Friday, March 31, 2006

What We Said vs. What I Wish We’d Said

The request for a radio interview with Tammy Bruce came out of the blue. What a pleasant surprise! I liked her style — direct, to the point — and her quick uptake. She pays attention.

I also liked (which others may not) her notice of gender differences in conversation. For example, she asked me a question, and the Baron broke in to answer. Now it is a truism that men tend to hog the conversation. However, Ms. Bruce couldn’t have known that the Baron and I have been interrupting each others for years… and then arguing about whose turn it is to interrupt. Tee hee: the Baron got caught on national radio. So that should cover my next dozen interruptions, at least.

Which is not to say Ms. Bruce was wrong: put a woman in a group of men and she’ll be lucky to get a word in edgewise. Unless she’s armed, of course. Armament evens the playing field if you have to talk with a group of guys.

Looking back, it’s good that we got talk about the The Bloody Borders Project. Ms. Bruce appreciated the work behind it, commenting on the visual effects.

It was satisfying to mention our start in the blog world as commenters on the Belmont Club. Thanks to dear Wretchard, you are reading this post.

The Baron spoke about the Infidel Bloggers Alliance, surely the most sundry and assorted group-blogging endeavor online. IBA demonstrates perfectly the most important thing about the blogosphere: that it is both distributed and aggregated intelligence; it is information gathered from individuals, not corporations or collective entities of any sort. That is the blogosphere’s great strength, and its novelty — a worldwide web of dialogue, pamphleteering, disagreement, and data-sharing. The blogosphere is the fluid movement of knowledge.

Blogging makes you more informed. When you step out of line, there are experts on everything from domestic intelligence to history to language to physics to law to trucking — all right there, ready to set you straight.

And that’s what I wish we’d said.

Truckin’ My Blues Away

Lego tank truckDymphna wrote on Wednesday about the over-representation of Somalis in a certain Midwest truck-driving school and the potential security issues involved. Her post prompted a flurry of comments and emails from truck drivers, each with his own take on the problem. One of the commenters was trucker L.M., who had this to say:

I am commenting on the post of 3/29. I am a hazmat driver. Before I go into the meat of the post and why I say and have said all along that fingerprinting us is a feel-good law, I will go into what hazmat loads are.

  • Car parts: Not just batteries, but airbag modules. These are the cylinders that expand airbags in an accident.
  • Coca-Cola syrup: this is more harmful than some poisons and acids.
  • Grocery loads: This also includes cigarette lighters.
  • Hazmat does not necessarily mean dynamite or gasoline.

This is a feel good law for the simple fact that if someone were going to use a hazmat load to carry out a terrorist act, he or she is not going to be stupid enough advertise the fact that the vehicle is so equipped to do so. The first thing that would happen is that the placards would be removed from the vehicle, making it as innocuous as possible. Was the U-Haul driven by Timothy McVeigh marked as carrying a hazardous load? In fact, as far as I know, Tim McVeigh only had a regular driver’s license, not a CDL, and certainly not endorsed with an “H” (for Hazmat) or “X” (for hazmat tanker).

Most likely if such an act were to be carried out, the person who did it would most likely not be a hazmat driver.

In fact, what this law does, is tax the truckers who are already taxed at a rate approaching 60% with another $94.00 per renewal.

I’m told this isn’t even a one-time thing, but must be done each and every time a CDL is renewed. Sorry, this is a reactionary move at best and another tax at worst.

As soon as L.M. points it out, it’s obvious. Of course! Why would someone who wanted to do harm with a tractor trailer put a “hazmat” label on it? Better to fill a milk tanker with gasoline and drive it on in to Manhattan, as is.

Or imagine this scenario: an Islamist group in Oakland cuts the lock on an Ikea lot in the dead of night and steals a company delivery truck. Back to Al Qaeda headquarters (which masquerades as pita bread bakery and warehouse), dump the dollies and whatnot out of the back of the trailer, and fill it to the ceiling with propane tanks, bags of nails and ball bearings, and a detonator. Then down to the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco at first light, with the driver wearing an authentic Ikea uniform and carrying authentic Ikea paperwork, ready to pull up at the loading dock just as the offices fill.

Whoops! Forgot the HAZMAT sign… Oh, well.

Before you flame me for giving the terrorists ideas, remember: I have no military training, no knowledge of explosives, and no experience in intelligence. But many of the enemy’s operatives have all three. Very shrewd and very ruthless people are brainstorming on topics like this all the time, and coming up with new schemes like the one carried out in September of 2001.

No doubt my idea is unworkable, and all the spooks and truckers and weapons experts among our readers will get in the comments and explain to me the error of my ways.

But be sure that their turbaned counterparts, scheming right now in the caves of Waziristan, are devising much less amateurish schemes, and without any help from me at all.

The Unknown Is There

It seems that the poetry of Louis MacNeice has fallen out of favor in the last several decades. In preparation for this post, I searched the internet for some of the poems I wanted, but there didn’t seem to any web versions extant. In order to obtain digital versions, I had to scan and process the them from my ancient dogeared copy of the Selected Works.

It’s hard to believe that MacNeice was popular in the 1930s and 1940s, and well respected in the sixties, after his untimely death in 1963 at the age of 55.

He was from an Anglican Irish background, and was one of the “Thirties Poets”, along with W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender, C. Day Lewis, et al. Most of the ’30s poetry is larded with a heavy dose of socialist political content, and has not aged well. But MacNeice was less politically doctrinaire than most of his cohort, and some of his work has survived the test of time. He remains a B-list poet — lacking the brilliance of Wallace Stevens or the technical excellence of William Empson — but much of his work is readable, and the best is very good indeed.

I will eventually tackle some of the most important works, such as “Autumn Journal”. Today, however, I am presenting part of a poem that touches on an issue that recurs frequently in Gates of Vienna: the tension between religious faith and atheism. It is light verse, and a good entry-level poem for the works of Louis MacNeice.

So, a4g — are you out there? — this one’s for you.

From “Jigsaws”
by Louis MacNeice

Although we say we disbelieve,
God comes in handy when we swear —
It may be when we exult or grieve,
It may be just to clear the air;
Let the skew runner breast the tape,
Let the great lion leave his lair,
Let the hot nymph solicit rape,
We need a God to phrase it fair;
When death curls over in the wave
Strings may soar and brass may blare
But, to be frightened or be brave,
We crave some emblem for despair,
And when ice burns and joys are pain
And shadows grasp us by the hair
We need one Name to take in vain,
One taboo to break, one sin to dare.
What is it then we disbelieve?
Because the facts are far from bare
And all religions must deceive
And every proof must wear and tear,
That God exists we cannot show,
So do not know but need not care.
Thank God we do not know; we know
We need the unknown. The Unknown is There.

I hope the poetic oeuvre of Louis MacNeice has moved into the public domain, because I intend to keep scanning and posting my favorites, in order to help establish his web presence.

Gates of Vienna is on the Tammy Bruce Show

POST-SHOW UPDATE: The show went well; Dymphna will report on it later on.

We know that at least a4g was listening!

Pastorius: I hope you were listening...

UPDATE: The show's producer just emailed us; our time is 2:05pm EST (11:05am for our readers in La-la Land).

This post will stay at the top until air time. New posts are below it.

The New American Revolution
We think so, anyway. They emailed us yesterday and the tentative schedule is

  • 2:05 p.m. or 2:30 on the East Coast.
  • 11:05 or 11:30 on the Left Coast.

The timing probably depends on whoever precedes us.

Her program can be heard on Talk Radio Network. Go to the site and click on her image.

Tammy’s blog can be found here. Right now, at the top of the page, there’s an image of a Pakistani woman with her head covered… covered with a flight helmet. She’s a fighter pilot.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Borders Pays the Infidel Jizya

Not to say that Little Green Footballs is the crux of the blogosphere or anything. In the old, old days, it might have been a central terminus for all the railroad cars in a particular region. Today, it functions as the place where information comes through and branches out into the distributive network. It’s an arrangement in which, if-Charles-or-the-lizardoids-see-or-hear-it, in short order you will, too.

Lots of us do essays, which are important aspects of blogging. But Charles Johnson simply plants his foot on story long enough for you to read it and then he’s on to something else, turning back only as new information come in.

A case in point: the now-infamous Borders Bookstores Bumble, which LFG called “Borders and Waldenbooks Cave In to Islamist Intimidation.” The post told the story of a new chapter in the all-too-familiar corporate implosion when faced with thuggish threats. In this case, the current month’s issue of the magazine Free Inquiry has been banned from Borders and its subsidiary, Walden Books. Why? Because Free Inquiry had the temerity to splash the cartoons on its inside pages. You know — them, the images which can’t be shown, or else spontaneous combustion appears in Pakistan. Or maybe in a Borders Bookstore. Waaay too scary to have the Muslim cartoons out in plain view like that, right? So, Banned at Borders they were.

That was followed by another post, a revealing email from one of his readers, a Borders employee:

I work for Borders Books and after reading the article you posted on Wed. 3/29 about our company not carrying the magazine due to it showing the dreaded cartoons of blasphemy, I thought I should write with another tidbit of information I learned about my company the other week.

I was shifting rows of books in our religion section and it happened to be that all of our Koran books (a section on its own) ended up on the bottom shelf. The next day I was informed by my General Manager that it is Borders policy as a whole (not my particular store) that due to complaints in the past from Muslim customers, we are not allowed to put our copies of the Koran on any shelf other than the top.

LGF’s third post on this was a link to an open letter to Borders from the writer and editor, Robert Bidinotto. His site is worth a visit. Not only will you find his excellent letter to Borders, but you’ll be supplied with the corporate address for your own screed and some verrry interesting links to behind-the-scenes-with-the-suits-shenanigans. For example, from the Borders corporate website, did you know:

Borders Inc., a subsidiary of global book, music and movie retailer Borders Group, Inc. (NYSE:BGP), announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Al Maya Group, a diversified corporation headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, to establish a franchise arrangement under which Al Maya will operate Borders stores in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

The first of what is expected to be multiple Borders stores in the United Arab Emirates will be located in Dubai at Deira City Centre, the premier shopping center in the GCC. The Borders stores will offer a vast array of book titles in English and Arabic. Borders will provide training and marketing support to Al Maya. The store will be operated by Al Maya consistent with the Borders brand experience. Terms and conditions of the anticipated agreement will not be disclosed.

It was a gentleman’s agreement, you see.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, there are many disgruntled Americans who are about to pull out of Borders — lock, stock, and barrel, so to speak. Here’s just one fellow, Pastorius, explaining how much money he’s dropped at his local Borders outlet…but won’t be going there anymore:

I would estimate that I have purchased over 2000 books, CD’s, and magazines, and at least 10,000 cups of coffee at Borders over the years.

I will never make another purchase there again, unless they come to me in their humiliation and apologize for what they have done. Then, they can pay me the Infidel jizya, and then and only then, if they are lucky, I will deign to steal books from them.

F*** Borders. Say it with me now, F*** BORDERS

I wonder if Borders can hear the rising chorus. I wonder if they care.

Somehow, I don’t think this is going away. The cartoons haven’t gone away, so Borders is now aligned with a totalitarian enemy. Good luck to them in the UAE, they will truly need it.

The only block bookstore near us is Barnes and Noble. Maybe they’re listening? Meanwhile, I’ll keep on trucking with Amazon, even if they do give so much room to trolls on the book pages of conservative writers. That seems mild in comparison to Borders’ blatant butt-kissing.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

“A Warning Sign?”

UPDATE: Commenter Andre Szara sent the following link from a story in CNN from 2005. Old news but useful information.

The item outlines the Patriot Act requirements for truck drivers; like most government regulations it makes for depressing reading. Basically, they’re going to:

  • fingerprint every hazmat trucker in the U.S.
  • this will take five years, minimum
  • most states have only one fingerprinting site
  • since they don’t have the fingerprinting process up and running the Transportation Security administration used a list of names of almost three million current hazmat truckers to check against a list of known terrorists. They were able to turn over approximately a hundred leads to the FBI.

So beginning in January, 2005, all truckers applying for hazmat licenses would be fingerprinted upon application. The rest will slowly come through the mill:

The fingerprints will be submitted to the FBI, which will run them against its extensive criminal database. If the background check reveals that the driver has been convicted of terrorism, espionage, murder or certain other felonies, the driver will be permanently banned from hauling hazardous materials. They also will be banned if they are fugitives or adjudicated as mentally ill.

Critics say this is a “feel-good” resolution. Of course, they will be the first in line to complain if somehow a hazmat driver becomes involved in a terrorist act.

Have you noticed that for those who thrive on angry outrage, whatever attempts are made to make things safer are both useless measures and, at the same time, not enough? So if nothing happens, they can sneer, and if awful destruction occurs they can point fingers. These are the people who cringe at the idea of domestic intelligence because it might involve someone examining their library card use.

In the phrase “useful idiots” it is the noun which is operative here.

Fox News had a video up tonight titled “Warning Signs.”

The FBI in Kansas City is said to be conducting an investigation into a truck-driving school in West Plains, Missouri.

So Central Career SchoolThe South Central Career Center, with its peeling sign out front, offers truck driving lessons. It seems to have attracted a large number of Somali Muslims from a community of Somalis in Kansas City. In the last 18 months, the majority of its students have been Somalians.

Should we be concerned? Probably. Why in the Midwest? Why the concentration of Somalis in this line of work? Is this anything like flight training school except you don’t have to learn to land? Are they bothering to learn how to brake one of those things?

Pay records for schoolIn a way, trucks are of more concern than planes. They are ubiquitous, a commonplace in our everyday landscape. They pass us all the time on the highway and we don't even notice. An 18 wheeler loaded surreptitiously with something explosively unstable could be a nightmare beyond the wildest imaginings of whatever concerns Dubai Ports raised.

The FBI is investigating, but it isn’t talking. I’ll bet a great many driving schools are under scrutiny. Fox News just happened upon one of them.

Big Pharaoh Says "Go Canada!"

Big Pharaoh has some good news. He doesn’t provide a link to his quotes, but I’m happy to spread them around anyway. Here’s his own comment:

Canada suspended aid to the Hamas-led government. It’s now the first country, besides Israel, to do so. I am surprised. I mean, this is Canada! Does that have to do with the removal of Paul Martin?

Hmm…there’s big clue for you. BP says that Ottawa will continue to give NGO aid for humanitarian assistance. As he notes, they’re the only country besides Israel that refuses aid to Hamas. I thought Secretary Rice said the same thing, but perhaps I missed the news cycle where she backed off?

Canada in a position of strong moral leadership! Here’s BP’s quote:

Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said in a statement that Canada had no choice but to suspend assistance and decline any contact with the New Hamas Cabinet.

Can you believe this turn?

That’s my good news for the week from the Western world, thanks to Big Pharaoh. And by the way, he’s looking for help in purchasing a laptop. Any of you geeks got an old one hanging around?

And Louise, a commenter on Sandmonkey, had this to say about her country’s new look:

"Yeah!!! Finally. My country gets back to where it should be!! We’ve been a long time hiding under the bed with the dust bunnies. I’m very glad we are now looking beyond our noses and to the wider world. Looking down our noses at the US was getting so tiresome and petty."

The Sheikh Sits Up And Takes Notice

Sheikh GilaniThe Politics of CP and the Northeast Intelligence Network have gotten the attention of Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Gilani, the Pakistani founder of the terrorist group Jamaat ul-Fuqra.

The Sheikh has released a statement through his cover organization, the Muslims of America, referring to the CP/NEIN Investigative Report:

This highly questionable report about Muslims of the Americas (MOA), their town Islamberg, NY, the International Quranic Open University (IQOU), and the Vice Chancellor of IQOU, is a small part of a campaign of hate, fabricated falsehood, lies, and appalling propaganda aimed at bringing about a clash between Muslims and Christians the world over, and particularly in the United States (U.S.) As the Imam of the Muslims of the Americas and Vice Chancellor of IQOU, I take this opportunity to expose this recurring scheme of deception and falsehood conjured up by vested interests.

…I am going to prove that Douglas J. Hagman and his group are the actual perpetrators of international terrorism, and racial and religious bigotry and their ceaseless campaign of hate, is more damaging to the U.S. than any other country. The U.S. has become a pawn of hidden hands that use America’s wealth and the innocent blood of their sons and daughters to wage their wars against Muslims…

The accounts of the activities of JF in this country – as documented by domestic intelligence and law enforcement, and summarized here in previous posts – are apparently… Well, apparently they’re a figment of our overactive imaginations.

If you aren’t familiar with the Arabic term taqiyya, you might want to start researching it.

As for Sheikh Gilani: go over to CP’s blog and read the rest.

Apostasy and the Rule of Law

Nunc Pro Lunch has linked to the story of Abdul Rahman’s safe arrival in Italy. He also gives some domestic details I wasn’t aware of — i.e., that Rahman’s wife turned him in:

1. His ex-wife denounces him as a convert to Christianity in the context of a bitter custody dispute.
2. Cops search his house and find a Bible.
2. The judge asks him if he is in fact a Christian.
3. He says that he is.

This reminds me of the bitter American divorce disputes when women would accuse fleeing husbands (sometimes rightly so) of abusing the children. There is no hate like the hatred of divorce. Of course, in Afghanistan, abuse of children is probably not up there in its level of seriousness with crimes like apostasy. So I presume she was working with what she had.

Aside from that, Uncle Pavian points out several facts which bear our attention:

This is what lawyers call “a prima facie case”. The Afghan authorities had him dead to rights on what is a capital offense in Afghanistan, and in the normal course of events he would have been beheaded, hanged, had a wall pushed over on him, or something. Instead, the Afghan judicial system caved in to international pressure and dropped the charges.

Abdul Rahman, ApostateThis is good for Brother Rahman, and good for the future of relations between the United States and Afghanistan, and good for the concept of freedom of religion.

However, as he says, this plucking of Abdul Rahman out of the lion’s den does not bode well for the rule of law, which was gotten round in these proceedings. According to Sharia Law, Abdul is guilty and should die. As Uncle Pavian says:

So long as Islam is a religion that has to [kill] its adherents to keep them from leaving, Muslims will bear the burden of demonstrating that they are not barbarians.

That is the Gordian knot which ties Sharia Law into a thicket of brutality the rest of the world fails to comprehend. Praise Allah all you want, but don’t murder your people for thought crimes.

The Chinese face the same chasm in understanding from the rest of the world when they persecute the Falun Gong. However, they --much like their Iranian friends -- don't worry about such matters. Neither is running in the democracy sweepstakes.

From the Archives

From the desk of the editor...

April 14th, 1912.

From: Mr. Philemon Basingstoke
Features Editor
Conglomerated Press International
New York, NY.
To: Diarmuid O'Banlon, Esq.
Aboard USS Titanic.
Re: Crew shakeup story.

Good job on story about resignation of Understeward For Furniture Positioning Andrew Card and replacement with former Assistant Silverware Steward Joshua Bolten. Running on page one.

Liked emphasis on declining popularity of Captain as reflected by passenger polls on arrangement of deck chairs.

But side-story about iceberg had to be cut -- readers have no interest. Unless -- work an angle that appearance of iceberg is Captain's fault?

Or maybe iceberg is actually myth put out by senior members of crew to cover up incompetence...?

Look forward to next dispatch.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Israel Votes

Exit Polls

From Vital Perspective, these exit polls are subject to change, but probably not by much.

 TV 10  TV 2  TV 1
Kadima (Moderate) 31 32 29
Labor (Left) 20 22 22
Likud (Right) 12 11 11
Yisrael Beitenu (Right) 12 13 14
Shas (Sephardic) 11 10 11
NRP/NU (Religious) 8 9 8
UTJ (Religious) 6 5 6
Meretz (Left) 5 5 5
Gil (Senior Citizens) 7 6 8
Khadash (Arab Communist) 3 2 2
Balad (Arab) 2 2 
Ram Tal (Arab) 3 3 4

The Jerusalem Post noted that the 63.2% voter turnout was the lowest in years:

only 63.2 percent of Israel’s 5,014,622 eligible voters had turned out at Israel’s 8,280 polling stations to cast their ballots. The figure is the lowest in Israeli elections history, with the next-lowest turnout of 67.8% in the 2003 elections.

Throughout the day, voter turnout at times lagged as much as 12% behind percentages measured in the 2003 elections.

Of course, with the predicted violence from the Palestinian Jihadists, voter confidence may have been a bit shaky, don't you think?

A note from commenter David on our previous Israeli elections post:

Having just voted in Jerusalem, I read your post.

It is not suicidal shopping. It is an insistence on living normally, despite the threats. I have been in this country since the Yom Kippur War and the worst time I can remember was about three years ago - right before operation “defensive wall”. People stopped going to public spaces. The coffee shops and restaurants were empty(we are a coffee shop oriented culture) as were the malls and main streets. It was scary. It was depressing.

Then, Arik Sharon got it together militarily, took the war to the terrorists, started building the wall/fence and we turned back the terrorist onslaught. We reoccupied our public places. In essence, we won that (chapter of) the war. Ever since, the coffee shops and other public spaces have been full and, I hope, we will not be scared out of them again.

Living normally (and, I should note, well: the quality of the coffee and food in those coffee shops leaves Starbucks in the dust)is the best revenge in the face of terrorism.

The Assimilated Muslim

Another Dane has joined the blogosphere.

Longtime Gates of Vienna commenter Exile has just started his own blog, On the wing. He’s just getting started; as he says, “Watch this space.”

His first post is about the Democratic Muslims, a group of assimilated Danish Muslims who are trying to counter the propaganda, influence, and violence of the extremist imams.

The group is headed up by a fully integrated muslim, now an MP, called Naser Khader. I admire this guy. He has to live under police protection. He has recently received threats (indirectly) against his life and is presently holding a low profile for his own safety and to spend time with his family.

Naser Khader has his own website, but very little of it is in English. Fortunately, Exile has translated an important part of it:

The ten commandments of Democracy.
1. We must all separate politics and religion, and we must never place religion above the laws of democracy.
2. We must all respect that all people have equal rights regardless of sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious beliefs.
3. No person must ever incite to hatred, and we must never allow hatred to enter our hearts.
4. No person must ever use or encourage violence – no matter how frustrated or wronged we feel, or how just our cause.
5. We must all make use of dialogue - always.
6. We must all show respect for the freedom of expression, also of those with whom we disagree the most.
7. No person can claim for themselves or assign to others a place apart, neither as superior persons, as inferior persons or as eternal victims.
8. We must all treat other people’s national and religious symbols as we wish them to treat ours – flag-burning and graffiti on churches, mosques and synagogues are insults that hinder dialogue and increase the repression of the other party.
9. We must all mind our manners in public. Public space is not a stage on which to vent one’s aggressions or to spread fear and hate, but should be a forum for visions and arguments, where the best must win support.
10. We must all stand up for our opponent if he or she is subjected to spiteful treatment.

This is a good framework in which to build a civil society – more power to Naser Khader.

As Exile says,

That this one man is prepared to put his life on the line and live (or die?) with the consequences of his view of democracy makes him a martyr for me.

The one big difference is, that this particular martyr is still alive.

The more Danes who start blogging, the better, since the truth of what’s happening in Scandinavia (and the rest of Europe) will not come our way via the Legacy Media.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Exile lives in København, aka Copenhagen. I visited the city in the summer of 1967, when I was a teenager. I don’t remember seeing any recognizable Muslims – only Danes, and a scattering of American tourists like myself.

I remember the long warm midsummer evenings, the enchantment of the Tivoli Gardens at night, and arguing with Danish students about the Vietnam war. My brother and I learned two words of Danish: “dva øl” (or something similar), so that we could order beer. I was sixteen, and drinking beer legally! Was this heaven, or what?

I suppose times have changed. Exile, Rune, Henrik, or any other of our Danish readers: can you remember 1967 in København? Is it very different now?

Islam’s Saints

I Could Scream: Examining the plight of women under Islam
The Christian convert in Afghanistan who faced execution in Afghanistan has been let go, at least for the moment. Because Afghanistan’s President is anxious to join the modern world, which has a secular rule of law, he was able to bring pressure to bear on the Sharia Court to let the religious prisoner go. And because he wants to bring his country into the 21st century, Karzai was open to the urging of world leaders who called him to intervene in this case.

Things will not go so well for the Sharia-shackled prisoners in Iran. The government there is deaf to any pleading, and in fact, is planning its executions in secret so as to fly under the radar of humanitarian groups who might seek to interfere. Here are two current cases:

The first is an 17 year old young woman named Nazanin who was out walking with her niece and their respective boyfriends in March, 2005. The two girls were set upon by three men. When the men began stoning the girls, the boys ran away. Injured from the stones, the girls were dragged to the ground and Act II, the rape, began. Nazanin managed to get out a knife she carried to protect herself from attacks. She stabbed her rapist in the chest and he died from the wound. So, of course, Nazanin now faces execution for this act of self-defense. She was sentenced in January, 2006, though the date of execution isn’t certain.

The second case is an older woman, Fatemeh Haghighat-Pajooh, who murdered her “temporary husband” for his attempted rape of her daughter. The whole sick idea of “temporary marriage” is Sharia-speak for permitting adultery and prostitution, which would otherwise be punishable by execution. “Temporary marriages” can be of any duration — from a quick assignation at lunch — to many years’ duration. You can be married to one woman and still contract with another for a muta. This is largely a Shi’ite permutation, though Sunnis have been known to use it when convenient. Needless to say, built in to this corruption is a lack of protection for the “wife” of these arrangements:

Haghighat-Pajooh was originally scheduled for execution in 2002, however due to international pressure the execution was stayed. Once again however, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s high tribunal has reinstated the ruling and has every intention of seeing the execution through.

Her execution, is reportedly scheduled to take place by or before April 1st, which is the last day of the Persian New Year.

According to various received reports, the Islamic regime is planning to execute her quietly so that any pressure from the international human rights groups can be foiled. The Islamic regime, fearing any further protests and challenges by Iranian women, plans to use Haghighat-Pajooh's case in order to strike more fear and intimidation in the hearts of Iranian women.

Sharia LawRemember those ugly public executions, devised to be as painful and slow as possible and to show the world Iran’s idea of law? The executions will remain the same, except now they will be done in secret and announced after the fact. Everyone understands now what Iran is, and besides, this secrecy will indeed serve to intimidate Iranian women.

Do you think any world leaders will personally contact Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to attempt to make a case for mercy? It would be like spitting into the wind.

Until Islam changes fundamentally its deep principles about the inferiority of women and non-Muslims, it will remain a backward and eventually doomed culture.

I have an idea, though, that might have some impact: each Muslim woman who is killed just because she is a woman ought to be canonized by the Western Christian church.

How does St. Nazanin sound?

Monday, March 27, 2006

They Killed The Picture

Maybe he was just kicking over the traces. Whatever the reason, Supreme Court Justice Atonin Scalia gave a physical demonstation of what he says to those who question his impartiality regarding the separation of church and state.

According to a UPI story on News Monsters and Critics Roundup, Scalia was coming out of church in Boston, on his way to give the keynote address at a Catholic Lawyers Guild luncheon, when a Boston Herald reporter queried him on whether he gets a lot of questioning about his position on this issue.

Scalia showed the reporter what his response to such questioners was, using his hand to make his point.

He claims this hand gesture is a Sicilian expression.

I say it was the communion wine that did it. Not to mention his general relief at having two more conservatives on the bench with him. Or maybe he’s been hanging out with Dick Cheney, a known bad influence.

So, how do the rest of the justices gesticulate to such questions? Any ideas?

By the way, the only photographer to get a good shot of Justice Scalia's demonstration happens to work for the Boston diocese newspaper. Somehow I don't think that photo is ever going to see the light of day. That poor photographer is even now gnashing his teeth in the outer darkness.

Italy's Coming Elections

Read this:

In a fortnight we’ll know if the country [Italy] will pass from the current crypto-communism to a fully-fledged, albeit soft fronted, communist regime. The debate has never been so heated. It’s two conceptions of the state clashing against each other, one for little government, less taxes, more freedom, and a free market economy, and the other in favour of big government, pervasive control on every detail of one’s life, high taxation, and a state-controlled subsidised economy.

The left already controls the media, universities, schools, the cultural establishment, part of the judiciary, a sizable number of town councils and regions, and of course the trade unions.

What is not well known abroad is that the big industrialists are in league with the left, along with banks and the world of finance. If you wonder why big capitalists should be in favour of a communist government, remember that in this country they have always relied heavily on state subsidies. Take for example the Agnelli family, owners of FIAT, the biggest car manufacturers in Italy. Whenever FIAT was in trouble, the family got substantial handouts from the government to tide them over, handouts which were promptly invested on other financial enterprises.


Italian economy is not based on industrial giants, but rather on small and medium-sized enterprises, which are in dire need of incentives such as lower taxation and not of punitive measures. The left will bleed the middle class dry, “attacking financial revenues” in Fausto Bertinotti’s words, “property is theft” leader of Communist Re-Foundation. That is, it will raise taxes on savings and bonds, and on real estate, plus it will introduce more taxes. Many people are already transferring their money abroad in the expectation of the communist takeover. (emphasis, GoV)


The comrades [the Communists] emerged in small unobtrusive groups from the underground stations and then gathered having put on balaclavas and handkerchiefs on their faces in order not to be recognized. They carried iron bars, knuckledusters, and flammable liquids, and started working their way down the street, building barricades with dumpsters and parked cars and setting fire to them. They set fire to a AN (National Alliance, a right-wing party) gazebo, and also to some shops…

And that’s Italy today; no need to import terrorists when you can grow your own.

By all means, read the whole thing. There's a ray of hope at the end.

Fourteen "Concrete" Plans for Jihad

Little Green Footballs reports that Israel is on high alert for terror attacks. Linking from Ynet News, he says that fourteen of the eighty-five warnings are “concrete.”

Jihad AlertYnet says 22,000 police will be deployed around the country for the elections. That’s more personnel than they called up to clear out the terrorist cells in Gaza and make Yasser Arafat give up the assassins who ended up in the Jericho prison — the ones the Israelis recently removed from their relatively luxurious apartments after the Brits and American monitors decided it was too risky to their own well-being to stay around any longer.

This is a big and dangerous deal:

Islamic Jihad is the prime culprit and intends to carry out attacks using the group’s terror cells in the northern West Bank, officials said.

Security authorities have ordered a massive deployment that will start as early as 6 a.m. Tuesday, an hour before polling stations open. Police across the nation will move to an emergency deployment, with about 22,000 police and Border Guard officers to be sent to secure Israeli communities while reinforcing areas near the Green Line and the Jerusalem region.

Police forces will deploy several rings of security and set up roadblocks at the entrances to major cities. Overt and covert checkpoints will also be set up inside cities and security around polling stations will be boosted.

They are also boosting security at malls since Israelis have the day off for voting and will likely spend part of it shopping. That’s some suicidal shopping they have in mind, don’t you think? I mean, what are people thinking? “Oh, those silly terror alerts. What’s a jihad attack compared to a clearance sale?”

Okay. Fourteen attacks with high probability. More than eighty possibles. Let’s see what the Israeli police can do with this. Here’s one development that has possibilities:

Officers will also work to thwart attempts to forge ballots and create disturbances, and will for the first time make use of a new computer system that shows in real time the location of every police vehicle and officer.

Can twenty thousand police, computer assistance, and a most realistic appraisal of their adversary stave off any of this? All of it?

Too bad for the jihadists that hatred doesn’t kill. Their sheer animus would have melted the ground Israelis walk on by now.

Come to think of it, if the mere force of irrational hatred were enough to kill, Bush and any unwitting Republicans would be long gone. The spittle cleaned from their chins, Kos’ kids would be running things by now.

Speedy Indeedy

Bye-bye 26.4 kbps!Those of you who live in busy cities with all the amenities haven’t struggled with dial-up internet services since you were in … well, whatever you were wearing back then. However, those of us in the bucolic Middle of Beyond (you can find our space on maps marked “Here Be Dragons”) have had to put up with connections that get more and more problematic as web pages get fancier and scriptier, and absolute hell to load.

With dial-up you learn to cut the connection to the page as soon as the text is finished. It would be nice to see the pictures, but I could take a small vacation while waiting for the whole page to come in.

No more. We hung up the phone and got internet satellite. So far, so wonderful. It’s like a toy to click on Roger Simon and see his sweet mug pop up so quickly, followed immediately by the whole darn page. Wow. It’s like trading in a model T for a helicopter. Only not so noisy.

Now I get to go to The Adventures of Chester and see his header before the text loads. And, oh my, All Things Beautiful really is --beautiful, I mean -- once you can see all her pictures. They’re so lush.

It was a toss-up which took longer, The Anchoress or Atlas Shrugs. Now I can read the whole thing with just a click. It’s like being in a candy store. So is Sissy Willis. I love her pictures but she makes me want to buy a good camera and play around with images.

Oh, and now I can get a daily dose of the curmudgeon at Daily Pundit. Perhaps some of it will rub off on me. Rant, rant.

I’ve enjoyed Florida Cracker, but I’ve never been able to wait for her pictures, either. I’ve had to be satisfied with text. No more, señor!

Peaktalk seemed to have an attack of paralysis every time I tried to get on. A blue-gray screen for an eternity…kiss that interminable wait goodbye.

It will be especially nice to go over and bother a4g at Point Five. I don’t have to sit on that broken red curb waiting for the text to appear. Now I get to be a pest. And for the antidote, I get to visit Winds of Change, where important topics are going on without me. But no more.

Why I might even visit Dr. Sanity without swearing at the weird things her page does under the slo-mo of dialup. You wouldn’t believe…it’s a made-to-order psychotic break watching that sucker load…and load…and load. She may even have Little Green Footballs beat in the waitng-for-godot department.

When I was growing up, we didn’t have a car. I used to envy anyone who could just jump in, turn the key and take off. What careless luxury those families with cars enjoyed. But I’ve spent more time waiting for pages to load than I ever spent standing on the corner waiting for the No. 4 Murray Hill to arrive. The ony difference was you could wait for a page to come up without getting rained on. Though I hear that with internet satellite you get rain fade -- I put up with one and I'm sure I'll survive the other.

So now I got me own car and me own speedy internet connection. Last night, just for fun, I went over to L'Ombre de l'Olivier just to watch the olives dangle. Very pretty, indeed.

Of such small pleasures is heaven made.

Hmmm...I wonder what uses the Baron will have for this lovely contraption? Maybe I shouldn't ask? Oh, never mind...he likes them with a little heft and some ability to cook. I don't think you can get pot roast on line. Yet.

The Moussaoui Paradox

“All Cretans are liars.”

Epimenides’ famous paradox, a version of which burnt out the circuits of an android in a Star Trek episode, creates a non-resolvable logical contradiction, since Epimenides was a Cretan.

Can something similar be said of Al Qaeda?

Reading through the accounts of Zacarias Moussaoui’s sentencing trial, I found this little snippet in the CNN report:

[Judge Leonie Brinkema] then told Moussaoui, “You must promise to the court that you will tell the truth.”

Moussaoui responded, “Yes, I can.”

Prosecutors have said Moussaoui, 37, a French citizen of Moroccan heritage, deserves to die, saying that if he had not lied after his arrest, investigators could have uncovered the September 11 conspiracy.

When Zerkin asked Moussaoui why he lied, Moussaoui replied, “Because I am al Qaeda.”

“The Prophet says, ‘war is deceit,’” Moussaoui later told prosecutor Robert Spencer. “You’re allowed to lie for jihad. You’re allowed any technique to defeat your enemy.”

At last we have the doctrine of taqiyya in the public record, in a federal trial transcript, and spread throughout the MSM.

Honestly, do we have to pay any more attention to the press spokesmen for Hamas? To the Iranian foreign minister? Or, say, to the Saudi ambassador?

Cretans, one and all.

Notice that when he was told that he must tell the truth, Moussaoui said, “Yes, I can.”

Is that simply a syntactic error of a non-native English speaker? Or a distinction like the meaning of “is”?

In any case, we have a very clear statement of Islamist doctrine. We ignore it at our peril.

You’re allowed to lie for jihad. You’re allowed any technique to defeat your enemy.

The only trouble is this: because a Cretan said it, it can’t be true!

Changing the Tune

The Joy of Knitting, an Italian blogger whose English is so perfect you’d swear you were reading an expatriate’s musings, has an excellent proposal:

What if PC meant practically cretinous instead of politically correct? It sounds better in Italian -- praticamente cretino -- but there you are. Can’t have everything.

Hey, this could catch on! As in “Daily Kos” is praticamente cretino.


Catching Up With The Watcher's Council

Watcher's CouncilNow that we have an internet satellite connection, getting the Watcher’s posts up in time will be far less problematic. Living in the country has its advantages, but access to cable or DSL isn’t one of them. Now we get to join the rest of the world, and it doesn’t take twenty minutes to load Council posts anymore. Deo gratias.

So here we are behind only two weeks this time. On St. Patrick’s Day, Gates of Vienna won first place only by a tie-breaker from the Watcher. My submission was a post concerning the changing ideas about what constitutes gender equality. While the protagonist in this case doesn’t sound like a nice guy, neither does the woman who is his adversary. This bears watching.

The Glittering Eye tied with Gates. His post, “Why The Iranians Are Not Deterred” makes some thoughtful points about that country’s thinking. It’s hard to say whether or not he has them pegged, but I certainly agree with this one:

The Iranians believe they have us over a barrel: an oil barrel. The KSA is probably producing as much oil as it reasonably can as is Kuwait and other Gulf producers. Both Nigeria’s and Venezuela’s production can reasonably be seen as unstable. We’ve been unable to get Iraq’s production up or to keep it up due to (possibly Iranian-assisted) sabotage. The likelihood of stabilizing Iraq’s production in the near future is probably nil. Russia probably does have more capacity. Is that enough to stabilize the world’s oil supply if Iran goes offline? I think it’s perfectly reasonable to believe that the disruption to the world economy caused by Iran’s oil production becoming suddenly unavailable will be disastrous. No doubt the Iranians think so, too, and have concluded that we can’t afford to bomb them or invade them.

The Non-Council winner was a doozy. You must read this post to get the experiential foretaste of what we have coming if we don’t stop the socialist medicine freight train.

The Crippen Diaries, Week 11 comes from a blog about the horrible conditions that exist in the National Health scheme in the UK. It is not a place you would want to be old and sick. Or a place you would want to practice medicine. Here’s an excerpt from the author’s profile:

Dr Crippen is angry. He has worked for over 20 years in the NHS. He watches and weeps as the Health Service, slowly but inexorably, is destroyed. He takes a sad, sometimes humorous, sometimes cynical, look at the health care from the inside

And here is an excerpt from his disturbing post, notes on one of his patients:

Mavis is a hugely efficient retired social worker. Her husband has Alzheimer’s disease, quite advanced now. There is a three year waiting list for in-patient care of Alzheimer patients and he has only just gone on it. Social services offer her two weeks respite care a year. She is not managing. She is on her knees. She has a bit of angina (stable) and needs full investigation but will not go for it at present.

Trouble is, she is looking after her husband really well. So when social services “assess” her, she is classified as low need. She knows the system. She worked in it herself. “The best thing I could do is have a heart attack, then we would be high need” she says.

She is right.

Second place was taken by Middlebrow blog for Why George Bush Will Be Important for Decades.

Since I happen to think that the Bush Doctrine is the most important piece of work since Truman wrote his, I found Middlebrow's arguments compelling:

And at some point the nation will remember that for six years and counting there has not been a major terrorist attack on the nation since 9/11. Bush kept us safe, far safer than any predicted. Committees can go on writing reports of this failure of this or that department, but they cannot hide the fact that Bush and his government has been competent enough to keep us safe.

Bin Laden has failed, utterly failed, to hit the United States again since 9/11. Even if he lands a blow soon, six years of impotence cannot be an accident. George W. Bush cannot please Howard Fineman with long discussions on the economics of the french fry, but he has kept us safe from terror.

The chief difference between Bush and Lincoln when examining their time of troubles before their final victory is that Bush has already won his second term. He need only stay the course and get Iraq to stability to become a Rushmore president. They say that less than forty percent still support the President. I can understand that. We are all tired. But polls don’t show the Democrats winning in 2008 against the two leading Republicans. Why? We are tired, but we are not stupid. We will gripe at our leaders, like all good Americans, but we are not willing to fail. The next President, like the next Congress, will continue the fight that Bush has begun so well and, just as in all our great wars, the United States will win.

Find the rest of the entries for March 17th at The Watcher's Place. He’s always there.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The War Against Swedes

The Fjordman Report
The noted blogger Fjordman is filing this report via Gates of Vienna.

Last year, I wrote a post about how Swedish society was disintegrating and was in danger of collapsing, at least in certain areas and regions. The country that gave us Bergman, ABBA and Volvo could become known as the Bosnia of northern Europe. The “Swedish model” would no longer refer to a stable and peaceful state with an advanced economy, but a Eurabian horror story of utopian Multiculturalism, Socialist mismanagement and runaway immigration. Some thought I was exaggerating, and that talk of the possibility of a future civil in Sweden was pure paranoia. Was it?

In a new Sociological survey (pdf in Swedish, with brief English introduction) entitled “Vi krigar mot svenskarna” (“We’re waging a war against the Swedes”), young immigrants in the troubled city of Malmö have been interviewed about why they are involved in crime. Although it doesn’t say so here, most of the immigrants in question are Muslims. In one of the rare instances where Swedish media actually revealed the truth, newspaper Aftonbladet reported several years ago that 9 out of 10 of the most criminal ethnic groups in Sweden came from Muslim countries. Keep this in mind while reading from this newspaper article:

Immigrants are “waging war” against Swedes through robbery

The wave of robberies the city of Malmö has witnessed during this past year is part of a “war against Swedes.” This is the explanation given by young robbers with immigrant background on why they are only robbing native Swedes, in interviews with Petra Åkesson for her thesis in Sociology. “I read a report about young robbers in Stockholm and Malmö and wanted to know why they are robbing other youths. It usually doesn’t involve a lot of money,” she says. She interviewed boys between 15 and 17 years old, both individually and in groups.

Almost 90% of all robberies that are reported to the police were committed by gangs, not individuals. “When we are in the city and robbing, we are waging a war, waging a war against the Swedes.” This argument was repeated several times. “Power for me means that Swedes shall look at me, lie down on the ground and kiss my feet.” The boys explain, laughingly, that “there is a thrilling sensation in your body when you’re robbing, you feel satisfied and happy, it feels as if you’ve succeeded, it simply feels good.” “It’s so easy to rob Swedes, so easy.” “We rob every single day, as much as we want to, whenever we want to.” The immigrant youth view Swedes as stupid and cowardly: “The Swedes don’t do anything, they just give us the stuff. They’re so wimpy.” The young robbers don’t plan their crimes: “No, we just see some Swedes that look rich or have nice mobile phones and then we rob them.”

Why do they hate Swedes so much? “Well, they hate us,” they answer, according to Petra Åkesson. “When a Swede goes shopping, the lady behind the counter gives him the money back into his hand, looks him into the eyes and laughs. When we go shopping, she puts the money on the counter and looks another way.” Åkesson, who is adopted from Sri Lanka and thus doesn’t look like a native Swede, says it was not difficult to get the boys to talk about their crimes. They were rather bragging about who had committed the most robberies. Malin Åkerström, professor in Sociology, can see only one solution to the problem: “Jobs for everybody. If this entails a deregulation of the labor market to create more jobs, then we should do so.”

It is interesting to note that these Muslim immigrants state quite openly that they are involved in a “war,” and see participation in crime and harassment of the native population as such. This is perfectly in line with claims I have made before. The number of rape charges in Sweden has quadrupled in just above twenty years. Rape cases involving children under the age of 15 are six times as common today as they were a generation ago. Most other kinds of violent crime have rapidly increased, too. Instability is spreading to most urban and suburban areas. Resident aliens from Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia dominate the group of rape suspects. Lawyer Ann Christine Hjelm found that 85 per cent of the convicted rapists were born on foreign soil or by foreign parents. And it’s not just Sweden. The number of rapes committed by Muslim immigrants in Western nations is so extremely high that it is difficult to view these rapes only as random acts of individuals. It resembles warfare. This happens in most Western European countries, as well as in other infidel countries such as India. European jails are getting filled up with Muslims imprisoned for robberies and all kinds of violent crimes, and Muslims bomb European civilians. You can see the mainstream media are struggling to make sense of all of this. That’s because they can’t, or don’t want to, see the obvious: This is exactly how an invading army would behave: Rape, pillage and bomb. If many of the Muslim immigrants see themselves as conquerors involved in a war, it all makes perfect sense.

Malmö, Sweden, set to become the first Scandinavian city with a Muslim majority within a decade or two, has got nine times as many reported robberies per capita as Copenhagen, Denmark. Yet the number one priority in for the political class in Sweden during this year’s national election campaign seems to be demonizing neighboring Denmark for “xenophobia” and a “brutal” debate about Muslim immigration. During last years Jihad riots in France, Sweden’s Social Democratic Prime Minister Göran Persson criticised the way the French government handled the unrest in the country. “It feels like a very hard and confrontational approach.” Persson also rejected the idea of more local police as a “first step” in Sweden. “I don’t believe that’s the way we would choose in Sweden. To start sending out signals about strengthening the police is to break with the political line we have chosen to follow,” he said. Meanwhile, as their authorities have largely abandoned their third largest city to creeping anarchy, there is open talk among the native Swedes still remaining in Malmö of forming vigilante groups, armed with baseball bats and concern for their children’s safety. As I’ve argued in another essay: If Arnold Schwarzenegger fails to get re-elected as Governor of California he may like to do a sequel to “Conan the Barbarian.” He could shoot it in Malmö. He will get the extras for free.

What happened to the famous Swedish nanny state, you say? Don’t Swedes pay the highest tax rates in the world? Yes, they do. But tens of billions of kroner, some say several hundred billions, are being spent every year on propping up rapidly growing communities of Muslim immigrants. Sweden has become the entire world’s welfare office, because the political elites have decided that massive Muslim immigration is “good for the economy.” Pretty soon, Sweden could have an “army” of just 5000 men. That’s five thousand troops to defend a nation that is geographically more than three times the size of England. And it may take up to a year to assemble all of them, provided they are not on peacekeeping missions abroad. That Sweden could soon need a little peacekeeping at home seems to escape the establishment. In 2006, the celebrated Swedish welfare state has become the world’s largest pyramid scheme, an Enron with a national flag.

Although Sweden is an extreme example, similar stories could be told about much of Western Europe. As Mark Steyn points out, the Jihad in the streets of France looked like the early skirmishes of an impending Eurabian civil war, brought on by massive Muslim immigration and Multicultural stupidity. Law and order is slowly breaking down in major and even minor cities across the European continent, and the streets are ruled by aggressive gangs of Muslim youngsters. At the same time, Europeans pay some of the highest tax rates in the world. We should remind our authorities that the most important task of the state — some would even claim it should be the only task of the state — is to uphold the rule of law in exchange for taxation. Since it is becoming pretty obvious that this is no longer the case in Eurabia, we have to question whether these taxes are legitimate anymore, or whether they are simply disguised Jizya paid in the form of welfare to Muslims and our new Eurocrat aristocracy. Although not exactly the Boston Tea Party, perhaps the time now has come for a pan-European tax rebellion: We will no longer pay taxes until our authorities restore law and order and close the borders for Muslim immigration.

It’s getting urgent. When enough people feel that the system isn’t working anymore and that the social contract has been breached, the entire fabric of the democratic society could unravel. What happens when the welfare state system breaks down, and there is no longer enough money to “grease” the increasing tensions between immigrants and native Europeans? And what happens when people discover that their own leaders, through the EU networks and the Euro-Arab Dialogue described by Bat Ye’or in her book “Eurabia,” have been encouraging all these Muslims to settle here in the first place? There will be massive unemployment, and tens of millions of people will feel angry, scared and humiliated, betrayed by the system, by society and by their own democratic leaders. This is a situation in some ways similar to the Great Depression that led to the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s. Is this where we’re heading once again, with fear, rising Fascism and political assassinations? The difference is that the “Jewish threat” in the 1930s was entirely fictional, whereas the “Islamic threat” now is very real. However, precisely the trauma caused by the events 70 years ago is clouding our judgment this time, since any talk at all about the threat posed by Muslim immigration or about preserving our own culture is being dismissed as “just like the rhetoric used against Jews by the Nazis.” Europeans have been taught to be so scared of our own shadow that we are incapable of seeing that darkness can come from the outside, too. Maybe Europe will burn again, in part as a belated reaction to the horrors of Auschwitz.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Sacré Bleu!

The EU had its annual spring summit this week in Brussels. No surprising news. As usual, the dirt was swept under the rug and everyone played nice. As they always do, everyone politely avoided the condition of the naked emperor, telling him what a swell outfit he had on.

What the EU will not admit, much less talk about, is the fact that they are in sad shape. All those utopian plans have, to date, produced an entity whose problems resemble those of the world in 1932:

Europe’s present social model is unable to tackle the modern challenges of globalization, and has left Europe with gigantic problems: an unsurmountable public debt, a rapidly ageing population, 19 million unemployed, and an overall youth unemployment rate of 18%. The unemployment figures may easily be doubled to account for hidden unemployment. The untold reality is that Europe’s real unemployment stands at the level of the 1932 Depression.

As Brussels Journal further puts it, this is a “man-made disaster.” While the rest of the world rocks along on the biggest economic boom in thirty years, Europe is stagnating, its growth estimated to be about 1.5 %.

This would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Having our allies in this kind of failed-Keynesian daydream does us no good. In fact, it harms our growth and our stability in the long run.

Leaving aside the EU’s protectionism, a huge and unworkable Constitution written by bureaucrats, and its internecine wars, an organization founded on envy and resentment is set up to fail. No better example can be found than the behavior of Jacques Chirac this year at the Summit. While everyone else struggled to get along, Jack had a hissy fit:

à bas les Anglais!
…perhaps the most memorable moment in Brussels was when French President Chirac stormed out to protest a decision by fellow Frenchman Ernest-Antoine Seilliere, head of the European UNICE employers group, to speak English.

Chirac explained that he had been "deeply shocked." But his protest raised many eyebrows in Brussels, where English has increasingly overtaken the traditional dominance of the Gallic tongue in the EU corridors of power.

Other European leaders shrugged off Chirac's attempt to defend French pride.

"Europe has other worries and it's a waste of time to have responded to such questions," said Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who is usually a staunch francophile.

One hopes the EU can roust itself out of its socialist nightmare and join the rest of us.

One also hopes that President Chirac chokes on the rind from a piece of brie and puts us out of his misery.

Common Sense Prevails in the House of Lords

I Could Scream: Examining the plight of women under Islam
Long term readers of Gates of Vienna will remember our first “I Could Scream” post. It originally appeared under the aegis of The Belmont Club’s second incarnation, a platform which permitted Wretchard to have a number of separate blogs residing there, linked from his main page. However, due to technical problems with that venue, Wretchard returned to Blogger (as in “home is where when you have to go there, they have to let you in”)…and “I Could Scream” came over to live here at Gates. A somewhat diminished existence, considering that it once dwelled on Mount Olympus there at Belmont; nonetheless it remains a high point to have been invited to visit.

There hasn’t been a “Scream” post in awhile. People are much more aware of the abject conditions under which many women caught in fundamentalist Islamic countries must endure. Sometimes it seems almost obscene to describe their suffering. And, as one commenter said, it made his stomach knot up to see the Scream header and wonder if he could make it through the story. Sometimes I felt that way myself even writing it.

Shabina BegumThe original post, the one which inspired the title, still exists. You can find it archived here. The name for these posts was part of a quote by the young British Muslim girl who had won her legal fight against her school which had forbidden her to wear the full hijab tent to school. When asked how she felt about her court victory the girl replied: “ I could scream with happiness.” It was the first three words which made my eyes widen. I thought at the time — and still do — that what she was revealing in her words was much deeper than what she actually said. This girl was screaming all right, but it was not happiness which drove her.

Quick summary: this child wanted to wear hijab to a school which had carefully and through long consultation with parents worked out a school uniform for the girls that satisfied everyone. The school she attended, which was out of her cachement area, but which she and her older sister chose to attend starting in 2000, was overwhelmingly Muslim.

Denbigh High School has twenty-one ethnic groups and ten religious denominations. The students — boys and girls — range in age from eleven to sixteen. The governing body of the school is balanced to include a representation of the school community. Four of the six parent governors are Muslim, as is the head of school.

The school uniform/dress code offers some choices:

The head teacher believes that school uniform plays an integral part in securing high and improving standards, serving the needs of a diverse community, promoting a positive sense of communal identity and avoiding manifest disparities of wealth and style. The school offered three uniform options. One of these was the shalwar kameeze: a combination of the kameeze, a sleeveless smock-like dress with a square neckline, revealing the wearer’s collar and tie, with the shalwar, loose trousers, tapering at the ankles. A long-sleeved white shirt is worn beneath the kameeze and, save in hot weather, a uniform long-sleeved school jersey is worn on top. It has been worn by some Muslim, Hindu and Sikh female pupils.

In 1993 the school appointed a working party to re-examine its dress code. The governors consulted parents, students, staff and the Imams of the three local mosques. There was no objection to the shalwar kameeze, and no suggestion that it failed to satisfy Islamic requirements. The governors approved a garment specifically designed to ensure that it satisfied the requirement of modest dress for Muslim girls. Following the working party report the governors, in response to several requests, approved the wearing of head-scarves of a specified colour and quality.

The school went to some lengths to explain its dress code to prospective parents and pupils. This was first done in the October of the year before a pupil would enter, and again at an open evening in the July before admission. A letter written to parents reminded them of the school’s rules on dress.

So when Shabina Begum and her older sister began school in 2000, they both appeared in the permitted clothing. For two years, there was no problem. However, when school began in 2002, Shabina appeared at school attired in a jilbab and demanded to be allowed to be admitted to school wearing this rather than her uniform, which she no longer considered modest enough for a Muslim girl. She was then thirteen at time. Accompanying her was her older brother and another man. The Maths teacher who talked to them found the men “confrontational and threatening.” And said they began talking of human rights and legal proceedings. They told the teacher there would be no compromise on this issue. Nonetheless, this teacher, the assistant head, sent Shabina home to change into her uniform.

Shabina Begum and Shuweb RahmanA little background on this girl: she was born in 1988, of Pakistani parents. She was four when her father died, leaving behind a wife who did not speak English and three school-aged children (there may be more; these are the only ones who have been mentioned in numerous news stories). Shabina appears to be the youngest child, having a sister several years ahead of her and a brother, Shuweb Rahman, five years her senior. This man may be the key player in this drama; without him pushing from behind, Shabina probably would have continued in school uneventfully. His influence no doubt increased after their mother’s death of cancer in 2004. How long prior to this she was unable to attend to her children is uncertain.

One unanswered question is whether Shabina, last name Begum, is the half sister of her brother Shuweb, last name Rahman. The older sister, several years ahead of Shabina in school, was left unmolested to wear her uniform in peace. Shabina, however, was to live her adolescence in the spotlight.

The school expended much effort to have Shabina return to school. Not only did they call the home repeatedly, asking to speak to her guardian ( a male who answered the phone said Shabina had already seen her solicitor. And this was only September).

She was offered a place at several schools which permitted the hijab to be worn. She was repeatedly asked to return to her Denbigh as long as she would wear the school uniform. School work was sent home to her, sometimes returned, sometimes not.

It appears, though, that what Shabina wanted was a court battle and to that end she was successful. By October, her solicitors wrote the school contending that Shabina had been suspended from school because of her religious beliefs. They based their contention on Human Rights laws the UK had passed in 1998. There were numerous attempts by the school and the various educational bureaucracies to find another placement for Shabina, but to no avail. She wanted to stay in school with her friends.

In early 2004, Shabina began legal proceedings against the head teacher and the governors of Denbigh High, claiming they interfered with her right to “manifest her religion in practice and observance.” The first court dismissed her case, but the appeals court disagreed, declaring that her rights had been infringed.

And that was where we first met Shabina Begum, outside of court, wearing her jilbab and a big smile, claiming a happiness so extreme that she felt inclined to scream. You can find the original story from The Guardian here. Notice the byline: Dilpazier Aslam. Mr. Aslam is a reporter for the Guardian. He is also an active member of the radical Islamic terrorist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir. Here’s what Tech Central Station found:

Hizb ut-Tahrir, which seeks to reimpose the Caliphate by the sword or, in today’s world, the bomb, is a radical Islamic splinter group banned in most countries but legal in Tony Blair’s Britain.

Even more interesting, Shuweb Rahman, Shabina’s brother, is also an active member. So this is a girl being led by an organization which wants to destroy Britain’s constitutional government and replace it with an Islamic theocracy.

Fortunately, on the third legal round — this time the House of Lords — found that Shabina Begum had not been denied the right to practice her religion. They found for the school, whose main concern was to promote cohesion among the students and to prevent pressure on young girls to submit to a draconian dress code.

Shabina is now threatening to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg. However, the ruling from the House of Lords is precise. Shabina has the right to freedom of religion, but she does not have the right to manifest that freedom in a way that disrupts the common order.

Fundamentally, this is a power play by a treacherous group of terrorists who have been using a young girl — an orphan, at that — for their own political ends. As one commenter noted:

What total tripe. This ludicrous and lamentable case had nothing to do with “modesty”. I don’t believe she wore the jilbab to “regain control of her body” any more than I could hope to wear a smarter suit and thereby regain control of my own.

This case wasn’t even about religion, or conscience, or the dictates of faith. At least it wasn’t primarily about those things. It was about power. It was about who really runs the schools in this country, and about how far militant Islam could go in bullying the poor, cowed, gelatinous and mentally spongiform apparatus of the British state.

I concur.

You may be interested to see al-Reuters’ headline for the new ruling:

Girl loses right to wear Muslim clothing in school

Between the Guardian and al-Reuters, not to mention Hizb ut-Tahrir (a group banned in most countries but still legal in Britain), the United Kingdom is going to be hard-pressed to avoid being the first of the European branch of the Caliphate.

All information regarding the ruling by the House of Lords can be found in Judgment in Full.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Jamaica-Somalia Connection

The Star Princess after the fireYesterday’s cruise ship fire was all set to pass below the Gates of Vienna radar. And why shouldn’t it — what, after all, does yet another cruise ship debacle have to do with jihad?

However… we have an occasional correspondent in the intelligence business, and last night she contacted us with an intriguing idea from the murky shadows of spookdom. Apparently certain elements in the intelligence community are convinced that Al Qaeda has taken an interest in cruise ships as targets after the attempted pirate attack on such a vessel off the coast of Somalia last November.

Mind you, this latest incident on the Star Princess seems unlikely to be jihad-related. News 14 Charlotte gives the details of the story:

A fire apparently started by a cigarette broke out aboard a cruise ship early Thursday as it sailed through the moonlit Caribbean, injuring 11 people and scorching about 100 rooms. One elderly American passenger died from a heart attack, the cruise ship company said.

The Star Princess, carrying 2,690 passengers and 1,123 crew members, bore evidence of the nighttime drama as it pulled into Montego Bay’s port. About 85 exterior cabins were blackened from the fire, a stark contrast to the otherwise gleaming white exterior of the ship.

If this was a mujahideen operation, they must be embarrassed by the result. Smoke inhalation and a heart attack! Not much of a payoff there.

‘Decatur Boarding the Tripolitan Gunboat’ by Dennis Malone CarterBut consider: cruise ships are horizontal skyscrapers, and this one had more than 3800 people on board, more passengers and crew than the number of victims killed on September 11th.

Those two-bit Somali pirates failed in their efforts, but suppose the Great Jihad took on the task instead? It would gain an enormous propaganda victory, cripple an important component of the tourist trade, and make sea travel every bit as burdensome as air travel is now.

You can picture the burning, sinking ship on live video taken from circling helicopters and beamed to every TV set in the world for days on end. Images of charred bodies floating in the water, injured victims screaming while being winched into Coast Guard helicopters…

How could Al Qaeda not do it?

I’m a hayseed when it comes to intelligence matters, so I invite readers with expertise and/or opinions on the topic to contribute ideas. Here are a few areas to think about:

  • Munitions: something better than the Somali pirates had. More powerful explosives, and a better means of launching them.
  • Delivery: a suicide bomber could pull off a USS Cole on a cruise ship. Those floating hotels have less armor than a battleship.
  • Timing: nighttime, no moon, when the ship is far from shore.
  • Followup: spread oil on the water, and set it alight timed to coincide with the launch of the lifeboats.
  • Collaborators: men on the inside. Stewards, kitchen help, mechanics, etc., planted as sleepers until the time is right. The US government couldn’t screen for Pakistanis or Arabs or Farsi speakers. Can the cruise ship companies engage in racial profiling?
  • Use these collaborators to disable as much of the ship’s electronics — radios, in-ship voice lines, etc. — as possible.

That’s what on old geek like me can put together after ten minutes of fooling around with the idea. What do you think those Al Qaeda bastards are dreaming up in the lantern-lit caves of Waziristan?

The Elephant on Campus: A Follow-up

The Elephant at the College of William and MaryDymphna’s post last week about alcohol, political correctness, and “rape” at the College of William and Mary mentioned an upcoming forum on the rape issue, sponsored by The Remnant (a campus Libertarian publication).

The forum was held on Monday evening, and today we received an email from a William and Mary student who was present. Here is his report:

There were three panelists: two attorneys and a law professor. The attorney stated her belief that a blurring of rape and “regretted sex” had begun, and that it was morally reprehensible (my word, not hers), when two consenting adults engaged in drunken sex, to find one guilty of a crime and the other the victim of a rape. The second attorney, a man, gave a speech that I unfortunately had to leave during the middle of due to a conflict in time. He said that was he shocked and amazed that William & Mary gave their “victims” the right to appeal. He also agreed with the first attorney that using the words “victim” and “charged party” in the judicial part of the student handbook was a terrible idea, as it set opinion against the accused from the get go. I did not hear this myself, but only heard it from someone who stayed through the entire forum, that the law professor questioned the validity of W & M’s having a judicial system at all — that such matters should be left up to the City or the State.

Both attorneys, it should be noted, were troubled by the fact that accused students had to represent themselves, with only a “silent counsel” acting to advise them. They believed that it was quite a lot of responsibility to heap on one student to make him defend himself, give opening and closing statements, and question witnesses.

I think the term “regretted sex” is a good one, and very poignant under the circumstances that a lot of these students find themselves in.

If there were any other attendees at the forum who want to weigh in, by all means email us or leave a comment.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Blood of the Martyrs

Last night’s post about Abdul Rahman brought in a rash of comments. Normally I respond to comments with my own comments, but a paticular entry posted by Adaneshju (a frequent and informative commenter) deserves a lengthy reply.

Adaneshju said, in part:

As counterpoints – the first Muslim martyr is as I recall one of the very early converts to Islam (a slave woman – remember early Islam was very often popular amongst the downtrodden) who was tortured and killed (forget the details, but I believe she was baked in the sun..) for her beliefs and refusing to renounce her monotheism. She was killed by the Meccans. This fits your “Christian martyr” definition to a tee.

As another, you better believe that amongst many, many others, the various crusader forces believed in martyrdom. Well, at the least the crusaders MADE plenty of martyrs..

Likewise, Byzantine forceslikewise were told to chant certain prayers as they entered battle, and could expect what if they died? – I’ll leave that to your imagination.

You list the Christian martyrs of Nigeria, Sudan, Malaysia, etc. I wonder, were the many Bosnians and Albanians and Kosovar Muslims martyred by Christians? What about the forced conversions and expulsions of Jews and Muslims in 16th century Spain. Countless Muslims/Moriscoes certaintly died for their beliefs at the hand of the inquisition.

My point is merely, this isn’t nearly so black and white an issue as you make it. However, MORALLY speaking it is. Abrurrahman’s trial is completely ridiculous. However, being morally black and white doesn’t make it a simply CHRISTIANITY IS THIS while ISLAM IS THAT.

First of all, I refuse to be drawn into arguments about the bad things that Christianity did hundreds of years ago. I’ll stipulate to them, and I’ll let historians argue about which religion was the most brutal and bloody in 1000 AD or 1500 AD or whenever.

I’m interested in now. The fact is that right now Islamic states are the only religious polities which imprison and execute people solely for their religious beliefs. The other states which do this are either the Orthodox Atheists (i.e. the Communists) or the ordinary despotic dictatorships.

Christians and Jews and Hindus have their own histories, and all have been guilty of sectarian brutality. But all of them have evolved into modern nation states with a general tolerance of religious plurality.

But not Islam. Wherever Islam is officially established as the law of the land, not being Muslim is punishable by law in one way or another.

Like it or not, the modern tolerant secular state was a creation of European Christendom, channeling the ethics of Judaism. Somehow the Hindus and Sikhs managed to assimilate it and develop their own versions, but so far the Muslims have not been able to.

And this is not a “Christianity is this” versus “Islam is that” issue for me. It is “Civilization is this” versus “Barbarism is that”. The fact that I am a Christian is irrelevant – the political space that I inhabit allows for all religions as well as none. That’s the genius of secular modernism. But each group within the civilized state has to abide by a common set of rules, and this is what Islam appears reluctant to do.

It’s significant that the only possible counterexamples of current Christian brutality that you can cite are in the Balkans, and also from the midst of a very nasty civil war. Those atrocities may be vendettas, reprisals, ethnically motivated, or simple mayhem and banditry. Do you have any proof whatsoever that non-Christians were killed solely for not being Christians?

In any case, a counterexample does not a counterargument make.

I challenge you, or any other reader, to demonstrate via published statistics the case that Christian or Jewish religious atrocities from the last fifty years approach those of Islam.

I’d bet money that deliberate religiously-motivated violence by Muslims exceeds that of all other religious groups combined by at least three orders of magnitude.

Go ahead; prove me wrong. I’m willing to hear it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Different Kind of Martyr

An Islamic martyr – a shahid – is a follower of the prophet who dies fighting for Allah during jihad, and his goal is to enter Paradise while killing as many of the enemy as possible. In recent years martyrdom has increasingly been associated with the indiscriminate slaughter of innocent infidel (or apostate) civilians, even children.

But Christian martyrs are somewhat different. In the Christian tradition, a martyr faces death rather than renounce his faith, and dies without violent resistance, with his eyes turned towards God. To target anyone else during martyrdom, especially the innocent, would be specifically un-Christian.

At the dawn of Christianity innumerable believers were martyred at the hands of the Romans. Throughout the centuries since there have been many more dying at the hands of pagans, or during the internecine strife that has been all too common within Christianity. The latest examples occur in places like Nigeria, Sudan, Malaysia, and Indonesia, often at the hands of Muslims. The news doesn’t generally make it to the newspapers or TV, but there are Christians being martyred for their faith almost every day.

Abdul RahmanNow we come to Abdul Rahman, who has made it to the newspapers and TV. He is an apostate from Islam in Afghanistan, a convert to Christianity, and he faces a possible death sentence for his heinous act.

President Bush has been a long time acknowledging this travesty. The delay is peculiar, coming from a man with an Evangelical background. You would think it was incumbent upon him to bear witness to the suffering and possible death of a fellow Christian due solely to his profession of faith in Jesus Christ.

But Afghanistan, as we all know, is an example of the new wave of democratic change, a shining beacon of hope in the benighted Middle East. So it’s tough for our President to recognize publicly that a man may be put to death legally in Afghanistan because of his religious beliefs.

Today, in West Virginia, President Bush finally reacted:

[President Bush] said he was upset that an Afghan man is being tried for converting to Christianity. Abdul Rahman, 41, faces a possible death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago. He has been charged with rejecting Islam, a crime under this country’s Islamic laws.

“We expect them to honor the universal principle of freedom,” Mr. Bush said at Capitol Music Hall, an ornate theater downtown. “I’m troubled when I hear, deeply troubled when I hear, the fact that a person who converted away from Islam may be held to account. ... I look forward to working with the government of that country to make sure that people are protected in their capacity to worship.”

This is weak dishwater indeed, passing as a defense of religious freedom. What does he look forward to working with the Afghan government about? Arranging a proper Christian burial for Mr. Rahman after his execution? Attempting to negotiate a lesser penalty for the poor man, say the cutting off of a hand, or the gouging out of an eye?

What Afghanistan is proposing to do is completely legal, under a constitution that we helped to install, under a government that was duly elected in a free and fair ballot.

No wonder President Bush doesn’t want to talk about it.

No wonder he waited until after the Germans and Italians protested before he said anything.

But, even if he avoids a death sentence, Mr. Rahman is facing an ordeal. Here’s an interesting story from News 14 Carolina:

…prosecutor Sarinwal Zamari said questions have been raised about [Mr. Rahman’s] mental fitness.

“We think he could be mad. He is not a normal person. He doesn’t talk like a normal person,” he told The Associated Press.

Moayuddin Baluch, a religious adviser to President Hamid Karzai, said Rahman would undergo a psychological examination.

“Doctors must examine him,” he said. “If he is mentally unfit, definitely Islam has no claim to punish him. He must be forgiven. The case must be dropped.”

It was not immediately clear when he would be examined or when the trial would resume. Authorities have barred attempts by the AP to see Rahman and he is not believed to have a lawyer.

Well, of course he’s crazy. Anyone who rejects Islam has to be crazy; it’s obvious.

This is the old Soviet technique, refined and updated for the Umma of the 21st century: if brainwashing fails, label the poor bastard “nuts”, put him in a straitjacket, give him electroshock, and lock him away. What do you think the inside of an Afghan mental hospital is like?

And no lawyer, either, naturally.

Then there’s this account of a theological debate amongst Islamic scholars in Islam Online:

…Mohammad Salim Al-’Awwa, member of the International Association of Muslim Scholars, stated that the Ever-Glorious Qur’an did not specify a worldly punishment for apostasy. The Qur’anic verses talking about apostasy only warned of a punishment for the apostate in the Hereafter, echoing Qaradawi’s stance.

“Although we admit that apostasy is a crime, I doubt that the punishment mentioned by some classical jurists in the books of jurisprudence for apostasy is the capital punishment. I further doubt to include this form of punishment as a legal punishment prescribed by the Shari’ah. I am of the opinion that the punishment for apostasy is a discretionary one that is wholly left to concerned authorities to apply in the Muslim State,” said Awwa.

Well-known Azharite scholar Sheikh ’Abdul-Majeed Subh had said that the punishment for apostasy is dependent on the public interest of the Muslim nation and the assessment of scholars to each case.

“If the apostate does not harm the Muslim society, there may be no need for killing him.”

So, according to Dr. Awwa, the punishment might be “discretionary” – somehow, that doesn’t make me optimistic. “Discretionary” punishment in that part of the world is usually what I would call “draconian”.

And Sheikh Subh says that Mr. Rahman might be spared if he doesn’t harm the Umma. What would harm Muslim society? Carrying a Bible? Wearing a cross? Announcing his faith in Christ?

And if the Umma escapes harm, if nasty ol’ Jesus doesn’t hurt any poor Muslims, then what? Life without parole? Solitary confinement on bread and water?

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

As a public service, I have written a speech for President Bush to give the day after Mr. Rahman is convicted an sentenced:

My fellow Americans,

It is with great sadness that I must report to you the conviction and sentencing of a brave Christian in Afghanistan. Mr. Abdul Rahman faces death at the hands of the Afghan government solely for his profession of the Christian faith, as an apostate from Islam.

This barbaric act goes against everything that America stands for. It dishonors the blood that the brave members of our military shed in order to free Afghanistan from tyranny. It is a challenge to freedom of religion throughout the world.

I have made the strongest protest possible to President Hamid Karzai and the government of Afghanistan.

Ladies and gentlemen, America is the great lamp of freedom to the rest of the world, and religious freedom is perhaps the most important freedom of all. We cannot sit idly by while peaceful believers are brutalized and murdered because of their religious faith.

Unfortunately, the strategic circumstances of the Long War require us to maintain a working relationship with Afghanistan, in order to prosecute more effectively the war against the terrorists who would kill us.

But make no mistake about it – this partnership will continue only so long as it is absolutely necessary. After that, America will withdraw its aid and its soldiers until such time as the people of Afghanistan renounce their barbaric ways and join the civilized world.

Don’t hold your breath waiting to hear him say these things.