Archive for July 2006

Muslim Attacks Jews in Seattle

The FBI plans to prosecute the attack as a hate crime.

I’m not big on the idea of hate crimes. To me it doesn’t matter what’s in the heart or mind of the perp; what’s important is his action. If he kills, then he is a murderer. If he rapes, he is a rapist. If he does both, then he’s a psychopath.

But hate crime? It seems Orwellian to me.

Jihadi Today

Copyright 2006 Therazor.org

Blogger Magazine

Blogger Magazine copyright 2006 Scott Kirwin

Michael Berg’s Love Of His Son’s Executioner

The hunting down and killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi a world away has brought the spotlight onto Delaware through the comments of Green Party candidate Michael Berg. Berg, whose son Nicholas is believed to have been beheaded by Zarqawi himself, has been quoted by publications around the world as saying President Bush “is more of a terrorist than Zarqawi.” “Zarqawi felt my son’s breath on his hand as held the knife against his throat. Zarqawi had to look in his eyes when he did it,” Berg is quoted as saying in an AP wire story. “George Bush sits there glassy-eyed in his office with pieces of paper and condemns people to death. That to me is a real terrorist.”

In Berg’s world, there is no difference between Zarqawi and Bush. However his characterization shows an ignorance of both men, and is unfair to the President regardless of your support or opposition to the war in Iraq.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi spent his entire life murdering people in cold blood, and as the head of al Qaeda in Iraq sought through the murder of civilians to sow fear and terror in order to achieve power. The goal of al-Qaeda in Iraq was to ignite a civil war in which one religious group would systematically wipe out another.

His group is implicated in the Feb 22 attack on a Shiite shrine that nearly tipped Iraq into chaos. On November 9, 2005 he claimed responsibility for a triple homicide bombing in Amman Jordan that killed 60 Sunnis. On May 7, 2005 two cars filled with explosives ploughed into a US military convoy killing 20 Iraqis. On February 28, 2005 a bomber under his command killed 125 Iraqis – mostly Shiites in the city of Hillah. 205 Muslims dead. How many Americans did he kill during that same time period? Just two – in the attack on the convoy.

Americans, blinded by the drumbeat of the characterization of the Iraqi conflict as Vietnam by many on the political Left, have failed to see the reality that the conflict is not Iraqi against American: it is Sunni against Shi’a, Shi’a on Shi’a, tribe against tribe – and Extremist vs Secular – all occurring with Americans in the middle trying to keep the sides from killing each other. To that end, the conflict is more like the efforts during the 1990s to stop the genocide in the Balkans than it is Vietnam. Zarqawi was never a great military leader or strategist like Ho Chi Minh. In one of his last videos he is shown needing help handling a machine gun. Instead, he is more like Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy – a psycho killer elevated by the politics of the region to the level of “holy warrior.”

Zarqawi called for jihad not only against Americans and Jews, but against Shiite Muslims the world over. His last statement, which some military analysts on the website StrategyPage predicted would lead to his “martyrdom” by elements within al-Qaeda, was a rambling screed calling for the destruction of Shiites in Iran and in Lebanon. No one in the region is sad to see him go – including al-Qaeda which is celebrating his death on jihadi websites on the Internet.

Only Michael Berg is saddened. His moral equivalence between a psychokiller and a president, a man who has used every power he had to kill indiscriminately and another who has the power to destroy the world but not used it – is an insult to those of all religious faiths who strive to improve the world. His belief shows a nihilistic disregard for the difference between saints and sinners, between Mother Theresas and Hitlers, throughout history and our needs to champion the former while protecting ourselves from the latter.

On the Road to Hell in Nigeria

As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. In Nigeria, a nation where paved roads are hard to find, the saying still holds. The current “good intention” is an initiative to give 1 million Nigerian school children “$100” laptops (they actually cost $140). These laptops run a flavor of Linux on AMD processors.

This is the source, a Nigerian newspaper story from July 19. This story was, in turn, picked up by VNUNet in this link here, which was referenced by DailyTech. Note that the original Nigerian story states the following:

Expectedly, the One Laptop Per Child drew a lot of excitement from the media, to which Nduwke responded that the Federal Government has paid a million dollars for the first batch of the products which will come free of charge to the Nigerian child while also expressing the concern that the systems shouldn’t end up in wrong places.

This became the source for the following text in VNUNet:

Nigeria has officially ordered and paid for one million of the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) devices, according to the Nigerian Vanguard newspaper.

The DailyTech reports the VNUNet mistake of “a million laptops” instead of a “million dollars.” Big discrepancy there.

I have a few questions:
First, what is the source of the “million dollars” the Federal Goverment of Nigeria is using to buy the laptops? This sounds suspiciously like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation giving the money to the government for this particular program (and no, I don’t think the fact that the software isn’t MS Windows has anything to do with the decision). I do not believe that the government is using its own funds to buy these laptops, and would like to learn the source of these funds.

Second, How many of those laptops do you believe will make it into the hands of schoolchildren?

According to Transparency International, Nigeria ranks #152 out of a 158 countries in the 2005 Corruption Perceptions Index. The government of Nigeria is a kleptocracy that steals from the people it governs – from the Presidency all the way down to the local gendarmes.

Do you really believe that a product representing roughly a third of the average Nigerian’s share of GDP will make it to those it is intended to go to?

Laptops will not raise Nigeria out of poverty even if we could guarantee they would go to the children. Nigeria needs a government that will not view its role as an institution for legalized thievery.

Advertising

As you can see I have decided for the first time in 5 years to accept advertising. I like the way I can set the skyscraper ad “off” of the main page with Clicksor, but am concerned about the ads -which I have very little control over. For example, I do not gamble on moral – not religious – grounds, believing that one should advance his lot in life through hardwork and luck, not luck alone. If liquor advertisements appear, I’ll drop the ads entirely.

Of course the viewer of the ad has the ultimate responsibility whether or not she clicks the ad. I am one man’s father – not everyone’s. However I have read that discussing addiction actually triggers the area of the brains that cause cravings in addicts. It is safe to assume that ads do the same, and I don’t wish to be associated with liquor ads. If anyone sees one, please email me and let me know.

Moral Clarity

A bit of moral clarity from Real Clear Politics, via American Future:

Difference between Palestinian & Israeli soldiers

I would note that the Palestinian would not be wearing any insignia that would differentiate him from the civilians he hid behind. Other than that, it’s a graphic that I wish I would have come up with myself.

The Ineffectual Left

I was researching images for a new product line of Fry Mumia gear, when it dawned on me:

The Left really sucks at winning.

Take Mumia for example. He’s been in jail for 24 years now, and will likely be executed no matter how many French streets are named after him.
Another Lefty cause is Leonard Peltier has been in jail for 30 years, where he will most likely remain given recent testimony that he admitted to a fellow AIM member that (re an FBI agent) “The mother fucker was begging for his life, but I shot him anyway.”
The granddaddy of all Lefty causes (and one I happen to support) is Free Tibet. Tibet has been occupied by the Chinese for close to fifty years, with no signs of it ever becoming free.

Love Park Pro-Israel Rally

As I walked to my favorite restaurant for a bite to eat, I noticed a gathering happening at Love Park in Center City Philadelphia.

Gathering

It turned out to be a rally in support of Israeli actions in Lebanon. I stayed for about an hour after getting a small Israeli flag and took these pictures using my Motorola e815.

Here is a “protest babe”. There were other beautiful women of various ages, but I’m not used to taking pictures of women without them knowing it. Besides, I find it somewhat creepy…

This creature was wondering around – a Jewish war veteran I believe – not a homeless guy there to get free stuff.

I’d estimate the crowd at about a thousand. The atmosphere was pretty bubbly and pleasant, about what you would expect at a sururban neighborhood picnic or carnival. Most of the people had come from the suburbs on trains, housewives, retirees and students – however there were quite a few well-dressed attendees obviously spending their lunch hour like me supporting Israel. A well-dressed man walked through the crowd, handing out flyers stating “Senator Rick Santorum Fully Supports Israel’s Right To Defend Itself Against Hezbollah Terror Threat.” Santorum is in a tough fight for re-election in this blue state – although I’d peg that his re-election will be successful and not as close as many Democrats believe.

Another guy was handing out a flyger advertising the ZOA Middle East Report radio show, whose previous guests included Bat Ye’or, Sec of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Daniel Pipes – not a bad listing of guests for a radio show I”ve never heard (or will, given that it’s at 12:30 pm on Wednesdays) .

The rally started a few minutes late with the Star Spangle Banner followed by the Hatikva - Israel’s national anthem. The latter is quite a beautiful piece, and one that I am not as familiar with as I should be given my near life-long support of the state of Israel. I stood in the group, watching people and debating whether it would be rude to eat a double-cheeseburger with observant Jews around.

Hunger eventually set in so I had to return to the office. I worked my way out of the center of the crowd and towards the edges. As I walked back, I passed a small group of self-hating Jews holding signs that read “USA and Israel are the Real Terrorists”, and “Bombing Problems Won’t Solve Them.” They stood quietly with their backs to the backs of the pro-Israel supports, vastly outnumbered by the police who stood around looking bored but effective. Given their ages, I would say the small group of about 12 was comprised of lifelong protesters along with their grand-kids. Both groups looked dejected – even slightly malnourished. One kid wore a “Free Mumia” t-shirt, faded from too-many washings and also a bit baggy on his lanky frame.

Thought for the Day

Fighting terrorism promotes terrorist attacks just like fighting crime increases criminality.

Fury Magazine

Fury Magazine

Classic Co-Dependence

Mirrored at Dean’s World

This morning, the Mother-in-law had promised she would care for the Kid, and the Kid had looked forward to seeing his grandmother. This morning we got up and I called the MiL, but got her machine. While we dressed I called several more times, ditto.

Finally, I’m running late for work and the Kid is getting upset. We get into the car and drive over to the MiL. I call from her driveway, and we bang on her doors – but fail to wake her up.

Now, my alcoholic sister-in-law is staying with the MiL. The house isn’t that big, and we were making quite a ruckus at 8:30 in the morning – yet we failed to wake either one of them.

We had to opt for Plan B for the Kid, who was very disappointed that he wouldn’t be eating his grandma’s homemade pancakes for breakfast. I made it late to work, and finally got the mother-in-law up at 10am – extremely late for her.

I reminded her that she was supposed to spend time with her grandson today. “I’m not feelign well,” she said. “What’s wrong?” “You know, (sister-in-law).” The next thing she said was classic. “I know she’s not drinking.”

My g-d, how many times we had gone over this. All that time spent in ER rooms with BACs high enough to embalm most people. The police calls at midnight, the threats and cursing. Years of Alanon meetings in church basements. “I know she’s not drinking.”

Yet in classic codependent fashion, the Sister-in-law’s problem makes the mother-in-law physically sick. The first thing you learn in Alanon is that a drunk cuts himself and you bleed. Mother-in-law hasn’t learned this yet.

So, the Kid has to suffer today – and I am so mad I could spit fire. If there is one thing that really, really pisses me off is when a child is promised time and then loses it because an adult f***s up. I experienced that a lot growing up, which may explain why I’m now living 1200 miles away from those who made those promises.

I hold out little hope that the MiL will understand what she is doing. All I know is that I am angry with myself for allowing my son to be hurt this morning, allowing the poison of alcoholism and codependence to touch him ever so slightly.

It will not be a mistake I do again, and if that means completely cutting him off from his grandmother, then so be it.

Questioning HIV and Evolution

I’m still wavering on this issue, although I have moved more towards the mainstream view of late. Much of the evidence that I have seen (and can understand) seems to be nipping at the edges and not enough to overturn the current paradigm.

Still, the common equation of those who question the HIV Hyptothesis with Intelligent Designers really annoys me. It’s the intellectual equivalent of running to your mother instead of defending your pet hypothesis. Although I’ll hand it to them: it does put those who question the HIV hypothesis on the defensive.

But take a moment to consider: Evolution has been around in its current form for over 150 years. HIV? I still clearly remember when it was called HTLV just over 20 years ago. Evolution has survived countless debates, bannings, and challenges since it became public: Duesberg’s criticism is only the first challenge to the hypothesis. The evidence of evolution is all around us – from the spread of methicillin resistant staph aureus infections to the breeds of dogs being walked by their owners on city streets. HIV is silent, and the mechanisms behind it only understood by a small cadre of scientists. Evolution is perhaps the single greatest scientific achievement in the entire history of humanity, while HIV is just another disease that kills half the people stroke does – if the HIV hypothesis turns out to be true.

Silence of the Lambs (Lefties)

At Dean’s World, Aziz takes issue with what some on the Right are characterizing as the Silence of the Left over recent events in Israel’s neighborhood. I too have noticed that NPR has reported relatively little on the conflict during peak drive time. Instead they have run stories about Bush’s planned veto on federally funded stem cell research, and illegal immigrants. They even ran a story about a town posting signs in a fountain warning of “hydrogen” in the water. Meanwhile Israel is taking care of business.

Whenever the Left is silent, I know that something is up. Reality has intruded into their fantasies, and they are forced to spin new theories or push their cognitive dissonance beyond its limits. Similar events happen on the Right – usually involving the personal failings of a favored pol or spokesman (Rush’s chemical abuse is one example that leaps to mind).

What really buggers them is that the actions of Hamas and Hesballah (today’s spelling) are so blatantly warlike. Crossing a border, attacking soldiers, then firing missiles into civilian areas – all from areas that Israel has completely vacated. The hard anti-semitic Left will have no problem making Israel the aggressor in these cases, but it’s much harder for the softer Left – many of whom happen to be Jewish.

Jews and the American Right have never been natural allies. The traditional Right – exemplified by Pat Buchanan and his publication, American Conservative – has never been a strong supporter of Israel and has always encompassed groups with various degrees of anti-semitic views. They have therefore tended to lean leftward traditionally.

However the traditional terms used to describe political ideologies no longer make sense anymore. For example, the strongest anti-semitism is now found on the Left – supporting boycotts of Israel to its outright destruction. It has also become a bastion of intolerance toward Judeo-Christian religions – seeing them as oppressors of more enlightened peoples.

Meanwhile the Religious Right has been vocal in its support of Israel, de-emphasizing its past history of attempted conversion of the Jews while discovering Biblical basis for Israel’s right to exist. Also, the Neo-Conservatives have championed America’s strong support of Israel as a way to protect the US from the anti-American forces in the Middle East – ignoring Israel’s weapon sales of American technology to China.

The silence exists – contrary to what Aziz believes – and it is palpable as the pro-Israel Left comes to terms with an Israel that played by the rules and got hit anyways. One can only hope that many of the Left begin to recognize that what they call Liberalism is nothing of the such, and is more reactionary than anything found on the Right.

Do you really want to hurt… Hezballah?

Israel airstrikes in Beirut, troops on the march in southern Lebanon. A call for multinational peacekeepers to enforce a cease-fire.
“Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler at the top of the charts.

Current events? Hardly. It’s 1983 all over again. Back then the Israelis were chasing the PLO up the Mediterranean coast of Lebanon. Just before they sent Yassir Arafat to a hero’s martyrdom, the UN prods the French and America to pull his fat out of the fryer.

And what did we get for saving the Palestinian leadership? 241 dead soldiers and sailors thanks to Hezballah – the same outfit that Israel is currently pulverizing. It was also the beginning of the Jihadi teachings that if one hit America hard enough, it would run – which is exactly what it did under Reagan’s leadership.

Have we come for circle? Only if the Israelis fall for international pressure once more. This time Bush is much stronger in his convictions than Reagan was back then. The Gipper saw the world through the lenses of the Cold War – and the “cut and run” strategy made sense at the time. However Bush sees this as an opportunity to really lay the hurt on Iranian-funded terrorists, and wisely has decided to remain on the sidelines as Israel does what it does best: Protects its citizens.