Saturday, September 30, 2006

For the Sake of the Children

White House peace vigil -- click for a larger imageOn my way from my hotel to the National Press Club the other night, I found my route across the Ellipse closed off by security, so I had to detour past the front of the White House instead. I noticed a “peace vigil” display across from the grounds as I went by, so the next morning before I left town I dropped by the place again for a closer look.

The man who runs it told me that his display had been in continuous operation since 1981. He has a friend who helps him out, and they maintain the vigil in shifts.

“But what about winter,” I asked, “when there’s a foot of snow on the ground?”
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White House peace vigil
(Click for a larger image)

The peace guy“We wear warmer clothes,” he replied.

The peace guy is not your typical 21st-century Bushitler demonstrator. For one thing, he’s obviously a throwback to the good old days, probably about my age. If you take his word for it, he’s been out there day in and day out, through rain or shine, since the early days of the first Reagan administration. Twenty-five years for the cause of peace — you have to admire his dedication.

Another indication: he rolls his own. That’s doubleplus ungood here in the anti-tobacco postmodern age. But, in his defense, he might well be using organic all-natural leaf grown on a non-profit commune in North Carolina.

The peace dogThe peace guy has a peace dog by his side, keeping watch over the donation bowl. And, yes, I left him a donation.

If you click this image to see the larger one, you’ll notice that the cover on the donation bowl says, “Save the Children”. It’s for the sake of the children.

It always is, isn’t it? The occupant of the house across the road, the madman, or corporate shill, or puppet of the special interests, or whatever he might be in any given administration — that President doesn’t give a fig about the children, does he? But the peace guy does.

Babies as victims of warTo highlight his concern for the children, he has a display board that illustrates the horrors that war inflicts on children and babies. It has some gruesome photos, mainly of babies injured in Hiroshima or Nagasaki in 1945, and emphasizes the horrible reality of radiation burns.

This is another instance of war porn, but still, it is something that he obviously feels is necessary to bring home the horrors of war to the blissfully unaware tourists who wander past his display.

I thanked the peace guy for his time, took my pictures, and then came home. His group may be retro, but it’s modern enough to have its own website. The font on the main page was too small for my old eyes, but you young folks will want to stop by and see what Proposition 1 has to say.

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So it’s all about the children, at least the ones who are allowed into the world after a woman exercises her right to choose.

War is harmful to children; we love children; therefore we will make war no more.

That was easy. So why doesn’t it work out that way? Our evil leaders just keep taking us to war over and over again, caring nothing for what war does to babies.

Halabja kidBut let’s leave Hiroshima and Nagasaki aside for a little while and think about some kids from other places. How about this one? This baby is one of the thousands of Kurdish victims of Saddam’s genocidal attack on Halabja back in 1988. She had the good fortune not to have been exposed to nuclear radiation, but poison gas seems to have been at least as effective.

There aren’t that many photos of all the thousands of babies who were the victims of Saddam’s purges and genocidal operations. He didn’t usually bring along an official photographer to record the piles of corpses being bulldozed into mass graves.

Iraqi kidThere were some photographers around, however, while those babies were exhumed from their resting places over the last three years. By that time they were not so gruesome: a handful of dust, a few little bones, the occasional poignant baby outfit pulled intact out of the sand. No good War Porn in these.

Auschwitz kidsAnd then there are these kids, walking into Auschwitz with their parents. They’re still wearing their civilian clothes, but it looks like one of them is making the trek in his stocking feet.

There are not many photos of those kids and the hundreds of thousands of others like them when they met their end. Nothing to see but the piles of baby clothes that were still there in storage rooms when the Allies entered the camp in 1945.

Ukraine kidNo good War Porn to be found.

This little fellow is one of the few child victims of the Ukrainian famine of 1933 who has left a photographic record. Stalin engineered the famine, but he neglected to send an official Soviet photographer out to the countryside to take lots of pictures.

In fact the famine didn’t exist. It never happened. Just ask Walter Duranty. He said so in The New York Times, and got the Pulitzer Prize for saying it. So you know it must be true, right?

Shanghai kidAnd now look at this toddler, one of the few survivors of the Japanese bombing of South Station in Shanghai during the Rape of Nanking in 1937.

Assuming he managed to survive his injuries and the rest of the war and grow up, what do you think was his opinion of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima? Was his heart touched by the photos of all those Japanese babies with radiation burns?

Millions of babies died in the famine created by Mao Tse Tung during his “Great Leap Forward” in the late 1950s. Literally millions — an estimated thirty to forty million people died during the famine. No War Porn there; no affecting images of children with yaws and rickets to tug at your heartstrings, just millions of dead children in graves scattered all across China.

During the murderous reign of Pol Pot in Cambodia, a third of the population died or was murdered. Those heaps of skulls from the “killing fields” include innumerable tiny ones. There was no radiation damage and no high-tech weaponry, but the children were just as finally and irrefutably dead.

I could go on and on.

All of the examples I have just listed occurred under the most brutal totalitarian dictatorships that the 20th century could devise. When those children died, there were no protesters camped in front of Stalin’s dacha, nor were there any peace advocates heckling Mao at Politburo photo ops.

As a final irony, most of those children didn’t suffer horribly and die in war, at least not what our peace guy would call “war”. Most of them were victims of their own governments during the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in one or another of the world’s socialist paradises.

Saddam’s victims were from a time of “peace”, the same peace that the vigil in front of the White House wishes had never been broken and longs to re-establish.

The disfigured and dead babies from these regimes don’t exist; they can’t exist for the advocates of “peace”. The only children that are harmed are the victims of the war machine of the United States and its allies.

But if you decide to take those other babies into account, you are forced to perform a different calculus.

As much as we might wish it to be so, the choice isn’t between dead babies killed in American-led wars and no dead babies at all. It’s a choice between the dead babies killed in the wars we make, and the dead babies that are killed when we don’t make war.

The former group is adequately documented, thanks to CNN and Al Jazeerah and all the reutered photographs from southern Lebanon. You’ll have no problem finding War Porn of all those dead babies.

But the others, millions upon millions of them, trail off as far as the mind’s eye can see, backwards into the dust of history. Not much to see there: some grainy old photos, a few bones, some scraps of clothing.

But both sets of babies have to be taken into account. For the foreseeable future there will no shortage of babies dying horrible deaths. There is no path available which does not lead to them. Which path is the least evil?

Somebody has to make the choice. Someone has to do the calculus.

You do it: which one will it be?

Arab Culture May Be From Another Solar System

I don’t know where Fjordman finds these things, but he sure has a knack for ferreting out the more interesting by-ways on the internet.

In this particular case, it’s “Rants and Raves,” a blog written by an American living in Eastern Europe. From his sidebar:

…I’ve lived in Poland, Bulgaria, Serbia and Saudi Arabia, and travel frequently to Lithuania, Belarus, Hungary and all over Eastern Europe. I met my wife in Poland and my son was born there. I started writing professionally there and was elected an Honorary Member of the Yugoslav Movement for the Protection of Human Rights in 1997. Politically I’m libertarian. (What kind? A sane one.) Culturally I’m an unashamed Western Civilization loyalist. Professionally I’m a teacher and writer, now pursuing higher education in the field of Journalism and Mass Communication, with the goal of teaching and research at the university level, likely in Eastern Europe…

You can find out more details on his blog, but - as interesting a life as he seems to lead (imagine: a Libertarian academic) what is more important is his method of participant observation whilst living among divers cultures.
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Particularly you need to read this one — Observations on Arabs, not only because this man survived working a year in Saudi Arabia, but he also brought with him the eye of an anthropologist. Thus, my reference to “participant observation.” It’s a good skill to have in any foreign culture (and America is certainly pretty foreign to those who arrive on our shores), but in Saudi Arabia, having an anthropologist’s eye might save your skin.

This blogger/anthropologist presents his caveats before going on to detail the Saudi culture:

In Eastern Europe and the South Balkans, whenever I have gone to live in a place which I had formed opinions about, the actual experience of living there has always radically changed those opinions, sometimes into a completely contradictory ones. Most often, my academic research led me to form a beautifully coherent model which experience turned into a semi-coherent collection of observations and tentative conclusions.

Eventually, he proceeds to a list. A list as in “let me count the ways I find thee strange…”


one of the first things I learned was that the term “Arab” covers a lot of territory, here are some observations and some tentative conclusions about Arabs, more specifically about Arabs from the oil states about why we have misunderstood each other to the point that we are fighting a war with some of them and are pissing off the rest of them. I suspect that many of these also apply to Iranian Islamists, but I have never been there and note that Iranians are not Arabs and have a different cultural history.

Ain’t that the truth! So bear in mind that this is a delineation of Arab cultural differences, not Muslim bashing. The coincidence of Arab/Muslim is a close one, but not all Muslims are Arabs. And Arabs will be the first to point out, condescendingly, the difference.

He follows this with a list of differences between them and us --

1) They don’t think the same way we do.

No, I mean THEY REALLY DON’T THINK THE SAME WAY WE DO. Yes, yes, I know we are all human and share the same human nature (perhaps the most disastrous mistake of Marxism was the denial of this elementary fact). But within the scope of that shared human nature, there are a lot of different ways to be human. We Americans have a basically open attitude to our fellow human beings and sometimes forget this. Combined with the fact that most Americans are linguistic idiots, we tend to assume that anyone who learns to speak English learns to think like us…

And ending with Number 12—

12) Our civilization is destroying theirs. We cannot share a world in peace. They understand this; we have yet to learn it.

Another culturally-imposed blindness we have is the notion that everybody can get along with enough good will. There is absolutely no evidence to support this and a great deal to oppose it. Can the subjugation of women coexist with Western Civilization with Western media ubiquitous throughout the world? Can a pluralistic and tolerant society be governed by Islamic law? Can a modern economy exist where interest is forbidden and many forms of business risk-taking are considered gambling, and thus forbidden? Can a society that educates its young men by a process of rote recitation produce critically thinking, technically educated men to build and operate a modern economy? Can you even teach elementary concepts of maintenance to a people who believe that anything that happens is inshalla (As God will it)? To compete, or even just survive in the world they must become more like us and less like themselves - and they know this.

In between Numbers One and Twelve lies a treasure trove of information, some of which I’d intuited in reporting the more egregious behaviors of Saudis in this country. Others I’d never have guessed. Do yourself a favor and read the rest of the list. You’ll find out why “Inshallah” can be laziness, quietism, or a lie. In fact, learn about lying, and about why Arabs are so different from the Scots-Americans who form the backbone of America’s broad middle culture that…that we might as well be from different solar systems.

This is one academic who is neither an equivocator or a relativist. I guarantee you a good introduction to the subject.

In the meantime, I still wonder how Fjordman finds these places. Thanks are due…to both men, one for finding this gem, and the other for sharing his knowledge.

Go, therefore, and learn.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Compleat Fjordman

The Dutch blog Klein Verzet has compiled “The Fjordman Files”, a bibliography (or blogography?) of Fjordman’s significant work on the web. This is very handy for people who want to keep up with Fjordman’s prolific work.

The list was first posted last February, and has been kept up-to-date. As far as I can tell, he has the same list of Fjordman’s Gates of Vienna posts that we have on our sidebar, plus a lot (presumably all) of his pieces from Jihad Watch and Brussels Journal. I’m not sure if he includes all the cross-posts.

It’s a good idea, and Klein Verzet deserves our thanks.

Interview with the Apostate

Politics Central has just posted a Roger Simon interview with Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. Sen. Lieberman, as most of you know, was recently beaten in the Democratic primary for his seat by a “netroots” upstart, Ned Lamont. Sen. Lieberman has decided to run in the November election as an independent, and — as of the most recent poll I saw — is well ahead of his opponent.

Politics Central has both video and audio of the interview, as well as a transcript. Here’s a quote:

Joe Lieberman…you know, my record about ninety percent of the time I vote with the majority of Democrats in the Senate but I happen to have had a very strong record on defense and foreign policy and on the specific case, on the Iraq war. And the most alarming reality of the primary was that a lot of Democrats in Connecticut — really over forty-five percent at one poll — said they thought I had done a good job as senator for the state, the country. They knew that they agreed with me on most issues but they disagreed with me on Iraq. And on that basis, they were going to vote against me. And that’s not healthy. It happened to be me who suffered from it.
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I’ve always respected Joe Lieberman. During the 2000 election campaign I watched him compromise his former stances on many issues and pander to his Democrat base, but he never backed down from his support of a strong national defense, no matter how much the party moved in the opposite direction.

But 95% loyalty wasn’t good enough for the new kingmakers; it had to be 100%. Now he’s on his own, and will probably win the election. We’ll see what happens next.

A French Professor Goes Into Hiding

Fausta draws our attention to the plight of a French university professor who has joined the ranks of those who require police protection for speaking the truth about Islam.

As I posted yesterday, Robert Redeker, a French 52-yr old philosophy professor, wrote an op-ed article in Le Figaro stating that Islam is violent, and denounced the violence in the Koran.

After receiving several death threats in the mail, Prof. Redeker and his family have had to go into hiding. The police are taking the threats very seriously and are keeping watch on his now vacant home.

The following is part of the offending article by Prof. Redeker, as translated by Fausta [Fausta, I found a couple of typos; I hope you don’t mind that I corrected them]:
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Robert RedeckerThe reactions generated by Pope Benedict XVI’s analysis on Islam and violence aim to continue Islam’s attempt to suppress what is most valuable in the West and which Muslim countries don’t have: freedoms of thought and expression. Islam tries to impose its rules on Europe: restricting public swimming pools at certain hours for women only, prohibition to caricature this religion, requiring the compliance of strict dietary rules for Muslim children in school lunchrooms, fighting for wearing the veil at school, and charges of islamophobia against those who are not like-minded.

How to explain the prohibition of the string bikini at the Paris-Beaches [translator’s note: for a few weeks in the summer the banks of the Seine are converted into a public “beach” in Paris, complete with sand] this summer? It was a strange argument: because of the risk of “disorders against law and order”. Did that mean that bands of frustrated young people were likely to become violent from the display of beauty? Or did one fear islamist demonstrations, via virtue brigades, within the Paris-Beaches?

However, allowing the wearing of the veil on the streets is, because of the support to the oppression of women that the veil signifies, more likely “to disturb the law and order” than the string bikini. One is not out of line in thinking that this gesture represents an Islamization of the French spirit, a submission more or less conscious to the tenets of Islam. Or, at the very least, that it results from an insidious Moslem pressure on the spirit. Islamization of the spirit: even those which protested against the inauguration of a Jean-Paul-II Square in Paris do not oppose building mosques. Islam tries to force Europe to yield to its vision of man.

As formerly with Communism, the West is under ideological monitoring. Islam arises, like the image of late Communism, as an alternative to the Western world. Following the example of the Communism of old, Islam, by aming to conquer the spirit, strikes a sensitive cord. It boasts a legitimacy which disturbs the Western conscience, always sensitive to others: to be the voice of the poor of the planet. Yesterday the voice of the poor claimed to come from Moscow, today it would come from Mecca! Today again, the intellectuals incarnate this eye of the Koran, as they incarnated the eye of Moscow yesterday. They excommunicate for islamophobia, as they did yesterday for anticommunism.

The next time I’m tempted to engage in another round of Mock-the French, I’ll remember Prof. Redeker. His case demonstrates that there are people in France who have the courage to stand up and speak the truth, even at great personal risk.

Thanks to commenter Fluffresponse for the correction of the spelling of Prof. Redeker’s name. Having the correct spelling allowed me to find a photo of him. Don’t you love his tie?

The Fruitful Party vs. The Vegetative State

Opinion Journal’s “Best of the Web” linked yesterday to two USA Today articles on the demographics of the Republicans and Democrats. This is the first place I’ve actually seen statistics to back up the theory of the Roe effect:

Republicans control 49 of the 50 [congressional] districts with the highest rates of married people.

Democrats represent all 50 districts that have the highest rates of adults who have never married.

GOP Congress members represent 39.2 million children younger than 18, about 7 million more than Democrats. Republicans average 7,000 more children per district. . . .

Democrats represent 30 districts in which less than half of children live with married parents. Republicans represent none.

These numbers are followed by a hilarious quote, though Opinion Journal dubs it “evenhanded.” Bah —”evenhanded,” my foot. More like talking out of both sides of his mouth:
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… this evenhanded quote from Prof. Arthur Brooks of Syracuse University: “Both sides are very pro-kids. They just express it in different ways. Republicans are congenial to traditional families, which is clearly the best way for kids to grow up. But there are some kids who don’t have that advantage, and Democrats are very concerned with helping those kids.”

Sure they are. As long as they don’t actually have to bear the children themselves. In this they resemble their transnational European cousins. Like the sovereignty of nations, families with children are a disappearing breed. So to speak. And like the depressing Europeans, the forever single, forever childless make up the socialist base of the Dems:

Abortion is related to the marriage gap too. Abortion is a “single” issue in more ways than one: Every poll we’ve seen shows that unwed people of both sexes are far more pro-abortion than the espoused. This makes perfect sense: Singles, with their slapdash sex lives, are both unlikely to want kids and less likely than married couples to have reliable birth-control rituals. Thus they feel much more acutely the need for abortion as a last resort should they become or make someone pregnant. If you live in a place like New York, you’ll find lots of young adults who say they vote Democratic only because of abortion.

Of course, many of these people eventually get hitched and move to the suburbs, where some become Republicans, either because their views on abortion change or because it recedes in importance to them. (Relatedly, Republicans do better among wealthier voters; and wealth, like marriage, is a status to which many people who do not enjoy it aspire.)

Republicans, then, are outbreeding Democrats and doing better among voters whose personal lives are the most successful. All in all, the party of abortion is an unfruitful thing for the Democrats to be.[emphasis mine]

Unfruitful, with stale, outmoded policies and deep antagonism to any who don’t agree with them. Let’s put it this way — which situation would be more fraught with anxiety: you’re at a party and you’ve just been outed as a conservative in a group of mostly leftists…or, you’re at a party and you’ve just been outed as a leftist in a group of mostly conservatives? In which situation do you think you’d end up with spittle on your tie?

Answer: Someone on our blogroll says on his sidebar that he’s had more problems with coming out of the conservative closet than he ever did declaring his homosexuality:

I’m a guy in my thirties living on a true blue island in a very red state. Formerly an avid liberal back when the center of my personal universe was being “gay,” I gradually grew up and became more conservative throughout the 1990’s calling myself a “libertarian,” only to have a bucket of ice-cold reality thrown on me on 9/11. I realized then that I had another closet to come out of — the conservative one. I’ve lost more friends since opening that closet door than I ever did by coming out as gay. Shattering other people’s perceptions of you is usually a messy business.

I wonder if perhaps conservatives could talk the Dems into letting them into the tent via the “Americans with Disabilities” Act? We certainly do need protection from some of the battier of the Blues.

Tomorrow, the Baron and I will be heading to the Vegetarian Festival in Li’l Kumquat. The Baron will not be wearing his pinstripe suit and I will leave my George Bush campaign button at home — thus ensuring our safety whilst taking pictures of the myriad local “Peace and Justice” (or we’ll kill you) groups who inhabit that very blue little town.

Field report soon.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Name-Dropping from the National Press Club

The Pajamas Media panel    Sept. 26, 2006

Panelists at the PJMedia event, left to right (click the image for a larger version): Michael Barone, Tom Bevan, Mark Blumenthal, Jane Hall, Cliff May, Paul Mirengoff, Claudia Rosett

On Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of attending the Pajamas Media event at the National Press Club. An hour of cocktails, canapés, and chat preceded the main event, and allowed everybody to loosen up before the panel discussion began.
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Glenn ReynoldsAs I mentioned yesterday, I met up with Neo-neocon, Fausta of Fausta’s Blog, Judith from Kesher Talk, and Michael Totten before the event. These were people whose blogs I was already familiar with and enjoy, so we had interesting discussions before proceeding on to the National Press Club.

In fact, a lot of the evening was spent meeting up with old friends, except these old friends were people I had never met before. I talked to Pamela from Atlas Shrugs, Eric from Classical Values, the eponymous TigerHawk (whose family estate is not far from us here in Virginia), Seafarious from Rantburg, and Bill from InDC Journal. There are probably many others who are left out of this list, but the wine flowed freely that night and my recall of all the faces and names has grown blurry…

Roger Simon and Glenn ReynoldsThen there were the Big Boys: Roger Simon, the CEO of Pajamas, Glenn Reynolds the Instapundit, and Gerard Van der Leun from American Digest (and also a PJM correspondent in Seattle).

On the panel were Michael Barone, whom I have long admired, Cliff May from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and NRO, Paul Mirengoff from Powerline, and Claudia Rosett from the Wall Street Journal. Richard Miniter, also of the WSJ, made some remarks before the panel discussion.

Gerard Van der LeunNidra Poller, who has recently signed on as the PJM correspondent Paris was there with some family members, and it was especially gratifying to speak with her. She met Fjordman at the Hague a while back — she says he’s young!

Roger Simon, Gerard Van der Leun, and Glenn Reynolds all made remarks before the panel discussion, which was wide-ranging on the general topic of the “new media” and their place in our common discourse. The panelists and the questioners returned repeatedly to the topic of excessive “partisanship” in the blogs, whether it is a good or bad thing, and how it might be avoided.

Paul MirengoffEric at Classical Values quotes a lefty blogger concerning the event:

To their credit, PJM is smart enough to keep their big-name hyper-partisans out of the public eye. Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds, notorious for his self-proclaimed “moderate” position by way of merely linking to right-wing blogs on a daily basis instead of offering the viewpoints himself, served as moderator… The extremists who might have, you know, made the hypocrisy of the event’s premise embarrassingly blatant were kept in the shadows…

You know, I hate to say it, but he’s right. The extremists, the frothing-at-the-mouth members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, people like Your Humble Correspondent, were there in force, but they weren’t featured prominently. Pamela, of course, was irrepressible, and everywhere in evidence. But the rest of us… we were not so obvious.

Cliff MaySince I was in the front row, I kibitzed and talked back to the panelists during the discussion (you can hear me talking to Cliff May in Pamela’s video). During the question-and-answer session I raised my hand repeatedly — “Me, teacher! Call on me! Please! Please!” — but Glenn Reynolds was smart enough to pass me by.

You see, Pajamas Media is doing well, attracting new talent, and expanding its business. They have their advertisers to consider. If some of the advertisers actually knew what goes on here at Gates of Vienna, they might well want to pull their ads. So it’s better for all concerned if the Bushitler Halliburton Neocon Theocrats are kept muzzled and leashed at such events.

I understand why it has to be that way; they have their business model to consider. Pajamas Media is a great idea, and they have been very good to us. I have no complaints; I managed to have fun anyway.

After the panel and the followup chit-chat, some of us adjourned to have dinner in the dining room at the top of a nearby hotel. I sat across from TigerHawk, Fausta and Sandra (who is the VP for Operations and Planning at PJM in L.A.), and next to Roger Simon and Michael Totten. My head kept swinging back and forth like it was on springs, wanting to take in conversations on both sides at once.

Richard Miniter and Roger SimonLate in the evening I sat in on a fascinating discussion between TigerHawk and Claudia Rosett about Kofi Annan and the UN Oil-for-Food scandal. The amount of information that flowed back and forth was difficult to assimilate.

Just before I left I took one last shot of Richard Miniter and Roger Simon having an after-dinner discussion; you can click this one for a larger version.

I wish I had taken more photos — I realize now how many people I left out — but my little camera would have filled up in any case.

Atlas Shrugs and Neo-neoconHere’s one of Pamela and Neo-neocon (click on the image for a larger version). Neo still has that mysterious apple that drops magically into place when anyone tries to take her photo. It must be a neocon version of the hijab!

Dymphna hopes to make it to the next PJM event, which would be a bonus both for her and for our readers. I am an extreme introvert, but she is an extreme extrovert, and can make effortless conversation with anyone. She would talk to everyone in the room before the evening was through, and be able to give you a much more thorough report than I have.

So… Hello and thanks to everyone who was there; I look forward to the next event.

Jew-Hatred Comes to Denmark

We have a regular commenter, “Zerosumgame”, who has argued repeatedly about how pervasive anti-Semitism is in Europe. He has been so persistent on this topic that I and others have referred more than once to his “monomania”.

But, in his defense, if you were a Jew in Europe, wouldn’t you be monomaniacal about anti-Semitism in Europe right now? The other night at the PJMedia event I had a brief discussion with Nidra Poller about anti-Semitism in France. She, like many other Jews in France, is worried about it.

Our Danish commenters, however, have been arguing vigorously that Denmark is different. The irrepressibly optimistic Phanarath, in particular, has been adamant about Denmark’s tolerance towards and defense of the Jews.

But last night, in a comment on an unrelated thread, he directed a sobering reassessment of the situation to Zerosumgame:
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Synagogue in CopenhagenIt is getting harder to be a Jew also in Denmark now. Well, it seems to have been for awhile, but I didn’t realise before.

I read about it here almost a week ago. It talks about how much Jews have, for centuries, been appreciated in Denmark for their contributions in all fields of society. But now they cannot walk safely in the streets. It seems time has been turned back to WW2. “Det Mosaiske Troessamfund” Jewish faith community has had to hire an unknown number of security people for the purpose of keeping Jews in Denmark safe.

It also says that we are a new generation of Danish men ready to defend the Jews as we have before.

I am angry and shamed by this. I thought you should hear it from me, since I was so persistent in denying that this was taking place here. If we are unable to defend our Jewish citizens, then we deserve all the things you have been saying about us.

The story originated in B.T., but all of the information is in Danish.

Zerosumgame’s advice to Phanarath? Get out of Europe while the getting is good. Bring yourself and your family to the Anglosphere, where your talents and energy will be welcomed.

He quotes Nelson Ascher: “Anti-Semitism is the tool that the Islamofascists have given Europe to allow it to commit suicide”

So Much Email, So Little Time

CorrespondenceI got back from D.C. yesterday to find more than 200 emails waiting. Lord knows when I’ll finally get through all of them.

If you don’t hear back from us in two or three days, and if it was really, really important, please send it again.

Dymphna and I are off to a funeral now. More later.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

An Evening in Our Pajamas

Fausta, Neo-neocon, Michael Totten, and Judith of Kesher TalkAs many of our readers know, I was at the Pajamas Media event last night at the National Press Club. I had a great time, and took a lot of photos. Tomorrow I will do some name-dropping about who I talked to, and will post more photos.

But for tonight, we have (from left to right), Fausta of Fausta’s Blog, Neo-neocon, Michael Totten, and Judith of Kesher Talk. Click the photo to see a somewhat larger image.

I met up with these fine folks before the event, and while we were waiting for the conference room in the NPC to open up, we refreshed ourselves with adult beverages in the bar of the JW Marriott. This photo was taken in front of the National Press Club, just before we went in.
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Neo-neocon has a magical apple that follows her everywhere and always hovers right in front of her face whenever a camera starts taking pictures. Very strange!

I wore a “Baron Bodissey” button of my own device (featuring the photo of my illustrious look-alike, Prince Otto Von Bismarck), because PJM provided me with a name tag showing only my real name. People who looked at my name tag looked puzzled and said, “Who…?” But people who looked at the Baron said, “Ah! Gates of Vienna!”

I sat in the front row at the event itself, and took a lot of photos of the panel in action. I’ll see what I can post of them tomorrow.

I hear Pamela already has some photos and video up. She is possibly the most energetic and outgoing person I have ever met, a whirlwind in human form. More power to Atlas Shrugs!

I’m beat, and have to bag some z’s. Later, dude…

One Cosmos Uses His Trusty Occam's Razor

Here’s the old one-two knockout punch(es), from Iraq the Model and One Cosmos, respectively. First, ITM reminds us why Iraq needs no 9/11 remembrance:

We in Iraq need no special occasions to remind us of that; the front is still on fire and the daily confrontation leaves no place for doubt in our minds about the aggressive nature of terrorism against everything that opposes its ideology…
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This aggressive ideology does not aim at achieving limited tactical objectives like many conventional wars are but it presents its goals as an attempt to impose one doctrine on the entire world as it considers everyone who does not abide by this doctrine an infidel who deserves no less than death as punishment.

What concerns me here while we are amid this continuous confrontation on the first front of war on terror is the world’s position from this war. When I say Iraq is the first front in this war, I mean… it’s what the leaders of al-Qaeda have said and it’s what the acts and intentions of terror-supporting regimes have proven through rejecting the democratic change in Iraq and siding with al-Qaeda to make Iraq fail by all means they have…


Looking at how many free countries deal with this war disappoints me, their failure to form a united front to deal with the challenge and hesitation in addressing the magnitude of the threat has reflected negatively on us who have chosen freedom and pluralism and rejected totalitarianism and extremism.

This failure to agree on a common policy is one of the main pretexts used by the enemy…

This gives the terrorists the advantage as they watch our differences grow and countries break away from the alliance or act reluctantly; the terrorists view each of these as a sign for victory and an indication that it’s a matter of time until the global alliance against them collapses.

What we need now is a united world vision in this regard, a vision that can be implemented through a road map that we all approve and agree…

On the other hand lack of coordination and consensus in looking at and dealing with terror and terror-supporters can only lead to more losses and more victims on our side…

I wonder what’s stopping many countries in Europe from doing what they have to do despite the clear intentions of the enemy and the fact that this enemy made clear its hostility to everything and everyone different…

Terrorism did not target governments or armies as much as it targeted civilian life in the form of markets, trains, hospitals, worship places and even crowds of children and old crippled people.

Then why is the delay and why is the reluctance in taking a firm position and standing united to face the threat?

I think the short-sightedness of some countries, especially in Europe, comes from the following points:

The world in general thinks the threat is currently directed at the United States only for political reasons related to America’s stance regarding the issues of the Arab and Muslim world especially the Arab-Israeli conflict. This in my opinion is utterly shallow, such politicians who reiterate this theory are like parrots imitating the totalitarian regimes in the region that use conspiracy theories and feed hatred to their people trying to convince the people that the problem lays within the west and use this to repress aspirations for reform.[my emphasis — Dymphna].

It also looks clear that many countries think they can stay away from harm by running away from the confrontation but lessons from history, near history that is, prove that this strategy carries no cure for the disease.

He’s right, of course. But Europe has on its track shoes and is puffing down the road as fast as it can. The general theory seems to be: “don’t look back, they may be gaining on us.” (Hint to The Continent: you’re almost right. Look ahead, because they passed you a looong time ago. See that cloud of dust? It’s Death. Might as well run though. What else ya gonna do with what’s left of your lives?)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, One Cosmos opines on the problem - in this specific case, the Palestinian terrorists - and comes up with a solution that Occam would appreciate:

Liberals will typically say that Israeli policies somehow have something to do with Palestinian terror, while I believe that Palestinian terror is caused by their psychotic death cult theology. After all, there are no Christian Palestinian terrorists. They are just as “occupied” as Palestinian Muslims, and yet, it doesn’t occur to the Christians to strap on bombs with pieces of twisted metal and rat poison in order to kill and maim as many women and children as possible.

You and I are not even able to entertain thoughts so evil. We cannot even go there. Under no circumstances whatsoever can we imagine decapitating an innocent journalist or murdering a baby. But could I waterboard a terrorist to stop a terror attack? In a hearbeat. I literally cannot understand the mind of the person who wouldn’t (or the truly “pro-torture” mind of someone who makes excuses for Palestinian terror, which is to essentially say that they would not rule out engaging in it themselves). Different values. Different world. If fighting Islamo-nazis means that more of them are willing to fight for the cause of evil, that’s okay. There is a ready solution: kill them faster.

Or, as Iraq the Model puts it:

The other thing I see in some countries’ attitudes is frankly a form of parasitism, cowardice and irresponsible dependence by trying to through the entire load on the shoulders of America in a mean, yet stupid, policy to avoid paying the price on the short term. They forget that by doing so they are not really saving lives and treasure but only delaying the payment for some time but the price then will be much bigger.

Sadly, what they’re trying to do is save their own skins, and the public be damned. Such are the values of “parasitism, cowardice, and irresponsible dependence.” Hello? France? Anyone home?

Palestine is a wasteland. Europe is headed there. If the transnationals and the UN can help it, Iraq is going to end up in the same bloody dustbin.

One Cosmos, being of the “whatever-doesn’t-kill-me-makes-me-stronger” school, hopes the illiberal and ill-informed left stay in their fairyland:

…we should not be surprised when liberals take things out of context and distort reality to fit their perceptions. For them to say “the war on terror causes terrorists” is simply a cherished assumption dressed up as a conclusion. If you give it a moment’s thought, their whole world view is just so stupid. Would they ever report that terrorists are the cause of the American military that liberals so despise, and that if terrorists would only appease America, our military would stop trying to harm them? Or that Islamo-nazis have to stop their unwinnable war on the west, because it will only create more George Bushes and Tony Blairs and John Howards?

Or that they themselves must stop mindlessly attacking conservatives, because it will just make us stronger?

Personally, I hope they never figure out that last one.

I wouldn’t worry about it, Doctor. This is a case where faith trumps reason, as it has done for the last, oh, sixty years or so. None of these people are going to wake up anytime soon.

The only thing they hear is echoes: Iraq is Vietnam. The only thing they say is slogans: diplomacy trumps muscle. The only thing they see is disaster everywhere. Disasters caused by the rich, the polluters, the evil Wal-Marts, and, of course, Donald Rumsfeld. Especially him. He caused Katrina, you know.

Maybe the problem in the Middle East can be resolved by your elegant Occam’s Razor solution: simply kill the terrorists faster.

I'll be that’s what Michael Ledeen means when he says, “faster please.”

Ramadan 2006. Burn, Rinse, Repeat.

Well, it’s time for the month of Ramadan. A long period in Islam where one fasts, prays, and sets fire to things. Stones are saved for throwing at human beings alighting from trains.

Paul Belien is reporting on the lack of reporting by the mainstream press. Both events — the riots and the gaze avoidance by the elites of the criminal behavior of their immigrants — are a recipe for the perfect storm of dhimmitude in Europe. And, of course, what better place to start Ramadan in the EU than in its capitol, Brussels? How fitting is that?

According to Newsbusters, the excuse for the rioting was the death of a Moroccan prisoner:

What makes this story unusual is that so far, there has only been one report issued across the newswires (by Reuters) covering the events, and even though the rioting is entering its third day, not a single photographer has been dispatched to document the activities of the Muslim mob.

We have learned from reports in Belgium (which have been roughly translated via Babelfish) that the prisoner was apparently poisoned, and there were no external signs of injury on his body. The parents of the family, and subsequently, the mob, blame the Belgian government for his death, but autopsy reports turned in so far have not been definitive. A more telling video [there is a link here in the original Newsbuster’s post, but it wouldn’t load. Let us know if you succeed] documents some of the reported destruction, but I’m sure there’s plenty there that’s not covered as well.

In the riots, as reported by the Brussels Journal, stores have been firebombed, bus shelters have been demolished, cars have been set alight, and two Molotov cocktails were thrown into St. Peter’s Hospital, which is “one of the main hospitals in central Brussels.” Yet amongst all of this meleé, the Associated Press hasn’t seen fit to send a photojournalist? Nor Reuters?

Well, perhaps their photoshop person is on holiday?

The rioters are seeking justice. Well, of course. That’s why the police let them go. Actually, the Brussels police released the ten vandals they captured in order to “defuse” the situation. Now tell me: how do you defuse human refuse which has the capability to spontaneously combust? “Defusing” the situation is nothing more than cowardice. It inflames that which it proclaims to tamp down. What a joke!

No doubt these youths can find some hadith in their inflammatory belief system which will cover mayhem and whatever destruction occurs to them.

Meanwhile, in Paris, Brussels Journal reports that French youths got off to a good Ramadan start by ambushing and seriously wounding two police officers. Hmm…doesn’t France have a National Guard? Are they all hiding under their bunks?

Synchronistically, a few days ago one of our Australian readers sent us a report of the on-going slide in her part of the world. I asked her permission to print it, but having been a reporter in her time, she took it back to clean it up first. Here’s what she says:
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I’ve been visiting your blog for a couple of months now, after taking a link from Andrew Bolt here in Australia at the beginning of the war in Lebanon. Through you and others I’ve made my way to quite a few other blog sites. It’s gratifying to see so many individuals (even the Pope!) bucking the PC line on issues of culture, civilisation, politics, religion and society, and holding the MSM to account for its utterly deficient performance in fair and honest reporting, especially during the recent Israel/Hezbollah conflict.

People like yourselves are beginning to focus an unacknowledged tidal wave of anger about the ways in which politically correct postmodern doctrines have hijacked almost every aspect of Western life. There’s been a mainstream revolt against it here in Australia during the past decade, and rest of the West now seems to be catching the mood, however belatedly.

In Australia the rebellion caught the local commentariat completely unaware. So convinced of their omnipotence were our elites, they missed the point that the population here isn’t stupid. There’s a deep streak of skepticism and common sense in Aussies, what you might call an inbuilt “bulls*** meter,” and an obstinate refusal to be told what to think. Put it down to our Irish convict roots, whatever, but it’s real and pervasive. It has taken repeated re-election of Prime Minister Howard’s conservative government with increasing majorities since 1996 to convince the left that average Australians are not misguided redneck bigoted dupes, but responsible citizens who take the future of our country seriously (and recognise a pup when it’s being sold to us).

Basically, most of us were suspicious of the multicultural doctrine from the outset in the 1970s, including the millions of post WW2 immigrants from Europe, the Baltic states and the UK who arrived in the late 1940s and the 1950s. This was an extraordinarily successful migration program that effectively doubled the country’s population in 15 years with remarkably little social disruption and a massive contribution to the nation’s economic growth. It was characterised by two major features: the immigrants were of overwhelmingly Christian faiths and were determined to fit in and make a contribution to their new country. Also, they understood very well the old feuds and hatreds that had destroyed their birth countries and wished nothing more than to leave that behind them.

These people have been wonderful citizens. My city was a major centre of resettlement, I grew up with their children, attended school with them, have lifelong friendships and my own children and theirs are firm and lasting friends. It was the willingness of that post-war generation of immigrants to integrate, to embrace Australia, that made it all work.

Then came multiculturalism…and the onset of chronic indigestion. About the unregulated arrival of hundreds of thousands of Indochinese “boat people” in the mid-1970s post-Vietnam, and the massive intake of refugees from the civil war in Lebanon, we must not utter a word. After all, we were lectured, we had absorbed so many cultures by then that a few more shouldn’t make a difference. Besides, think of the new restaurants that were opening by the day.

The 1970s-80s in Australia was a protracted period of high unemployment, low economic growth, excessive taxation and galloping inflation, but it seemed not to matter that we were taking in hundreds of thousands of illiterate peasants, then placing them in public housing and on social security benefits at the expense of taxpaying citizens. No, my dear, don’t say a word…multiculturalism, you know.

Australia did eventually get over the Indochinese gulp…they’re hard-working people, and however many hundreds of thousands arrived here in a very short time, they settled in and got to work. They’re all Aussies now. Australia also got through the early Lebanese gulp…they were Maronite Christians fleeing a Muslim onslaught. They came to Australia, they got to work, and they’re all Aussies now.

As the Lebanese civil war continued into the 1980s a new wave of immigrants arrived. Families, clans, almost entire villages from the notorious Bekkhar Valley, a muslim stronghold with close palestinian and syrian links barely 50km from the Israel border. More than 100,000 migrated to Sydney alone, to unsuspecting multicultural arms. This new population proceeded to occupy a series of suburbs with an aggression and speed I still find breathtaking. In the south-western suburbs of Bankstown, Punchbowl, Lakemba, Lidcombe, among others, a home in a suburban street was bought, then another & another. These suburbs were originally settled by returning Australian soldiers and their families post-WW2, and in the 1980s were largely occupied by older retired people either singly or as elderly couples.

As one home after the other was acquired, it happened that a suggestion would be made: you might like to sell to my brother, my cousin, my uncle, because life might not be so pleasant as it has been. Pets were killed. Rubbish was tipped onto doorsteps of elderly widows. Vandalism was done to houses. And the old people sold their homes to these people for undervalued prices to escape the threat.

How do I know this? My closest friend grew up in one of these suburbs in the 1950s-60s. Her widowed mother was forced out of her marital home through such tactics in 1993. Her story is by no means unusual. The entire street is now a transplanted village of almost 100 people of an extended family from the Bekkhar valley. It’s notorious in Sydney as the hub of Lebanese organised crime related to carjacking, luxury car rebirthing, illegal export of stolen and rebirthed luxury vehicles and parts, ramraids on ATMs, drug distribution, people trafficking, drive-by shootings….not to mention an extraordinary series of organised violent pack rapes on very young teenaged girls in Sydney in the early 2000s which resulted in groups of young muslim men being jailed for up to 55 years.

By the mid-1990s this area was a significant muslim colony. I attended a series of writers’ conferences in this area of Sydney at that time and was shocked that I was a foreigner in my own country. Men in white robes, women in black, signs in arabic as well as english, complete colonisation in the space of a decade, thanks to multiculturalism.

There are now, I believe, 300,000 muslims in Australia in a population approaching 20 million. As I understand it, 200,000 in Sydney, the bulk of the rest in Melbourne and Perth. If you subtract the Indonesian and Malay muslims, who are nice people in my experience and come to Australia mainly for education, the ugly face of Islam in my country is Arab Islam.

There are comparatively few of them here, yet there’s still such insistence that we defer to their cranky sensitivities. Happily, hardly anyone in Australia is listening. Patience with the MC/PC creed broke down completely after the Tampa hijack in 2001 when hundreds of illegals rescued from a sinking boat by the Norwegian ship committed piracy on the high seas in order to force the captain to land them on Australian territory.

Australia sent SAS troops to repel the landing, John Howard won a landslide election, changed the migration laws and illegal arrivals of muslims have ceased. Nobody bothers now because they know they will be sent to a denuded, bankrupt Pacific Christian island to endure years of legal proceedings. Might as well stay in a nice islamic country such as indonesia or malaysia, eat good food and pray at the local mosque.

Years after the decision by our Prime Minister to refuse entry to uninvited aliens, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden have all reversed course. I believe Australia woke up in time. Not sure about Europe, though, less so the UK.

PS: My favourite quote from John Winston Howard, reminiscent of his middle-namesake:

“We will decide who comes to Australia, and the circumstances under which they come.”

Best regards, Maree

Thank you for the news, Maree. It’s good to know that most Aussies have lost patience with the “cranky sensitivities” of the combustible newcomers. Any other path is suicide — and that’s the track Europe has chosen. Or rather, that’s the path the nomenklatura of Eurabia has chosen for its subjects. The latter never had much say in it. In fact, I’d wager a guess that many aren’t even aware that their national sovereignty has been vanquished by the bureaucrats in Brussels.

By the way, let us know how the month of Ramadan progresses in the muslim neighborhoods you mentioned. I would imagine it’s a lot like, say, Lent is for Christians. You know: prayer, fasting, setting cars on fire, carrying ugly signs about what Jesus is going to do to people of other faiths.

Dhimmied Down Notion of Survival: Don't Trust Your Instincts

Fjordman sends an email with this link to a eunuch’s idea of survival in a world populated by those who wish us dead or dhimmified. Unfortunately, this squeaky-voiced person is not crying in the desert by himself. There are many who think like he does. Here’s his solution to bloody borders and beheadings:

I have a different strategy. It is not for everyone, but I believe it is honest and politically safe. Let us take away the most powerful weapon the terrorists have: Fear. Be less afraid of terrorism. Make it your personal project not to fear terrorism, and not to let the fear that remains influence your life. Don’t panic over newspaper headlines. Don’t cancel your vacation because of terror alerts. Don’t hold back your plane because there are some Arabs on it. Don’t support hasty laws and careless political decisions, simple because we “have to do something”.

Accept that there is a threat, but don’t exaggerate it. Don’t trust your instinct to guide you, our instincts are notoriously bad at risk assessment, use reason and facts instead. When people are afraid of flying, they remind themselves that they’re much more likely to die in their car on the way to the airport than on the plane itself. Do the same with terrorism. Fight your fears with facts. I don’t believe in denial, and it is not denial to say that terrorism is one of the smallest threats that any of us face. It is simple irrational to fear terrorism more than traffic.

When you have reduced your fear to a rational level as much as you can, face what remains of it with open eyes. Don’t let the fear influence your behavior, except after careful thought. Life is full of risks, and terrorism is no different from all the others. So there’s a tiny risk you might die today. That’s no excuse to act like a fool or a coward. Death is a part of life.

Dishonor, stupidity, and cowardice are part of life, too. But who in his right mind wants to live that way? Perhaps that’s the key question: “who in their right mind?

Expect to hear this theme come up once more in the 2008 elections, especially if John Kerry jumps off the cliff again. Meanwhile, remember:

God grant us the courage to change the things we can…

Heartening Reviews from (Gasp!) The New York Times

There are two new Bush-basher tomes decorating the shelves of your local big box bookstores. That’s not news; such works are a dime a dozen — and over-priced at that. What makes these reviews unusual is the negative take on each author’s efforts…in the Times no less.

The first jolly read is by Lewis Lapham, PRETENSIONS TO EMPIRE :Notes on the Criminal Folly of the Bush Administration. It appears to be a collection of his columns, and the tone is compared to Anne Coulter’s — every bit as shrill, but without the blond hair or stiletto heels (and, one might add, the shapely legs).

You don’t remember Lewis Lapham? Let me refresh your memory: this is the “journalist” who reported on the Republican National Convention before it happened. As the reviewer notes:

There’s one column that’s conspicuously absent from this collection, and that’s the one from September 2004, which included a brief account of the Republican National Convention. Lapham wrote it as if the convention had already happened, ruefully reflecting on the content and sharing with readers a question that occurred to him as he listened; unfortunately, the magazine arrived on subscribers’ doorsteps before the convention had even taken place, forcing Lapham to admit that the scene was a fiction. He apologized, but pointed out that political conventions are drearily scripted anyway — he basically knew what was going to be said. By this logic, though, I could have chosen not to read “Pretensions to Empire” before reviewing it, since I already knew Lapham’s sensibility, just as he claims to know the Republicans’. But I dutifully read the whole book. And I discovered, with some ironic poignancy, that Lapham did have a point: some people never acquire any more nuance as they go.

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Well, heavens to Dan Rather! Who’d have dreamed such shenanigans went on amongst liberals? And here I thought only conservatives were nefarious prevaricators.

This is not the only Lapham exercise in bile…I mean besides the mess he made out of Harper’s. In 2004, The New Criterion published a long essay of his entitled “Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill.” (paid subscription required). Roger Kimball reprints part of his own review here, on TNC’s blog, Armavirumque:

Mr. Lapham’s essay is full of charts and tables detailing the nefarious flow of money to conservative causes. There is nothing new here: liberals have been “exposing” philanthropic support for conservative causes for years. Three billion dollars in thirty years—that’s a lot of money. But wait, doesn’t the Ford Foundation support a galaxy of left-wing causes with half a billion dollars every year? And what about the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the various MacArthur Foundations? (The J. Roderick MacArthur Foundation, Mr. Lapham neglects to mention, provides an annual subsidy of $2,150,000 to Harper’s.) What about, for that matter, Teresa Heinz Kerry, who through her foundations doled out $65 million to left-liberal causes in 2002?

In fact, liberal philanthropy outspends conservative philanthropy by at least a factor of 25 to 1. But that is immaterial to Mr. Lapham. For him, conservatives by definition do not support ideas, they support “propaganda.” Indeed, in the world according to Lapham, conservatives by definition are propagandists, never thinkers. Norman Podhoretz is “a rabid propagandist.” Irving Kristol, though charming and “bright” (thanks, Lewis!) is also a “propagandist” who betrayed his early Trotskyite commitments for filthy lucre: “the times changed, the winds of fortune shifting from east to west, and after a stint as a CIA asset in the 1950s, he had carried his pens and papers into winter quarters on the comfortably upholstered bourgeois right.”

According to Mr. Lapham, no conservative writes a book or article in order to say what he thinks is true; he does it at the behest of some nameless conservative power broker in order to advance a political interest. Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose, Charles Murray’s Losing Ground, Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations: you might have supposed these were thoughtful contributions to important issues of the day. Not a chance of it: Mr. Lapham reveals that they are merely “expensively purchased and cleverly promoted tracts.”

That’s it: liberals write even-handedly, telling truth to power (was there ever a more vapid slogan?). Conservatives, of course, write “tracts.” Any right-thinking — pardon me, correct-thinking — person knows this. Ask anyone. Start with, say, Barbara Boxer.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lapham is being nominated for top o’ the heap of Pseudo-Intellectuals of the last thirty years. Holy moly! That must be quite a list.

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Sidney Blumenthal’s book, “How Bush Rules: Chronicles of a Radical Regime,” appear to be a rehash of old columns. Considering their provenance — Salon and The Guardian — you could probably write these diatribes yourself. Just fill in the blanks. Whatever. The reviewer notes:

…There was a time when Blumenthal was an unpredictable writer and thinker (during his years at The New Republic, for instance), but by 1997, when he left The New Yorker to go work for the Clinton White House, his transformation to predictable partisan was more or less complete. During the Ken Starr years, Blumenthal was publicly accused by the journalist Christopher Hitchens of waging a covert campaign to portray Monica Lewinsky as a stalker; today, he seems to appreciate the value of special prosecutors a good deal more. His book is dedicated to Joseph C. Wilson IV, the American diplomat who publicly challenged Bush’s claim that Saddam Hussein had tried to get yellowcake uranium from Niger…

I actually remember reading some of Blumenthal’s earlier writing. But he seemed to go off the rails after he left The New Republic. For that matter, the mag went off the rails long ago. I wonder what its circulations statistics are now?

Bluementhal doesn’t fare as badly in this review as does Lapham. And deservedly so. Those in power are not without their problems. However, she (the reviewer, Jennifer Senior), makes a most telling point about the Left, one that was a major reason I departed their ranks many years ago: except for Bill Clinton’s occasional riposte, they have no sense of humor. None. Zilch. Nada. Here is the reviewer's take on Blumenthal's noted lack:

It’s hard to trust a narrator who only and always assumes the worst. There’s a story Blumenthal tells about George W. Bush’s private tour of the brand-new Clinton library in Little Rock, during which the president apparently told his guide, “A submarine could take this place out.” (The structure juts out over the Arkansas River.) The observation sends Blumenthal into a reverie: “Was this a wishful paranoid fantasy of ubiquitous terrorism destroying Clinton’s legacy with one blow?” he asks. “Or a projection of menace and messianism, with only Bush grasping the true danger, standing between submerged threat and civilization?” Either is possible. But it’s also possible that the president was making a joke.

The left has often complained that what it needs isn’t polite speech, but voices as pungent as those on the right. Maybe so. But even the angriest people on the right tend to be funny. Books like this one are a depressing reminder of how important it is for writers to have a slight sense of humor about themselves, if they want to be taken at all seriously..

That’s the problem for the Left in a nutshell: they are humor-challenged, no wit to leaven things means that eventually you wind up witless. And that is the Left’s Achilles heel: a deep and abiding witlessness… combined with the poisonous self-righteousness of those who refuse to learn from history.

When I consider the possibility of Hillary’s ascendance to the throne, it’s depressing, not merely for her outmoded, fifty years' wrong and failed ideology, but even more so for her total lack of humor. But I suppose that will be the full-time labor of the First Guy — getting Her Frumpiness out of hot water with a few laughs to distract the journalists. If she’s smart, Bill will be her Press Secretary, too. And I suppose it will be a relief to both of them to return to the teat of "public service." Considering that neither of them has ever been gainfully employed (if you count Hillary's brief foray into a law practice, you're dreaming -- that's where she made her money in hog futures, remember?), it will be an emotional relief for both of them to return to the White House family quarters. They can take up where they left off, stealing whatever they missed last time around, and breaking the crockery over Bill's head. I can't wait for "Return of the Interns."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Emperor is Naked

The Emperor’s New ClothesGates of Vienna’s mission statement requires it to do battle with the Great Islamic Jihad in the realm of ideas.

We agree with Fjordman and many others that the Jihad is just a symptom, and that the enemy lies within. This war is a civil war within the West, between traditional Western culture and the forces of politically correct multicultural Marxism that have bedeviled it for the last hundred years. It is being fought in the back halls and cloisters of the culture, with untenured nobodies like me wielding a salad fork against the broadswords and maces of the fully-armored knights of the media and the academy.

Even so, there’s no doubt that the Emperor has no clothes. He struts up and down the esplanades of the culture with his full entourage, confident of his own splendor, but wearing his birthday suit.

Ours is the collective voice of the little boy in the crowd who dares to say, “The Emperor is naked.” It’s just not loud enough to be heard.

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In the comments on last night’s post, Phanarath approached the issue with his usual cheerful optimism:

The good news is that once we have defeated the enemy at home, we might find that there are no serious enemies abroad. Just remove the funding from the leftinflated monsters and most of them turn to dust.

He’s right, but that simple phrase “Just remove the funding” conceals an almost unimaginably difficult task. It would be easier to cap Mount St. Helens than to stop the funding of the Left. The Marxist/Multicultural cancer has metastasized and multiplied its blood vessels in order to tap into government at every level, not to mention corporate, civic and charitable organizations. From the United Way to McDonalds to Microsoft, from your federal tax check to the entrance fee at a state park — more than twenty cents out of every dollar you spend nourishes, by one means or another, the ravenous and parasitic leftist behemoth that aims to destroy the culture it feeds on.

So, to quote Lenin: What is to be done?

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In a post last week, commenter Vicktorya said this:

I’ve never thought of myself as an activist, and wouldn’t care for the title, but I do “get it”, and can read the writing on the wall, and KNOW that the MSM (aka left-leaning media) is killing us. There are some bright spots, of course. But the propaganda work is so pervasive and strong…

But I’m asking, what can we do, moreso, together? I wish to leverage our intention into effective action, and invite hints, suggestions, cooperation…

Well, what can we do, if we work together?

I have said before that the blogosphere is developing enormous power, but so far it has been a reactive power, and not a proactive one. When we swarm something, we have a real effect, and can collectively sway the course of events.

But it seems we’re always responding to something. First was Trent Lott’s gaffe at the Strom Thurmond birthday party. Then came Dan Rather and “fake but accurate.” We helped the Swiftboat Vets leverage their effort against John Kerry into an effective response. And the recent Fauxtography scandal was a bloggers’ triumph.

But all of these accomplishments are reactive. Even as we respond effectively to the enemy’s tactical moves, we cede him the initiative. This drains us of our energy to think and act strategically, to be innovative and creative, and thus surprise our antagonists.

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Some of our readers are old enough to remember the conservative initiative back in the mid-’80s which aimed to organize the purchase of CBS and thus “become Dan Rather’s boss”. The effort caused some eye-popping alarm among liberals before it petered out later in the decade.

I’d like to revive that meme here, in a slightly different version. Back then, the takeover bid was to be funded by wealthy Republican individuals and organizations, and aimed to acquire enough shares to tip the balance in the CBS boardroom.

Why not hybridize that meme with the Swiftvets initiative? The Swifties had an enormous impact without attracting any wealthy contributors.

What if the blogosphere were to convince a few hundred thousand people to give $50, or $100, or $500 to a holding company established for the sole purpose of acquiring a controlling interest in a major organ of the liberal media?

Some of the law bloggers (Glenn Reynolds and Eugene Volokh come to mind) could set up a holding company for the assets collected. Bring in a business blogger like Larry Kudlow to help run the show. The full purchase price wouldn’t have to be amassed, just the marginal amount that would help leverage the rest.

I’m ignorant of both law and business, so there are probably dozens of reasons why my idea is a stupid one. I have no doubt that commenters will arrive in force to point out the details of my foolishness and offer their own more expert ideas.

But that’s the great thing about the distributed intelligence in action here — with enough knowledgeable and clever people at work on it, a viable idea can emerge and be implemented.

But — only if its time has come.

When its time has come, the meme will explode, and nothing will be able to stop it.

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

I’ve said repeatedly that, if we want to win this war, we need to take back the culture. In order for that to happen, the organs of mass communication will have to change. The new media — of which this blog is a microscopic piece — will eventually supplant the old ones. Eventually Katie Kouric and Paul Krugman will become quaint historical artifacts, a set of wax statues at Madame Tussaud’s.

There’s no doubt that the Emperor has no clothes, and in due course everyone will become aware of it and start to snicker at his pale and flabby flesh.

But, thanks to the Jihad, we may not have enough time to wait for this process to unfold. We may have to put on our pajamas and go to work to help it along.

The siege of ConstantinopleWe really are at a cultural version of the Gates of Vienna. The enemy has driven the traditional culture back inside its fortifications, and is busy digging tunnels to undermine the walls. Many of our people have been captured or converted, and the remnant is just barely holding out, drinking rainwater from the rooftop cisterns and eating dogs just to stay alive.

Only this time there will be no King of Poland to ride down the hill in a glorious charge. This time there will be no Jan III Sobieski to save our sorry fundament.

We’re going to have to do this one ourselves.

So: if you like this meme, or any of the others you see here, spread ’em around. None of this will take off without the support of at least one of the major blogs, so hit Charles (or one of the others) upside the head with a two-by-four until he picks up the meme.

And if these memes die, more will be along later. Pay attention; watch for the one whose time has come, and then help spread it.

Also: have that hundred dollar bill ready to hand out to the right cause when the moment arrives.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Grabbing You by the Lapels, I say…

You must go over to Average Gay Joe’s blog and watch the video here. Scroll way down to see it.

I don’t want to spoil this for you so I won’t discuss it here. The place for the discussion is at Joe’s, who put it up for all of us to see.

Well done, sir. This is one spell-binding piece of work.

Thanks for passing it on.

No More “Fatwa Fridays”

Dennis Mitsubishi has caved to the mau-mauing of CAIR. There will be no jihad-mocking commercials on Columbus area radio stations.

This is very depressing. Between the surrender of Dennis Mitsubishi, the groveling of the Pope, and the pre-emptive self-censorship of a German opera house, it seems that the entire West is ready to roll over as soon as a mob of angry Muslims starts screaming. Or even before it starts screaming.

The next time something like this comes up — and you know it will — let’s mount a grassroots blog campaign to counter CAIR. If a couple of the big blogs like LGF got on it, and the rest of us responded, it could make a difference.

We could have been posting Dennis Mitsubishi’s phone number, and urging everyone to call the dealership to express their support. People who live in the Columbus area could have promised to buy their next car there. It would have made it easier for those poor guys to resist the pressure from CAIR.

Instead we just sat around picking our toes in our pajamas. Next time we’ll know better…

US Intelligence Report: Japan War Breeding More Kamikazes

White House ‘strongly disagrees’ with OSS assessment.

by Tim Reagan
Scientific Christian Monitor
January 18, 1944

Oil tanks burning at MidwayA classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) contends that the war in Japan has increased Shinto radicalism, and has made the kamikaze threat around the world worse. Based on information from US government officials who had seen the document and spoke on condition of anyonymity, The New York Times reports that the NIE document, titled “Trends in Global Kamikaze attacks: Implications for the United States,” says the war plays a much more direct role in the spread of Shinto radicalism around the world than has previously been indicated by the White House, or in a recent report by the US House intelligence committee.

The intelligence estimate, completed last October, is the first formal appraisal of Pacific kamikaze attacks by US intelligence agencies since the June 1942 Battle of Midway, and it represents a consensus view of the 16 different spy services inside government. The estimate asserts that Shinto radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the Pacific.
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An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Kamikaze Movement,” cites the Japanese war as a reason for the diffusion of kamikaze ideology. The report “says that the Japan war has made the overall kamikaze problem worse,” one US intelligence official said.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the White House, sensing the importance of the issue of Japan during an election year, moved quickly to counter the impact of the NIE report. White House spokesman Watkins Peterson said the Roosevelt administration “sharply disagreed” with the findings of the 16 intelligence agencies, saying “anti-American fervor in the Japan began long before the attack on Pearl Harbor.”

But The New York Times reports that some Democratic and Republican politicians felt the report was another indication of an already bad situation in the Pacific. Republican Sen. Jerry Kahn of Massachusetts said it showed that the Roosevelt administration policy towards Japan was acting as a “recruiting poster” for kamikaze pilots.

Council Results, September 15

Watcher’s Council As usual, the voting spread for the September 15th nominations is oddly clustered. In the Council offering, there was one clear winner, two members tied for the second spot and the rest of us kind of dribbled down the page. In other words, the members seemed to have no trouble making a choice for their first place vote, but second place was harder to choose, and thus the number of posts getting at least one vote was large.

In the non-Council offerings, four nominations tied for second place.
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Socratic Rhythm Method took first place among the Council offerings with Your Chance of Dying in a Terrorist Attack, which used statistics to demonstrate how futile statistical averages are when it comes to considering the meaning of events:

According to one estimate, your chance as an American of dying by accidental drowning is 66 times greater than your chance of dying in a terrorist attack. (Or it might be seven times greater; see the post.)

As many Americans have been killed by lightning, accident-causing deer and allergic reactions to peanuts as terrorism, since they started keeping track, they say.

You’re twice as likely to die crushed under a vending machine as you are to die in a terrorist attack, according to this source. You are 225,409 times more likely to die in an auto accident, another source says. More people accidentally shoot themselves to death than die in terror attacks, it says here. [links can be found in original post]


But as these amateur statisticians watch all the tributes, retrospectives and rerun cable news coverage today, does it begin to dawn on them that this was a big deal for reasons beyond its threat to our own, individual, personal lives? Or does that not compute?

Do they think I’m some dolt who’s afraid there’s a terrorist waiting around the next corner to shoot me in the head, and wants George W. Bush to protect me? Do they think I’m some kind of racist, willing to go balls to the wall to fight a bunch of anonymous Arabs but not the far more serious and deadly threats of heat exhaustion and falling off the toilet? Do they think I’m contributing to the success of terror attacks by exaggerating their impact, while they’re working hard to ensure the terrorists don’t win?

Do they think they’re smarter than I am?

September 11 didn’t make me fear for my life, or the lives of people close to me, any more than the JFK assassination made my parents fear for their lives. (And for extra credit, what’s your chance of being elected President of the United States and then shot to death?) Probably a lot like the last generation’s reaction to Kennedy’s death, it made me feel powerless in the face of a profound, frustrating, awful loss. It was an affront to my country, its people and its principles. It brought us all together in an unprecedented way.

Soccer Dad and Shrinkwrapped tied for second place. The former for Three Strands Not Easily Broken and the latter for 9/11 Ambiguities.

Here is Soccer Dad’s thesis:

While there are, no doubt, many more than three factors that led to 9/11; there are three that I’d like to highlight: 1) the ideology that drove Osama Bin Laden in his war against the West 2) the acceptance of some terror that likely convinced Osama Bin Laden that he could strike at the U.S. with impunity and 3) the failure of the West — the U.S. in particular — to use the tools at its disposal to fight terror.

And Shrinkwrapped, continuing the 9/11 meme in a psychodynamic way, offering several paradigms from which to consider the issue of terrorism. One is to view Al Qaeda as a criminal organization, another is to see the Koran and its adherents as essentially violent, and yet another is in the mode of the Bush Doctrine, which hopes that by establishing functional democracies where only tyranny existed before that Islam will be forced to consider and to reform its own internal contradictions. Then there are those who believe that it’s just a matter of giving Islam’s adherents time to catch up to the modern world, thus eliminating a large part of the sense of humiliation and inadequacy (I think my summary here is correct. Shrinkwrapped may not agree). Then he says:

The Modern World demands a very high level of cognitive ability in order to become a full participant. Modern economies are so wealthy that even the most limited people, with the most minimal skills and advantages, are able to live relatively well (fantastically well, in comparison to poor people throughout human history.) This means that if you are a young man with a limited education living in a developing country, even if you are literate and intelligent, you have almost no chance to join in the modern global economy. The most successful developing countries, like South Korea and Taiwan, had populations willing to work hard for their children’s sake, accepting their own limitations, in order to ensure their sons and daughters the opportunity to go to school and become successful members of the burgeoning global economy. America has been particularly adept at accepting such “strivers” as new members and accepting their children as Americans. Too many other nations have been unable to accept the implicit trade-off of current status and deprivation for the adults in the interest of their children’s future. There remains a very significant portion of the Islamic world that has clearly not yet accepted this trade-off, and is in denial that the trade-off is unavoidable.

When I read this, I was struck not by the limited education and skills of those in poor countries, but the underclass in our own country, which Shrinkwrapped has just described here. I am attempting to drag one grandson out of the mire of this fetid swamp, and I am not sanguine about my chances of lighting some fire of vision for himself or his family any time soon. In other words, we have a huge bloc of adults in this country who don’ do “trade-offs’ for their children, either. It is most disheartening.

Non-Council Winners were led by Villainous Company’s And At Night, I Dream Of You..., a moving memorial to one of the 9/11 victims, Lydia Estelle Bravo. And Bravo she was:

How do you tell the story of a woman you never met? Someone whose life was extinguished as casually as one pinches a candle flame after a memorable evening? Reading what those she left behind had to say about her, I have no doubt that Lydia loved life; that she made the days and nights of everyone around her memorable. One piece said that to Lydia, life was a feast.

This does not surprise me. You see, Lydia was an oncology nurse for eight years. Living in death’s shadow for such a long time brings everything into sharper focus. It makes one appreciate how truly precious each and every moment we have on this earth is, how lucky most of us are, even to be able to walk out our front doors each morning and do mundane things like pick up the paper, fight rush hour traffic, or sit in overlong meetings listening to pompous, pontificating nitwits rehash things that could easily be said with far less oxygen. But on the flip side we also get to see sunsets, Italian movies, giggling babies, and the face of the one we love each morning resting on that pillow beside us; looking in sleep — for a moment — as innocent and carefree as a child again.

That sight alone is worth the price of admission.

As they say, RTW.

There were four nominations sharing second place. In the interests of brevity, I will list them and urge that you click on these links, which astonish in their variety:

Everything is at The Watcher’s Place, waiting for your perusal.

Killed in a Burqa

Terrorists have gunned down a female official of the provincial Kandahar government in Afghanistan. According to the Times Online:

Kandahar woman in a burqaA senior women’s affairs official who has criticised the Taleban’s treatment of women was shot dead outside her home in southern Afghanistan today.

Safia Ama Jan was getting into a car outside her house in the city of Kandahar when two gunmen on motorcycles opened fire.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, although Taleban insurgents have killed numerous government officials as part of their war against the Government and foreign forces supporting it.
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Mrs Ama Jan had worked as the provincial director of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs since the Taleban were overthrown five years ago. She may have been targeted for her opposition to the Islamic extremists’ attempts to limit women’s involvement in politics and education.

As a well known women rights campaigner, she was aware that she was vulnerable to attack and had asked for official transport and personal bodyguards. The Afghan Government rejected these requests. It is thought that she was getting into a taxi on her way to work when she was killed.

The report adds this poignant note:

She was wearing a burqa when she was shot.

ABC (Australia) notes that the Taliban have now claimed credit for the murder:

The Taliban, who have killed numerous government officials as part of their war against the government and foreign forces supporting it, claimed responsibility for shooting Safia Ama Jan.


A Taliban commander, Mullah Hayat Khan, said Ama Jan was killed because she worked for the government.

“We have told people time and time again that anyone working for the government, including women, will be killed,” he said by telephone from an undisclosed location.

That’s the way to win the hearts and minds of your countrymen.

I wanted more background on Safia Ama Jan, but was unable to discover any references to her, except for today’s news stories, after numerous searches on the internet.

I tried the variant “Safiyeh” instead of “Safia” for her first name, but that didn’t help. I suspect there may be information out there under other variant spellings. If anyone has any knowledge or suggestions on how to find further data about her (without having to read Pashtun, Farsi, or Urdu, that is), please leave a comment.