Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/31/2010

Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/31/2010So much important news passed through my hands today that I could hardly keep up with it. One big story concerns a terrorist attack which killed four Israelis at Kiryat Arba in the West Bank.

Because the incident occurred just before the opening of “peace” negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, some analysts describe the attack as an “attempt to derail the talks”. That’s a misreading of typical Palestinian strategy: deadly attacks just before peace talks are customary, because afterwards the Israelis can be pressured into making concessions just to get the attacks to stop. They are particularly vulnerable to American arm-twisting in this regard.

Another major news story concerns a pair of culturally enriched terror suspects who were arrested after their arrival in the Netherlands on a flight from the USA. They had been cleared for flight by the TSA even though at least one of them was carrying a fake bomb. The operation was almost certainly a dry run for a terror attack.

In other news, Swedish censorship of Sverigedemokraterna’s campaign commercial, plus some of the polling-place practices that are customary during Swedish elections, have caused the Danish governing coalition to demand that Sweden allow the Council of Europe to send election observers to monitor Swedish elections on September 19th.

Meanwhile, that zany Col. Khadafi is acting up again in Rome. While lecturing his captive audience of hired female escorts, he insisted that Europe must embrace Islam as its religion. He said the process of conversion will begin when Turkey joins the EU.

To see the headlines and the articles, open the full news post.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Caroline Glick, DF2, Fjordman, Gaia, Insubria, JD, Lurker from Tulsa, Nilk, Politically Incorrect, TB, TB2, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Commenters are advised to leave their comments at this post (rather than with the news articles) so that they are more easily accessible.

[This post is a stub — nothing further here!]

Crossing the Red Line

Thilo Sarrazin

Thilo Sarrazin is a member of the board of the Bundesbank in Germany. For several years his outspoken opinions about immigrants have caused controversy — he has declared that Turks and Arabs are making Germany “dumber” because they have lower IQs and are more fecund than native Germans.

The hot water he found himself in as a result of all this has neared the boiling point in the last couple of weeks with the publication of his new book, Deutschland schafft sich ab — Wie wir unser Land aufs Spiel setzen (“Abolishing Germany — How we’re putting our country in jeopardy”). An interview with a cultural magazine prior to the book’s release brought the scalding water down on his head from both ends of the political spectrum.

Mr. Sarrazin is a member of the SPD (Social Democrats), and his party immediately disavowed him:

The Social Democrats’ leader Sigmar Gabriel has signalled that Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin should leave the centre-left party following his latest inflammatory and anti-immigrant statements.
Sarrazin wrote, “In no other religion is the transition to violence and terrorism so fluid.” For this he was likened to (who else?) anti-Semites and Nazis. With depressing predictability, a virulent case of the Screaming Nazi Heeber-Jeebers rapidly infected the German media, with every major outlet falling into line to decry his “racism”. An opinion piece in Der Spiegel concluded that “Germany is becoming Islamophobic”, with Sarrazin heading the list of notorious Islamophobes.

Meanwhile, Germany’s culture-enricher interest groups went into high dudgeon, especially the Turks. The “Turkish community” made demands of the German government:

The chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany (TGD) has called on Chancellor Angela Merkel to send a clear signal condemning anti-Muslim comments by Bundesbank official Thilo Sarrazin, according to a Saturday report.

Ms. Merkel did a reasonable job of complying, saying that Mr. Sarrazin’s statements were “defamatory” and “completely unhelpful”. But the author has not backed down, and yesterday continued his criticism of Muslim immigrants, even as the SPD moved to expel him:

Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin reiterated his criticism of Muslim immigrants on Monday, saying the vast majority were not fit to integrate into German society. Meanwhile the Social Democrats prepared to kick him out of the party.

And what was his greatest sin against Multiculturalism?

Sarrazin had done a lot for the party but had now crossed a “red line,” [SPD leader Sigmar] Gabriel said, by linking the genetic make-up of certain ethnic groups with intelligence and the ability to learn. This was “highly problematic” and “racist.”

That’s right — by mentioning the connection between genes and intelligence, Thilo Sarrazin proved that he’s a WAYCIST!

The above smorgasbord may help fill in some of the background on Thilo Sarrazin, so that the context of the following translation by JLH will be clear. The translator includes this note:

I thought you might like a little antidote to the MSM hit-pieces, so here’s a recent piece from PI. Sarrazin’s defenders are among the heavy hitters in the Islamist debate:

  • Necla Kelek has been in GoV as the ex-Muslim who, so to speak, lifted the veil on life in Islam.
  • Stadtkewitz, who writes the closing letter, we remember from his previous clash with the Berlin head of CDU who now wants to expel him for inviting Wilders, and who was burned out of his house for opposing a mosque that was eventually built in his district.
  • Much-honored as an author, journalist and director, Giordano identifies himself as a Holocaust survivor when he answers the Jewish Central Council in defense of Sarrazin.
  • Hans-Olaf Henkel is a retired businessman, past president of the Organization of German Industry and of the Leibniz Society.

The article has a four-way shot of the major defenders.

Many thanks to JLH for this translation from Politically Incorrect, August 28, 2010:

Tailwind for Sarrazin?

It is always the same ones who raise a warning and do not join in the chorus of howls, which only serves to confirm Sarrazin’s thesis. Ralf Giordano; former BDI president Hans-Olaf Henkel; Islam critic Necla Kelek and Berlin CDU representative René Stadtkewitz. They are all distinguished by having disputed with him with him on some content, by addressing instead of whitewashing problems, and by agreeing with his theses.

BZ [Berliner Zeitung] reports:

Excerpts were already published in Spiegel and Bild. In them, the former head of the federal bank sharply criticizes social, educational and immigration policy. An army of integration officials and Islam researchers are exercised about “Downplaying, Self-Deception and Denial of Problems.” In his 464 page book, Sarrazin hammers Islam and Muslim immigrants. He writes, for instance, “In no other religion is the transition to violence, dictatorship and terrorism so smooth.”

And it is true. Or can even one of the so-called critics prove the opposite?

Many of them, including Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) call his remarks injurious and defamatory. Colleagues from his own party reproach Sarrazin for representing the Nazi mindset.

It does not get any worse than that. At the head of the line, the Jewish Central Council is distinguished by its downplaying of the National Socialist era.
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The Jewish Central Council calls Sarrazin’s comments “extremely dangerous” because “The racist hate tirades he has been giving for months are like someone running through a gas station with a lighter.”

It is beneficial that there are still voices of reason amid the hysterical sniveling of the bleeding hearts:

“Naturally Mr. Sarrazin is a great monitory voice. He is someone who tells the truth.,” says publicist Ralph Giordano to BZ… At any rate, his critics did not go into these empirical truths, said Giordano and stressed “No one analyzes this country’s failed integration policies more clear-sightedly than Mr. Sarrazin.”…”I consider it mistaken to push Mr. Sarrazin into the National Socialism corner. Nothing resembles National Socialism. I say that as a Holocaust survivor.”

We agree. And to force someone like Sarrazin into this corner is just the same as downplaying this dark time.

Former president of the BDI (Federation of German Industry), Hans-Olaf Henkel also defends Sarrazin: “He is certainly no racist, but someone who thematically catalogues Islam’s excesses.” Henkel stressed and expanded: “Sarrazin is distinguished by similar characteristics. He deals with fact meticulously and derives seemingly sadistic pleasure from confronting people with uncomfortable truths.”

Berlin CDU chief Frank Henkel, who has already arranged for the expulsion of Stadtkewitz, contents himself with the following statement:

“Naturally, we must not whitewash existing problems,” said state and local CDU chief Henkel.

Which is what our “elites” inevitably do. He continues:

“But anyone who ties educational problems to the hereditary factors and handicaps among immigrants is beyond help. That is too deeply contemptuous of humanity.”

To “refute” Sarrazin’s ideas, was it really necessary to invoke himself as proof to the contrary?

René Stadtkewitz, member of the Berlin house of representatives, writes:

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Distribution of Dr. Thilo Sarrazin’s book “Germany Abrogates Itself” has hardly begun and already his statements are being ripped, condemned and labelled as racist, and of course, once more, his expulsion from his party is called for. I find this development noteworthy. Hardly anyone could have read the book through. Although I had ordered it long ahead of time, I only received it yesterday. Had Sarrazin’s defamers made the effort just to page through the book, at least give it a quick read-through, they would have realized that Dr. Sarrazin differentiates demographic development as well as migration — which includes both immigration and emigration — and backs up his observations with facts. Beyond that, he offers the reader a number of suggestions which both can and must be discussed.

I do not intend to go into the individual nonsensical misrepresentations and demands by politicians of all parties, who have made their rote comments on Dr. Sarrazin’s statements. I will just confirm once more how politics ties itself in knots and, now as ever, is not prepared to debate problems of integration, especially of immigrants from Islamic countries. The politicians responsible today have no doubt been aware for decades that the collision of two completely different social models caused by immigration from Islamic territory had to lead to substantial conflicts. It is that much more difficult to understand their reaction to this objective description of the situation. Although the debate is desperately necessary, so that it may even be possible to think about various attempts at a solution, it is refused as always, and the initiator of the debate declared to be a non-person. Independently of the damage the defamers are causing to the political climate in Germany, they presumably do not comprehend that it is they who are contributing to the fact that not only is their own country’s future being stolen, but countless women in Germany are being executed in the name of honor or deprived daily of their constitutionally protected rights. It is especially reprehensible that the chancellor is a part of it.

We must talk about this problem. If politics continues to refuse to act for the good of society, there will soon have to be a change in the political landscape in Germany.

El Cid Versus the Mosque, Part 9

El Cid

With Part 9 we have now passed the halfway point of seventeen installments of the classic 1961 movie El Cid, starring Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren. This is part of the El Cid Project, which is a response to furor over the proposed Ground Zero mosque:

Visit the El Cid Project for more information, and see Part 1 for a fuller explanation of what this is about. Here are Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, and Part 8.

[Post ends here]

“The Retarded Islamic Culture”

Below is Part 2 of the Australian Dateline news feature about Geert Wilders:

Part 1 is available here. Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for YouTubing both parts.

Our Flemish correspondent VH has translated a couple of articles from the Dutch media. One concerns Mr. Wilders’ appearance on Australian television, and the other has the latest news about the negotiations on the formation of a government in the Netherlands.

Geert Wilders on Dateline

VH notes:

The demo in the background of the photo on the Australian Dateline website is one held by the International Socialists.

The first article is from Elsevier:

Wilders: Our culture is better than the retarded Islamic culture

by Maartje Willems

[August 29] In an interview that was conducted during the failed attempt to form a Purple-plus [center-left] cabinet in the Netherlands, PVV leader Geert Wilders called Islam retarded. The Australian television program Dateline broadcast the interview this past Sunday. The interview was held six weeks ago, as Wilders informs Elsevier.nl.

In the interview with an Australian TV program, Wilders said about Islam: “It is a violent ideology comparable to communism and fascism.” In the interview, Wilders repeats that he is a supporter of an international organization that opposes Islam.

This week Wilders’ PVV enters the fourth week of coalition negotiations with the CDA [Christian Democrats] and the VVD [center-right liberals]. The two parties want to form a minority government supported by the PVV [to command a majority in parliament]. Some prominent Christian Democrats demand that the CDA party leader Maxime Verhagen stop the negotiations because of Wilders’ anti-Islam views.

For example, Wilders wants to demonstrate in New York on September 11 against the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero, where nine years ago many were killed due to Islamic terrorism. Wilders has repeatedly said that he will continue expressing his controversial views on Islam, including when his party supports a VVD-CDA minority government.

[Photo caption] Fortuyn

In the 2002 election Pim Fortuyn — at that point still the leader of Leefbaar Nederland [Livable Netherlands] — called Islam a backward religion. Fortuyn immediately had to enter urgent consultations shortly after the interview with De Volkskrant, and was dismissed as party leader. One day later he founded the Lijst Pim Fortuyn [List Pim Fortuyn].” (see also the video “C’est ça“)

Also from Elsevier, the following article is not entirely off-topic:

All time low for CDA in survey: lowest score ever

by Maartje Willems

[August 29] The uproar in the CDA [Christian Democrats] on negotiations with the PVV is causing a low point in the polls. If there were elections held today, the party of Maxime Verhagen would only receive 15 seats [out of the 150 in parliament], the lowest score ever.
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This is shown in the weekly poll by Maurice de Hond, who has been conducting these polls since 1976. It is the lowest score he ever measured for the CDA.

The PvdA [Labour Party, Socialists] also loses heavily in the polls; the party of [former Amsterdam mayor] Job Cohen gets six seats less and ends up with 24 seats. The PVV of Geert Wilders wins seven seats and would with 31 seats be the largest party in Dutch parliament.

A narrow majority of 54 percent of voters believe that negotiations for a minority government will succeed. Three weeks ago this was 80 percent. Also the number of CDA voters hoping this formation will succeed has declined from 79 percent three weeks ago to 60 percent now. The negotiators of the three parties will this Monday enter their fourth week of negotiations.

Maurice de Hond’s survey is conducted over the internet using at least 2,500 people, from a sample of over 40,000 people who have ever enlisted in the survey panel.

Past week former officials of the CDA have one by one canceled their confidence in the negotiations. Former Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers [CDA, also the previous “informateur’] called on CDA party leader Maxime Verhagen to abandon the discussions with the PVV [and form a center-left minority government with support of all remaining parties without the PVV; many in this peculiar suggestion saw the influence of Queen Beatrix]. Lubbers in his last month as informateur initiated the VVD-CDA-PVV negotiations, but now suddenly rejects this.

Yesterday former Minister of Agriculture Cees Veerman wrote a letter in which also he called on Verhagen to cease the negotiations.[1]

[Photo caption]

“PVV leader Geert Wilders has enough of the uproar in the CDA.

He advised CDA chairman Henk Bleker “to go on a vacation” and said yesterday that prominent CDA people should about stop demonizing the 1.5 million PVV voters.”

Dateline links:

Our culture is better than the retarded Islamic culture


WATCH — See Mark’s report from the Netherlands on Geert Wilders and the controversy surrounding him.

EXTRA — Find out more about Geert Wilders’ background and political career.

Quote: “Wilders is still facing trial in the Netherlands for inciting hatred and the controversy surrounding him means he lives under 24 hour protection.”

Remark from VH:

Dateline seems not to understand what is going on in the real: Wilders does not need 24/7 protection because of “the controversy surrounding him” but because of constant death threats, mostly by Muslims, including Al Qaeda.


[1] Among the other CDA “prominents” are former PM (and anti-Semite) Andries van Agt and former CDA fraction leader (and former Waffen SS volunteer) Willem Aantjes, but also Christian Democrat Muslims oppose the negotiations. However, the CDA fraction in Parliament at the moment has only one Muslim (previously a few Muslims had to leave because they refused to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide), the Turkish born Coskun Cörüz, who was suspected of having collaborated with or has sympathies for, the fascist Grey Wolves.

Qadaffi Demands Tribute from the EU

The variously-spelled Muammar Ghedaffi is visiting Italy again, and has been engaging in his customary idiosyncrasies since his arrival. Yesterday he hectored the Italians about their lack of respect for women, and today he is demanding annual payments from the EU — or else.

Muammar QadaffiAnd what is Col. Gadafi threatening if Europe fails to heed his demand for jizyah payments? He promises the Europeans that if they don’t pony up, they will be overwhelmed by black immigrants from Africa.

When reading about the Colonel’s warning, it’s important to remember that he is not threatening the EU with the prospect of Libyans or Tuaregs or Egyptians. He is promising an influx of those whom Libyans (and all Arabs) consider sub-men: negroes. Arabs refer to black Africans as ’abeed (the plural of ’abd), which means “slaves” or “negroes” interchangeably.

So watch out, Europe! Time to get out the checkbook:

EU: Pay Billions or be Swamped by Black Africans, Warns Gadaffi

Rome, 31 August (AKI) — The European Union must pay 5 billion dollars annually to stem the tide of illegal immigrants departing from Libya’s shores — otherwise Europe could be become an African outpost, Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi has claimed.

Gadaffi made the provocative remarks during a two-day visit to the Italian capital, Rome to mark the second anniversary of a controversial bilateral ‘friendship’ pact.

“Libya, with Italy’s support, asks the EU to provide at least 5 billion dollars a year to stop illegal immigration, otherwise Europe could one day become part of Africa — it could become black, because millions want to come here,” Gadaffi said.

He made the remarks during a speech at a gala dinner in Rome late on Monday hosted by Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and attended by 800 people.
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Guests at the ‘iftar’ feast to break the Ramadan fast included several cabinet ministers and the heads of Italy’s main business association Confindustria, its largest defence and aerospace company Finmeccanica and energy giant ENI.

“Libya is a gateway for illegal immigration and so we need to work together to combat this phenomenon,” Gadaffi added.

Earlier during his visit, Gadaffi drew criticism from the EU and Catholics for telling hundreds of young women he invited to hear him speak that he hoped Islam would become the 27-member bloc’s religion.

Under the friendship pact, Italy’s conservative government agreed pay Libya some 5 billion dollars (4 billion euros) in reparations for transgressions committed during three decades of Italian colonial rule over the North African nation from 1911-1943.

The money will mostly be invested in infrastructure projects, including a new 2,700 kilometre highway across Libya from Tunisia to Egypt.

Italy also provided several coastal patrol boats to intercept vessels transporting illegal immigrants to Italian shores, as part of a controversial agreement to turn back immigrants in the Mediterranean.

Italy is Libya’s largest trading partner and it is Gadaffi’s fourth visit in two years.

By the way: as a matter of principle, I try never to spell Moamer Ghadafi the same way twice. It’s easy to manage, because the numerous variant official spellings of his name allow the enterprising blogger to refer to him hundreds of times without being orthographically repetitive.

Hat tip: C. Cantoni.

“When I See Him, He’s a Dead Man”

Our Danish-Australian correspondent Anne-Kit sent a tip about a
news report on Geert Wilders that recently appeared on Australian television. The program’s host displays the customary attitude — a mixture of hostility, condescension, moral disapproval, and just a trace of fear — towards Mr. Wilders, which is what we have come to expect from any major media outlet in the West. Nevertheless, Mr. Wilders’ message was allowed to come though at length in his own words.

Anne-Kit includes these notes:

SBS is your standard multicultural, intellectual, lefty tv station, and host George Negus is an insufferably puffed-up, politically correct “celebrity” journalist with all the right opinions which, as you will see, he sees fit to pontificate on at any given opportunity.

This notwithstanding, the programme manages to give Geert Wilders quite a decent platform, and I am pleased to see that the interviewer and video journalist, during the “deconstruction” at the end of the segment, manages to stay reasonably neutral and fair on his subject.

Check the comments (115 at the moment of writing): 63 are supportive of Wilders, which in itself is surprising on such a “progressive” website, but check the “Agree” and “Disagree” icons! On the comments which are critical of Wilders up to 200+ people disagree …

Vlad Tepes has YouTubed the program in two parts. Part 1 is below (Warning: There is a small amount of profanity from a culture enricher near the end of this segment):

Our Flemish correspondent VH has also sent some translated material from the Dutch media on this topic, which will be posted later today with the second part of the video.

Here are a few points that struck me about Part 1:
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The undercurrent of violent threat. The title of this post is taken from what a young Dutch Muslim tells the interviewer near the end of this portion of the program. The producers of the documentary may not realize it, but clips like this make Geert Wilders’ case for him.

Despite all the feel-good multiculti sentiment, the fact remains that it is very common for Muslims in the Netherlands to threaten (and sometimes carry out) murder against politicians and other prominent people whose views about Islam they don’t like. Theo Van Gogh’s corpse lying on the sidewalk with a knife stuck in his chest has not been forgotten by the Dutch people, especially with young punks like the one in this video jogging their memories virtually every day. This is one of the main reasons for Geert Wilders’ success in the polls.

The sense of grievance. “No matter what you [Muslims] do, it’s never enough.” That’s what Fatima Lamkarat tells the interviewer. Despite being welcomed into one of the most affluent and tolerant nations on Earth, despite being housed in conditions that are palatial compared to their countries of origin, despite being handed generous welfare benefits and offered free high-quality education — despite all that, Muslim immigrants in the Netherlands are aggrieved. The Dutch people are just so mean to them.

Kitman. There is a large amount of dissembling by Muslims interviewed in this video. They talk about how well they behave, and therefore don’t deserve to be “kicked in the stomach” by the PVV.

There is no discussion of the persistent refusal of large numbers of immigrants to integrate. No one mentions the demands for special privileges, halal food, separate swimming for women, and all the other accommodations that Muslims require of their infidel hosts. No one refers to the exceptionally high crime rate among immigrants, or their attacks on Jews, homosexuals, and anyone else considered traditional prey for faithful Muslims.

None of these things are mentioned by the oh-so-benign Muslims featured in this video. But you can bet that ordinary Dutch people are well aware of them — as are most Australian viewers, who are all too familiar with the behavior of Muslims in certain culturally enriched areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and other cities.

Muslims are thinking about leaving the Netherlands. The threat by aggrieved Muslims to leave the Netherlands is obviously intended to instill feelings of shame and regret in viewers. The makers of this program, however, may be so removed from the ordinary people who make up their audience that they don’t realize the thrill of hope that such declarations actually awaken in most viewers.

Without truly coercive measures, it’s unlikely that Dutch Muslims will actually carry through with their threat (promise) and shake the dust of the polders from their feet. Like so many other dishonest public statements, this one is designed to play on white guilt and manipulate their infidel hosts into taking back all their mean demands.

Still, I can imagine the average Dutch citizen standing up in front of the TV, pumping his fist into the air, and shouting “Ja!” when he hears these words.

And then he makes sure to vote for the PVV again in the next election.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/30/2010

Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/30/2010That wacky Libyan Colonel, Muamar Qadafy, the Man of Many Spellings, is at it again. He is visiting Rome, and reprised last year’s effort by hiring another group of young women from escort services and pitching Islam to them. According to reports, out of five hundred attendees, only three have so far converted. Col. Gaddafi told Italians that women get more respect in Libya.

In other news, the bloom is off the romance between Turkey and Iran. Turkey is demanding an explanation from Iran over remarks by its vice president referring to the unfortunate events of 1915 as a "genocide".

Meanwhile, Iraqis are a bit nervous over the withdrawal of the last of America’s combat troops from Iraq. They fear an increase in terrorist attacks as a result.

To see the headlines and the articles, open the full news post.

Thanks to AA, Amil Imani, C. Cantoni, CSP, DF, Fjordman, Gaia, heroyalwhyness, LN, Lurker from Tulsa, Nilk, Steen, TB, TS, TV, Zenster, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Commenters are advised to leave their comments at this post (rather than with the news articles) so that they are more easily accessible.

[This post is a stub — nothing further here!]

Prospero Goes to Washington D.C.

Here’s a first hand report from one of our Virginia readers about Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally day before yesterday. His email came in yesterday, but what with the Baron’s being away I was too busy to post the account till now.

Like many others, I only watched the Rally on C-Span. Judging by his account, it was definitely not the same as being there.

Where necessary, I filled in information which Prospero couldn’t have collected on the ground — e.g., the names of those receiving awards.


This video seemed appropriate to accompany Prospero's narrative. However, in the rush to post, it was inadvertently left out:

A commenter on this video at You Tube put it well:

The words of the song and the history of the song are both very much on point! It’s time black people forgive the whites and vice versa. It’s time for people for all color to stop wasting time hating one another. It time to join in greater efforts -- like maybe making America a great place for all of us to live!

God bless the piper! We should all follow.
And, now, here's Prospero ---

Wow. What a day, what a crowd, what a transportation nightmare.

The Weather and the Crowd

Through a filter of twenty-four plus hours, the Restoring Honor rally on August 28, 2010 still seems an amazing event. I am underwhelmed by the press coverage, as I expected to be.

The day was clear, sunny, low-humidity, hot, but not the brutal temperatures of the prior two months. The gathering was peaceful (to the annoyance of the Far Left); the crowd overwhelmingly followed Glenn Beck’s guidelines for the rally — namely, no pets, no signs, bring your kids, come to pray and celebrate the honorable among us. I saw two dogs, many kids and people fully engaged in prayer and celebration. There were signs, some political, some religious. All I saw were small and not obstructive. I never saw anyone carrying a sign or banner that was larger than 2x3. Flags were present, mostly hand-held. There were some huge American flags, either unaccompanied, or paired with “Don’t Tread on Me”. There were also military flags.

Getting to Our Spot

We arrived behind the Lincoln Memorial and needed to skirt the reflecting pool area by going through the walkway passed the Vietnam War Memorial. We then had to skirt the Declaration Memorial (and its pond on the outside, toward Constitution Ave.) just to be able to work back toward the crowd at the World War II Memorial.

We set up camp after stopping and participating in the crowd’s recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner”.
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The crowd obviously outstripped expectations as there was no way to hear or see the program from most locations beyond the Reflecting Pool. That was okay since we could still hear over the noise of Reagan National Airport traffic. We certainly heard enough to understand that Beck stayed true to the non-political focus of this rally.

The Program

Sarah Palin spoke about the sacrifices and the honor of the military, as a combat vet’s mom. She also recognized the strength and faith of Marcus Luttrell, the only surviving member of his Seal Team.

There is also a Wikipedia bio on Luttrell that is more in-depth (believe it or not).

The experience of Luttrell and his team was framed by the concept of mercy: when discovered by Afghan civilians, the Seals chose to let them go rather than kill them to insure silence. This humane decision settled their fate; the freed civilians summoned forces and the Team was besieged. The chopper sent to rescue them was shot down. Finally, the lone survivor, Marcus, was saved through the mercy of Afghan tribesmen from Sabri-Minah, a Pashtun village. These Pashtuns follow an ancient, pre-Islamic code of honor, Pashtunwali:

Pashtuns embrace an ancient traditional, spiritual, and communal identity tied to a set of moral codes and rules of behavior, as well as to a linear record of history spanning over five thousand years.

Pashtunwali promotes self-respect, independence, justice, hospitality, love, forgiveness, revenge and tolerance toward all (especially to strangers or guests). It is considered a personal responsibility of every Pashtun to discover and rediscover Pashtunwali’s essence and meaning.

Who Benefits?

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) was the beneficiary of all the profits and donations from this rally. They were the next people feted. A Gold Star mother spoke of her son, Killed In Action while in Air Force Special Operations work. He left behind his wife and eight-month-old son.

In a crowd of that size, and with the need to relay sound, it was amazing that we were able to hear most of her speech. This mom set the stage for the next speaker: SOWF president, Col. John Carney USAF(Ret). He spoke movingly about the mission of the foundation, which is to see to the care of the children of the fallen soldiers in Special Operations.

SOWF was created after the catastrophe of the attempted hostage rescue in Iran in 1980. Currently, it has over five hundred and fifty families on its rolls. SOWF follows the children from the very beginning, when family members are notified of the death of their son or daughter right on through college and beyond. SOWF provides mentoring and assistance and tuition.

During the rally, Beck announced that over five million dollars were raised. (Snarkily, the Washington Post said the total was before the expenses of the event were tallied…Beck’s website and the foundation’s website state the SOWF gets the five million, plus.) [couldn’t find a link to this WaPo story but recall hearing about it — D].

[Note: Donations for these children can still be made, here. Or you can text SOWF to 85944 to make a $10 donation — D]

Merit Badges for Grown-Ups

Badges of Merit were bestowed on three recipients for their representation of Faith, Hope and Charity, respectively.

These medals were based on the Purple Heart-style medal that George Washington bestowed. By the way, the current military Purple Heart, awarded for being wounded in battle, is a construct of the 20th century; Roosevelt instituted it. For years the original concept, meant to honor ordinary people, was lost to history.

Each honoree was preceded by a brief excerpt of Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.” Remarkably fitting, as none of these individuals is “famous” in the usual sense of the word. [Except perhaps the athlete who received the award for Hope? His obvious spiritual emphasis would explain why he was chosen, despite his fame. — D]

The Badge of Merit for Faith went to a black Texan minister, Pastor Charles Lewis Jackson:

Charles Lewis Jackson of Houston has been the pastor of Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church for 44 years. He is a member of the Baptist Ministers Association, the Independent Baptist Ministers Association, and the Texas State Chaplains Association…Jackson serves on the board of the Disaster Team of the American Red Cross. He also serves as a council member of the Harris County Citizen Corporation.
[There isn’t much further information about Rev. Jackson, other than the fact that he contributed to the “Project Deliver the Vote” PAC. Which makes him a Democrat. One wonders how much blowback he’ll get for appearing with Mr. Beck. — D]

The Badge of Merit for Hope went to baseball player Albert Pujols. Through his Pujols Family Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri, Mr. Pujols helps children and adults with Down Syndrome. [Pujols was introduced by his manager and it obvious they were nervous. Someone reported later that they’d been anxious not to be involved in anything “political”. That explains why Mr. Russo was there as his spokesperson and the one who introduced him — D].

The Badge of Merit for Charity went to a billionaire who says his goal is to die broke. Jon Huntsman is a major philanthropist. He is also a Mormon with fifty six grandchildren, one of whom got married on 8/28. In his place Emma Houston to receive his award. Ms. Houston is a cancer survivor who was treated at the Oncology hospital he founded. [In trying to find information on Ms. Houston, I googled the search string Emma Houston at Glenn Beck rally. There wasn’t anything of use on that search, but the first page of hits was full of venom. — D]

Crowd Continues Growing

As they event progressed, we could see the crowd growing, by the minute. The Park police refuse to estimate crowds, but by noon (the rally began at ten a.m.) I would say at least 400,000 to 500,00 people were present. Because the woods on either side of the reflecting pool were packed with people, the aerial photos do not do justice to the crowd. In fact, it is possible that there were significantly over a half million.

Dr. King Speaks. Beck Follows.

The bravest and most beleaguered speaker of the day was Dr. Alveda King, a niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her own father as well as her uncle were killed during the struggle for Civil Rights for black people. Her cousin, Martin Luther King III was participating in Sharpton’s rally. She certainly had ample reason to drop out; after all, Alveda King and Glenn Beck have only known each other about six months. But she bucked the shunning system and took a lot of heat for her appearance with Beck. God Bless her. She received thunderous applause for her message about character and honor as the linchpins of our soul.

Dr. King came with singers and other speakers to proclaim that “The Dream” is not dead. She testified to faith being at the heart of all our endeavors. How remarkable to stand on the Mall and hear a call to heed the Lord. She was, without doubt, the most stirring of the guest speakers.

Beck can be stirring himself. He is as enthusiastic as a convert and unrepentantly patriotic. This is not to say he is uncritical of this country. His most assuredly is free in his criticism of the carelessness with which most Americans treat their system of government and their own future.

Beck’s gift lies in using the Founder’s beliefs, writings, letters and actions to illuminate the deep religious faith shared by most of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. He does not pontificate with the élan of the over-educated elite; he preaches with the fervor of the novitiate. His zeal for a return to faith as the salvation of the Republic is endearing in its sincerity. If the vocal response of the crowd was any measure, they shared his concern.

Saturday was not a banner day for the causes of politics or secular humanism on the Mall.

I have more to tell you about the people we met and the places we visited this weekend, but fatigue and stimulus overload are catching up. Suffice it to say, the experience lifted my spirits and encouraged me to believe that my fellow citizens aren’t detached obliviates. They are impassioned, caring and revitalized.

If Glenn Beck touched off this spark in 500,000 people, good on him.

If each of us who attended does a little old fashioned witnessing that our society is not Godless, self-serving, and disinterested in our own continuance as a “shining beacon on a hill” then, good on us.

Cheers — tired feet and all,


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Prospero’s Afterword

The Washington Post actually managed to cover the rally with a modicum of decency and accuracy, but the MSM seems to still have missed the point. Liberal blogs are outraged, politics are insinuated into the reportage as a way to maintain the insistence that Beck’s motivations are “Tea Party” politics, which remain incorrectly attached to the Republican Party.

Oh well. The main point is that I would estimate that at a minimum 400,000 people gathered on the mall under the aegis of restoring honor in this country.

Postscript from Dymphna: Although it was predictable, the disapproving din (which continues to grow) surrounding this rally still leaves one taken aback. Even the wiki on “Restoring Honor” is surprisingly mean-spirited and negative. As usual, what passes for analysis by the Left, and represented in this wiki is discourteous, derisive, even obscene.

In a section entitled Media Reaction and Response, here’s what they managed to collect (there are links and footnotes at the site):

Leading up to the event, Beck attracted criticism from various media personalities, comedians and writers. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann stated that he was worried about Glenn Beck’s sanity after Beck said that he wanted to let “the spirit” speak through him at the rally. The day before the rally on the same network, Chris Matthews, of Hardball With Chris Matthews, used his ending segment to announce:

Can we imagine if King were physically here tomorrow, today, were he to reappear tomorrow on the very steps of the Lincoln Memorial? I have a nightmare that one day a right wing talk show host will come to this spot, his people’s lips dripping with the words interposition and nullification. Little right wing boys and little right wing girls joining hands and singing their praise for Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. I have a nightmare.

Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart dubbed the rally “Beckapalooza” and “I Have A Scheme”, while Stephen Colbert announced he was ready to follow Beck in his “silver freedom spaceship that runs on human tears.” Journalist Jason Linkins was critical of what he deemed an “insanely melodramatic video promotion of the rally, replete with Goldline scamflackery”, positing that the “Glenn Beck rally will be like (the) moon landing, Wright Brothers and Rosa Parks all rolled into one massive orgasm of American history.” Author and activist Glenn Greenwald created a website and video entitled “Glenn Beck is Not Martin Luther King Jr.”, which provided a petition featuring over 30,000 signatures the day before the rally, denouncing Beck. Meanwhile Media Matters for America compiled a large compilation [sic] of related clips and excerpts criticizing the event.

A.J. Calhoun, who attended the original 1963 King rally, took offense at Beck’s holding what he called a “rally of right-wingers, Tea Partiers, neoconservatives, fascists, the delusional and the truly wicked, (and) the New Kluxers disguised as patriots wanting something they cannot or will not identify openly.”

That’s not the whole diatribe but it gives you an idea of the tone set by Beck’s detractors. One begins to question; what fear is driving this kind of hatred?

There is one positive note in a very brief section titled Aftermath and Reaction:

Hours after the rally finished, Martin Luther King Jr.’s personal attorney and speechwriter, Clarence B. Jones, said he believes King would not have been offended by Beck’s rally but “pleased and honored”. Jones, now a visiting professor at Stanford University, said the Beck rally seemed to be tasteful and did not appear to distort King’s message.

The benighted creators of this wiki, whoever they are, had the grace (snark?) to say This section requires expansion.

Obviously our media is terribly broken. No wonder it is failing across the board — financially, morally, and intellectually. You have only to open Google and type in Glenn Beck’s name to see the venom frothing down the page. These people are scared and their fear drives them to say and do shockingly ugly things.

Here's a possible remedy. In the name of charity, or at least less malice, these jeering people might spend a profitable hour reading the book, Winners Never Cheat. It was written by Mr. Hunstman, the philantrophist who received Beck's Badge of merit for charity and the proceeds go to his cancer center.

They are obviously in need of something to quell the vitriolic hatred. That kind of poison shrivels the soul...of the ones that spew it.

El Cid Versus the Mosque, Part 8

El Cid

I just got back from the wild hinterlands of Southwest Virginia, where I helped the future Baron move into his new digs. I’m still catching up with the email (y’all never slow down, do you?), so I may not post anything but this and the news feed tonight.

Below is the eighth of seventeen parts of the classic 1961 movie El Cid, starring Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren. The series will run on weekdays until 9-10. It’s part of the El Cid Project, which is a response to the proposed Ground Zero mosque:

Visit the El Cid Project for more information, and see Part 1 for a fuller explanation of what this is about. Here are Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7.

[Post ends here]

Dr. Pearl's Contemplation

The father of Daniel Pearl wrote the opinion piece in this post. He is a professor of Computer Science at UCLA, and a philosopher of science who has worked extensively on Artificial Intelligence.

His contemplation of the “undercurrents” in the situation of the Ground Zero Mosque are particularly relevant, given the nature of his son’s death at the hands of islamic murderers who have yet to stand trial for their many barbaric crimes.

No Ground Zero mosque

Dr. Pearl begins with this thought:

I have been trying hard to find an explanation for the intense controversy surrounding the Cordoba Initiative, whereby 71 percent of Americans object to the proposed project of building a mosque next to Ground Zero.

I cannot agree with the theory that such broad resistance represents Islamophobic sentiments, nor that it is a product of a “rightwing” smear campaign against one imam or another.

Americans are neither bigots nor gullible.
You are correct, sir. We are not Islamophobes, but as someone in the comments at the Logan’s Warning website once said, we are Islamosophias, i.e., wise to the ways of Islam and no longer taken in by the pretty-sounding deceits.

Dr. Pearl then considers the survivors of those killed on September 11th:

Deep sensitivity to the families of 9/11 victims was cited as yet another explanation [for this “intensity” - D], but this too does not answer the core question.
These families may not be the whole answer, but certainly they have used their energies in a desperate attempt to halt this desecration. In fact, Dr. Pearl, they could use your support.

If one accepts that the 19 fanatics who flew planes into the Twin Towers were merely self-proclaimed Muslims who, by their very act, proved themselves incapable of acting in the name of “true Islam,” then building a mosque at Ground Zero should evoke no emotion whatsoever; it should not be viewed differently than, say, building a church, a community center or a druid shrine...

- - - - - - - - -
A more realistic explanation is that most Americans do not buy the 19 fanatics story, but view the 9/11 assault as a product of an anti- American ideology that, for good and bad reasons, has found a fertile breeding ground in the hearts and minds of many Muslim youngsters who see their Muslim identity inextricably tied with this anti-American ideology.
Sir, I can’t see any “good reasons” at all for this anti-American ideology which has its tentacles wound deeply into UCLA, where you teach. It is not merely blood-sucking Islam, which you have noted; it is also the leftwing professors and student groups at your school and at colleges all over the country. The “long march through the institutions” is complete. It remains to those of us who see this as dangerous to our country to work against it.

The Ground Zero mosque is being equated with that ideology. Public objection to the mosque thus represents a vote of no confidence in mainstream American Muslim leadership which, on the one hand, refuses to acknowledge the alarming dimension that anti-Americanism has taken in their community and, paradoxically, blames America for its creation.
The Ground Zero mosque is a very large object lesson of that ideology, sir. It is more than a vote of no confidence in these people, it is the realization that they do not wish us well and are working overtime to make manifest the Caliphate in America. Yes, you’re right: they are most alarming.

In public, Muslim spokespersons praise America as the best country for Muslims to live and practice their faith. But in sermons, speeches, rallies, classrooms, conferences and books sold at those conferences, the narrative is often different. There, Noam Chomsky’s conspiracy theory is the dominant paradigm, and America’s foreign policy is one long chain of “crimes” against humanity, especially against Muslims.


Terrorist acts, whenever condemned, are immediately “contextually explicated” (to quote Tariq Ramadan); spiritual legitimizers of suicide bombings (e.g. Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi of Qatar) are revered beyond criticism; Hamas and Hizbullah are permanently shielded from the label of “terrorist.”

Overall, the message that emerges from this discourse is implicit, but can hardly be missed: When Muslim grievance is at question, America is the culprit and violence is justified, if not obligatory.
Bingo! Tariq Ramadan is a friend to your son’s killers. In fact, he and they would subjugate us all if we didn’t remain vigilant.

True, we have not helped Muslims in the confidence-building process. Treating homegrown terror acts as isolated incidents of psychological disturbances while denying their ideological roots has given American Muslim leaders the illusion that they can achieve public acceptance without engaging in serious introspection and responsibility sharing for allowing victimhood, anger and entitlement to spawn such acts.
“We” have done no such thing! It is the Muslim Brotherhood and the Leftists, tunneling through our intelligence bureaucracies and the Pentagon who have brought off this charade. No sensible American believes it for a minute.

Dr. Pearl concludes:

The construction of the Ground Zero mosque would further prolong this illusion.

If I were New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, I would reassert Muslims’ right to build the Islamic center and the mosque, but I would expend the same energy, not one iota less, in trying to convince them to put it somewhere else, or replace it with a community-managed all-faiths center in honor of the 9/11 victims.

Fellow Muslim Americans will benefit more from co-ownership of consensual projects than sole ownership of confrontational ones.
Sir, I honor your horrific loss in this war, but I disagree with your view of these Ground Zero developers as people who could or would operate in good faith anywhere. They’re deceptive and they’re criminals.

As you noted in the beginning, 71% of Americans think this is wrong. I would hope that you number yourself among them. These particular people don’t deserve a mosque no matter where they plant it. The more we find out about them, the worse they are revealed to be. Thinking they should be moved is giving aid to those who slaughtered your son.

Yes, that’s a tough thing to say, but the evidence is all around you. If you, Daniel Pearl’s father, cannot speak out more forcefully against these enemies of America, then who can? Please consider offering your support to the Families of 9/11 who are working so hard against this mosque.

And no, it’s not an “initiative”, Dr. Pearl. It’s a deception.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

No News Sunday Fanfare

The Baron is away until tomorrow. In place of the news, here is a version of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”.

This was the music used during yesterday’s “Restoring the Honor” event in Washington, D.C. As each recipient came up to receive their award, this theme would resound.

The version you see here is from the National Cathedral. In one of his speeches, Glenn Beck reported on his visit to the National Cathedral and how moved he was by its splendid details.

I’ll have a first-hand report tomorrow from one of our readers. They just checked in via email to let us know they survived the heat and the crowds. They estimate larger numbers present than the MSM reported:

…the woods on either side of the reflecting pool were packed with people, the aerial photos do not do justice to the crowd. It is possible that there were significantly over a half million.
Definitely, a Day for the Common Man...and Woman.

[Post ends here]

A History Lesson on America's Spiritual Yearnings

Watching Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” Rally yesterday on C-Span, it wasn’t hard to guess ahead of time what the dependable MSM denigrations would be:

1. Downsizing the total numbers of people in attendance.
2. Mocking the religious themes Beck presented.
3. Questioning Beck’s sincerity in stressing a non-political rally.
4. Demanding we believe the Rev. Huckster Sharpton’s rally had the same significance.

Glenn Beck rally

Sure enough, when I opened up Google News to see who said what, the headlines were obvious and predictable. What was a surprise, however, was finding this event to be the lead story; currently it’s at the top of the heap when you access the main page. One presumes this means that the event is currently drawing the most hits? Isn’t that how Google ranks its stories in the news section?

You can scroll through the headlines at Google and see those four predictions borne out in the attitudes toward the story by members of that entity Larwyn calls the Lamestream Media.

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Because Americans generally aren’t taught their own history, and often don’t know how to go about learning it from original sources, they’re stuck with what the media says, and often was the media says is full of bias while being studiously empty of real content.

Beck’s rally could only have deeply embarrassed and angered them. He trampled their boundaries: talked about religion, shed some tears, got personal about his own failings, and sermonized about — gasp! — looking for the good in ourselves and in one another.

Robert Costa called it Beck’s Revival. His report is straightforward yet it captures the spirit of this event:
- - - - - - - - -
Beck’s opening theme, calling the assembled to embrace God and remember the traditional, foundational values of the country, was carried on by the ensuing speakers. Calls for unity and inspiration were ubiquitous, interspersed with history lessons, personal testimonials, sermons, and a bit of country music — John Rich and others performed.

“For too long, this country has wandered in darkness,” Beck said, gazing out toward the reflecting pool. “This country has spent far too long worrying about scars and thinking about scars and concentrating on scars. Today, we are going to concentrate on the good things in America, the things that we have accomplished, and the things that we can do tomorrow.”

Beck’s healing message also included numerous citations of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the site 47 years ago to the day. Dr. Alveda King, the niece of the civil-rights activist, was a featured speaker. Palin, the former governor of Alaska, also addressed King’s legacy. “You have the same steel spine and moral courage as Washington and Lincoln and Martin Luther King,” she told the crowd. “It will sustain you, as it sustained them.”


Ultimately, however, it was Beck’s call for a religious rebirth that dominated. He urged the throngs to “recognize your place to the Creator” and to “realize that He is our king.”

“He is the one who guides and directs our life and protects us,” Beck said, his voice rising. “I ask, not only if you would pray on your knees, but pray on your knees with your door open for your children to see.”

So. An unabashed religious message. A sermon. No wonder the Left loathes him. How dare he mention such subjects in front of the children!

How dare they be so sadly ignorant of what was transpiring yesterday in Washington, D.C. Do “J” schools teach no history at all?? The only other explanation is deliberate obfuscation. But they wouldn't do that, would they?

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To understand the context and to place Glenn Beck in his proper historical perspective, one has to know something about the periods of religious Awakenings that have interspersed American history.

What follows is brief, at least in terms of the subject. The links are to Wikipedia sites because they have the most succinct information in one place, plus extensive bibliographies about each of the periods covered. The overview page explains these phenomena:

The Great Awakening was a religious revival in American religious history. There were three--some say four--such periods of fervor, each characterized by widespread revivals led by evangelical Protestant ministers, a sharp increase of interest in religion, a profound sense of conviction and redemption on the part of those affected, a jump in evangelical church membership, and the formation of new religious movements and denominations. After a generation or so, the fervor calmed and faded away.

  • The First Great Awakening originated in England and spread here. You can see the parallels in the opening explanation. Here’s a snip (without the links which appear in the original:

    The First Great Awakening (or The Great Awakening) was a religious revitalization movement that swept the Atlantic world, and especially the American colonies in the 1730s and 1740s, leaving a permanent impact on American religion. It resulted from powerful preaching that gave listeners a sense of personal guilt and of their need of salvation by Christ. Pulling away from ritual and ceremony, the Great Awakening made religion intensely personal to the average person by fostering a deep sense of spiritual guilt and redemption, and by encouraging introspection and a commitment to a new standard of personal morality. It brought Christianity to African-American slaves and was an apocalyptic event in New England that challenged established authority. It incited rancor and division between old traditionalists who insisted on the continuing importance of ritual and doctrine, and the new revivalists, who encouraged emotional involvement and personal commitment.
    Most of the experts in ecclesiology and in American religious history say that these “enthusiasms” must, of necessity, be short-lived. This is inherent in the nature of any fervor, religious, political, or personal. Eventually, things return to a routine (unless you’re Italian, of course).

  • The Second Great Awakening

    …was a religious revival movement during the early 19th century in the United States, which expressed Arminian theology by which every person could be saved through revivals. It enrolled millions of new members, and led to the formation of new denominations. Many converts believed that the Awakening heralded a new millennial age. The Second Great Awakening stimulated the establishment of many reform movements designed to remedy the evils of society before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ…
    Ah, those millennial hopes and fears came early. When our turn came, it was about Y2K. For them it was about reviving something lost. Notice the theme of Glenn Beck's "Restoring"?

    That page is worth perusing just to see the many new American Protestant denominations that resulted from the Second Awakening. Scroll down the page past the colorful illustration of a Methodist revival meeting.

  • The Third Great Awakening

    …was a period of religious activism in American history from the late 1850s to the 1900s. It affected pietistic Protestant denominations and had a strong sense of social activism. It gathered strength from the postmillennial theology that the Second Coming of Christ would come after mankind had reformed the entire earth. The Social Gospel Movement gained its force from the Awakening, as did the worldwide missionary movement. New groupings emerged, such as the Holiness movement and Nazarene movements, and Christian Science.
It was so much more than that. Here was formed “muscular Christianity” — the practical, hands-on sense of mission which has remained a vital force in American culture. That page also deserves a look.

As a personal example -- people we know -- our family dentist traveled for many years to India where he helped repair children’s cleft palates. As he’s gotten older, Dr. R goes to less strenuous places where he teaches new techniques to up-and-coming dental students. Here at home, he charges other dentists handsomely for sharing this expertise. In turn, those funds are used to underwrite his work with students in Eastern Europe. In the same way, my family doctor just returned from Africa where she spent three weeks. All year, her group collects free medicines to distribute there. They both do these things without fanfare, year in and year out. You have to dig a little to find out what has inspired these trips. You won't get a religious message from either of them, but since we've known them so long, we know the context.

These two people are just the tip of a large iceberg that goes unnoticed by the press as it searches for the trivial and the ugly and tries to convince us that these aberrations they unearth are the sum of our reality. No wonder people are depressed and worried.

Glen Beck’s “Revival” is simply part of a long tradition, the same tradition that inspired Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream speech and eventually led to his early death.

If Beck’s rally is viewed merely as a one-off, a quirk of the Tea Party drones, etc., ad nauseam, this will be directly due to the intellectual poverty of our commentariat. Their ignorance of important parts of American history, their refusal to accept as valid anything which lies beyond their personal belief system, and their overweening hubris prevents them from studying the past in order to understand the present.

Is there a more intellectually bankrupt or morally impoverished group than those who people our Left-dominated institutions -- and of whom the media are only the most obvious cu;prits? Can they be reformed and awakened?

We’ll see, won’t we?

Image borrowed from Liberty Pundits.

The Thin-Skinned Need to Grow UP

Pat Condell skewers the easily offended, using as his example an Irish fellow who won a settlement because his feelings were hurt…by a joke:

The is one of the many unintended consequences of the multi-culti dogma which the preachers of eternal tolerance have foisted off on us.

There’s a link at the video to The Spectator, and the original story, a plaintive essay by Douglas Murray. In “Why Can’t Anyone Take a Joke Anymore?” he recounts the horrors in his sad tale of intimidation by ankle-biters who made his life miserable for months. All because he was flip about that stupid Irish ‘joke’. Even the Irish Embassy got involved.

He says:
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More and more special-interest groups are demanding more and more acquiescence or silence in relation to their agendas. And as a result there are now certain subjects which you are simply better off not writing about. Anything to do with race, religion or sexuality you’re better off out of. What carries the day is the extent to which someone can claim to have had their feelings upset. When it happens to you, you finally realise why so many journalists spend their lives taking celebrities seriously. It’s easier, and people who love the limelight are less likely to complain.

I can see his point, and that of Mr. Condell. The key here is “more and more interest groups”…they breed faster than flies from maggots, these “special interest groups”. They wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the EU’s bureaucratic mechanisms for punishing hate speech. We don’t have that here yet, and as a counterbalance, we still have remnants of a robust, ornery Anglo Saxon impatience with flapdoodles like this.

Sure, the press can spend lots of time making itself ever more irrelevant over such dust-ups, but do average Americans take them seriously? Look at the balance sheets for these news outlets; their bottom lines tell the tale.

Andrew Klavan, in a recent City Journal essay, took a quick look at the subject as it pertains to Islamophobes (that’s you and me, kid):

One of the cleverest tricks of the cultural Left is demonizing perfectly reasonable actions and opinions by giving them sinister names. It is the logical go-to technique for those whose ideas have failed in every practical application but who nonetheless still dominate the media by which ideas are spread.

A favorite example of mine is the old feminist declaration that men “objectify” women when they respond to female beauty as nature decrees. This particular reframing was not successful over the long term for the same reason that health scares involving coffee have never caught on: no one was willing to give up the stimulant…

Fortunately, that one is slowly dying out everywhere but in the academic ghettoes like Harvard. Yes, for the elites it is a pressure point, but not for real people. Does “sexism” exist? Sure. And it cuts both ways.

Klavan points to the latest absurdity as it concerns objections to the Ground Zero Mosque (only he called it, in quotes, a triumphalist “Muslim Cultural Center”):

Rather than engage in serious debate with the vast majority of New Yorkers and Americans who oppose the project, the mosque’s defenders have simply dubbed the opposing viewpoint “Islamophobia.” As ever when this naming device is used, the left-wing media seem to rally as one. Within the space of a single week, Time put the word on its cover, Maureen Dowd accused the entire nation of it in her column, and CBS News trotted out the charge in reporting on mosque opposition.

For anyone born with the gift of laughter, the term is absurd to the point of hilarity. A phobia, after all, is an irrational fear. Given that Islam is cancerous with violence in virtually every corner of the globe, given the oppressive and exclusionary nature of many Islamic governments, given the insidious Islamist inroads against long-held freedoms in western Europe, and given those aspects of sharia that seem, to an outsider at least, to prohibit democracy, free speech, and the fair treatment of the female half of our species, those who love peace and liberty would, in fact, be irrational not to harbor at least a measure of concern.

What Mr. Klavan doesn’t realize is that much of the little corner of the blogosphere that concerns itself with Islam’s “exclusionary nature” long ago appropriated the label “Islamophobe” (and proud of it) for our own.

The media are not creative; they heard the word and thought it meant something, not understanding that it was an inside joke. So they grabbed it as a handy weapon. Too bad for them it’s a rubber sword.

The same thing has been happening across the conservative groupings as they incorporate the word “Racist” into their persona, turning it into an Elmer Fuddian “Waaycist!”. The Left used it too often and too loosely for the word to have much punch anymore. Now it works as a scary label only within the realms of the Left; they have no idea that most everyone else quit worrying about it. Bigots abound, and they always have. In fact, some of the most reactive bigots going can be found within the ranks of the Left, which may be why they have to do so much heavy lifting and projecting? Ah, so many groups for them to look down on, so little time in which to condescend.

Mr. Murray says he found a disturbing phenomenon, and it’s one that you can see on college campuses here:

But there was also a presumption - and the younger the interviewer the more prevalent it was - that there must be, there had to be, something in place in society that stopped people having to face the risk of having their feelings insulted. Particularly if it had something - anything - to do with their ethnic heritage, religion or sexuality.

Perhaps that perverted idealism - perverted, that is, by the multi-culti dogma young people are fed by their government schools - is outgrown eventually. At least if you leave the environs of academia, government, etc., and live in the real world.

Murray says:

My own reaction to this is fairly robust. Being offended, and learning to deal with it, is part of being a grown-up in a grown-up society. I get offended every time I walk down the street. I’m offended by very fat people, I’m offended by flashy people. I’m offended by Channel 4 News. Most of all I’m offended by super-sensitive people who think that they’re the only ones in the world with feelings. Yet I don’t try to get any of these things banned because I know that it’s not the state’s job to punish people just because they annoy me.

An increasing number of us appear to think differently. I suppose we should have seen this coming. After all, if government is meant to provide everything else in your life, why shouldn’t it be expected to police your feelings as well? It is a logical end-point of the welfare state. But it signals the breakdown of normal working society.

Indeed. That is why we will instinctively fight off the nanny state as long as possible, even if it makes life insecure, or puts “security” below the freedom to talk out loud.

Here at Gates of Vienna, we remember well the feel of that Leftist boot for our purported Waaycism. Most of you know the story, but for newer readers (those who wandered in after the Spring of 2008) the incident is here. Being kicked out of the fold wasn’t pleasant, but it sure was freeing. Without that experience we wouldn’t be have developed the network which exists now, and we’d never have known the abiding generosity of our donors. After two-and-a-half years, I am still awed by such openhanded giving.

Hat tip: Zenster

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/28/2010

Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/28/2010Egyptian police have intercepted a load of 190 anti-aircraft missiles in Sinai. The missiles are believed to have been on their way to Gaza via the smuggling tunnels under the border.

In other news, researchers have discovered a way to make urine-powered fuel cells. Well, it’s really urea, but urea comes from urine, so…

To see the headlines and the articles, open the full news post.

Thanks to ES, Gaia, JP, KGS, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Commenters are advised to leave their comments at this post (rather than with the news articles) so that they are more easily accessible.

[This post is a stub — nothing further here!]

The Immigration Brake or the Pensions Brake?


From commenter Freedom Fighter, this news:

Sweden Democrats ask legal official to rule on ad

The far-right Sweden Democrats have submitted their own election film for review by one of the country’s top legal officials after TV4 refused to broadcast the advert on grounds that it promoted religious hatred.

The party, which could win its first ever parliamentary seats in next month’s general election, disputes TV4’s interpretation of the advert and wants the Chancellor of Justice to rule on whether the film represents a form of hate speech.


The clip promotes the Sweden Democrats’ demand that, like other parties, pensioners’ taxes be cut to the same levels of wage earners. However, they claim their plans would be funded by reducing immigration.
Read the rest of the news article here. There is back-and-forth lawyer-talk analysis as to whether the ad is “hate” speech.

I mentioned last night that TV4 in Sweden refused to run a campaign commercial by Sverigedemokraterna (the Sweden Democrats) on the grounds that it contained “hate speech”.

Now, thanks to Kitman, you can watch for yourselves and see if you can spot the “hate speech” in this brief 30-second ad:

I don’t see any “hate”, but I can see why the Powers That Be wanted to censor it. If a few more of these get through to the Swedish public, it could be their downfall.

[Post ends here]

Seismic Shifts in Vienna, Part 2

Below is the conclusion to the report by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff on the uproar in Vienna over the upcoming municipal elections. The establishment parties and the media are striving to keep the “xenophobes” down, but the FPÖ is appealing directly to the public over the immigration issue — and succeeding.

The first part of this report may be read is here.

Strache billboard

Seismic Shifts in Vienna, Part 2
by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff

When I appeared at the ACT! for America Conference in Washington DC in late June, I warned America about the loss of freedom of speech that Austria has been facing. Not only that, but I compared the creeping loss of freedom during the rise of Hitler in the 1930s to that experienced nowadays. In addition, I spoke about the outright civil war among political parties, leading to the loss of classical discussion between those who are at the opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Civil war among political parties? Certainly in a verbal sense. There is a distinct lack of classical discourse nowadays. As Melanie Phillips brilliantly argues in her new book The World turned Upside Down, “Dissent is labeled as pathology — homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia — with phobia, or irrational fear, used as a synonym for prejudice. There are even outright accusations of insanity, a weapon used by totalitarian movements […]. Any fact that challenges the worldview of the left is ignored, denied or explained away, because to admit even a scintilla of such a truth would bring the entire utopian house of cards crashing down […]. Anyone who objects to the falsehoods of the left and points out the truth must be right-wing and thus “fascist”. In this way, truth itself is demonized — and the bigger the truth that is told, the more demonized the teller becomes.”

Another clever strategy employed by the opponents in this war-like state is the use of “death by silence”. As Dymphna has described so eloquently, death by silence — or Totschweigetaktik as it is called in the original German — in effect kills any dissenting opinion. The term

[does] not seem to have an equivalent in English (though we sorely need a neologism for this one since it’s such a prevalent maneuver in the MSM):

… “death by silence” is… “an astonishingly effective tactic for killing off creative work or fresh ideas or even news stories. You don’t criticise or engage with what’s being said or produced or expressed; instead you deprive someone and their work or opinion of the oxygen of attention’’.

Conservatives know totschweigetaktik all too well. It has become common to ask if a particularly egregious move by the progressives will make its way past the increasingly p.c. media threshold into the light of day. Often these stories die in the dark. The portal seems to shrink even as their tactics become more odiously obvious.

The opponents in this war — and yes, we must call this a war — are given ample opportunity to express their points of view and are never called to task by their critics because of death by silence. A German pop song, Lass die Leute reden, song describes just that:

Lass die Leute reden und hör ihnen nicht zu
Die meisten Leute haben ja nichts Besseres zu tun
Lass die Leute reden, bei Tag und auch bei Nacht
Lass die Leute reden — das haben die immer schon gemacht

Let the people talk and don’t listen to them,
Most of them have nothing better to do,
Let the people talk, during the day and during the night.
Let the people talk, that’s what they’ve always done.

Und wahrscheinlich ist ihnen das nicht mal peinlich
Es fehlt ihnen jede Einsicht
Und wieder mal zeigt sich: Sie sind kleinlich
Unvermeidlich fremdenfeindlich

They’re probably not even embarrassed,
And they have no deeper insight,
And once again it shows: They are narrow-minded,
And inevitably xenophobic

If death by silence does not yield the expected results, namely that the opposing point of view fades away, then ad hominem attacks follow.

Let us now apply all this to the current political situation in Austria, in particular in Vienna, where the political parties are fighting for votes and support in the upcoming municipal elections. As I have already reported in part one of this essay, the battlefields at the gates of Vienna are being drawn up and the armies are preparing to fight for and against their civilizations and way of life.

With Vienna still reeling from the effects of Heinz-Christian Strache’s campaign posters using the term “Vienna blood”, no one expected the next attack to emanate from the Muslim side. It was, however, even less expected to come to the aid of the “right-wing, Islamophobic” faction. Nonetheless, what Anas Shakfeh, the outgoing president of the Islamic Faith Community, had to say can rightly be called explosive (thanks to JLH for the translation).
- - - - - - - - -
Mosque Debate: Swiftly Ignited, Quickly De-Fused

by Anna-Maria Wallner

Die Presse

President of the Islamic religious community Shakfeh hopes for a recognizable mosque in every provincial capital in “two or three decades.” The FPÖ (Austrian Freedom Party) reacts predictably.

Heated debates arise so quickly in pre-election season. The president of the Islamic religious community in Austria (IGGiÖ), Anas Shakfeh that over a long period of time, there may be in each provincial capital an “outwardly recognizable mosque, including minaret.” And the political Right haul off for a (sadly predictable) verbal roundhouse blow.

Indeed. the timing of Shakfeh’s interview with the Austria Press Agency (APA) a few weeks before elections in Vienna on October 10th was not an especially clever choice. It was to be expected that the FPÖ — already energized by the debate about its “Wiener Blut” posters — would react to such a foray. FP general secretary, Harald Vilimsky already opines that mosques are “brooding nests of radical Islam” in a broadcast in which he, furthermore, demands a “ban on immigration by people from Islamic territory.” Gerald Grosz of the BZÖ (Coalition for Austria’s Future) is just as dainty: he considers Shakfeh’s suggestions to be idiotic and calls mosques “nests of resistance.”

Shakfeh rejects the reproach that he unleashed a timely debate before the Vienna elections that the FPÖ could make use of. He tells Die Presse that the conversation with APA was first and foremost occasioned by the approaching elections within his religious community (November, 2010 to June, 2011). It was also not least because he was asked about the current FPÖ campaign. Viennese SP representative Omar Al Rawl defends Shakfeh: “He did not intend to start a debate.”

Al Rawl says he is shaken by how “scurrilously these politicians can speak about houses of worship.”

IGGiÖ president Shakfeh is counting on his departure after the new elections in his religious community. He wants to dedicate what will presumably his last year in office to the fight against the clichés about the ca. 500,000 Muslims living in Austria. “Naturally not all Muslims are angels. We are normal people like all others,” he says. He is against the German language requirement before immigration and against the ban on burkas. He again suggest a separate governmental office for immigration and integration.

The reactions of the FPÖ and BZÖ did not surprise Shakfeh. “The election campaign they are conducting is not a clean one, and at the cost of Muslims and other immigrants, whom they see as the so-called aliens. No matter how integrated we are.”

Five Minarets in Austria

By “a mosque recognizable from the outside” Shakfeh means a building “that everyone perceives as a mosque.” There should be the basic architecture of a mosque: main building, minaret, dome. “Just as a church has a basic structure,” he says. “The way houses of prayer and mosques were in the 1960s and 70s — in cellar restaurants or apartments — should be over. We don’t want to hide.”

He is not concerned about how centrally a mosque is located: “It must just be accessible to the faithful. Besides, what is on the edge of a city today may be central in ten years.” Shakfeh hopes that sooner or later (but not tomorrow of the next day) there will be a mosque in each of Austria’s states. And Austria is not so far from that. Depending on how you count, there are four or five mosques with a minaret: in Vienna, Telfs (Tyrol), Saalfelden (Salzburg), Bad Vöslau (Lower Austria; this one has two minarets, so it could be counted twice) and the minaret built out of wood by children in Innsbruck as part of a Catholic initiative. In that light, Shakfeh’s push seems downright diffident.

Debates like this make us forget that a mosque can be built without citizen initiatives or hate campaigns from the political right, as Saalfelden proves. There has been a mosque there with an 8 meter high minaret. Until a year ago, not even the IGGiÖ knew about it.

Reactions from all sides of the political spectrum were foreseeable. Both FPÖ and BZÖ (Alliance for the Future of Austria) argued that “mosques are the breeding ground for radicalism” and “mosques are pockets of resistance of a democracy-hating, inhuman parallel society.” Mosques should only be built after a referendum. ÖVP predictably had nothing else to say but, “There is good timing and bad timing to start a discussion.” Christine Marek, ÖVP mayoral candidate, feared this Shakfeh’s interview “plays into the hands of the right-wingers.” The Green party was, apart from the usual tune — Nazi, xenophobe, blah… blah…. — silent. SPÖ handed the problem over to Vienna mayor Michael Häupl, who said he declines to add fuel to the fire. Since there is already a mosque with a minaret in Vienna, end of discussion. Really?

Strache, in turn, announced a referendum analogous to the Swiss referendum on minarets. He wants to ask the following questions:

1. Should there be a ban on minarets?
2. Should there be a ban on wearing headscarves in the public sphere as well as a total ban on wearing the burqa and niqab?
3. Should Muslims be forced to sign a declaration that the Austrian rule of law (constitution) supersedes Sharia?

According to the tabloid ÖSTERREICH, Strache is planning the referendum to start in Vienna because this is where the highest percentage of Muslims resides. He wants Vienna “to turn into New York”, where there a massive protests against the Ground Zero mosques. ÖSTERREICH adds, “There and here [in Austria] the protesters, predominantly young ones, are afraid of foreigners.”

Although it is hard to imagine, the two antagonists upped the ante. In a press conference, Strache called SPÖ Vienna “an Islamist party” because 36 of the candidates on the voting list have Muslim background. The mayor was furious. “Strache is stupid,” he says.

Vienna Social Democratic (SPÖ) Mayor Michael Häupl has once more caused controversy by calling his biggest political opponent a “stupid person”.

Asked what he thought of Freedom Party (FPÖ) boss Heinz-Christian Strache, Häupl said today (Friday) he would like to use a famous quote by late SPÖ Chancellor Bruno Kreisky: “He is a really stupid person.”

Häupl, mayor of the capital since 1994, irritated Strache supporters but also fellow SPÖ members earlier this year by branding the right-winger a “loser”. Some SPÖ decision-makers have expressed concerns such attacks will only give Strache an extra boost in his attempt to break the Vienna SPÖ’s absolute majority.

The FPÖ garnered 14.8 per cent in the 2005 Vienna election, and the latest polls show that it has chances to improve significantly in the 10 October vote.

The Social Democrats are expected to approach the People’s Party (ÖVP) for coalition talks if they lose their city parliamentary majority won five years ago (49.1 per cent).

But Häupl stressed today: “We are working hard to avoid being forced to think about possible coalition constellations.”

Analysts have pointed out that the SPÖ is in a difficult position since the past has shown that potential supporters of dominating parties tend to stay away from the voting booths over expectations of certain victory.

The SPÖ is tipped to point out Vienna’s high living quality standard — the city came out on top in various international studies — in its campaign.

Häupl has promised to focus on content and information instead of populist slogans that the FPÖ has focused on.

FPÖ strategists recently presented posters calling for “More Courage for our ‘Viennese Blood’ — Too much of the other doesn’t do any good for anyone.” (Mehr Mut für unser ‘Wiener Blut’ — Zu viel Fremdes tut niemandem gut).

The campaign poster series has been branded as “racist” by political opponents and NGOs — and prompted SPÖ members whose families originate from foreign countries to give blood.

Strache also infuriated left-wing politicians by speaking out against additional mosques in Vienna.

His announcement followed an appeal for more “visible” mosques with minarets by Anas Schakfeh, president of the Austrian Islamic Denomination (IGGiÖ).

Many members of the country’s Islamic community — there are around half a million Muslims in Austria — criticised Syrian-born Schakfeh amid fears of a worsening of the political and social climate in the country. Newspaper columnists meanwhile suggested the FPÖ’s Vienna department must be delighted about the statement as it could make many potential backers support the party in the October balloting.

Indeed, the political and social climate in Austria is deteriorating. Very fast. And that the leader of the pack, so to speak, is unable to calm down the situation, but adds even more fuel to a veritable bonfire, be cause for great concern.

Häupl demands an apology from Heinz-Christian Strache for calling his party an Islamist party. After all, he equated SPÖ with a criminal organization, since in common parlance “Islamist” means terrorist. Obviously, Strache cannot distinguish between Islam and Islamism. “If I were to call the FPÖ a Nazi party — which I will not — there would be a huge outcry.” SPÖ respects all religions; what it does not respect is terrorism, whether religious or not. “Mr. Strache, study history and then apologize.”

Even worse, Häupl warns of buildings on fire.

“Do we want a city in relatively high prosperity, where people live together in peace and harmony? Or do we want to live in a city where people are incited to hatred and where buildings are burning, where things are a mess?”

It is an extremely worrying scenario, but what Häupl completely misses here is that it is his policies that upset the “social peace”; that is his appeasement of Islam that has been dividing the population; that it is his total ignorance of the reality on the streets and in the parks that will be sanctioned by the voters.

And the voters are indeed upset. Here a comment in the newspaper Die Presse:

About three hours ago, I was in Schwechat [a town near the Vienna airport] where in the main square I saw preparations for a festival. I asked a woman passing by what was going to be celebrated since there are so many Turkish tents to be seen. The woman immediately (!) broke down in tears, saying that she can no longer stand all those immigrants who — even if they have been in Austria for a mere five years — are hauled by the SPÖ into the city council and who represent only their own interests. She will vote FPÖ in the coming elections.

Yes, there are seismic shifts coming. The fault lines are shifting, one by one, both in the United States and in Europe, and the rocks of lies and deceit are falling and soon they will crush the tower of multiculturalism, political correctness, and self-loathing so carefully erected by the political left and its cronies.