Islam — the prisoner’s friend (and not because it brings remorse, redemption, and amends)

In July 2006, I quoted my cousin, who was then working as a prison chaplain on prisoners’ conversions to Islam:

It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly [sic] remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.

Today, I’ll quote Robert Spencer on the fact that James Holmes (aka the Colorado gunman) has converted to Islam:

Holmes’s conversion reveals that instead of being unaware of what he did, or utterly remorseless, as one might expect of a psychotic or a sociopath, the murders must trouble him a great deal. For it is souls that are troubled — intellectually, morally, spiritually, psychologically — who cast about for some solution to what troubles them, and often find it in religious conversion.

But it is what Holmes converted to that is significant. Had Holmes converted to Christianity, he might have found relief for any remorse he might be feeling for the massacre in the proposition that in Christ his sins, no matter how great, were forgiven; if he had explored Buddhism, he might have focused upon developing right intention, right speech, and right action, and eradicating the illusions that led him to kill in the first place.

Instead, Holmes chose Islam. A prison source noted: “He has brainwashed himself into believing he was on his own personal jihad and that his victims were infidels.”

Exactly. Guns are merely the vehicles.  The driver is man and the evil that he embraces.

In which I hate on vapid Christmas songs caterwauling for some inchoate “Peace”

I adore traditional Christmas music, whether it’s the Old English Christmas Carols or the non-denominational Christmas songs that began to the music market with Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.  I’m as happy singing O Holy Night as I am singing Here Comes Santa Claus.  Christmas songs give me a huge endorphin rush.

There’s one class of Christmas song, though, that just revolts me, and that’s the modern “Peace” genre.  Those vapid paeans to navel-gazing peace leave me cold.

It is true that the old Christmas carols also shared a vision of peace.  Take, for example:

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild;
Gold and sinners reconciled.”

or

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
‘Round yon Virgin Mother and Child,
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

or

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

Each of these songs envisions peace, but that peace is tied to a formalized religious doctrine that envisions both spiritual and behavioral commitments.  In other words, this peace isn’t cheap.  Jesus Christ made a terribly painful sacrifice to further this peace, and it is each Christian’s obligation to make that sacrifice a meaningful and essential part of his (or her) spiritual life and daily practices.

The modern Christmas peace songs, though, are so horribly banal.  Peace is brought about by vaguely proclaiming that you approve of peace.  John Lennon started it with his bathetic Happy Christmas (War is Over):

So, this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong

And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let’s stop all the fight

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

War is over over
If you want it
War is over
Now

I enjoy listening to the pretty melody (John was always good at that), but the words are so insanely stupid:  “Let’s stop all the fight.”  What does that mean?  There’s no guidance there and no belief system.  The whole song is just a muddled assurance that peace will magically happen if we say that it’s a good thing.

I get a snoot-full of these songs every Christmas, because my kids have been in various choral groups.  Last night, I got to hear Rita Abrams’ “All we want for Christmas is peace.”  As with Lennon’s song, it’s got a catchy melody and nice harmonies.  But the lyrics!  This sampling, with due respect for fair use, gives you an idea:

All we want for Christmas is peace,
Peace is all we’re asking for,
All we want for Christmas is peace,
It’s peace we’re hoping for.

There’s more talk of giving and love and dreams, but the song mostly assures the young ‘uns that peace is just something you need to ask for, along with the Malibu Barbi and X-Box already on your Christmas list.

I’m not just engaging in pointless fulminating here.  This notion that “peace happens,” without any commitment or changes on your part, or on the part of those with whom you deal, whether as an individual or a nation, can be toxic.  Just today, Bruce Kesler posted an absolutely splendid rant about the way in which the mindless peace-mongers on the Left open the door for unlimited bias on the part of those who don’t have a pluralistic peace as their goal:

Most of the most prominent in the West who claim to want peace in the Middle East are, instead, prime facilitators of hate.

By disdaining those Muslims who are closer to Western values, instead pandering to Islamist extremists, or one-sidedly denouncing the defensive measures of the only Western oriented nation in the Middle East, Israel, the claimants of upholding peace have consistently encouraged those who believe and act out of hate.

For your pleasure and sanity, please read the rest of Bruce’s rant here.

As for me, I’m spending a little time listening to my favorite Christmas carol:

It’s a mad, mad, mad homophobic, antisemitic, anti-Christian, Leftist, Islamist world

In today’s news, we learned that Muslims in Libya kidnapped twelve men that they claimed were homosexuals in order to execute them:

Extremists say they will execute a dozen men they allege are homosexuals, whom they abducted last Thursday at a private party in Tripoli’s Ain Zara district.

A body calling itself the ‘Private Deterrent Force’, which is believed to be part of the extremist Nawasi militia group, has posted images of the men on their Facebook page. One picture (above) shows them, heads covered, standing with their hands against a wall.

At the time of writing, the picture had received 315 ‘likes’ and had received comments such as “flog them hard”, “lets see the bullets”, and “ride them like camels”.

Accompanying text describes the men as “the third sex” and says that they are to be mutilated and executed.

I posted this on my Facebook page, along with a comment saying that, lately, nothing good has come out of Libya.  Within a few minutes, a high school classmate, very gay, commented on this post.  Interestingly, he didn’t comment on the post to excoriate a culture that brutally murders his fellow homosexuals.  Instead, he said that the Middle East isn’t very gay friendly, but neither are any Christian countries, including the U.S.  Before I could take him to task for that manifest idiocy, another friend of mine — a Democrat gay man who is a closet conservative — chimed in to say that this was the stupidest comment he’d ever heard, and that it was impossible to conflate the Muslim’s murderous approach towards gays with any attitude towards gays displayed in a Western, majority-Christian country.

Since my closeted conservative friend had dealt more than adequately with this gay Leftist idiocy, I opted for a different line of thinking.  Assuming that, as a Leftist, he’s fairly pro-Israel, even as he supports the same countries that murder gays, I decided to put in a plug for Israel.  I therefore pointed out that there’s a sad, funny irony in the fact that the safest place for gay Palestinians is Israel, with accords full civil rights to the LGBT crowd.  Since I always like to back up my statements with evidence, I went trolling on Google for news stories about how Palestinian gays find sanctuary in Israel.

What I found, to my surprise, were savage attacks from the Left about the fact that Israel is hospitable to gays.  The previous sentence is not the result of a typographical error.  The Left finds it absolutely infuriating that Israel treats gays like people (just as it does women and its Arab citizens).  As far as the Left is concerned, this is all a despicable trick aimed at hiding the fact that it is an Imperialist Nazi-like nation bound and determined to commit genocide against its Palestinian neighbors.  (The Left conveniently ignores the soaring Palestinian population, something inconsistent with decades of alleged genocide, just as it ignores the genocidal, antisemitic rantings emanating from all parts of the Muslim world, rantings that have no anti-Arab corollary in Israel.)

This is not fringe stuff.  Perhaps because I was busy with Thanksgiving travel last November (2011), I missed completely a Jewish lesbian’s nasty opinion piece in the New York Times accusing Israel of “pinkwashing”:

After generations of sacrifice and organization, gay people in parts of the world have won protection from discrimination and relationship recognition. But these changes have given rise to a nefarious phenomenon: the co-opting of white gay people by anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim political forces in Western Europe and Israel.

In the Netherlands, some Dutch gay people have been drawn to the messages of Geert Wilders, who inherited many followers of the assassinated anti-immigration gay leader Pim Fortuyn, and whose Party for Freedom is now the country’s third largest political party. In Norway, Anders Behring Breivik, the extremist who massacred 77 people in July, cited Bruce Bawer, a gay American writer critical of Muslim immigration, as an influence. The Guardian reported last year that the racist English Defense League had 115 members in its gay wing. The German Lesbian and Gay Federation has issued statements citing Muslim immigrants as enemies of gay people.

These depictions of immigrants — usually Muslims of Arab, South Asian, Turkish or African origin — as “homophobic fanatics” opportunistically ignore the existence of Muslim gays and their allies within their communities. They also render invisible the role that fundamentalist Christians, the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Jews play in perpetuating fear and even hatred of gays. And that cynical message has now spread from its roots in European xenophobia to become a potent tool in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

[snip]

The growing global gay movement against the Israeli occupation has named these tactics “pinkwashing”: a deliberate strategy to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life. Aeyal Gross, a professor of law at Tel Aviv University, argues that “gay rights have essentially become a public-relations tool,” even though “conservative and especially religious politicians remain fiercely homophobic.”

Pinkwashing not only manipulates the hard-won gains of Israel’s gay community, but it also ignores the existence of Palestinian gay-rights organizations.

Sarah Schulman, who wrote that putrid little piece, should be given a one-way ticket to Iran or Saudi Arabia or Libya or Gaza to see what kind of “gay rights” exist in those parts of the world.  The “rights” usually boil down to “Do you want to be hanged, stoned, flayed, or beheaded for the crime of being a homosexual or lesbian?”  Of course, that’s not what would happen if she went to those backwards countries.  Backwards they may be, but they know a useful idiot when they see one.  Schulman would be feted and stuffed full of propaganda about the love Muslims feel for gays.

What’s just as bad as Schulman’s willful obtuseness is the fact that she’s got a nice platform from which to indoctrinate equally stupid, blind gays here at home.  (I’m not saying all gays are stupid and blind.  I am saying that those who believe Leftism is more important than human rights are willing vessels for this kind of propaganda.)  You see, Schulman is a “Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at the City University of New York, College of Staten Island and a Fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University.”  Not just a professor, but a “distinguished” professor.  To my mind, she is distinguished only by being either evil, or stupid to the point of being evil.

AP report on thwarted terrorist attacks within the United States downplays Islam’s central role in the planned attack

The headline in the San Francisco Chronicle was simple:  “FBI: 4 Calif. men charged in alleged terror plot.”

California men, huh?  Did they have names like Big Kahuna and look like this?

“Yo, dude, I’m like going to, you know, like, attack the man. It’ll be, like, totally tubular.”

No? Well maybe these California men rejoice in names like Butch and look like this:

“Hey, everyone! We’re going to have a little whip and dip party. We’ll start with some fun bondage stuff, and then move on to the crudités. I’ve got a divine dip.”

Somehow that doesn’t seem right either. Maybe that’s because, when you read the story, you discover that these guys weren’t just any old California men. Instead, they had a lot more in common with these guys than with surfer dudes or San Francisco’s Folsom Street brigade:

That’s right — these “California men” were (a) Muslims and (b) three of them came from places other than America, let alone other than California:

Four Southern California men have been charged with plotting to kill Americans and destroy U.S. targets overseas by joining al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, federal officials said Monday.

The defendants, including a man who served in the U.S. Air Force, were arrested for plotting to bomb military bases and government facilities, and for planning to engage in “violent jihad,” FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said in a release.

A federal complaint unsealed Monday says 34-year-old Sohiel Omar Kabir of Pomona introduced two of the other men to the radical Islamist doctrine of Anwar al-Awlaki, a deceased al-Qaida leader. Kabir served in the Air Force from 2000 to 2001.

The other two — 23-year-old Ralph Deleon of Ontario and 21-year-old Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales of Upland — converted to Islam in 2010 and began engaging with Kabir and others online in discussions about jihad, including posting radical content to Facebook and expressing extremist views in comments.

They later recruited 21-year-old Arifeen David Gojali of Riverside.

[snip]

Kabir is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Afghanistan. Santana was born in Mexico, while Deleon was born in the Philippines. Both are lawful, permanent U.S. residents. Gojali is a U.S. citizen.

In a sane, honest world, the AP headline would have said “FBI: 4 Muslim men in So. Cal. charged in alleged terror plot.” But we’ve already established that we don’t live in a sane, honest world, right? We live in a world dominated by a media that is determined to pretend that Islam, with its institutionalized jihad and antisemitism, is just a myth, and that it’s purely coincidental that these mythical Islamists keep trying to blow up Americans.

This and that — about the Middle East, mostly, with a little Obama stuff thrown in too.

It’s been another family-maintenance day, which precludes not only blogging but, quite often, even thinking.  Having a house full of children is revitalizing and exhausting all at once.

I also took my Mom clothes shopping, which makes her extraordinarily happy, but leaves me limp and floppy.  I am every cheapskate’s dream, because I just hate to shop.  When I was young and shopped only for clothes to hang on my lithesome frame, it was all fun.  Now, though, shopping means shlepping out to get groceries, household supplies, supplies for my Mom, clothing for the children, etc.  It’s drudgery not pleasure and, to add insult to injury, I’m not as lissome as I once was.  Clothes shopping tends to demoralize rather than hearten me.

All of which is irrelevant to this post’s purpose, which is to pass on to you interesting articles I read this weekend.  So without further ado, here are things that you might find as interesting as I did.

I begin with a whole series of articles relating to the fact that, after having rockets rained down upon her for years — and in exponential numbers since Obama’s reelection — Israel is finally pushing back.  I’ll throw in here that, while Obama got encomiums from Israel’s supporters yesterday because he said that Israel has the right to defend herself, today he managed to un-deserve those same encomiums.  Why?  Because he added that this right to self-defense exists so long as Israel doesn’t actually do anything . . . you know, defensive:

Obama said that his message to Erdogan, as well as Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, was that it would be “preferred” if Israel could deter missiles from landing in its territory without ramping up military activity in Gaza. “That’s not just preferable to the people of Gaza, that’s also preferable to Israelis,” he said.

In other words, Israel is once again going to be bullied into a ceasefire after universal obloquy from the usual suspects, but before she can achieve any of her national defense goals.  Obama can’t seem to get it through his head that it takes two to tango — and two to make peace.  Constantly forcing Israel to hold back, while doing nothing about the thousands of rockets from Hamas and others (well, not nothing, because Obama does send them lots of taxpayer dollars) is just another example of government picking winners and losers — and in this game, Israel always loses.

Yesterday I posted about how the educated elite is economically ignorant, so today it shouldn’t be surprising that we learn that the educated elite is also ignorant about realities in the Middle East.  Obama is simply the most visible ignoramus on the subject.  Barry Rubin focuses on the foolish mentality Obama displays:  namely, that Israel is totally entitled to defend herself, provided that she doesn’t do anything . . . you know, defensive.

One of the things I love about my conservative friends is that, contrary to the stereotypes the Left likes to propagate, they truly respect Israel — and it’s not just because they want all the Jews packed back into that small nation in order to facilitate the Second Coming and subsequent destruction of the Jewish nation.  This canard, incidentally, is one of liberal Jews’ deepest suspicions about philosemitic Christians.  Instead, true conservatives are people who value individual liberty and economic freedom, and they recognize what the elites refuse to see; namely, that this beleaguered Middle Eastern nation is a bastion of humanism in a dark, cruel, Islamo/Marxist region.

Richard Baehr points out that one of Israel’s problems is that the media and the Left (to the extent there’s any difference) completely ignore the dark cruelties that are integral to Islamic nations today, ranging from starvation in Egypt to civil war in Syria to attacks on sovereign U.S. territory in Libya.  Instead, the media focuses obsessively on the small number of civilian deaths Israel tries so desperately to avoid, against an enemy that deliberately places its most vulnerable citizens in the softest targets.

Jay Gaskill tries to give the media a reality check:  the problem isn’t Israel, the problem is an aggressive Islamism that has been pushing against and probing at the non-Muslim world since Mohamed first ordered it to do so.  Given that this last election proved that the media has deep, strong tentacles into the American psyche, as long as it cannot distinguish cause from effect and predator from prey, both America and Israel are in great danger.

Not everyone thinks that Israel’s imminent incursions into Gaza will be disastrous.  Jonathan Spyer argues that the Islamists aren’t truly ready for the fight they picked.  Instead, they’re acting from a burst of hubris brought about by Obama’s reelection.  According to Spyer, Hamas acted too soon because the Arab Spring effectively bankrupted Egypt, which is now dependent on American and other Western dollars to keep its citizens from starving.  As long as the West wants to avoid all-out war in the Middle East, it can put economic pressure on Egypt, which will then put pressure on Hamas.

Okay, I’m done with the Middle East, but no Bookworm Room political post would be complete without some Obama bad-mouthing.  I don’t like the man.  It’s not just his Leftist policies and ignorance.  It’s him.  I find his narcissism and egotism repellent and dangerous.  So does Neo-Neocon.

And finally, on a lighter note, Joel Pollak has some advice for surviving the holidays if you find yourself with liberal relatives.  I’m fortunate in that my relatives, like me, have also made the transition from unthinking Leftist Jews to thoughtful Jewish conservatives.  For me, the Thanksgiving holidays mean a restful time in the company of intelligent, fun, like-minded people.

 

When are we going to admit that there is a war going on between us and radical Islam?

I’m guessing that a majority of Americans (a slim majority, but still a majority) know that America entered WWII because the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  What few stop to consider is why we ended up fighting, not only the Japanese who had just bombed us, but the Germans as well, since they, after all, had not yet done anything to us.  The answer to that unasked question is that, for reasons known only to a megalomaniac, a few days after the Pearl Harbor attack, Hitler declared war on the United States.  The United States took up the challenge with gusto.  Within months, America had become a war machine, cranking out ships, tanks, guns, airplanes, and trained troops.  If Hitler hadn’t acted, Germany might have won the war.  England, after all, was on the ropes by the time America came in to help out.

It’s a little chilling to think that, were we to replay December 1941 with Obama in the White House, America would simply have ignored Germany’s declaration of war.  We would have heard that we have no quarrel with the Germans, who are a peaceful people, except of course for a handful of madmen.  We would have been told that, if these madmen killed our citizens, we would bring the actual killers to justice, but that we had no quarrel with the nations or ideology that gave birth to those killers and that are hard at work to raise an army of madmen.

As our administration and media talked, Hitler would have tightened his grip on Europe; fought a single front war against the Soviet Union; killed all the Jews, Gypsies, mentally disabled, and homosexuals in Europe; and then enslaved all Slavs and Communists (never mind that Naziism was a variation of socialism itself).   At the end of the day, our government would have said that we’re scarcely in a position to criticize the Nazis, since America was once a slave country itself.  Congress would then have announced economic sanctions, but the Executive office would have failed to enforce them.

But we don’t need a hyp0thetical December 1941 to imagine what our current administration would do.  We can watch it in real-time today.  There is a saying that “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt” — and it’s funny that you should mention Egypt right now.  As if 9/11/01 and 9/11/02 weren’t strong enough declarations of war, Islamist clerics are actively calling all Egyptians to wage war against the west, starting with kidnapping:

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has urged Egyptians to restart their revolution to press for Islamic law and called on Muslims to kidnap Westerners, the SITE Intelligence Group said Friday.

In a video released on jihadist forums and translated by the US monitoring service, Zawahiri also lashed out at President Barack Obama, calling him a liar and demanding he admit defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan and North Africa.

Criticizing the new Egyptian government — led by a president drawn from the Muslim Brotherhood — as corrupt, he said a battle is being waged in Egypt between a secular minority and Muslims seeking implementation of Shariah law.

I’ll admit that this is a challenging war because we are fighting, not a single nation, but a geographically diffuse ideology, but it is still war.  After all, what do you call it when a vast and recognizable group of individuals announces that it intends to kill and enslave your people, and then uses arms to carry out that promise?

We should be addressing this war on all fronts:  militarily, economically, and ideologically.  Instead, we are pretending it’s not happening.  To give credit where it’s due, George W. Bush figured out the military part and, with Iran, the economic part.  His problem, though, was that, as leader of a pluralist country, but he couldn’t bring himself to break through political correctness to admit that we are at war with a huge ideological foe.  After all, many Americans who are good, decent people share the same label (i.e., “Muslim”) as that foe. We confuse linguistic nuances with substance.

A problem of nomenclature, though, should not be allowed to obscure the fact that we have an active, resolute, powerful, and devious enemy.  We therefore do not fight that foe by excusing it.  Instead, we fight it by using every breath of free speech to challenge it in every way possible — debate, media, leaflets dropped from airplanes, and whatever else could work.

Obama has been the ultimate Islamist apologist.  He has only half-heartedly imposed sanctions against Iran, given a blank check to the Palestinians (who are a front in this Islamist jihad), weakened Israel (which is an ally in this existential battle), demoralized troops and energized enemies in Afghanistan by setting a certain pull-out date, and undermined a nascent democracy in Iraq by pulling out all troops without leaving a provisional force.  As for what just happened in Benghazi, that’s a chapter in itself, one that includes institutional cowardice and politicizing, lying, cover-ups and, with the imprisonment of a video maker, the destruction of our First Amendment.

Not only is Obama not much of a leader, he’s totally unsuited to military leadership.  You have to love your country to lead your military.  Obama doesn’t.  You have to believe in your country’s values to lead your military.  Obama doesn’t.  You have to courage to lead your military.  Obama doesn’t.  At every level, in every way, Obama fails as a military leader.  Let’s fire him from the job before it’s too late and we find ourselves defeated in the war we continue to pretend doesn’t exist.

A peripatetic Muslim tries to eat her cake and have it

I tried posting yesterday but, every time I got within striking distance of my computer, someone in the house would set up a plaintive cry, desperate for my company (or, more usually, my services).  Anyhoo…

If I had posted yesterday, I would have linked to this story that Navy One investigated, about a Muslim beauty who displays two very different sides to her personality, depending upon her location within the United States.

Already last year, Tony Blair stated explicitly that we are engaged in a cultural war with radical Islam

[Video embed problem corrected. I'm having lots of problems with my computer (I'll be getting a new one soon), but am at a loss to know how I managed to embed the wrong video, as I had the correct video on my screen when I got the link for the video embed.]

Videos such as this remind me why, despite parting ways with his politics, I always liked Tony Blair.  He is what Obama is not:  a fundamentally intelligent person and one who can speak clearly and to the point without prompts, because he knows his subject matter.

In this video, which dates back to January 2011, don’t let the first minute or so of Blair’s fumphering around fool you.  As Blair picks up steam, he gets to the point, and does so without hesitation or apology. Radical Islam is at war with us and when we apologize for ourselves — for our culture and beliefs — we lose:

Blair’s pretty prescient, isn’t he, speaking of the West’s culture of apology? It’s almost as if he had foreknowledge of Hillary and Barry’s craven response to the full frontal attack Al Qaeda and pals launched against U.S. sovereignty on September 11, 2012.

Hat tip: Wolf Howling, who has more on the subject, and you should certainly read what he has to say.

Jonah Goldberg gets to the heart of the matter about Islam and the First Amendment

I wish I’d said it this well:

It’s really quite amazing. In Pakistan, Egypt, and the Palestinian territories, Christians are being harassed, brutalized, and even murdered, often with state support, or at least state indulgence. And let’s not even talk about the warm reception Jews receive in much of the Muslim world.

And yet, it seems you can’t turn on National Public Radio or open a newspaper or a highbrow magazine without finding some oh-so-thoughtful meditation on how anti-Islamic speech should be considered the equivalent of shouting “fire” in a movie theater.

It’s an interesting comparison. First, the prohibition on yelling “fire” in a theater only applies to instances where there is no fire. A person who yells “fire” when there is, in fact, a fire is quite likely a hero. I’m not saying that the people ridiculing Mohammed — be they the makers of the Innocence of Muslims trailer or the editors of a French magazine — have truth on their side. But blasphemy is not a question of scientific fact, merely of opinion. And in America we give a very wide legal berth to the airing of such opinions. Loudly declaring “it is my opinion there is a fire in here” is not analogous to declaring “it is my opinion that Mohammed was a blankety-blank.”

You know why? Because Muslims aren’t fire, they’re people. And fire isn’t a sentient entity, it is a force of nature bereft of choice or cognition of any kind. Just as water seeks its own level, fire burns what it can burn. Muslims have free will. If they choose to riot, that’s not the same thing as igniting a fire.

American embassy in Cairo appears to embrace sharia speech codes *UPDATED*

Yes, I understand that the embassy in Cairo is besieged but it does strike me as cowardly to abandon core principles as this juncture (emphasis mine):

U.S. Embassy Condemns Religious Incitement

September 11, 2012

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

You’d think that you wouldn’t have to provide basic constitutional lessons for U.S. Embassy employees but I guess they need a little review:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

If we Americans want to say Islam is an incitement to violence, we can. If we want to put Jesus in a vat full of urine, we can. If we want to say Jews are greedy, we can. If we want to say Hindus worship cows, we can. If we want to say Mormons wear funny underwear, we can.  We are allowed to hurt the religious feelings of religious people.  It’s our right as Americans to be rude.  Neither tact, nor forbearance, nor non-mutual respect, nor polite lies are required under our Constitution.

Last thought:  It is possible that the language from embassy — that it’s bad “to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims” — is as foolish as it is because the embassy people meant them ironically. Perhaps the White House said “say something that won’t hurt Muslim feelings,” and some P.O.’d embassy official came back with this nonsensical, unconstitutional PC fecal matter. I mean, the statement is too close to parody to be real. Isn’t it?  Come on, someone.  Please agree with me right about now.

Of course, if that statement is a heartfelt expression from America’s representative on Egypt’s soil, God help us all, because our government is in the hands of dhimmis.

UPDATE:  For more on embassy awfulness (proving that this is no joke, but is their real thinking) just check their twitter feed:


Is it possible that these government representatives do not understand that the essence of free speech is the ability to criticize religion?  No, it may not be very nice, but in a normal, non-sharia, world, this type of criticism leads to a debate that enriches the marketplace of ideas — and may the best idea win.  We do America a profound and lasting disservice if we abandon this core principle to pander to a 7th century mentality, the practitioners of which are deathly afraid to subject their beliefs to an intellectual airing and analysis.

The appearance of “Indigenous Muslims” at the DNC offends America’s true indigenous people

Identity politics worked very well for the Democrats for a long time, provided that they played the various little groups off against “white men.”  Barring some in-fighting in academia amongst various “victim” subgroups — a spectacle that Christina Hoff Sommers described to hilarious effect in Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women — Democrats mostly managed adroitly to hide from their interest groups that, if you define the economy as a finite, government-controlled pie, eventually there will not be enough pieces to go around.

Or maybe the Democrats shouldn’t get even that credit.  Because the obsession with identity politics didn’t gain traction until the Reagan years (although it existed before), there was usually enough pie to go around once one had successfully dispossessed those poor white males.  Now, however, despite or because of 3.7 years of Obamanomics, the pie is small and crumbly.  And with that small pie, the allegiances are getting frayed as well.

A friend Servo1969 sent me a link to an interesting post contending that Native Americans have had it up to here and beyond with the Democrat team’s game-playing.  They were offended when it turned out that Elizabeth Warren had parlayed a false (or, at least, incredibly attenuated) Native American heritage into a well-paid legal career.  Now, some are even more peeved, and rightfully so, by the fact that the Democrats are pandering to a Muslim group that identifies itself as representative of “indigenous Muslims”:

Native Americans are very angry to learn that Muslims in the United States of America are being touted as “indigenous”, a complete falsehood.

[snip]

Twenty-thousand Islamists and their sympathizers are expected to attend the opening of the Democratic National Convention on August 31 [BW:  It's actually September 4 to September 6] to focus on Islam with Jumah[sic], the Friday prayer, to draw in Muslims to the DNC. The important prayer and two days of events are being coordinated by the Bureau of Indigenous Muslim Affairs (BIMA), a national Muslim non-profit claiming that the event is non-political. Being a part of the actual convention makes it pretty hard to claim that it isn’t a political event. The initials BIMA quickly caught my attention because I’m keyed in to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the agency that my husband works closely with in his capacity as Director of Security for an Indian casino. I was appalled when I went to the BIMA website and saw the words “Indigenous Muslim.”

The word “indigenous” is a term of art.  It does not mean that someone is born within a country’s borders.  Instead, it refers, always, to the original people who populated a country before an imperialist force (Western or Eastern) took over.  One can have American-born Muslims, but there are no “indigenous Muslims.”  It’s either foolish, disingenuous, or dishonest for Muslims to try to parlay their non-white status into a simulacrum of the United States’ true Native American population.

Lesson to Democrats:  You can successfully complain about pie allocation when there’s lots of pie.  If you destroy the pie, however, you may regret trying to slice it into so many different pieces.

UPDATE:  As you can see, I substituted “Servo1969″ for “A friend.”  I mention that here because, if people send me emails with information, I always ask people’s permission before using their name in a post.  When I wrote the post, I hadn’t yet confirmed that Servo1969 wouldn’t mind showing up in here.

The more you know Chelsea Clinton, the less you like her

Obama is so bad, the Clinton era starts to look good.  And Obama’s crude use of his children is so bad (dragged out when they’re presence is useful, off-limits when it’s not), that one really has to appreciate how zealously and effectively Bill and Hillary shielded Chelsea from the public.  I wish that Bill and Hillary would continue to hide Chelsea from the public.  Now that she’s become a public figure, she’s gone from bad (being the world’s most pointless and boring television host ) to worse (shilling for CAIR).

When will this Clinton nightmare ever end?

Hat tip:  Sadie

The origins of homosexuality explained

In America, there was for some time a nature versus nurture debate regarding homosexuality.  I think the current view is that sexuality runs along a spectrum, with some people fixed firmly at one end or the other, and others, in the middle, who may be affected by the culture around them.

Folks, we’re all wrong.  As this cleric explains, the explanation involves God, the Devil, Shia Islam, Sunni Islam, anal worms, and semen treatments:

And I think that effectively puts an end to all debate. Next week’s debating topics include Earth’s role at the center of the solar system, the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin, and the existence of mermaids and sea serpents.

That is all.

Hat tip: K.K.

Thursday morning hodge-podge about Muslim censorship, Western self-censorship, and Western complicity in Islam’s Holy War

My brain is slowly warming up here so I’m not yet capable of original content.  Instead, let me offer other people’s wonderful stuff.

To get this set started, you have to begin by reading a speech that the Ayatollah Khomeini made in 1942, in which he stated explicitly that Islam is not a religion for wimps, but for conquering warriors (emphasis mine).

Those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation. For they shall live under [Allah’s law; the Sharia]. . . . Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says: Kill them [the non-Muslims], put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]. Does this mean sitting back until [non-Muslims] overcome us? Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you! Does this mean that we should surrender [to the enemy]? Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to paradise, which can be opened only for holy warriors! There are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and hadiths [sayings of the prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.

There are a lot of people out there upon whom the Ayatollah could spit (if he were still alive).  Fortunately for the Ayatollah’s cause, and very unfortunately for ours, all of the “spitees” are on our side of the cultural divide.  At FrontPage, you can see video interviews with three front-line anti-Islamic (not anti-Muslim, but anti-Islamic) warriors regarding the West’s systematic refusal to stand up to the way in which critics of Islamism are silenced, with the silencing coming from both Muslims and the Left.

Nick Cohen continues this matched set with a discussion about the way in which the literary world, from the moment in 1989 that the Ayatollah issued his fatwa against Salman Rushdie, engaged in aggressive, total self-censorship.  I guess one could say that one can’t expect the warrior spirit from writers, but it would be nice if at least some of the writers and publishers had a warrior spirit.  To the extent that they set the mental tone for a generation, since the late 1980s, their tone, sold to universities, politicians, and other self-styled elites, has been preemptive surrender.

Speaking of those elite universities, Harvard continues to ally itself with the anti-Israel cause.  When I’ve suggested that our children not go to Harvard (assuming they could even get in) because I consider Harvard antisemitic, Mr. Bookworm has demanded that I find one instance of overt antisemitism from Harvard.  He’s correct that there is none.  What there is, though, is covert antisemitism, which takes the form of an academic bend profoundly hostile to Israel and supportive of the Palestinians — Palestinians who, just coincidentally, dream of a genocidal purge in Israel that leaves the land and waters running red with Jewish blood.  Stephen Walt, a Harvard professor, provides a nice example of the Harvard viewpoint — he plays a numbers game, which conveniently allows him to ignore little issues such as competing values in an existential war or the fact that the Islamists initiate attacks and we merely retaliate in way that, we hope, prevents further Islamist initiations.  By the numbers, he says, we deserve to be hated.  This is where your tuition dollars go.

And speaking of those values, Gerald M. Steinberg does a nice job identifying Israel’s values (which are remarkably harmonious with the most enlightened Western values), and reminding us that the Left, the Muslims, and the UN (but I repeat myself), have engaged in a steady drumbeat of lies, manipulation, and bullying to make it appear as if Israel is a repressive, totalitarian culture, worthy of scorn and destruction.

And finally, not about Israel, but a link reminding you what the American Left thinks like.  (I originally wrote “looks like,” but “thinks like” is more accurate.)

Eric Allen Bell: Once blind about radical Islam and the Left, but now he sees *UPDATED*

Eric Allen Bell, a former Daily Kos contributor and an independent filmmaker for Left-leaning outlets, had an epiphany recently:  Islam is not a nice religion.  Indeed, it’s a very un-nice religion, one that sees the embodiment of human perfection in a child-raping, misogynistic, antisemitic crime lord.  When he tried to share that epiphany with the liberals who made up his work and personal life, he was blackballed, maligned, and threatened.  He writes about his experiences here.

Bell’s essay is an important one, because it shows that, armed with information, people can change their minds.  However, it’s also a depressing essay because it shows that the Left is bound and determined to keep that information away from the American public.

In that same depressing vein, if you haven’t already read the Daily Caller expose showing how Media Matters (very successfully) works closely with the Obama White House to provide talking points for the mainstream media, you should.  Again, it’s a reminder that, in an information age, lies are precisely as mobile and far-reaching as the truth — more so, in fact, when the liars control the White House, the Media, and the educational institutions.

I frequently remind myself that a conspiracy theorist is someone who takes the absence of evidence as proof of something.  We in the new media are not conspiracy theorists.  We are truth-miners and truth-spreaders.  We don’t need to make up things or weave fragile stories made up of unrelated, and often imaginary, “facts”.  Instead, our responsibility, as Eric Bell has discovered, is simply to break down the media filter between their artificial reality and the facts on the ground.

Troops, we’ve got a fight ahead of us.  A tough fight, but a good one.  Our weapons in this good war are facts, truth, and words.  There are times when we’ll want to give up, but Eric Bell’s story reminds us that the truth can set people free.  Even if we can only achieve victory one person at a time, we still have to fight that fight.

UPDATED:  And since I mentioned the Media Matters expose, here’s another post about David Brock,

The difference between a Sharia state and a Christian state

The Daily Mail created a lovely matched set, showing side-by-side stories that perfectly illustrate the difference between life in a 21st century Sharia state and life in a 21st century Christian state:

Life in a Sharia state:  “We, the state, are going to kill gays.”

Life in a Christian state:  “I’d like to warn you (admittedly quite rudely) that, in the afterlife God is going to have problems with gays.”

If you’re gay, neither is very nice, but one is insulting, while the other is deadly.  Those who live within a minority community, whether because of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc., might want to think long and hard about whether they want to promote a culture that kills those it dislikes or a culture some of whose members yell at them.  I mention this because the Leftist collective backs the first type of culture; while the much-reviled Western conservatives support the second.

(P.S.  For those wondering why the Daily Mail is the most popular news website in the world, it might have something to do with the fact that it identifies Ihjaz Ali, Kabir Ahmed, and Razwan Javed as “muslim fanatics.” The American press would have wondered why these three men, who just coincidentally happen to have non-American names, suddenly turned against gays — and then would have posited, loudly and often, that Sarah Palin published an ad or made a speech using coded language that triggered this mass homophobia.)

If Liam Neeson converts, I’m going to have to think long and hard about watching the Narnia movies again. Sigh.

Liam Neeson’s flirting with converting to Islam, a religious quest made possible by the fact that the religion has great calls to prayer and everyone does it (at least in Muslim countries) — and, no, I’m not exaggerating when I belittle his expressed motive when he contemplates abandoning the Catholicism of his childhood in exchange for the religion of perpetual outrage:

On filming in Istanbul, Neeson told British rag The Sun: “The call to prayer happens five times a day, and for the first week, it drives you crazy, and then it just gets into your spirit, and it’s the most beautiful, beautiful thing… There are 4,000 mosques in the city. Some are just stunning, and it really makes me think about becoming a Muslim.”

Just to be clear, Neeson makes no mention of spiritual or doctrinal failings in his childhood faith, nor does he speak in any way of the profound procedural and moral changes he’d have to make to his life if he did indeed convert.

Thinking about it, Neeson may be on to something here, with his shallow belief that he can go on as before, just singing a slightly different song along with the muezzin.  As my cousin, who spent years ministering as a prison chaplain, wrote me in connection with prison conversions to Islam:

It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.

Prisoners use conversion to justify their rage. Neeson’s admiring little speech indicates that at least one movie star type seems to being using it to justify just how shallow he really, truly is.

The only thing I find disheartening about this piece of idiocy is that it might affect my viewing habits.  For example, I never listen to Cat Stevens’ music.  It’s not conscious censorship on my part, as in “Everyone should boycott that man because he converted to Islam.”  It’s a more informal, visceral response.  Every time I hear one of his songs lovey-dovey 1970s pop songs, I get hacked off at the fact that he is now a vocal, proselytzing enthusiast for the whole Muslim package:  death to the Jews, death to America, women wrapped in tents, dead gays, etc.  My blood pressure shoots up, and then I turn the music off.  Fortunately, Snoop Doggs’ conversion doesn’t affect me because I wouldn’t have listened to his songs before conversion, and I’m certainly not going to listen to them now.

But Neeson . . . ummm.  You see, I like the Narnia movies.  I love the first, like the second, and am looking forward to watching the third (the delay is a Netflix thing, meaning that I put it on the list and Mr. Bookworm takes it off).  It was bad enough when Neeson foolishly denied that Aslan was an allegorical Christ.  It’s high blood pressure time, though, if the actor who voices the allegorical Christ has converted to a faith antithetical to everything C.S. Lewis intended to convey through those wonderful books.

The many ironies of a “modest swimwear” advertisement

This one ran yesterday at the PJ Tatler, and I forgot to republish it here.  Since it’s a day late, I figure I can just block and copy the whole thing:

I’m not a fan of extremely revealing or tight clothing. Even in my younger days, when I could get away with it, it wasn’t my style. There’s something to be said for a little mystery and a lot of class. Nevertheless, an ad for “modest swimwear” managed to make my eyeballs pop a little:

The first funny thing to strike me is the fact that, thanks to the way computer algorithms process words, an ad for full coverage swimwear — something aimed primarily at the Muslim market — ended up on a Commentary Magazine blog post that talks about the repression that too often goes with mandatory hijabs in Muslim countries.

The second funny thing is that the models used are remarkably non-Muslim looking. And yes, I know that “Muslim” is not a racial classification, but demographically it trends towards non-blondes.  These models, however, look as if they come from the little known Northern European Muslim demographic.

And the third funny thing is that the ad company went overboard with Photoshopping to make the models skinny. The women in the black suit has a right arm so skeletal she looks mortally ill, while the woman in the maroon suit has stick thighs and a bizarrely large head. We know that this type of digitized airbrushing is routinely done with models stripped down to their skivvies, but there’s something ludicrous about seeing the same tactic applied to models wearing clothes that could comfortably have appeared in a Victorian fashion magazine:

“Keynes” and other back-pats

Here’s a Robert Samuelson article, “bye bye Keynes” that should give us all pause: the arguments he uses to write Keynes’ obituary are arguments that we all posited in our own excoriation of Keynes in years past, in response to a string of commentators, ranging from A to Z.

I’ve been reviewing our last few years at Bookworm Room and I think that we all deserve a round of huzzas and raised beer mugs or wine glasses, whatever is at hand. We’ve been so right about so many issues, be it “Keynesian”economics; anthropogenic global warming; the Islamist threat; U.S. fossil fuel reserves; “green” energy; Iraq; Obama; the EU’s collapse…and on and on und so weiter.  Sometimes, our prescience has preceded events on the ground by years.

To all of you Bookworm guests and, especially, to Bookworm, our hostess: I’m so d*** proud to know you! I am so much smarter for having enjoyed the many experiences of your insights and commentary.

Cultural blindness and freedom

Was it a surprise to you that Egypt went Islamist?  It wasn’t to me.

Was it a surprise to you that Libya went Islamist?  It wasn’t to me.

Was it a surprise to you that Tunisia went Islamist?  It wasn’t to me.

Has it been a surprise to you over the last decade that Iraq hasn’t bloomed into the Middle Eastern equivalent of small town America?  It hasn’t been for me.

If any of the above surprised you, my guess is that you worked for the Bush administration or are working for the Obama administration.  The first group naively believed that, if you gave people the vote, they would vote for freedom, not repression.  As for the second group, I don’t know if they shared that same naiveté, or if they’re truly bad people.

Anyone who has been paying attention to the Middle East has understood that, for many citizens in those benighted nations, Islamist government promises purity in lieu of deep, violent corruption.  The people there don’t understand the notion of freedom, but they’re very much alive to hypocrisy — and their Imams have been promising that this is the one thing they won’t get under an Islamist government.  Islam will bring them the peace of total submission to God’s rules, rather than the instability and terror of individual tyranny.

For people who have spent decades on the receiving end of arbitrary and capricious pseudo-Western governments, all the while hearing that their faith will provide honesty and peace, the outcome of elections was a no-brainer.  Lacking the one and a half centuries of self-governance that America had before she even embarked upon her Constitutional experiment, the notion of freedom and individual rights has no resonance.  Sure, some understand it, but for most freedom simply means not being bossed around by a Mubarak or Saddam or Gaddafi.

Mark Steyn ranks with me as being one of the un-surprised — and he recognizes how our blindness abroad leads to threats at home.

I’ll add too that relentless PC multiculturalism, which lauds every culture but our own, is de-programming the love of freedom bred into American DNA, and is therefore probably the greatest internal threat we face.

 

The difference between immigrants and colonists

For years, I’ve been trying to articulate the difference between good immigrants and bad immigrants, meaning those that benefit a country and those that I’d like to see kept out.  This has become a particularly pointed concern for me in light of the PC attitude that encourages immigrants of all stripes not to give their allegiance to their home country.  Clifford D. May, in an article about Bat Ye’or’s latest book regarding the inevitable Muslimization of PC Europe, puts together in a single paragraph the concept I’ve struggled with for so long:

Immigrants can enrich a nation. But there is a difference between immigrants and colonists. The former are eager to learn the ways of their adopted home, to integrate and perhaps assimilate — which does not require relinquishing their heritage or forgetting their roots. Colonists, by contrast, bring their culture with them and live under their own laws. Their loyalties lie elsewhere.

It’s a depressing notion, but it is a relief to see it summed up so neatly.