Saturday, July 30, 2005

Black People Love Us!

This website must be satirical. It is very funny and oddly thought-provoking. Read the “your letters” pages.

Al-Qaeda In Korea?

Suspected al-Qaida Member Visited Korea (Hat tip: evariste at discarded lies)

SEOUL (Yonhap) - South Korea went on a high alert as a suspected al-Qaida member from Pakistan sneaked into Seoul last month, police said.

The Pakistani man, 46, stayed in South Korea from June 23 to July 3 after receiving a tourist visa from the Korean Embassy in Thailand, said officials at the National Police Agency.

The man, identified only as A, is staying in Malaysia after a stopover in Thailand, an agency official said.

The South Korean police are cooperating with their Thai and Pakistani counterparts and Interpol to verify the identity of the man, the official said.

I would not be terribly surprised if Islamic terrorists targeted South Korea. For one, S. Korea is a long-time close ally of the United States and sent troops to Iraq. Secondly, some 70% of S. Koreans are Christians—and they tend to be fervent. In fact, S. Koreans have been evangelizing the Middle East in large numbers in the last couple of years.

When I was in S. Korea during the spring of ’04, I stumbled upon Seoul’s single Islamic “neighborhood” located in the Itaewan section. These were my impressions at the time:

… we walked up a steep hill. I noticed a huge chunk of Shwarma being cooked on a vertical spit, roasting meat Middle Eastern style. There were two guys standing there; one had a thick unibrow that only a man from the Middle East could sport. They were Turks and seemed friendly enough even though I declined to buy their product. We continued walking up the road and turned a corner. I saw a thickly bearded Pakistani wearing salwar kameez. I saw another Pakistani and then noticed Arabic script on a sign. Were it not for sporadic splashes of Hangool (Korean script), it felt like I could have been entering Pashawar or Quetta, Pakistan. And that would really suck, by the way… A second after that I looked up to see the magnificent facade of a Mosque, which I am dubbing "Al-Masjid Al-Seoul." It was made of light blue, intricately decorated tiles; like something you'd see in Isfahan or Samarkand. The rest of the structure was 'normal' in that only the facade was the decorated part. In the area there were numerous stores selling halal (Kosher for Muslims) meat and even a "Pakistani and Arab" restaurant… Within a few meters we were back in good 'ol Korean Seoul. There were various little shops selling medicinal herbs, huge chunks of cinnamon, squid jerky (I think—I’ll have to buy some and try it) and big slabs of dog breast- just kidding.

Just as I was about to return home, a S. Korean national was kidnapped by terrorists in Iraq and decapitated, despite his anguished pleas for mercy. A fairly large cadre of police were later required to protect Itaewan’s Muslims from the wrath of pissed off Koreans. The two Koreas are perhaps the most ethnically homogenous countries in the world. Korean society is very different from that of politically correct, multi-cultural British society. Koreans are also extremely emotional. If there is an Islamic terrorist bombing in S. Korea, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be a Muslim living there. As our own relationship with the two Koreas shows, Koreans are capable of being your best friends or your worst enemies.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Sea Monkeys!

I distinctly remember paging through a friend’s comic book when I was a kid and stumbling upon an advertisement for sea monkeys. When I saw the happy sea monkey family in the ad, I knew I wanted—no, needed—my very own sea monkeys. In my naïve little kid mind, I imagined an aquarium filled with castles and fake sea plants and all sorts of fun things for my sea monkeys to hangout in. I’d just add water and have my own “instant pets.” In my own home I’d have a “live sea-circus.” I fantasized about waking up every morning and waving at my happy sea monkeys, and imagined they'd cheerfully wave back at me. I couldn’t wait!

Finally, the sea monkey packet arrived in the mail. I followed the directions and waited… and waited. Yo-where were my sea monkey peeps?! Hmmm… I began to notice tiny things floating around, and although they appeared to be alive, they looked like bits of floating fish bowl detritus. Those were the sea monkeys? I think it was then that I learned about truth in advertising, or lack thereof.

Shortly thereafter our cleaning lady dumped out the sea monkey bowl. She thought it was just a dirty, empty fish bowl. My sea monkeys were too small for her to notice.

Sea monkeys, what a bullshit gimmick.

Frist And Stem-Cell Research

Frist Breaks With Bush on Stem-Cell Bill

"It isn't just a matter of faith, it's a matter of science," Frist, a heart-lung transplant surgeon, said in a Senate speech. "The president's policy should be modified."

Good for Frist. It takes a lot of integrity to break with one's political party.

My Feline Friends

From front to back: Tiger, Henry, and Zena get some much needed R&R on the bed after a long day of lounging around the house.

What Drives the Arab-Israeli Conflict?

There are two basic ways to view the Arab-Israeli conflict. To understand these two basic views, we have to identify conflict drivers. What drives the conflict?

It’s the Occupation, stupid!

This argument is a favorite of the Left and the mainstream media. Not including egregious examples of anti-Israel bias, if the MSM seems subtly biased against Israel, it is because they base their reporting/interpretation of the conflict from the assumption that Israeli occupation of parts of the West Bank and Gaza drives the conflict and is thus the major impediment to peace.

It’s the implacable anti-Semitic hatred, stupid!

The other argument cites the unceasing anti-Semitic hate that permeates Arab and Muslim society as the primary driver of the conflict. For some reason, I rarely read about this phenomenon in the MSM, even though it is well documented. If you doubt me, have you read or heard anything in the MSM about the latest accusations in the Arab world blaming Israel for Sharm el-Sheikh attacks in Egypt? You didn’t?

The occupation is not the primary driver

Which perspective is most accurate? I think the latter. First of all, the Arab states tried to kill Israel at birth in 1948, before she was even a state, before any occupation or refugees. In the following 19 years Egypt ruled Gaza and Jordan ruled the West Bank and East Jerusalem, yet both countries continued to support terror against Israel and advocated its destruction. In 1967 they rose up to destroy Israel, but ended up loosing the aforementioned territories. So, we can already see that Arab hate and aggression pre-dated the occupation.

Secondly, in 2000 Ehud Barak essentially offered Yasser Arafat everything the Palestinian “moderates” claimed would satisfy them: namely a state composed of the West Bank, Gaza and a shared Jerusalem. The Palestinians responded with the so-called al-Aksa Intifadah; in short, violence and rejectionism. This was their opportunity to “end the occupation,” and they blew it (up).

Thirdly, over the years polls have shown that large percentages of Arabs do not believe a two-state solution would be a satisfactory resolution to the conflict. In fact, if we merely listen to what the Arabs say in their mosques, newspapers, manifestos, etc., it is sadly obvious that for most of them, nothing short of the destruction of Israel will satisfy them.

In addition to the above examples, we have the insane anti-Semitic conspiracies theories, canards, lies and pure Jew-hatred promulgated incessantly through the most popular Arab and Muslim media outlets, as well as in the mosques, schools, universities and on the streets. The constant bombardment of anti-Semitic venom has poisoned the minds of generations of Arabs, and it is this hatred that motivates them to despise Israel and keeps the conflict chugging along.

This does not mean that Israel should continue to occupy the West Bank and Gaza. In fact, most Israelis want to end the occupation. They’ve tried, as the Camp David talks in 2000 attest. Despite the savage violence of the “al-Aksa Intifada,” Israel is about to unilaterally disengage from Gaza. This won’t stop the violence. It will probably make it worse. The unilateral withdrawal will send the signal that violence, not negotiations, work. Thus, more violence will follow.

With so much evidence proving that the “Occupation” is not the real driver of the conflict—and with so many insane anti-Semitic theories circulating throughout the Arab world—you would think that ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Newsweek, NYT’s, etc. et al., would take more notice by now.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Musings On "Media Musings"

In my city there is a weekly newspaper called the Shepherd Express, which I often read because its free and its everywhere. It’s a good source for finding out what’s going on around town. It is also very leftist.

The Shepherd has a columnist named Dave Berkman, a crusty old self-hating Jew. I despise most of Berkman’s views and I can’t stand his stupid column, Media Musings, so every week I’m going to rip it apart—starting now:

Fundamentalists & Darwin Plus, “Yeah, you—you fascist”

• It’s called “Social Darwinism”—the theological variant on Darwin’s thesis of “survival of the fittest” advanced by Western Tory political parties since the late 19th century. Those who enjoy wealth and power do so because God, in His infinite wisdom, chose them for success—which means the rest of us have been deemed unworthy. Thus, for government to use its powers to tax the wealthy is an inherent violation of the Lord’s moral code.What’s ironic is that this belief is today accepted by large numbers of fundamentalists—many financially unsuccessful—for whom anything smacking of Darwin would, you’d think, be anathema. But it was a major reason why so many supported W.’s call for a tax system that eases any “burden” inflicted on the wealthy as merely advancing God’s will.

This is complete and total poppycock! First of all, I’ve never met anybody who seriously believes in Social Darwinism, nor I have I ever read any articles supporting the theory in any respected conservative publications. Have you, dear reader? I didn’t think so. Yet Berkman would have us believe these views are popularly held among conservatives.

Secondly, I’ve never heard anybody argue against increasing taxes for the wealthy by citing the “Lord’s moral code.” Berkman is merely sliming as a [Christian] religious fundamentalist anybody opposed to raising taxes on the wealthy. My point is not to argue whether the rich should be taxed more or not; I just find Berkman’s arguments and tactics repugnant.

Interestingly, it was an opposing view that was held by the fundamentalist and political champion of the working class, William Jennings Bryan. He saw Darwinism as corrupt, for two reasons: First, it contradicted the immutable word of God as revealed in The Book of Genesis. Second, its applications in social thought served to denigrate the most noble of His creatures, those who toiled for a living.

Oh, so religion isn't all bad, Dave?

• And while on matters religious, the Journal Sentinel’s resident medievalist, Patrick McIlheran, is now insisting there’s no freedom from religion. Governments should post the Ten Commandments—thereby commanding, as the first of those mandates proclaims, that we must all believe in God. But Patrick, me lad, what business is it of government to tell us what we should believe? You have a right to your superstitions. Just don’t use my taxes to impose them on the rest of us.

Here I agree with Berkman because I strongly believe in the separation of religion and state. At the same time, I appreciate that our great society was founded on certain values that have a basis in Judeo-Christian civilization. As such, I think it is important to have an appreciattion for *why* our country is the way it is—and a big reason is because of the Ten Commandments and Judeo-Christian moral codes. Although I am opposed to government buildings posting the Ten Commandments, I don’t share Berkman’s sense of portentous glee about seeing them removed.

• Those on the left have a proclivity for labeling folks they strongly disagree with as “fascists.” But when it comes to the Bush administration, are we that far off?Here’s the definition of fascism formulated by Italian scholar Emilio Gentile: “A mass movement, that combines different classes, but is prevalently of the middle classes, which sees itself as having a mission of national regeneration, is in a state of war with its adversaries and seeks a monopoly of power by using terror, parliamentary tactics and compromise to create a new regime, destroying democracy.” And, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, it’s a “system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.” Former Columbia University history professor Robert Paxton insists the Bushies merit such a descriptor because of their fondness for “demonization of an enemy—which is both outside and inside … [as well as for insisting] we can’t afford the luxury of all our freedoms in order to save our community from this emergency created by the enemy … [and for] a unilateralist foreign policy [along with] the belief that a great nation cannot be bound by international treaties.” Isn’t it far more dangerous to avoid such a descriptor to define what we’re faced with than to employ it?

Yes, Dave, those on the left DO have a proclivity for labeling folks they strongly disagree with as “fascists.,” as you admittedly just did. As a Jew—albeit a self-hating one—I would think you'd be a bit more sensitive about using that term. The Nazis were fascists. Need I recount their crimes? To compare the Bushies to fascists is utterly contemptible. Shame on you.

• Speaking of fascism, I’ve never understood the acclaim accorded the “Best Picture” Oscar-nominated film Network. Anchor Howard Beale’s call for viewers to open their window and scream, “I’m not going to take it anymore,” was a paean to fascist populism. (Think about it: What it most resembles is the constant railing by the Rush/Charlie/Mark-types against the “liberal, elitist media.”)

First of all, how Berkman can relate the “I’m not going to take it anymore” line from Network to a "paean to fascist populism" is beyond me. Secondly, I don’t think that line was the reason the movie was accorded the “Best Picture” Oscar nomination. It happens to be a great movie, almost clairvoyant in it’s depiction of some of the media ownership issues that we face today. For Berkman to ignore all of that—not to mention the great acting and unforgettable lines and soliloquies—and to reduce this great movie as a “paean to fascist populism” is simply, uh, RETARDED.

• WUWM, realizing the guffaws of laughter it set off in its on-air job-posting announcements in which it identified itself as “an equal opportunity” hirer, now obscures this claim by referring to itself as an “AA, EEO employer.” But do one in a hundred have any idea what those five letters mean? (For the 99 who don’t, it’s “Affirmative Action, Equal Employment Opportunity.”)

Who cares if anybody knows what that means? Besides, if a company institutes affirmative action employment procedures, it isn’t really an equal opportunity employer. Affirmative action is inherently discriminatory because it affords preferential treatment to non-white minorities. This is not a value judgment about affirmative action—it’s just a fact.

• Has any broadcast journalist who spent all day covering the London bombings, when 37 were originally reported dead, stopped to consider this was fewer than the civilians killed on many days in Iraq—tragedies which might, at best, rate a short lead story? And then there are the daily deaths of three thousand African children—which are never reported!

This is a perfect example of willful ignorance. Berkman knows the tired and true rules of journalism and what makes things newsworthy for certain audiences. For one, an item is newsworthy if it is out of the ordinary. In this case, the suicide bombings in London were quite out of the ordinary. Unfortunately civilians being killed in Iraq—the vast majority killed by Sunni-Arab terrorists—is nothing new, and so it receives less coverage. Nevertheless, these deaths are reported, but obviously not as in-depth as the out of the ordinary bombings in London. The media gives much less coverage to the suicide bombings in Israel compared to those in London, but Berkman doesn’t complain about that. Oh yeah, I almost forgot—he hates Israel. The point, however, is that terrorism against Israelis is an unfortunately frequent phenomenon, and so it merits less coverage than terror in London.

I agree with Berkman about the dearth of coverage on Africa—especially the genocide in Darfur. I’m not arguing that I agree with how the media determines what is newsworthy—I just understand it. What annoys me about Berkman is that he acts as if there is some sort of conspiracy involved, a manifestation of our big heartless capitalist society, when he knows its just the nature of the media beast. It's the same the world over. You think Arabs give more coverage to a natural disaster in Iowa than in Damascus?

• Another case in point about the relative value of human lives: Think there’s a newsroom where you’ll hear, “There’s a fat, balding 45-year-old guy gone missing. Let’s gear up for some 24/7 coverage”?

I see Berkman’s point, but again I fault him for playing dumb about the nature of the media. It is unfortunate that missing black kids get less media attention than missing telegenic white kids.

• What’s this idiocy the media are uncritically accepting about how when Karl Rove merely referred to “Joe Wilson’s wife” rather than using her name, he didn’t identify her. Is Wilson a bigamist?

• “We’re told, incredibly, that [New York Times reporter Judith Miller, jailed for refusing to reveal a confidential source] is sleeping on the floor because a bunk in the [D.C.] jail couldn’t be found for her,” stated an incredulous Bob Schieffer on the CBS nightly news. So, Bob, it’s incredible that a journalist is forced to sleep on a jail floor—but apparently OK if it’s, say, a black hooker picked up at 7th & “Eye.”

I don’t think Schieffer said it was okay for a black hooker to sleep on a jail floor. He was reporting on the story at hand, which was about Judith Miller.

• Will fear of administration charges of lacking patriotism lead to uncritical media acceptance of Bush’s insistence that the London bombings prove we’re right about “fighting terrorism in Iraq,” or will they question, as MSNBC’s courageous Keith Olbermann did the day of the attacks, whether the war has increased terrorist recruitment and made us less safe?

Well, Olbermann did question Bush’s insistence, so I guess you have your answer.

• Time for my annual query: Anyone, other than maybe the Journal Sentinel’s Gary D’Amato, remember who won last year’s GMO (or whatever they’re now calling it)?

I don’t know, probably some wealthy, white, rightwing religious Republican who never works and instead plays golf all day long at exclusive country clubs.

Dave Berkman is a retired UWM mass communications professor and the host of “Media Talk,” 5 p.m. Fridays on WHAD/90.7FM.

"What we are confronting here is an evil ideology"

Below is Tony Blair's speech delivered at the Labour Party national conference on July 16, 2005

"The greatest danger is that we fail to face up to the nature of the threat we are dealing with. What we witnessed in London last Thursday week was not an aberrant act. It was not random. It was not a product of particular local circumstances in West Yorkshire. Senseless though any such horrible murder is, it was not without sense for its organisers. It had a purpose. It was done according to a plan. It was meant.

What we are confronting here is an evil ideology.

It is not a clash of civilisations - all civilised people, Muslim or other, feel revulsion at it. But it is a global struggle and it is a battle of ideas, hearts and minds, both within Islam and outside it. This is the battle that must be won, a battle not just about the terrorist methods but their views. Not just their barbaric acts, but their barbaric ideas. Not only what they do but what they think and the thinking they would impose on others.

This ideology and the violence that is inherent in it did not start a few years ago in response to a particular policy. Over the past 12 years, Al-Qaeda and its associates have attacked 26 countries, killed thousands of people, many of them Muslims. They have networks in virtually every major country and thousands of fellow travelers. They are well-financed. Look at their websites. They aren't unsophisticated in their propaganda. They recruit however and whoever they can and with success.

Neither is it true that they have no demands. They do. It is just that no sane person would negotiate on them. They demand the elimination of Israel; the withdrawal of all Westerners from Muslim countries, irrespective of the wishes of people and government; the establishment of effectively Taleban states and Sharia law in the Arab world en route to one caliphate of all Muslim nations.

We don't have to wonder what type of country those states would be. Afghanistan was such a state. Girls put out of school. Women denied even rudimentary rights. People living in abject poverty and oppression. All of it justified by reference to religious faith.

The 20th century showed how powerful political ideologies could be. This is a religious ideology, a strain within the world-wide religion of Islam, as far removed from its essential decency and truth as Protestant gunmen who kill Catholics or vice versa, are from Christianity. But do not let us underestimate it or dismiss it.

Those who kill in its name believe genuinely that in doing it, they do God's work; they go to paradise. From the mid 1990s onwards, statements from Al-Qaeda, gave very clear expression to this ideology: "Every Muslim, the minute he can start differentiating, carries hatred towards the Americans, Jews and Christians. This is part of our ideology. The creation of Israel is a crime and it has to be erased. "You should know that targeting Americans and Jews and killing them anywhere you find them on the earth is one of the greatest duties and one of the best acts of piety you can offer to God Almighty. Just as great is their hatred for so-called apostate governments in Muslim countries. This is why mainstream Muslims are also regarded as legitimate targets".

At last year's (Labour) party conference, I talked about this ideology in these terms.
Its roots are not superficial, but deep, in the madrassas of Pakistan, in the extreme forms of Wahabi doctrine in Saudi Arabia, in the former training camps of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan; in the cauldron of Chechnya; in parts of the politics of most countries of the Middle East and many in Asia; in the extremist minority that now in every European city preach hatred of the West and our way of life.

This is what we are up against. It cannot be beaten except by confronting it, symptoms and causes, head-on. Without compromise and without delusion.

The extremist propaganda is cleverly aimed at their target audience. It plays on our tolerance and good nature. It exploits the tendency to guilt of the developed world, as if it is our behaviour that should change, that if we only tried to work out and act on their grievances, we could lift this evil, that if we changed our behaviour, they would change theirs. This is a misunderstanding of a catastrophic order.

Their cause is not founded on an injustice. It is founded on a belief, one whose fanaticism is such it can't be moderated. It can't be remedied. It has to be stood up to. And, of course, they will use any issue that is a matter of dissent within our democracy. But we should lay bare the almost-devilish logic behind such manipulation.

If it is the plight of the Palestinians that drives them, why, every time it looks as if Israel and Palestine are making progress, does the same ideology perpetrate an outrage that turns hope back into despair?

If it is Afghanistan that motivates them, why blow up innocent Afghans on their way to their first ever election? If it is Iraq that motivates them, why is the same ideology killing Iraqis by terror in defiance of an elected Iraqi government?

What was September 11, 2001 the reprisal for? Why even after the first Madrid bomb (in March 2004) and the election of a new Spanish government, were they planning another atrocity when caught?

Why if it is the cause of Muslims that concerns them, do they kill so many with such callous indifference?

We must pull this up by its roots. Within Britain, we must join up with our Muslims community to take on the extremists. Worldwide, we should confront it everywhere it exists. Next week I and other party leaders will meet key members of the Muslim community. Out of it I hope we can get agreed action to take this common fight forward. I want also to work with other nations to promote the true face of Islam worldwide. Round the world, there are conferences already being held, numerous inter-faith dialogues in place but we need to bring all of these activities together and give them focus.

We must be clear about how we win this struggle. We should take what security measures we can. But let us not kid ourselves. In the end, it is by the power of argument, debate, true religious faith and true legitimate politics that we will defeat this threat. That means not just arguing against their terrorism, but their politics and their perversion of religious faith. It means exposing as the rubbish it is, the propaganda about America and its allies wanting to punish Muslims or eradicate Islam. It means championing our values of freedom, tolerance and respect for others. It means explaining why the suppression of women and the disdain for democracy are wrong.

The idea that elected governments are the preserve of those of any other faith or culture is insulting and wrong. Muslims believe in democracy just as much as any other faith and, given the chance, show it.

We must step up the urgency of our efforts. Here and abroad, the times the terrorists have succeeded are all too well known. Less known are the times they have been foiled. The human life destroyed we can see. The billions of dollars every nation now spends is huge and growing. And they kill without limit. They murdered over 50 innocent people (in London) last week. But it could have been over 500. And had it been, they would have rejoiced.

The spirit of our age is one in which the prejudices of the past are put behind us, where our diversity is our strength. It is this which is under attack. Moderates are not moderate through weakness but through strength. Now is the time to show it in defence of our common values."

Causality And Moral Responsibility

For a lot of people, the bombings in London proved a point: Britain was punished for its role in the war to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

I strongly disagree with this line of reasoning. I believe the terrorists use the Iraq war as a convenient excuse to drive wedges between Western allies and within Western democracies. This does not mean that Muslims liked the war in Iraq and that it hasn’t been a real source of resentment. (That said, Muslims could just as easily see the war in Iraq as a war of liberation of an oppressed Muslim people. They could be thankful that the seeds of democracy have been planted in a part of the world that has known only tyranny.)

In today’s Washington Times, Jamie Dettmer wrote:

Much of Britain's political class and public remain opposed to the decision to go to war in Iraq, or harbor deep misgivings about the conflict and the chances of success. However, few are ready to use the mayhem in the heart of London as a stick with which to beat Mr. Blair or to raise yet again the issue of the Iraq intervention.

Kudos to those Brits. They might have fallen for the argument that the bombings were retaliation for British involvement Iraq, but despite that mistaken belief, they are not about to absolve the terrorists and the terrorist sympathizers of any moral reponsibility for the despicable bombings. And that's good, because once you do, you are on a slippery slope of appeasement.

If the London bombings were "understandable" because of Britain's involvement in Iraq, then what next? More bombs in London because of the Britain's close diplomatic relations with "the Great Satan?" Bombs because a British billboard has a scantilly clad woman on it and offends Muslim sensibilities?

Dettmer continued:

Two major British newspapers that were opposed to the war, the left-wing Guardian and the conservative Daily Mail, are now saying that while the war was a misbegotten adventure, there can't be an immediate withdrawal from Iraq because it will lead to greater bloodshed there and may be seen as handing the terrorists a victory. According to the Daily Mail, "if the allies scuttle home with the job undone, as some on the Left want, it would plunge the region into even worse anarchy. Whatever mistakes have been made, this would be the most dangerous of all."

Exactly correct. If we leave now, we leave Iraq to the tender mercies of the Sunni-Arab headchoppers. You know, the “insurgents,” the folks Michael Moore called “Minutemen”; the “freedom fighters” who recently rammed a car full of explosives into a crowd of children who were guilty of being Shiite and receiving candy from infidels.

For decades the Shiite-Arab majority and non-Arab Kurds have been ruthlessly oppressed and subjugated by the Sunni-Arab minority. Now, these formerly oppressed peoples have held democratic elections and—despite having been oppressed—are offering an outstretched hand to the embittered Sunni-Arabs for cooperation in drafting a constitution.

And how does the “progressive” Left respond? The Left that claims to support the oppressed underdog—the Left that ostensibly supports equal rights for all people—what do they propose?

Jane Fonda to Oppose Iraq War on Bus Tour

“Actress and activist Jane Fonda says she intends to take a cross-country bus tour to call for an end to U.S. military operations in Iraq.”

Sheesh. I guess Fonda would like to see Iraq ruled by a genocidal mixture of ex-Ba’athists and Taliban-minded Islamists instead of a constitutional democracy.

The irony is that my views on the war in Iraq earn me the label of “conservative,” or “rightwing,” at least in the present American political lexicon. Call me what you will. The truth is, I support our actions in Iraq in large part because of my liberal values. I’m a classic liberal. Unfortunately, the far Left has hijacked the terms “liberal” and “progressive.” Indeed, if “conservative” means to “conserve”—to keep things as they are instead of supporting change—then the anti-war folks were acting as conservatives in that they preferred the Saddam-ruling status quo instead of change and progress.

The proof that the leftists (I don’t mean mainstream Democrats, but the far Left) are hardly liberal is obvious when you compare the anti-war arguments of Patrick Buchanan on the eve of the war in Iraq to those of leftists—they were identical.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Down Syndrome Dolls.Com

At first I thought this website was intentionally un-PC. Especially when I looked at the product. Then I read this:

With approximately 5,000 children born with Down Syndrome in the United States each year, the Down Syndrome Dolls will be an important resource for families who have a child with the condition, or for organizations and medical providers that serve these special youngsters... parents, teachers, and physicians throughout Europe have found the dolls are shared with siblings and friends, they can help foster a better understanding of the human body for children and people with special needs

Then I realized the opposite was the case—this website was intentionally and utterly PC.

The irony kills me.

British Hacker Faces Extradition To U.S.

Woa, from the looks of this dude, I’d never guess he was wanted for computer hacking. Necrophilia or cannibalism, perhaps, but not hacking.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

How Conspiracy Theorists Interpret The Headlines

Be forewarned: This is totally stupid:

Blair's rating as leader soars since bombings
Ahh, we must consider who these bombings benefit—they benefit Blair. Therefore, he must be responsible. Obviously Tony Blair has used the British secret services to commit these bombings in order to get better ratings.

U.S. heat wave drives up ice cream sales
Again, it is obvious who is behind the heat wave: the corporate ice cream industry. They will do anything to increase sales.

'Ghetto Talent Show,' Watermelon Eating Contest Outrages Community
Who wins? Who comes out on top? Yes, the watermelon industry. They will stop at nothing to sell their delicious, succulent product—even if it conjures up painful memories for some Black people.

Elizabeth Smart's alleged kidnapper found mentally incompetent...
Is it just a coincidence that Elizabeth SMART’s alleged kidnapper is MENTALLY INCOMPETENT? Get it … Smart … Incompetent … anybody, anybody? … Bueller, Bueller …?

Shuttle Roars Into Space in First Mission in More Than 2 Years
Clearly NASA is in on this one. Humph.

Man Who Killed Dutch Filmmaker Gets Life Sentence
Nobody heard of Theo van Gogh until he was murdered by Muhammad Bouyeri. Since his death, however, van Gogh has become well-known, and more and more people have watched his films. Clearly, his murder benefited his popularity. Obviously he was behind his own brutal murder. How can people be so blind?

Circumcision Is Good

Study shows circumcision may reduce AIDS risk

I’ve about this theory before. Interesting quote:

Researchers believe circumcision helps to cut infection risk because the foreskin is covered in cells that the virus seems able to easily infect. The virus may also survive better in a warm, wet environment like that found beneath a foreskin.

In my life I’ve had three friends who underwent circumcision late in life. One did it for religious/ethnic reasons; the other two because of infections.
If the HIV virus survives better beneath the foreskin, I wonder if other STD’s do so as well?

For all those people who say circumcising baby boys is cruel, speaking from experience, I can tell you that I have ZERO recollection of the procedure. My friends—who were 15, 27 and 28, respectively, when circumcised—remember the procedure very well, and not fondly I might add.

Attack Of The Giant Mice

Ever since humans have been traversing the globe on ships, we have inadvertently (and sometimes intentionally) introduced animals into habitats where they do not belong. The results can be catastrophic for native species that have no defense against the alien invaders (“All your habitat are belong to us.”). Thus, we read headlines such as this one: Giant mice on south Atlantic island 'eating seabird chicks alive'

Poor birds. I like albatrosses, too, except when they are around my neck.

Although I have three cats and a dog, I love all animals (Actually, that’s not true: I hate centipedes. Death to centipedes.). I worry about my Mother Earth and extinction of her species.

OT: Anyway ... as I type, NPR is playing live the countdown of the space shuttle lift off. Sounds like everything went well. It's hard to believe it's been over two years since we've launched the space shuttle. I like the earth, but I also like space, too. I think in the near future I'll write a post about future missions to mars, i.e. should they be manned (or womaned) or not.

Update: Just stepped outside to get a breath of fresh air and I noticed that last night Tiger took it upon herself to seek revenge against the mice.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Thoughts On The Killing of Jean Charles De Menezes

I’m going to go out on a limb here. It seems to me that the plainclothes British police who shot Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, did not act professionally. Reports are now indicating that Menezes was shot EIGHT times!—seven shots to the head, one in the shoulder. I’m no ballistics expert, but from what I understand, one shot to the head at close range with any caliber of gun will immediately incapacitate anybody. Certainly two or three will do the trick—pow, pow, pow, you know, a typical rapidly fired volley. But eight shots? Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow. Count it off. Eight shots, pointblank range. Okay, he's dead.

Obviously I do not know what was going through the “Bobbies” minds, and I was not present at the shooting, but the sheer volume of shots leads me to wonder if anger and rage might have played a role in the killing of Mr. Menezes. Were their minds clouded by anger and rage over the recent bombings? What motivated the shooting? Revenge?

I’ve lived in Israel, so I know all about the threat posed by suicide bombers. But even the Israelis, who have suffered literally hundreds of more suicide attacks than the British, behave in a much more level-headed manner when encountering suicide bombers. Off the top of my head I can recall two fairly recent cases in which Palestinians were wearing bomb-vests, yet the Israelis managed to disarm the bombers and bring the situations to non-violent conclusions. One case involved developmentally disabled teenager; the other a young woman who was granted medical care in Israel and planned to blow up the hospital that was treating her.

It’s true that the Israelis have a policy of targeted assassinations, “extra judicial executions,” as the British media outlets self-righteously call them, but this policy is completely justified. For one, the Israelis only target the terrorist leaders, planners and bomb-makers; the hardcore terrorists who are allowed to live freely in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The PA is legally obliged to incarcerate such people, but they don’t. Therefore Israel is forced to ensure that these killers are prevented from killing innocent Israelis. The Israelis take great care to ensure that they kill only the individuals they are after.

I’m all for a shoot-to-kill policy against suicide bombers. The only way to prevent them from detonating the bomb—or from accidentally detonating it yourself—is to shoot the terrorist in the head. At the same time, I can barely stand the rank hypocrisy I’ve been witnessing on behalf of those British (particularly the media and London Mayor Ken Livingston-spit!) who for years have condemned Israel for its targeted killings policy. Where is their outrage now? Why the double standard?

This piece by Tom Gross, the former Jerusalem correspondent for Britain’s Sunday Telegraph, sums up my sentiments exactly:

From London to Jerusalem

Last Friday, as British police frantically searched for four presumed suicide bombers on the run, the people of London had a glimpse of what the people of Israel live with daily. The explosive devices of all four men had failed to go off properly on London's transport system the day before, and the men had subsequently escaped.

Throughout Friday there were roadblocks and house searches throughout London. Closed-circuit TV footage of the four was released to the public in the afternoon, and by evening two suspects had been taken into custody. The people of London expressed the fear of "living with terror 24/7," the world expressed its sympathy, and there was much supportive and understanding coverage of Britain's plight by international media and politicians.

Palestinian terrorists have carried out over 25,000 attacks on Israelis since September 2000, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries. Israeli security forces have thwarted thousands of attacks, and Israelis have grown used to living with manhunts of the kind seen in London on Friday; yet they are barely reported abroad.

The head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) confirmed last week that Israel presently receives some 60 intelligence warnings of potential Palestinian terror attacks every day, and this month alone several Israeli women and teenage girls – and now Rachel and Dov Kol – have been killed in various attacks.

Such was the nervousness in London on Friday that, at 10 a.m., a dark-complexioned man was shot dead on a train at Stockwell Tube station in south London. Witnesses on the train immediately said it was clear the man had been unarmed. In the words of one, he was "literally executed." He was already lying on the ground motionless, having tripped, when British police pumped five bullets into his head at close range. On Saturday evening the police confirmed what had been fairly apparent from the time of the shooting – that they had mistakenly targeted an innocent man. It turned out he was a Brazilian Catholic.

Israel has taken enormous care in its "targeted killings" of "ticking bombs," almost never killing anyone in a case of mistaken identity.

CONTRARY TO the absolute lies told in British media in recent days, the Israel Defense Forces have not instituted a shoot-to-kill policy, or trained the British to carry out one. For example, on Friday, at the very time British police were shooting the man in the Tube, the IDF caught and disarmed a terrorist from Fatah already inside Israel en route to carrying out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. Israeli forces didn't injure the terrorist at all in apprehending him and disarming him of the 5-kg. explosive belt he was wearing.

And yet, for taking the bare minimum steps necessary to save the lives of its citizens in recent years Israel has been mercilessly berated by virtually the entire world.

Had Israeli police shot dead an innocent foreigner on one of its buses or trains, confirming the kill with a barrage of bullets at close range in a mistaken effort to thwart a bombing, the UN would probably have been sitting in emergency session by late afternoon to unanimously denounce the Jewish state.

By evening, 12 hours had passed since the shooting, but the BBC still hadn't interviewed a grieving family, no one had called for British universities to be boycotted, Chelsea and Arsenal soccer clubs hadn't been ordered to play their matches in Cyprus, and The Guardian hadn't yet called British policy against its Pakistani population "genocide."

As for London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who is in overall control of transport in the city, including the train where the man was shot, and who strongly defended the shoot-to-kill policy as a legitimate way to prevent suicide bombings, he was not yet facing war crimes charges – as Livingstone himself has demanded Israeli political leaders should be.

Instead on Friday, Polly Toynbee, leading commentator for The Guardian, wrote that the terrorists were "deranged," "savage" and "demented" "killers" who "murder in the name of God." This is a far cry from the habitual manner in which The Guardian and others describe the suicide killers of Israelis as "fighters" and "activists."

ONE OF the London terrorists responsible for the bombings on July 7, Muhammad Sidique Khan, traveled to Israel in February 2003. He stayed in Israel for just one day, and we can surmise that he wasn't there to volunteer on a kibbutz or visit Yad Vashem.

Two months later, on April 30, 2003, two other Britons of Pakistani origin (whom Hamas has since admitted training) were involved in the suicide attack on Mike's Place, a popular bar in Tel Aviv, killing or wounding 58 people.

Khan's visit to Israel was the main international headline in The Washington Post last Tuesday. Yet most British papers have completely ignored it. The Independent and The Daily Telegraph didn't mention it at all; the Scotsman, the Times and Sun newspapers only very briefly.

There seems to be little interest in Britain in the murder of Israelis by British citizens. Many British journalists evidently have difficulty in admitting that people murdered on buses in Israel are as much victims as those murdered on London buses. Another British citizen, Richard Reid, who became known as the "shoe-bomber," also visited Israel and the Gaza strip for 10 days in July 2001.

If people in Britain want to stop terrorists they need to recognize the inspiration, and quite possibly training, that Hamas, the masters of the suicide attack, have given to would-be British and other terrorists, such as Reid. Instead British officials continue to embrace Hamas, and hold talks with them.

Britons will also need to stop listening to the lies propagated by large sections of their media. For example, the cover story of this week's New Statesman, the favored publication of many in Britain's ruling Labour party, says: "There were no suicide bombers in Palestine until Ariel Sharon, an accredited war criminal, sponsored by Bush and Blair, came to power."

You begin to wonder whose side some in Britain's media are on.

Update, 10:45pm: A friend from discarded lies, Aridog, pointed out some things that I overlooked:

Semite your blog. You are wrong, which is unusual [I can't be right all the time -semite]. First there is no comparison to the you say they have the experience, and the Brits will too in time. Next, one shot to the head is not necessarily fatal of incapacitating...depends on what is hit. The rule of thumb for such shooting, at least when I took the training, is two pops as close to center of head as possible. Next, there were more than one cop on this many fired...I don't know. Finally, and most important....what ws the scenario....a guy in a large coat they thought might havve a semtex vest underneath it.....tight, who ran, who jumped a barrier, and who resisted even after pinned to the ground, from reports I have seen. If you are on top of a guy who may be wearing enough semtex to vaporize you, (consider the timing and environment) and he still won't be still, might you not think he was trying to detonate the charge? I would. Try to imagine counting the rounds and gaging the results between each shot...face to face, on the floor with a struggling man....impossible. I would have emptied the magazine in his skull, and reloaded. As it turned out, allegedly, the guy is innocent...just stupid, for running, jumping a barrier, and resisting when captured. It ain't the movies...those cops do not have to unnecessarily risk their life for an idiot. The last cop I knew personally who tried to disarm a guy with a pistol in paper bag, died for the trouble, as he grabbed the bag and gun, the assailant pulled back, thus turning the officer sideways, and bullet, past the armored vest, through the armpit and in to the heart...and Federal Officer Sheffield bled out on the floor. The other officers fired 5 times, in a crowded lobby, as Sheffield went down, and hit the turd 3 times...the MF lived. This was at the entrance to my office in the federal building here, on 9/21/2001. What was the guy thinking? Do you think the next guy with a gun and no Code 218 police ID won't be shot dead on sight? He'd better be.

I’m Jealous Of My Dog

Every time I take my dog for a walk, girls stop and say, “Oh, he’s so cute.”

Hello? What about me?

Pics taken two weeks ago, despite incorrect date/time mark

Yo--Blow Up Da Show

The highly intelligent and extremely witty (and very attractive) Debbie Schlussel wrote an article recently about Palestinian rapping “sensation” Bassam Khalaf, who describes himself as a “crazy, suicidal Arabic . . . equipped with bombs.”

Isn’t that nice? It gets better.

Khalaf, who calls himself the “Arabic Assassin” has an album out, which I’ve included for your viewing pleasure. Note the New York-esque skyline with the words “Terror Alert” emblazoned across. Oh, and that’s a Palestinian flag in the background.

When axed, I mean, asked, why he chose this name, Khalaf replied, “BECAUSE IT FITS ME. IM ARABIC AND ILL ASSASSINATE YO ASS.”

Okay ...

And then there are, as Schlussel puts it, “his charming lyrics”:


Besides supporting Islamic terrorism against America, raping, torturing, and murdering Christians and Blacks (he calls them "N---as") and forcing everyone to perform oral sex on him are common themes (he attacks Jews, too), the U.S.-born Khalaf also supports violence against women and necrophilia.

In "You Gon [sic] Die H--[sic]," Khalaf raps about murdering a woman who filed a sexual harassment charge against him. Then he jumps into her coffin, rapes her corpse, and sticks dynamite up her sex organ (a repeat theme in Khalaf's songs).

Perhaps a good candidate for the new Palestinian state's national anthem?

"Takin No More Shit":


Where is Lorena Bobbitt when you need her?

Ha ha, good one, Debbie.

Oh, and did I mention that Khalaf was recently working as a TSA (Transportation Security Administration) baggage screener in Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport until getting fired following a background check? No joke.

Khalaf has cried foul for being fired, alleging infringements on his freedom of speech. Well, boo-fucking-hoo. With freedom of speech comes responsibility. Just as you shouldn’t shout “fire” in a crowded movie theatre, if you have a job that requires a security clearance because the safety of hundreds of peoples’ lives are in your hands, you might want to think twice before lauding 9/11-style terrorism.

I thought misogonystic gangsta rap was the bottom of the barrel, but it looks like my home-habibi Khalaf has brought us one step lower by throwing support for terrorism into the mix.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Anti-Terror Protest in Egypt

Despite the fact that some Egyptian security experts apparently blamed the recent Sharm el-Sheikh bombings on the Middle East’s favorite boogey man—the Jews—a number of brave young Egyptians have taken it upon themselves to let the world know that they oppose the real terrorists. Bravo to Big Pharaoh (who was recently interviewed by National Public Radio) and Sandmonkey and all of their comrades.

As an aside, reading BP's post reminded once again how fortunate I am to live in a democracy. Unfortunately, BP and friends were hassled a bit by the Egyptian police for doing something that we Americans sometimes take for granted. Read it about it, here. Also, check out Sandmonkey's description of the protest and photos here.

Too Damn Hot

The last I checked, the temperature was 104 degrees, and that’s near lake Michigan. It must be hotter further inland. My dog is panting like crazy. My cats are sprawled out on the floor in various parts of the house. I was ridiculed and called an “idiot” for shaving my cats, but if the cats could talk, I bet they’d thank me-ha!

Anyway, Six Feet Under will be starting soon. Maybe it will help me get my mind off of how hot I am. Er, I mean that my body is hot … I mean, you know, sweating-type hot. Hee hee.

A Little Ranting

Things that annoy me:

Just because I yawn doesn’t mean I’m tired or bored—it means I yawned. Nothing more, nothing less. Don’t read so much into it.
Some people that know me are aware of my interest in current events. After the 7/7 suicide bombings in London, a couple of people said, “Hey, what do ya think about those bombings in London?”

Well, I’d give the bombers an 8 on planning but only a 7 and a half on execution … What the f*&ck do you think I think about the London bombings?! They were terrible, horrible. Sheesh.

DJ’s. No, not real DJ’s on the radio—although some of them are annoying—but all the wannabe DJ’s that have crawled out of the woodwork in the last couple of years. Everywhere I look, flyers are advertising DJ’s who will be “spinning” their oh-so vast collection of obscure tunes and songs you probably never heard. But have no fear, because“DJ Portentous”—obscure-music sleuth that he is—is much cooler than you, and he knows all the cool music. He’ll show off his vast music knowledge and you will be enlightened. You better just sit back and let “DJ Pompous” play you some cool music, man.

Oh, and then they stand behind the turntables, flipping switches and turning knobs with one hand and holding the headphones to their head with the other, trying to look important, as if what they are doing is so complicated.

Perhaps the only thing worse than the DJ’s are the DJ groupies; the girls who are unduly impressed with the guys whose claim to “fame” is not making music, but merely playing others’ music. Wow. Impressive.

Cell phones at the gym while working out. ‘Nuff said.


Stupid bumper stickers, like, “Abortion Stops A Beating Heart.” No shit, Sherlock, that’s sort of the idea, innit? Or, “Attack Iraq? No!” Umm, attack Iraq? Too late, jackass. “Racism is NOT a family value.” Well, if you’re from a racist family, I guess racism would be a family value. “Commit Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty.” Watch out, I’m about to vomit.

Anyway … it is HOT out. I already worked out and took a cold shower, yet I’m all sweaty and sticky again. I reckon I’ll be taking a lot of cold showers today. Okay, I’m going to try to find the motivation to do something. Bye for now.

Borat: Kazakhstan's Most Talented Reporter

I miss Borat and his many reportings.

I like ... is good

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