Saturday, 29 November 2008
Saudi Arabia Wants Oil At $75 A Barrel - Please Oblige It With A Tax Right Now
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CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Saudi Arabia said Saturday that it hoped to raise oil prices to $75 a barrel, but indicated that no measures would probably be taken until an OPEC meeting next month in Algeria.

OPEC countries will have to cut oil production by 3 million barrels a day to hike price to $75, group says.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi said that OPEC will "do what needs to be done" to shore up falling oil prices when the cartel meets next month in Algeria, even as his king told a Kuwaiti newspaper that $75 a barrel was a fair price for oil

Naimi did not entirely rule out the chance that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries would slash output at the hastily convened meeting Saturday, but he did say the bloc needed to wait until the meeting in Oran, Algeria on Dec. 17 to assess the impact of two previous rounds of cuts.

His comments came after Saudi King Abdullah told the Kuwaiti daily Al-Seyassah that oil should be priced at $75 a barrel, far above its current rate.

"We believe the fair price for oil is $75 a barrel," he said, without elaborating on how this would be achieved. Whereas crude stood at about $147 a barrel in mid-July, it now hovers about $90 lower. On Friday, the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery was trading at about $54 per barrel.

The king was echoed by Qatar's Oil Minister Abdullah Bin Hamad al-Attiya, who told the Arab news channel Al-Arabiya just before the opening of the meeting of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries Saturday that prices needed to rise to guarantee investment into the oil sector.

"The price between 70 to 80 (dollars a barrel) is the one encouraging in investment and developing new or current oil fields. It falls below 70, the investment would freeze, which will lead to a crisis in supply in the future."

The representatives of the OPEC face their third test in as many months to engineer a rebound in prices hammered by plummeting crude demand amid a global economic meltdown.

The cartel has already held one emergency meeting -- on Oct. 24 in Vienna -- to try to halt the slide in prices with an announcement of a 1.5 million barrel per day drop.

It failed to support prices, and the cartel hastily convened the Cairo gathering on Saturday on the sidelines of the OAPEC meeting.

Kuwait's oil minister Mohammed al-Aleem said Friday he believes there was "no need" for OPEC to take a decision in Cairo on cutting output. But he warned the market is oversupplied, and didn't rule out the need for OPEC to cut production further.

"We believe a decision could be taken ... but I think it will happen in Algeria," he said.

Al-Aleem said current prices could undercut investment in future projects and were not good for either producers or consumers.

The recent price drop has left price hawks Venezuela and Iran clamoring for further reductions of at least 1 million barrels a day. Both countries need crude of about $90 per barrel to meet current spending needs aimed in part at propping up domestically unpopular regimes.

Other OPEC members, such as Nigeria and Ecuador, face budget problems too, making them reluctant to implement more cuts that might shrink revenues further.

Unlike many of their fellow members, the Saudis are better positioned to cope with the drop in prices. The International Monetary Fund estimates Riyadh needs crude in the range of about $50 per barrel for 2008 fiscal accounts to break even.

Also unclear, after two earlier cuts failed to push prices higher, is what the group can do without prolonging the global economic downturn.

OPEC itself, along with the International Energy Agency, has significantly revised down its projections for demand growth in 2009.

Meanwhile, global crude inventories are growing, as evidenced by a U.S. government report showing a surprisingly large 7 million barrel build in stocks last week in the world's largest energy consumer.

OPEC's last round of cuts would put its total production at about 30.5 million barrels per day, according to the IEA. That is about 500,000 barrels per day higher than the forecast call on OPEC crude in much of 2009.

Those factors argue against restraint if some in OPEC want crude back up to at least $70.

A Nov. 24 research report by the New York-based Oppenheimer & Co. in New York said that for oil to rebound to $65 a barrel, OPEC would need to cut crude production by more than 3 million barrels per day from its September levels -- a move it called highly unlikely. "

If the American government (and other governments in the Infidel lands, persuaded to join it)-- at this point, while the price of oil and thus of gasoline has suddenly, just when we had all adjusted much of our behavior to a price three times as high -- were to put a large tax on gasoline, one that would rise inexorably, in announced increments, and another tax on fossil fuels but especially on oil, that would be a good thing. We could even announce that Saudi Arabia, our "staunch ally," doesn't have to worry; that we will make sure that oil never falls below $75 a barrel and, indeed, we will be raising and raising and raising the tax and there is nothing our staunch ally Saudi Arabia -- nor Iran, nor Russia -- can do about it, and so will all the members of NATO, and Australia, and Japan, e tutti quanti.

And then government officials can appear on all the news shows to explain why this makes perfect sense. Then one would at long last feel that the government had finally recognized how important it is, for two entirely independent reasons -- anthropogenic climate change, and the Money Weapon that is such an important instrument of Jihad -- to decrease the use of oil, and of the gasoline engine. It's very easy to explain, but for some reason successive American governments have been full of people incapable not only of explaining this lucidly to others, but of understanding it themselves. The higher this tax imposed by oil-consuming on themselves, , the more they will be able to recapture oligopolistic rents, and the less the price of crude will rise -- always, everywhere -- than it would without such a tax.

Now is the time. Right now.

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Posted on 11/29/2008 8:59 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 29 November 2008
By Their Word Choices Shall Ye Know Them
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"Mr. Wilders's views on Islam, though, are problematic."
        -- from James Taranto's comments in his article on Geert Wilders

By their word choices, shall ye know them:

http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_direct_link.cfm/blog_id/10707
 

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Posted on 11/29/2008 4:35 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 29 November 2008
A Musical Interlude: You're Driving Me Crazy (Rudy Vallee)
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Posted on 11/29/2008 4:24 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 29 November 2008
Islam Stunts Mental Growth
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Crazed conspiracy theorists can be found everywhere. But societies and entire states, full of crazed conspiracy theorists, or of those who take some of what they say seriously, and of very few who simply deny the nonsense outright, because so much of it accords with larger themes - that is to be found to a much greater degree, than anywhere else, among Muslims.

They have to accept, they may not question, outward allegiance to Islam and to Muslims. What they do internally doesn't really matter, for Islam is indifferent to the individual's moral development, and only cares about outward compliance with its strictures as to What Is Commanded and What Is Prohibited . The craziness is catching, the craziness infects a critical mass -- in the world where Islam dominates, and Muslims rule.

 
 
 
See http://www.memritv.org,  passim.

 

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Posted on 11/29/2008 4:17 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 29 November 2008
A Glimpse Into The Alternate Islamic Universe
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Here is a report from Ikwan Web, the Muslim Brotherhood news site, from Nov. 26th:

It is 4AM in India right now. I am in Mumbai reporting from the ground. I have not slept a wink. Mumbai is under attack. People and forces who killed Mahatama Gandhi, who demolished the Babari Mosque have triumphed. More than 16 groups of terrorists have taken over Taj, Oberai and several hotels. Hundreds of people are dead. For the first time no one is blaming Muslim organizations. 
 
The Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare and other officers of the ATS have been killed. These were the same people who were investigating the Malegaon Blasts--in which Praggya Singh, an army officer and several other noted personalities of the BJP-RSS-Bajrang Dal-VHP were arrested. Karkare was the man to arrest them. Karkare was receiving threats from several quarters. LK Advani, the BJP chief and several other prominent leaders of the so-called Hindu terrorism  squad were gunning for his head. And the first casualty in the terrorist attack was Karkare! He is dead--gone--the firing by terrorists began from Nariman House--which is the only building in Mumbai inhabited by Jews. Some Hindu Gujaratis of the Nariman area spoke live on several TV channels--they openly said that the firing by terrorists began from Nariman house. And that for two years suspicious activities were going on in this house. But no one took notice. 
 
Our worst fears have come true. It is clear that Mossad is involved in the whole affair. An entire city has been attacked by Mossad and probably units of mercenaries. It is not possible for one single organization to plan and execute such a sophisticated operation. It is clear that this operation was backed by communal forces from within the Indian State. The Home Minister Shivraj Patil should resign. The RSS-BJP-VHP-Bajrang Dal should be banned. Advani and others ought to be arrested. Today is a day of shame for all Indians and all Hindus. Muslims and secular Hindus have been proven right. RSS type forces and Israel are all involved in not only destabilizing but finishing India. India should immediately snap all relations with Israel. We owe this much to Karkare and the brave ATS men who had shown the courage to arrest Praggya Singh, Raj Kumar Purohit, the army officer and several others. 
 
 A photograph published in Urdu Times, Mumbai, clearly shows that Mossad and ex-Mossad men came to India and met Sadhus and other pro-Hindutva elements recently. A conspiracy was clearly hatched. 
 
This is a moment of reckoning especially for Hindus of India. The killers of Gandhi have struck again. If we are true Sanatanis and true Hindus and true nationalists and true patriots we have to see this act as a clear attack by anti-national deshdrohi forces. Praggya Singh, Advani and the entire brand is anti-national. They ought to be shot. Any Hindu siding with them is hereafter warned of serious consequences. 
 
This is a question of nationalism. If no one else, the Indian army will not take this lying down. Communal, anti-national forces have attacked the very foundation of the Indian constitution and the nation. We will fight a civil war if need be against the pro-Hindutva, communal forces and their Israeli backers. 
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Posted on 11/29/2008 1:40 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 29 November 2008
Ils Sont Fous, Ces Pr?lats
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Dieu de retour "grâce aux musulmans"
AFP
27/11/2008
 
Dieu a fait son retour dans les sociétés européennes "grâce aux musulmans", selon le cardinal français Jean-Louis Tauran, président du Conseil pontifical pour le dialogue interreligieux, cité aujourd'hui par le journal du Vatican.

Le cardinal Tauran, qui s'exprimait à la faculté de théologie de Naples (sud de l'Italie), s'est demandé "comment a fait Dieu pour revenir dans nos sociétés". "C'est le grand paradoxe: grâce aux musulmans", a-t-il répondu.

"Ce sont les musulmans qui, devenus en Europe une minorité importante, ont demandé de l'espace pour Dieu dans la société", a-t-il ajouté dans des extraits de son discours publiés par l'Osservatore Romano.

Le prélat catholique, en charge des relations entre le Vatican et le monde musulman, a aussi souligné que le dialogue entre les religions est "un risque à courir".


 
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Posted on 11/29/2008 9:54 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 29 November 2008
Rubenstein On The Mumbai Murders
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Richard L. Rubenstein writes:
 
A long-time Protestant academic friend of mine, whose most recent book on Islam was published by Harvard University Press sent me an e-mail today which read in part: "I'm curious about the Chabad center [in Mumbai]--I thought Chabad typically aimed its message at Jews, with a view toward increasing Torah observance and piety. But there can't be that many Jews in India. Has Chabad developed a more wide-ranging missionary strategy, so that the movement wants to "convert" non-Jews?" I responded: in part, "I do not know exactly what Chabad was doing in MUMBAI, but  I have been told by people better informed than I that there are about 5,000 Jews in Mumbai who are served by the Jewish Community Center and the Chabad House. India is also a very popular tourism destination for Israelis, particularly young men and women after completing their military service. These young Israelis are a primary interest of Chabad personnel in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangkok, Phuket, Kathmandu, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing,  etc (have a look at http://www.chabad.org/centers/default_cdo/jewish/Centers.htm ). They are definitely not there as missionaries "to convert non-Jews". Chabad is by no means wholeheartedly admired by the Jewish religious mainstream, but their presence - kosher meals, holiday services, programming, etc. - in places where other Jewish organization or movements show little or no interest is considered praiseworthy. As an informed guess, I would assume that some well-to-do Jewish professionals have gravitated to Mumbai, India's financial and cultural center, and that Chabad saw an opportunity to serve them, as they have served other upscale communities (e.g., Greenwich, CT and Aspen, CO) before the more mainstream groups got to them."
 
My friend continued: "The Mumbai killings seem to me to represent a new stage in the campaign of militant groups.  I think we are likely to find out that, whatever the role of Pakistan or of Kashmiri groups, there is a homegrown Indian element here, so that we have another example of a group inspired by al-Qa`ida, but with some of its own twist, tied to memories of the long Muslim dominance in the subcontinent, and with a wish to restore that status(emphasis added).
 
I responded: "To me, the question of which Muslim group(s) were responsible is not the basic issue. The basic issue is that radical Muslims feel free to murder any non-Muslim at will if they have the opportunity. This is certainly consistent with the thinking of Sayyid Qutb, the most influential radical Muslim thinker of the twentieth century   and other Islamist thinkers who saw the world dichotously as divided between the House of Islam (Dar al-Islam) and the House of War (Dar al-Harb).  These Islamists equated the House of War with the House of Satan. They further taught that the destruction of Dar al-Harb and all of its inhabitants is divinely sanctioned.  The militants who murdered parents and their children in cold blood in Mumbai believed they were serving God and convinced that their actions are divinely ordained. As you write, the Islamists seek to reestablish Muslim dominance on the Indian sub-continent, just as they wish to restore it in Al-Andalus (Spain), in Palestine, and anywhere else that Islam was once dominant. Of course, if the Pakistanis had a hand in this, it will have major strategic consequences. Moreover, if Al Qaeda wasn't in on this, they were certainly served as an example to be followed.
 
I would only add that we are faced with a radically destructive stealth Jihad that will never end, It will never accept peaceful co-existence with the West and most especially with Jews and Judaism. As a young man growing up in the nineteen-thirties, I watched from the safety of the United States as Adolf Hitler's National Socialism destroyed Europe's Jews and almost succeeded in destroying all of European civilization. Seventy-five years later, I believe we are confronted with an enemy at least as dangerous as Hitler who will prove to be of far longer duration. When World War II was over, Germany ceased to be Nazi. The war with radical Islam will never end unless they achieve victory. If they do, there will be no place for Jews or Judaism in their world. We could make no graver mistake than to underestimate the threat or to think that somehow a deal can be brokered with it.
 
 
Richard L Rubenstein is the author of After Auschwitz, The Cunning of History, and several other books examining the theological implications of the Holocaust.
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Posted on 11/29/2008 7:53 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 29 November 2008
Wilders: "Our Culture Is Better"
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James Taranto has a short profile of Geert Wilders in the WSJ:

By his own description, Geert Wilders is not a typical Dutch politician. "We are a country of consensus," he tells me on a recent Saturday morning at his midtown Manhattan hotel. "I hate consensus. I like confrontation. I am not a consensus politician. . . . This is something that is really very un-Dutch."

Yet the 45-year-old Mr. Wilders says he is the most famous politician in the Netherlands: "Everybody knows me. . . . There is no other politician -- not even the prime minister -- who is as well-known. . . . People hate me, or they love me. There's nothing in between. There is no gray area."

(...)

Having his own party liberates Mr. Wilders to speak his mind. As he sees it, the West suffers from an excess of toleration for those who do not share its tradition of tolerance. "We believe that -- 'we' means the political elite -- that all cultures are equal," he says. "I believe this is the biggest disease today facing Europe. . . . We should wake up and tell ourselves: You're not a xenophobe, you're not a racist, you're not a crazy guy if you say, 'My culture is better than yours.' A culture based on Christianity, Judaism, humanism is better. Look at how we treat women, look at how we treat apostates, look at how we go with the separation of church and state. I can give you 500 examples why our culture is better."

He acknowledges that "the majority of Muslims in Europe and America are not terrorists or violent people." But he says "it really doesn't matter that much, because if you don't define your own culture as the best, dominant one, and you allow through immigration people from those countries to come in, at the end of the day you will lose your own identity and your own culture, and your society will change. And our freedom will change -- all the freedoms we have will change."

The murder of van Gogh lends credence to this warning, as does the Muhammad cartoon controversy of 2005 in Denmark. As for "Fitna," it has not occasioned a violent response, but its foes have made efforts to suppress it. A Dutch Muslim organization went to court seeking to enjoin its release on the ground that, in Mr. Wilders's words, "it's not in the interest of Dutch security." The plaintiffs also charged Mr. Wilders with blasphemy and inciting hatred. Mr. Wilders thought the argument frivolous, but decided to pre-empt it: "The day before the verdict, I broadcasted ['Fitna'] . . . not because I was not confident in the outcome, but I thought: I'm not taking any chance, I'm doing it. And it was legal, because there was not a verdict yet." The judge held that the national-security claim was moot and ruled in Mr. Wilders's favor on the issues of blasphemy and incitement.

Dutch television stations had balked at broadcasting the film, and satellite companies refused to carry it even for a fee. So Mr. Wilders released it online. The British video site LiveLeak.com soon pulled the film, citing "threats to our staff of a very serious nature," but put it back online a few days later. ("Fitna" is still available on LiveLeak, as well as on other sites such as YouTube and Google Video.)

An organization called The Netherlands Shows Its Colors filed a criminal complaint against Mr. Wilders for "inciting hatred." In June, Dutch prosecutors declined to pursue the charge, saying in a statement: "That comments are hurtful and offensive for a large number of Muslims does not mean that they are punishable." The group is appealing the prosecutors' decision.

In July, a Jordanian prosecutor, acting on a complaint from a pressure group there, charged Mr. Wilders with blasphemy and other crimes. The Netherlands has no extradition treaty with Jordan, but Mr. Wilders worries -- and the head of the group that filed the complaint has boasted -- that the indictment could restrict his ability to travel. Mr. Wilders says he does not visit a foreign country without receiving an assurance that he will not be arrested and extradited.

"The principle is not me -- it's not about Geert Wilders," he says. "If you look at the press and the rest of the political elite in the Netherlands, nobody cares. Nobody gives a damn. This is the worst thing, maybe. . . . A nondemocratic country cannot use the international or domestic legal system to silence you. . . . If this starts, we can get rid of all parliaments, and we should close down every newspaper, and we should shut up and all pray to Mecca five times a day."

It is difficult to fault Mr. Wilders's impassioned defense of free speech. And although the efforts to silence him via legal harassment have proved far from successful, he rightly points out that they could have a chilling effect, deterring others from speaking out.

Mr. Wilders's views on Islam, though, are problematic. Since 9/11, American political leaders have struggled with the question of how to describe the ideology of the enemy without making enemies of the world's billion or so Muslims. The various terms they have tried -- "Islamic extremism," "Islamism," "Islamofascism" -- have fallen short of both clarity and melioration. Melioration is not Mr. Wilders's highest priority, and to him the truth couldn't be clearer: The problem is Islam itself. "I see Islam more as an ideology than as a religion," he explains.

His own view of Islam is a fundamentalist one: "According to the Quran, there are no moderate Muslims. It's not Geert Wilders who's saying that, it's the Quran . . . saying that. It's many imams in the world who decide that. It's the people themselves who speak about it and talk about the terrible things -- the genital mutilation, the honor killings. This is all not Geert Wilders, but those imams themselves who say this is the best way of Islam."

Yet he insists that his antagonism toward Islam reflects no antipathy toward Muslims: "I make a distinction between the ideology . . . and the people. . . . There are people who call themselves Muslims and don't subscribe to the full part of the Quran. And those people, of course, we should invest [in], we should talk to." He says he would end Muslim immigration to the Netherlands but work to assimilate those already there.

His idea of how to do so, however, seems unlikely to win many converts: "You have to give up this stupid, fascist book" -- the Quran. "This is what you have to do. You have to give up that book."

Mr. Wilders is right to call for a vigilant defense of liberal principles. A society has a right, indeed a duty, to require that religious minorities comply with secular rules of civilized behavior. But to demand that they renounce their religious identity and holy books is itself an affront to liberal principles.

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Posted on 11/29/2008 7:26 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 29 November 2008
Bad segue of the week
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Irwin Stelzer in The Spectator, which regular readers will have noticed that I always read on a Saturday:

French presidents/emperors are given to delusion. Napoleon thought he could conquer the Russian winter. Charles de Gaulle thought he heard voices anointing him the leader of the Free French, and later deluded himself into believing that he — not the British and the Americans, not Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt — liberated France from the Nazis, to whom the massive French army had quickly surrendered just a few years earlier.

And now we have Nicolas Sarkozy. Taller than Napoleon, shorter than de Gaulle, but equally susceptible to delusions.

Being short to middling will have contributed to this.

Taller than a pygmy, yet shorter than a watusi, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is also susceptible to delusions. It must be the hair.

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Posted on 11/29/2008 6:07 AM by Mary Jackson
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Saturday, 29 November 2008
Jewish conspiracy
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Spectator columnist Hugo Rifkind wonders why, if there really is a secret Zionist brotherhood, he hasn't been invited to join:

I know that the Iranian regime is famously confused about quite a lot of things, but if they are right about David Miliband being a member of a shadowy Zionist conspiracy, I’ll be absolutely livid. That bloody man has all the luck, doesn’t he? I’ve been waiting to be invited into the secret brotherhood of Jews who rule the world for years now. Nothing. Not a kosher sausage. Not a big-nosed sniff.

[...]

Some people [...] reckon the Jewish conspiracy goes a good deal further than Israel. I had a letter from one such person just the other week, after writing about Rothschild, Mandelson and Deripaska meeting on that yacht in Corfu. ‘Rothschild, Mandelson and Deripaska,’ wrote my correspondent, greenly. ‘What do they have in common, eh?’ To which I replied rather irritably that what they had in common was BEING ON A YACHT IN CORFU, please do pay attention before writing in.

But no. He meant the way they were all Jewish. I was a bit surprised by this, because Mandelson and Rothschild aren’t, and it had never occurred to me that Deripaska might be. Plus, it seemed a bit dismissive of poor old George Osborne. But no, explained my correspondent, never mind all that, the important thing is the surname. You can tell they are all basically Jewish, apparently, because they have Jewish-sounding names. God, they’re cunning, these Jews. A name. It’s like a secret sign, isn’t it?

And they’re out there, all over the Western world, running things. Goldman Sachs, Weinsteins, Spielbergs, Rothschilds, Mandelsons and now Milibands, too. It’s fiendish! Although actually, now I think about it, it isn’t. In fact, I’m slightly scornful of any secret conspiracy to take over the world in which you can quite publicly identify conspirators by their surnames. I’d suggest that it is a crap conspiracy. Or, failing that, no conspiracy at all. Still, maybe I’m just bitter because I haven’t been invited in.

Oh, come off it, Hugo. We're know you're in it really. This piece is just an elaborate double bluff. Is it not typical of those scheming Jews to admit that there is a worldwide conspiracy in order to pretend that there isn't? Double negatives are as much a Zionist weapon as double entendres.

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Posted on 11/29/2008 5:56 AM by Mary Jackson
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Saturday, 29 November 2008
Credit crunch Christmas
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Posted on 11/29/2008 5:51 AM by Mary Jackson
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Friday, 28 November 2008
Abseiling, or, a hung Parliament
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I am utterly gobsmacked that Hugh didn't know the word "abseil". I have abseiled from the roof of our workplace for charity. You can, although I have not,"Abseil Africa".

Obviously Congress has never been invaded by abseiling lesbians, as happened in the House of Lords in 1988:

Perhaps the most spectacular demonstration occurred in the House of Lords in 1988 when a group of lesbians abseiled into the chamber from the public gallery.

 

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Posted on 11/28/2008 5:51 PM by Mary Jackson
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Friday, 28 November 2008
I Learned A New Word Today. I Wish I Hadn't Had To.
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Abseiled.

In the English accounts, but not the American ones -- we're apparently deemed too lazy or too stupid to look up and learn such a word -- of the assault on the Jewish center, the Indian troops are described as abseiling onto the roof of Nariman House from helicopters. I had to look it up. And usually I love to be forced to look up a word. In this case, today, I wish I hadn't had to.

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Posted on 11/28/2008 3:48 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 28 November 2008
The American Comic Tradition, Or, What About The Cholera In Odessa?
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The book just mentioned at this site -- ""The Return of Hyman Kaplan" and its predecessor, "Hyman Kaplan," are two of the funniest books in the history of American literature, and capture the night classes of English for new immigrants, in a much more innocent and sweeter age, among people who, from Bialystok and Palermo and some other places, were trying to learn English, in order to find work, and get ahead, and express their gratitude to their new country, in New York City, circa 1930. And these people harmed no one living, though they did manage to mangle a few nouns, a few adjectives, a few verbs.

 Another masterpiece, that in the early 1960s sold very well but now seems, unjustly, to have been forgotten,  is "Up the Down Staircase" by Bel Kaufman, the grand-daughter of Sholom Aleichem. She possesses  her grandfather's witty melancholy and his artistic gift, somehow managing to transplant to a big-city ("inner city" had not yet come in, and it doesn't quite apply, and besides, I'd never employ such a phrase seriously) high school, and the travails of a young female teacher of English, and she captures, and then expresses, the same kind of sentiments that her grandfather did in that immortally mordantly cheerful line: "So what about the cholera in Odessa?" 



 

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Posted on 11/28/2008 3:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 28 November 2008
A Bizarre Musical Interlude: The Chum Song (Jack Hylton Orch.)
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Posted on 11/28/2008 3:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 28 November 2008
A Cinematic Interlude: The Man In The White Suit (Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood)
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Here is part 3 -- Youtubishly speaking -- of the celebrated movie from 1951. Surely you too love, as much as I, the unforgettable voice of Joan Greenwood:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDL6GkrAvfs&feature=related

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Posted on 11/28/2008 3:04 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 28 November 2008
Meh, feh, clugs and rugs
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The Times letters page continues the discussion of “meh”, an Americanism that has burrowed its way into the Queen’s English:

 

Sir, The word “meh” (letter, Nov 19) is an indication of indifference. The opposite can be said for the word “feh”.

In The Return of Hyman Kaplan by Leo Rosten, the word “feh”, an expression of disgust, entered the English language from Yiddish. It was deemed by the author important enough to appear in a dedicated chapter Mr Kaplan and the unforgivable feh.

Robert M. Bruce-Chwatt

Richmond, Surrey

 

Robert M. Bruce-Chwatt – a name t’watch.

 

A northerner chimes in, from Billinge, near Wigan. Billinge is an interesting place name, in that its soft –g- is unaccounted for. Was it umlaut? But I digress. Here is the letter:

 

Sir, In Wigan “feh” means ugly, probably taken from the dialect foul (letter, Nov 22).

Hence a person can have “fur ur un a feh face” (fair hair and an ugly face). A common disparaging comment about a woman is “er’s as feh as a clog back” or “er’s as feh as a dolly tub”.

C. E. Mather

Billinge, Wigan

I have heard “’er’s as feh as a clug back”, meaning “she’s as ugly as the sole of a clog”. “‘Er” is Lancashire for “she”. You can easily hear in Wigan – on Mesnes Street, no less – a sentence like “’Er’s 'ad ‘er ur done,” meaning “She has had a haircut.” To err is human, especially in Wigan.

 

Feh is foul and foul is fur. Find a fur on which to err. 

 

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Posted on 11/28/2008 2:22 PM by Mary Jackson
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Friday, 28 November 2008
None Of It Helped When The Jihadists Came Calling
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Among those killed at the Oberoi Hotel were Alan Scherr and his thirteen-year-old daughteer Naomi.

Here's part of a story about them: 

"Twelve years ago, Alan Scherr committed his life to meditation and spirituality, moving his family to the Synchronicity spiritual community in Faber, Va., about 30 miles southwest of Charlottesville in the Blue Ridge mountains.

It was that spiritual journey that led the former art professor at the University of Maryland to be in Mumbai on Wednesday evening, eating a late dinner with his 13-year-old daughter at the Oberoi Hotel, when armed gunmen attacked. Both Alan and Naomi Scherr were killed, according to members of the Synchronicity community.

Local media had reported that they were killed at the historic Leopold Cafe, but U.S. officials later said that the two died at the Oberoi.

The Scherrs were among 25 participants from the Synchronicity community who had traveled to Mumbai on a pilgrimage to visit several ashrams, Synchronicity spokeswoman Bobbie Garvey said at a news conference this afternoon. Four other members of the group were injured in the shooting, she said.

The traveling group included 16 Americans, seven Australians and four Canadians. They were scheduled to return home Monday.

According to a statement put out by Synchronicity this morning, Scherr, 58, and his wife, Kia, had been part of the community since the 1990s. Kia Scherr had not traveled with the group to India and was in Florida with her mother and two sons when the attack occurred, according to Garvey.

"Alan committed most of his adult life to meditation, spirituality and conscious living," the statement from Synchronicity said. "He was a passionate Vedic astrologer and meditation teacher who inspired many people to begin a journey of self-awareness and meditation. He was committed to making a positive difference in the world and devoted himself to the community he lived in."

The Synchronicity statement described Naomi as "a bright and lively young woman who loved spending time with people and living life to the fullest. She was passionate, if not a little mischievous, and will be fondly remembered by many of us for colorful hair styles and radiant energy."

Garvey said Naomi was hoping to attend the Emma Willard girls school in Troy, N.Y., next year and had accompanied her father intending to write about the trip as part of the application for the school.

In an essay in the Web magazine Realization in 2000, Alan Scherr described his journey from college professor and follower of Eastern meditation to a member and full-time staff member of the Synchronicity community, led by Master Charles, described as a contemporary mystic and master of meditation.

After listening to Master Charles speak in 1994, Scherr wrote, he and his wife decided to join the community, which promotes high-tech meditation and a holistic lifestyle. They moved to Faber in 1996.

"For me, real freedom means living life in each moment, as it unfolds, without concepts or conditions." Scherr wrote. "It is a life very few choose because it requires an orientation and re-prioritization of life that is, in many ways, antithetical to our modern Western culture. And yet, it is always available whenever one is truly focused upon self-mastery. The miracle of this life continues to unfold for me on daily basis."

 

If one were in a metaphoric mode, one might see Scherr's "spiritual search" and his "holistic lifestyle" as metaphors for the soft-minded, cretinized West, that can't muster the mental stamina either to learn about and appreciate fully what makes the West the West, or to learn a sufficient amount about the meaning and menace of Islam so as to protect itself, and even the most ditzy of its members.

Cruel of me, you say, to discuss this at this time.

If not now, when? 

And if cruel, cruel only to be kind.

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Posted on 11/28/2008 1:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 28 November 2008
The First Antisemitic Murders In The History Of India
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"MUMBAI, India - Commandos who stormed the Mumbai headquarters of an ultra-orthodox Jewish group found the bodies of five hostages inside, among them a New York rabbi and his wife, as a fresh battle raged at the luxury Taj Mahal hotel and other Indian forces ended a siege at another five-star hotel.

More than 150 people have been killed since gunmen attacked 10 sites across India's financial capital starting Wednesday night, including 24 foreigners, officials said.
Early Friday night, Indian commandos emerged from a besieged Jewish center with rifles raised in an apparent sign of victory after a daylong siege that saw a team rappel from helicopters and a series of explosions and fire rock the building and blow gaping holes in the wall.
Inside the Chabad-Lubavitch office, though, were five dead hostages.
The Chabad-Lubavitch movement confirmed the deaths of Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka. They ran the movement’s local headquarters. The couple’s toddler was taken out of the center by his nanny."

We all knew, didn't we, that it would end like this. In India, where for a thousand years, at least, there have been Jews, and as far as I know there has not been a single attack on any of them, at least by the majority Hindus, no attakcs on Jews for being Jews in the long history of Bharat, of India.

And now, at long last, there has been. A young rabbi and his young wife have been murdered in cold blood. Their two-year-old son is alive only because she was spirited out of the building by Sarah Samuel, apparently not a nanny but a cook. Three other Jewish people were also murdered in cold blood by the Muslims who took them hostage, at Nariman House,. Their bodies were found by the Indian troops. Why were they killed?  For being Jews, of course. What did you expect? Being Jews, you see, they had it coming to them.  

It's an old story. It has already been told in many chapters written over the centuries. Some chapters have not yet been written, and need not be written, if only enough people come to their senses in time. But how often, in this idiotized age, do enough people come to their senses in time about anything? 

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Posted on 11/28/2008 12:48 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 28 November 2008
British student admits trying to join mujahideen terrorists
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A reason why I give creedence to the suggestion that some of the terrorists at work in Mumbai may hold British citizenship. From The Telegraph
A university student from London has admitted trying to get to Afghanistan to join mujahideen terrorists fighting coalition forces.
Mohammed Abushamma, 20, from Islington, north London, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to preparing acts of terrorism between March 17 and April 18, this year.
He was remanded on conditional bail and will be sentenced on a date to be fixed.
Abushamma and co-accused Qasim Abukar, 20, from Tufnell Park, north London, were arrested at Heathrow airport in April as they arrived back in England.
They are believed to have applied for visas to go to Afghanistan.
Alison Morgan, prosecuting, told the court the plea had been entered following "lengthy negotiations".
In a separate hearing today, Abukar pleaded not guilty to the same charge of engaging in conduct with the intention of carrying out acts of terrorism.
He was remanded on conditional bail to face trial in the Spring.

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Posted on 11/28/2008 9:30 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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