Heavy Israeli Hint
The latest Israeli surveillance satellite is up and running:
An image of a dam in Syria as viewed by the new spy satellite Eros B.Photo: ImageSat International
For freedom and liberty, low taxes, less government, high social capital, and strong national defense
The latest Israeli surveillance satellite is up and running:
An image of a dam in Syria as viewed by the new spy satellite Eros B.Photo: ImageSat International
When Blair is finally busted, it's going to take years for the Brits to rebuild their social capital. Here's why and how he's undermined the integrity of the once incorruptible Brit electoral system.
...it is thought that about 80 per cent of Asians who vote and 90 per cent of blacks vote Labour.The "how" is that the Muslim immigrant community has imported it's low trust values to the UK (my ellipsis):
A judge investigating vote-rigging in Birmingham's local elections has ruled there was widespread fraud and has ordered new elections.
Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey QC upheld allegations of postal fraud relating to six seats won by Labour in the ballot of 10 June last year.
The results have been declared void and the polls in two wards must be rerun.
"The system is wide open to fraud and any would-be political fraudster knows that," Judge Mawrey said.
Mr Mawrey had heard petitions lodged against six Labour councillors...Shafaq Ahmed, Shah Jahan...Ayaz Khan...Mohammed Islam, Muhammed Afzal and Mohammed Kazi.So Brit election officers have asked Blair to help them combat fraud:
You'd expect that a government that's forcing every Brit to carry an ID Card full of biometrics to prove themselves to state officials would be cool with this. Shockingly, it ain't so:
The Association of Electoral Administrators, which represents election officers throughout the country, called for all electors to be required to give their signature and date of birth when they registered to vote.
The details would then be checked against applications for postal votes and could also be used to check any individuals who aroused election officers' suspicions at polling booths.
Bridget Prentice, the Electoral Administration Minister, said compulsory checks could deter people from registering to vote and reduce election turn-outs.Yeah, looks like it would indeed cut the Muslim vote.
When a company starts attacking its customers, its days are numbered - here's a Brit example.
The Tesco management team is broken - alienating customers cuts revenues and paying inspectors to check photos for "inappropriateness" bloats overhead, since photo processing is fully automated.
A deer hunter who took his photographs to (Tesco) for processing was shocked to find himself reported to police.
Staff deemed photographs of him with his gun and a deer he had shot "inappropriate", although he had broken no animal cruelty or firearms laws. Although the sport is legal, Tesco gave his details to officers who questioned him for several hours.
...he was "utterly shocked and stunned" when two policemen arrived at his house on a Sunday morning with a set of prints given to them by Tesco.
The president's proposed amnesty for illegal immigrants has seriously backfired on him, the GOP and the illegals - hat tip Power Line.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national opinion survey finds that 44% of Americans say they would vote for a Democrat if the Presidential Election were held today. Just 32% would vote for a Republican.A "stop illegal immigration" slate could win in 2008 because this is what Americans think (my ellipsis and emphasis):
The survey also asked respondents how they would vote if "a third party candidate ran in 2008 and promised to build a barrier along the Mexican border and make enforcement of immigration law his top priority."
With that option, support fell sharply for both major parties. The Democrats still come out on top with support from 31% of Americans. The third party candidate moved into a virtual tie at 30% while the GOP fell to 21%.
66% (of polled Americans) believe it doesn't make sense to debate new immigration laws until we can first control our borders and enforce existing laws. Just 21% disagree with that approach.So now illegals are scared:
In our survey, we informed respondents that there are 11 million illegal aliens living in the United States and that more than half have lived here for more than five years. Upon hearing those facts, 40% favored forcibly requiring all 11 million to leave the United States. Just 44% are opposed to a forcible removal of illegal aliens.
Rumors of immigration roundups have prompted thousands of illegal immigrants
to stay home this week and are making some afraid to participate in a national immigration protest planned for Monday.The president is a brave and honest man - big enough to admit that he's misread the American people, and back down. He should do that quickly, else we get Hillary in 2008.
Though federal immigration officials said they were unfounded, rumors of random
sweeps were rampant from coast to coast Friday, prompting thousands of immigrants to stay home from work, take their children out of school and avoid church.
The absences caused the rumors to build, as some thought their missing friends and co-workers had been arrested.
Blair’s deputy, Prescott, has worked hard to appeal to the Brit Muslim vote – practicing petty corruption, driving two flamboyant government-issue Jaguars, engaging in fisticuffs to defend his honor, demolishing dhimmi democratic institutions and thousands of their houses. He's even showcased male dominance by seducing his secretary on the taxpayer's dime.
There was further embarrassment for Labour and the Prescotts last night as voters in his Hull constituency reacted to a party newsletter showing a full-length picture of Mr and Mr Prescott posing happily together under the headline "Home Pride".The Muslims of Hull will not be merciful.
Brit politicians have declined to deal with voters' concerns on domestic terror, illegal immigration, law and order, and the EU. Instead they're trying to suppress a small party that struggles to address these concerns. The elite will probably win, but they might not, in which case expect an earthquake in Brit politics.
A theatre in Kent has sacked its drama tutor after it was revealed she had been working for the British National Party (BNP). It happened after a newspaper revealed that Emma Chamberlain, from Deal, presented interviews and features on the far-right party's website.The Tory leader put the fix in too:
(The Tory leader) called yesterday on voters in next month's English local elections to support any party other than the far-Right British National Party. (He) accused the BNP of "thriving on hatred" and wanting to set one race against another.Still, many Brits are aren't buying the elites' message (London Spectator ($)) :
Labour voters are switching to the BNP in large numbers because they believe that only the BNP articulates what they are thinking. This is a story being repeated up and down Britain in local elections... Racist politics is on the march.So what is the BNP proposing? Here are the bullet items from their manifesto (my ellipsis):
...an immediate halt to all further immigration...deportation of criminal and illegal immigrants...voluntary resettlement of (legal) immigrants...assisted by...generous financial incentives...for individuals and for the countries in question.Much of this will be unexceptional to red-state Americans. OK, the presentation is rough and anti-globalization is unrealistic for a trading nation, but it does offer concrete proposals to stop Brits becoming a victimized minority in their own country.
...British withdrawal from the European Union.
...re-introduction of corporal punishment for petty criminals and vandals, and the restoration of capital punishment for paedophiles, terrorists and murderers as an option...
...selective exclusion of foreign-made goods from British markets and the reduction of foreign imports...
...(end ) the 'trendy' teaching methods that have made Britain one of the most poorly educated nations in Europe.
...maximum (agricultural) self-sufficiency for Britain (and)...restoration of Britain's...fishing industry with the reimposition of the former exclusion zones around our coast.
...revitalise the Health Service by boosting staff and bed numbers, slashing unnecessary bureaucracy and by addressing the root cause of low recruitment and retention - low pay.
(Cut) fuel tax, (raise) motorway speed limits...(and ban) hidden speed cameras.
...replace the brutalist modernism of 1960s-style-architecture with a blend of traditional local styles and materials and ensure that developments take place on a more human scale.
...(only give) foreign aid (linked) with our voluntary resettlement policy.
...restore the earnings link with (national) pensions (currently linked to living costs).
...end all attempts to force the people of Northern Ireland to accept foreign interference in their affairs and deal with terrorism - from whatever side - once and for all.
...boost Britain's armed forces to ensure that they are able to deal with any emergency, and defend our homeland and our independence...bring our troops back from Germany and withdraw from NATO...
...maintain an independent foreign policy of our own, and not a spineless subservience to the USA, the 'international community', or any other country.
...remove legal curbs on freedom of speech imposed by successive Governments over the last 40 years (and) implement a Bill of Rights guaranteeing fundamental freedoms to the British people.
Excellent news, John Bolton made the UN Security Council line up against the Darfur genocide. Let's hope he can pull off the same trick on sanctioning the Mullahs.
China and Russia had threatened to veto sanctioning the killers, so Bolton must have twisted their arms mightily. They have more at stake in Iran however, so will be tempted to veto meaningful sanctions there. Still, as all salesmen know, once you get the prospect to say Yes, it's hard for them to start saying No.
As the U.N. Security Council slapped sanctions on four men in Sudan
yesterday and prepared to begin negotiations next week to halt Iran's nuclear
program, the leaders of the two renegade countries met in Tehran, promising to
increase cooperation, including a possible transfer of nuclear technology.
The council's economic sanctions against a Khartoum air force officer,
a Janjaweed sheik, and two rebel leaders marked the first punitive measures
taken against anyone involved in the ongoing atrocities in Sudan's Darfur region
that have left hundreds of thousands dead and millions homeless, and which
America considers genocide.
China and Russia expressed reservations about the measures, but both countries refrained from vetoing the American-proposed resolution. Both, along with Qatar, abstained from the vote, while the rest of the 15 council members supported the action.
Both the president and the leader of the Brit Tories announced policies that ignore the views of over 80% their respective electorates. This has to be bad news for Republicans and Tories.
The polls suggest the president is riding for a fall (my emphasis):
President Bush and a group of senators yesterday reached general agreement on an immigration bill that includes a pathway to citizenship for many illegal aliens.
Mr. Bush in brief remarks to the press said there was agreement to get "a bill that does not grant automatic amnesty to people, but a bill that says, somebody who is working here on a legal basis has the right to get in line to become a citizen." But senators, speaking afterward, said Mr. Bush was far more specific in the meeting.
Americans agree (85%) that illegal immigration is a “serious” problem, and over half (55%) say it is “very serious.” Completely halting illegal immigration (68%) and the reduction of the number of illegal immigrants now present in the United States to near zero (67% agree), according to a RoperASW poll of 1,012 Americans.
Granting US citizenship to illegal immigrants does solve the problem of their illegality, but it's unlikely this is the solution 85% of Americans are thinking of.
David Cameron threw down the gauntlet to Eurosceptic Tory MPs yesterday by declaring that anyone who advocated withdrawal from the European Union would not serve on his front bench.This is odd, since here's what the Brits thought when last polled (I've summarized the questions):
On the eve of the launch of a pressure group promoting withdrawal, the Tory leader effectively warned backbenchers not to get involved if they valued their careers.
|Pull out of the EU||24%|
|Stay in the EU but only if it slims down to a free trade area||35%|
|Stay in the EU as it is now, but only if the UK can veto further integration||21%|
|Work for closer political union within the EU||10%|
The first 3 categories either want to withdraw unconditionally, or to withdraw if the EU refuses to accept changes that the other big members will never agree. Together they add to 80% of the population, so alienating them hardly seems a winning ticket.
There's no need to despair at the news that a senior operative at the heart of the CIA has been leaking to the WaPo lefties - it shows that the man the president put in to clean house is doing his job right.
...the agency has "been ignoring its core mission activities" and the clandestine service is on its way to being "a stilted bureaucracy incapable of even the slightest bit of success." He called the CIA's human intelligence gathering apparatus "dysfunctional" and averse to change, and charged that its intelligence analysts were timid and lacked proper focus.In 2004 George Tenet bailed out as director and, the president - no doubt with a sigh of relief - gave Goss the job of fixing the wreck.
Herding together the deadbeats is not always enough, since they love power, and will try to break back into the functioning organization. To deal with that you need one last trick.
Microsoft accused the European Union’s top anti-trust regulator of making “fundamental errors” yesterday as it appealed against the €497 million fine imposed on it in a landmark decision two years ago for abusing its dominant position.
(It) told the court that no computer maker had shipped a PC or laptop with the (WMP-free) Windows XP N version and that only 1,787 copies had been ordered worldwide out of global sales of 35 million copies of Windows — less than 0.005 per cent. “The failure to offer a product that nobody wants cannot be an abuse...”
Mary McCarthy's position--the post from which she is likely to have learned the most sensitive information at the heart of the leak controversy--was inside the CIA's inspector general's office. This is the unit that investigates internal misconduct. This is the unit to which government employees are encouraged to report government abuse or illegality so it can be investigated, potentially reported to Congress, and prosecuted if appropriate.OK, she could still leak to her lefty buddies, but she's out of the line of battle, which is what matters.
The head of OPEC says oil prices will fall if everybody becomes calm. But the Mullahs are nutters, and won't, so will go on threatening Israel and tankers in the Gulf. The good news is that escalating oil prices will trigger a switch to nuclear, de-fanging our enemies.
Retail gas prices across the country jumped an average of nearly a quarter per gallon in the past two weeks, according to a survey released Sunday.
Self-serve regular averaged $2.91 a gallon, up from $2.67 two weeks ago...
Crude-oil prices hit a new record Friday, fueled by concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions and tight U.S. gasoline supplies.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries president said the solution to high prices lies in a calmer international environment and boosting refining capacity — not increasing output which would only clog the market.
"If we do the right things by lowering international tensions, oil prices will definitely stabilize," (he) said...
International tensions won't fall unless the Mullahs back down, which is unlikely given their addiction to violence. So leaving them - as seems likely at the moment - will merely convince them that their threats have no consequences & so they'll start translating them into actions.
Then we're looking at $10 a gallon, and a crash nuclear power program across the civilized world.
When that's done, we can get on with our lives, leaving the fear states of Islam, Russia and Venezuela to sink to their natural levels.
It'll be a bumpy ride, but worth it.
There's a terrible price in preserving our civilization from the barbarians, much of it paid by the families of our dead and maimed - here are two examples I found deeply moving and uplifting.
The parents of a British soldier killed in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq have issued a staunch defence of the army's role in rebuilding the country.
Speaking just 48 hours after the death of their son, Lieutenant Richard Palmer, Brigadier John Palmer and his wife, Sue, who bravely smiled for the cameras, said that the Scots Dragoon Guard had been "making a difference" while serving in Basra.
"Life was very difficult for his squadron, for his troop, but he still believed in what they were doing - they were doing it very professionally - and that they were, little by little, making a difference for the majority of the population."
Lt Palmer (aged 27) had returned home on leave three weeks ago and showed his parents photographs of "his boys".
Brigadier Palmer, 56, who served in the same regiment for 30 years, added: "He talked about what they had been through together and thought a great deal of
The Marine's WifeThis from Rottweiler. She's just 23, pregnant, and saying goodbye to her dead husband, while his comrades watch over her.
Todd Heisler © News The night before the burial of her husband, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to him for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that would have been played at a formal wedding they never held. She asked the Marines to continue standing watch. "I think that's what he would have wanted," she said.If you can bear it, read the full story.
Here's a good example of the MSM trick of headlining misleading information, then only partially correcting it when most readers will have stopped reading.
U.S. Army Suicide Rate at Highest Level Since 1993Damaging Lead Paragraphs:
The number of U.S. Army soldiers who took their own lives increased last year to the highest total since 1993, despite a growing effort by the Army to detect and prevent suicides. In 2005, a total of 83 soldiers committed suicide, compared with 67 in 2004, and 60 in 2003 — the year the U.S. invaded Iraq.
Four other deaths in 2005 are being investigated as possible suicides but have not yet been confirmed. The totals include active duty Army soldiers and deployed National Guard and Reserve troops.
Below The Fold (my emphasis):
The suicide rate for the Army has routinely fluctuated over the past 25 years, from a high of 15.8 per 100,000 in 1985 to a low of 9.1 per 100,000 in 2001. Last year it was nearly 13 per 100,000.This is still misleading, since AP compares the U.S Army - disproportionally male - with all civilians, 50% female.
The Army rate is higher than the civilian suicide rate for 2003, which was 10.8 per 100,000, according to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the Army number tracked closely with the rate for civilians aged 18-34, which was 12.19 per 100,000 in 2003.
Absent the exact distribution of suicide with age in the range 15-25, we can't compute exactly the rate for 18-34, but it will likely be somewhere between these two rates - perhaps 18. That is way above the U.S Army rate.
Age 15-25: 16.0
Age 25-34: 20.6
Germany is not unique in becoming a client state of Russia - in 20 years time, the only EU nations that won't be are France and possibly the UK.
Janusz Bugajsky, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said at a Black Sea energy conference earlier this month that the European Union imports about 40 percent of its natural gas from Russia and predicted the figure could reach 70 percent in 20 years.Another commentator notes the consequences of Russian energy domination of the EU:
He noted that the state-owned Russian gas company Gazprom was expanding its transport routes through the Balkans, the Baltic area and Eastern Europe, and said it was imperative for Ukraine, Serbia and Moldova to seek ways to minimize their dependence on Moscow.
European leaders were put on notice in January, when Gazprom abruptly cut back supplies during a price dispute with Ukraine, at the same time reducing supplies to some EU countries.
Alarm was raised again this week during talks with ambassadors of the 25 EU countries in Moscow when Gazprom chief Alexei Miller issued what was taken as a threat to divert its gas to other markets.
"By maximizing Europe's energy dependence, Russia gains financial and political leverage. It can erode the solidarity of NATO and split Europe from the United States and NATO..."The Brits are struggling a bit:
...Britain may seek to block Gazprom's latest move into Western Europe, an attempt to take over the British gas supplier Centrica.Plus the new Nabucco pipeline is being built to import non-Russian gas to the EU. It comes from Turkmenistan - via Iran. Duh.
German Greens have successfully misrepresented the Chernobyl disaster (20 year anniversary next week) to turn Germans off nuclear power. That leaves Germany either an extension of Russia, or de-industrialized - either way the old USSR will have won.
Germans are good engineers, so you'd expect them to know the difference between awful Soviet reactor design and safe Western practice, and to have read this (my emphasis):
Activists from the German branch of Friends of the Earth have been marching since March through 12 German cities, carrying with them giant models of nuclear reactors and the concrete sarcophagus built around the Chernobyl reactor to contain radioactive debris.
Greenpeace Germany is organizing Chernobyl exhibitions in several cities and a demonstration next week in Munich. On Sunday, a memorial service will be held in a church in Frankfurt. Movie theaters are showing "The Cloud," an apocalyptic fantasy about a fictional nuclear disaster in Germany.
Sadly, it seems likely that the Germans have been permanently manipulated on this issue.
...major study by the World Health Organization, the International Atomic
Energy Agency and other U.N. agencies.
(The) head of the U.N.'s Chernobyl Forum, summarizes it as follows: "This was a very serious accident with major health consequences, especially for thousands of workers exposed in the early days who received very high radiation doses, and for the thousands more stricken with thyroid cancer.
By and large, however, we have not found profound negative health impacts to the rest of the population in surrounding areas, nor have we found widespread contamination that would continue to pose a substantial threat to human health, with a few exceptional, restricted areas."
According to the report, fewer than 50 deaths can so far be attributed directly to radiation. In addition, nine children have died of thyroid cancer. Several thousand became sick with it, but the survival rate for thyroid cancer is now 99%.
The scientists predict that over the next 70 years a total of around 4,000 people will eventually contract cancer and die earlier than they would have if the accident hadn't happened.
The Palestinian terrorists use the IRA trick of killing via multiple organizations - so one outfit can observe a "truce", which lefties expect the other side to observe, while the others slaughter away. Blair acceded to this, but Israel can't.
Police come under attack as they attempt to deal with bomb material
Police foiled a bomb attack yesterday when they seized nearly 250lbs of home-made explosives which they believe had been prepared by dissident republicans in Northern Ireland.
Four men were arrested in connection with the discovery of the fertiliser-based explosives, which were discovered in a breakers' yard in Lurgan, Co Armagh.
Youths armed with petrol bombs, stones and bricks attacked police as they attempted to deal with the material, which had been hidden next to the nationalist Kilwilkee estate.
Supt Alan Todd said the amount of explosives discovered was capable of causing the sort of "carnage" that had blighted Northern Ireland in the past.
Of course there's no way the cops can know these "dissident republicans" aren't regular IRA killers.
There are 3 subgroups: the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, which is run by the PLO, Arafat's old outfit; the Iranian front Islamic Jihad, which carried out Monday's murders; and Hamas, another Iran front, which has murdered about 1,000 Israelis. Currently, Hamas observes a truce as it seeks international legitimacy, the PLO is fighting Hamas, so they leave the AAMB to do the heavy lifting.
Blair caved to the IRA, because a) he's a creep, b) Clinton prabably pressured him to, and c) they mostly murdered in Northern Ireland, so didn't threaten mainland political institutions.
Now the Palestinians have Iranian backing in their aim of wiping Israel off the map, Blair-style appeasement is not an option for Israel, (my ellipsis):
Israel said it held Hamas ultimately responsible (for the April 17 murders) — even though a different militant group, Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility — and would respond "as necessary."
That presumably means that after the next bombing, the IDF will kill the Hamas leadership.
The Turkish family that murdered Hatun Surucu now wants custody of her orphaned kid. The drumbeat of "honor" killings by Turks living in Germany eliminates any chance Turkey had of getting into the EU.
Of the German population of 82.5 millions, about 2 million are Turks, many in Berlin, where:
The family of an ethnic Turkish German woman executed by her brother in an "honour killing" has sparked outrage by applying for custody of her young son.
A German family court will decide the future of the six-year-old son of Hatun Surucu, but politicians of all parties have called for the boy, currently with a foster family, not to be handed over to his dead mother's sister.
Her 20-year-old brother Ayhan Surucu admitted committing the murder when aged 18, and was sentenced to nine years and three months last week.
There were cheers from the family in the courtroom when his two older brothers Alpaslan, 25, and Mutlu, 26, were acquitted of conspiracy to murder due to a lack of evidence.
The family's behaviour after court was greeted with horror in both Germany and Turkey.
It announced it would hold a big party, while at least one brother flashed the victory sign. Over the weekend a Berlin newspaper published photographs of five members of the family smiling and strolling with a friend through their district of the city.
In the past four months, six Muslim women living in Berlin have been brutally murdered by family members. Their crime? Trying to break free and live Western lifestyles. Within their communities, the killers are revered as heroes for preserving their family dignity.Turkish modernizers see entry to the EU as their way out of the Islamic swamp, but sadly:
...the Turks in Germany are not the educated elites from Ankara or Istanbul butThese folks don't just kill women:
come from the Anatolian Plain, a place that has not taken on the trappings of
modernity and remains a cultural backwater.
I spoke with a doctor who fulminated against what he sees in the urban hospital where he works in Mannheim. The doctor repeatedly stated that he had lots of Turkish friends and was not a nationalist but could not abide the Turkish women he saw daily who had been beaten to a bloody pulp by overzealous husbands.If Turkey (population over 60 million) joins the EU, Germany will be flooded by Islamic primitives. After this litany of horror, no German politician will dare let that happen.
John Hinderaker at Powerline has given a most convincing insight into the motivation of the rabid retirees:
Here is why I think so many liberals are anxious for President Bush to replace Rumsfeld: they have staked a great deal on the proposition that the Iraq war has not gone well, and, in fact, has been a disaster.It seems odd that lefties expects this president to bend to their pressure - but then, in his place, they probably would.
But they are troubled because they are not at all sure that is true. By any reasonable standard, casualties have been low and Iraq's progress toward democracy has been impressive. This doesn't mean the project couldn't still go off the rails; it clearly could. But it is also possible--likely, I think--that the Iraqis will succeed in forming a government, violence will continue to decline, our troops levels will be substantially reduced, and, in a year or two, the consensus will be that the war was pretty successful after all.
This, I think, is what liberals fear most. They want President Bush to stipulate, in effect, that the war has been poorly conducted and has been a failure. That's the way in which firing Rumsfeld would rightly be interpreted. This would largely insulate liberals against the consequences if the war does, in fact, turn out to be successful.
China is a corrupt fear state, and Russia is fast reverting to one, so it's not surprising they support the genocidal Sudanese government. The custom of civilized peoples has built the Chinese economy, so we just need to stop buying their blood-tainted goods.
...long-standing civil war between the Muslim north (the Sudanese government) and the Christian/pagan south (causing) at least 200,000 deaths and nearly 2 million displaced...After much delay, the UN resolved to target the leaders of the killing, and the Brits and US proposed the 4 most egregious ones, with this result:
China yesterday blocked a British-American motion at the Security Council to impose targeted sanctions against four Sudanese individuals accused of atrocities in Sudan's Darfur region.The Chinese UN rep had the cheek to claim that targeting the four killers was plain wrong, because:
...economic sanctions always hurt "the people, not the regime."In fact this is a blood for oil deal - China gets much of its oil from the Sudan, taking 70% of its exports.
Today’s Passover murder, scaled for population, exceeds London’s dead on 7/7 and was carried out by a Palestinian believer in Islam. What makes human beings commit these atrocities?
Customs that were common throughout history and prehistory – slavery, punishment by mutilation, execution by torture, genocide for convenience, endless blood feuds, the summary killing of strangers, rape as the spoils of war, infanticide as a form of birth control, and the legal ownership of women – have vanished from large parts of the world.How come these practices are still common within Islam?
The philosopher Peter Singer has shown how continuous moral progress can emerge from a fixed moral sense.A nice theory, but isn't trusting people risky? It is, but cooperation trumps that risk:
Suppose we are endowed with a conscience that treats other persons as targets of sympathy and inhibits us from harming or exploiting them. Suppose too that we have a mechanism for assessing whether a living thing gets to be classifies as a person (then) moral improvement occurs(as) people have steadily expanded the mental dotted line that embraces the entities considered as worthy of moral consideration.
The circle has been expanded from the family and village to the clan, the tribe, the nation, the race and…to all humanity.
This seems to explain Islam’s failure – it draws the moral circle tightly around related Islamic males, and all outside it are not considered people.
(People) find themselves in non-zero-sum games, in which particular strategies adopted by two players can leave them both better off (as opposed to a zero-sum game, where one player’s profit is another player’s loss).
An exact analogy is found in the play...in which a blind man carries a lame man on his shoulders, allowing them both to get around…
Long ago these endowments put our species on a moral escalator. Our mental circle of respectworthy persons expanded in tandem with our physical circle of allies and trading partners. As technology accumulates and people in more parts of the world become interdependent, the hatred between them tends to decrease, for the simple reason that you can’t kill someone and trade with them.
UPDATE: 22:37 This is a repost that attempts to fix some nasty formatting errors.
Friday was chilly for our town's annual procession that reenacts the Crucifixion. But today the sun shone and everyone went to our church to mark the Resurrection, while the bells tolled Christ is Risen. Then they headed out for family meals to mark the end of Lent.
This story, via LGF, seems appropriate and redeems one at least of the Christians hostages I upbraided for selfish ingratitude (my ellipsis):
Very early, on the first day of the week, just after sunrise they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb?" Mark 16: 2,3
For 118 days we lay in a tomb — Norman Kember, Harmeet Sooden and me. Tom Fox too, for 104 days, until he was murdered in the early morning hours of March 9.Our tomb was a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. room. How I came to hate every single detail of it: the paint-peeling walls; the dim light filtered through stained bedsheet "curtains"; the pebble-speckle pattern of the floor tiles; the never-ending hours and days of sitting, sleeping, three-times-a-day eating, handcuffed and chained except when let free to go to the bathroom...
I was a prisoner of my own moral cowardice. "Dear God," I prayed, "Let this bitter cup pass me by. Let our freedom be restored with the least amount of suffering possible."
Days piled into weeks, and weeks piled into months.
On March 23, at about 7:30 in the morning, our tombstone was rolled way: not by angels garbed in heavenly robes, but by a unit of British Special Forces in full battle gear. There were the sounds of boots on concrete, the door being smashed open, gunfire, voices in English shouting, "Get down! Stay away from the door!" Then a roomful of commotion, soldiers telling us "You're free, it's okay, it's over."
And hands, shaking with excitement, cutting us free with a bolt-cutter.They led us past the smashed-glass threshold of our tomb and out. Out into blue! Beautiful all sky blue! Fresh flowing air and a palm tree and good morning sunlight! They led us through a smiling gauntlet of soldiers and, with a big step up and a big hatch down, we were entombed again (in the APC taking them to freedom)…
I am learning many things from my captivity, and have a universe of things to be grateful for. Among them is a new and deep appreciation for the women and men who wear the uniform of military service. I likely would not be writing this today if it were not for them. Thus, I am confronted with a great paradox. I, the Christian pacifist peacemaker, am alive, am free because of the very institutions I believe are contrary to Christian teaching.
When he resolves this paradox, he'll be possess the foundations of wisdom.
UPDATE April 22 - fixed broken link
Islam has been unhelpful to the second-raters who floated this at the start of the week (my emphaisis):
EU officials are working on what they call a “lexicon” for public communication on terrorism and Islam, designed to make clear that there is nothing in the religion to justify outrages like the Sept. 11 attacks or the bombings of Madrid and London.
“Certainly ‘Islamic terrorism’ is something we will not use ... we talk about ‘terrorists who abusively invoke Islam’,” an EU official told Reuters.
Then we read this rather non-abusive Islam-invoking by the Flight 93 Islamic terrorists as they tortured and murdered the flight crew before killing the passengers (ellipsis means translated from Arabic):
09:33:34 -- (In the name of Allah, the most merciful, the most compassionate.)
09:45:57 -- (In the name of Allah. In the name of Allah. I bear witness that there is no other God, but Allah.)
09:47:40 -- (Allah knows.)
09:58:33 -- Unintelligible. (Let's go guys. Allah is greatest. Allah is greatest. Oh guys. Allah is greatest.)
09:58:44 -- (Oh Allah. Oh Allah. Oh the most gracious.)
9:59:42 -- (Trust in Allah, and in him.)
10:00:22 -- (Oh Allah. Oh Allah. Oh gracious.)
10:00:59 -- (Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest.)
10:03:02 -- (Allah is the greatest.)
10:03:03 -- (Allah is the greatest.)
10:03:04 -- (Allah is the greatest.)
10:03:06 -- (Allah is the greatest.)
10:03:06 -- (Allah is the greatest.)
10:03:09 -- (Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest.)
10:03:09 -- (Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest.)
That was followed by this non-Islam abusing Passover message:
The president of Iran again lashed out at Israel on Friday and said it was "heading toward annihilation," just days after Tehran raised fears about its nuclear activities by saying it successfully enriched uranium for the first time.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel a "permanent threat" to the Middle East that will "soon" be liberated. He also appeared to again question whether the Holocaust really happened.
"Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation," Ahmadinejad said at the opening of a conference in support of the Palestinians. "The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm."
Finally, these Muslims didn't seem to think they were abusing Islam:
AYHAN SURUCU was so angry when his sister started to wear make-up and date German men that he put a gun to her head at a bus stop and killed her.
Although she was brought up in Germany, Hatun was forced into a marriage with her Turkish cousin in east Anatolia. The marriage broke up and she returned to Berlin with her five-year-old child to live the life of a young German woman: going to discos, renting a small apartment, taking lovers and starting an apprenticeship as an electrician. She abandoned the traditional headscarf and wore fashionable jeans. Her three brothers were upset, as was her father.
The 18-year-old Turk fired three bullets into her brain and calmly walked away.
Boys at a nearby school, attended mainly by the children of immigrant Muslim families, cheered and applauded when news of the murder reached them.
So at least these EU residents will approve its speech code.
My hero Don Rumsfeld is a broken man (my ellipsis):
Mr. Rumsfeld said. “I have no specific plans in my hands at this very moment to hit (Iran's) nuclear facility at 33.3 degrees North latitude, 51.55 degrees East longitude. We have not decided to penetrate that location with a 4,637 pound GBU-28 laser-guided bunker-buster bomb carrying 630 pounds of high explosive, and capable of cutting through 100 feet of earth or 20 feet of concrete before detonation.”
This man has been reduced to a husk of his former self by these rabid retirees:
Six former generals have, one at a time, called on Mr. Rumsfeld to resign. The generals, two of the Marine Corps and four of the Army, cited "poor war planning" for Iraq after Saddam Hussein was deposed, insufficient ground troops and failure to anticipate the infiltration of Iraq by al Qaeda fighters that set off a fierce pro-Saddam insurgency. They accused Mr. Rumsfeld of intimidating senior officers and "meddling" in war planning.
These oldsters know all about war planning. Appointed by Clinton, they masterminded the innovative tactic of deploying US troops without armor, teaching bin Laden an unforgettable lesson.
They were forward looking too, deploying the world's most dangerous artillery system (for the crew that is):
During the Second Gulf War, Iraqi ground troops and insurgents were able to damage propulsion and flight control systems with ground-fire, sometimes obligating immediate emergency landings. During the Operation Iraqi Freedom, many Apaches were damaged in urban combat areas including one captured by Iraqi troops and paraded on international TV.
They magnanimously left the Air Force to play with insignificant gadgets:
The RQ-1 Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which the U.S. Air Force describes as a "medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle system." When weaponized it is identified as MQ-1 Predator and can carry and use two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.
There’s a bright side - if Rummy recovers, their leathery heads will make cute additions to his shoebox collection.
We welcome the Mullahs’ use of dance to celebrate 3% U235 enrichment, and suggest even more dramatic choreography when they reach 80%.
After being annoyed by every major PC vendor, I'm considering moving the Gandalfian global information system to Apple. Since it's important that computer architectures have a sense of humor, I've been looking for one in Apple.
Here’s an old UNIX joke that contrasts the communities (from memory - improvements and links welcome):
If Apple was an airline, the check in clerks, gate attendants and cabin crew would be perfect and identical. The plane interior would be muted and tasteful, and takeoff would be exactly on time. However the airline would fly to only one destination.
If Microsoft was an airline, it would fly to a host of destinations, but check in would be traumatic, it would take ages to get to the gate. You’d end up in a state-of-the-art plane, which would climb swiftly to cruising altitude. Then stop.
If UNIX was an airline, the planes would work fine, and would take off and land wherever the passengers wanted. However they'd first have to assemble the plane and volunteers would need to push it to take off.
The Mac Mini is attractive as a media player, but doesn't have a region-free DVD player. That’s annoying if you've invested in hundreds of DVDs from different regions.
The PC architecture has plenty of packages that break region locks, whereas on Apple there’s just one. But it’s well regarded, free, and from a jokey French team – here’s part of their April 1 press release:
Apple-VideoLAN partnership announced, Mac VLC to be Intel only
Paris, France (2006/04/01) - In an effort to help Apple with its Intel transition, the VideoLAN team, distributor of the industry leading cross-platform media player VLC, announced its intent to drop support for the now outdated G4 and G5 based series of Mac computers.
About VideoLAN: VideoLAN (http://www.videolan.org/) is a project to build open source, cross-platform multimedia tools. Their VLC media player is the most downloaded Mac OS X application according to versiontracker.com.
About Apple: Apple is the creator of the hyped and overpriced Macintosh computer. Until recently, Apple buyers could brag in front of PC users about how their PowerPC-based computer was twice as expensive, but also twice as powerful as the Intel-based counterpart. Now, thanks to the Intel transition, Apple computers are only twice as expensive.The Apple community passes the humor test.
Commentators are bemoaning the failure of Italians to elect a strong government. But strong socialist governement is the last thing Italians need, since it would enable one half of the country to loot the other.
For this election, Italy reverted to the system of proportional representation so beloved by the EU, which - as you'd expect - disempowers voters (WSJ -$):
..in this weekend's elections Italians chose from a dizzying mix of 74 parties, their candidates handpicked by party bosses, not themselves. The complex law provided incentives for coalitions to fold in as many small parties as possible to win the largest share of seats in the lower house.
Mr. Prodi cobbled together a dozen parties and his 0.1 percentage point lead turned, by the rules of this game, into a controlling majority in the lower house.
So it looks like the Eurocrat Prodi won't be around for long. That's a good thing, because 5 years of him would probably break Italy into two nations - on the Czech/Slovak model if things went well, and the Bosnia/Serbia model if they didn't. Here's why:
The north of Italy, which contains the country's financial and industrial might, voted decisively for Mr Berlusconi.
However in the Mezzogiorno, the states in the South where unemployment and poverty are rife, there was a swing to the centre-Left.
This division has been around since reunification - Northerners joke "Garibaldi didn't unite Italy, he divided Africa".
Since WW2, the division has meant a succession of short-lived and weak central governments. To compensate for this, local Italian communities have grown in power - if you want to get anything done in Italy, you'd better get to know the Mayor. This works much better than the centralized Brit system.
Strong localism has held Italy together while enabling it to become the most civilized first world nation (ignoring the pathetic electricity supply).And so the last thing it needs is an EU statist bribing the South with the North's money - the North won't stand for it.
In the face of protests, Chirac has abandoned his government’s employment law reforms, making France a test bed for the notion that "social justice" trumps economic growth.
President Jacques Chirac has surrendered to the power of street protest by abandoning a new youth job law after weeks of rioting and protests ...
The measure - intended to make it easier for employers to hire and fire workers aged under 26 - was fiercely resisted by students, school pupils and trade unions, and opposed by two thirds of the population, polls showed.
It was characterised by France's critics as a "revolution for the status quo", with young people seeking to maintain the level of job security enjoyed by their parents and grandparents.
All the French residents I know are happy with their economic lot. The unemployed get enough to live on and a zero hour work week, the employed have jobs for life and a 35 hour work week, and the state provides a good infrastructure and health care in return for high taxes.
Country dwellers can grow their own food and live simple but pleasant lives on tiny incomes, and income inequality is less than in competitive societies:
…France's poverty rate remains one of the lowest in the world, at 6% (compared to 18% in the UK and 15% in the US).
By US, Southern UK, and Asian Tiger standards, most French are poor. But those wanting a better life can relocate to the UK leaving the majority that chooses not to compete in the global rate-race.
This model may be sustainable, provided unemployment doesn't rise significantly – if it does, tax revenues will fall (as less are employed), and welfare costs rise – that means higher taxes and lower state benefits. Then the riots will begin again.I hope their experiment continues to succeed.
A ruse that helped to win a soldier the Victoria Cross (VC - the highest Brit award for bravery) during the Second World War was a "war crime" and New Zealand should apologize to the families of the snipers he killed, it was claimed yesterday.
Alfred Clive Hulme, the father of Denny Hulme, the late world motor racing champion, was awarded the VC for bravery in killing 33 German snipers over eight days during the Battle of Crete in 1941.
Lt Col Glyn Harper, a professor at the New Zealand army's Military Studies Institute, who co-authored the book, In the Face of the Enemy, said that on one occasion Sgt Hulme donned a German paratrooper's smock, climbed up behind a nest of enemy snipers, and pretended to be part of their group.
"He shot the leader first, and as the other four snipers looked around to see where the shot had come from, Hulme also turned his head as if searching for the shooter," the book says.
"Then he shot and killed two more." He shot the other two as they tried to leave.
"Hulme deserved the VC for his outstanding bravery, but he shouldn't have done what he did in disguising himself."
Other academics have supported the book's claims. Peter Wills, the deputy director of the Centre for Peace Studies at Auckland University, said Sgt Hulme's actions were "unsanctioned murder".
He told the Sunday Star-Times that the New Zealand government should apologise to the families of the Germans he killed.Of course snipers can only snipe if they are camouflaged, and using part of the enemy's uniform is particularly brave, since if captured the sniper may be shot as a spy. For this he deserves a bar to his VC.
Illegal immigrants only take jobs off US workers if they undercut them - in pay or working conditions or both. The Feds and States should enforce their labor laws, before considering an amnesty - who can possibly object to all workers in the US being given the same protection?
Here's an example of labor pricing (my ellipsis):
An Alabama employment agency that sent 70 laborers and construction workers to job sites in that state in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina says the men were sent home after just two weeks on the job by employers who told them "the Mexicans had arrived" and were willing to work for less.
"The men we sent to jobs in Alabama were local fellows looking for work, men who needed jobs," (the agency) said. "After driving 50 miles to the work sites where they had been promised $10 an hour, they discovered the employers had found substitutes who were willing to work for less."
The minimum wage is currently $5.15 per hour, so the Mexicans could be paid that and still undercut the US citizens seeking a $10 rate. But the Mexicans could be obliged to break other US labor laws:
After Hurricane Andrew hit southeastern Florida in 1992, the association said, the construction boom attracted large numbers of Hispanic immigrants to several areas, including Homestead, Fla., where the Latino population doubled during the 1990s.
Some of the migrants who did get jobs in the Gulf states also were mistreated, records show. Two class-action lawsuits are pending in federal court in New Orleans in which thousands of migrant workers said they never were paid, although many worked 12-hour shifts, seven days a week and were required to remove toxic contamination from hurricane-ravaged buildings.
So here's a suggestion:
1. Secure the borders, Israeli style.
2. Review and - if necessary increase - the number of work visas available to Mexicans and allow illegal immigrants to apply for them.
3. Make the failure to pay minimum wage or to meet employment regulations a felony - for the employers. And enforce that.
4. Wait five years for these measures to mature before considering an amnesty - by then illegal immigrants unable to compete on the now-level playing field will have gone home. And the border will be properly defended - so granting an amnesty to those that stay and contribute to the US economy won't trigger another wave of illegal immigration.