating an image as screaming lunatics burning down embassies and threatening to behead anyone who they believe has insulted them. And frankly, I'm not all that wowed with the reaction of moderate Muslims. I'm not sure how much further I want to stick my neck out defending a faith community that won't loudly and firmly police or rebuke its own members. I share his sentiment, but crossed that Rubicon earlier than he, and am not at all wooed away by the observation that there are many good and upstanding practitioners of the Muslim faith. As it was the responsibility of the "good" Germans in 1935 to effort a way to reign in the more dangerous and metastizing elements of their society (which, unfortunately, did not happen), so it is left for the "good" Muslims to attempt the same. If they do not, their existence will be just a footnote.

Well At Least He Wasn't Smoking

A Brockton, Massachusetts elementary school has suspended a six year old boy...for sexual harassment of one of his first grade classmates. Is it any wonder why our public schools are in such a mess when administrators can't distinguish between sexual misconduct and the play of pre-adolescents. What hope is there for kids when they are taught in places that have lost all good sense and reason.

Random Musings

You'll need to set aside 10 minutes or so, but please read this very important piece by David Pryce-Jones. Jimmy Carter remains a fool. Where and when will it stop? A young girl at a British school refused to wear the school uniform because she will not dress in the clothes of the "non-believers." The important point of this story is that the uniform was a quite modest outfit designed to take into account the sensibilities of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims. It was an effort by a pluralistic society to find common ground with its diverse population. However, the path to pluralism and tolerance requires that traffic move in both directions and all, not just some, abide by the rules of the road. If enough refuse to do so, anarchy results.

Reading Between The Lines

An interesting piece appears in USA Today by Souheila al-Jadda entitled "Understanding the Outrage." I presume the author is Muslim. I won't bother to deconstruct it since it is, frankly, more of the rather lightweight both-sides-are-at-fault-here drivel. However, of peculiar interest is the following graph: Depicting Mohammed is generally prohibited in Islam. Portrayals, however, have and can be done in honorable ways. Persian Muslims, for many centuries, have illustrated the life of the prophet through miniature paintings. The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington has a frieze of Mohammed. But these depictions are done with dignity. What is interesting is that the author, in describing apparently acceptable (to Muslims) exceptions to what is "prohibited in Islam" uses one example that connects logically to his conclusion and one that is pure disconnect. When Roman Catholics believed meat should not be eaten on Fridays, anyone wanting to explore the depth and breadth of that dogma would be interested to learn if there were other Roman Catholics who did not hold to that belief. What Episcopalians or Lutherans consumed for their Friday repasts would be irrelevant, as would be what they thought of the fish-only day. However, the author of this piece references a depiction of Muhammad on the building of a predominantly secular and/or Christian nation for what apparently would not be offensive to at least some Muslims. And what if it were? Here again, at least to me, is that undercurrent of presumptuousness that other faiths and cultures must take into account Muslim sensibilities.

Just Because He's An Iraqi Living In Iraq, What Does He Know

"...Even if the entire EU apologizes it won't change a thing; fanatics in our countries here had always considered the west their infidel arrogant crusader enemy and no apology no matter how big or sincere can change that." Omar over at Iraq The Model has weighed in on the cartoon controversy.

Need A Reminder...

Will someone be kind enough to remind me to set aside some time to demonstrate, burn, threaten and pillage when The DaVinci Code is released in theaters? I'm rather busy lately and don't want to forget. Thanks.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Aren't You Really Embarassed?

"We must show the whole world that the freedom of expression is much more important for us than the dogmas of religious fanatics" Now who said that? Hint: think Sakharov Museum and Public Center in Moscow.

"A Muslim's Faith Is Above Western Values"

Well, I guess that says it all. These photos [Hat tip: LGF] are from demonstrations in Pakistan and Indonesia. The gatherings were not violent but, by any measure, were a demonstration of the sentiments of a great many. Are these people "radicals" or do they represent a sizable percentage of the non-American Muslim population? For if they are the latter (as I believe they are), there is little hope of co-existence in the same societies. But this has been said time and time again by many a true student of Islam, and time and time again been ignored. Perhaps this latest outbreak of rage serves the useful purpose of awakening some who heretofore were unwilling to accept the facts.

It Continues To Get Worse

Enraged Muslims (which has now become a redundancy) attack NATO base in Afghanistan. My view of this conflict perhaps is beginning to take hold. This reporter writes: The drawings -- including one depicting the prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb -- have touched a raw nerve partly because Islam is interpreted to forbid any illustrations of Muhammad for fear they could lead to idolatry. At least it is now being reported that Islam holds any depictions of Muhammad as blasphemous, so I reiterate my question: Why should we think that this has to do with the nature of the depiction rather then the act itself of depicting the prophet? And if it is the mere act of publishing the depictions that is found offensive, the argument against doing so requires that we apply to non-Muslims the belief system and religious dogma of Muslims. Is that what we're talking about here? About 50 protesters hurled stones and firebombs at the Norwegian Embassy in Tehran. Norway? What does Norway have to do with this other than geographic proximity to Denmark and perhaps the belief that the Norse and the Danes are interchangeable blonds? We are to try to honor the sentiments of people who are this scattershot in their hate? The larger point here is that it is not possible to meet minds with an adversary who so obviously holds completely different values. We would have no less success in attempting to reach common ground with a medieval landholder. Ralph Peters of the NY Post has a generally interesting take on all this, but falls into the modern day requirement to find fault on both sides no matter how tortured the logic must become. But whether he realizes it or not, he has made my point when he writes, "The problem is that with freedom comes responsibility, a quality to which Europe's become allergic (nothing is ever a European's fault). Breaking a well-known taboo of Islam was irresponsible. No other word for it." The taboo he speaks of is that against depictions of Muhammed; not against negative depictions of Muhammed. He is right when he says it is Islam's taboo, because it is no other's. Why are we to be governed by the "taboos" of religions or societies not our own? How many other taboos are out there that we should be concerned about? Or is it only Muslim taboos that should cause us to alter our conduct? It's time for all of us to recognize that different cultures have different values. For the West, broadly speaking, the highest value is freedom, including freedom of religious expression. But for the Muslim world, the highest value seems to be Islamic piety. To draw such a distinction between West and East is not to endorse cultural relativism; it's simply to take note of cultural reality. Read all of James Pinkerton's piece. Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff reminds us where this controversy started which, if I may so so again, makes my point. Recall that the Dutch paper got the idea to commission the cartoons after the would-be publisher of a children's book about the life of Muhammed and, ironically, religious tolerance, could not find one illustrator in the entire country of Denmark to draw for his book. Not one. They all literally feared for their lives even though the illustrations were certainly not going to be negative or derogatory to the Muslim prophet. Why such fear? Because Muslims consider any depictions of their prophet as a blasphemy of the highest order, and they remembered what had happened to Theo Van Gogh. Are we there yet? Finally, Thomas Lifson gets it: The injunction to force the rest of humanity to choose between conversion and death or Dhimmitude is not merely a matter of saving souls, the power driving Christian evangelism, or compassion for fellow men trapped in suffering, the motive driving Buddhist outreach. Islam as dictated by its scripture is not merely a matter of personal faith, it is also a political system, forever unchangeable, based on the Quran and Hadith.

More Debate With Hewitt

In my continuing "debate" with Hugh Hewitt, he states: "The debate begins with these questions: Are we at war with Islam? Do you want a war with Islam? My answers and the answers of any sensible person ought to be "no," and "no." I'd like to see blogggers who are opining on the cartoons answer these questions up front." Well then, I guess I'm not at least partways sensible. Perhaps we need a more precise definition from Hugh of "war" and "Islam" but, no doubt, we are at conflict with persons animated solely and completely by their Islamic beliefs. In WWII, we were at war with fascists who happened to be German, but their country of origin was irrelevant. It was their philosophy that drove them, and we fought against the standard bearers of that philosophy. The only difference here is the touchy subject of religion because of a naive belief that if it's religion, it must be good. The question Hugh doesn't answer, but that answer is implicit in his position, is that what we are seeing are troubles caused by an aberrant form of Islam. However, if you study history, that aberrant form has been around for centuries. As to point two. I don't want a war with Islam, much as we did not want a war with the Axis powers. But it seems to be inevitable.

The Battle Of The Cartoons

Iran, as tone deaf as our far left, is holding a Holocaust cartoon contest challenging the Western media to (re)print the the submissions of the "winners". Now I expect, unfortunately, that many of the news outlets that did not print the Mohammed cartoons will also not print whatever comes out of Iran. However, at least that can be called consistency. I also expect whoever published the first set will also publish these to make the point. What I would love to see is every major Western news medium publish at least some of these cartoons so as to clearly define the fundamental difference in our philosophies. The real point is that there will be no calls for death or dismemberment of the cartoonists, nor of the media or its country of origin, that publish the undoubtedly offensive Holocaust cartoons. [Hat tip: StopTheACLU]

Monday, February 06, 2006

Catholic Priest Shot To Death In Turkey

A ROMAN Catholic priest in Turkey has been shot dead outside his church, possibly in an act of revenge for the publication of the Mohammed cartoons. A teenage youth was seen running from the scene while other witnesses claimed they heard the killer shout: 'Allah is great!' Read about this developing story here, here and here. This may just be a tragic coincidence so I will withhold comment...for now.

Well Then They Shouldn't Be Allowed To Sit At The Adults' Table

Here is an incredibly insipid Q&A from MSNBC that, shades of Joel Stein, reads like it came out of a college communications class exercise. But that doesn't mean we can't learn from it. First, as you read the linked piece, don't you get the uneasy sense that the Western media pretentiously treats Muslims as if they are children, not to be expected to act as full-grown adults. It's as though you're dealing with the directive to your fourteen year old to pick up after herself. You hope she does it regularly, but truly don't expect she will. Anyway, let's analyze a bit: So these cartoons really hit a raw nerve as far as their religion is concerned. Most people in the Arab world are not necessarily very extreme in their religiosity, but they are religious people, so this totally goes against the grain of their beliefs. Religion is such a sensitive topic here, even more so than in the West. Is she saying that the more seriously one takes their religion the more offended one will be? D'oh. There are many Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists who take their religion as seriously as many Muslims do. That's not the point. The point is how one reacts to being prodded on a "sensitive" subject. [T]hey are very upset that the cartoons appeared to link the prophet to terrorism. They believe that the West is labeling all Arabs as terrorists after 9/11. No. The cartoons didn't link the prophet to terrorism. The terrorists did. First of all, it is against Islam to portray the Prophet Muhammad, or any pictures of what God might look like. Likewise, it is against their religion to portray any other prophet, including Jesus or Moses, because they also revere those religious figures as well. At this point, I am more convinced than ever that this has to do with the fact of the depiction of Mohammed, and not the light in which he is portrayed in the depictions. I say that because Muslims themselves are not making any distinction among the dozen or so cartoons, many of which are not particularly insulting. Hindus consider cows to be sacred animals. However, have you heard of any Hindus calling for the death of non-Hindus for eating beef? Jewish tradition forbids the consumption of pork and depictions of God (yes, that's correct). However, have you heard of any Jews calling for the beheading of non-Jews who who eat pork. Or issuing the Hebrew equivalent of a fatwa against Michelangelo's descendants for his work at the Sistine Chapel? Get the difference? All 0f the world's major religions have evolved to the point of not expecting the non-believer, on penalty of death, to adhere to the tenets of the believer. With one major exception.

And What Part Of This Political Cartoon Is Inaccurate?

[click to enlarge] [Hat tip: LGF] Also, although I don't agree entirely with Christopher Hitchens take here because of his insistence on what I call religious-relativism, his main argument is certainly correct.

Why Pretend That Logical Solutions Apply?

Hugh Hewitt continues to argue that the cartoons should not have been published. His point is simple and straightforward: The cartoons are offensive and, therefore, why hand jihadists the propaganda they hunger for? He uses the example of a cartoon image of Jesus Christ with TNT in place of a crown of thorns published after an abortion clinic bombing, and asks wouldn't that be offensive to Christians. Yes it would, but legitimately so only to the audience of Christians who would not bomb an abortion clinic anyway. Those who invoked the name of Jesus as justification for their evil cannot truly be offended by such a cartoon since they have acted precisely in the manner suggested by the cartoon..and not because of it. Which brings me to my second point. Does Hugh really believe that the jihadists will not find something else to falsely justify their hatred and violence. Does he really believe that their desire to annihilate the West springs from our provocations? Since none of their rage is legitimate, it cannot be stanched by otherwise legitimate sounding solutions. So why pretend otherwise. The oxygen sustaining their burning radicalism is not coming from the West. It is coming from within.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

In All Their Glory: The 12 Rage Inducing Cartoons

[Hat tip: Human Events Online]

Such A Lovely Religion (Yeah, I Know, It's Been Hijacked)

The killer of Theo Van Gogh has said that "the prophet" justifed his deed.

Speaking Of Syria

There has always been the suggestion that Saddam transported his WMD to Syria during the run up to the war. Jack Kelly has the most recent on that. I only trying to be logical here. Did coalition forces ever find the chemical weapons that we know for a fact Saddam used on the Kurds? Wouldn't it have been logical to expect to find what we knew existed...unless it had been ferried away to a safe haven? And if that's what happened with the chem weapons, why not with other WMD as well? Just asking.

Such Wonderful People

The Danish embassy in Syria has been set on fire. Mark Steyn has the correct perspective when he writes: [I]n the Western world "artists" "provoke" with the same numbing regularity as young Muslim men light up other countries' flags. When Tony-winning author Terence McNally writes a Broadway play in which Jesus has gay sex with Judas, the New York Times and Co. rush to garland him with praise for how "brave" and "challenging" he is. The rule for "brave" "transgressive" "artists" is a simple one: If you're going to be provocative, it's best to do it with people who can't be provoked. Thus, NBC is celebrating Easter this year with a special edition of the gay sitcom "Will & Grace," in which a Christian conservative cooking-show host, played by the popular singing slattern Britney Spears, offers seasonal recipes -- "Cruci-fixin's." On the other hand, the same network, in its coverage of the global riots over the Danish cartoons, has declined to show any of the offending artwork out of "respect" for the Muslim faith. Jeff Jacoby begins his piece thusly: HINDUS CONSIDER it sacrilegious to eat meat from cows, so when a Danish supermarket ran a sale on beef and veal last fall, Hindus everywhere reacted with outrage. India recalled its ambassador to Copenhagen, and Danish flags were burned in Calcutta, Bombay, and Delhi. A Hindu mob in Sri Lanka severely beat two employees of a Danish-owned firm, and demonstrators in Nepal chanted: ''War on Denmark! Death to Denmark!"In many places, shops selling Dansk china or Lego toys were attacked by rioters, and two Danish embassies were firebombed. His satire is dead on, but I do raise one question. He describes those that are over-reacting to the cartoon controversy as "radical Muslims" suggestive to me, at least, that those acting out (or those who support them doing so) are in the minority. Again, my question. Why should we believe that is so? Post script: Buy Danish (the country's wares, not the breakfast delicacy)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Whatever Happened To Sticks And Stones...?

"The right to freedom of thought and expression ... cannot entail the right to offend the religious sentiment of believers." - Statement by Vatican spokesman. I'm sorry, but the Vatican is wrong on this one. The purpose behind freedom of speech is to allow for just this sort of expression. As a Roman Catholic there are myriad expressions in the popular culture which are certainly offensive to those that believe as I do. However, I have never thought for a moment that the right of the person to express those sentiments should be curtailed. I certainly may not agree, and may even find the statements hurtful. But that is the trade off that is absolutely necessary in a free society.

Why Is Common Sense So Rare?

Freedom of expression is our western heritage and we must defend it or it will die from totalitarian attacks. It is also much needed in the Islamic world. By defending our values, we are teaching the Islamic world a valuable lesson, we are helping them by submitting their cherished traditions to Enlightenment values. These are the words of Ibn Warraq. Take the time to read his opinion piece.

This Has Nothing To Do With Content

Here is why I don't buy into the "insult" argument line. Muslims are supposedly in a rage because the now infamous cartoons are insulting depictions of their prophet. I have mentioned before that, in Islam, any depiction of Allah or Mohammed is considered blasphemous, whether insulting from a Western point of view or not. The argument goes that because the prophet was depicted, for example, with a bomb in his turban, Muslims are rightfully offended by the suggestion that Mohammed is portrayed as someone who - what? - promotes or condones violence? That would certainly seem to be the conclusion being proferred by most of the world press. However, what do the aggrieved Muslims do when so offended? They take to the streets pridefully warning Europe that its tallest buildings will be destroyed. They take to the streets calling for that very same violence and, in particular if you look at one of the placards above, warn that "demolition is on its way." Last I heard, demolition is accomplished with explosive devices, much like...the...one...in...the...turban. My point, which is seemingly being missed, is that this row is more about form (i.e. the mere fact that the infidel press has published depictions of Mohammed) rather than substance (i.e. the nature of the depictions). UPDATE: Here are some of the latest words from Muslim spiritual leaders (and others) offended by the suggestion that their prophet blesses violence: "We will not accept less than severing the heads of those responsible" "We will not be satisfied with protests. The solution is the slaughter of those who harmed Islam and the Prophet" "Let the hands that drew (the cartoons) be severed" Considering how marginal a view this kind of stuff is supposed to be among Muslims, it sure doesn't seem too difficult to find it. Let's face facts: devout Muslims cannot and will not be able to live an even remotely assimilated existence in Western societies. This sentiment does not make me a bigot. It makes me a realist. Post script: Why is it so difficult to actually find these cartoons in our MSM? Are we not entitled to see what the fuss is all about?

Friday, February 03, 2006

My Heart Aches

Our State Department has come out on the side of censorship and political correctness. If you want to know what is going on in other countries re this issue, take a minute and visit Public Figures...Beware for a report card. Brilliant work.

Churches Burn In Alabama

Five churches in Alabama (with both black and white congregations) were burned overnight. Arson is suspected. Assuming the same perpetrators (or an unbelievable coincidence), what was the motive? Why burn Christian houses of worship? Is it the work of atheists? Zoroastrians? Buddhists? Disaffected youths? Racists not quite clear on the concept?

Just Can't Get Enough...Just Can't Get Enough..

"We have to defend our prophet otherwise Allah will punish us." This sentiment was expressed by a 26 year old student in Great Britain where hundreds of Muslims are raging against cartoons. Other's held placards that read "Free Speech Go To Hell" and "Europe: Your 9/11 Will Come". When will we wake up. These idiots who apparently have no conception of Western notions of liberty are the ones who didn't want to remain in their countries of origin and have lived in the West for some time. Do you think that the majority of Muslims who are perfectly content to live under their theocratic leaders and systems are less exercised about this? Why, oh why, do many continue to assert that the majority of Muslims worldwide don't feel similarly. Why do we continue to believe that we are hearing only from a small but vocal minority of extremists who have "hijacked" a religion. On what grounds are these premises based other than a desire that they be true? The folks out there waving the signs calling for beheadings are not a bunch of goat-herders living in the mountains of Afghanistan. They are people who are living in and educated in the West. They supposedly know what we are all about but still believe as they do. Or could it perhaps be that they know, and will not accept it.

Try To Keep Your Analogies Accurate...Only Bush Comes Close To Hitler These Days

Don Rumsfeld has made a Hugo Chavez-Hitler analogy. I'm not sure it was an appropriate statement to make since the similarity he was drawing was only to consolidation of power. However, I don't want to hear any melodramatic outrage by critics of this administration unless you first can demonstrate that you haven't made anything remotely approaching the Bush = Hitler argument.

Joke Of The Day (from Australia)

When the world has you down, often all you can do is revel in some poor taste. So here goes... A man walks into his bedroom with a sheep under his arm and says, "Darling, this is the pig I have sex with when you have a headache." His wife is lying in bed and replies, "I think you'll find that's a sheep, you idiot." The man says, "I think you'll find I wasn't talking to you."

Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson makes the point that, without petro-dollars, the Middle East would be off the radar screen: Perhaps due to what might legitimately be called the lunacy principle ("these people are capable of doing anything at anytime"), the Muslim Middle East can insist on one standard of behavior for itself and quite another for others. It asks nothing of its own people and everything of everyone else's, while expecting no serious repercussions in the age of political correctness, in which affluent and leisured Westerners are frantic to avoid any disruption in their rather sheltered lives. **** Over a half-million Jews were forcibly cleansed from Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo, and other Arab cities after the 1967 war; but only on the West Bank are there still refugees who lost their homes. Over a million people were butchered in Rwanda; thousands die each month in Darfur. The world snoozes. Yet less than 60 are killed in a running battle in Jenin, and suddenly the 1.5 million lost in Stalingrad and Leningrad are evoked as the moral objects of comparison, as the globe is lectured about "Jeningrad." **** Israel, the biblical home of the Jews, and subsequently claimed for centuries by Persians, Greeks, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Franks, Ottomans, and English is "occupied by crusader infidels" — as if the entire world is to accept that world history began only in the seventh century A.D. Take a few minutes to read it all.

Good Thing The Army Doesn't "Rage" Over Offensive Cartoons As Muslims Do

This is how offense taken over an in-very-poor-taste political cartoon is handled in civilized societies. By issuing a press release denouncing it. Not by calling for the death of the cartoonist, his entire civilization and then setting fire to things. I heard Hugh Hewitt discuss his take on this yesterday and have linked to his post reiterating his position. In a nutshell, Hugh sees a contradiction in condemning, for example, the cartoon above or the Joel Stein piece, but at the same time criticizing the Muslim reaction. He also makes the point that offending Muslim sensibilities world-wide does little to advance our efforts in the Middle East. Although I agree with the second prong of his argument, I do not agree with the first. No one to my knowledge has said that Muslims have no right to have taken offense at the cartoons. However I disagree that they were designed with that purpose in mind since they appear to me to be very legitimate geopolitical commentary, and Islam is not just a religion but, to some, a political and societal structure as well. Nevertheless, whether they intended to offend or not I will admit is irrelevant. The point here is with respect to the mode and manner in which we display our ire over mere words or visual depictions we find offensive. Quite obviously many were offended by the Joel Stein piece, and are by the Toles cartoon above. They were, as were the depictions of Mohammed, "unnecessary affronts" as Hugh puts it, but are there ever any "necessary" affronts? More importantly, Hugh seems to be suggesting that we (i.e. the West with its traditions of free speech and personal liberty) put aside perhaps our most cherished core values and, in my view, supplicate ourselves for expediency's sake. [Let me add another, somewhat speculative, point. Islam prohibits as blasphemous any visual depiction of its prophet, on the basis that it will give rise to idolatry. That would include an otherwise objectively neutral depiction. So if there is rage and offense taken to the publishing of an objectively neutral pictorial representation of Mohammed, would Hugh still be arguing the same position? And how do we know that, from a cultural standpoint, the offensiveness isn't simply the mere fact of the depiction of Mohammed?] Again, I don't disagree that these sort of events may make important matters more difficult to manage. However, if we are willing to accommodate the rough and tumble that is endemic to freedom of speech, why should we expect very much less from others who purport to be part of the same world community.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A Few Late Trifles

This election was truth in advertising. Now we know. What to do? The world must impress upon the Palestinians that there are consequences for their choices. And so long as they choose rejectionism -- the source of a 60-year conflict the Israelis have long been ready to resolve -- the world will not continue to support and subsidize them. Read all of Charles Krauthammer's piece and then tell me where he is wrong. The flap over the publication by a Danish newspaper of offensive cartoons of Muhammad is a good example of what is wrong. The protesting Muslims in Europe or on the West Bank are not rioting and threatening innocent Danes because they’ve been told to but because they believe it’s their religious duty. That is not compatible with freedom. My sensitivities, as a Catholic, are offended almost every day by something I read in the paper. But it’s never occurred to me to avenge what I see by seeking to behead someone at The Guardian or The New York Times. Gerard Baker over at the Times of London makes a similar point that elections are good, but only by delivering the consequences of the choices made will change the underlying pathologies of the electorate. If workplace enforcement were successful, the word would quickly spread to Mexico and other nations that are major sources of illegal immigration. The numbers crossing our borders illegally would drop significantly. Jack Smith discusses illegal immigration.

The KKK Party Wins In A Landslide!

To all those who seek to explain away the Hamas electoral victory as not the product of an abiding hatred for Israel and solidarity with the stated goals of Hamas but, rather, based upon economic considerations, ponder this: If, in America, the KKK ran candidates for public office and, in a landslide victory, took control of Congress, would these same folks be telling us that the pro-KKK party voters did not agree with its racist and bigoted official positions but were surely entirely motivated by other considerations?

Rage Of The Month

Inasmuch as this month's Muslim "rage" remains in the news, above are some of the offensive depictions that have motivated such things as calling for the death of different nations and peoples, seizures by gunmen of EU offices and flag burnings. Read Robert Spencer's piece for more information and the rest of the cartoons.

Things That Make You Go...

If this isn't a joke, and I doubt it is, I'm speechless. Just trying to understand the thinking behind the decision-making here is beyond me. What point was this young lady trying to make, and who supported her in it? Remarkable. On the lighter side, this could be part of Diddy's new "I'm Young, Proud, Black, Single and Knocked-Up But Gonna Marry My Baby's Daddy" line of women's wear. [click to enlarge...if you dare]

Clash Of Civilizations

A Los Angeles radio talk show host is in hot water for having made "insensitive" comments about Muslims. In Europe, the backlash over the cartoon depictions of Mohammed continues. What is going on here? It's actually relatively straightforward. Webster's defines "society" as "a community, nation, or broad grouping of people having common traditions, institutions, and collective activities and interests." It defines "culture" as "the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group." Arab/Islamic societies or cultures have few common traditions with the West. Their customary beliefs, social forms and material traits are in many ways vastly different that ours. Viva la difference. And that's fine...to a point. Once that broad grouping of people loses its common traditions, the glue that held that society together is gone. But the result will not be an absence of a society. Instead it will be replaced by a new and likely different society that feels more strongly about its traditions and beliefs. Think of it this way. I am obviously in many regards a conservative, and I feel strongly about my beliefs and philosophy. Why would I then voluntarily relocate myself and family to, say, Berkeley, CA to be tortured by the antithesis of my morality and politics? Unless my goal was to change Berkeley. UPDATE: Some good news. Britain's "religious hatred" law (i.e. speaking of antipodes, the type of law that is the antagonist of free speech and can be found at pretty much every college campus in America, where it is perfectly acceptable under the protection of the free speech umbrella to burn an American flag but not to tell an off-color joke)) was defeated...at least for now. There is also a hint of understanding in the Middle East as well: "What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras or a suicide bomber who blows himself up during a wedding ceremony in Amman?" These are the words of a Jordanian editor-in-chief. [Hat tip: Dhimmi Watch]

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Liberal Dems Just Don't Get It

Take a moment and read a great post over at The Wide Awakes about the left's reaction to now-Associate Justice Alito and the "plans" to take back the court. Are the liberal grassroots populated only by persons who analyze at the freshman college level?

How About My Rage?

Thousands of Palestinians protested for a second day against Denmark for allowing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad to be published, saying an apology by the newspaper involved was not enough. Demonstrators burnt Danish flags, chanted "War on Denmark, Death to Denmark" and called for an Arab boycott of products from the small north European country until it showed contrition for the satirical caricatures deemed blasphemous by Islam. Read the entire article here. When will someone of substance (obviously excludes me here) stand up and shout out the truth? This is the 21st century, not the 12th, and modern civilizations do not condone or encourage rampages the result of perceived, or legitimate for that matter, "blasphemies." That is left for debate in divinity colleges and comparative religion classes. We do not call for the annihilation of whole countries or societies because of hurt feelings and we do not base our codes of conduct on face and honor only. If you want to live in a westernized culture, then accept modernity and shut the heck up about your prophet. If not, then return to wherever it is you can be ruled by mullahs and imams and, again, shut the heck up about your prophet. UPDATE: My word! Some of the French have grown a spine! UPDATE: As has Italy and Spain, as has Germany. [Hat tip: Dhimmi Watch]

ExxonMobil's Profits...Not Bad, But Not Citigroup Either

During the course of a discussion yesterday, the subject of ExxonMobil's record quarter of profits came up. There was the expected harummphing about the unjustness of it all, and the call for some sort of "investigation." I didn't hear any calls for investigation into banking or drug company profits. As has been said here before, the oil company profit margins are less than those in other industries. The dollar figure is higher because of the higher total revenue number. ExxonMobil made 9.8 cents of profit for every dollar of revenue. However, Citigroup Inc. made 15.7 cents per dollar in 2004. . Altria Group, the maker of Marlboro and other cigarettes, made 22 cents for every dollar of revenue in 2004, and pharmaceutical company Merck made 25.3 cents for every dollar of revenue in 2004. Where in the general reporting can that information be found?

The Company You Keep

First it was political blowhard Michael Moore with the seat of honor at the Democratic convention. Now it's unhinged and incoherent political activist Cindy Sheehan being invited to the State of the Union (and subsequently removed) by a California Congressperson.

Mighty impressive.