February 28, 2006

Cartographers Needed

The media are all agog with reports of an Iraqi civil war somewhere on the horizon. The Shiite and Sunni seem poised to break each others heads open until one group submits or is extinguished.

The Arab Shiites make up about 60 percent of Iraq, the Arab Sunnis about 18 percent. The Sunni walked tall indeed under their patron Saddam Hussein. The victims of that dead regime were mostly Shiite and Kurdish. Both of these groups have long memories. If civil war comes the Sunni know well that they will be pounded to dust. No quarter will be given.

As for the Kurds, they are secure in their northern Iraqi redoubts. They have lots and lots of oil. And they have the renowned peshmerga ('those who face death'), their security forces which operate as an army, national guard and police force. These guys are one tough bunch. They fought with the US during the 2003 war in Iraq. There is no way they will turn over their arms or men to any national government based in Baghdad. They despise the place, rightly seeing it as the focus of genocide and oppression against Kurds.

Michael Totten just returned from Iraqi Kurdistan. As he sees it

Iraq may not survive in one piece. The overwhelming majority of Iraqi Kurds are packing their bags. Most have already said goodbye. Erbil is the capital of the de-facto sovereign Kurdistan Regional Government. Baghdad is thought of as the capital of a deranged foreign country.

In January 2005 the Iraqi Kurds held an informal referendum. More than 80 percent turned out to vote. 98.7 percent of those voted to secede from Iraq. Not only have the Kurds long dreamed of independence, when they look south they see only Islamism, Baathism, blood, fire, and mayhem.

It is true that the Kurds are also divided between Shiite and Sunni, but in Kurdistan religion takes a second place behind ethnicity. In any civil war the Kurds will likely just sit the thing out. They might even enjoy seeing the Sunnis wiped out. What would that be to them? An Iraqi civil war would weaken the new government and make it more amenable to Kurdish demands.

There are maybe 30 million Kurds scattered overt the Middle East in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey. Since classical times they have not had their own state but they are determined to get one---a big one. Turkey, Iran and Syria are just as determined to deny them this. So the race is on. If the Kurds are successful not just in keeping their regional autonomy in northern Iraq but in acquiring statehood, the entire region will be convulsed---that is, more convulsed than it already is. A new Kurdistan will act as a beacon for Kurds everywhere. Syria and Iran will be shaken and destabilized.

And that is the point. You see, the Kurds are ferociously pro-American, the most pro-American people perhaps in the world. They are certainly more pro-American than Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. When the war begins between Iran and the US the Iranian Kurds will be with us. One sideshow of this war will be the destruction of the Syrian regime---and again, the Syrian Kurds will be with us.

As I write these words US Special Forces and the Israelis are in Iraqi Kurdistan. I would be surprised if they were not in Iranian Kurdish areas too. There they are doing those things for which they have been most admirably trained: funneling arms and cash to anti-regime types and generally stirring up mischief as they prepare the ground for the coming US assault upon the Iranian state. This is the main reason for the latest acts of desperation from the mullahs---riots over cartoons, the blowing up of a golden mosque and renewed threats to strike at Israel. The Iranians are afraid pure and simple. Like those at Belshazzar's Feast, they can see the handwriting upon the wall. The Americans are coming and the Kurds will cheer them on.

So even if Shiite and Sunni do not engage in mutual throat-slitting in Iraq, there is coming a regional civil war that will redraw the entire Middle Eastern map.  The grotesque terror regimes centered in Tehran and Damascus will be demolished. Their borders will be redrawn to allow a larger Kurdistan similar to the area shown on the map. It will be pro-American and flush with oil wealth.

It is manifestly in US interests to encourage a new Kurdish state. While this will drive cartographers to drink, the result of all this map-making will be a more stable place than what the Brits accomplished in the 1920s. There will be mainly Arabs in Syria and Iraq, mainly Persians in Iran and mainly Kurds in the new Kurdistan.

The American media will not understand any of this of course. There is scarcely any reason for their existence except to encourage Maya's Dance. When the Iranian feces hit the American fan the media will scream, "Failure! Quagmire! Defeat! Withdraw!" They will be ignored, the Iranian terror regime and its puppet in Syria will fall, Hamas and Hezbollah---both on the Iranian payroll---will go broke, a new nation will emerge and America will send an ambassador to the new Kurdish capital of Erbil.

Which reminds me: One of my students is a Kurd. He is a clever lad and might one day be the president of Kurdistan. I had better start being nice to him.

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February 27, 2006

Way Too Much Time on My Hands

So today I am home with a head that threatens to split asunder. Maybe Athena will burst forth from it. If so I hope she is a Miss Venezuela look-alike. And then we could---oh never mind, I have a headache.

In the meantime I praise the creator of aspirin.

And think of my poor students! All alone with some Hellish substitute!

Anyway, though I am in no mood for thoughts sublime I thought I would turn to thoughts absurd, as in this site. It turns any writing into a number of bizarre dialects. It really works. (Like I said, today I have way too much time on my hands.)

Take part of Horace's 10th Ode.

Injurious Time, what Age escapes thy Curse?

Evil our grandfathers were, our fathers worse.

And we till now unmatched in ill,

Must leave Successors more corrupted still.

 

Here it is turned into Redneck:

 

Injurious Time, whut Age excapes thy Curse?

Evil our gran'Pappys were, our Pappys wo'se.

An' we till now unmatched in ill,

Muss leave Successo's mo'e co'rupped still, ah reckon.

 

Into Elmer Fudd-speak:

 

Injuwious Time, what Age escapes thy Cuwse?

Eviw ouw gwandfathews wewe, ouw fathews wowse.

And we tiww now unmatched in iww,

Must weave Successows mowe cowwupted stiww.

 

Into Pig-Latin:

 

Injuriousyay Imetay, atwhay Ageyay escapesyay ythay Ursecay?

Evilyay ouryay andfathersgray ereway, ouryay athersfay orseway.

Andyay eway illtay ownay unmatchedyay inyay illyay,

Ustmay eavelay Uccessorssay oremay orruptedcay illstay.

 

Into something called 'Swedish Chef':

 

Injooreeuoos Teeme-a, vhet Ege-a iscepes thy Coorse-a?

Ifeel oooor grundffezeers vere-a, oooor fezeers vurse-a.

Und ve-a teell noo unmetched in ill,

Moost leefe-a Sooccessurs mure-a curroopted steell.

 

These translations really work Hell with the spell check.

 

And by the way, what type of man would design such a program as the above? He must have way too much time on his hands.

 

When the head returns to normal I will again wax poetic and informative.

 

(Hat tip: Neal Boortz)

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February 25, 2006

Call Me Nostradamus

Look guys, I was only kidding. You know, as in 'making a joke.' I was not at all serious when I accused the more spittle-flecked members of the religion of Mohammed of one day declaring war on Bugs and Daffy.

Will these folks be the next victims of Islamic irrationality?

But much to my surprise they took me literally. Probably to spare my feelings they chose not to issue a fatwa against those two characters above. But---alas!---they have declared war against another cartoon duo! So now Tom and Jerry must now try to survive under the shadow of radical Islam's deadly intent.

Some Iranian named Hasan Bolkhari with the impressive sounding title 'Cultural Advisor to Iranian Education Ministry and Member of Interfaith Organization' (try fitting that on a name tag!) holds forth on the wicked mouse:

There is a cartoon that children like. They like it very much, and so do adults - Tom and Jerry.

The Jewish Walt Disney Company gained international fame with this cartoon. It is still shown throughout the world. This cartoon maintains its status because of the cute antics of the cat and mouse - especially the mouse.

Some say that the main reason for making this very appealing cartoon was to erase a certain derogatory term that was prevalent in Europe...

The Jews were degraded and termed 'dirty mice.' Tom and Jerry was made in order to change the Europeans' perception of mice. One of terms used was 'dirty mice.'...

I'd like to tell you that... It should be noted that mice are very cunning...and dirty...No ethnic group or people operates in such a clandestine manner as the Jews.

Tom and Jerry was made in order to display the exact opposite image. If you happen to watch this cartoon tomorrow, bear in mind the points I have just raised, and watch it from this perspective. The mouse is very clever and smart. Everything he does is so cute. He kicks the poor cat's ass. Yet this cruelty does not make you despise the mouse. He looks so nice, and he is so clever... This is exactly why some say it was meant to erase this image of mice from the minds of European children, and to show that the mouse is not dirty and has these traits.

Yes, I see now, Allah Be Praised! I see the cruel eyes of the Hellish rodent. His icy stare does little to disguise the evil that lies beneath. He awaits expectantly, ready to devour Islamic children, to deceive them and lead them into the depths of the abyss, into Sheol itself.

First they came for Danish cartoonists. Then they came for Tom. Then they came for Jerry. Oh my God! Who might be next? Could it be...no!

Our world reeks of savagery and tragedy, but also of satire and comedy. Jesus weeps, but He also laughs. Does Mohammed do either?

No one---but no one---could make this stuff up.

(Hat tip: World Net Daily)

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February 24, 2006

The God Dances

In Hindu theology there is something called maya.

Maya is the illusion that the phenomenal world of separate objects and people is the only reality. The goal of enlightenment is to understand this...In Advaita Vedanta philosophy, maya is the illusion of a limited, purely physical and mental reality in which our everyday consciousness has become entangled, a veiling of the true...Many philosophies or religions seek to "pierce the veil" in order to glimpse the transcendent truth, from which the illusion of a physical reality springs...

Maya translates literally as 'not this'---'this' being what is seen and felt and heard. Maya dances in front of the Real, confusing man and leading him to believe that his world is what really is. In fact, his world is a dream. Enlightenment comes when a man sees beyond maya, to the true nature of things.

So how does one get beyond the dance of maya? Easy to ask, hard to answer. Consider all the news in the past few months. The most powerful media in history seem to specialize in maya's dance. They latch onto story after story, proclaiming each to be the scoop of the age but each seems to have a lifespan of a week or so. Tom Delay? Jack Abramoff? Wiretapping? Abu Ghraib? Niger? Valerie Plame? Scooter Libby? Dick Cheney? Now, what were all those about again? All one can see is the dancing of a god.

Maya creates an illusion of cause and effect. Some men in Denmark drew cartoons and then five months later men on the other side of the world die because of it. How did tribesmen in the wilds of Pakistan suddenly come up with hundreds of Danish flags to burn for the cameras? What is maya trying to hide from us here?

Maya is everywhere. A Shiite mosque blows up in Iraq. Sunni mosques are bombed and  Sunnis killed in reprisal. The leader of the Iraqi Shiites shows up in Beirut. Everyone screams, "Civil war!" Really? Why would Sunnis initiate a civil war that even they admit would destroy them utterly? Why are some of the captured bombers non-Iraqi? Are there dots that remain as yet unseen, unconnected?

An Iranian president and a Venezuelan dictator meet. There are many hugs all around and promises of solidarity. Suddenly the dictatorships of both nations begin to move capital off shore. Why? What do they know that we do not? Or its it mere coincidence?

A former American president goes to a foreign land to demand that Danish cartoonists be punished. His former vice-president speaks in Saudi Arabia and accuses his homeland of gross abuses of followers of Mohammed. Is maya dancing?

Now we hear of American ports being turned over to some emirates on the border of Saudi Arabia. The media is on fire, Congress talks and talks, Bush is adamant, pundits and thinkers are all over the place saying this and that, sometimes changing their minds by the hour. Few of them know much about ports or shipping. But all go on and on. Maya again?

Yes, of course. She dances always. But her veil can be pierced. Illusion cannot always hold sway or men would go mad. What is the real here and what is the illusion of the real? Is the reason for selling port concession rights merely economics? Confusion all around: Those emirates are vital to America's terror war; no, they are financers of terror. We are turning port security over to Arabs; no, security will remain in the hands of Americans. Bush knew for months about the sale; no, it took him by surprise. America should reward her allies; no, her allies should not need rewarding. Maya's dance is becoming faster and more feverish.

But suddenly she vanishes and we can see the thing with utter clarity, the thing as it really is. We can understand the cartoons, the mosque bombing, the port deal, the meeting in South America, the stubbornness of the American president. Here is the matter plainly: Iran has begun her war against the United States. She is very near the public declaration that she has a nuclear weapon. Thus, the tremendous stirring up of smoke and violence all around the world. She is buying time through a dance of a god. When all the distraction is at an end, Iran will emerge with a nuclear arsenal. She will then possess the power of Kali, the destroyer of worlds.

Suddenly it seems as if American interests are everywhere at risk. An ally in Pakistan is distracted by thousands marching and killing against those cartoons. A Venezuelan tyrant ratchets up his anti-American tirades and threatens reprisals against the oil supply. Iranian puppet Muqtada al-Sadr seems to allow the bombing of the Iraqi mosque and then scurries to Iranian financed thugs in Beirut. The entire US effort in Iraq seems about to literally go down in flames.

And now the port confusion---which is not really a confusion at all. The reason Bush will not  be fooled by this latest illusion of maya is this: America needs the cooperation of the UAE. Bush wishes to tie her interests more firmly to America's. We will need the emirates' own port facilities on the Persian Gulf. They are strategically placed right across from Iran. The US military plans on using them for the upcoming war against Iran. Maya or no maya, this war is coming.

And then at last will the Iranians be forced for once to look beyond their own maya, for she dances for them as well. For Iran and its mullahs the war against the US will supply them with a clarity will that will destroy their illusions. Those who survive will actually see the world as it is. For the fire and Hell they have unleashed upon so many will now be visited upon them.

And as for the former president Clinton and his former vice-president Gore? What of those speeches they made? No maya is dancing here. One need merely look up the word 'treason.'

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February 22, 2006

Random Thoughts

I have no idea whether turning over America's ports to the United Arab Emirates (and what is an 'emirate' anyway? ) is a good idea. If it is economically it certainly is not politically. George Bush said

It sends a terrible signal to friends around the world that it's OK for a company from one country to manage the port, but not a country that plays by the rules and has got a good track record from another part of the world.

I had not realized until now that US security is really just an award to foreigners  because they act civil toward us from time to time.

____________________

As soon as those emirate fellows heard of the backlash against their taking control of American ports they did what tyrants always do. They tried to shut up their opponents. They banned Michelle Malkin's site. They insulted those Americans against the deal, calling them 'Islamophobes.' So let me get this straight: Bush wants to turn over America's ports to those who insult his fellows and wish to ban their opinions. Hey George, who voted for you anyway? Desert dwelling, tyrannical Islamic foreigners or Americans?

____________________

Handling ports is a messy and complicated affair. It absolutely must be done competently and efficiently. So tell me: How competent and efficient are Arabs? How do they run their own countries?

____________________

Bush said

I don't understand why it's OK for a British company to operate our ports but not a company from the Middle East when we've already determined security is not an issue.

The Brits are not trying to kill us. Neither are the Germans or Japanese. The number one killer of Americans at home and abroad in the last 30 years has been Islamic Arab men from the Middle East. President Bush, if you are so intent on turning over American ports to Islamic Arab men from the Middle East, how about exchanging your Secret Service bodyguards for Islamic Arab men from the Middle East? You could also turn over the management of your Texas ranch to Islamic Arab men from the Middle East.

____________________

Ted Bilkey is the CEO of Dubai Ports World. He says

We followed U.S. law and actually approached the U.S. government for approval of our security arrangement weeks prior to the formal review. We will continue to work with the U.S. government in maintaining the highest standards of security at U.S. ports, and will fully cooperate in putting into place whatever is necessary to protect the terminals.

Well Ted, all those airplanes on 9/11 followed US law too. Flight plans were turned in, maintenance schedules were adhered to, the pilots had proper training. And the result was...what?

____________________

Varifrank is his usual eloquent self. He is not worried about all of this. Give him a read. Then read Selwyn Duke.

Dubai is an state that recognized the Taliban and, as pointed out by Congressman Mark Foley of Florida, seeks “to be Iran’s free trade partner and has been linked to the funding and planning of 9-11.”  In other words, this is somewhat akin to having given a Japanese or German company control over our seaports in the late 1930s.

____________________

As reported by the AP---no friend to Bush or the War on Terror----the UAE is

a loose federation of seven emirates on the Saudi peninsula, was an important operational and financial base for the hijackers who flew two 757 and two 767 jetliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 Americans in the nation's deadliest terrorist attack, the FBI concluded.

From the same article:

The State Department describes the UAE as a vital partner in the fight against terrorism.

So which is it? Are the UAE 'an important operational and financial base for the hijackers' or are they 'vital partners in the fight against terrorism?'

____________________

Something about this does not pass the smell test. Qui bono? Who benefits from this deal anyway? How does this deal make America safer? The arguments in favor do not answer this question. Why not?

____________________

That dreary little creep and professional traitor Jimmy Carter has come out in favor of the port deal. That settles it for me.

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February 21, 2006

Something and Nothing

What can better illustrate the future of Europe than this?

A new cathedral church was built twelve years ago in Evry, to the south of Paris. It is recognized as the masterpiece of one of the most famous architects in the world, Mario Botta of Switzerland. During Sunday Mass, it is half-empty. But the nearby mosque is overflowing with the faithful. The imam of the mosque, Khalil Merroun, asserted in an interview: “The Catholic Church should not feel Europe belongs to it. The advice I give my Catholic colleagues is to ask themselves why their faithful don’t live their spirituality.”

Why indeed? Why are European churches empty while European mosques are full? And let us not pretend that this started recently. Long before there were many Moslems living in Europe attendance at Sunday Mass was dropping. Now most pews are empty on Sunday, with only tourists wandering about ancient and dusty cathedrals.

I am sure that philosophers and theologians have all sorts of theories to explain Europe's move away from the faith that built Chartres, that produced Aquinas, that nurtured Newton and Pascal, that created capitalism and the university, that provided the astounding dynamism that sent Europe out to conquer the world. Modern thinkers explain away all of Christianity as nothing but a relic of another time, a collection of fables destroyed by the Enlightenment, by Liberalism, by Darwin, by Marx, by Science, by Positivism. These really are competing faiths, something that man allowed in his mind and soul even as he expelled Christianity from them.

But then we see the offspring of these competing faiths. Just during the last 100 years Europe has given us World War I, World War II, the Holocaust, communism, fascism, Nazism, the Cold War and the Iron Curtain. Such things have given us a remarkable collection of men: Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, Stalin, and their foreign copy-cats Castro, Mao, Hussein, Assad and Kim Jong-Il.

Man being what he is---a rather wretched thing---he came to believe that what had really fueled his civilization was...himself. Nothing new here at all. We know this was Lucifer's sin. We read of the builders of the Tower of Babel. In fact we know that all of history is littered with attempts to replace God with something else. For the Christian God---call Him Yahweh, call Him Christ, call Him the Holy Spirit---is a rather demanding Fellow. He is always giving advice on this and that. He does not bargain with His law. Either one obeys or one does not. There are consequences to each choice.

And Europe has chosen: "No more of this God stuff! We will follow our own lights!" And so it has. And the result has been sterility and impotence and cowardice. Europe is dying before our eyes. There is there today what there was in the later Roman Empire, penuria hominum---a shortage of men. For decades now Europe has been placing its seed---which is, after all, nothing but future Europeans---into little plastic bags and tossing these into the toilet. If by chance their seed somehow made it where it is supposed to go, no problem: there is RU-486 and legions of 'doctors' who could scrape away any embarrassment. The Church railed against such slow-motion suicide but to no avail.

Now Europe is lacking people---European people that is. Those who for centuries have been imbued with the Christian faith and all that has come from it.  So Europeans did what nations do when they find themselves without a needed resource. They imported it. Europe imported people, mainly from the Middle East, mainly Moslems of course. One thing for sure about these Moslems, they take their faith very seriously indeed. No penuria hominum for them! While Europe cannot replace itself---European births are less than European deaths---the Moslems in Europe have no such problem. The Moslem birth rate far exceeds the European.

Do the mathematics yourself. Europe is becoming Moslem. There will be no future Frenchmen to surrender to future Germans, and no future Germans to accept the surrender of future Frenchman. Islam is still in a minority, but then so was the Nazi Party in 1923. Mark Steyn puts it plainly:

Can a society become more Muslim in its demographic character without also becoming more Muslim in its political and civil character?

Short answer: No.

If a society chooses to outsource its breeding, who your suppliers are is not unimportant...When the fastest-breeding demographic group on the planet is also the one most resistant to the pieties of the social-democratic state that's a profound challenge.

"Well then, we can live and let live," you might say. Think again. Islam permits nothing of the sort. While the Vatican and every church are open to all, wherever Islam goes it brings persecution with it. Allah is a jealous god and relishes in the elimination of Judaism and Christianity and Buddhism and Hinduism. There are no Christian churches in Saudi Arabia. Any Moslem who converts to Christianity is beheaded. Any non-Moslem who goes to Mecca suffers likewise.

There are entire swaths in every European city given over to Moslems. These are really nations within nations. Here Islamic Law---sharia---holds sway. Here non-Moslems enter at their own risk and uncovered girls are subject to gang rape. Even the City of Lights, Paris, has enormous suburbs controlled by Islam. Parisian police dare not enter.

What then is to be done? Well, nothing. Europe has abandoned Christianity and is suffering the consequences. For no man stops believing in everything for very long, he will simply come to believe in something else. Islam offers that something else. Its adherents may be ragged, ignorant and violent, but so what? They believe in something. And something trumps nothing every time.

Europe in 50 years will be a strange place indeed. We can expect that it will resemble every other place on earth where Islam holds sway: impoverished, tyrannical, bigoted, crude, dirty, illiterate and full of Jew hatred. Once Europe civilized barbarians. Now the barbarians are coming to rule Europe.

And Europe is accommodating them. The place that birthed Charles Martel, that fought Islam for 1000 years, now surrenders when Moslems rampage against cartoons in the very streets of Europe.

If you want the reality of Europe in a nutshell, walk into a supermarket belonging to the French chain Carrefour. You'll be greeted by a notice in Arabic: "Dear Clients, We express solidarity with the Islamic and Egyptian community. Carrefour doesn't carry Danish products." It's strictly business: they have three Danish customers and a gazillion Muslim ones. Retail sales-wise, they know which way their bread's buttered and it isn't with Lurpak...Europe is bicultural: a fading elderly population yielding to a young surging Islam.

So Europeans, go ahead and eat, drink and be merry today. For tomorrow you---those of you who survive---will be praising Allah and his dreary little prophet.

(Hat tip: Amy Welborn)

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February 19, 2006

Gear Head

Backpackers---especially the weirder types of the species---enjoy fantasizing over the latest creations from The North Face, from Gregory, from Marmot, from Sierra Designs, from Mountain Hardwear, and so on. Tents, packs, jackets, sleeping bags and such might seem to normal folk not to change much year by year, but to the real gear heads of the outdoor world they change as often as Michael Jackson changes his sex. More often, in fact.

Many times I have encountered those who had not been hiking since their Boy Scout days. Now with sons of their own they would venture into a backpacking store to get stuff for some upcoming father-and-son bonding session in the woods. Needing tent and packs and bags, they soon got the shock of their middle-aged lives. The stuff they remembered---pup tents, external frame packs---had gone the way of the typewriter. Now they were faced with a vast array of impossibly light stuff composed of strange ceramics, weird plastics, weirder polymers, odd fabrics and odder designs. Mouths agape they wandered about like some Rip van Winkle as their kids scampered down every aisle. At last they came to terms with reality, tracked down a salesman and began to get an education into the backpacking of today---and prepared to spend a great deal more money than they had planned.

I once was a bona fide gear head. Every year I would spend a few days in the US getting the latest in tents and things so that I could be marvelously up-to-date when heading out into the wilds of South America. I luxuriated in the coolest stuff---it was also hideously expensive---and was the envy of other backpackers I encountered. I had an entire set of gear specialized for jungles below 3000 feet, another set for those above. I had high altitude gear and snow equipment, stuff for grasslands and stuff for forests. In all I had 12 tents, 7 sleeping bags, 5 pairs of boots and 14 packs---to say nothing about clothes and stoves.

As an example: During my last year-long solo expedition in South and Central America I traveled 5,000 miles lugging two tents ($600), three pair of boots ($800), two stoves ($400), two sleeping bags ($300), five pairs of pants ($500), six shirts ($500)---and on and on. I was well prepared and well-endowed with wads of cash.

But no more. Economic situations change, and mine certainly has. I last bought some cool gear some 2 years ago---until today. I was faced with a common problem in the rarefied backpacking ethers in which I practice my craft. I plan on ten weeks in Peru this summer. Your normal gear head would ask himself, "Well, which tent do I take?" My needs were a tent that could do anything from 3000 feet jungles to 15,000 feet Andean passes. I did happen to have one---a Mountain Hardwear Approach tent---but it is a bit light. True, I had taken it to Choquequirao, but I was lucky then: no rain or wind just cold and colder. And it was late in the season and thus drier. Now I have to be ready for weird weather. This means wind, rain and ice, but also humid and sub-tropical. What to do?

I found my answer, an MSR Fusion tent. Strong and light, it can handle anything but the highest peaks yet has mesh panels and an adjustable vent for humid climes. And I found the thing with its matching footprint for $150 less than normal. I was as happy as a housewife at Wal-Mart with a handful of coupons.

Now, I only have to find a way to get to Peru. Stay tuned.

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Creators and Destroyers

The Islamic world was a bit quiet this weekend. The practitioners of the 'religion of peace' only found the time to kill a few Moslems and Christians, mostly in Nigeria and Libya. Perhaps they were worn out after declaring war upon Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonalds, admittedly softer targets than the US Marine Corps. But one does what one can.

I have long called these bone-ignorant fellows who rampage mightily against cartoons a rather sorry lot. It seems a Moslem's time is spent either burning stuff, listening to hair-raisingly violent sermons in their mosques or trying to murder Israeli schoolchildren in their beds. For the life of me I cannot think of anything they have done to make this planet a more pleasant place or any Moslem's life a happier and healthier one.

They certainly create nothing---and I mean nothing, as in absolutely nothing. One would think that Islam would be a bit more fecund and imaginative. After all, this 'religion of peace' has been going full-bore since old Mohammed took to his heels and fled Mecca in 622 AD. Surely Islam can account for something in this modern world. It has over 1,000,000,000 members. What exactly do these guys really do all day?

Apparently not much---other than those activities mentioned above. Dinocrat has run the numbers. The results are not surprising. If Moslems had any shame they would be embarrassed. Here are the cold, hard facts of creative life:

Number of US patents in 2005: 157,000

 

Number of US patents in 1997: 111,805

 

Number of Iranian patents in 2001: 1

 

And the number of patents in Indonesia---the largest Islamic nation---since 2001 is only a pitiful 30.

As Dinocrat says:

Remember this pathetic performance the next time some bonehead tries to argue cultural equivalency to you. How dare these people try to impose their ways on us, or dictate anything about the way we should live. Theirs is a formula for poverty, stagnation and misery. Imagine: over a billion people, and they have fewer patents in their entire recorded history than did the citizens of Utah last year.

As we look up the world 'sterile' we find: "unproductive, lacking in stimulating or emotional quality, lifeless." Sounds like a reasonable definition of Islam as well.

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February 18, 2006

Roads Less Traveled

I have been leaving home since 1980. Of all the ways to do so---tourism, travel, adventure and exploration---most of my time was spent either preparing for, engaging in or recovering from some odd adventure alone in climes weird and wild. This was especially true of my 14 years in Latin America. It had come to me as it has come to all rootless vagabonds that there was a better way to get out than working in the US to save money for adventure overseas. The better way was simply to move overseas and use your new home as a base camp. This I did in Costa Rica and Argentina. I would work, save cash and head out to forest and mountain.

Such a life wears of course. Americans are the most dynamic people in history, and they have a way of being and doing that is difficult for others to comprehend. Americans either infuriate or confuse. Not that it bothers us much---it amuses actually. Still, out alone with pack and tent I became tired of things such as:

Sweat soaking my clothes and running down my fac e.

Being always covered with insect bites.

Lugging two huge bags over four thousand miles.

Drinking iodine-laced water.

Taking cold-water showers.

Going to Spanish language Masses.

Speaking Spanish.

Seeing the most vulgar wealth amidst the most degrading poverty.

Arguing with taxi drivers.

Hustling about  in a search for a bed when I enter a city.

Walking through populated areas with a loaded pack.

Being the center of attention while traversing rural Latin America.

Smelling like a goat while backpacking.

Always preparing for or cleaning up after a backpacking trip.

Pretending that I have more lives than a cat.

Pushing myself beyond any reasonable physical and mental limits time and time again.

Always being ready to deal physical violence if the moment calls for it.

The decision to return to Life in These United States was not a hard one to make. I made it two years ago and do not regret it. I exult in things American---my Jeep for example.

But another summer approaches---ten weeks away from the normal responsibilities of work. The time simply begs to be spent in South America. And so it will be most likely. Peru to be exact.

The first thoughts were of simply getting to those places in that nation I did not yet know, mainly the Cordillera Blanca near Huaraz. There is similar such walking around Ausangate near Cuzco.

But all of this seems a bit tame now that I am reading this:

This is the story of Theodore Roosevelt's 1913-1914 journey down an unknown Brazilian river, later known as the Rio Roosevelt. And for good reason, for his expedition was the first to explore it. The tale is told by former National Geographic editor Candice Millard, a rather slight and fetching lass:

Millard's writing is of a type well-known to lovers of adventure lore, especially the sort who read of madmen on the hunt for lost cities or uncharted lands in South America. I have read a bunch of these myself and know the genre well. Her book is a page-turner that I will certainly finish in a day or so. It recalls a world now near impossible to find, a world where there were rivers and tribes and lands that had not seen the tread of white men's boots. One photo from the book shows Roosevelt and a few of his companions getting ready for their expedition.

The image conjures up the old type of explorer, one with loads of money, backing and influence---a John Hanning Speke, for example---and one with companions equally as worldly and experienced. These sorts of adventures are no longer possible. The world since Roosevelt's descent of that river has become too small for men like him. All has been mapped. What was once inaccessible to any but a hardy few---Machu Picchu in 1920---can now be reached on any tour bus by the spandex clad. It saddens.

Roosevelt himself knew this of course.

The ordinary traveler, who never goes off the beaten route and who on this beaten route is carried by others, without himself doing anything or risking anything, does not need to show much more initiative and intelligence than an express package.

And it puts things in perspective. Of all the time I have spent 'out there' only a little of it was doing anything remotely like Roosevelt and his river trip: crossing the Darien Gap, walking to Choquequirao and exploring the ruins of Vilcabamba. And I mostly went alone. Everything I needed---food, medicines, fuel, tent, stove, sleeping bag---had to fit into a backpack. The absolute most I can carry is 14 days worth of provisions without re-supply. For comparison, Roosevelt and his hardy companions were gone 4 months!

Which brings me back to this summer. Where to go? My mind wanders. Time is spent pouring over things scarcely known---to me at least. As one having neither the resources nor jaw-dropping shear physical stamina of Teddy I must adjust my fantasies accordingly. Where to go? Certainly some normal hike of a week or so in the Andes to break in gear and tone the body. But then where? I must find someplace that takes me to my absolute physical, emotional and spiritual limits. I have touched those limits before, knowing both terror and exhilaration. There is nothing remotely like it, not even you-know-what.

And so yes, I have some ideas. But I am not going to write about them yet.

(Update: Here is an interview with Candice Millard.)

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February 15, 2006

The Silence of the Pen

Alas. Reality has pushed its gruesome face smack dab into my life. That is, reality in the form of essays to correct, lessons to plan, books to finish and miles to run and ride. So I will try hard to get all caught up with works and days and books. I have of course a host of things that beg to issue from my cyber-pen. But not yet. Soon and very soon.

And of course, there is Peru---Andes and jungles and ruins. Much to plan, perchance to dream. Of Gran Pajáten. Of Laguna de los Condores. Of Ausangate and Alpamayo. Of the Cordillera Blanca and Huaraz. Of Puerto Maldonado.

And do not worry if you have never heard of these places, for few have. But the desire---no, the need---for me to know about them is all-consuming. Far away peaks of granite and lakes of ice, of long-lost ruins and Godless jungles, are having their way with me. They haunt---they have always haunted. Like Odysseus I hear their siren calls. Time to put these demons to rest.

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February 12, 2006

Death to Them That Follow

Forget taxes and war and spending and immigration and welfare and Social Security and liberals and conservatives and Democrats and Republicans. Put them all out of your little heads. The one---the only---thing that defines who and what you are is your view on abortion. Either you favor it or you don't. If you do then  you have no problem when an abortionist---let's not call these guys doctors, OK?---shoves a pair of scissors into the head of an almost born child. For doing so is completely legal in all 50 states. It is called 'partial birth abortion.'

A woman goes to  a Planned Parenthood clinic right before the baby is due. She lays out the cash, gets into position and allows the abortionist to grab her unborn child so that his head is inside while his legs dangle outside. The abortionist takes a pair of scissors and shoves them into them into the child's brain and scrambles them around a bit. He then inserts a suction tube to remove the skull contents of the dead child. He pulls out the corpse, tosses it aside and tells the woman to get dressed. Then he is off to his next 'patient'.

Oh stop your complaining! I can hear you even where I sit and write. "Why, I absolutely do not support such a thing!" Well, if you are pro-choice you most certainly do, for that 'choice' that you so fervently support is illustrated below.

If you want to see the real thing---photos not drawings---then go here. But be warned. You will be entering a small part of Hell. Have a stiff drink first.

Back already? Have a nice look at 'the land of choice' did we? If those photos did not bother you, then you are a monster. Please leave my site.

For those humans that remain, you are of course appalled. Yet if you still support abortion you are in a morally tough spot. You want to leave some sort of legal wiggle-room for abortion in cases of rape or incest, but are extremely uncomfortable with partial-birth abortion. I understand your view, but I have some bad news for you. The moral difference between partial-birth abortion and a run-of-the-mill abortion is precisely nothing. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

For you see, once Harry meets Sally and sperm meets egg, the moral question is over. Life has begun and Sally will have a baby. She might abort it but what she aborts is still a baby. She might miscarry but what results is still a baby. She might bring it to term, that is, she will have a baby. Rape and incest are abominations, but such horrors are not improved or eliminated by adding murder to them. A raped woman who aborts does not all of a sudden feel better.

There are two and only two positions on abortion. One: abortion should be allowed. Two: abortion should not be allowed. Anything else is just moral confusion. Each view is defensible, although the first brings up another problem. Why not allow 'abortion' beyond the child's birth? Ridiculous you say. Not so, for this is exactly the position of Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton. He is a monster but not an irrational one, and he sees far more clearly than the pro-choice crowd the real issue, which is: Once you remove the sanctity of life from conception, then wherever society places such sanctity is an entirely legal and arbitrary construct. Singer argues that a family should be allowed up to one year beyond birth to decide whether to abort.

Either position creates a certain sort of world. A world where life is sanctified at conception would mean a world with more people. It might be news to the overpopulation-crowd but people are born not just with mouths but hands and minds too. A non-abortion world would allow more Mozarts, more Martin Luther Kings and---alas!---more Clintons, but more doctors and engineers as well. A abortion world would be smaller of course, but not everywhere, for there are certain types of people who will continue to believe that life is sanctified at conception no matter what the modern world tells him. These types will come to outnumber the abortion crowd who after all support the slaughter of a segment of the next generation. After a few generations the anti-abortion types will predominate in politics, the pulpit, academia, everywhere.

And this is exactly what is happening here in the US. The political party that supports abortion-on-demand---the Democrat Party---is having a hard time these days winning elections. Those states where Democrats predominate are exactly those states that are losing population, and losing it to conservative states like Texas and Oklahoma.

Simply stated, pro-choice types are condemning themselves to oblivion. Their defining position is a slow-motion mechanism of death, a veritable and insensate  Moloch that grinds away at the next generation.

The pro-choice crowd has a suicide pact---with themselves and with their children who will never be.

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February 11, 2006

Foxy Lady

I do not surf the web. Too much to do with just keeping up with my blog and reading a bunch of other blogs. And then there is work, Mass, exercise, loads of books and thinking randomly and often.

So while reading a bit at Neal Boortz I came across a site which was rather---how does one say this?---'interesting' in a clinical sort of way. In my daily run at existence---at least since I left my last teaching post---I seldom come upon one such as the damsel pictured below. Her name is Amy.

She describes herself as a

Life-loving fat lesbian separatist feminist who's had it with business as usual, hopelessness, despair, new-age mentality, and other ways of denying the trouble we're in and our complicity with it.

Some of Amy's interests are not exactly common among the crowd I move with. They are:

lesbian-feminists, lesbian separatism, activism, radical love, cats, sustainable living, seeing the world, lesbian detective fiction

I love the web! For how else would I have known that there was something called 'lesbian detective fiction'? It is indeed true that one learns something new every day. And as for 'lesbian separatism' I am all for it.

OK, just what am I getting at here? I don't know exactly, except that those who live in free societies have to understand that such freedom allows for one such as Amy to live and---by her own lights---to thrive. There is no getting around this. If you persecute Amy and her types you persecute me and my types. She needs prayers, a psychiatrist and a legion of dieticians certainly but she must not be denied her Constitutional rights in any way.

But Amy has some complaints about just what those rights are. You see, Amy had a problem when she attempted to board an airline.

I was barred from boarding Southwest Airlines because I refused to comply with their “customer of size” policy by purchasing a second seat.

Even though I’ve been some degree of fat my whole life, and certainly have gotten my share of ridicule and rejection because of it, being refused a public accommodation hasn’t been part of my experience.

I understand her position but then there is no airline on the planet that can possibly accommodate her extreme width and breadth without charging extra. Just as she freely chose her life and eating habits Southwest Airlines freely chose its policies. Amy is free to find another airline if she is displeased with Southwest. Free societies work that way. No business is in any way forced to accommodate the odd, the perverse and the goofy. If Amy's girth takes up two spaces then she must pony up the required dough. If Amy ordered two plates at a restaurant---a common occurrence for her I am sure---then she must pay for the privilege. Amy's clothes must certainly cost more than mine, yet I doubt her tailor charges what mine does. Amy's life-style has its attendant benefits and its attendant costs.

What Amy really wants is for the rest of us---those who use and pay for only one seat---to subsidize her life-style choice. For if Southwest allowed Amy to occupy two seats while paying for only one, then the company would have to make up that lost revenue somewhere. It would have to either raise costs or cut services. More than likely every passenger would have the cost of his ticket go up so that Amy could get an extra seat free of charge.

Amy is typical of her type. Her site has much whining, wailing and gnashing of teeth about how the cold, cruel world refuses to see her as she wishes to be seen, to treat her as she wishes to be  treated, to accommodate her as she wishes to be accommodated.

If you're thin and white and heterosexual and able-bodied, you don't understand what it's like to live with other people's hatred.

Amy, Amy, Amy! It is not hatred at all. It is just that in the average, normal run of worldly affairs we simply do not run into someone like you. Your very appearance is a bit shocking. We look  but then turn away either in pity or embarrassment.  We would help you if we could but we really would not know where to start. And besides, you seem content in your life-style. Who are we to interfere? Live and let live, we say.

And Amy, it is certainly not some sort of attack upon the lesbian-feminist critique of 'Western Culture' to say you are rather freakish in your habits. There is no getting around this my dear. There is no culture on the planet---and none in history outside of Sappho's island of Lesbos---that would feel that you and yours were anything but odd. In fact, about the only place where you and yours can exist free of oppression is the West---particularly the US. Try opening up shop in, say, Saudi Arabia and you will see what I mean. And very quickly.

So stop your complaining. And start your own airline if you like. You are absolutely free to do so. I might even fly in it some day if I could pay for just one seat.

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Somebody Stop Me!

I had almost made a vow to stop writing about the goof-ball foolishness of radical Islam. Writing about nuts can drive one nuts. It tires and exhausts having to put cyber-pen to cyber-paper and examine the nether reaches of the Moslem mind. After a few days the spirit revolts. "Enough already!", it yelps. "Write about sex, about Peru, about economists, about sexy Peruvian economists---but stop all this writing about Islam!"

OK. Well, almost OK. I could not resist. Please help me! (And whatever you do, please do not ask Mohammed to dance.)

(Hat tip: TigerHawk)

No witty commentary needed.

Except to say that I have much to say---about Peru. Very much. Much too much. Soon and very soon.

And here is the one and only sexy Peruvian economist. His name is Hernando de Soto.

He is unique in all of Latin America. He actually gets it.

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February 10, 2006

Hell Gapes

Hip-hop 'artist' and moral imbecile Kayne West is again off his meds. His most recent puerile decent into sewage is his call for a new and revised Bible starring...well, Kayne West.

Cocky rap star Kayne West is calling for a revised edition of the Bible, because he thinks he should be a character in it.

The Jesus Walks  hit maker, who picked up three Grammy awards last night, feels sure he'd be "a griot" (West African storyteller) in a modern Bible.

He says, "I bring up historical subjects in a way that makes kids want to learn about them. I'm an inspirational speaker.

Right on Kayne! You tell 'em, bro! Why, who cannot but be inspired by some of your storytelling?

Yo f*** you, Kanye, first and foremost
For making me do this s***. Muh'f*****
Had to throw everybody out the m*********** room
'Cause they don't f******..

I always had a Ph.D.: a Pretty Huge D***
Ladies tired of gettin' ripped off by guys like this
And givin' h*** is like 'oh well, the shoes and the toothpick'
Well, I'm in the club for a limited time
Act now and get some action for $free.99

Sure beats The Sermon on the Mount!

Kayne might need to get a little help before he puts his pen to Holy Scripture.

Rapper Kayne West struggles to hold down a relationship because he's addicted to sex.

The All Falls Down hitmaker admits he never goes anywhere without a stash of porn magazines and thinks about sex all the time, which is why he has problems being monogamous.

Ah, well my man we all have problems. Maybe you can overcome yours. You could turn to Jesus for help and...

I said turn to Jesus, not turn into Jesus! Oh well.

Kayne says being in the Bible would not be much of a stretch because he is "definitely in the history books already." Yes, and so is bestiality.

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February 9, 2006

Al-Oil Al-Akbar

The only reason anyone pays attention to the Islamic world is that it has oil. If Iraq and Iran were known only for their fabulous oranges no one would ever hear about them. If Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait to corner the macadamia nut market no one would give a rodent's back side.

It is oil, dear reader, that makes these ridiculously unstable and grubby Moslem nations subjects of interest. It is oil, dear reader, that enables the perfect criminals who run some of these benighted places to buy stuff. And let us define 'stuff': We mean Western stuff. For no one buys Islamic stuff for there is no such thing. OK, there are great rugs, but what else? Now be a good lad and go into your kitchen and look at your appliances. Anything made in, say, Qatar? Germany certainly---especially your coffee machine with all those tubes coming out of them. France, maybe. America, maybe. Italy, maybe. Now go around the rest of your house and search for stuff made in Islamic lands. Take your time.

You found nothing. Sure there was furniture from Sweden, a stereo from Japan, a TV from Korea, a computer from Taiwan, books from England and a whole lot of cheap junk from China. But your home was bereft of anything from the Islamic world. For one indisputable fact of the universe is that the part of the globe where Mohammed reigns has no idea how to create wealth. There is no Islamic al-Microsoft, no al-Wal-Mart, no al-Sony. Besides oil---of course only extracted with Western technology---the Islamic world produces nothing but grimy thugs and rampaging mobs. And rugs. And funny hats. And pajamas. But alas, neither soap nor dentists.

And everything in the Islamic world that actually works has been imported from the West. Every car and ball-bearing and steel pipe and transistor and air conditioner and nut and bolt came from somewhere else. Islam cannot even manufacture the AK-47s by which Moslems regularly kill each other. And even spooky Iran has no idea how to build a nuclear bomb. All of its nuclear plans and parts and schemes were imported from France and Russia and Germany. And it is oil that gives the Iranian nut-jobs the cash to buy that stuff. An Iran without oil could only threaten the world with an embargo on caviar. And while that would certainly send the Manhattan media types on a surrender mission to Tehran no one else would know about it.

So it is back to oil. They have it. We need it. So we buy it. Lots of it. All the time. Our civilization depends upon it. Lots of it. All the time. And Islam uses this ocean of cash to buy stuff from us. No, not many Tchaikovsky CDs, but stuff like tanks and guns and bullets and missiles and Sarin gas. Every weapon possessed by Saddam's army was imported.

If the West really and truly wanted the Islamic world to calm down and shut up it would find other sources of oil. If Moslem nations had no access to Western cash they could hardly threaten anyone except other Moslems. And no one would care. This sounds heartless but I am only reporting the world as it is. Africans regularly murder and rape and imprison Africans. And the West does---what? Nothing, for outside of Nigeria and Gabon it has no oil. (No, I had never heard of Gabon either. I had to look it up.)

So it is back to oil. If there were sources of it outside the absurdly unstable and tyrannical and irrational Islamic world we civilized types would be better off. Sure, we have a history of dealing with criminals when necessary---our treating with pirates and Prohibition gangsters is quite telling---but we would rather deal with stable and law-abiding folk. So where might we find this oil? Easy answer: In America's own backyard. We have lots of it. In liquid or shale or tar sands the US is swimming in the stuff. Then why don't we simply dig it up and feed our thirsty SUVs? Easy answer: There is an entire library of environmental law that prohibits the extraction of most oil in the US.

You see, sometime in the 70s we were ourselves nuts. No, we did not rampage and burn Danish flags but we did ruin a presidency and abandon an ally and allow marijuana addicts to seize our universities and media. These types looked at Mother Earth and saw a goddess. They came to see humanity itself as an affront to their goddess and Western civilization as a plague. In this they took a step backward in theological and moral sanity to a time thousands of years ago. For their beliefs were not new but quite common in Babylon of old and among the ancient Andean Indigenous. The earth was sacred, and drilling into her body was blasphemous. Of course, environmental types would not put the case this way, but what of it? And they were clever and persuasive and before long we had passed a bunch of what became known as 'environmental legislation.' Drilling for new oil had become difficult, and building a nuclear power plant had become impossible.

And all of this has led to where we are now, dependent on a bunch of rag-tag Barbary Pirates for the life blood of our civilization. Let us not blame Islam, for we did this to ourselves. And we can un-do it as easily as we un-did Prohibition. Once we get the political will to drill for our own oil we will not much need the Islamic world anymore. True, we will have to keep Israel well-supplied with the latest arms so that she can keep banging Arab heads together, but that is really a side-show. All those obscenely wealthy Gulf states would go bankrupt and take on the appearance of hardscrabble Yemen or the back-lot of Lawrence of Arabia. Their politics would be a side-show of a side-show of a side-show, of entertainment value only.

And once we do acquire oil independence Americans can go back to building those tremendously vulgar automobiles we once made---with fins and chrome and big engines. Sure the environmental crowd will squeal, but we could simply legalize marijuana to keep them quiet and happy and sedate. The rest of us could drive around all the time in our cool cars. And al-Jazeera would become the Cartoon Network. And gas would be one dollar per gallon. And the president of Iran and the ambassador of Saudi Arabia would have all the importance of third-tier diplomats from Gabon.

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February 8, 2006

Mosques in the Sky

So a whole lot of Moslems got riled up and began to play with matches. Their targets were flags and embassies. And they killed a few of their own---let's call this 'friendly fire'---and a Catholic priest in Turkey. And the result of all of this hoopla and mayhem is...well, nothing. No Moslem life has been bettered, no Moslem nation's GDP has increased, no deeper understanding of Islam has emerged, no new invention has come out of these pyrotechnics. In fact what has been obvious on every TV set in the world is that Islam is murderously prickly and sensitive. The riots have reaffirmed what people in the West have long believed, that the majority of Moslem lands are filled with soap-deprived and illiterate barbarians. This may not be true, but I am open to evidence proving the contrary.

I imagine what I would feel if my fellow Christians had acted this way in every Christian nation, if they were seen on every TV as a bunch of screaming Huns---my apologies to Attila---on a berserk rampage over cartoons. I would be embarrassed. But perhaps even more, I would be ashamed. It would wound deeply to think that my faith, a 2000 year-old tradition of Mercy and Redemption and Forgiveness, had simply ended up in ignorance and lunacy. It would wound deeply that wherever my faith were strong one would find poverty, tyranny, Jew hatred, misogyny and terrorism. It would wound deeply that nowhere from my faith had emerged any writings remotely resembling the Declaration of Independence, The Wealth of Nations, Summa Theologica or The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Instead what we read are grotesque fatwas demanding the death of this guy or that guy over something or other. We read of regular sermons simply drooling hatred for Jews, for Americans, for all Westerners.

And oh my God, about those Jews! Here is an Egyptian newspaper---government controlled of course---giving its opinion on the state of mankind:

If you want to know the real perpetrator of every disaster or every act of terrorism, look for the Zionist Jews...It is the Jews, with their hidden filthy hands, who play their part with expertise in order to harm the Arabs and Muslims and to intensify hatred towards them...It is obvious that the Jews are the ones who placed these things,  in order to prove to the entire world that the Arabs and Muslims are behind the bombings...It not only engages in terror in the Palestinian territories but exports it to all the countries of the world...Their black history is the best possible proof that hatred toward the Arabs and the Muslims fills their hearts and blinds their eyes. They are behind all troubles, disasters and catastrophes in the world.

That was written in 2004. Have things changed since? Well, no. Guess who gets the blame for those cartoons?

Iran's supreme leader on Tuesday accused Western newspapers of an Israeli conspiracy for publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

An Israeli nation surrounded on every side by an Islamic world of 350,000,000 Arabs, outnumbered 50 to 1, and the problems of Islam can be traced to Jews? Alas, who is today shocked at such ravings?

 

Ah yes, no one is shocked. You see, the West has simply come to expect such things from Islam. When we saw them pouring into the streets of their dreary little cities bellowing hatred, no one---absolutely no one---was surprised. No one---absolutely no one---came away from seeing this and thought, "Oh my God! What's going on?" No, they came away from seeing this and said, "There they go again." What would have been shocking would have been to witness Moslems marching around the world to protest their despicable governments, their lack of freedom, their abject poverty. But no. They would rather raise Hell over cartoons. 

 

Let us not think that all of this is Medieval, that Islam is simply stuck in a world that the rest of us left 1000 years ago. This is manifestly not the case. Medieval Islam was one of the glories of man, one of his civilized heights, almost equal in sublimity to Medieval Christianity. Islam kept its creative power at least until the 1600s. Here is an example of Islam from 400 years ago, the Blue Mosque:

 

 

Here is its interior:

 

 

To my eye there is nothing created by man as sublime as this. Yet, who would believe that Islam could build its like today?

 

The world of Islam is not Medieval but irrational. It has lost whatever ability it once had to deal with things as they are. There is a disconnect between reality and what Islam claims is reality. What all this terror, killing and mayhem are about is Islam trying desperately to force the world as it exists to become the world as it exists in the Islamic mind. In the Islamic mind, non-Moslems are to be killed or taxed or enslaved. In the Islamic mind the doctrines of the Koran are manifestly true and whatever is not in the Koran is manifestly false. In the Islamic mind public beheadings and sending children out to commit suicide are signs of strength. In the Islamic mind the world will one day live under a caliphate and all of humanity will be Moslem.

 

But all of these are psychoses, 'living in castles in the sky.' None will come to pass. Eventually Islam will shatter itself upon the stones of reality. It will experience just what was experienced by totalitarian Japan, Nazi Germany and China during its Cultural Revolution. All of these bizarre fantasies succumbed to the irrefutable laws of logic and physics.

 

Alas, in the meantime we must watch the degrading spectacle of a once great religion go the way of Zoroastrianism.

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February 6, 2006

Dreadful Little Cowards

I refer of course to the American media. So quick to insult Christianity, so quick to perform verbal gymnastics to avoid so doing to Islam. The reason is obvious and one any schoolgirl would see in an instant. Our vaunted media, over-educated, condescending and arrogant, are afraid of bone-ignorant barbarians screaming death and destruction at any who would insult their dear prophet.

From My Pet Jawa comes this cartoon that says all you need to know about the New York Times and its acolytes.

And what of that reference to dhimmi?

Dhimmi was the name applied by the Arab-Muslim conquerors to indigenous non-Muslim populations who surrendered by a treaty (dhimma) to Muslim domination.

Our brave media understand very well that an insult to Christianity will result in a few letters to the editor, while an insult to Islam will result in having a knife stuck in your ribs.

And these weasels are oh-so-quick to mention and re-mention Abu Ghraib, the phony Koran-in-the-toilet story and anything else that would unleash Moslem mobs on America and its military. But to report on cartoons that would unleash these mobs on the media themselves, why these courageous souls run for the tall grass.

Cowardice is also why the media reporting on the Iraq War has been so off the mark, so unreliable and so silly. The brave wonders of our news media by and large have never served in our military. Too risky. So they take refuge in schools of journalism and emerge triumphant, ready to pontificate to the uneducated American masses on all things domestic and foreign. This is of course why they ridicule the Red States like Oklahoma and Texas. The boys there join the military right out of high school. It is these young men who overthrew the grim regimes of the Taliban and of Saddam. The news media pay so little attention to them because the very existence of such men is an affront to what passes for manhood at San Francisco bars and Manhattan Starbucks.

Watch any presidential press conference. Take a look at the media. Look at their blow-dried hair and unctuous demeanor. Observe their smirks of aloofness and drooling self-importance. Now ask yourself: Whom do you want defending our nation, these guys or a bunch of Oklahoma boys?

There is another thing: If the US were ever conquered by Islam, our media would simply put on pajamas and turbans and work for Al-Jazeera. No one would notice any difference.

____________________

Update: I had forgotten that this was already happening:

Ted Koppel was wooed by Al Jazeera

Says Koppel:

I know it's fashionable to look at Al Jazeera as just a propaganda outlet for al Qaeda...I can tell you that al Jazeera is a huge step up from where the Arab world's journalism has been over the last 40 years.

Says the article:

Veteran "Nightline" correspondent Dave Marash recently accepted a job with the 24-hour English-language service Al Jazeera plans to launch this year.

Says the US government:

The Bush administration has criticized Al Jazeera for what it considers inflammatory reports, including instances in which the network has been the first to broadcast statements from reputed Al Qaeda leaders.

____________________

Update: From Little Green Footballs comes this:

CNN has been accompanying every story about the cartoon jihad with the boilerplate message:

CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons out of respect for Islam.

But they apparently have no such “respect” for Christianity; they didn’t hesitate for a second to show this image of the virgin Mary made out of elephant dung and pictures of female genitalia.

Why don’t they just come clean and admit why they won’t show the Mohammed cartoons?

CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons out of fear of Islam.

(Hat Tip: Ed Driscoll)

____________________

(Update: Some media guys do in fact get it. From the liberal Juan Williams:

...I pray that I don't say anything offensive to Muslims here this morning, but I gotta say it looks to me like evidence of a very weak religion when people somehow can't stand a cartoon.

(Hat tip: Michelle Malkin)

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February 5, 2006

The View From Dante's Peak

If Moslems call those Danish cartoons an affront to their faith worthy of beheading, they should ponder what old Dante thought of their prophet. I tell you, it is not pretty.

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) lived in an age more serious than our own. It had become clear that the Christian invasions of the Holy Land---we call them the Crusades---had failed. Jerusalem remained in Ottoman hands, and by 1291 the last Christian redoubts in the Levant had disappeared.

Dante begin to write his masterpiece The Divine Comedy in 1300. It has 100 chapters (cantos) placed in 3 sections: Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. It is Dante's Inferno---what we call Hell---that most entertains the modern mind, and with good reason. It is simply more fun to indulge our fecund imaginations with visions of damnation than of redemption.

Dante's tale begins as he is walking in a lonely and dark wood. He becomes frightened, but is relieved when the Roman poet Virgil (70-19 BC) appears to guide him. It is Virgil who takes Dante through Hell and Purgatory, but then allows Dante to go on without him. Virgil is a Roman, a pagan, and as such cannot enter Heaven. It is then that Dante's great beloved Beatrice accompanies him through Heaven and onto a path that takes him back to his own world.

Dante populated his Inferno with an entire host of grotesque sinners, among them suicides, murderers, sodomites, gluttons and sowers of discord. This last group is where Dante placed Mohammed and his son-in-law Ali. You can see Dante with Virgil below in this woodcut by Gustave Doré (1838-1883) as they witness the eternal punishment handed out to them. Mohammed is doomed to forever have his body ripped apart. Both he and Ali are seen chased by an avenging demon. As I said, the vision is not a pretty one.

No cask without an end stave or a head

E'er gaped  so wide as the one shade I beheld,

Cloven from chin to where the wind is voided.

Between his legs his entrails hung in coils;

The vitals were exposed to view, and too

That sorry paunch that changes food to filth.

While I stood there watching him

He looked at me and stretched his breast apart,

Saying: "Behold, how I split myself!

Behold, how mutilated is Mahomet!

In front of me the weeping Ali goes,

His face cleft through from forelock to the chin;

And all the others that you see about

Fomenters were of discord and schism:

And that is why they are so gashed asunder..."

---Inferno, Canto 28.

Imagine the outcry if such words were written today. The fact of the matter is that they could not be written today---and probably should not be.

Dante Alighieri

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February 4, 2006

How Not To Love

Everyone---but everyone---is at one time or another a fool for love. But we grow out of it. In all the hurt and joy and stupidity and foolishness we do at long last find a wisdom of sorts. We pick up the pieces, licking our wounds along the way and move on, one hopes to things more permanent and real.

Or at least most of us do. Over at the American Digest there is the sad tale of Carl. We have all known a Carl, one who simply cannot learn from his mistakes or the mistakes of others. Carl is one of those guys whose idea of love is stuck at the level of a romantic adolescent. He is quite simply a fool. But his tale is movingly told. Read it.

And thank God you are not Carl.

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The King Must Die

John Batchelor wrote a little piece about how we will know that the end game has arrived for Iran. Alas, he is wrong on every point.

Much noise and doubt from the EU and UN remains to sort through about Iran and its apocalyptic aggression; however the leading indicator I am told to watch, at the end of the day, is the US Navy.

When it is time, the POTUS, whoever he is at the time, will deploy multiple carrier battle groups to the Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, Med, Indian Ocean; and the deployment will be deliberate and over weeks.  The interval will be a form of last grasp diplomacy.

Until the fleet puts to sea with the usual arsenal of recon and strike aircraft, until the strategic bombers concentrate, the posturing in Tehran and Vienna and Washington will be entertainment value only.  Enjoy.

Batchelor sees a bunch of US warships floating around the ocean as a final effort to force Iran to see reason. He believes that if the mullahs can be at all dissuaded from their race for nuclear weapons, then it will be the US fleet that will accomplish this.

Not so. Such things worked not at all for Saddam Hussein. We had hundreds of planes and an occasional carrier or two in the region for 13 years. We would threaten, we would send our planes over Iraq to blast something to smithereens, and all of this amounted to nothing. It was a waste of time. It took an invasion, not warships or planes to topple the Hussein regime. And let us not forget the dog and pony show of the UN and the search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The Iranians could care less whether there are US warships in the region or not. They are going for nukes. If some carrier battle groups appear off their coast the mullahs will simply buy time through phony negotiations with the UN, with Russia or with the EU. They will wait us out. Imagine if you please thousands of sailors and airmen floating around the ocean doing absolutely nothing. Iran will agree to some sort of UN inspection, our fleet will sail way and the mullahs will have a great propaganda victory. Of course, the US could simply send the ships back. And the whole sorry charade would then begin again.

Diplomacy cannot work. It could not work with Iraq through 13 years and two wars. For that matter it could not work with the Kaiser's Germany or with Hitler's, it could not work with Imperial Japan, it could not work with Castro---and it never, but never, has worked with Iran. The mullahs want nuclear weapons. For them it is a matter of life or death. No posturing, no empty threats, no warships floating here and there can change their position. Only war can do this.

And it must be final. No half-way measures. When we strike it must be to remove the regime from the face of the earth. To put the matter crudely and simply, the mullahs and their acolytes must be killed. Then will end the war.

Sherman said that once he killed 300,000 southerners the Civil War would end. He was right. There was no peace with Germany until we had killed the Nazi leaders. Yes, we tossed some in jail---but we killed them later.

In chess victory comes not from collecting pawns but from shah-mat, check mate: the king must die. So be it.

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February 2, 2006

Wasted Words

The Iranian regime is yapping again, filling the air with all sorts of threats.

Iran's message to the west: back off or we retaliate

Iran's foreign minister yesterday threatened immediate retaliation over a move to refer its nuclear weapons activities to the United Nations security council in comments which deepen his country's confrontation with the international community.

In an interview with the Guardian - his first with western media - Manouchehr Mottaki accused the US of manufacturing the crisis and insisted there was still time to avoid a collision. But he warned that any military action by the US or Israel against Iran would have "severe consequences" and would be countered "by all means" at Iran's disposal.

He also vowed that Iran will match any sanctions with measures of its own and warned that the west would quickly regret any resort to military action. The escalating crisis could further destabilise the Middle East by intensifying US and British difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan, and could spell an end to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which seeks to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons

What to make of this? No much. For these words come from fear. The mullahs are insane but they are not stupid. They are Hell-bent on getting nuclear weapons. They believe that once they do they will be invincible and will be able to dictate terms to the United States, to Israel and to the West in general.

There is no chance of this. The mullahs inhabit the dark areas of their own hatred and derangement. They have long ago left the realm of political reality. In 'mullah land' the Iranian regime is a military giant, and all the world quakes at its slightest pronouncement. In 'mullah land' Iran merely lifts its finger and the US is bogged down in eternal war in Afghanistan, in Iraq, everywhere. In 'mullah land' Israel is marching to annihilation at the whim of the Iranian regime.

The Iranian reality is far different from these psychotic imaginings. An economy in shambles, a people crying out for the end of the mullahs, Iran is to the Middle East as syphilis is to a body, a grotesque chancre sore spewing forth infection and disease. Nothing good whatsoever comes out of there, nothing emerges from the mullahcracy but violence and terror. It begs its own destruction.

President George W. Bush vowed on Wednesday the United States would defend Israel militarily if needed against Iran and denounced Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for "menacing talk" against Israel.

It is highly unlikely that these Iranian madmen will survive the year. When their end comes it will be quick and without any warning---at least not any that could be heard in the mullahs' land of fantasy.

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Not Quite Bugs Bunny

The Islamic world continues its hissy fit over those Danish cartoons. It is tone deaf about how civilized folk see it. It really believes that warmongering over cartoons will cause fear in non-Moslems. Rather, it first causes laughter, then loathing. How can anyone take these people seriously when all they have wrought in the modern world has been poverty, tyranny and violence?

Here is another of the Islamic world's own cartoon masterpieces.

No one---but no one---in the United States or Israel would get upset at such ridiculous and childish trash. We simply dismiss them all as bone-ignorant ravings of a spittle-flecked rabble. That such puerile garbage is used by Islamic media to educate their masses causes one to wonder at such leprous mentalities.

The Islamic world is an unserious one. It has nothing to offer---no medicines, no inventions, no innovations, nothing. It scarcely deserves our attention, let alone our respect.

(Hat tip: Little Green Footballs)

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February 1, 2006

Why Republicans Win and Democrats Look Silly, Incompetent, Trivial and Without Any Uses Whatsoever

Forget all those Political Science seminars you took in college. Forget all those news shows you watched. Forget all those political conventions you viewed. Forget all those potboiler speeches you heard. Forget all those partisan books that put you to sleep at night. In fact, you have my permission to forget almost all of what you know about the differences between the Republican Party and the Democrat Party. For here they are.

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below.

She shouted to him, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.

She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be a Republican."

"I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me."

The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Democrat."

"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?"

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You've risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise that you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but, somehow, now it's my fault.

Wonder no more.

(Hat tip: Generation Why?)

 

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