My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (www.freethinkingfilms.com)
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Violence at Gay Pride in Jerusalem...
Again, I understand people who cannot accept homosexuality...but violence is not the answer.
What started off as a lively parade of nearly 5,000 Gay Pride activists quickly turned violent Thursday as three young marchers were stabbed by ultra-religious protestors of the parade.
Witnesses said they saw a young, ultra-Orthodox youth dart into the crowd of marchers and stab a young man and woman as they neared the corner of Ben Yehuda Street and Hahistradrut Street. The young woman was injured on her left forearm, while the young man received wounds to his right wrist and a deeper injury to his left upper torso. When nearby marchers saw what had happened they tried to detain the youth, who lightly injured a third ale before running into a group of ultra-Orthodox men standing on the sidewalk.
The three victims were taken to Bikur Holim Hospital in the city center and were listed in stable condition by paramedics on the scene.
The US and Canada...
The US is on the right track.....
The Bush administration, turning up the heat on Syria, moved Thursday to block the financial assets of the country's interior minister and its chief of military intelligence for Lebanon.And, look at Canada....earlier this week, we allowed the wife of one of the top generals to come in and give birth and give their child Canadian citizenship.
The Treasury Department believes the two Syrian men have played lead roles in directing Syria's military presence in Lebanon.
The far-left and the jew-hating right...
A nice column by David Aaronovitch in the Times online. George Galloway's Respect party is mostly a front for the Socialist Worker's Party....
Next week the SWP begins the annual festival at which members, supporters and friends are spoken at and sung to on topics revolutionary and progressive. Marxism 2005 features grizzled Trots from the 1970s, Tony Benn, George Galloway, a poet or two and, for the third year running, billed at No 13 on the speaker’s list, a chap called Gilad Atzmon.Galloway won election by staging an anti-semitic campaign.
And that’s where the trouble starts. Atzmon is a well-known jazz-musician, an Israeli-born Jew and — as the SWP has previously described him — also a deliverer of “fearless tirades against Zionism”. But the tirades have got him into trouble with more than just the Jewish community. A Palestinian musician told me a couple of years ago that she would no longer work with Atzmon because, in her opinion, he was “an anti-Semite”. He had, somewhere, crossed the line.
In 2003, for instance, Atzmon, who makes many speeches and runs a very substantial website, said this about the idea of a global Jewish plot: “We must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously.”
Why? Because “American Jewry makes any debate on whether the Protocols of the Elders of Zionitic forgery are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews do try to control the world, by proxy. So far they are doing pretty well for themselves at least.”
2 cases of gay-bashing in Alberta...
This always makes me crazy....how people can resort to violence just because people are gay.
On Saturday, around 3 a.m., Robert Smith said he was leaving a convenience store holding his boyfriend's hand, when a group of men began verbally abusing them.
"We were holding hands, they reacted to us holding hands by calling us fags, and it escalated from there," Smith said.
Smith said about eight young men then swarmed the couple, punching them, knocking Smith's boyfriend Guy Cohoon to the ground and kicking him in the head.
"I immediately sort of laughed it off. They seemed quite small and even when they started pushing, I was still laughing it off," Cohoon said. "It wasn't until I was knocked down and kicked in the head that I realized I was in a very serious situation."
In an earlier attack, a group walking to a gay pride event were jumped by four men outside of city hall.
"It was pretty scary, actually, just to have someone actually chasing you and you just trying to stay calm and just be normal, not aggravate anything," said Ryan Mackenzie, 21. "It was just because of what I was wearing, a fur coat, and how I was walking."
One person in the group was punched in the face.
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon...
A nice first step, but all of these so-called 'refugees' should be resettled in Lebanon ASAP.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon welcomed as a “first step” a government’s decision on Monday allowing Palestinians who are born in Lebanon to practice a limited number of jobs they were for 50 years excluded from.Unfortunately, the descendents of Palestinian refugees have been used as a tool - believing that one day they will be resettled in Israel.
In an official statement, Lebanon's Labor Minister Tarrad Hamadeh said: “From now on Palestinians born on Lebanese land and registered officially with the Lebanese Interior Ministry will be allowed to work in the jobs previously unavailable to them,” Lebanese English The Daily Star reported on Tuesday.
There are around 400,000 registered Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon, 90 percent of whom were born in Lebanon and will be eligible to work. Anyone aged 57 or younger will benefit from the work permit, Hamadeh indicated in a memorandum.
A very worrying sign...
Russia wants to help Iran build another 6 nuclear power plants.
Russia and the United States appeared to be on a collision course over Iran today after Moscow announced that it wanted to help Tehran’s new leadership to build six more nuclear plants.How can he not know???? The Iranians talk about it all the time...
The announcement followed reports this week that the Bush administration was considering imposing sanctions on Russian and other companies suspected of helping weapons programmes in Iran, Syria or North Korea.
Washington and Moscow have long been at odds over the involvement of AtomStroiExport and other Russian companies in constructing an $800 million, 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactor at Bushehr in southern Iran.
But tensions have escalated since the election of the conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran’s President, setting the stage for a tense confrontation at the G8 summit in Gleneagles next month.
Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, rejected US allegations that energy-rich Iran was using its nuclear energy programme as a cover to produce a nuclear bomb. "If we knew that Iran had plans of this kind, we would never have started cooperating with it in the nuclear sector," he said in interview with the al-Watan al-Arabi Arab weekly, a copy of which was posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website.
The smoking police go crazy...
Get this...now actors can't smoke on stage as part of a play!
THE Scottish Executive was today accused of artistic censorship after it refused to make actors on stage exempt from the new smoking ban.This is most probably coming to Canada....
Tory MSP Brian Monteith claimed the blanket ban on smoking in public places was more to do with political correctness than public health.
But health minister Andy Kerr insisted theatre audiences and staff deserved protection from passive smoking.
And another supporter of the bill accused the Tories of using artistic freedom as a smokescreen.
Mr Monteith raised his concerns as MSPs held their final debate on the smoking ban, which is expected to come into force next spring.
He accused the Executive of wanting to censor the theatre because the ban would extend to actors smoking cigarettes on stage as part of a play.
Mr Monteith claimed the motive for such a ban was "quite detached from genuine concern for public health".
He said a similar ban in India had been extended to films. "All Indian films have taken out any scene involving smoking - and they are going back to extricate any smoking scenes from old movies.
"The political correctness of people who wish to impose this censorship has nothing to do with public health."
New Iranian President a Kidnapper...
Well, lo and behold...
At least four Americans held hostage in the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran said on Thursday they recognized Iran's president-elect as one of the ringleaders from the crisis, a claim denied in Tehran.
In interviews with U.S. television networks, retired Navy Capt. Donald Sharer and Bill Daugherty, said they were convinced Iran's ultra-conservative President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was one of their Iranian captors.
"He wasn't a very nice fellow at the time. He called us pigs and dogs. He's very hard-line, he's a guy we are not going to get along with," said Sharer in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" show.
Daugherty said he also had "no doubts at all" that Ahmadinejad was one of his hostage-takers.
"When your country is being humiliated and being embarrassed, the individuals that do that really stick in your mind. You don't forget people who do things like that to you and your family and your country," said Daugherty.
Stephen Harper needs to reflect....
Sure enough, Stephen Harper has told the press he intends to make marriage for gays an issue in the next election. I really hope that, at some point, he could reflect on his performance in this debate and think twice.
Harper may have a reputation as a straight shooter, but he did not live up to it over the course of this battle.
Instead, he has contradicted himself at every turn, exhibiting some startling views about the role of the country's political and judicial institutions along the way.
When the highest courts of three provinces originally gave same-sex marriage their blessing, Harper dismissed the rulings as the work of biased liberal judges.
When it was pointed out that the author of the Ontario landmark decision had once served in a Conservative cabinet at Queen's Park, Harper mused that he must have been a closet liberal.
He also said the courts had no business using the Charter of Rights to interfere with debates that primarily belong in the political arena.
But at the very time Harper was making that argument, a Charter challenge to the federal election law bearing his name had already wound its way up to the Supreme Court.
Throughout the last election, Harper insisted that Parliament should have the final say on same-sex marriage.
But he has steadfastly refused to be pinned down about whether the notwithstanding clause of the Constitution should ever be used to shelter the definition of marriage from the courts.
He won't even say if he, as prime minister, would invoke it.
Before, Harper pushed hard for a vote on same-sex marriage in the Commons. But when he realized that the post-election make-up of the House was favourable to same-sex marriage, he changed his tune.
Parliament, it seemed, would only be deemed to have had its final say once it concurred with his views.
At the end of last year, he promised a Conservative government would scrap any same-sex-marriage law passed before its arrival in power.
To back up his latest twist in logic, Harper argued that Prime Minister Paul Martin had tilted the balance by coercing his cabinet into supporting Bill C-38.
This spring, the Conservative leader used delaying tactics to push off the final vote on the legislation.
After the three other parties outwitted his strategists, he questioned the legitimacy of the future law, on the basis that it could not have passed without the support of the Bloc Québécois.
But just last month Harper was playing in the same sandbox as Gilles Duceppe, amicably plotting the swift demise of the minority government to their mutual advantage.
If a law passed with the support of the Bloc can be depicted as lacking legitimacy, should the act of co-operating with sovereignists to bring down a federalist government be called a coup?
Like the NDP, the Bloc has long supported same-sex marriage.
In so doing, it reflects the Quebec consensus on the matter.
Whenever the Quebec National Assembly has spoken on the issue, it has done so with one positive voice.
In the last election, more than 80 per cent of Quebec voters supported parties that did not oppose same-sex marriage.
It could be that it is Quebecers, in general, rather than sovereignists, in particular, that Harper has a problem with. As it happens, the feeling is increasingly reciprocal these days.
There are times when one earns respect for arguing the losing side of an issue with logic, class and passion.
Not in this case.
Harper emerges from the same-sex marriage debate looking less ready for political prime time than when he entered it.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
How low will Alberta go?
Earlier this week, we saw Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper denounce the vote on gay marriage as illegitimate because it didn't get a majority of 'federalist votes'. Now, the Alberta government is going to do something crazy to delay the inevitable.
Alberta's fight to stop gay marriages has been lost, but the justice minister suggested the province may not be ready to throw in the towel just yet.So, he'll file a useless lawsuit to show his supporters he's serious? Is that it?
Ron Stevens said Wednesday that the province is considering going to court to challenge the new federal law that allows gay marriages -- even though it knows it will lose the case.
Stevens, who admits personally that he believes such resistance is futile, said the province's government services minister could ask the court to clarify whether the federal law takes precedence over provincial law.
"I know what the outcome will be because the federal legislation, when it becomes law, will determine what marriage is,'' he said. "It will take precedence to the definition that we have in our marriage act.''
When he was asked why the province would bother going to court when it already knows the outcome, Stevens noted there is a political side to the issue which he declined to discuss.
Melanie Phillips' blog
I'll keep saying it - Melanie Phillips is a must read blog. Here is a letter written to her about conditions in Newcastle.
'I feel compelled to write to you again regarding what has become an increasingly desperate situation involving vicious anti-Israel campaigning in my home city of Newcastle upon Tyne. Around one year ago, representatives from the Durham branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign began campaigning every Saturday afternoon in Newcastle city centre to “Free Palestine”. This included various posters and leaflets stating “End Israeli Apartheid”, “End the Israeli Occupation” and “The Wall Must Fall”.
'After watching for several weeks with much dismay, I confronted one of these campaigners and asked why they were promoting such false propaganda. I suggested that words such as “occupation” and “apartheid” grossly ignored all of the acts of violence perpetrated against Israel, completely ignored the fact that Palestine has rejected a two-state solution on every occasion that was offered to it and dangerously paints Israel as an aggressive, expansionist state. More importantly, I said, their false propaganda was contributing to rising anti-Semitism in the UK.
'Their response shocked me: they weren’t surprised anti-Semitism was rising; it was the Jews' own fault (a popular libel), Israel was a Nazi-like state, Hamas and Islamic Jihad were merely military organisations fighting against oppression and the Israeli army deliberately murders Palestinian children. When I asked if they had ever read the Hamas charter or any of Hamas’ public rhetoric calling for the destruction of Israel, these people said such comments were largely fabricated by the Zionist press who attempted to falsely paint freedom fighters as terrorists to justify their own killings.
'If this wasn’t bad enough, I watched in utter dismay every weekend as more and more people signed their petition, and what started as a stand staffed by 2 or 3 individuals grew to become a large group of campaigners. Around three months ago, a second campaign desk was set up every Saturday on Northumberland Street (Newcastle’s busiest shopping street) outside Marks & Spencer with a large poster stating “Marks & Spencer support Israeli state-sponsored terrorism against Palestine”. A second board depicted Ariel Sharon with the slogan “World's Number One Terrorist” and leaflets calling for a boycott of Marks & Spencer and any other Israeli produce were being distributed.
'However, worse was to come last Saturday (25th). A third set of campaigners paraded through the city with a large cardboard illustration of a forklift truck with the words “Caterkiller” denouncing the fact that Caterpillar supply trucks to the Israeli army to bulldozer 50,000 people from their homes. Their banner depicted the classic sinister, hook-nosed Jew as driver with skull-shaped smoke emerging from the trucks' exhaust. My partner was handed a leaflet from these people. The amount of lies, libels and defamations are horrifying, with the leaflet stating, amongst other things, that Israel deliberately steals Palestinian land and water, and deliberately murders (bulldozes) peace activists.
'This is nothing more than a defamatory smear campaign, racist in its undertones and responsible for the mass distribution of misinformation to the British public.'
Hezbollah attacks Israel...
Even though the UN certified complete Israeli withdrawl from Lebanon, Hezbollah continues to attack.
An Israeli soldier was killed and three were lightly wounded Wednesday evening during several clashes across the northern border between the IDF and Hizbullah terrorists who had infiltrated into Israeli territory and bombarded IDF outposts in the Mount Dov region, Israel Radio reported.
IAF warplanes and helicopter gun ships struck at at least five Hizbullah positions in south Lebanon Wednesday evening in response to mortar bombardments.
According to reports, IDF troops in the Mount Dov region spotted a terrorist squad from Hizbullah, moving into Israeli territory in the region.
Military sources said the IDF troops opened fire at the terrorists, apparently hitting at least one of them.
Hey, even the mainstream press is starting to realize how crazy Kyoto is. This is a Samuelson column from the Washington Post.
Europe is the citadel of hypocrisy. Considering Europeans' contempt for the United States and George Bush for not embracing the Kyoto Protocol, you'd expect that they would have made major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions -- the purpose of Kyoto. Well, not exactly. From 1990 (Kyoto's base year for measuring changes) to 2002, global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, increased 16.4 percent, reports the International Energy Agency. The U.S. increase was 16.7 percent, and most of Europe hasn't done much better.But, read the whole thing....
Here are some IEA estimates of the increases: France, 6.9 percent; Italy, 8.3 percent; Greece, 28.2 percent; Ireland, 40.3 percent; the Netherlands, 13.2 percent; Portugal, 59 percent; Spain, 46.9 percent. It's true that Germany (down 13.3 percent) and Britain (a 5.5 percent decline) have made big reductions. But their cuts had nothing to do with Kyoto. After reunification in 1990, Germany closed many inefficient coal-fired plants in eastern Germany; that was a huge one-time saving. In Britain, the government had earlier decided to shift electric utilities from coal (high CO2 emissions) to plentiful natural gas (lower CO2 emissions).
On their present courses, many European countries will miss their Kyoto targets for 2008-2012. To reduce emissions significantly, Europeans would have to suppress driving and electricity use; that would depress economic growth and fan popular discontent. It won't happen. Political leaders everywhere deplore global warming -- and then do little. Except for Eastern European nations, where dirty factories have been shuttered, few countries have cut emissions. Since 1990 Canada's emissions are up 23.6 percent; Japan's, 18.9 percent.
Ideology and Wal-Mart
Vancouver turns down a proposal for a Wal-Mart because of ideology.
Vancouver city council voted down a proposal to build a 143,000-square-foot store that would have been the city's first Wal-Mart.Why can't consumers decide for themselves if they want to shop at Wal-Mart?
Coun. Anne Roberts, who has led the fight against the store, told city council that approving the application went against everything the city is trying to do to create neighbourhood centres. Roberts said it would have also meant thousands more car trips and created more air pollution.
The council turned down the proposal by a vote of 8-3.
Mayor Larry Campbell and two councillors supported the project.
Campbell suggested that the rest of council's opposition to the development had more to do with ideology and the business practices of Wal-Mart than with land use.
More on the therapy nation..
Malkin has this one right.
The left-wing Kumbaya crowd is quietly grooming a generation of pushovers in the public schools. At a time of war, when young Americans should be educated about this nation's resilience and steely resolve, educators are indoctrinating students with saccharine-sticky lessons on "non-violent conflict resolution" and "promoting constructive dialogues."
Peaceniks are covering our kids from head to toe in emotional bubble wrap. They are creating a nation of namby-pambies.
The latest example of Hand-Holding 101 comes from the New York City public schools. According to Lauren Collins of The New Yorker magazine, the school system is introducing a new curriculum called "Operation Respect: Don't Laugh at Me" into all of its elementary and middle schools. The program is now used in at least 12,000 schools and camps across the country.
Ostensibly, the program helps kids deal with petty meanness and name-calling from insensitive classmates. Not by instructing them in self-defense, mind you, but by inflating their self-esteem. The organization's stated mission is "to transform schools, camps and organizations focused on children and youth, into more compassionate, safe and respectful environments." Instead of "put downs," teachers encourage "put ups." The Operation Respect website depicts well-adjusted children holding up signs with ego-affirming messages: "Ridicule Free Zone," "No Dissing Here," "U Matter," and "Peace Place."
Among the mindless training exercises teachers undergo is the "Caring Being" session. Collins quotes a conflict-resolution expert in Brooklyn leading middle-school educators through the lesson: "I want you all to share a time in your career as an educator where someone did or said something that made you feel like you were not cared for or respected. . . . Now do the opposite." After drawing figures encompassing their negative and positive experiences, teachers shared their finished products, "Caring Beings," which would be used to "explore creating agreements around behaviors."
Another crazy claim...
Nary a day goes by without a crazy accusation from the Palestinians.
Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs Mohamed Dahlan accused on Wednesday the Jewish settlers for poisoning the lands in the settlements that Israel is intending to evacuate in mid August.
Dahlan told reporters in Gaza that the aim of poisoning the lands is to cause severe damages to them in order not to use them after the Israeli army withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
"We have definite information that the Israeli settlers are poisoning the lands in order to damage it and to prevent the Palestinians from using it in the future," said Dahlan.
A nice article on the Kofi Annan...
Cladia Rosett is one of the best journalists on the UN beat.
The threat of the U.S. withholding cash from the United Nations has sent Kofi Annan into overdrive recently, with the secretary-general putting his name to yet another round of articles proclaiming such stuff as a fresh start and much progress and grand plans for reforming the U.N.--which he is particularly practiced at, having done it twice already, in 1997 and 2002.
This is a moment at which there is much to be learned about the U.N., though less from Mr. Annan's epistles than from the realities that have engendered them. We'll skip lightly past the footnote that Mr. Annan's articles lauding his own plans and importance are actually written by members of his ample public relations staff, whose tax-free salaries are covered in substantial part by U.S. taxpayers. We'll pause only for a moment to note that Mr. Annan, having denounced the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein as "illegal," managed in a Washington Post piece last week to credit himself for progress in Iraq with nary a nod to the U.S.--though the vital act allowing for all that Iraqi forward motion was the toppling of Saddam Hussein.
And we'll give Mr. Annan the benefit of the doubt. Surely it was just another of his memory lapses, similar to those encountered by investigators of the Oil for Food scandal, that led him to omit any mention of the sacrifices of the Americans, British and other non-U.N. coalition members who for more than two years have been clearing and securing the way for the Iraqi progress about which he is now preening.
Let's even assume that this time, his record of failures notwithstanding, Mr. Annan is serious about U.N. reform. Who knows? At this stage, the secretary-general may be able to glean some pointers from the eight or nine or 10 investigations (even France has finally found it unavoidable to launch one) still trying to mop up after his own mismanagement of the U.N. Oil for Food Iraq program--the signature relief deal of Mr. Annan's U.N. leadership to date. Oil for Food fortified Saddam, helped corrupt the U.N. Security Council, and has since provided such diversions as the evolving tale of how the U.N. Office of the Iraq Program happened to hire a company that for more than five years paid the secretary-general's own son for not working in West Africa.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
A new tool for the garbage police...
Is this coming soon to Canada?
A council is putting microchips in all 100,000 of its wheelie bins to monitor whether householders are recycling enough of their rubbish.
The 50,000 households in the South Norfolk district council area are being issued with two bins - a grey one for run-of-the-mill rubbish and a green one for plastic bottles, cans, paper and cardboard that can be recycled.
Dustcarts will empty grey bins one week and green ones the next, with on-board scanning equipment weighing each one and identifying which home the contents come from.
Over time, officials in the Liberal Democrat-controlled council will be able to calculate which households are backsliding on recycling and then advise them on how to do better.
A Great Gay Day for Canada!
This is better than any Gay Pride event! The House of Commons tonight passed Marriage for Gays in its third and final reading. The Bill now goes to the Senate (where passage is assured), and it will become law later this year.
This is a great day for all Canadians! Gay people now have the full dignity they deserve.
Iran tries to cut off gays...
I'm not surprised, but I'd like to know more about which sites are still accesible.
Iran, according to a new report is "one of the world’s most substantial Internet censorship regimes."
The study, by the OpenNet Initiative - a university-based project sponsored by Harvard University, the University of Toronto and Cambridge University among others - says that Iran "has adopted this extensive filtering regime at a time of extraordinary growth in Internet usage among its citizens and a burst of growth in writing online in the Farsi language."
Of the sites tested by ONI, approximately 34 percent were blocked. A large number of those sites had gay and lesbian content including sites with news and HIV/AIDS information.
Testing showed that online content in the Farsi language is more likely to be blocked than is comparable content in the English language.
The nuttiest idea I've seen in a long time...
Why do they even bother publishing such ridiculous ideas?
A wild idea to combat global warming suggests creating an artificial ring of small particles or spacecrafts around Earth to shade the tropics and moderate climate extremes.
There would be side effects, proponents admit. An effective sunlight-scattering particle ring would illuminate our night sky as much as the full moon, for example.
And the price tag would knock the socks off even a big-budget agency like NASA: $6 trillion to $200 trillion for the particle approach. Deploying tiny spacecraft would come at a relative bargain: a mere $500 billion tops.
But the idea, detailed today in the online version of the journal Acta Astronautica, illustrates that climate change can be battled with new technologies, according to one scientist not involved in the new work.
Gays in the Islamic World
If you were at a Gay Pride rally this past weekend, you might have notice gays marching for Palestinians. Fortunately, they can march here in North America...but not in the Middle East.
- In Saudi Arabia, 105 men were sentenced in April for acts of "deviant sexual behavior" following their March arrests. Al-Wifaq, a government-affiliated newspaper, claimed they illegally danced together and were "behaving like women" at a gay wedding.
"Calling the event a 'gay wedding' has become a lightning rod to justify discrimination against gay people," Widney Brown of Human Rights Watch told Patrick Letellier of gay.com.
Seventy men received one-year prison sentences while 31 got six months to one year, plus 200 lashes each. Four others face two years behind bars plus 2,000 lashes. If these four receive their lashes at once, Brown fears their wounds will prove fatal.
- "Anyone caught committing sodomy -- kill both the sodomizer and the sodomized," Islamic cleric Tareq Sweidan demanded on Qatar TV last April 22. As the Middle East Media Research Institute (memri.org) reports, Sweidan continued: "The clerics determined how the homosexual should be killed. They said he should be stoned to death. Some clerics said he should be thrown off a mountain."
- Ogudu Emmanuel and Odjegba Tevin admitted that they were male lovers after their neighbors reported them to Nigerian cops. They were arrested January 15 and charged with "crimes against nature." The pair apparently escaped from jail while awaiting trial and potential 14-year prison sentences. Gay rights activists worried that cops or other inmates may have killed them in custody.
Last November, an Islamic court in Keffi, issued an arrest warrant for Michael Ifediora Nwokoma after neighbors accused him of having sex with a man named Mallam Abdullahi Ibrahim. Nwokoma quickly fled. Ibrahim was charged with the "unholy" act of "homosexualism." The court postponed Ibrahim's trial indefinitely and incarcerated him until Nwokoma surfaces.
In northern Nigeria, where Sharia law governs 12 Muslim states, homosexuality requires capital punishment by stoning.
- Iraq's terrorist Ansar al-Sunnah Army, the Islamic Army in Iraq, and the Mujahedeen Army issued a statement last December 30 urging Iraqis not to vote in last January's elections, lest democracy spawn un-Islamic laws such as "homosexual marriage," in their words. To be sure, many Americans also oppose gay marriage, but they at least have the good manners not to detonate advocates of same-sex unions. Ansar-al-Sunnah is incapable of such restraint. It scored major headlines when it claimed responsibility for a December 21 bombing at a U.S. military mess tent at a base in Mosul. It killed 22 people, 18 U.S. GIs among them.
- Egyptian cops have met gay men online and through personal ads, then arrested them, according to a March 1, 2004 Human Rights Watch report. Since 2001, HRW says at least 179 men have been charged with "debauchery," prompting five-year prison sentences for at least 23. As the Associated Press' Nadia Abou El-Magd wrote, HRW "interviewed 63 men who had been arrested for homosexual conduct. It said they spoke of being whipped, bound and suspended in painful positions, splashed with cold water, burned with cigarettes, shocked with electricity to the limbs, genital or tongue. They also said guards encouraged other prisoners to rape them" -- thus using coercive gay sex to penalize consensual gay sex.
Is this fair?
Shouldn't feminists be upset?
The latest figures available indicate that the risk of death involving firearms is declining in Canada and was a fraction of the U.S. rate.Quite an imbalance, no?
Statistics Canada says that in 2000, the rate of homicide involving a gun in the United States was 3.8 for every 100,000 population, nearly eight times Canada's rate of 0.5 for every 100,000 people.
In Canada, homicides accounted for 18 per cent of deaths involving firearms in 2000, compared with 38 per cent in the United States.
The report says that in Canada in 2002 there were 767 males and 49 females who died from injuries related to firearms.
Some fine words from Iran's New President...
Well, he's off to a bad start.
"Israel is the biggest threat to peace and security in the Middle East," Iran's President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday, adding that "it is the reason behind the unstable situation due to its brutal crimes and daily killings against Palestinians."
Political Prisoners in Australia?
Bilious Young Foegy (a great blog) has found a particularly alarming issue. This hits at the heart of free speech.
Take this case against Nalliah and Scott, pastors with the Catch the Fires pentecostal church.
Without Bracks' laws, these men would have quietly given their church seminar on jihad three years ago to 250 fellow worshippers and none of us would have even known. But the laws changed everything.
They inspired the Equal Opportunity Commission to urge Muslims to complain, and one EOC employee, May Helou, even asked three converts from the Islamic Council of Victoria -- of which she was an official -- to drop in on the pastors' seminar.
So began a three-year prosecution against the pastors that has cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Last December, Judge Higgins finally ruled that Scot in particular had offended by quoting the Koran in a way that got "a response from the audience at various times in the form of laughter". Is laughter now a crime?
Stranger still, he gave 13 examples of how Scot had "made fun of Muslim beliefs and conduct", at least eight of which involved him quoting the Koran, and, I believe, accurately. Yes, the Koran indeed authorises men to beat their wives. Yes, it indeed calls for thieving hands to be chopped off.
What did Scot say that was false? The judge listed just two trivial examples, but also said Scot hadn't made clear enough he was giving a literalist reading of the Koran that wasn't mainstream.
Did he? Isn't it? On such points, so deserving of debate, Scot was convicted of stating the wrong opinion.
But if the judgment was strange, so was the penalty.
Scot and Nalliah must now run four big advertisements, costing $70,000, in the Herald Sun and The Age, declaring they've been found guilty of bad-mouthing Muslims.
Oddly, these apologies must reach not just the 250 people who were at their seminar, but 2.5 million newspaper readers who weren't. Odder still, the judge ordered the pastors to never even imply what they'd said about the Koran. They are banned from speaking their mind not only in Victoria, but anywhere in Australia, where others are still free to say what they may not.
Not surprisingly, the pastors say they'd rather go to jail than comply. Let's see if Bracks dares let this happen.
Monday, June 27, 2005
Is the EU falling apart???
The consitution was voted down, they can't agree on a budget and now the main event - a fight over Turkey.
NICOLAS SARKOZY, the French Interior Minister and a possible future president, has demanded that the European Union close its doors to Turkey, just three months before the entry talks with the Muslim country are due to start.
M Sarkozy called for the “suspension” of future EU enlargement while the union sorts out its internal political crisis by revamping its institutions.
The swipe at Turkey will heighten tensions between France and Britain, which has taken the lead in championing Turkish membership of the EU and which will host the start of the membership talks in October 3. The remarks also brought a swift retort from the German Government, which said that the EU must stick by its commitments.
Who is going to help Nepal?
The Maoists are going to destroy one of the most incredible countries in the world.
Nepal's civil war is exacting a high price on the country's future as Maoist rebels forcibly recruit schoolchildren and indoctrinate them into their bloody struggle to overthrow the royal family.
Last month about 4,500 pupils, aged between nine and 15, were marched from their schools in five districts and forced to attend a Maoist rally where they were exhorted to abandon their education and join the revolution, according to witnesses. It was the first event of a six-month children's campaign planned by the rebels.
The authorities meanwhile sounded the alarm yesterday over 90 school students seized by rebels in a remote village and still missing five days later.
The 14- to 16-year-olds were taken last Wednesday in Paudiamrai village, 190 miles west of Kathmandu, the military said.
I'm now a Western Standard Blogger....
Well, I've just started blogging for the The Shotgun, blog of the Western Standard.
I'm one of many bloggers on the site, but already I've stirred up the pot with a couple of posts on marriage for gays.
I'm honored that Ezra Levant asked me to join his team. And, you can count on me to stand up for marriage for gays...right in the heart of conservatism.
But, as you probably know, that's only one of many issues I care about.
More on the Anglican's anti-Israel resolution...
Melanie Phillips's blog is a regular read for me. She is idignant about the decision of the Anglicans to stop investment in Israel.
It is a defining moment. With last Friday’s vote by the Anglican Consultative Council to ‘commend’ divestment from companies supporting Israel’s polices, based on a travesty of a report on Israel by the Anglican Peace and Justice Network, the Anglican church has descended into the moral abyss.Please read the whole thing. Also, in the Anglican report is support for the right of return - a right that would flood Israel with the descendents of Palestinian refugees and change the demographics of the country. The Israelis will not and cannot accept the right of return.
The APJN report is full of the most inflammatory lies, libels and distortions about Israel — and the fact that the amended resolution that was finally passed only welcomed part of it (a weaselly caveat to provide deniability) does not alter the fact that it provided the ammunition for a poisonous onslaught against Israel. The document uncritically reproduced the Arab propaganda version of Israel’s history and the present circumstances of the Middle East conflict, presenting the Arab perpetrators of genocidal mass murder as victims and their real victims as oppressors merely for trying to defend themselves. But then what can one expect of a report which concludes by referring to ‘the honor of meeting the President of the Palestinian Authority, the late Yasser Arafat, who so warmly welcomed us in what turned out to be one of his last days among us’?
Statement after statement is pathologically twisted. ‘…there have been no significant positive steps towards the creation of the state of Palestine. On the contrary, the state of Israel has systematically and deliberately oppressed and dehumanised the people of Palestine…’
Far from dehumanisation and oppression, Israel has behaved with suicidal forbearance towards the Arabs of the territories, as demonstrated last week when a woman returning to hospital in Beersheba for treatment tried to blow up the hospital, intending specifically to murder as many children as possible.
Yet the report does not present Israel's actions as a defence against mass murder but instead represents them as oppressive and dehumanising.: ‘We note the continuing policies of illegal home demolitions, detentions, checkpoints, identity card systems and the presence of the Israeli military that make any kind of normal life impossible.’ It thus presents Israel’s military actions as a deliberate policy of oppression, whereas in fact the only reason that normal life is impossible is that the Arabs of the territories are intent on ending as many Israeli lives as possible.
It refers to the occupation of ‘Palestinian land’. But the West Bank and Gaza are not Palestinian land. They are strictly speaking no-man’s land — which was illegally occupied by Egypt and Jordan in 1948-50. The report says the Arabs were removed from their ‘historic lands’ — by which it means Israel. But this is a rewriting of history. Judea, Samaria and Galilee are the historic lands of the Jews, not of the Arabs who subsequently drove them out. Many of these Arabs' forbears only came to Palestine in the early years of the 20th century from other Arab lands because they were attracted by the prosperity being created in that previously sparsely populated and inhospitable country by the Jews who were returning to their historic homeland.
It describes the security barrier as an ‘apartheid/segregation’ wall and compares the territories to the ‘bantustans of South Africa’. But the only reason the barrier was erected was to defend Israelis from the systematic mass murder perpetrated by Arabs from the territories. The comparison with apartheid, where the majority was kept down by the minority on racial grounds, is false and libellous.
You can read the Anglican document here.
A good analysis of the Iranian election..
From the Australian.
Ahmadinejad's victory means that Khamenehi, who has established himself as head of the most radical faction within the Khomeinist establishment, now controls all levers of power for the first time. He will now be able to put his own men in charge of all key government departments. Any idea of Western-style reforms to please the restive middle classes will be abandoned.
The concentration of power in the hands of the radical faction will end more than two decades of divided government that has put many aspects of policy on autopilot as it were. Two years ago when King Abdullah II of Jordan telephoned Khatami to complain about Iran setting up terrorist cells in Amman, the Iranian president was able to claim that he knew nothing of it because he did not control all organs of government.
The Europeans who have been negotiating with Tehran over the nuclear issue have also heard similar claims from Iranian counterparts. With Ahmadinejad in charge, however, such claims will no longer be credible because the camarilla headed by Khamenehi is now in complete control. Rafsanjani had promised the Chinese model - meaning the combination of a despotic political regime with capitalist economic policies. Ahmadinejad promises a North Korean model - that is to say a totalitarian system and a command economy.
How low can Stephen Harper Go?
Now, Stephen Harper is claiming that the same-sex marriage legislation will not have legitimacy because it is supported by the bloc.
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper raised hackles in the House of Commons Monday after saying Canadians won't feel the same-sex marriage law is legitimate because it will only pass with the support of a separatist party.However, Harper had no problems with trying to bring down the government with support of the bloc. I mean one could have made the same argument - a majority of federalist MPs wanted the government to stay alive....
Members of Parliament began final debate on Bill C-38 on Monday, the start of what is expected to be the final week before the House of Commons breaks for the summer.
With support expected from the NDP, Bloc Québécois and most Liberals, the bill establishing the Civil Marriage Act could pass before the weekend.
The Tory leader said Monday that the bill will pass only because the Liberals made a deal with the Bloc.
"I think it will lack legitimacy for a lot of Canadians," said Harper. "The truth is, most federalist MPs will oppose this legislation."
In defense of steroids...
I'm really becoming to like Reason Magazine and their web site. Here's another look at Jose Canseco's book on steroids in baseball.
If players don’t get the desired performance out of diet, diagnostics, and exercise, there’s always surgery. Consider Tommy John surgery, a ligament transplant invented for baseball players and named for the first pitcher to undergo the procedure. It has advanced to the point that the Chicago Cubs’ Kerry Wood actually picked up velocity on his pitches after wrecking his arm and having the surgery. In the March 2005 Wired, Steven Johnson notes that, “To date, pitchers have opted for the surgery only after suffering ligament damage, but elective-enhancement surgery in baseball is inevitable—and it will show up in lots of other professional sports, too.” Johnson also notes that batters hoping to improve their pitch recognition skills can choose another elective procedure: laser eye surgery.
In short, sports technology isn’t just for golf club shafts and running shoes. It’s for muscles, ligaments, and organs, and it’s getting more sophisticated all the time. If such technologies are available to everyone and if the health risks are low—or lower, at least, then getting pulverized by a bulky baserunner sprinting toward home plate—then why single out steroids?
More discrimination against white males...
The Mounties are having a tough time recruiting. But, look at their prejudices...
If too few well-qualified applicants are seeking admission to the RCMP's academy in Regina, it is likely because the Mounties have done all they could in the last decade to scare off young white males. While brass deny it, for a time in the mid-1990s the RCMP had a "no white males" policy. Some recruiters admitted to applicants that the force had a five-year backlog of Caucasian men and wouldn't consider any more until it had reached its gender and racial hiring goals. Just to get an interview, white males needed a score of 115 on the police aptitude test, women needed a 96 and visible minority candidates an 86.Hat tip: Western Standard blog - The Shotgun.
Such quotas are said to permeate promotions, too. For instance, although the RCMP has a comparatively small number of officers in Quebec, bilingualism is a key to selection for command, which has left many serving male, anglophone members embittered -- understandably so.
One reason to support marriage for gays...
Had the State allowed marriage for gays, this lawsuit would never have happened.
The West Virginia Supreme Court on Friday gave the lesbian partner of a deceased woman the parental rights over a 5-year-old child the two had been raising together.
The court recognized 39-year-old Tina Burch of Clay County, the lesbian partner of the late Christina Smarr, as the “psychological parent” of the boy, then ruled it would be in the best interest of the child to stay with Burch.
Smarr’s parents had been fighting Burch’s attempt to gain permanent custody of the child. The slim 3-2 decision is the first time the state’s high court has recognized the standing of a gay or lesbian parent to be a “psychological parent” and to grant them legal custody on that basis.
The court took into account that Burch and Smarr had planned for the birth of a child more than a year before he was born, finding a man to impregnate Smarr and then jointly raising the child.
“Thus, there unquestionably exists a relationship of significant duration between Tina [Burch] and [the child] in which Tina [Burch] has provided for the physical, psychological, financial and emotional needs of [the child] and such that the child regards Tina [Burch] as a parental figure in his life,” Justice Robin Davis wrote for the majority.
Why can't we listen to what we want?
I was happy to see satellite radio coming to Canada. However, my preference would be to have no constraints on content. Now, our culture industry is 'upset' at the 'low' Canadian content requirements for the new satellite licensees.
A coalition of arts, labour and other lobby groups is asking the federal cabinet to overturn a regulatory decision allowing satellite broadcast operators to bring pay-radio service to Canada.Couldn't consumers just make up their minds?
The ruling by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, if allowed to stand, would erode years of efforts to promote and protect Canadian programming on the country's airwaves, said Ian Morrison of the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, one of the groups challenging the decision.
“It's a slippery slope,” Mr. Morrison said in an interview.
“It's taken decades to build up the Canadian content regime in this country. ... By the stroke of a pen, the CRTC is now saying that pay radio can be delivered at a content level of only 8-per-cent Canadian.”
An interesting new book on Iran..
Here's part of a small review of Kennth Timmerman's "Countdown To Crisis, The Coming Nuclear Showdown With Iran"
But the most disturbing parts of Mr. Timmerman's book, some of which which we excerpt here, deal with the evidence suggesting Iran may have had a hand in September 11.
This includes how an Iranian defector gave the CIA two months warning of a "massive attack on America," scheduled for September 11, 2001, but how the agency brushed him off even after the events of that day; how Rep. Curt Weldon, Pennsylvania Republican, become so disturbed by the CIA's refusal to act on information that Osama bin Laden was in Iran that he contacted a bounty hunter in an effort to capture the terrorist; and how Iran continues to finance Abu Musab Zarqawi and Iraq's terrorist insurgency.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill would do well to examine Mr.Timmerman's account of how George Tenet and CIA analysts dismissed evidence the agency obtained summarizing ties between Iran and al Qaeda. The evidence included a description of how Imad Mugniyeh, a senior Hezbollah operative whose terrorist credits include the 1983 bombing of U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut which killed 241 U.S. servicemen, coordinated the travel of between eight and 10 of the September 11 "muscle hijackers."
This is very good news...
I hope this signals that the tide is turning against illegal downloading.
n a major victory for the entertainment industry, the Supreme Court this morning ruled that Internet file-sharing could be held liable if their products are used primarily to download copyrighted movies and music from the Internet.As you might know, in real life I manage and own a record label - NorthernBlues Music. While downloading doesn't hurt me directly, it has killed the retailers....making it harder to get my CDs into stores.
The unanimous decision said there was enough evidence of unlawful intent for the case of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer vs. Grokster to be sent back to lower court for a trial.
The high court appeared to agree with the entertainment industry’s argument that the peer-to-peer file-sharing services were actively inducing users to engage in piracy.
“We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties,” Justice David H. Souter wrote for the court.
“Each company (Grokster and StreamCast) showed itself to be aiming to satisfy a known source of demand for copyright infringement,’’ Justice Souter wrote. Souter said “substantial evidence’’ supported the entertainment industry’s case.
Oh yes, keep on talking...
How long have the Europeans been talking to the Iranians????
The German and French foreign ministers said Monday they strongly hoped Iran would continue negotiations aimed at preventing the Islamic state from developing a nuclear weapons program.All talk, no action.
"I hope that the calendar (of negotiations) will not be modified," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said at a news conference in Warsaw, referring to talks with Iran conducted by Germany, France and Britain on behalf of the European Union.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
The Iran-North Korea connection...
A small item from Reuters that does not sound good.
Japan is worried that technology for a long-range cruise missile that can carry nuclear warheads may have been leaked to North Korea from Iran, a Japanese daily said on Sunday.
At issue is technology used in cruise missiles known as Kh-55s that Ukraine exported to Iran in 2001 under former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, the Sankei Shimbun daily said, quoting Japanese government and ruling party sources.
"They are linked by a network beneath the surface regarding the development of weapons of mass destruction," Sankei quoted a Defence Ministry source as saying about Iran and North Korea.
The possible leak of technology was conveyed to Japan by a U.S. intelligence agency, said Sankei, a conservative daily.
Developed in the late 1970s in the former Soviet Union, the Kh-55s have a range of 3,000 km, long enough to hit any part of Japan if deployed by North Korea, Sankei said.
The Financial Times said in March that Ukraine had acknowledged exporting 12 such cruise missiles to Iran and six to China in 2001 without any nuclear warheads.
The story that should be told...
We've blogged a couple of times about the 21-year-old would-be female terrorist who was stopped by Israelie security. It seems this story wasn't on the news at all.
If you don't get the FOX News Channel then you didn't see any of the dramatic footage of the Israeli army's arrest yesterday of a 21-year old, female Palestinian homicide-bomber, strapped with 25 pounds of high-explosives, just moments before she was to commit mass-murder by detonating herself inside an Israeli hospital.
No other television network featured the story.
Utterly ignoring the extraordinary video of the homicide-bomber's arrest, both the BBC and CNN focused extensively on how much "damage" Israel's early morning arrest -- for which there was no video -- of 55 Fatah and Islamic Jihad terrorists, described by CNN as "Palestinian activists," would cause to today's scheduled "summit meeting" between Israeli Prime Minister Sharon and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
That only one network would air incredible footage of the seizure of a ticking human-bomb, just moments before she tried to murder hospital patients, means this story was not simply ignored by the mainstream media -- it was boycotted by the mainstream media. Since nearly every aspect of this remarkable story contradicts everything the mainstream media has been trying to tell us about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they just opted for the easiest way to handle it -- denying it ever happened.
Not covering it meant not having to show that Israel's planned unilateral withdrawal from Gaza next month will not decrease terror -- it will increase terror. Had the Israeli army not been in Gaza yesterday, dozens of Israelis would have been killed and hundreds wounded at Beersheva's Soroka Medical Center.
Ignoring the story meant the networks didn't need to tell viewers that yesterday's homicide-bomber was not dispatched by terrorists of Islamic Jihad or Hamas, groups opposed to President Abbas, but was in fact working for the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, which is controlled by the political party Fatah, whose chairman is none other than President Abbas himself!
Ignoring the story meant not having to reveal that the would-be-murderer had been traveling regularly to Israel for years on a valid medical pass, which granted the woman free treatment for burns she received in a home cooking accident, and was thus ruthlessly exploited by depraved terrorists whose shameless capacity to cynically manipulate goodness, in their pursuit of murder and death, knows no bounds.
No wonder there are no conservatives on faculties!
Here's a good example of how leftist faculties team up against conservatives.
William C. Bradford is a patriot, a veteran and an Apache Indian.
But is he "collegial"?
More on that in a bit. He fought in Desert Storm and Bosnia-Herzegovina, served as a major in the U.S. Army Special Forces and received the Silver Star.
Now the 39-year-old legal scholar is engaged in a battle on the home front -- political correctness in academia.
In 2001, Bradford was hired as an associate professor at Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis. His expertise is international law, federal Indian law and national security/foreign relations law. He has four degrees, including one from Harvard Law.
But he's under fire, he said, because his ideas about the war on terror do not conform to views held by Professors Mary Harter Mitchell, 52, and Florence Wagman Roisman, 66.
They are tenured, a status Bradford is seeking. Bradford said the two women have voted consistently to deny him tenure, despite good academic ratings.
In March 2004, he said, he was told during a review that someone described him as "uncollegial."
That's the new kiss-of-death buzzword. "Faculty seeking to get rid of others claim they are not collegial," Bradford said.
Bradford wrote a defense of the flag after 9/11 -- one that hung in the school lobby until some faculty objected.
He refused to sign a letter sent by Roisman defending Ward Churchill. He's the Colorado professor who called victims of 9/11 "little Eichmanns."
Roisman would not comment specifically on Bradford's collegiality or lack thereof. She denied his politics was the issue.
Professor Henry Karlson, a respected senior faculty member, finds Bradford collegial and more. "He's perhaps the finest young man we have recruited."
But, yes, there is a problem. "Some members of the faculty, for reasons I cannot ascertain, are trying, for lack of a better term, to drive him away."
Students have voted Bradford their favorite teacher.
Mitchell long has been an anti-war activist. She did not return three calls on Friday.
Roisman said she is a proud member of the left. "I am a person of very progressive politics," she said. "Everybody there would tell you I am the most to-the-left person (on the faculty.)"
In winter 2003, Roisman made news for objecting to a tree with ornaments in the school lobby. After it was removed, she successfully lobbied against a new display -- an Indiana winter scene.
Then-Dean Tony Tarr weathered that storm, then resigned in 2004.
The new, interim dean is Susanah Mead, a longtime faculty member.
On Friday, Mitchell and Roisman threw a party for Mead. Only women faculty and staff were invited. Mead acknowledged she heard some rumblings about sexism.
Bradford laughed. "If a male dean came in, and only male faculty held such an event, can you imagine the outrage?"
There he goes again -- being uncollegial.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Will Live 8 Really Help?
Live 8 will make a lot of people feel better, but they won't be African.
Bob Geldof's Live 8 (search) concerts scheduled for July 2 will spotlight the problem of global poverty ahead of the July 6-8 G8 summit in Scotland.
But like Geldof's 1985 Live Aid concert, Live 8 it is a noble idea that, unfortunately, isn't likely to make any significant or lasting progress toward reducing poverty in Africa.
What Africa needs is genuine economic development that can be sustained over time, a goal that has been continually thwarted by the environmental policies forced upon developing nations by groups such as Greenpeace — an organization publicly supported by many of the Live 8 performers.
One necessary step toward economic growth in Africa, for example, is eradicating the continent's crippling famine and perpetual epidemics of disease. Yet, Greenpeace's successful campaign against the use of pesticides such as DDT has resulted in millions of deaths from diseases like malaria that pesticides could have prevented.
If Geldof and the other Live 8 performers really wanted to help Africans, they would rock-and-rail at their Greenpeace friends rather than at the G8 leaders.
Thoughts of a terrorist...
Here are some thoughts from the 21-year-old female terrorist-to-be who was recently caught at an Israeli checkpoint.
Wafa had been sent on her mission by the Abu Rish Brigade, the small militant faction with links to Fatah. She did not, she said later, regret it, though she stressed that her decision had had nothing to do with her scarring. "My dream was to be a martyr. I believe in death," she said. "Today I wanted to blow myself up in a hospital, maybe even in the one in which I was treated. But since lots of Arabs come to be treated there, I decided I would go to another, maybe the Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv. I wanted to kill 20, 50 Jews …''
Asked whether she had considered the consequences of her planned attack, that it might have now precluded access to Israel for Palestinian patients who meant no harm and needed special medical treatment that could be achieved only here, she answered: "So what?" With a flat look in her eyes, she said: "They pay you the cost of the treatment, don't they?"
And what about babies? Would you have killed babies and children? she was asked. "Yes, even babies and children. You, too, kill our babies. Do you remember the Doura child?"
Then she started to cry. ''I don't want my mother to see me like this. After all, I haven't killed anyone … will they have pity on me?'' It is unlikely. Wafa has become one of a very special group of females: the women who have tried - and failed - to die while killing for the Palestinian cause. I recently visited the Israeli jail that holds these "suicide women" near the finest Israeli villas, in the heart of the most fertile area of the country, the Plain of Sharon.
They are here, and still alive, because they changed their minds at the last moment, because they were arrested, or because, like Wafa, they did not succeed. They are kept in a kind of labyrinth, behind seven, or perhaps eight, iron doors and gates, at the end of long corridors to which few people are allowed access, and which are reached after climbing and descending one flight of stairs after another.
Their unarmed guard, a young, calm-looking blonde woman, calls them her "girls". "There are 30 of them, between 17 and 30 years old, some of them are married and others aren't, some of them have children," she told me. "Their stories come out of the Thousand and One Nights. Some of them did it to make amends for a relative who was a collaborator, others to escape becoming victims of honour killings, and for the psychologically frail or depressed it was a good way to commit suicide and at the same time become 'heroines'. Personally, I don't judge them or hate them, because if I did I wouldn't be able to look after them any more."
One of the inmates, Ayat Allah Kamil, 20, from Kabatya, told me why she had wanted to become a martyr: "Because of my religion. I'm very religious. For the holy war [jihad] there's no difference between men and women shaid [martyrs]."
According to the Koran, male martyrs are welcomed to Paradise by 72 beautiful virgins. Ayat, as with many of the women she is incarcerated with, believes that a woman martyr "will be the chief of the 72 virgins, the fairest of the fair".
Time to get Syria to stop...
The Syrians must secure their borders.
IN A garden café on the airport road into Damascus clusters of young men gather to drink coffee, smoke shisha and hear some awe-inspiring accounts of death and glory that will lead many on a journey to certain death in the battle raging across the border in Iraq.
The owner, a former Mujahidin fighter, openly boasts of his exploits and those of his comrades still fighting the war against US forces. Like many veterans he is eager to recount his adventures in the hope of persuading others to join the cause.
A Syrian mother said that her son, a taxi driver, had succumbed to the call to arms last month and set off with a friend on the trail to Iraq, never to be heard of again.
Like thousands of other young men, drawn from across the Arab world and from Muslim communities as far away as Spain, France and even Sheffield, his final point of departure was Syria.
“It’s an individual decision. Once you’ve decided, you go to a mosque to make the initial contact. Then you are sent to a private home and from there for a week’s intensive training inside Syria,” she said. According to former fighters who spoke to The Times in Damascus, volunteers are given a crash course in using Kalashnikov rifles, firing rocket-propelled grenades and the use of remote detonators. The training takes place at secret camps in the Syrian desert, near the Iraqi border. Some attacks are even planned in advance in Damascus and Aleppo. Once the team is ready, a guide leads them across the rugged border into Iraq where they are taken to a safe house.
How's this for corruption?
Is this a new world record?
The scale of the task facing Tony Blair in his drive to help Africa was laid bare yesterday when it emerged that Nigeria's past rulers stole or misused £220 billion.
That is as much as all the western aid given to Africa in almost four decades. The looting of Africa's most populous country amounted to a sum equivalent to 300 years of British aid for the continent.
The figures, compiled by Nigeria's anti-corruption commission, provide dramatic evidence of the problems facing next month's summit in Gleneagles of the G8 group of wealthy countries which are under pressure to approve a programme of debt relief for Africa.
Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, has spoken of a new Marshall Plan for Africa. But Nigeria's rulers have already pocketed the equivalent of six Marshall Plans. After that mass theft, two thirds of the country's 130 million people - one in seven of the total African population - live in abject poverty, a third is illiterate and 40 per cent have no safe water supply.
With more people and more natural resources than any other African country, Nigeria is the key to the continent's success.
Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, set up three years ago, said that £220 billion was "squandered" between independence from Britain in 1960 and the return of civilian rule in 1999.
"We cannot be accurate down to the last figure but that is our projection," Osita Nwajah, a commission spokesman, said in the capital, Abuja.
Lies from the Palestinians..
Can anybody really trust what Mahmoud Abbas says?
During his meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last Saturday, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas told Rice that the PA had ceased all incitement activities against Israel. Yet on the same day that they met, the PA's official news service WAFA "reported" that Israelis were sending hordes of wild pigs to Palestinian villages around Hawarah village in the Nablus district to attack them and destroy their fields. The PA's official news service even interviewed Hawarah Mayor Mansour Dmaidi, who backed these ludicrous and incendiary statements.Please read the whole article...
It is not surprising that Abbas brazenly lied to Rice about PA-sponsored incitement against Israel. After all, he lied to her about everything else. Most importantly, Abbas told Rice that he is opposed to terrorism. And yet, Abbas fervently supports terrorism. Abbas complained to Rice – as he complains to anyone who will listen – that Israel's actions to defend its citizens against terrorism make it impossible for him to fight terrorists. This is a logically unsupportable statement. If Abbas opposes terrorism, then he should support Israel's counterterrorist operations.
Has Oprah gone batty, part 2?
Earlier this month, we blogged about Oprah - and the fact that she claims she is a Zulu (highly improbable). Now, Oprah is claiming she was discriminated against by a Hermes store in Paris.
Hermes said in a statement Ms. Winfrey was denied entry on June 14 because she arrived after standard business hours and while a prive PR event was being set up inside.So, why is Oprah upset? Well, she is convinced that the store would have opened for white celebrities.
"If she had been Celine Dion or Britney Spears or Barbra Streisand, there is no way they would not be let in that store," a friend of Ms. Winfrey's told the newspaper.I'm actually speechless! We all know what a victim Oprah is.
Friday, June 24, 2005
Enough is enough...
I hope the Israelis are getting the message. The Palestinians have no intention of stopping their murder.
Palestinian gunmen opened fire on a group of hitchhikers Friday and killed one, the third Israeli slaying in a flare-up of violence that threatens a truce reached in February.
The drive-by attack also left four people wounded and highlighted the difficulties faced by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in trying to rein in militants in the Palestinian areas. Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon have been trying to quell more than four years of fighting and ensure a smooth Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in August.
I'd like to see a lot more of these types of stories.
Ibrahim Abdallah, who was brought up to hate Jews in one of the USA's largest Muslim communities and then went to Israel where he became a PLO militant, said: "I feel ashamed."Please read his story.
In an exclusive interview with the Jewish Telegraph, he confessed: "One day, as a member of Fatah, we threw stones at an Israeli civilian vehicle and caused it to crash. Blood was spattered on the window.
"We were exuberant because we had injured people. I wanted to destroy Jews to carry out my Muslim mission."
Now he says: "I did it out of deep ignorance. We should support and care for Jews. No one is more persecuted than the Jews. This injustice needs to be righted."
He continued: "Israel has never attacked anyone. All its wars have been in self-defence.
"They only want to live in peace. Jews are the most forgiving of people, sometimes too forgiving to their own detriment. That is why peace agreements have failed."
The Therapy Movement
Christina Hoff Sommers on the Therapy Nation.
Children, more than any group, are targeted for therapeutic improvement. We roundly reject these assumptions.
Because they tend to regard normal children as psychologically at risk, many educators are taking extreme and unprecedented measures to protect them from stress.
Schoolyard games that encourage competition are under assault. In some districts, dodgeball has been placed in a "Hall of Shame" because, as one leading educator says, "It's like Lord of the Flies, with adults encouraging it." Tag is also under a cloud. The National Education Association distributes a teacher's guide that suggests an anxiety-reducing version of tag, "where nobody is ever 'out.' "
It is now common practice for "sensitivity and bias committees" inside publishing houses to expunge from standardized tests all mention of potentially distressing topics. Two major companies specifically interdict references to rats, mice, roaches, snakes, lice, typhoons, blizzards and birthday parties. (The latter could create bad feelings in children whose families do not celebrate them.) The committees, says Diane Ravitch in her recent book The Language Police, think such references could "be so upsetting to some children that they will not be able to do their best on a test."
Young people are not helped by being wrapped in cotton wool and deprived of the vigorous pastimes and intellectual challenges they need for healthy development. Nor are they improved when educators, obsessed with the mission of boosting children's self-esteem, tell them how "wonderful" they are.
A growing body of research suggests there is, in fact, no connection between high self-esteem and achievement, kindness or good personal relationships. On the other hand, unmerited self-esteem is known to be associated with anti-social behavior--even criminality.
Therapism tends to regard people as essentially weak, dependent and never altogether responsible for what they do. Alan Wolfe, a Boston College sociologist and expert on national mores and attitudes, reports that for many Americans, nonjudgmentalism has become a cardinal virtue.
Concepts of right and wrong, good and evil, are often regarded as anachronistic and intolerant. "Thou shalt be nice" is the new categorical imperative.
Cricket club denied funding because of political correctness...
You can't get a grant unless you have enough so-called 'visible minorities'.
A VILLAGE cricket club believes it has been refused a Sport England grant because it doesn’t have any ethnic minority, disadvantaged or disabled members.
Threlkeld Cricket Club is famous for its pocket handkerchief ground alongside the busy A66 road on the outskirts of the village between Penrith and Keswick.
The club, which did receive a £180,000 Sport England grant three years ago towards the £230,000 cost of a new pavilion after the old one blew down in a storm, caters for dozens of children, including girls, as well as putting out several adult teams in the local cricket leagues.
It needs to raise £47,000 after being given a piece of land by neighbouring farmer George Hutton. This will necessitate a lot of ground levelling and the building of a new batting square further away from the road.
Sport England say the main reasons for not supporting a second application relate to a lack of partnership funding and multi-sport approach, and the limited impact on widening participation among ‘priority groups’.
These include women and girls, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and those from poor backgrounds.
Club spokesman John Knowles said he interpreted priority groups as meaning ethnic minorities and said Threlkeld was disadvantaged because where it was situated obviously counted against it.
He said: “It smacks of political correctness. The world has gone mad.
“We are effectively being discriminated against.
I'd hate to be a cadet here...
This sounds pretty bad to me. Here are some examples of what went on at the Air Force Academy.
Examples of questionable behavior highlighted in the report included the school's head football coach hanging a "Team Jesus" banner in the locker room in November 2004; the academy's commandant sending out a schoolwide message on the National Day of Prayer and encouraging cadets to use the "J for Jesus" hand signal; and senior school personnel signing on to a Christian advertisement citing scripture in the base newspaper.
Also detailed in the report was an incident in February 2004, when cadets reported their peers had placed fliers on the more than 4,000 place settings at the cadet dining facility and in other common areas promoting the film "The Passion of the Christ."
"Cadets felt they were being proselytized and pressured to see the movie," the report said. "Jewish cadets told the team they encountered anti-Semitic comments that they believe 'The Passion of The Christ' flyer event inspired."
Cadets also reported being harassed for not taking part in voluntary prayer meetings during basic training and being labeled as instead taking part in the "Heathen Flight" back to dorms for time to relax.
What if the US had not toppled Saddam?
Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for pointing out this article on what likely would have happened had the US not invaded.
Amore intriguing question is whether a decision not to go to war in 2003 would have produced lasting peace or would only have delayed war until a later date -- as in the 1930s. There is a strong argument to be made that Hussein would have pushed toward confrontation and war at some point, no matter what we did. His Hitler-like megalomania does not seem to be in question. He patiently, brutally pushed his way to power in Iraq, then set about brutally and impatiently making himself the dominant figure in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, using war and the threat of war as his principal tools. In the early 1980s he invaded Iran and fought it to a bloody standstill for the better part of a decade. No sooner had that war ended than he invaded Kuwait. He fancied himself the new Saladin, much as Napoleon and Hitler had fancied themselves the new Caesar.
Many argue that, even if all this is true, Hussein was nevertheless contained through sanctions and no-fly zones and therefore could be deterred. Many advanced this argument before the war, too, even when they believed with as much certainty as the Bush administration that Hussein did have stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. And, indeed, although for most Americans the question of whether the war was "worth it" revolves around the failure to discover the stockpiles that most believed he had, nevertheless the key issue, I believe, remains the same as before that failure: whether Hussein could have been contained.
For another fact not in dispute is that Hussein remained keenly interested in and committed to acquiring weapons of mass destruction, that he maintained secretive weapons programs throughout the 1990s and indeed right up until the day of the invasion, and that he was only waiting for the international community to lose interest or stamina so that he could resume his programs unfettered. This is the well-documented, unrefuted -- and unnoticed -- conclusion of both David Kay and Charles Duelfer. Whether Hussein would have eventually succeeded in acquiring these weapons would have depended on other nations' will and ability to stop him.
That is a question to which we will never have a definitive answer, and yet it is critical to any judgment about the merits of the war. The most sensible argument for the invasion was not that Hussein was about to strike the United States or anyone else with a nuclear bomb. It was that containment could not be preserved indefinitely, that Hussein was repeatedly defying the international community and that his defiance appeared to both the Clinton and Bush administrations to be gradually succeeding. He was driving a wedge between the United States and Britain, on one side, which wanted to maintain sanctions and containment, and France, Russia, and China, on the other, which wanted to drop sanctions and normalize relations with him. The main concern of senior officials in both administrations was that, in the words of then-national security adviser Samuel "Sandy" Berger, containment was not "sustainable over the long run." The pattern of the 1990s, "Iraqi defiance, followed by force mobilization on our part, followed by Iraqi capitulation," had left "the international community vulnerable to manipulation by Saddam." The longer the standoff continued, Berger warned in 1998, "the harder it will be to maintain" international support for containing Hussein. Nor did Clinton officials doubt what Hussein would do if and when containment collapsed. As Berger put it, "Saddam's history of aggression, and his recent record of deception and defiance, leave no doubt that he would resume his drive for regional domination if he had the chance." Nor should we assume that, even if the United States and others had remained vigilant, Hussein could have been deterred from doing something to provoke a conflict. Tragic miscalculation was Hussein's specialty, after all, as his invasions of Iran and Kuwait proved.
Corruption in Africa...
You'll have to register to read the whole article, but it's well worth it. Here's a sober look at how African leaders spend our money.
Take, for example, Malawi’s ‘Benz Aid’ scandal. In the year 2000 Bakili Muluzi was hailed as a paragon of African ‘good governance’ following the demise of Life President Hastings Kamuzu Banda. The Economist rated Blantyre as the best city to live in in the world. Britain promised to increase its aid from £30.8 million to £52.4 million in a single year specifically to help the 65 per cent of Malawians existing on less than 50 pence a day. Malawi’s government celebrated by purchasing 39 top-of-the-range S-class Mercedes at a cost of £1.7 million. In the furore that followed, Clare Short, then international development secretary, ruled out a ban on aid to Malawi, explaining that the money used for the car purchases had not been skimmed off British aid but some other donor’s.
Last year King Mswati III of Swaziland went against the grain. He passed over Mercedes and went for a £264,000 Maybach 62 for himself plus a fleet of BMWs for each of his 10 wives and three virginal fiancées selected annually at the football stadium ‘dance of the impalas’. Imagine if he continues buying BMW for his wives; his dad collected 50 spouses and 350 kids. In May southern Africa’s Mr Toad changed his mind about Mercedes and roared up to his rubber-stamp parliament in a new S600L limo. The total bill for his car purchases alone will be about £750,000, or three quarters of the annual figure for British assistance. Of the £14 million Swaziland gets in foreign aid, £9 million goes on the king’s balls, picnics and parties — and cars. Yet 70 per cent of Swazis languish in absolute poverty and four out of ten have HIV/Aids, the highest rate in the world.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
'Islamic Thinkers' call for castration of gay men...
I hope these guys don't start coming to our gay pride parades.
On the evening of July 11, 2004, Kristine Withers walked down 37th Avenue, a main drag in Jackson Heights, Queens, and passed what had become a familiar sight: a group of tables set up on the sidewalk by the Islamic Thinkers Society, a local group of militant Islamists. On the tables, copies of the Koran and books espousing the group’s strict religious beliefs shared space with tracts on Zionism, pamphlets on the dangers of homosexuality, and signs bearing messages like "Your Terrorists Are Our Heroes."Please read the whole article.
Ms. Withers, who identifies herself as a lesbian and a political conservative, was offended by the group’s message. The Islamic Thinkers Society had become a regular feature at local gay-pride parades, where they’ve called for the castration and death of gay men, according to several witnesses who spoke to The Observer. But Ms. Withers said it was as much the anti-American messages as the anti-gay ones that riled her up.
"To me, it’s synonymous with the Nazis recruiting on 42nd Street during World War II," she said of her antagonists.
Islamo-Fascist violence in Thailand...
This has been going on for some time....
Islamist militants in southern Thailand are trying to terrify Buddhist residents into fleeing, its prime minister said yesterday after a man was publicly beheaded.I love Thailand - I've spent many a nice holiday there...I hope the Thai people have the fortitude to tackle this problem.
The murder of Lek Pongpla, 34, in Narathiwat province was the fifth beheading in a fortnight and the first to be carried out before a witness.
Two men arrived on a motorcycle at the teashop in Cho-Ai-Rong, and one shot the victim in the back before decapitating him and putting the head into a fertiliser sack.
The men fled and the sack was later found a mile away.
"The insurgents have been beheading innocent people to show they are still capable of creating violence," said Thaksin Shinawatra, the prime minister. "They try to make people scared so they will run away from the region because they want to seize it."
A man's work is never done...
Soon the government will be legislating the amount of housework men have to do.
Australian men need to do more housework if they want to avoid nagging and if the country is to beat problems presented by a shrinking and ageing workforce, the government's Sex Discrimination Commissioner said.But, here's what they leave out. Women tend to work shorter hours at work....so, how about the government add it all up....hours at work + hours doing housework = hours doing home improvement....I bet you men work longer hours in total.
Men have "just got to get with the program" and get more involved in the unpaid work burden, which includes caring for children and elderly parents, commissioner Pru Goward said in a 150-page discussion paper.
"The federal government's made it clear that Australians have to work more," Goward wrote.
"But we are not going to get more work out of Australia, we are not going to cope with the demands of a shrinking workforce and an ageing workforce if women don't work more.
"The other half of the equation is that we have to get men to do more in the home so that women are released from some of those obligations.
"If they want their marriages to stay intact, if they don't want the nagging ... then do a bit more, ask your partner what she wants you to do and divide it up," she said.
This concerns me...
The next generation seems hostile to Israel.
A new survey of attitudes toward Israel among graduate students at top US universities offers a disturbing, if not frightening, picture of increasing sympathy for the Palestinian cause and blame on the Jewish state for the lack of peace.There's a lot more to this article, so please read it all. I assume that there are similarly hostile attitudes in Canada.
The report being issued this week by The Israel Project, a Washington-based group seeking to strengthen Israel's image, finds that "tomorrow's leaders... are hostile to the Jewish state," a growing trend that could jeopardize American foreign policy toward Israel in the near future.
Titled "How The Next Generation Views Israel," the report was written by Frank Luntz, a pollster who has conducted a number of surveys on the attitudes of young people toward Israel and Jewish life for The Israel Project and other groups.
It was based on "face-to-face group interviews" Luntz conducted with nearly 150 students under age 30 in New York, Boston, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles. They attended law, business, journalism or government programs at Harvard, MIT, Columbia, Georgetown, George Washington, Johns Hopkins, the University of Chicago, Northwestern and UCLA.
Many of the students come from homes sympathetic to Israel, Luntz reported, but through exposure to university professors and mainstream media have grown "impatient" with Israel and emotionally connected to the Palestinian cause, to the point of rationalizing Palestinian suicide bombings and coming to see Israel as a "burden" to the United States rather than "an ally."
What's more, Luntz found a thin line between anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment among "these young elites," noting that "they may not be in the 'Zionism is racism' camp, but they're not all that far away."
He said the students "view any US support of Israel as generated by wealthy Jewish special interests rather than as a reflection of the national interest."
A primer on oil prices...
Here's a nice overview about oil prices.
It is commonplace to blame rising oil prices on industrial expansion in China, but that is a misleading exaggeration. Long before China's rediscovery of capitalism, earlier Asian Tigers accounted for a rising share of world petroleum demand. From 1978 to 2004, oil consumption rose 28.6 percent in the world but only 8.9 percent in the United States. That difference was exemplified by a 344 percent increase in South Korea's oil demand.
The United States still accounts for 25 percent of world oil consumption, but a declining 10 percent share of oil production. China accounts for 8 percent of consumption and 4 percent of production. China looms much larger, however, in terms of the incremental increase in demand. The IEA estimates China will account for 25.8 percent of this year's increase in demand and the United States will account for 14.6 percent. This leaves nearly 60 percent of the year's added demand coming from the rest of the world. Or maybe not.
Just as oil market pundits typically ignore the 60 percent of petroleum not going into passenger cars, they likewise ignores the 60 percent of incremental oil demand not coming from China and the United States.
Recall how regional industrial contraction collapsed the oil price in 1998 and 2001, then examine the last pages of The Economist to see what happened to industrial production over the latest 12 months. U.S. industrial production looks strong -- up 2.7 percent in May -- but that same figure a year earlier was up 4.8 percent. For Japan, industrial production is up only 0.6 percent, though a year ago it was up 8.3 percent.
Countries that were experiencing industrial increases of 12 percent to 22 percent a year ago -- such as Taiwan, Brazil, South Korea and Singapore -- are now up only 1 percent to 4 percent. For the Euro area, industrial production is down 0.1 percent. For Britain -- which exports oil -- it is down 1.9 percent. For Mexico -- which exports oil -- it is down 4.7 percent.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) tracks all major economies plus one mid-sized economy (Mexico) that accounts for 13.7 percent of U.S. exports. A six-month trend of the OECD leading indicators was up 7.5 percent at the start of 2004, but has since fallen to minus 0.5 percent this April.
Want the bad news first? High oil prices have already slowed industrial production in many countries, even China and the United States to a lesser extent. Leading indicators point to wider and deeper trouble ahead.
The good news is that oil prices have proven very sensitive to industrial production, so this problem is self-limiting. Cost-squeezed industrial firms -- not necessarily in the United States -- will be reducing production and thereby reducing world oil demand and prices.
The importance of history, part 2
A nice interview with Oriana Fallaci in the Opinion Journal today.
The impending Fall of the West, as she sees it, now torments Ms. Fallaci. And as much as that Fall, what torments her is the blithe way in which the West is marching toward its precipice of choice. "Look at the school system of the West today. Students do not know history! They don't, for Christ's sake. They don't know who Churchill was! In Italy, they don't even know who Cavour was!"--a reference to Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, the conservative father, with the radical Garibaldi, of Modern Italy. Ms. Fallaci, rarely reverent, pauses here to reflect on the man, and on the question of where all the conservatives have gone in Europe. "In the beginning, I was dismayed, and I asked, how is it possible that we do not have Cavour . . . just one Cavour, uno? He was a revolutionary, and yes, he was not of the left. Italy needs a Cavour--Europe needs a Cavour." Ms. Fallaci describes herself, too, as "a revolutionary"--"because I do what conservatives in Europe don't do, which is that I don't accept to be treated like a delinquent." She professes to "cry, sometimes, because I'm not 20 years younger, and I'm not healthy. But if I were, I would even sacrifice my writing to enter politics somehow."
The importance of history, part 1
There is a nice op-ed in the National Post today about the importance of history education by Jennie Morgan. However, towards the end of the article is this incredible paragraph:
Of course it's true that history's generals, kings and inventors were Dead White Men, and so dwelling on them gives short shrift to women and minorities. But the remedy for that is critical analysis, not "feel good" exercises. To overcome prejudices, students need more knowledge, not less.I hope that Ms. Morgan can overcome her prejudice against 'dead white males'. History should be about the people who were important, whether they were male or female, or 'white' or not.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Hitchens on the Downing Street Memos..
Once again, Hitchens is magnificent.
But the main Downing Street document does not introduce us to any hidden or arcane or occult knowledge. As Fred Kaplan wrote in Slate last week, it explains no mystery. As protagonist Jim Dixon observes in another context in Lucky Jim, it is remarkable for "its niggling mindlessness, its funereal parade of yawn-enforcing facts, the pseudo-light it threw upon non-problems." On a visit to Washington in the prelude to the Iraq war, some senior British officials formed the strong and correct impression that the Bush administration was bent upon an intervention. Their junior note-taker committed the literary and political solecism of saying that intelligence findings and "facts" were being "fixed" around this policy.
Well, if that doesn't prove it, I don't know what does. We apparently have an administration that can, on the word of a British clerk, "fix" not just findings but also "facts." Never mind for now that the English employ the word "fix" in a slightly different way—a better term might have been "organized."
We have been here before. In an interview with Sam Tanenhaus for Vanity Fair more than two years ago, Paul Wolfowitz allowed that, though there were many reasons to seek the removal of Saddam Hussein, the legal minimum basis for it was to be sought, inside the U.S. government bureaucracy and at the United Nations, in the unenforced resolutions concerning WMD. At the time, this mild observation was also hailed as a full confession of perfidy.
I am now forced to wonder: Who is there who does not know that the Bush administration decided after September 2001 to change the balance of power in the region and to enforce the Iraq Liberation Act, passed unanimously by the Senate in 1998, which made it overt American policy to change the government of Iraq? This was a fairly open conspiracy, and an open secret. Given that everyone from Hans Blix to Jacques Chirac believed that Saddam was hiding weapons from inspectors, it made legal sense to advance this case under the banner of international law and to treat Saddam "as if" (and how else?) his strategy of concealment and deception were prima facie proof. The British attorney general—who has no jurisdiction in these 50 states—was worried that "regime change" alone would not be a sufficient legal basis. One appreciates his concern. But the existence of the Saddam regime was itself a defiance of all known international laws, and we had before us the consequences of previous failures to act, in Bosnia and Rwanda, where action would have been another word for "regime change."