Saturday, September 17, 2005

Iran needs atomic energy?

Iran Proclaims Right to Nuclear Energy


Iran's president proclaimed his country's "inalienable right" to produce nuclear fuel Saturday, defiantly rejecting a European offer of economic incentives if the Mideast nation would halt its uranium enrichment program.

In a fiery speech to the U.N. General Assembly, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied his nation had any intention of producing nuclear weapons. To prove that, he offered foreign countries and companies a role in Iran's nuclear energy production.

The Iranian leader lashed out at the United States for its insistence on keeping its nuclear weapons even as it rejected Iran's efforts to build a peaceful energy program.

He said Iran has a right to produce nuclear fuel under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and implicitly accused the Europeans and Americans of "misrepresenting" Iran's desire for civilian nuclear energy "as the pursuit of nuclear weapons."

You know, Ahmadnejad has a valid poin. After Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait, Iran only has the fourth largest pertroleum reserves on the entire planet. Clearly they need nuclear energy.

Letter to Prof. Robert Jensen

Robert Jensen is a radical anti-American professor who teaches at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also friends with a professor of mine, whom I studied under last fall semester.

To get an idea of where Jensen stands, one only needs to read the titles of his articles:

The United States has lost the war in Iraq, and that's a good thing

Ward Churchill has rights, and he's right

Our grief is not special: The pain of September 10

Are we Americans, or human beings?

I helped kill a Palestinian today

A defeat for an empire

Anyway, here is a link to many of his articles.

Here is the copy of a letter that I intend to send to Jensen tomorrow:

Dear Professor Jensen,

I’m a graduate student in the department of Journalism and Mass Communications at UW-Milwaukee. I took a course last fall with professor David Allen, whom I understand is a friend of yours.

I’ve seen you on TV and I’ve read a number of your published articles. As far as your views on American foreign policy and Israel are concerned, it’s safe to say that I do not share your opinions.

In your article “Israel must end the occupation” you argued that Israel was not serious about peace. Other than agreeing with your interlocutor that violence against non-combatants was always wrong, you placed all of the onus for peace making on Israel.

To prove your contention that Israel does not want peace, you pointed out that the number of settlers expanded during the Oslo years, among a few examples of “bad” Israeli behavior. Meanwhile, you never mentioned any of the myriad actions taken by the Palestinians that didn’t exactly indicate a desire for peace on their behalf.

I am fairly well versed in the intricacies of the Arab-Israeli conflict. I could easily provide tons of evidence showing that Israel has been serious about peace—and conversely that the Palestinians generally have not—but I do not want to quibble over little details. I’m interested in the big picture.

Therefore, I’d like to get your honest opinion regarding a very simple, albeit clichéd, statement that I think sums up well the general dynamics of the conflict:

If the Palestinians laid down their weapons, there would be peace. If the Israelis laid down their weapons, they would be annihilated.

In other words, let’s take things from where they stand today.

Imagine that Mahmud Abbas (a Holocaust denier, by the way) was able to extend PA control over the Gaza strip. Let’s pretend that the insane anti-Semitic incitement in the PA press ceased, and that the PA disarmed Hamas and Islamic Jihad; even cooperated with Israel to prevent terrorist attacks. Let’s also pretend the PA upheld rule of law in the areas under its control. In short, let’s pretend the PA proved to be a responsible authority. Responsible to its citizens, and responsible towards its neighbor, Israel. Finally, let’s pretend that Abbas pledged his government’s support, in principle, for a two-state solution with a shared Jerusalem, more or less along the lines of what former Israeli PM Barak offered at Camp David in 2000.

Be honest: Do you really think the Israelis would ignore the Palestinians’ outstretched arm and re-occupy Gaza? If the PA arrested and jailed known Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives, do you think Israelis would reply by continuing to raid the those two Islamist terror groups? If the Palestinian press included articles in favor of a two-state solution and peaceful co-existence—or, if some Palestinians held a march for peace (Israelis have held countless marches for peace)—do you really honestly think the Israelis would snub such moves and reply by demolishing homes and maintaining security checkpoints and the like?

In addition, let’s pretend the Israelis decided to unilaterally withdraw to the 1967 borders, evacuating all the settlements in the process (FYI, UN resolution 242 does not require Israel to withdraw from all of the territories captured in the Six Day War). Let’s also pretend that the Israelis gave up their suspected nuclear weapons, and even pledged to scale back the IDF to the level of a mere police force. Let’s pretend they did this all “for the sake of peace,” just to show their good intentions to the Arabs and people like yourself.

If they did all that, do you think that Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, Fatah, and al-Aska Martyrs Brigades would lay down their weapons and make peace with Israel?

Let’s further pretend that after Israel unilaterally withdrew to the June 1967 borders, she was attacked by Palestinian forces; not much unlike what happened to Israel a number of times since unilaterally withdrawing from the security belt in southern Lebanon in 2000. After these attacks, let’s imagine that Israel retaliated not with force, but with “love bombs” and messages of peace instead of a military response.

Do you really honestly believe that Hamas, Islamic Jihad, even the PA, et. al., would be impressed and lay down their weapons and make peace in return? Do you think they’d be convinced, or touched, by Israel’s genuine desire for peace, and reciprocate in kind?

I understand you are busy, and so I thank you in advance for your consideration.



P.S. I agree with you that Israel should eventually end its rule over the West Bank, although with some minor border adjustments. But I’m wondering how you account for the Arab rejection of Israel prior to 1967, before any “occupation.”

Obviously if Jensen replies to my letter, I will post it.

Facing up to reality

Pakistani writer Irfan Husain gives clear-eyed, sober arguments in favor of relations with Israel. -Hat tip: Zorkie at Discarded Lies.

Presently, our official position is that we would recognise Israel when it vacates the West Bank and a Palestinian state comes into being. But what kept us from normalising ties with the Jewish state between 1948 and 1967, the year in which it occupied Gaza and the West Bank? For nearly 20 years, we referred to Israel as 'the illegal Zionist entity', although it came into being with the blessings of the United Nations...

Even the poor, illiterate silent majority realise that Israel is a reality that has come to stay, whether Pakistan recognises it or not. Hence their indifference to the religious right's ineffectual protests. Musharraf's formative years were spent in Turkey and have clearly influenced him. Although for perceived political gains, he chooses to hobnob with the mullahs, he is clearly a secular person who would, by choice, separate the affairs of the state from religion. It is Pakistan's loss that for the sake of expedience, he does not to act according to his personal instincts.

At the end of the day, we cannot forever subordinate our policies to suit other nations. The fact is that we have no territorial dispute with Israel. Diplomatically and strategically, we ignore its existence to our peril. Foreign policy should be conducted on the basis of cold calculation and pragmatism, and not be motivated by idealism and ideology.

Read the whole thing, here.


I have decided to add a link to the Middle East Media Research Institute to my list of links. MEMRI provides an invaluable service by translating select media from the Middle East and making it available to Western audiences.


The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) explores the Middle East through the region's media. MEMRI bridges the language gap which exists between the West and the Middle East, providing timely translations of Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew media, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends in the Middle East.

Founded in February 1998 to inform the debate over U.S. policy in the Middle East, MEMRI is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501 (c)3 organization. MEMRI's headquarters is located in Washington, DC with branch offices in Berlin, London, and Jerusalem, where MEMRI also maintains its Media Center. MEMRI research is translated to English, German, Hebrew, Italian, French, Spanish, Turkish, and Russian.

Visit MEMRI daily.

Plant neglect

I’m a good pet owner, but a lousy plant owner.

Every morning I feed my cats and dog. Throughout the day I make sure they have a constant supply of cool, fresh water. But for my plants, no such luck. As far as they are concerned, they live in a desert climate. Unfortunately for them, they are not desert plants. I don’t know what kind of plants they are, but they need more water.

I’m going to water them right now. Hold on.

You might think that it’s easier to be a good plant owner than pet owner. After all, pets require more time and attention. But the reason I neglect my plants is because, unlike the dog or cats, when they are thirsty, they don’t follow me around the house, begging for food. It’s easy to forget about them.

Friday, September 16, 2005

International arrest warrants- two can play that game

Back in the day, I used to have more fire in my belly. I could get a tad bit radical, but I've moderated since then. Anyway, some recent goings on in the world have sort of rekindled some of my old impetuous, emotional ideas. Here is one:

It turns out that the British arrest warrant for former IDF chief of Southern Command Doron Almog was canceled. According to the Jerusalem Post, the “cancellation was on technical and procedural grounds and it did not imply that Almog or others are immune from future legal proceedings in Britain.”

Evidently similar like arrest warrants may continue to haunt Israeli citizens for the foreseeable future. Be that as it may, the British should know that two can play at that game. Indeed, during Britain’s long conflict with the Irish Republican Army, British forces were involved in many questionable actions against their adversaries. One such case that pops into my mind was the execution of three IRA members in Gibraltar in 1988. There have been many, many more cases of British involvement in the torture and killing of IRA members, stretching back decades.

Israel’s secret service, the Mossad, is considered to be one of the best in the world. Mossad is more than capable of identifying former British security officials who have been involved in “extra-judicial killings” or “crimes against humanity” or “war crimes.” I say, for every Israeli who has an arrest warrant issued against them by Great Britain, Israel should do the same against a British military official, retired or not. If any Israeli ever finds him or herself under arrest by the British, Mossad should kidnap a British national who is known to have been involved the killing or torture of an IRA member.

The British would do well to remember what happened during their Palestine mandate. When some young Jews were sentenced to flogging for putting up propaganda posters, the Irgun captured British officers and threatened to flog them. When the British authorities flogged the young Jews, the Irgun flogged the British officers. Later when the British were about to execute members of the Irgun, the Irgun kidnapped two British officers and threatened to do the same. When the British executed the Jews, the Irgun replied in kind. Shortly thereafter the British gave up on Palestine and left for good, hving been completely humiliated and out-foxed.

To read about just a smidgeon of some of Great Britain’s murky dealings, read this UPI article, Top IRA killer revealed as British spy.

Here is a link to the Jerusalem Post article: Almog arrest warrant canceled

How to rebuild New Orleans

Everybody is talking about how the levees in New Orleans have to be built stronger. I agree, but I have an idea that would ensure that New Orleans never suffers the same disastrous fate again… drum roll please … all structures located in areas below sea level should be built on… stilts!

Damn I’m brilliant.

Fall season: bring it on!

From what I understand, heavy rainfall during summer time makes for optimal vibrant leaf colors in fall. There are other factors that can affect leaf color as well. We didn’t get much rain here in Wisconsin this summer, but nevertheless I am hoping for a colorful fall.

One of my favorite aspects of the fall season is the smell of decaying leaves. Another fall smell I enjoy is the smell of carving a pumpkin. I also like the crunchy sound of walking through leaves. The sound of swirling leaves being blown through the streets and sidewalks is pleasant, too.

The trees should be most colorful by mid-October. I don’t think I’ve gone on a hike in the woods during fall since… since a long time. Also, I can’t remember the last time I carved a pumpkin.

This fall I’m going to try to appreciate the seasonal changes around me. I’m going to try to get out of Milwaukee and hopefully enjoy a sunny, crisp, colorful fall day.

In years past I’ve been critical of Wisconsin weather. Although I can’t promise I won’t gripe about the cold come mid-January—about the time when I’ve had enough of winter, yet realize it’s nowhere near being over—I’m going to try to appreciate Wisconsin’s natural beauty.

Hamas Covenant

"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).
The above was taken from the Hamas covenant. To read the whole psychotic thing, go here.

At war with an enemy of an unspoken name

Here is part III to the Washington Time's three part series on the war against Islamism, radical Islam, etc.

Why do we tolerate intolerance?

Rod Liddle in The Spectator discusses some of the issues that I've been ranting about lately.

Money quote:

When Islam appears on the agenda, the goalposts are moved: the normal rational thought processes are not applied. Suddenly those Left-liberal shibboleths are not very important: they can be forgotten. Append the description ‘Muslim’ to anyone and all bets are off; he or she can get away with pretty much anything, be it the execution of homosexuals or the idea that Jews and Freemasons are running the government. This springs from the misconception, widespread on the Left, that being anti-Islam is in some way ‘racist’. It is not. It has nothing to do with race — as I daresay Mr Ahmad Thomson, that lawyer I mentioned earlier, would confirm. One is not born believing that the world is a Zionist conspiracy any more than one is born believing that we are all the subjects of giant alien lizards.

If you want to read some more sanity from Great Britain, read the whole thing, here.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Iran to sell nuke technology to Islamic world

If you think a nuclear Iran was frightening enough, Iran's new terrorist president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, pledged that Iran would sell their nuclear know-how to other Islamic countries.

Could they be any more belligerent and confrontational?

The government of Iran is vehemently anti-American. They are not anti-Republican, or anti a specific policy—they are simply diametrically opposed to what the United States stands for. The late Ayatollah Khomeini (may he infest in peace) coined the term “Westoxification” to describe the “evil” yet alluring effect America holds over the minds of many Muslims. Thus, the existence of a strong America will always be viewed as a threat to the Islamic Republic. That is why since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the leadership of Iran has been exhorting its followers to scream “death to America.” That is why they refer to the US as “the great Satan” (guess who they call “little Satan”… it isn’t Belgium).

Now they will have atomic weapons—unless the West acts soon.

For the last couple of years, the US has watched as Britain, France and Germany took the lead, using their “soft power” to negotiate with the Iranians. The Iranians, however, played the big three like suckers, using them to bide time to continue their nuclear work. Miffed about being lied to and fooled, even France has begun taking a more aggressive stance towards Iran. And good for France.

Unfortunately, Germany is acting like the spoiler. In response to Iran’s recent cheating, Bush said that “all options were on the table,” which is the diplomatic way of saying that the use of military force is not out of question. Unfortunately, Gerhard Schroder of Germany decided the time was ripe to play his populist anti-American card again. In response to Bush’s measured comments, he declared that Germany would always oppose a military response. This tells the Iranians: You can be as naughty as you want, as far we we’re concerned, you should never have to face any serious consequences for your actions.

Ironically, by vowing that military force would never receive German support, Schroder makes a military confrontation with Iran more likely, because the Iranians will become bolder.This might, in fact, explain Ahmadinejad’s recent belligerence at the UN. The more belligerent the Iranians become, however, the more likely that the US, or Israel, or both, will take matters into their own hands.

This is why it is important that Schroder lose the upcoming election to Angela Merkel, who has said she wants improved relations with the US. The United States and the EU have to be united about this serious threat. The only way to face down the Iranians and avoid a military conflict in the process is by showing a strong, determined, united front. If the EU and the US cooperate, perhaps the Iranians can be cowed.

Bush has said that he will not allow the Iranians to get an atomic weapon on his watch. Although an atomic Iran is a threat to the US and Europe, the greatest threat is faced by Israel. Iran's government is dedicated to the complete destruction of Israel. Iran has missiles capable of reaching Israel. They just need an atomic warhead. When that happens, "never again" will ring hollow. For the Jews in Israel, it will be genocide-again.

I do not exaggerate. Literally, the Mullahs want to finish Hitler's job.

Former Iranian president Ali Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, in a major speech, has advocated the annihilation of the state of Israel with nuclear weapons.

If the Islamic world comes to possess nuclear weapons, he said in his "World Al-Quds Day" sermon, attended by thousands of Islamic worshippers, their use in attacking Israel would "leave nothing on the ground" in the Jewish state, but would only damage Islam.

Here, collated by
the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI, are the core elements of Rafsanjani's speech, delivered at Tehran University on Dec. 14. The text below, rather than a single direct translation, is a composite based on reports in three Iranian newspapers – Iran News (English), Kayhan (Farsi) and Al-Wifaq (Arabic).

'Artificial' state of Israel

"Global arrogance, led by the U.S. and U.K.," is responsible for the crimes that the "artificial" state of Israel has been committing worldwide over the past half-century, said Rafsanjani, who currently holds the position of "Expediency Council" chairman.

The U.N. and other segments of the arrogant world have been supporting Israeli crimes, he said, and -- cautioning against what he called "global arrogance arms buildup [by the U.S.]" in an attempt to revive the colonialist era -- he asked nations and governments to prevent colonialism from attaining its goals.

"International Zionism," Rafsanjani added, "has been the driving force of this ugly phenomenon; Zionism is divisive; a century has passed since the onset of Zionism, but not every Jew is a Zionist, and not all members of the Zionist party are Jews."

He noted that the Zionist party is still highly active worldwide, and is the driving force of important events taking place in the world in connection with Israel. He called the disasters that have occurred in the half-century-old state of Israel an encyclopedia of colonial crimes. Palestinians are not the only ones to have suffered from the plan to establish this "forged" Israeli state; he said, adding that the Jews too are paying the price.

Rafsanjani claimed that the Jews had a place in various parts of the world, living rather well in each country. But this phenomenon [Zionism] caused them to take a stance regarding their religious state and leave their homes, under pressure and in the name of migration [to Israel]. Jews should wait for a day when this "extraneous matter" would be removed from the region and the world of Islam, and those who have gathered together in Israel would one day be dispersed again.

The formation of the Zionist state in the land of Palestine, said the former Iranian leader, was a multi-faceted base for colonialism. By this means, the West rid itself of Zionism, while establishing it in Palestine.

Meanwhile, the colonialists affiliated themselves with Zionism and the state of Israel so as to keep them like a tool in their service, even though, for its own survival, colonialism is itself dependent on Zionism.

With the formation of Israel, colonialists created insecurity in the region, exposing states to threats so as to bring them under the dominion of colonialism, said Rafsanjani. The survival of Israel depends on the interests of global arrogance and colonialism, and as long as this base is beneficial to them, they will preserve it.

Solving 'Israel problem' with nukes

Rafsanjani said that Muslims must surround colonialism and force them [the colonialists] to see whether Israel is beneficial to them or not. If one day, he said, the world of Islam comes to possess the weapons currently in Israel's possession [meaning nuclear weapons] -- on that day this method of global arrogance would come to a dead end. This, he said, is because the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam.

Is unlikely that the Palestinian jihad will weaken, said Rafsanjani, who explained that the Palestinians have come to the conclusion that talks [with Israel] are effective only along with struggle and self-sacrifice – the two key elements that gave way to the second Intifada. The Palestinian jihad is the mother of many Islamic movements, he said, ranging from the [1979] Islamic Revolution in Iran to Islamic movements in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Central Asia, and many other Muslim states. All these Islamic movements support the Palestinian jihad and have not forgotten it. The Palestinian jihad has its roots in the homelessness of five million people. Undoubtedly, [this jihad's] culmination will be the liberation of Palestine, he said.

The threat of WWIII

Rafsanjani added that in its propaganda campaign against the Palestinian jihad, colonialism used four tools: propaganda, violence, deception, and the instrumental application of the Palestinian Authority. He warned the agents of world arrogance of the day when they would pay dearly for the pressure they were applying on the Palestinian people, as one day these exhausted, pious, and martyrdom-seeking people would decide to strike at the vital interests of [global] arrogance everywhere, and they will do this – it is possible, he said.
Rafsanjani advised Western states "not to let the situation reach this [point] and not to pin their hopes on Israeli violence [to serve Western goals] – because it will be very dangerous. We are not willing to see the security of the world disrupted."

Rafsanjani warned of the outbreak of World War III: "The confrontation of pious and martyrdom-seeking forces with the highest forces of colonialism is extremely dangerous, and might inflame a third world war."
In the present circumstance, concluded Rafsanjani, the world and the region need sobriety on the part of nations and states, on the one hand, and realism and fairness on the part of "arrogant" powers. We hope that problems will be solved on the side of right, justice, and truth, he said.

Iran's annual tradition of marking World Al-Quds Day on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan to show its solidarity with the Palestinian people was introduced by the late Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomenei.

It's hard to imagine that the leadership of a modern nation-state could sound so... medieval. The craziest thing about their desire to destroy Israel is their willingness to sacrifice potentially millions of Muslim lives in the process. I wonder how the average Iranian feels about that? The irony in all of this is that here we have Persian mullahs ready to sacrifice millions of Persian lives for what is first and foremost (despite all the Islamic rhetoric) an Arab cause. Shit, I've even argued with fanatical Muslim Persians who still can't hide their disdain for Arabs. It just goes to show how seriously unhinged the rulers of Iran really are...

But, I digress...

The threat can be faced and defeated—and probably without resorting to force. The majority of Iranians absolutely despise their leadership. Prior to the 1979 revolution, Iran enjoyed good relations with the United States and Israel.

But the only way we can defeat this threat without the use of military force is if the West shows a determined, united front. We need to stand up to the Iranian government while funneling all sorts of support and aid to the brave Iranian youth who hate the Mullahs more than we do.

Unfortunately, I don’t know if this is possible. And I don’t necessarily blame any European countries (yet) for this. I fear that here in America people like Bianca Jagger, or huge segments of the Democratic party, will naysay anything the Bush administration proposes. They will do this not because Bush administration proposals might be wrongheaded, but because, quite simply, they are Bush administration proposals, period. What frightens me about the political culture of my own country these days is that it’s become hyper-partisan. It seems like people on both sides of the spectrum view every issue through a partisan prism. I don’t know what can be done about it. It saddens and worries me.

Okay, I'm done.

Muslim Intolerance

Muslim intolernace coupled with European unwillingness to confront it equals... well, the world as it is today. But it could get worse if this intolerance is not confronted head on.

It is obvious that values the West holds dear, such as fairness, equality, and cultural pluralism are simply thrown out the window when resisting the intolerance of a billion Muslims is weighed against offending a few million Jews. Further, it is assumed that compromising Western values at the Jews' expense is simply that – a Jewish problem.

It is not. The intolerance shown toward Jews can be and is shown toward Christians, such as the recent rampage against Palestinian Muslims against Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem. The massacres of Christians in Sudan is another example, as is the destruction by the Taliban of the ancient Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001.

Read the whole thing, if you like.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Judge: School Pledge Is Unconstitutional

Here I am, an agnostic--albeit one who identifies as being a member of a minority ethno-religious group--an agnostic who believes strongly in the separation of church and state, and yet, when I read that a judge ruled that reciting the pledge of allegiance in schools is considered to be unconstitutional, I don't feel too good about it. I don't feel good about it at all. In fact, I'm against such a ruling!

Let me think this out...

Our country is a product of Western Civilization. Western Civilization is in many ways rooted in the Judeo-Christian ethic. This is not an opinion. This has nothing to do with whether you like Judaism or Christianity or not--it just is.

I was always under the impression that the founding fathers favored a separation of church and state in order that a particular faith not receive special state support at the expense of other religions. Because most religions believe in a god of some sort, we pledge allegiance to our "one nation under god" but we don't say which god, or whose god, or what god is, or what god wants from us. We just pledge allegiance to this amorphous higher power. But my concern is, if we attack the innocuous "one nation under god" line, what next? Will we recall all of our legal tender because it too mentions god? I think this is insanity.

The bottom line is this: were it not for the Judeo-Christian ethic, which helped to give rise to Western civilization as we know it, there wouldn't even be a country called the United States. I believe there needs to be an appreciation and respect for our roots as a nation, and to completely erase any and all mentions of a non-religion specific, non-denomination god, is a bridge too far even for this agnostic. We have to remember, some of the most progressive and liberal ideals that we cherish have their roots in the bible. Can't we pay a little homage to that?

I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America. And to the Republic, for which it stands. One nation, under GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Why liberty and justice for all? Where does this idea come from? Maybe it comes from the biblical belief that all human beings were created in the image of god, i.e. we are all brothers and sisters, equals, children of god.

An atheist might think that uttering the word God is unfair, but I think that striking any and all mentions of god is also unfair.

And you know what, it's horribly childish of the atheist to make such a stink. I can understand the rationale against prayer in public schools. A Jewish or Muslim or Hindu student might feel like they are betraying their own faith if they pray specifically to Jesus, for example. They might feel that they are coerced to pray like Christians even though they are not Christians. But if you don't have any religious faith at all, how can it possibly be a problem if the pledge of allegiance mentions a deity you don't believe in? It's not like you are betraying your faith--you don't have any faith! What, is the god you don't believe in going to send you to the hell the you don't believe in because you mouthed the word "god"--a concept you reject-- during the pledge of allegiance? Gimme a break.

Super powers

When I was a kid, I thought the coolest super power was to have x-ray vision, or the ability to fly (without any machine, of course).

As an adult, if I could choose a super power, it would be the power to make the object of my affection feel the same way about me that I feel about her. Sigh…

/Sappy melancholy mode off

Hamas vow to bring down Israel

They spoke of their determination to turn the strip of Mediterranean coast, home to 1.3 million people, into an armed camp intent on the destruction of the Jewish state with a Palestinian Authority powerless to stop them.

And of course Israel will be forced to respond. Israel's response will no doubt make life harder for the average Gazan, since he will be living in a virtual war zone. The misery of the Gazan will be blamed on Israel. This will fuel the hatred of Israel further, both within in Gaza and around the world. Everybody will call for an end to the "cycle of violence" forgetting the basic logic that we all know to be true: If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there would be peace and quiet; if the Israelis put down their weapons, the Arabs would attack and destroy.

Readificate the rest, here.

Europe Learns the Wrong Lessons

By Karl Zinsmeister

Nearly one third of Germans under 30 say that the U.S. government ordered the 9/11 attacks. In France, a book insisting that Americans carried out the assault themselves to increase defense budgets becomes a huge bestseller. In Britain, major newspapers carry headlines like "The USA is Now the World's Leading Rogue State."

Asked which countries are the biggest threat to world peace, Europeans name the U.S as often as North Korea and Iran (each are picked by 53 percent). Countries characterized by Euros as less menacing than the U.S. include Syria, Iraq, Russia, China, Afghanistan, Libya. As one American living in Britain, Anglican minister Dwight Longenecker, summarizes: "Our cultural ancestors have become unrecognizable, even hostile, to us."

It's a tad long, but the whole thing is worth reading. Continued...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Jihad in Germany?

BERLIN, Germany (AP) -- Germany is home to between 3,000 and 5,000 potential Islamic suicide attackers, a senior security official touted as the country's next interior minister has been quoted as saying. Hat tip: LGF

Bianca Jagger seeks to kindle US-Iran dialogue

If celebrities sounding off on political issues of which they have little or no understanding wasn't enough, now their spouses are too.

"If (U.S. President) George W. Bush were interested in finding a solution with Iran he would send (Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice tomorrow," she said.

Right... and since Bush doesn't send Condi, the tension between Iran and the US is our fault. Notice how leftists think everything that happens under the sun has to do with American actions, as if all other countries only react to us and never operate independently?

I wonder if it ever ocurred to Bianca that tensions with the Islamic Republic began on the watch of liberal democratic president Jimmy Carter? Why couldn't Carter defuse tensions? The Clinton administration couldn't reduce tensions either. The truth is, the Iranian government doesn't want good relations with US. A few months ago an Iranian pollster was jailed by his government because he published a poll that showed the majority of Iranian citizens wanted better relations with the US. The people of Iran want relations, but the government, which horribly oppresses its people, does not.

Dialogue would have to start at a popular level in which groups such as the one she was traveling with would chip away at the White House agenda little by little, starting with college campus newspapers and the mass media.

Agenda? Oh, she must mean the agenda to ensure that Iran, a fanatical Muslim theocracy, doesn't obtain nuclear weapons, or that (as she admits) Iran must respect human rights and women's rights? Yeah, Bianca, let's unite to oppose that agenda, you dolt!


I forgot to mention it, but in a sense the US has been negotiating with Iran, albeit via Great Britain, Germany and France, who have been trying unsuccessfully to get Iran to scale back its nuclear weapons programs. At this point, even France has been issuing stern warnings to the Iranians. Bianca, read the friggin newspapers! Carrots aren't working, even really tasty, ripe carrots.

Needed: Old war spirit in a new war

Part II of the Washington Times three part series on the war against radical Islam.

First Clients Yesterday!

Yesterday marked my first day of personal training. I thought I had a client last week, but it was a mistake. I had two clients yesterday, and then “prospected” the third. It’s the third whom I think will end up purchasing PT sessions.

So far, this is a pretty cool job. So cool, in fact, that it doesn’t feel like working. There is no reading, writing, phone talking or paper pushing. An interesting aspect of the job is the sociological, or shall I say psychological, aspect to it. Before starting a workout, we go through a questionnaire with the client. We ask questions designed to find out about their lifestyle, workout goals, etc. People proffer up some very intimidate details during this process. Then, once we’re going through the workout, we chit-chat, in addition to talking about exercise. The result is that you get to know the person fairly well.

Of my three clients, I had a 21 year old female, a 24 year old male, and 23 year old male. The first two were slightly overweight and looking to lose some pounds and tone up their muscles. The last was skinny as a stick and completely out of shape.

I put the first two through intensive dynamic workouts whereby in the span of 15 minutes I had them do exercises to work their entire body while keeping their heart-rates high. The guy in particular was panting like a dog and drenched in sweat by the time we were done. I pushed him to his breaking point.

The skinny dude already had had a first workout (each Bally’s member is entitled to a “first workout” with a PT; the idea is after that we get them to purchase a PT package) and he apparently almost passed out when put through a dynamic. I didn’t see the point of burning calories on a guy who needs calories—and since his goal was to build muscle—I put him through a traditional weight lifting workout, focusing on his chest and biceps (and abs at the end).

I wasn’t surprised at his lack of strength as much as how the left half of his body was significantly weaker than the right, primarily in this chest—I mean, significantly weaker. But, if he buys some sessions, eats right and works out with me, I am confident that we can put some muscle on those bones. I was given permission to schedule another appointment to work him. The logic behind this is that we know he doesn’t know anything about how to achieve his goals, and so we hope one more supervised workout will convince him that he needs to purchase some PT sessions. The truth is, he really needs to do it. Unless he starts buying fitness magazines and immersing himself in exercise, he’ll probably come to the gym and waste his time like so many other people. He won’t see any results, and eventually he’ll stop coming. But a small PT package can at least give him direction so that he can continue his workouts on his own later on.

I’ve had jobs where I had to sell a service, but in the case of this job, I really believe in the product I’m selling.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Tackling extremism, British style

Andrew C. McCarthy's take on how Britain is dealing with Muslim extremism:

This Is “Tackling Extremism”?Blair’s post 7/7 committees may do more to disarm England than militancy.

After the 7/7 bombing attacks by Islamo-fascists that killed scores of Londoners, British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced with great fanfare that he would create a Home Office task force of committees to "tackle extremism." The purpose, he asserted, was to confront "head on" the rise of radicalism among young Muslims.

How is it working out so far?

Well, first came the word that an invitation to participate in the effort had been extended to the media secretary for the Muslim Council of Britain, Inayat Bunglawala, known for his anti-Semitism, who refers to Osama bin Laden as a "freedom fighter," and describes Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman ("the blind sheikh" behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing conspiracy) as "courageous."

Next to join the team was Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss professor (and grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood) who has praised jihadists attacking Israeli and American forces. Ramadan has just recently landed on his feet in England (where he has been appointed to teach at St Anthony's College at Oxford) after being banned from the United States and France.

Last week it was announced that coming aboard would be Yusuf Islam, better known as the pop singer Cat Stevens, who has become a "peace activist" since converting to Islam in the late 1970s — and an unusual one in that his appearance on a watch list due to what U.S. officials (according to Fox News) called "alleged associations with possible terrorists" caused a trans-Atlantic flight on which he was a passenger to be diverted last year.

PC Thought Police Alert

As the saying goes, "The path to hell is paved with good intentions." The following article shows how well-meaning codes of conduct can morph into totalitarian-like mind control.

I also received a glossary of terms that are acceptable and not acceptable to use in my position. "Boyfriend" and "girlfriend" are out, unless used in conjunction—as in "do you have a boyfriend or girlfriend?" thereby avoiding the assumption of heterosexuality.

My emails, online profiles, and bedroom decorations are subject to inspection if I am suspected of violating any diversity policies.

I was told to place myself on something called the Riddle Homophobia Scale. I chose the "acceptance" level. As it turned out, "tolerance" and "acceptance" are still considered "homophobic" ("implies there is something to accept"). Ultimately, I was told, I should aim to find myself nurturing GLBTQA, wherein I will realize that "gay/lesbian people are indispensable to our society," and will view GLBTQAs with "genuine affection and delight," manifested by an eagerness to be an ally and advocate for their community.

Last summer during orientation for graduate school I remember senior citizens referred to as "Chronologically seasoned individuals." No joke.


Here is the first part of a three part series about the radical Islamic threat to Europe:

'An Islamist threat like the Nazis'

Sunday, September 11, 2005

As Israel's last soldiers leave Gaza...

Sep. 12, 2005 3:23 Updated Sep. 12, 2005 4:39
By Associated Press

As the last IDF soldiers were heading outside the Gaza Strip early Monday morning, thousands of celebrating Palestinians took to the streets and made their way to the abandoned Jewish settlements.

In Neveh Dekalim – formerly Gush Katif's urban center – armed Palestinians chanting “God is Great” surrounded an abandoned synagogue while a youth planted a Fatah flag on the roof.

Palestinian Interior Ministry spokesman Tawfiq Abu Khoussa addressed the crowd with a concilatory message: “Just as there are many mosques inside Israel, we will show that as Palestinians, we respect the holy places of all religions. The synagogues in liberated Gaza will remain standing as a testament to Palestinian restraint and political maturity.”

Just kidding!

Here's the actual AP story:

“As the last IDF soldiers were heading outside the Gaza Strip early Monday morning, thousands of celebrating Palestinians took to the streets and made there way to the abandoned Jewish settlements.

In Neveh Dekalim – formerly Gush Katif's urban center – Palestinians set fire to what was just last month a yeshiva.

Gunman from several Palestinian factions stormed through the settlement. One group planted a flag from the ruling Fatah movement on the roof of the yeshiva, while others set a fire inside.

Flames also shot skyward from the synagogue building in the isolated settlement of Morag in southern Gaza…”

Jews and Freemasons controlled war on Iraq, says No 10 adviser

Tony Blair decided to wage war on Iraq after coming under the influence of a "sinister" group of Jews and Freemasons, a Muslim barrister who advises the Prime Minister has claimed.

Shocking. I guess giving a fair hearing to the views of a well-known anti-Semitic conspiracy theoriest is par for the course and jolly-good because, according to a government source, "[i]t is by talking to people with varying views that we find out what the range of opinions is. It doesn't mean we agree with what they are saying."

Mr Thomson wrote a book in 1994 in which he said Freemasons and Jews controlled the governments of Europe and America and described the claim that six million Jews died in the Holocaust as a "big lie".

Despite that, the man was somehow appointed to be an advisor to Blair. Seriously, something is wrong in that country.

Shame on Britain

What the hell is going on in Great Britain? Britain may very well be the single most hostile European country towards Jews and Israel.

A team of advisors appointed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair called for the cancellation of the British Holocaust Memorial Day in order to avoid offending the country's Muslim population. The organized British Muslim community objects to a Holocaust Memorial day, which is not surprising because huge numbers of Muslims want to destroy Israel and finish Hitler’s job. Using multi-cultural language, British Muslim leaders haved called for an "inclusive" Genocide Memorial Day, which, they argue, will include the alleged genocide of the Palestinians by Israel; a false and libelous accusation itself. That the government would give such an obscene request consideration is appalling. If this goes through, and if I was a UK citizen, I'd leave.

Then we have the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, a man who at best cannot be called a friend of the Jews, and at worst is an unrepentant anti-Semite (and certainly a proud hater of Israel). Red Ken is fond of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is a supporter of suicide bombings in Israel and hopes that Jews will “choke on their food.” You can learn a lot about a person by the company he keeps.

And we can’t forget MP George Galloway, who recently visited Damascus and exhorted Muslims to rise up against Israel and who admitted to dreaming about being part of a force “that would wade ashore (Israel), Kalashnikov in hand, and return it to its rightful owners.” Hey George, you can still give it a shot. Why don’t you team up with a couple of your radical Palestinian friends and see what happens?

It was also in Great Britain where the academic boycott against Israel received it’s most vociferous support. In a couple of cases, Israeli students were told they need not apply to British higher learning institutions simply because they were Israeli citizens.

Despite the bombings in London, Great Britain is still a cozy refuge for the most anti-Semitic, anti-Western Islamic demogogues in the world. However, while many Islamo-fascists are still welcome in Great Britain, Israeli Maj.-Gen. (Res) Doron Almog, “decided not to disembark from an EL-AL plane that landed in London on Sunday afternoon [because] information reached the Israeli Foreign Ministry that a Palestinian from Birmingham had filed a lawsuit against Almog for crimes against humanity, allegedly committed while Almog served as IDF Gaza chief.” Almog decided not to disembark “out of concern UK authorities would arrest the retired general upon his arrival.”

I know there are Israel supporters in Great Britain, but their silence and complacency leaves the playing field open to the Israel haters. It pains me to lash out at Great Britain. Although we Jews have had our differences with Her Majesty’s government, in many times and places Britain has been good to the Jews. Personally, I’ve always been somewhat of an Anglophile, but these days something seems to be broken in British society.

If given the option to visit Germany or Great Britain, this Jew-boy would probably opt to visit the former. It’s not talked about much, but after the United States, Germany is perhaps Israel’s closest ally. For obvious reasons, you can at least be sure that the Germans would never contemplate demoting Holocaust remembrance ceremonies.

Iranian judoka loses to avoid match with Israeli

Iranian judoka Wahid Sarlak lost his match against a competitor from Azerbaijan on purpose Sunday in order to avoid a showdown with Israeli judoka Gal Yekutiel at the world judo championships in Cairo.

After the match, a sobbing Sarlak revealed that heads of the Judo federation in Teheran had instructed him to lose the match.

Yekutiel is now two victories away from clinching a bronze medal, Army Radio reported.

Iranian officials had originally requested Sarlak kill himself in order to avoid living on the same planet as Israelis. However, a fatwa issued by Iranian clergy in Qom ruled that such a request was un-Islamic.

The proper Islamic response, said a spokesman in Qom, was not to commit suicide to avoid contact with Israelis, but rather to kill every Israeli on the planet. An atomic weapon, he said, will make that easier to accomplish. In the meantime, said the spokesman, suicide is only sanctioned by Islam if an Israeli is killed in the process.

Semite1973 Wire Service contributed to this story

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