Tuesday, 31 July 2007
Willmoore Kendall In Meudon
Jeffrey Hart has published a memoir of Willmoore Kendall in the New Criterion. He mentions the Willmoore Kendall Memorial Couch, and the flagrant delight from which it derives its name. He also writes this:
"I managed to find his address in Meudon-Bellevue, a working-class suburb in what is known as the Communist “Red Belt” around Paris. This was not exactly a slum, but close. What answered the bell was a tall, gray-haired man in a sleeveless T-shirt, dirty khakis, and sneakers without socks."
To write "not exactly a slum, but close" is wildly off the mark. I lived in Meudon for a year, and was in Bellevue often; the towns are one stop apart on the same rail line into Paris. Meudon was the site of the Paris Observatory; it was not, when I, or when Willmoore Kendall, was there, a "working-class suburb." Bellevue was less expensive, but still was nothing like a slum. I don't know why Hart wrote that. Possibly it added to the how-far-has-he-fallen account of Willmoore Kendall.
Posted on 07/31/2007 7:40 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
In the Zone (cont.)
No, I don't have anything much to show yet for my coding efforts. I'm working mostly offline, just uploading stuff to subdirectories when I want to check out my new host's FTP facility.
I have, though, got the favicon stuff figured out, and developed a cute little "Derb" icon. Check it out. Can you patent a favicon? I live in fear that there might be another Derb out there.
My aim is to get myself out from under the rotting hulk of MS Frontpage by Jan 1st 2008, and have a spiffy new website up and running for the new year. It will include audio, video, interactive stuff, and—if I can track down the necessary add-ons—smell-o-vision.
This timetable is, however, subject to the pressures of other work, like... all the things I should have been doing today.
Posted on 07/31/2007 5:58 PM by John Derbyshire
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
No coward left behind
Whatever the the facts of the Koran/Krapper whatever, it remains that American universities are coward magnets—at the administrative and faculty levels, the rampant liar "braves" such as Ward Churchill notwithstanding.
There are exceptions, but the promise of lifetime tenure, government work, guarantees your children will be taught in any institution of higher learning you might name by several folks who teach only submission.
Forty Pace alums were murdered by Quran-loving killers on 9/11. In light of CAIR's imposition of sharia law on the Pace campus a short walk from Ground Zero where so many Pace alums were killed, is it not travesty that the book the killers swore by now has wrested a spot in the hearts of administrators of the university from which their own dead alums are banned forever?
Posted on 07/31/2007 5:17 PM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
In the Zone
I'm having wonderful fun coding XHTML/CSS. Forgotten what it's like to be in the zone. Getting obsessively absorbed in teeny little problems—currently, why IE7 (which is usually the cranky browser) will cope with the "list-style-image" property but Firefox apparently won't.
Incidentally: is PHP the first significant technological advance to come out of Greenland
Posted on 07/31/2007 3:54 PM by John Derbyshire
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
Et la Gr?ce, ma m?re, o? le miel est si doux
"Behind the British-born Muslim convert are his paltry possessions - a few books about Islam, scraps of writing paper, a bear-shaped plastic container of what appears to be honey resting beside a shabby trunk."-- from this article
That bear-shaped plastic container ("but bear-shaped or pear-shaped, those bottles don't lose their shape") most likely signifies some honey, downmarket Honey Bee brand, the kind available at prisons.
In Greece, the young would flock to the Sophists not so much for their eloquence, so the story goes, but for the pots of honey from Hymettus that they offered those who followed them. Sounds similar to the case of revert Richard Reid. One wonders what played the role of that honey from Hymettus to serve as the come-on for young Richard to fall in with Muslim missionaries, in whose busily molding hands the new recruit, clearly a deficiente, turned out to be putty -- and silly putty at that.
Speaking of honey from Hymettus, I've now got 2500 jars of the stuff stored in the basement. Anyone up for some sophistry?
Posted on 07/31/2007 2:30 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
If libertarians had a fleet, I'd be being flogged around it right about now. It's *Rothbard*, not Rothbart.
I hope, before I die, to be able to spell Willmoore Kendall without (as I just did) looking it up. Way too many double letters there, guy.
Posted on 07/31/2007 2:22 PM by John Derbyshire
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
JIzyah and Weapons Sales To Egypt
Two young boys ordered to take a school test that would result in their conversion to Islam wrote, "I am Christian," on the exam papers, knowing in advance that could very well spell the end of their educations. Now a U.S.-based organization is lobbying for international pressure on Egypt to quit forcing Christians into such no-win situations.
"What brought the case to the public attention is the categorical refusal of the two kids to pass the Islamic exams and convert to Islam, stating, 'they will not deny their Christianity and convert to Islam no matter what it would cost them,'" Sam Grace, a spokesman for Coptic News said. --from this news item
$60 billion from American taxpayers, to a regime and a Muslim population that has systematically discriminated against, persecuted, even violently attacked, Copts -- whose ancestors were there before the Arabs arrived with Islam -- and that has failed to meet a single one of its solemn commitments under the Camp David Accords (while Israel scrupulously handed over, as it never should have, all of the Sinai), and instead of fulfilling its promise to encourage friendly relations, at every level, public and private, with the government and people of Israel (phrases devoutly sought, eagerly welcomed, by the naive Israeli negotiators, sentimental Begin at their head, who were beaten about by Carter, Brzezinski, and Saint Sadat, so prematurely sanctified).
And now $13 billion in the most advanced arms, including aircraft with systems the Israelis have pleaded with the American government in the past never to supply to Egypt (what was it the Israelis did when we asked them to cancel their sale of aircraft to China, far less of an immediate military threat to the United States than Egypt always has been, and always will be, to Israel? Didn't Israel, at great cost to its aerospace industry, cancel the sale at once?), is supposed to go to this malevolent regime, in this distinctly unfriendly country.
Let's take a vote. Let's ask Copts in this country if they think the Muslims of Egypt, and the Mubarak Family-and-Friends Regime, deserves such aid, and such weaponry? Let's ask if that weaponry is likely to be taken as a sign of disapproval of the mistreatment of the Copts, or instead as a sign that the Egyptian Muslims can get away with anything.
And let's ask ourselves if we think that the $13 billion in advanced weaponry is about "defending themselves against the Iranian threat"? How's that? Are the Iranians going to march right over Israel and invade Egypt? Will Shi'a clerics be parachuted into Egypt and without anyone doing a thing, simply start to successfully convert tens of millions of Sunnis who are distinctly hostile to Shi'a Islam (remember the remarks of Mubarak about the "treacherous" Shi'a? Or have you, like Rice and Bush, apparently decided to pretend that we just have to give the Egyptians something for all the wonderful things they have done for us as a force of "stability" and "moderation" and really, the only way to properly express our appreciation is to supply them with rockets, planes, missiles, all the other things the Egyptian Army, which was the deadly enemy of Israel in four separate wars, will somehow employ or keep in readiness to employ against that Iranian "Shi'a crescent" that apparently waxes inexorably, and will never, for any reason, wane.
Posted on 07/31/2007 2:12 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
Da Doo Ron Ron
Some early reax to my Ron Paul piece.
From the northwest:
Mr Derbyshire—-You say [Dr. Ron] hasn't a chance to become the next POTUS because he is not compliant with the current megalopolis-sized political system the US has built for itself. Well, frankly, Sir, you are a defeatist. ... If you like what the man says, then endorse him for God's sake! Don't just throw in the towel before the first round starts. There's going to be enough MSM doing that already, why join in?
Your article is basically just a smart guy's way of describing how a 20-year-old slacker feels about politics. He likes the underdog, but he *knows* he isn't going to win, so why vote? This is a cop out. No, it's worse because you actually do more damage to the Ron Paul campaign than good. You are a distinguished writer. People listen to you. You wield influence, however it may occur, to an audience that bases their votes partially on what you report.
I have to respect another man's right to believe how he wants to believe, but I don't respect a man who believes one thing and writes contrary to it.
I love that stuff about "distinguished writer" and "wield influence." I just wonder why, if it's true, I'm driving a 1993 car. And "20-year-old"! Lor' bless you, Sir! (Though he has nailed me with "slacker.")
However, the main premise here—that you should support the candidate you most agree with, regardless of your estimate of his chances of victory, and that to do otherwise is contemptible trimming—is surely wrong.
If candidate A has positions I agree with 97 percent, but, in my cool estimation of the U.S. electorate & current political environment, only a 0.1 percent chance of winning; while candidate B has positions I agree with 67 percent, but a 40 percent chance of winning; should I support A or B?
Seems to me I could honorably, with a clear conscience, take either choice. Among the determinative factors: (a) My own temperament, most especially my attraction to what Kingsley Amis called "the truth-at-any-price business," and (b) How much I hate and/or fear the opposition, so that I am more or less willing to put defeating them—even with an unsatisfactory candidate—ahead of all other
And then this, from a very large state in the southwest:
Derb—-I remembered something you wrote June 5, the date of the CNN GOP debate: 'Rudy looked great. Romney a tad too well oiled—but good on health care. McCain not my friend. The occasional 4 o'clock in the morning temptations I had to support Ron Paul have evaporated. Tom Tancredo better than previously. Huckabee, Brownback I'm still having trouble telling apart. Hunter said some good things, but I can't remember what they were. Gilmore, Thompson, zzzzz. Go Rudy.' Have those 4 o'clock in the morning temptations condensed again? What happened during these last two months?
Well, I am *not* supporting Dr. Ron, as my article today makes clear. So I guess nothing happened. The temptations still have a little tug to them, though—I think I make that clear, too. But Ron didn't shine in that particular debate, and I'm still a Rudy man.
Posted on 07/31/2007 2:04 PM by John Derbyshire
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
The Struggle To Further The Cause Of Islam
"...CAIR vice-chairman Ahmad Al-Akhras is on his way out of his long-time cushy government job with the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), where Al-Akhras is currently assistant director of transportation." -- from this article by Patrick Poole
A compilation of those Muslims, pursuing the Jihad from government offices should be compiled.
For there are enough examples already -- in Houston, in Boston, in Michigan -- that support the unsurprising conclusion that those whose sole loyalty is to the cause of Islam and the umma (and that is what Islam inculcates, even if not everyone is a "good Muslim" and takes that message always and everywhere to heart) -- will obviously use their government service to further the cause of Islam, in any way that they find possible.
In Boston, for example, it was a Mr. Mohammad in the Boston Redevelopment Authority who worked tirelessly to ensure that city-owned land, strategically placed right in the heart of an area, Roxbury, that had already long been the target of campaigns of Da'wa directed at blacks (who were told nothing about Arab slave traders or the fact that only due to Western pressure was that slave trade ended, nor about the entire absence of "social justice" in Muslim lands, nor about Islam as a vehicle of Arab supremacism). He not only helped, burrowing from within, to have that city land sold to Muslim interests for far below the market price, but himself went off on a mysterious, as yet unexplained trip (and paid for with funds that need explanation) to Saudi Arabia, to talk to the presumed financiers of this venture.
It would be surprising if people who are raised up in Islam, a Total System of Regulation that is most unlike any other of those faiths we call "religions," and taught that they are in a permanent state of war with Infidels, that one must not take those Infidels as friends (though feigned friendship is permitted for the sake of protecting and furthering Islam), did not use whatever power or access to power they possessed to do what they had all their lives been taught that they should do, that they had a duty to do. Why should one be surprised?
The conduct of Jihad does not proceed, it must always be remembered, by terrorism alone. JIhad is simply the struggle -- not necessarily using qital, or combat, to remove all the obstacles to the spread of Islam, until it everywhere dominates, as by right it must, and Muslims rule, everywhere. In the United States , and in most of the Western countries, while terrorism receives all of the attention, other and more effective weapons are employed to push Jihad, and sometimes those weapons are strengthened, inadvertently, by Western governments wishing to "integrate" Muslim populations and wishing, therefore, to do as little as possible to "offend" them. But Muslims will always and everywhere be "offended" by attempts by Infidels to defend or cling to their own political and legal institutions, the product, over time, of Infidels expressing Infidel views, including the astonishing -- to Muslims -- idea that the expressed will of the people, and not the will expressed by a distant and whimsical deity (Allah), should be the source of political legitimacy.
In North America and Western Europe, the most effective weapons of Jihad -- that is, the most effective weapons to slowly but inexorably move toward the final goal of Muslim dominance, and a change in the Infidel institutions so that there is nothing left to oppose, or be an obstacle to, or stand up against, the forces of Islam -- have been the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da'wa, and demographic conquest.
In Boston, that city employee was essentially working as an agent of Islam. Has he been fired? What has happened to him? Does anyone know? Should the experience in Boston, and experiences with Muslim employees elsewhere (including some amazingly permitted to work in the visa sections of our embassies in Arab and Muslim lands, that is permitted to have a say on who is admitted to our country) should give everyone not only pause, but make them turn their own pause into a permanent halt to such dangerous burrowing-from-within employment.
The case of this employee whose loyalty, one can be sure, is to CAIR (of which he is a high official) and the cause that CAIR cares about, and not anything else, is only one more example. An obvious one.
But what about those unobvious ones? Those who do not join CAIR, who smile, and lie low, and seem to be just swell? Any worries? None? So a job as, say, Air Traffic Controller, or a job deciding who gets to be hired as an Air Traffic Controller, or a job that helps to decide what "outreach" policies by the police toward local Muslims should be included to assuage their indignation, or a job to oversee the selection, and use of informants on potential terrorist activities -- you have no objection to Muslims in these and in many other jobs, as long as they are not egregious members of egregious CAIR?
The goal of Jihad is to weaken or demoralize or instill fear in Infidels and in the stoutness of their defense, their attachment to, their own legal and political institutions and social arrangements and hierarchies of value, in order to cause them to remove "every obstacle" to the spread of Islam until, slowly but inexorably, the numbers of Muslims (through campaigns of Da'wa as well as through deliberate overbreeding by Muslims and continued immigration that the political figures may be too afraid of offending Muslims to discuss stopping it. And as numbers increase, and the infiltration of academic life (look at the membership of MESA Nostra) is paralleled by the infiltration into local, state, and Federal government, and as levers of power -- to control what is said and not said, to help make easier the task of those sinister financiers in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates and the other Muslim OPEC states, as the money rolls in, not all is being spent on skyscrapers and "development cities" and weapons purchases that beggar the imagination, and on the private luxe, calme, et volupte of private palaces and xanadus and expensive gardens in the desert, and bustard-hunting in Pakistan, and safaris in East Africa, and Western shopping, and season tickets to the brothels staffed with Western girls, and the incessant gambling, and the gold-plated bathroom fixtures installed during summer visits to hotels in Monte Carlo, and the villas in Marbella and the Riviera and the Plantagenet hunting-lodges outside London, and the Aspen ski-lodges the size of the Library of Congress, and all the rest of it -- no, along with all that, tens of billions have been spent, and hundreds of billions will be spent, on what is near and dear to rich Saudis as to poor Pakistanis -- that is to say, the Jihad to spread Islam.
It will be spent, it has been spent, to buy up armies of Western hirelings, not one of whom has been publicly exposed, humiliated, forced to disgorge his profits, or his activities as an foreign agent, whether he receives his money directly or indirectly, having been held up to scorn and ridicule -- mainly to discourage the next paid recruits eager to sign up for the Western Army of Collaborators. Make the price too high, in law and in custom, make sure that the next crop of diplomats to the Arab countries do not, in such numbers, end up as "consultants" helping the Saudis or other Arabs, the next group of journalists tempted to do public relations for the Saudis and Islam will think twice, the next group of businessmen will be forced to weigh the consequences of being shills for that next Saudi effort, abroad or right here.
Everything connects. The attempt to shut down Denmark's Jyllands-Posten, and to scare Danes with death threats, connects to the killing of Buddhist farmers and teachers and monks in southern Thailand, to the secret finaglings that went on at and around the BRA to get that Boston mosque built, to the members of CAIR (and those who are not members, but may be just as dangerous unidentified sympathizers, for now biding their time), who, like Ahmad Al-Akhras, are in positions of power, which power they will inevitably use to further the cause so very dear, the dearest of all, to their hearts, and their minds, and which they will not for one moment lose sight of, in all that they say and do and are: the struggle to further the cause of Islam. That is the classic definition of Jihad.
Posted on 07/31/2007 1:48 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
Does possession of a Quran constitute a hate crime?
The Democracy Project's Phil Orenstein (mentioned earlier here) pursues an interesting angle re the Koran Krapper Kaper:
I am no legal scholar, but I believe this should be considered for the upcoming legal defense. The Koran is unique among religious texts in promoting and inciting war against unbelievers. According to Robert Spencer, prominent author of books on Islam, there are over 100 verses in the Koran that exhort believers to wage jihad against non-Muslims. Among the admonitions to murder unbelievers is the notorious Verse of the Sword (9:5): “slay the unbelievers wherever you find them.” If hate crime laws are based upon the intent to do harm or incite violence then an aggressive legal offense should mention this with regard to the Koran. They should play hardball with Muslim activist organizations like CAIR and MSA who bully and threaten people into submission and who now are threatening our liberties with our own laws.
(A Pace Alum reader alerts us to watch LGF catch Pace officials caught in a few lies here.)
Posted on 07/31/2007 1:17 PM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
That Old-Time Religion
Go on, admit it: you have felt the Ron Paul temptation, haven’t you? And it’s not just the thrill of imagining another president named Ron, is it? Ron Paul believes a lot of what you believe, and what I believe. You don’t imagine he’s going to be the 44th POTUS, but you kind of hope he does well none the less.
And why not? Look at those policy positions! Abolish the IRS and Federal Reserve; balance the budget; go back to the gold standard; pull out of the U.N. and NATO; end the War on Drugs; overturn Roe v. Wade; repeal federal restrictions on gun ownership; fence the borders; deport illegals; stop lecturing foreign governments about human rights; let the Middle East go hang. What’s not to like?
We-e-ell. We all have nits to pick, though we wouldn’t all pick the same ones. The gold standard? Wasn’t it going off the gold standard that gave us full control over the wilder swings of the business cycle? Which was, like, a good idea? I am by no means as willing to surrender to the collective wisdom of modern economists as Bryan Caplan wants me to be, but — the gold standard? Come on. And stopping the War on Drugs? Where would that take us? — Philip Morris brands of crack cocaine available over the counter at Walgreens? You pick your own nits.
That’s not the point, though. Nits aside, the broad outlook there is conservative in a way we don’t often see from a presidential candidate. It is, in fact, conservatism of exceptional purity. Reading through those policy positions, an American conservative can hear the mystic chords of memory sounding in the distance, and hear the call of ancestral voices wafted on the breeze: Hayek, von Mises, Rothbart, Nock, Kirk, John Chamberlain... Unlike the product in that automobile commercial, this is your father’s conservatism — the Old-Time Religion. What is there among Ron Paul’s policy prescriptions that the young William F. Buckley would have disagreed with?
So why aren’t we all piling into the wagon behind Dr. Ron? It’s not that the guy is personally unacceptable in any way. A pious family man, he has worked in an honorable profession — Ob/Gyn medical practice — all his life. (Paul has the slight political advantage of having brought several hundred of his constituents into the world.) He is personally charming and likeable. If not exactly eloquent in the florid, gassy manner American voters are used to from their politicians, he speaks clearly and well, keeps his wits about him, minds his temper, and holds his own in debate. With the positions he has, it’s easy to see why he’s not ahead with the media or the polls, but why isn’t he leading the pack among conservatives?
I doubt it’s his anti-war stand. Outside a dwindling band of administration loyalists in the wagons circled around George W. Bush, I can’t detect much enthusiasm for the Iraq war among conservative commentators and e-mailers. “We gave the Iraqis a fair shot, now let’s leave them to it and concentrate on chasing down worldwide terrorism,” is the dominant sentiment. I’m not clear about Ron Paul’s position on routine counterterrorism and covert ops, but on the war in Iraq, I don’t see much of a problem for him base-wise.
And so far as domestic counterterrorism is concerned, his robust attitude to our nation’s borders and to illegal immigrants is likely to do far more for our security than W’s lackadaisical ethnic pandering. It is hard to imagine that under a Paul presidency, gatecrashers would still be streaming in across an undefended border six years after 9/11...
Keep reading here.
Posted on 07/31/2007 11:50 AM by John Derbyshire
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
The seemingly endless inability of those who make American policy to make sense of what the Egyptians or Saudis or other Arabs and Muslims say, and to refuse to interpret things correctly, becomes ever more remarkable.
For example, the article below shows us that Rice et al. think of Egypt as desiring "stability" in Iraq, and sharing in American ideas of what the outcome should be. Don't be silly. Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, and other Sunni regimes, only use the word "stability" because it pleases the Americans, and using that word, the Sunnis can suggest that "stability" can only be obtained by steady American pressure on the Shi'a. What is desired by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, what they are working towards by any means available to them (and that includes permitting Saudi "volunteers" to go to Iraq, and sending money to shore up all the various Sunni groups as long as they are fighting the Shi'a), is not "stability" but a Sunni ascendance, or rather re-ascendance, in Iraq. If that can be achieved by manipulating the Americans, fine. If not, other means -- including men, money, and matériel, will be sent to Sunnis in Iraq. Not because Mubarak or the Al-Saud, or any of those whom they rule over, are horrified by the troglodytes of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Not because they find Moqtada al-Sadr repulsive in every respect. No, only because the Shi'a should not be allowed to possess Baghdad, should not be allowed to rule Iraq. Moral abhorrence does not exist. What counts in judging regime or state or individual X is always the same three questions for Sunni Arabs:
1) Is X Muslim?
2) Is X Muslim and Arab, the best kind of Muslim?
3) Is X Muslim and Arab and Sunni, the best kind of Arab Muslim?
The Sunni Arabs inside and outside Iraq will never acquiesce in Shi'a control -- a control made inevitable by the American removal of Saddam Hussein and the Sunni Arab despotism he presided over, one disguised, or wrongly interpreted by so many in the West as, a "secular" dictatorship, truly open to all. Nonsense and Re-nonsense.
Of course "the Arabs" will continue -- will always -- disappoint Rice, and Bush, and those who succeed Rice, and succeed Bush.
There is a deep failure to study, to understand, to listen to the right authorities and avoid the apologists. This is costing a lot of money: $880 billion in Iraq. A lot of lives: 3700 dead Americans, and nearly 30,000 wounded, many of them requiring life-time care.
How long is this irresponsibility and incapacity of our rulers be endured?
Posted on 07/31/2007 11:40 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
A Matter Of Intelligence
"There is no jihad. We are just instruments of death," he said. --from this news item
The "jihad" in Iraq turned out to be not a proper jihad, in the view of this terrorist-for-turning, because, as his Saudi handlers may have convinced him, he was working against fellow Muslims and the interests of Islam.
But that has nothing to do with, and should not be seized on as good news by, Infidels. For they remain Infidels. And in Islam, a state of permanent war (if not always open warfare) exists between Believers and Infidels.
In Iraq, his experience taught him, there is "no jihad." But there is a "Jihad" elsewhere, "Jihad" is a permanent duty. But "Jihad" was just not to be found, in the conditions in which that particular bomber found himself, in Iraq. Perhaps he was told that the actions of Al Qaeda in Iraq were actually helping the Shi'a, and harming fellow Sunnis, and anyway, didn't he know that the local Sunnis had turned on Al Qaeda? Something like that.
And why do you think the Al-Saud would have wanted to inculcate such thoughts in this particular Saudi who had been hoist by, but managed to survive, his own petard? Why have they brought in Islamic scholars to teach him to regret his actions in Iraq? Not because of anything to do with Iraq, of course. Not because of any moral objection to suicide bombing. Not because of any moral objection to the killing of civilians. No. It's entirely prompted by "what's-in-it-for-us" considerations. Of course the Al-Saud and other Saudis look with approval on the blowing-up of uppity Shi'a in Iraq, as they would on the killing of Shi'a, should they get uppity, in the Eastern (al-Hasa) Province.
No, there are two reasons for this "re-education" The first, and by far the most important reason, is to ensure that there are no attacks on them, on the Saudi rulers and their government, within Saudi Arabia -- and that means getting the idea of "jihad" directed at Muslims out of the minds of the most primitive (for it is the most primitive and uneducated who are used by the planners and plotters and schemers as suicide-bombing fodders) followers of Islam.
The second, and far less important reason, is to make the ever-credulous Americans believe that the Saudis remain an "ally" and are doing their bit to stoutly stand with us and defeat -- as only fellow Muslims can, fondly think some in the American government -- the "ideology of Jihad." But for god's sake, the ideology of Jihad is central to Islam. Only a willful ignoramus could continue to be fooled by the Saudis. Only a willful ignoramus could conceivably think that selling the Saudis $20 billion in the most advanced weaponry -- having fallen for their whipped-up campaign about a "Shi'a crescent" when there is no chance that the Shi'a of Iran could take over any of the Sunni Arab countries, and what is really going on, and what the Americans fail to understand, is that this is being used not only to extract as much advanced weaponry as they can (for Saudi Arabia, and for Egypt, the most populous and potent of Sunni Arab countries), weaponry that will have no use or effect on unrest among the Shi'a of Al-Hasa, but will make life hell for Israeli defense planners.
The Saudis have made all kinds of overtures to Iran. The mere fact that Rice and Gates are now off to Saudi Arabia, in order to "convince" the Saudis to support stronger sanctions against Iran because of its nuclear project, should tell government officials all they need to know about Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is not against Iran's nuclear project, as long as that weaponry is used on Jerusalem and its immediate vicinity. It is concerned only to re-establish Sunni hegemony in Iraq, and to ensure Sunni hegemony continues in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The "Shi'a crescent" business is exaggerated nonsense for the benefit of Americans.
Just as the Shi'a in exile led American policymakers by the nose to make sure that they invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein and his Sunni (even Tikriti) despotism disguised as a "Ba'athist" (i.e., "secular") regime (similar to what the Alawites do in Syria, and for essentially the same reasons), giving them sugarplum dreams that caused those policymakers to predict that the "liberation of Baghdad would make the liberation of Kabul look like a funeral procession" and would cost, at most, a few tens of billions of dollars -- far less than the cost of the previous sanctions regime, now it is the turn of the Sunnis, in this case not smiling "secular" exiles (Chalabi et al.), but the daggers-and-dishdashas Saudi rulers (echoed by Mubarak and Abdullah of Jordan), with those sneers of cold command, and their utterly sinister funding of Da'wa, and making easier, with mosques and madrasas, the dissemination of Islamic propaganda, and the subverting through money of so many willing collaborators, Western hirelings on the make and on the take -- of whom there are, in Washington and London especially, a great many.
Yes, there is a "Jihad." Long live the Jihad, say the Saudis. But just make sure that "Jihad" does nothing to harm us or the Camp of Islam. Direct it to the real targets: those skyscrapers in New York. That Pentagon building. Those trains, and planes, and busses, and subways, those churches and synagogues and Hindu temples and Buddhist shrines, those -- everything, everything that is connected to, deemed important by, the Infidels.
La lutte continue, the war mandated by Allah, transmitted in the Qur'an, glossed by the Sunnah, that tells Muslims their struggle to spread Islam throughout the world -- a world that of course belongs to Allah -- will continue until Islam triumphs throughout the whole world. It is not, pace Cheney or Bush or Blair, a war that is a "long war," not a "war that will last for 15 to 20 years." Not at all. It is a war -- though a perfectly containable war, and one which the Infidels would prevail in without at this point terrible losses if only enough people calmly came to their senses and acted accordingly -- that will go on forever.
Plenty of things "go on forever." The Nazis are not gone, but contained. The Stalinists are not gone, but contained. That is the matter: to contain Islam, to weaken it, to divide and demoralize its camp, to split off as many Muslims from Islam, especially those non-Arabs who can be made aware of Islam as a vehicle of Arab supremacism, as possible.
It's only a matter of intelligence -- and not of the CIA kind. The other kind.
Posted on 07/31/2007 10:45 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
En Cueillant Les Fleurs, Enculant Les Homuncules
“Treading on rose and ranunculus…”
Mary refuses to concede my unanswerable point. She’s in that combative a-tous-azimuths mood:
Shredding his pose (that homunculus),
She “Bob’s-your-uncle” –avun-culs – us.
Posted on 07/31/2007 11:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
Rice, Gates Win No New Arab Promises On Iraq
MSNBC: SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt - The United States won no specific new promises of Arab help for struggling Iraq after a gathering Tuesday of several nations listed as recipients of an expanded aid and weapons package for friendly states in the region.
Iraq’s Arab neighbors repeated a general pledge to promote stability in Iraq, torn by more than four years of war and bitter sectarian divisions that have killed thousands and driven far more from their homes.
“I think we know what the obligations of the neighbors are,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, adding that Egypt and other U.S. allies are working to meet past promises of relief of Iraq’s heavy international debt, additional foreign aid and help tamping down violence inside Iraq.
Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are making a rare joint show of diplomatic force during two days of meetings with Arab allies — part of an 11th-hour effort to rally diplomatic and practical help for the U.S.-backed Shiite-led government in Baghdad. The tour also opens talks on a proposed U.S. arms package for Arab states worth more than $20 billion.
But at a press conference with her Egyptian host, Rice pointed to no fresh commitments from the Arabs. A statement issued following a nine-nation meeting promised only “to continue to support Iraq and expand their financial and political support,” and restated a general commitment to blocking would-be terrorists and financing that supports them from entering Iraq.
“The ... commitment was always to help a united Iraq to reach that point of full stability, and that we have been trying to do over the last four years,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said following the joint meeting...
Rice said the [Saudi] arms deal, along with an aid package for Israel and Egypt, was not a trade-off for assistance.
As he flew to the region, Gates told reporters that he wanted to assure allies that the United States will continue to have a strong military presence in the region. Although a buildup in U.S. forces has raised the number of troops in Iraq to nearly 160,000, pressure is mounting in the U.S. for redeploying troops if the political and security situation there doesn’t improve by fall.
U.S. officials want “to reassure all of the countries that the policies that the president pursues in Iraq have had and will continue to have regional stability and security as a very high priority,” Gates said.
Posted on 07/31/2007 10:23 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
I have always rather liked the comedian and writer David Baddiel. He is funny, thoughtful and generally unpretentious but quick to mock pretentiousness in others. I was therefore doubly surprised to see the reverence with which he recently treated a piece of nonsense by Howard Jacobson. Indeed his admiration was expressed in such purple prose that I had difficulty in deciding who was the greater pseud. So today it is Two-Pseudsday Tuesday: you get two pseuds for the price* of one. From Saturday’s Times:
I’ve just finished reading Jacobson’s 2006 novel, Kalooki Nights, which I think is a masterpiece. I don’t think, in fact, I know. It’s funny, aching, extraordinarily able […] to carry and hold within itself complexity and contradiction, and chocka with the thing I most look for in the novel, which is sentences that take your breath away...I won’t list too many of these, but here’s one, not, actually, one of its multitude of beautiful, yearning funnies, but one which I chose simply for its super-intelligent, quantum understanding of human truth…
That’s quite a build up. To justify such hyperbole, Jacobson’s sentence had better be good. Otherwise one might be tempted to nit-pick about “aching”, “chocka with” and “quantum”. So let’s hear it. Here is that sentence:
“A man lives in the sentimental apprehension of him that women carry around. And when a woman divulges this sentimental homunculus to the man of whom it is an ideation, his happiness can barely contain itself.”
“Obviously it should have won the Booker Prize,” Baddiel gushes. Well, yes, if by that you mean it’s overrated drivel.
I find Jacobson’s “human truth” simply incomprehensible. Two words put me off. One is “ideation”. This probably means something, but only ever seems to be used by people who talk nonsense, so I can’t be bothered to find out what. The other word? You’ve guessed it: “homunculus”.
I know that this word means, literally, “little man” or better still “manikin”. I also know that it has a number of meanings in philosophy and psychology. Here is a tongue in cheek version of the latter usage:
Homunculus: A metaphorical little man (or little woman) who resides in your cranial noggin and pulls the levers for your behaviour Also called self, ego, muse, conscience, and Jiminy Cricket. Homunculi are usually quite reasonable, and can be influenced by your spouse, psychotherapist, preacher, and tiny little angels and devils that stand on each of your shoulders, dispensing advice.
To me, however, “homunculus” is a joke word. It sounds like a man’s special friend – and I don’t mean a dog. I immediately thought of “manservant” as used in the comedy Blackadder. Blackadder consults a doctor about some inappropriate feelings he has for his servant, Bob:
Blackadder: I’m having trouble with my manservant.
Doctor: Well, just pop it on the table and we’ll have a look at it.
Sorry, Jacobson, and sorry, Baddiel. Whatever this “quantum” sentence really means, I cannot get past the word “homunculus”. Perhaps I need to try word association. Here goes:
*What is the price of one pseud? Well, if you donate to keep our website going – and without your donation, it will fold – you can set the price yourself. I can’t say fairer than that.
Posted on 07/31/2007 8:44 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
Bald falsetto transvestite armed robber
Meet Mr Hibberd. From The Times:
A man accused of taking part in an old-fashioned warehouse robbery pleaded his innocence yesterday, insisting that he was a pop star, not an armed robber.
Barry Hibberd, 40, from Shepherd's Bush, West London, denies being a member of an armed gang of six that stole £1.75 million in a raid on the Menzies World Cargo warehouse at Heathrow in February 2004.
He admitted a series of previous convictions for wounding, affray, threatening behaviour, possession of a bladed article and taking a vehicle without consent, but protested that he could not have been involved in the Heathrow crime because he was a singer, not a thief, by profession.
He attempted to prove his point by treating the jury at the Central Criminal Court to a colourful history of his showbusiness career...
"When I started off it was the late Eighties and early Nineties. I was mainly doing commercial soul music. Then I was in a couple of bands that were more rocky.” Mr Hibberd could not remember the names of the bands he was in, but continued: “I got to know quite a few well known people. Then I made a couple of dance records. I made quite a few quid out of that; I thought I was a pop star for a couple of years.”
The connection with a charge of armed robbery was not yet clear. Mr Hibberd carried on regardless.
“I had quite a high falsetto voice. The last few records I released, they thought it was a black woman. It’s a selling point but it’s a bit embarrassing. Some people thought I was a bit woo-woo-like, as well — not that I’ve got anything against gay people.”
He used to play in Madame Jojo’s, a well-known transvestite club in Soho, Central London. “What a blinder that was,” he said.
Mr Hibberd said that he had quit pop music when he became bald. “It’s a young man’s game, innit?” But he claimed that he still did voiceovers; leaning towards the witness box microphone, he growled: “Some of them are there to hurt you, some of them are there to help you.”
It was, apparently, a line from the film Transformers, and an example of Mr Hibberd’s current — and wholly legitimate — work.
“I do stuff like that,” he told the jury, without explaining how that would prove that he had nothing to do with an armed robbery....
Asked if he was a robber, Hibberd said: “Of course I’m not; I’m a singer. I’ve never made any money from crime. Always worked for a living. Never signed on.” Mr Hibberd was 39 at the start of the long trial, and noted ruefully that he had spent his 40th birthday in Belmarsh prison. “They say life begins at 40; I hope it doesn’t in this case,” he told the court.
Posted on 07/31/2007 7:52 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
But, they told us Islam is a religion of peace that respects Christianity
(CNN) -- The families of the remaining 21 South Korean hostages being held in central Afghanistan say they have all but lost hope for the survival of their loved ones after a second hostage's body was recovered.
The bullet-riddled body of Shim Sung-min was found Tuesday in the Chahor Devor area of the Ghazni province, the same province where the 23 South Koreans were kidnapped from their bus on July 19, according to an Afghan Interior Ministry official.
"We still hold the same faith but after the death of Pastor Bae and Shim Sung-min, the families are in greater pain," the families said in a joint statement read on Korean TV by the mother of Lee Sun-young, a 37-year-old woman held by the Afghan captors.
"It's almost impossible to have hope for the remaining 21 hostages. Which parents can sit still when their child is dying before their eyes?"
Posted on 07/31/2007 7:44 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
Britain will take troops out of Iraq regardless of US, says PM
The Independent: Gordon Brown has paved the way for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq by telling George Bush he would not delay their exit in order to show unity with the United States.
After four hours of one-to-one talks with the US President at his Camp David retreat, Mr Brown told a joint press conference he would make a Commons statement in October on the future of the 5,500 British troops in the Basra region.
The Bush administration, under mounting domestic pressure to produce an exit strategy from Iraq, has been nervous that a full British withdrawal would add to the criticism. But Mr Brown made clear - and President Bush accepted - that Britain would go its own way, even if that gave the impression the two countries were diverging...
The two leaders also had to paper over their different approaches on how to respond to terrorism. While maintaining a united front, Mr Brown told President Bush that the fight could not be won by military might alone, and called for a "Cold War-style" propaganda battle in the Muslim world...
As Hugh Fitzgerald has pointed out many times, for a counter-propaganda effort to be effective, it must be focused on the failures of Islam (as a social and political system) and also focused on Islam as a vehicle for Arab supremacism, but not only that, the idea of containment needs to be be borrowed from the Cold War as well to prevent the political and social system of Islam from spreading.
Posted on 07/31/2007 7:16 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
Hitchens on Pace U. Quran flushing
Once you get past his by now pro forma swipes at straw gods, we come to these pithy paragraphs:
The Pace University incident becomes even more ludicrous and sinister when it is recalled that Islamists are the current leaders in the global book-burning competition. After the rumor of a Quran down the toilet in Guantanamo was irresponsibly spread, a mob in Afghanistan burned down an ancient library that (as President Hamid Karzai pointed out dryly) contained several ancient copies of the same book. Not content with igniting copies of The Satanic Verses, Islamist lynch parties demanded the burning of its author as well. Many distinguished authors, Muslim and non-Muslim, are dead or in hiding because of the words they have put on pages concerning the unbelievable claims of Islam. And it is to appease such a spirit of persecution and intolerance that a student in New York City has been arrested for an expression, however vulgar, of an opinion.
This has to stop, and it has to stop right now. There can be no concession to sharia in the United States. When will we see someone detained, or even cautioned, for advocating the burning of books in the name of God? If the police are honestly interested in this sort of "hate crime," I can help them identify those who spent much of last year uttering physical threats against the republication in this country of some Danish cartoons. In default of impartial prosecution, we have to insist that Muslims take their chance of being upset, just as we who do not subscribe to their arrogant certainties are revolted every day by the hideous behavior of the parties of God.
It is often said that resistance to jihadism only increases the recruitment to it. For all I know, this commonplace observation could be true. But, if so, it must cut both ways. How about reminding the Islamists that, by their mad policy in Kashmir and elsewhere, they have made deadly enemies of a billion Indian Hindus? Is there no danger that the massacre of Iraqi and Lebanese Christians, or the threatened murder of all Jews, will cause an equal and opposite response? Most important of all, what will be said and done by those of us who take no side in filthy religious wars? The enemies of intolerance cannot be tolerant, or neutral, without inviting their own suicide. And the advocates and apologists of bigotry and censorship and suicide-assassination cannot be permitted to take shelter any longer under the umbrella of a pluralism that they openly seek to destroy.
Posted on 07/31/2007 6:39 AM by Robert Bove