Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Recognizing a Mapuche State

The following article has been circulating in some pro-democracy, Latin American blogs and was written Santiago Belmonte. The title of this article is Recognizing a Mapuche State and was written in response to the announcement of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil that they would recognize a Palestinian State.

The Mapuche mentioned in the title are an indigenous people from Southwestern Argentina and South Chile. As most indigenous tribes in these regions, they were killed, persecuted, discriminated against and forced to integrate into the dominant societies. Attempts by Mapuche activists to get recognition resulted in their being prosecuted under counter-terrorism laws. It goes without saying that Mapuche terrorism has been insignificant by international standards and limited to some fires, burning of some structures and some threats. With this background in mind, here is my translation. As with other translations I undertook, all great points are Mr. Belmondo’s. All errors are mine.

Recognizing a Mapuche State, by Santiago Belmondo

The governments of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil have announced the recognition of a Palestinian State. This, they claim, is based on “sentiments of justice, and their traditional lines in the defense of human rights.” Logically, any fool would recognize that their reasons are based on self-interest in no way related to their claims. Therefore, it should not surprise us that the functionaries of the respective governments mentioned expressed this recognition impulsively and with plenty of missinformation.

First let us clarify one element that is public knowledge: No Palestinian State exists. Even the future inhabitants have not proclaimed such a state. Second, the aforementioned functionaries have announced that for a Palestinian state to be viable, “Israel should withdraw to the pre-1967 borders.” It seems that these governments chose to ignore that there never were nor are there today recognized borders among the parties in the Middle East conflict. What existed between 1948 and 1967 was a provisional armistice not negotiated with any Palestinian leader, but with Jordan, which since the beginning of the British Mandate had been known as Transjordan. Trans meaning adjacent to the Jordan River. Argentinean functionaries choose to forget that their government resolved to abstain when in 1947 the United Nations voted a partition plan dividing the land between Jews and Arabs.

Having clarified this point, we are left to ponder if Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have solved all their problems, if they have resolved all the injustices within their own territories. Are they also prepared to recognize a Kurdish state for the Kurds who are systematically massacred by Iraq and Turkey? And just to name a few; are they ready to fight for the freedom of Tibet and for the rights of those who are systematically exterminated in Somalia and Eritrea?

But let us not go so far away. Let us stay here among the Catholic South American countries. I mentioned Catholic because it would seem that a good Catholic has read the Bible and is aware to whom the land belongs where the State of Israel is located. Those who have read history are aware that the Jews have been forced into exile by Babylonians and Romans, but for two millennia never ceased to yearn and clamor for a return to the land of their ancestors. And now they have returned closing the cycle of exile. Those Catholics who have read the Bible are also aware that that nowhere is there mention of the term Palestinian, nor is there mention of an ethnic entity that could be recognized under such term.

But something completely different occurs in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. There everything occurred in reverse. The original populations and their descendants and legitimate owners of the lands in those countries have been systematically assassinated in bloody genocides, and deprived of their rights by Spanish and Portuguese invaders. Much more just and urgent than the aspirations of the Palestinians is the immediate recognition of a Mapuche State which like the aforementioned Palestinian one has not been proclaimed, has no recognizable boundaries but does have legitimate claims. Should we remind Argentina of the systematic annihilation of the Ranqueles in the XIX century, and the occupation of territories that belonged to the Huarpes, Puelches, Tehuelches, Tobas, Kollas, Diaguitas, and Querandies? Should we remind Uruguay of the genocide of the Churruas, and the expropriation of their lands? Should we remind Brazil of the complete extermination of indigenous nations like the Tupi, Parana, Marubo, Enawene, Nave, Chiripas, Maxakali and Kahingang, besides the expulsion of hundreds of tribes from their land to enrich a few powerful and unscrupulous businessmen in complicity with the Brazilian state.

If Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil are so concerned with the tribulations of marginalized peoples, shouldn’t they start by restituting the property in their countries to their legitimate owners? Shouldn’t they pay compensation for all the suffering they are causing and have caused for centuries?

Conquistadores exterminating and enslaving Mapuches

Dealing with Mapuche activists

This writer, therefore, recognizes immediately, and recommends to institutions around the world to likewise recognize the establishment of a Mapuche State, a Tupi State and the hundreds of smaller, but no less legitimate states in lands currently occupied by Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Goodbye Sweeden

The always eloquent and courageous Pat Condell does it again:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Yes, we are serious!

When CNSNews.com asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday where the Constitution authorized Congress to order Americans to buy health insurance--a mandate included in both the House and Senate versions of the health care bill--Pelosi dismissed the question by saying: “Are you serious? Are you serious?”

You can hear the quesstion and Pelosi's response in the following audiuo:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Let's Save the Planet by Outlawing Water

Here we have a video, courtesy of CFACT, getting people who attended the Conference on Global Warming to sign a petition to cripple the U.S. economy and another to outlaw H2O, or as they call it, “dihydrogen monoxide”. 

Many people would have fallen for this gag, but one would expect radical environmentalists who want us to agree with their points of view concerning global warming, to know better.  What a disappointment. 

Who would have thought that persons attending such a prestigious UN conference would turn out to be actual morons?  Well, maybe I would have.

Why Not Soak the Rich? by Victor Davis Hanson

For the last two years, $250,000 in annual income has become an arbitrary line in the sand of a renewed class war. Those above it must alone have their income taxes raised. Those below are deemed more virtuous and so deserving of a tax cut.

But what exactly is "rich"? Zillionaires such as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates or George Soros surely are. But these wealthiest individuals have so much money at their disposal that they don't care much about income tax rates. Their tax lawyers have found ingenious ways to divert millions of what would be owed to Uncle Sam by funding tax-free pet causes, private foundations and favored charities -- in a way not true of those who make far less than a million dollars a year.

Is annual income a good gauge of wealth? Who is richer -- the architect in Monterey, Calif., who makes $250,000 a year and pays $700,000 for a modest house while picking up the full tab of $40,000 a year for his daughter at a private liberal arts college, or the engineer in Utah making $100,000 a year with a house twice as large at half the cost, with a son on a need-based scholarship at the university? Should annual income alone trump all other considerations when the costs of living vary widely by region, and eligibility for billions of dollars in federal and state subsidies is predicated on income levels?

By the same token, what exactly is "poor" in a globalized world of cheap imported TVs, cell phones and high-tech gadgetry available to most Americans at Walmart and Target? The middle class has better access to what were once called luxury items than did the super-wealthy just two decades ago.

How do we define tax "cuts"? Were the George W. Bush income tax rates really "cuts" for the rich? Or were they across-the-board cuts only in comparison to the higher Clinton rates? In turn, were the Clinton rates actually "hikes" on top of the George H.W. Bush "hikes"? Both upped the lower Reagan rates, which in turn had been "cuts" from the higher Carter rates. In fact, every president's newly adjusted income tax rate is derided mostly on partisan political grounds as either a counterproductive hike that "kills small business" or an unfair "trickle down" cut.

Income taxes don't occur in a vacuum. That the "rich" should pay 39.5 percent on their income might seem justified in isolation. But what about property, state income, payroll and other taxes that together can take up to 65 percent of some incomes in high-tax states?

In addition, income taxes are already graduated, as one pays a higher percentage on income the more one makes. Yet 50 percent of Americans pay no income taxes, while 5 percent of taxpayers pay nearly 60 percent of the total collected. The result is that half of Americans are likely to favor both higher entitlements that they may well receive and higher income taxes that they most certainly will not pay.

Did the staggering annual national deficit arise from a lack of revenue or out-of-control spending? California manages to have the highest income, sales and gas taxes and the largest deficits. Over the last decade, federal income tax revenue -- and budget deficits -- increased almost every year.

Income levels are not static. Belonging to the upper brackets is not always a matter of privilege or inheritance. Some Americans go in and out of the top tax brackets depending on the economy. Others are "rich" only for a few years in their 50s and 60s -- making far less before and after.

If we prefer high rates, we will see either more tax avoidance or a certain reluctance to work an extra day, buy new equipment or hire a new employee -- given than any additional income will be mostly eaten up in taxes. Those who make over $250,000 are those who would be more likely to hire new employees, and they usually can do it far more efficiently than the federal government.

Finally, if the goal is to increase federal revenue, then it is wisest to keep taxes as they are. That encourages Americans to make as much as they can, hire and buy, and thereby enrich the nation at large. But if the aim is instead to ensure that we mostly end up about the same, then raising taxes on the already highly taxed might make us more equal -- and collectively all poorer as well.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Presbyterians Against Israel - WSJ.com

Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper: Presbyterians Against Israel - WSJ.com

"Our Job is Not to Protect the United States"

Here is a video showing Time Magazine editor Richard Stengle on CNN Reliable Sources discussing the publication of the Wikileaks documents. I can accept several explanations for the press explaining why they published what they did. However, Mr. Stengel chose to say, "Our job is to publish and be damned" and "Our job is not to protect the United States". Let's see. We need freedom of the press to protect journalists who protect the United States by not believing in protecting the United States.

Can you imagine an editor in 1944 publishing the date and location of V.E. Day?

Hey Big Sis; Get off My Back

And so the insanity continues.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced the expansion of the Department’s national “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign to hundreds of Wal-Mart stores across the country—launching a new partnership between DHS and Wal-Mart to help the American public play an active role in ensuring the safety and security of our nation.

Let’s see. If I go to Wal-Mart should I say something if I see an unattended box, or a shopping cart full of containers? Last time I went shopping I saw dozens of boxes all over the place. Should I say that I saw a Muslim employee placing suspicious toy boxes? I saw one the other day placing a suspicious box with something called transformers. And what about Target, and Macy’s, and Kohl’s, and Beds, Baths and Beyond, and so many other stores.

This insane campaign has nothing to do with security, and everything to do with bureaucrats justifying their existence and their checks. I can’t wait for the scanning machines arriving at my local supermarket.

And the media will interview a few hundred customers until they manage to elicit the typical response from a moron who will say “I don’t mind sacrificing a few minutes if it will improve security.” Well, I do.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Israel, the canary in the coalmine

Below is a speech given by Pastor John C. Hagee from Christians United for Israel, a Christian Zionist organization. All I can say to him is Thank You!

American Jews, wake up and see who your true friends are. For those of you who claim that all this is an attempt to convert us, listen to the 20th minute of the video.

Cablegate? I Kinda Like It, Actually

Michael Ledeen discusses the WikiLeaks. Interesting read from a former State Department employee. You'll love the Kissinger quote.

Faster, Please! » Cablegate? I Kinda Like It, Actually

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Two Papers in One

James Taranto, of the Wall Street Journal, has placed in his column Best of the Web the following two justifications from the New York Times:

"The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won't be posted here."--New York Times, on the Climategate emails, November 20, 2009.

"The articles published today and in coming days are based on thousands of United States embassy cables, the daily reports from the field intended for the eyes of senior policy makers in Washington. . . . The Times believes that the documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match."--New York Times, on the WikiLeaks documents, November 29, 2010.

PIPES: Islamist Turkey vs. secular Iran - Washington Times

An important article to understand the ever shifting dynamics in the Middle East.

PIPES: Islamist Turkey vs. secular Iran - Washington Times

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Free Palestine! by Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal

Should the United States offer—and Israel accept—diplomatic guarantees, plus $2 billion worth of fighter jets, for the sake of a 90-day settlement freeze? Er, no. Israel can afford the planes, or at least it can afford them better than the perception that it's getting a free ride from U.S. taxpayers. The U.S. should not put a price on things it ought not to do anyway, like recognizing a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. And bribery is generally a bad idea, particularly between friends.

Then again, bad ideas are what you get when you're operating from bad premises. Premises such as: There is a deal to be had between Israelis and Palestinians, or that the settlements are the core of the problem.

So what is the core of the problem? Consider the predicament faced by a Palestinian named Walid Husayin from the West Bank city of Qalqilya. Mr. Husayin, 26, is suspected of being the blogger known as Waleed al-Husseini and author of an essay, posted on the Proud Atheist Web site (proud-a.blogspot.com), titled “Why I Left Islam.”

The pseudonymous Husseini makes no bones about his opposition to religions generally, which he says “compete with each other in terms of stupidity.” But nothing seems to exercise his indignation more than the religion he used to call his own. Islam, he writes, is “an authoritarian religion that does not respect the individual's freedom of choice, which is easily noticeable from its barbaric verdicts such as stoning the adulterous, pushing homosexuals off a cliff and killing the apostates for daring to express a different viewpoint.”

And that's just Husseini getting started. The essay proceeds by way of a series of questions, such as “Is Islam a religion of tolerance?” Answer: “The sacred texts of Islam also encourage blatant war and conquest of new territories.” What about equality? “Islam has legitimized slavery, reinforced the gap between social classes and allowed stealing from the infidels.” Women's rights? “I have a mother, a sister and a lover and I cannot stand for them to be humiliated and stigmatized in this bone-chilling way.” The prophet? “A sex maniac” who “was no different than barbaric thugs who slaughtered, robbed and raped women.” And so on.

This being the Arab world, it should come as no surprise that Mr. Husayin has spent the past 24 days in detention, that he has been forbidden from receiving visitors or speaking to a lawyer, that he faces a potential life sentence, and that people in Qalqilya have called for him to be burned alive.

The systematic violation of Palestinian rights by Palestinian officials is an old story, as is the increasingly Islamist tilt of what was once supposed to be a relatively secular, progressive society. Whatever might be said in favor of freedom for Palestine, there has been to date precious little freedom in Palestine, whether in the Hamas-controlled statelet of Gaza or in the parts of the West Bank under Fatah's dominion.

That's a problem. It's also a problem that when the Associated Press covered Mr. Husayin's ordeal, reporter Diaa Hadid offered that “the Western-backed Palestinian Authority is among the more religiously liberal Arab governments in the region,” and that “Husayin's high public profile and prickly style . . . left authorities no choice but to take action.”

How nice to see AP reporters sticking up for free expression. Indeed, the consistent willingness of Western news organizations to downplay stories about Palestinian illiberalism and thuggery goes far to explain why so much of the world misdiagnoses the nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Settlements are a convenient alibi: They foster the illusion that the conflict can be resolved by Israeli territorial concessions alone. But if that were true, Gaza would have turned peaceful the moment settlements were withdrawn five years ago. The opposite happened.

Why did Gaza become more violent, internally as well as toward Israel and Egypt, the moment it was rid of Israelis? That's the central question, and one too few observers seem willing to address for fear of where the answer might lead. Yet it ought to be self-evident. The culture of Palestinian illiberalism gave rise to the discontents that brought about civil war and then Hamas's swift rise to power. Hamas is theologically committed to Israel's destruction. That commitment is politically popular: It shapes, and limits, what even the most progressive Palestinian leaders might be willing to concede to Israel in any deal. The result is what we now have: Negotiations that are going nowhere, at an increasingly heavy price for all parties, including the United States.

Like George W. Bush before him, President Obama has observed that the U.S. can't want peace more than Israelis or Palestinians themselves do. But America can, uniquely, stand for freedom like no other country. Mr. Husayin—assuming he's the author of those blog posts—surely knew how much he risked by speaking his mind, and it's tempting to conclude he had it coming.

But if Palestinians cannot abide a single free-thinker in their midst, they cannot be free in any meaningful sense of the word. And if the U.S. can't speak up on his behalf, then neither, in the long run, can we.

Write to bstephens@wsj.com

Sunday, November 21, 2010

QE2 Explained

So you are on of the millions that heard the news about Quantitative Easing and didn't know what it meant?  No problem.  This video will clarify everything.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why Israel is a Rogue State

Last October 21, a debate conducted by the Cambridge Union Society argued the proposition "Israel is a rogue state."  Gabriel Latner, a 19 years old law student, went on to argue for the proposition; but did so from a very different perspective than the one expected.  He argued for the proposition by actually providing support for Israel.  His conduct during the debate has earned him a banning for life from the Cambridge Union Society.

Here is Mr. Latner's unedited speech:

Why Israel is a Rogue State

This is a war of ideals, and the other speakers here tonight are rightfully, idealists. I'm not. I'm a realist. I'm here to win. I have a single goal this evening – to have at least a plurality of you walk out of the 'Aye' door. I face a singular challenge – most, if not all, of you have already made up your minds.

This issue is too polarizing for the vast majority of you not to already have a set opinion. I'd be willing to bet that half of you strongly support the motion, and half of you strongly oppose it. I want to win, and we're destined for a tie. I'm tempted to do what my fellow speakers are going to do – simply rehash every bad thing the Israeli government has ever done in an attempt to satisfy those of you who agree with them. And perhaps they'll even guilt one of you rare undecided into voting for the proposition, or more accurately, against Israel. It would be so easy to twist the meaning and significance of international 'laws' to make Israel look like a criminal state. But that's been done to death. It would be easier still to play to your sympathy, with personalised stories of Palestinian suffering. And they can give very eloquent speeches on those issues. But the truth is, that treating people badly, whether they're your citizens or an occupied nation, does not make a state' rogue'. If it did, Canada, the US, and Australia would all be rogue states based on how they treat their indigenous populations. Britain's treatment of the Irish would easily qualify them to wear this sobriquet. These arguments, while emotionally satisfying, lack intellectual rigour.

More importantly, I just don't think we can win with those arguments. It won't change the numbers. Half of you will agree with them, half of you won't. So I'm going to try something different, something a little unorthodox. I'm going to try and convince the die-hard Zionists and Israel supporters here tonight, to vote for the proposition. By the end of my speech – I will have presented 5 pro-Israel arguments that show Israel is, if not a 'rogue state' than at least 'rogueish'.

Let me be clear. I will not be arguing that Israel is 'bad'. I will not be arguing that it doesn't deserve to exist. I won't be arguing that it behaves worse than every other country. I will only be arguing that Israel is 'rogue'.

The word 'rogue' has come to have exceptionally damning connotations. But the word itself is value-neutral. The OED defines rogue as 'Aberrant, anomalous; misplaced, occurring (esp. in isolation) at an unexpected place or time ', while a dictionary from a far greater institution gives this definition 'behaving in ways that are not expected or not normal, often in a destructive way '. These definitions, and others, centre on the idea of anomaly – the unexpected or uncommon. Using this definition, a rogue state is one that acts in an unexpected, uncommon or aberrant manner. A state that behaves exactly like Israel.

The first argument is statistical. The fact that Israel is a Jewish state alone makes it anomalous enough to be dubbed a rogue state: There are 195 countries in the world. Some are Christian, some Muslim, some are secular. Israel is the only country in the world that is Jewish. Or, to speak mathmo for a moment, the chance of any randomly chosen state being Jewish is 0.0051% . In comparison the chance of a UK lotto ticket winning at least £10 is 0.017% - more than twice as likely. Israel's Jewishness is a statistical abberation.

The second argument concerns Israel's humanitarianism, in particular,Israel's response to a refugee crisis. Not the Palestinian refugee crisis – for I am sure that the other speakers will cover that – but the issue of Darfurian refugees. Everyone knows that what happened, and is still happening in Darfur, is genocide, whether or not the UN and the Arab League will call it such. [I actually hoped that Mr Massih would be able speak about this - he's actually somewhat of an expert on the Crisis in Darfur, in fact it's his expertise that has called him away to represent the former Dictator of Sudan while he is being investigated by the ICC.] There has been a mass exodus from Darfur as the oppressed seek safety. They have not had much luck. Many have gone north to Egypt – where they are treated despicably. The brave make a run through the desert in a bid to make it to Israel. Not only do they face the natural threats of the Sinai, they are also used for target practice by the Egyptian soldiers patrolling the border. Why would they take the risk? Because in Israel they are treated with compassion – they are treated as the refugees that they are – and perhaps Israel's cultural memory of genocide is to blame. The Israeli government has even gone so far as to grant several hundred Darfurian refugees Citizenship. This alone sets Israel apart from the rest of the world.

But the real point of distinction is this: The IDF sends out soldiers and medics to patrol the Egyptian border. They are sent looking for refugees attempting to cross into Israel. Not to send them back into Egypt, but to save them from dehydration, heat exhaustion, and Egyptian bullets. Compare that to the US's reaction to illegal immigration across their border with Mexico. The American government has arrested private individuals for giving water to border crossers who were dying of thirst – and here the Israeli government is sending out its soldiers to save illegal immigrants. To call that sort of behavior anomalous is an understatement.

My Third argument is that the Israeli government engages in an activity which the rest of the world shuns -- it negotiates with terrorists. Forget the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, a man who died with blood all over his hands – they're in the process of negotiating with terrorists as we speak. Yasser Abed Rabbo is one of the lead PLO negotiators that has been sent to the peace talks with Israel. Abed Rabbo also used to be a leader of the PFLP- an organisation of 'freedom fighters' that, under Abed Rabbo's leadership, engaged in such freedom promoting activities as killing 22 Israeli high school students. And the Israeli government is sending delegates to sit at a table with this man, and talk about peace. And the world applauds. You would never see the Spanish government in peace talks with the leaders of the ETA – the British government would never negotiate with Thomas Murphy. And if President Obama were to sit down and talk about peace with Osama Bin Laden, the world would view this as insanity. But Israel can do the exact same thing – and earn international praise in the process. That is the dictionary definition of rogue – behaving in a way that is unexpected, or not normal.

Another part of dictionary definition is behaviour or activity 'occuring at an unexpected place or time'. When you compare Israel to its regional neighbours, it becomes clear just how roguish Israel is. And here is the fourth argument: Israel has a better human rights record than any of its neighbours. At no point in history, has there ever been a liberal democratic state in the Middle East- except for Israel. Of all the countries in the Middle East, Israel is the only one where the LGBT community enjoys even a small measure of equality. In Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, and Syria, homosexual conduct is punishable by flogging, imprisonment, or both. But homosexuals there get off pretty lightly compared to their counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, who are put to death. Israeli homosexuals can adopt, openly serve in the army, enter civil unions, and are protected by exceptionally strongly worded ant-discrimination legislation. Beats a death sentence. In fact, it beats America.

Israel's protection of its citizens' civil liberties has earned international recognition. Freedom House is an NGO that releases an annual report on democracy and civil liberties in each of the 195 countries in the world. It ranks each country as 'Free' 'Partly Free' or 'Not Free'. In the Middle East, Israel is the only country that has earned designation as a 'free' country. Not surprising given the level of freedom afforded to citizens in say, Lebanon- a country designated 'partly free', where there are laws against reporters criticizing not only the Lebanese government, but the Syrian regime as well. [I'm hoping Ms Booth will speak about this, given her experience working as a 'journalist' for Iran,] Iran is a country given the rating of 'not free', putting it alongside China, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Myanmar. In Iran, [as Ms Booth I hoped would have said in her speech], there is a special 'Press Court' which prosecutes journalists for such heinous offences as criticizing the ayatollah, reporting on stories damaging the 'foundations of the Islamic republic' , using 'suspicious (i.e. western) sources', or insulting islam. Iran is the world leader in terms of jailed journalists, with 39 reporters (that we know of) in prison as of 2009. They also kicked out almost every Western journalist during the 2009 election. [I don't know if Ms Booth was affected by that] I guess we can't really expect more from a theocracy. Which is what most countries in the Middle East are. Theocracies and Autocracies. But Israel is the sole, the only, the rogue, democracy. Out of every country in the Middle East, only in Israel do anti-government protests and reporting go unquashed and uncensored.

I have one final argument – the last nail in the opposition's coffin- and its sitting right across the aisle. Mr Ran Gidor's presence here is the all evidence any of us should need to confidently call Israel a rogue state. For those of you who have never heard of him, Mr Gidor is a political counsellor attached to Israel's embassy in London. He's the guy the Israeli government sent to represent them to the UN. He knows what he's doing. And he's here tonight. And it's incredible. Consider, for a moment, what his presence here means. The Israeli government has signed off,to allow one of their senior diplomatic representatives to participate in a debate on their very legitimacy. That's remarkable. Do you think for a minute, that any other country would do the same? If the Yale University Debating Society were to have a debate where the motion was 'This house believes Britain is a racist, totalitarian state that has done irrevocable harm to the peoples of the world', that Britain would allow any of its officials to participate? No. Would China participate in a debate about the status of Taiwan? Never. And there is no chance in hell that an American government official would ever be permitted to argue in a debate concerning its treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. But Israel has sent Mr Ran Gidor to argue tonight against [a 'journalist' come reality TV star, and myself,] a 19 year old law student who is entirely unqualified to speak on the issue at hand.

Every government in the world should be laughing at Israel right now- because it forgot rule number one. You never add credence to crackpots by engaging with them. It's the same reason you won't see Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins debate David Icke. But Israel is doing precisely that. Once again, behaving in a way that is unexpected, or not normal. Behaving like a rogue state.

That's five arguments that have been directed at the supporters of Israel. But I have a minute or two left. And here's an argument for all of you – Israel willfully and forcefully disregards international law. In 1981 Israel destroyed OSIRAK – Sadam Hussein's nuclear bomb lab. Every government in the world knew that Hussein was building a bomb. And they did nothing. Except for Israel. Yes, in doing so they broke international law and custom. But they also saved us all from a nuclear Iraq. That rogue action should earn Israel a place of respect in the eyes of all freedom loving peoples. But it hasn't. But tonight, while you listen to us prattle on, I want you to remember something; while you're here, Khomeini's Iran is working towards the Bomb. And if you're honest with yourself, you know that Israel is the only country that can, and will, do something about it. Israel will, out of necessity act in a way that is the not the norm, and you'd better hope that they do it in a destructive manner. Any sane person would rather a rogue Israel than a Nuclear Iran. [Except Ms Booth]

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Incompatibility of Islam and the West, by Robert Redeker

01.11.10: Robert Redeker is a French philosopher and teacher who, on September 19, 2006, published an opinion piece critical of Islam in the newspaper Le Figaro. Death threat rained upon his head immediately, and since then he has lived in hiding under police protection. His situation, however, has not prevented him from continuing to speak out fearlessly and eloquently. In this essay, which appears here in English for the first time, he ponders the incompatibility of the narrow Koranic worldview and the message of the gospel that made possible the freedoms we now associate with the Enlightenment.

Why are the relations between Western societies and Islam so perturbed? Of course, the terror involved in the discriminant charge of "Islamophobia," as its originator, the Iranian regime, intended, to intimidate intelligent worldwide criticism, plays a role. But there is a deeper reason: paradoxically, our era of memorial inflation forgets history. This cult of memory is an interminable act of contrition centered on a politically correct self-righteousness that erases history. That history would reveal the length and bitterness of the conflict between Islam and the West. Naive Westerners refuse to recall that this story is violent and that, from the beginning, it has been more or less obvious that a kind of permanent war has been underway. They forget that it took a mighty struggle to contain and to roll back Islam. They forget that the Judeo-Islamo-Christian harmony in medieval Spain is a fairy tale, a utopian myth fabricated to obscure for contemporary Europeans the reality of Muslim oppression. In the face of this naïve myth, historians are recovering the truth, which was quite violent. Afflicted by a willful blindness, these naïfs refuse to acknowledge the clash between Islam and the West, history’s only age-old conflict. The context is the fundamental antagonism between the values of Christianity and its offshoot, the Enlightenment (concern for the individual, for the Other, for freedom etc.), and those of Islam.

If Muslim culture has been unable to take part in the great political progress of humankind, it is primarily because the Koran forbids it on principle. Political progress is the consequence of Christianity, its native soil, its humus. Born of Christianity, the Western world is an oasis in history, as precious as it is fragile: never have men and women been so free, so esteemed, so educated, so protected against violence and injustice, disease and death, arbitrary treatment and hunger – never have women and children known such respect – as in Western Europe and the modern Anglo-Saxon countries. Never has civilization reached such a zenith. Western civilization, the paradise that the West has constructed, was not invented in the Muslim world. It is no coincidence. The ideological universe shaped by the Koran is not fertile turf for the development of a free humanity striving for gentleness and justice for all. In a landmark book, Islam and the West, the philosopher Christian Delacampagne wrote: "No historian will manage to convince me that it is Islam, rather than the agnostic Europe of the Enlightenment, that gave the world the idea of tolerance.”

Open the Koran. Read. You will notice this: the Qur'an is from the outset a political book. Before offering the reader biography (in the form of the life and achievements of Muhammad), hagiography (the life told in the manner of a legend), and spirituality, the Koran presents itself as a political book. On the one hand, the Prophet's life is indeed that of a party boss, a clan chieftain, a military leader who did not hesitate to shed blood and to engage in intrigues that unfold in the heat of battle and political conflict. On the other hand, the Koran is a collection of political laws describing precisely how society should be organized and governed. Hence this book, and the religion it established, Islam, is a matrix that has given rise to societies made in its own image. These are societies in which theology and politics have been intimately fused together, forming a jumble that makes it impossible to distinguish between that which is essentially political and that which is essentially religious. The Western world emerged from an antithetical set of ideas: Jesus called on us to distinguish between the commandments of politics and of theology, to "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's." Unlike the gospel, the Koran, a jumble of politics and religion, makes impossible the two events that made possible the human political progress that has led to the West’s moral superiority: the separation of politics and religion and the emergence of a highly developed and differentiated civil society.

Nothing is more obvious that the incompatibility between Islam and Western democratic societies. These societies are wary of Islam, and rightly so. They fear, not without good reason, the cultural transformations brought about by its development. Girls fear that new social norms, inspired by Sharia law, are becoming ingrained in, and beginning to govern, their daily lives.

Obama Comes Up Short on Asia Trip

What a sad spectacle.  The president of the United States treated like the head of a Third World nation by South Korea and China, lectured by Germany, Brazil and others and finally admitting failure in a press conference.  A pathetic performance by an administration that fails to understand that G-20 meetings are supposed to be photo opportunities to conclude agreements negotiated a priori.

When ABC says that that Obama's trip "came up short," shades of Jimmy Carter begin to emerge. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Must See TV

Michael Coren interviews Mark Steyn on Canadian television.  A wonderful 45 minutes discussing topics that the politically correct world  would not dare touch.  Enjoy and share.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fred Thompson and Howard Dean on the 2010 election

If you have some time, and nothing to do, here are former senator Fred Thompson and former governor Howard Dean conducting a civilized debate about the 2010 election. Mark Steyn moderates.

If we could have presidential debates in this style, we would be able to elect much better candidates. 

Americans Vote for Maturity, by Peggy Noonan

Obama gets a rebuke, but so do Republicans who seem unqualified.
The Wall Street Journal: November 5, 2010

'The people have spoken, the bastards." That would be how Democrats in the White House and on Capitol Hill are feeling. The last two years of their leadership have been rebuffed. The question for the Democratic Party: Was it worth it? Was it worth following the president and the speaker in their mad pursuit of liberal legislation the country would not, could not, like? And what will you do now? Which path will you take?

The Republicans saw their own establishment firmly, sharply put down. The question for them: What will you do to show yourselves worthy of the bounty?

The Republicans won big, but both parties return to Washington chastened. Good.

Two small points on the election's atmospherics that carry implications for the future. The first is that negative ads became boring, unpersuasive. Forty years ago they were new, exciting in a sort of prurient way. Now voters take for granted that politicians are no good, and such ads are just more polluted water going over the waterfall. The biggest long-term loser: liberalism. If all pols are sleazoid crooks, then why would people want to give them more governmental power to order our lives? The implicit message of two generations of negative ads: Vote conservative, limit the reach of the thieves.

The second, not much noticed, is that all candidates must assume now that they are being taped, wherever they are, including private conversations. Sharron Angle was taped in a private meeting with a potential supporter, who leaked it to the press, to her embarrassment. The taper/leaker was a sleaze and a weasel—a sleazel—but candidates can no longer ever assume they are speaking in confidence; they have to assume even aides and supporters are wired. (Go reread "Game Change" and wonder if some of the conversations reported there were taped.) The zone of privacy just got smaller, and the possibility of blackmail, a perennial unseen force in politics, wider. Prediction: this fact will, at some point in 2012, cause an uproar.

On to the aftermath of the election. On Wednesday President Obama gave a news conference to share his thoughts. Viewers would have found it disappointing if there had been any viewers. The president is speaking, in effect, to an empty room. From my notes five minutes in: "This wet blanket, this occupier of the least interesting corner of the faculty lounge, this joy-free zone, this inert gas." By the end I was certain he will never produce a successful stimulus because he is a human depression.

Actually I thought the worst thing you can say about a president: that he won't even make a good former president.

His detachment is so great, it is even from himself. As he spoke, he seemed to be narrating from a remove. It was like hearing the audiobook of Volume I of his presidential memoirs. "Obama was frustrated. He honestly didn't understand what the country was doing. It was as if they had compulsive hand-washing disorder. In '08 they washed off Bush. Now they're washing off Obama. There he is, swirling down the drain! It's all too dramatic, too polar. The morning after the election it occurred to him: maybe he should take strong action. Maybe he should fire America! They did well in 2008, but since then they've been slipping. They weren't giving him the followership he needed. But that wouldn't work, they'd only complain. He had to keep his cool. His aides kept telling him, 'Show humility.' But they never told him what humility looked like. What was he supposed to do, burst into tears and say hit me? Not knowing how to feel humility or therefore show humility he decided to announce humility: He found the election 'humbling,' he said."

What Democrats have to learn from this election: Cut loose from that. Join with Republicans where you can, create legislation together, send the bill to the White House, see what happens. Even as the Republicans have succeeded in getting out from under George W. Bush, this is your chance to get out from under Mr. Obama, and possibly prosper in 2012 whatever happens to him.

What the tea party, by which I mean members and sympathizers, has to learn from 2010 is this: Not only the message is important but the messenger.

Even in a perfect political environment, those candidates who were conservative but seemed strange, or unprofessional, or not fully qualified, or like empty bags skittering along the street, did not fare well. The tea party provided the fire and passion of the election, and helped produce major wins—Marco Rubio by 19 points! But in the future the tea party is going to have to ask itself: is this candidate electable? Will he pass muster with those who may not themselves be deeply political but who hold certain expectations as to the dignity and stature required of those who hold office?

This is the key question the tea party will face in 2012. And it will be hard to answer it, because the tea party doesn't have leaders or conventions, so the answer will have to bubble up from a thousand groups, from 10,000leaders.

Electable doesn't mean not-conservative. Electable means mature, accomplished, stable—and able to persuade.

Conservatives talked a lot about Ronald Reagan this year, but they have to take him more to heart, because his example here is a guide. All this seemed lost last week on Sarah Palin, who called him, on Fox, "an actor." She was defending her form of policical celebrity—reality show, "Dancing With the Stars," etc. This is how she did it: "Wasn't Ronald Reagan an actor? Wasn't he in 'Bedtime for Bonzo,' Bozo, something? Ronald Reagan was an actor."

Excuse me, but this was ignorant even for Mrs. Palin. Reagan people quietly flipped their lids, but I'll voice their consternation to make a larger point. Ronald Reagan was an artist who willed himself into leadership as president of a major American labor union (Screen Actors Guild, seven terms, 1947-59.) He led that union successfully through major upheavals (the Hollywood communist wars, labor-management struggles); discovered and honed his ability to speak persuasively by talking to workers on the line at General Electric for eight years; was elected to and completed two full terms as governor of California; challenged and almost unseated an incumbent president of his own party; and went on to popularize modern conservative political philosophy without the help of a conservative infrastructure. Then he was elected president.

The point is not "He was a great man and you are a nincompoop," though that is true. The point is that Reagan's career is a guide, not only for the tea party but for all in politics. He brought his fully mature, fully seasoned self into politics with him. He wasn't in search of a life when he ran for office, and he wasn't in search of fame; he'd already lived a life, he was already well known, he'd accomplished things in the world.

Here is an old tradition badly in need of return: You have to earn your way into politics. You should go have a life, build a string of accomplishments, then enter public service. And you need actual talent: You have to be able to bring people in and along. You can't just bully them, you can't just assert and taunt, you have to be able to persuade.

Americans don't want, as their representatives, people who seem empty or crazy. They'll vote no on that.

It's not just the message, it's the messenger.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thank You, America!

Well, the Americans have spoken, and the message to the new Congress is loud and clear: Just Say No!

On that vein, read the latest column by Michelle Malkin, where she basically recommends that we tell the Democrats "Take the olive brunch and shove it."

Read Michelle Malkin's article

Meanwhile, an interesting development for the Congressional Black Caucus.  “Racist” America elected three additional black congressmen.  Two of them, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Allen West of Florida, are Republicans who won with the support of the “racist” Tea Party.  How will their Democrat black counterparts receive them?  Let’s wait and see. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Sensitive Guy

Here is a video that shows why Chris Christie is what we need in Washington. 

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie calls Jon Corzine quintessential limousine liberal in America

In the news...

A very interesting poll conducted by the Gallup Organization, once again shows that conservatism is the label of choice that most Americans attach to their ideology.  Even among Democrats, 37 percent identify themselves as conservatives.  Not bad for a movement that two years ago was declared DOA by mainstream punditry. Will this help define the result of Tuesday's elections?

Read Gallup report and data

Charles Krauthammer uses his background as psychiatrist to explain a new malaise among Americans; anxiety-induced Obama Underappreciation Syndrome. 

Read Krauthammer's Article

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Israel’s Conflict as Game Theory

Israel's Conflict as Game Theory
By By Prof. Yisrael Aumann, Nobel Prize Laureate (Aumann received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2005 for his work on conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis.)

Two men—let us call them Rick and Steve— are put in a small room containing a suitcase filled with bills totaling $100,000. The owner of the suitcase announces the following:

“I will give you the money in the suitcase under one condition…you have to negotiate an agreement on how to divide it. That is the only way I will agree to give you the money.”

Rick is a rational person and realizes the golden opportunity that has fallen his way. He turns to Steve with the obvious suggestion: “You take half and I’ll take half, that way each of us will have $50,000.”

To his surprise, Steve frowns at him and says, in a tone that leaves no room for doubt: “Look here, I don’t know what your plans are for the money, but I don’t intend to leave this room with less than $90,000. If you accept that, fine. If not, we can both go home without any of the money.”

Rick can hardly believe his ears. “What has happened to Steve” he asks himself. “Why should he get 90% of the money and I just 10%?” He decides to try to convince Steve to accept his view. “Let’s be logical,” he urges him, “We are in the same situation, we both want the money. Let’s divide the money equally and both of us will profit.”

Steve, however, doesn’t seem perturbed by his friend’s logic. He listens attentively, but when Rick is finished he says, even more emphatically than before: “90-10 or nothing. That is my last offer.”
Rick’s face turns red with anger. He is about to punch Steve in the nose, but he steps back. He realizes that Steve is not going to relent, and that the only way he can leave the room with any money is to give in to him. He straightens his clothes, takes $10,000 from the suitcase, shakes Steve’s hand and leaves the room humiliated.

This case is called ‘The Blackmailer’s Paradox” in game theory. The paradox is that Rick the rational is forced to behave irrationally by definition, in order to achieve maximum results in the face of the situation that has evolved. What brings about this bizarre outcome is the fact Steve is sure of himself and doesn’t flinch when making his exorbitant demand. This convinces Rick that he must give in so as to make the best of the situation.

The Arab-Israeli Conflict

The relationship between Israel and the Arab countries is conducted along the lines of this paradox. At each stage of negotiation, the Arabs present impossible, unacceptable starting positions. They act sure of themselves and as if they totally believe in what they are asking for, and make it clear to Israel that there is no chance of their backing down.

Invariably, Israel agrees to their blackmailing demands because otherwise she will leave the room empty handed. The most blatant example of this is the negotiations with Syria that have been taking place with different levels of negotiators for years. The Syrians made sure that it was clear from the beginning that they would not compromise on one millimeter of the Golan Heights.

The Israeli side, eager to have a peace agreement with Syria, internalized the Syrian position so well, that the Israeli public is sure that the starting point for future negotiations with Syria has to include complete withdrawal from the Golan Heights, this despite its critical strategic importance in ensuring secure borders for Israel.

The Losing Solution
According to game theory, Israel has to change certain basic perceptions in order to improve her chances in the negotiations game with the Arabs and win the long term political struggle:

a. Willingness to forego agreements

Israel’s political stand is based on the principle that agreements must be reached with the Arabs at any price, that the lack of agreements is untenable. In the Blackmailer’s Paradox, Rick’s behavior is the result of his feeling that he must leave the room with some money, no matter how little. Because Rick cannot imagine himself leaving the room with empty hands, he is easy prey for Steve, and ends up leaving with a certain amount of money, but in the role of the humiliated loser. This is similar to the way Israel handles negotiations, her mental state making her unable to reject suggestions that do not advance her interests.

b. Taking repetition into account

Game theory relates to onetime situations differently than to situations that repeat themselves. A situation that repeats itself over any length of time, creates, paradoxically, strategic parity that leads to cooperation between the opposing sides. This cooperation occurs when both sides realize that the game is going to repeat itself, and that since they must weigh the influence present moves will have on future games, there is a balancing factor at play.

Rick saw his problem as a onetime event, and behaved accordingly. Had he told Steve instead that he would not forego the amount he deserves even if he sustains a total loss, he would have changed the game results for an indefinite period. It is probably true that he would still have left the game empty handed, but at the next meeting with Steve, the latter would remember Rick’s original suggestion and would try to reach a compromise.

That is how Israel has to behave, looking at the long term in order to improve her position in future negotiations, even if it means continuing a state of war and fore going an agreement.

c. Faith in your opinions

Another element that crates the “Blackmailer’s Paradox” is the unwavering belief of one side in its opinion. Steve exemplifies that. This faith gives a contender inner confidence in his cause at the start and eventually convinces his rival as well. The result is that the opposing side wants to reach an agreement, even at the expense of irrational surrender that is considerably distanced from his opening position.

Several years ago, I spoke to a senior officer who claimed that Israel must withdraw from the Golan Heights in the framework of a peace treaty, because the Golan is holy land to the Syrians and they will never give it up. I explained to him that first the Syrians convinced themselves that the Golan is holy land to them, and then proceeded to convince you as well. The Syrians’ unflinching belief that they are in the right convinces us to give in to their dictates. The only solution to that is for us to believe unwaveringly in the righteousness of our cause. Only complete faith in our demands can succeed in convincing our Syrian opponent to take our opinion into account.

As in all of science, game theory does not take sides in moral and value judgments. It analyzes strategically the behavior of opposing sides in a game they play against one another. The State of Israel is in the midst of one such game opposite its enemies. As in every game, the Arab-Israeli game involves interests that create the framework of the game and its rules.

Sadly, Israel ignores the basic principles of game theory. If Israel would be wise enough to behave according to those principles, her political status and de facto, her security status, would improve substantially.

Copyright Yisrael Aumann

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weekend Readings

Once again, in his inimitable style, Charles Krauthammer explains Obama Underappreciation Syndrome. 

Read Article

Thomas Friedman fantasized wrote "I have fantasized–don't get me wrong–but that what if we could just be China for a day? I mean, just, just, just one day. You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions."

Well here is where a totalitarian government will lead you to. To a woman forced to about an 8 months fetus because she already has a a nine years old daughter.

Read Article

Commentary Magazine has a copy of the letter that Mayor Ed Koch and national security expert Dan Senor have written to explain why they support the Republican candidate in the NY-22 race and not the incumbent.

Read Article

And now for a comic interlude.  Here is a commercial produced by David Zucker as atonement for supporting Barbara Boxer in the past.  Zucker is the producer of the movies Airplane and Naked Gun.

Call Me Senator from RightChange on Vimeo.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Must Read...

Andrew Gilligan reports on the emergence of an Islamic republic in Londonistan, earlier known as London.

Read Article

Peggy Noonan does it again.  In her inimitable style, Noonan explains how the Tea Party saved the Republican Party.

Read Article

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Republicans, Democrats and Israel

As support for Israel decreases around the world and particularly in Europe, one can notice a correlation between the positions of those on the left and those on the right with respect to backing the Jewish state.
The same ideological divide that has emerged in Europe can be seen in the United States, where those differences have a much larger impact on Israel that in any other place, given that American support is crucial to the existence of Israel. Therefore, a new poll commissioned by McLaughlin and Associates for the Emergency Committee for Israel helps shed light on the positions taken by the two main parties in America and the position of Americans in general with respect to Israel. For those of us who are supporters of Israel the results of this survey are extremely encouraging.

93 percent of those polled responded that the United States should be concerned about the safety and security of Israel, and 54 percent actually responded that the United States should be “very concerned” about Israel’s security. The same percentages expect their elected representatives to be pro-Israel. 53 percent also responded that they would be more likely to vote for candidates who support Israel, while 24 percent said that they would be less likely to vote for such candidate, thus showing that holding an anti-Israel position could actually hinder an election.

The poll becomes even more enlightening when we identify those polled by party. Among those who responded that they intend to vote Republican this November, 69 percent stated that they would be more likely to vote for a pro-Israel candidate, while 15 said that they were less likely, giving the pro-Israel group a 55 percent margin. Among Democrats the numbers reflect a very different picture and a pro-Israel margin of only 7 percent. 40 percent stated that they were more likely to vote for a pro-Israel candidate, while 33 percent stated that they were less likely to vote for such candidate. Among liberals the margin shrinks to 5 percent.

A poll by Zogby in 2009 already had began to show the different trends that exist between Democrats and Republicans with respect to this topic. 10 percent of Obama voters wanted the president to support Israel, while 60 percent of voters for McCain expected him to support Israel.

When asked whether the United States should get tough with Israel, 80 percent of Obama voters said yes, while 73 percent of McCain voters said no. Asked whether the United States should negotiate with Hamas, 69 percent of Obama voters said yes, while 79 percent of McCain’s voters said no. With respect to a “Palestinian right of return” this plan was endorsed by 61 percent of Obama’s voters, while only 21 percent of McCain voters supported it.

As we look at the results of these polls, one has to wonder what is it that has placed the Jewish vote in the pockets of the Democratic party. Will the numbers in November reflect the numbers in 2008? Cracks have began to emerge in the Jewish block. Will it be enough to shift the balance of power in such states as New York, Florida and California.   As a lover of America and a supporter of Israel I certainly hope so.

This article contains some opinions written by William Kristol and Daniel Pipes in The Weekly Standard and National Review.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pilar Rahola: The Pope's Trip to Barcelona

As I have done before, I am reprinting here an article written by Pilar Rahola. For those of you not familiar with Dr. Rahola, she is a Spanish Catalan journalist, writer, and former politician and Member of Parliament.

I translated the article.  All the brilliant points are Pilar's. All errors are mine.

The Pope's Trip to Barcelona

Some time ago I wrote that there are some illustrious heroes of the left who when they see a Catholic priest they get skin rashes, but when they see an imam they get an orgasm. Certainly, the attitude that the left has is a function of ideological pathologies with respect to the different religious leaders, and reflects a source of either humor or shame. The truth is that today, in Spain, attacking the Catholic Church is a sport generally successful.

First, because this most ancient church, which exists in the recesses of the Episcopal Conference, is quite laughable. And second, because faithful Catholics are very quiet, and respectful of freedom of expression and accustomed to being used as the punching bags of all lefties craving attention. Although I share the idea that religions need to conform to freedom of opinion, I think that attacking Catholics is more than opinion. It is, in many cases, a bitter resentment that leads to intolerance, and is born out of the deepest contempt. Even though I am unable to understand just faith, I respect those who work for a better world. Do not forget that it was the Catholic Church, that continued the heritage of Judaism, in what today is called solidarity, and their acolytes are still those who practice it the most around the world.

It is true that the Vatican is a source of power, historically more earthly than spiritual, and it is also true that the pedophilia scandal is deplorable and has not yet been well resolved by the Church. How long will the Church to understand that pedophilia it is not sin but a crime? But with all this, the Church deserves the respect that so many deny it.

The case is illustrated by Ricard Gomà (Councilman in Barcelona), who uses the magazine published by City Hall to protest against the "intolerant" Benedict XVI and his trip to Barcelona. Besides the ugliness of political propaganda paid with public money (why not use the newsletter of his party?), and the old accusations, it is remarkable the noise made against the Pope and the silence maintained against some of the fundamentalist imams who pollute the minds of so many people.

Demonstrate against the pope and not the imam of Lleida? (This imam was accused of polygamy and spousal abuse). Funny way to fight intolerance. It is particularly interesting that those who supposedly fight against intolerance blandish the flag of freedom contradict themselves so.

In short, nothing new under the sun of stupidity with which some decorate their old ideologies.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fair and Balanced Reporting From Israel

Whenever we watch the news or look at photographs in newspapers depicting atrocities of war, we tend to forget that behind the pictures lurks a photographer.  In the case of embedded journalists who travel with the army, one can understand how they managed to capture the images.  However, in the case of spontaneous outburst by children in the West Bank or Gaza, it becomes more difficult to understand whether the media was there to report, or incite or in some cases to do both.  The following video deals with the issue.

Thank you Honest Reporting for bringing this to our attention.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kurt Browning: Singing in the Rain

I have been busy the last few days, and unable to place any new entries. Hopefully, I will start blogging again tomorrow. In the meantime here is a fabulous video of Kurt Browning doing Singing in the Rain. Enjoy.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Reuben Sandwich

Time to put politics aside and have a few laughs. Enjoy this video.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

From the Unbelievable to the Passé

From the Unbelievable to the Passé

Worth Reading

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Representative Eric Cantor outlines the Republican agenda for the next two years.  By the way, he is the only Republican Jew in Congress.  It is time we Jews learn who our friends are, and begin supporting them. 

Read Article

Another article in the Wall Street Journal explains why 30,000 McDonald's employees may loose their health coverage.  So far the majority of people I have spoken to do not seem to understand that the fine print in Obamacare was designed to eliminate health insurance programs, that although no perfect, offer coverage to millions of Americans, most of whom are poor or very young.  This was done to lead eventually to a single payer system.  Of course then we will discover how wonderful government programs are.  Have you been to the DMV or Post Office lately?

Read Article

Environmentalists show they can be as caring as al-Qaeda

I just finished watching a video produced in England to promote cutting carbon emissions.  When I saw this video for the first time I assumed that it was an anti-environmentalist group that produced it. I was wrong.

This gives a new meaning to the term "environmentalist wacko."

Friday, October 1, 2010

In the news...

Rick Sanchez says CNN is run by Jews, and not in a complementary way. Well, I always suspected him of being suspected him of being stupid. Now he has confirmed it.

Update:  CNN has just announced the Rick Sanchez has been fired.  The usual suspects will blame Jewish domination of the media.

Read Article

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Reply to Congressman Grayson

Two can play the same game. 

The video I posted yesterday shows how by taking words out of context, Grayson offers a commercial where the words uttered by his opponent are the exact opposite of what the candidate actually said.

Here is a video, where using the words of Grayson in the same manner he uses those of his opponents, one can present him as a candidate who hates children, the elderly and loves Satan.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The most despicable member of Cogress

To call Rep. Grayson reprehensible would be actually elevating him. He is by far the most despicable member of Congress. Here he is questioned by MSNBC in an interview that summarizes everything that is wrong with this congressman. Personally, I really believe that Grayson is mentally ill.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Two Papers in One!

Zero Tolerance for the New York Times!

• "The administration has estimated that [medical insurance] premiums should rise no more than 2 percent because of the new [ObamaCare] consumer protections, and warned this month that it would have 'zero tolerance' for efforts to blame the law for larger increases."--New York Times, Sept. 23

• "Blue Shield recently filed rate increases of less than 2 percent, on average, for all of its policies, and a little more than 4 percent in the individual market, largely to address the expanded benefits under the new federal law."--New York Times, Sept. 23

Two Papers in One!

• "The Senate, of all places, should be sensitive to the fact that this large and diverse country has never believed in government by an unrestrained majority rule. . . . A decade ago, this page expressed support for tactics that would have gone even further than the 'nuclear option' in eliminating the power of the filibuster. At the time, we had vivid memories of the difficulty that Senate Republicans had given much of Bill Clinton's early agenda. But we were still wrong. To see the filibuster fully, it's obviously a good idea to have to live on both sides of it. We hope acknowledging our own error may remind some wavering Republican senators that someday they, too, will be on the other side and in need of all the protections the Senate rules can provide."--editorial, New York Times, March 29, 2005

• "President Obama, the House and a majority of senators clearly support an end to 'don't ask, don't tell,' but that, of course, is insufficient in the upside-down world of today's Senate, where 40 members can block anything."--editorial, New York Times, Sept. 21, 2010

Thank you James Taranto at Best of the News

Friday, September 24, 2010

Worth Reading

Thank you Texas! In an act of courage, the Texas Board of Education has passed a resolution curtailing references to Islam in textbooks.  As a retired educator and school supervisor I greet this with delight.  In the last decade references to Islam had to be vetted by Muslim professors, and if you followed what the textbooks published you would think that Islam found Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa too violent.  References to violence were limited to Christianity and the West.  I guess that Islam expanded from India to Spain by distributing leaflets in caravan stations.

Read Article 

In a meeting of his Global Initiative, the ubiquitous Bill Clinton gave an analysis of the situation in Israel and the prospects for peace.  He went on to explain that Russian Jews in Israel are a major obstacle to peace.  In his always-embellishing style, the former president went on to recall a conversation with Nathan Sharansky, who opposed Clinton’s peace proposal at Camp David.  Of course, Sharansky, who was not present at Camp David at the time, refuted the dialogue recalled by Mr. Clinton.  I hope that Clinton remembers that It was Arafat who rejected the most comprehensive offer Israel ever made.

Read Article

Emirates TV reports that a Saudi man beat and divorced his wife when she stuffed cheese instead of meat into his Sambosa pies.  I am now debating whether to show the article to my wife in the hope that it would motivate her to cook exactly the way I like my food.  If I had to bet, it would motivate her to send me to the neighborhood restaurant three times a day.  This if she doesn’t divorce me first.

Read Article

Charles Krauthammer analyzes the Democrat plan to attack the Tea Party, and their rationalization that the Tea Party will lead to a Democrat victory in November.  As usual, Krauthammer is brilliant.

Read Article

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Los Angeles Times v. Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times published the following excerpt on June 4, 2009:

For the ‘funemployed,’ unemployment’s welcomed

These jobless folks, usually singles in their 20s and 30s, find that life without work agrees with them. They’re not sending out resumes, but instead lazing at the beach and taking long trips abroad.

Michael Van Gorkom was laid off by Yahoo in late April. He didn’t panic. He didn’t rush off to a therapist. Instead, the 33-year-old Santa Monica resident discovered that being jobless “kind of settled nicely.”

Week one: “I thought, ‘OK . . . I need to send out resumes, send some e-mails, need to do networking.”

Week two: “A little less.”

Every week since: “I’m going to go to the beach and enjoy some margaritas.”

What most people would call unemployment, Van Gorkom embraced as “funemployment.”

While millions of Americans struggle to find work as they face foreclosures and bankruptcy, others have found a silver lining in the economic meltdown. These happily jobless tend to be single and in their 20s and 30s. Some were laid off. Some quit voluntarily, lured by generous buyouts.

Buoyed by severance, savings, unemployment checks or their parents, the funemployed do not spend their days poring over job listings. They travel on the cheap for weeks. They head back to school or volunteer at the neighborhood soup kitchen. And at least till the bank account dries up, they’re content living for today.
September 21, 2010, they published the following:

Jobless workers dispute claim that unemployment benefits foster complacency

The idea that extended benefits discourage people from seeking work is an insult, unemployed workers say. ‘Let ‘em walk a mile in our shoes,’ one jobless woman says of unemployment critics.

It’s an old theory that’s gaining new political currency: By cushioning the blow of unemployment for nearly two years, jobless benefits discourage recipients from looking for work.

The claim, most frequently advanced by conservative pundits and politicians aligned with the conservative “tea party” movement, is seen as a fresh insult by the nation’s suffering unemployed workers.

Thank You Patterico's Pontifications

Don't question politicians. They never lie.

Here is how "We the People" are treated by many of our representatives.  They can throw figures of the top of their heads, but we cannot question them or their integrity.

Memo to representative Ciro Rodriguez: Next year you and many of your democrat colleagues will have plenty of time to "defend" yourself.  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mollifying Muslims, and Muslifying Mollies

The folowing is an article by Mark Steyn on Islam and the West.  It is as perceptive and brilliant as ever
While I've been talking about free speech in Copenhagen, several free speech issues arose in North America. I was asked about them both at the Sappho Award event and in various interviews, so here's a few thoughts for what they're worth:

Too many people in the free world have internalized Islam’s view of them. A couple of years ago, I visited Guantanamo and subsequently wrote that, if I had to summon up Gitmo in a single image, it would be the brand-new copy of the Koran in each cell: To reassure incoming prisoners that the filthy infidels haven't touched the sacred book with their unclean hands, the Korans are hung from the walls in pristine, sterilized surgical masks. It's one thing for Muslims to regard infidels as unclean, but it's hard to see why it's in the interests of us infidels to string along with it and thereby validate their bigotry. What does that degree of prostration before their prejudices tell them about us? It’s a problem that Muslims think we’re unclean. It’s a far worse problem that we go along with it.

Take this no-name pastor from an obscure church who was threatening to burn the Koran. He didn’t burn any buildings or women and children. He didn’t even burn a book. He hadn’t actually laid a finger on a Koran, and yet the mere suggestion that he might do so prompted the President of the United States to denounce him, and the Secretary of State, and the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, various G7 leaders, and golly, even Angelina Jolie. President Obama has never said a word about honor killings of Muslim women. Secretary Clinton has never said a word about female genital mutilation. General Petraeus has never said a word about the rampant buggery of pre-pubescent boys by Pushtun men in Kandahar. But let an obscure man in Florida so much as raise the possibility that he might disrespect a book – an inanimate object – and the most powerful figures in the western world feel they have to weigh in.

Aside from all that, this obscure church’s website has been shut down, its insurance policy has been canceled, its mortgage has been called in by its bankers. Why? As Diana West wrote, why was it necessary or even seemly to make this pastor a non-person? Another one of Obama's famous "teaching moments"? In this case teaching us that Islamic law now applies to all? Only a couple of weeks ago, the President, at his most condescendingly ineffectual, presumed to lecture his moronic subjects about the First Amendment rights of Imam Rauf. Where's the condescending lecture on Pastor Jones' First Amendment rights?

When someone destroys a bible, US government officials don’t line up to attack him. President Obama bowed lower than a fawning maitre d’ before the King of Saudi Arabia, a man whose regime destroys bibles as a matter of state policy, and a man whose depraved religious police forces schoolgirls fleeing from a burning building back into the flames to die because they’d committed the sin of trying to escape without wearing their head scarves. If you show a representation of Mohammed, European commissioners and foreign ministers line up to denounce you. If you show a representation of Jesus Christ immersed in your own urine, you get a government grant for producing a widely admired work of art. Likewise, if you write a play about Jesus having gay sex with Judas Iscariot.

So just to clarify the ground rules, if you insult Christ, the media report the issue as freedom of expression: A healthy society has to have bold, brave, transgressive artists willing to question and challenge our assumptions, etc. But, if it’s Mohammed, the issue is no longer freedom of expression but the need for "respect" and "sensitivity" toward Islam, and all those bold brave transgressive artists don’t have a thing to say about it.

Maybe Pastor Jones doesn't have any First Amendment rights. Musing on Koran burning, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer argued:

[Oliver Wendell] Holmes said it doesn’t mean you can shout 'fire' in a crowded theater... Why? Because people will be trampled to death. And what is the crowded theater today? What is the being trampled to death?
This is a particularly obtuse remark even by the standards of contemporary American jurists. As I've said before, the fire-in-a-crowded-theatre shtick is the first refuge of the brain-dead. But it's worth noting the repellent modification Justice Breyer makes to Holmes' argument: If someone shouts fire in a gaslit Broadway theatre of 1893, people will panic. By definition, panic is an involuntary reaction. If someone threatens to burn a Koran, belligerent Muslims do not panic - they bully, they intimidate, they threaten, they burn and they kill. Those are conscious acts, at least if you take the view that Muslims are as fully human as the rest of us and therefore responsible for their choices. As my colleague Jonah Goldberg points out, Justice Breyer's remarks seem to assume that Muslims are not fully human.

More importantly, the logic of Breyer's halfwit intervention is to incentivize violence, and undermine law itself. What he seems to be telling the world is that Americans' constitutional rights will bend to intimidation. If Koran-burning rates a First Amendment exemption because Muslims are willing to kill over it, maybe Catholics should threaten to kill over the next gay-Jesus play, and Broadway could have its First Amendment rights reined in. Maybe the next time Janeane Garafolo goes on MSNBC and calls Obama's opponents racists, the Tea Partiers should rampage around town and NBC's free-speech rights would be withdrawn.

Meanwhile, in smaller ways, Islamic intimidation continues. One reason why I am skeptical that the Internet will prove the great beacon of liberty on our darkening planet is because most of the anonymous entities that make it happen are run by people marinated in jelly-spined political correctness. In Canada, an ISP called Bluehost knocked Marginalized Action Dinosaur off the air in response to a complaint by Asad Raza, a laughably litigious doctor in Brampton, Ontario. Had his name been Gordy McHoser, I doubt even the nancy boys at Bluehost would have given him the time of day. A similar fate briefly befell our old pal the Binksmeister at FreeMarkSteyn.com: In other words, a website set up to protest Islamic legal jihad was shut down by the same phenomenon. In America, The New York Times has already proposed giving "some government commission" control over Google’s search algorithm; the City of Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the Constitution signed, is now so removed from the spirit of the First Amendment that it's demanding bloggers pay a $300 "privilege" license for expressing their opinions online. The statists grow ever more comfortable in discussing openly the government management of your computer. But, even if they don't formally take it over, look at the people who run publishing houses, movie studios, schools and universities, and ask yourself whether you really want to bet the future on the commitment to free speech of those who run ISPs. SteynOnline, for example, is already banned by the Internet gatekeepers from the computers at both Marriott Hotels and Toronto Airport.

But forget about notorious rightwing hatemongers like me. Look at how liberal progressives protect their own. Do you remember a lady called Molly Norris? She's the dopey Seattle cartoonist who cooked up "Everybody Draws Mohammed" Day, and then, when she realized what she'd stumbled into, tried to back out of it. I regard Miss Norris as (to rewrite Stalin) a useless idiot, and she wrote to Mark's Mailbox to object. I stand by what I wrote then, especially the bit about her crappy peace-sign T-shirt. Now The Seattle Weekly informs us:

You may have noticed that Molly Norris' comic is not in the paper this week. That's because there is no more Molly.
On the advice of the FBI, she's been forced to go into hiding. If you want to measure the decline in western civilization's sense of self-preservation, go back to Valentine's Day 1989, get out the Fleet Street reports on the Salman Rushdie fatwa, and read the outrage of his fellow London literati at what was being done to one of the mainstays of the Hampstead dinner-party circuit. Then compare it with the feeble passivity of Molly Norris' own colleagues at an American cartoonist being forced to abandon her life: "There is no more Molly"? That's all the gutless pussies of The Seattle Weekly can say? As James Taranto notes in The Wall Street Journal, even much sought-after Ramadan-banquet constitutional scholar Barack Obama is remarkably silent:

Now Molly Norris, an American citizen, is forced into hiding because she exercised her right to free speech. Will President Obama say a word on her behalf? Does he believe in the First Amendment for anyone other than Muslims?
Who knows? Given his highly selective enthusiasms, you can hardly blame a third of Americans for figuring their president must be Muslim. In a way, that's the least pathetic explanation: The alternative is that he's just a craven squish. Which is an odd considering he is, supposedly, the most powerful man in the world.

Listen to what President Obama, Justice Breyer, General Petraeus, The Seattle Weekly and Bluehost internet services are telling us about where we're headed. As I said in America Alone, multiculturalism seems to operate to the same even-handedness as the old Cold War joke in which the American tells the Soviet guy that "in my country everyone is free to criticize the President", and the Soviet guy replies, "Same here. In my country everyone is free to criticize your President." Under one-way multiculturalism, the Muslim world is free to revere Islam and belittle the west's inheritance, and, likewise, the western world is free to revere Islam and belittle the west’s inheritance. If one has to choose, on balance Islam’s loathing of other cultures seems psychologically less damaging than western liberals' loathing of their own.

It is a basic rule of life that if you reward bad behavior, you get more of it. Every time Muslims either commit violence or threatens it, we reward them by capitulating. Indeed, President Obama, Justice Breyer, General Petraeus, and all the rest are now telling Islam, you don’t have to kill anyone, you don’t even have to threaten to kill anyone. We’ll be your enforcers. We’ll demand that the most footling and insignificant of our own citizens submit to the universal jurisdiction of Islam. So Obama and Breyer are now the “good cop” to the crazies’ "bad cop". Ooh, no, you can’t say anything about Islam, because my friend here gets a little excitable, and you really don’t want to get him worked up. The same people who tell us "Islam is a religion of peace" then turn around and tell us you have to be quiet, you have to shut up because otherwise these guys will go bananas and kill a bunch of people.

While I was in Denmark, one of the usual Islamobozos lit up prematurely in a Copenhagen hotel. Not mine, I'm happy to say. He wound up burning only himself, but his targets were my comrades at the newspaper Jyllands-Posten. I wouldn't want to upset Justice Breyer by yelling "Fire!" over a smoldering jihadist, but one day even these idiots will get lucky. I didn't like the Danish Security Police presence at the Copenhagen conference, and I preferred being footloose and fancy-free when I was prowling the more menacing parts of Rosengard across the water in Malmö the following evening. No one should lose their name, their home, their life, their liberty because ideological thugs are too insecure to take a joke. But Molly Norris is merely the latest squishy liberal to learn that, when the chips are down, your fellow lefties won't be there for you.