The new face of antisemitism

Actually, it’s not a new face at all — it goes back to Mohammed himself, and his paranoid, resentful rants when the Jews refused to accept him as a prophet.  What makes it new is that, thanks to the modern age and the Leftist media, these messages, which used to be confined to backward desert regions, are all the rage, all over the world:

 

New Trends in Arabic Anti-semitism from Henrik Clausen on Vimeo.

It’s that kind of crap (pardon my language), that allows Reuters to write this kind of crap:

Police said it was a “terrorist attack” — Israel’s term for a Palestinian strike. It was the first time Jerusalem had been hit by such a bomb since 2004.

Or that allows Obama to use only passive voice in speaking of Palestinian terrorism, passive voice so extreme he doesn’t even do the usual passive voice technique of waiting until the sentence’s end to include the noun that did the verb.  Instead, he manages never to include any actor in the sentence at all.  He’s not the only one, of course.

Liberals — lording it over lesser beings *UPDATED*

If there is one defining characteristic of liberals, it is their sense that they are better than everyone else.  Nowhere was that more explicitly illustrated than in Ron Schiller’s comments:

In my personal opinion, liberals today might be more educated, fair and balanced than conservatives.

Schiller wasn’t unique, just unguarded.  The whole point of liberalism, after all, is to put government — controlled, of course, by liberals — in charge of everyone else’s lives.

This world view requires that liberals occupy the highest rungs in the world hierarchy.  Part of this means winning elections, by fair means or foul.  Another part, though, means ensuring that the little people stay little.  I’ve written before about the racism that is inherent in liberal thinking.  For all the liberal talk about liberals being the only hope for people of color in the world, one begins to notice that what liberals really mean is that they’re the only hope provided that they stay in the driver’s seat.  And why must they stay in the driver’s seat in perpetuity.  Rhetoric aside, it turns out that their expectations about people with skin darker than their own are shockingly low.

Just today, in the wake of a horrifically brutal murder in Israel — a sleeping couple and three of their five children, 11, 4 and 3 months, were brutally stabbed to death by Palestinians — the New York Times explained why the killing happened:

The killers appeared to have randomly picked the house, one of a neat row of identical one-story homes at the edge of the settlement, on a rocky incline overlooking the nearby Palestinian village of Awarta — the proximity underlining the visceral nature of the contest in this area between Jewish settlers and Palestinians over the land.  (Emphasis mine.)

You see, the brown people cannot be expected to resist visceral temptation.  They are the perpetual two year olds of the world, who need to be surrounded by locked cabinets and blocked off electrical outlets.  If you leave those things in plain view, they’re irresistible.  It’s not the two year old’s fault he burns the house down or breaks the china, it’s the adult’s fault for failing to remove temptation.  So too, did the Fogel family deserve to die, because they should have known better than to place themselves in the path of two year olds with guns, knives, bombs, and a hate-filled, genocidal ideology.  This is a “blame the victim” approach taken to existential levels.

Daled Amos provides painfully graphic evidence of the way in which Palestinians simply cannot resist the completely understandable (to liberals, that is) temptation to kill the Israeli children placed so temptingly within their reach.  If liberals were the decent people they boast they are, they would stop explaining away Palestinian bestiality and start demanding that Palestinians begin to behave like civilized human beings, with no excuses allowed.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

UPDATED:  If you have a strong stomach (seriously strong), the surviving members of the Fogel family have authorized the release of pictures of the carnage those “visceral” killers left behind.  This is what it looks like when a family of five is knifed to death.  It turns out that even 3 month old babies “have … so much blood in them.”  The media may not be interested, but we, as civilized people, should be.

“That doesn’t make any sense!”

Today is the day for videos showing Progressives humiliating themselves in front of the American people.  Ron Schiller didn’t know he was on television, but Cenk Uygur, an MSNBC talking head, did — although he didn’t let that national audience stop him from making a bigoted fool of himself.

The subject was Rep. Pete King’s calls for hearings into the radicalization of American Islam.  The usual suspects, including Uygur himself, are shrieking that this is an outrage, akin to Kristalnacht.  How dare the government openly investigate whether there is a problem amongst a specific religious group?  As it happens, I happen to know from a friend in law enforcement that the boots on the ground enforcement officers are deeply worried about the increasing radicalization of America’s Muslim communities.  These communities are getting more and more committed, actively committed, to spilling American blood.

There’s been a lot of press about Uygur’s little rant, all of it focusing on his on-camera dismay when he discovered that not all homegrown terrorists come from the right.  As Media-ite explains:

Uygur boasts before showing a number of statistics from various research groups. Rep. King wasn’t the only one to get educated tonight, however, as Uygur read down a list of most prominent hate groups in America, listing the top three varieties of hate groups in America, classifying them before reading off the list as “right wing.” The statistics come from a recent study by the Southern Poverty Law Center that show there are currently 1,002 active hate groups in America.

“Topping the list,” he began, “[are] the Ku Klux Klan with 221 groups. They are followed with Neo-Nazi groups with 170 groups, and”– at this point Uygur stops for a beat, before ending the list with “that doesn’t make any sense.”

You want to know what didn’t make sense to Uygur?  The third item on the list, the one he couldn’t make himself read, is the risk that 149 black separatist groups pose to American domestic security.  To Uygur, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the far Left group that published the list, is utterly reliable as to everything except those facts that don’t mesh with Uygur’s world view.  Those facts must instantly be discounted and dismissed.

Uygur looked like an idiot when he disavowed his own preferred expert source, but I actually found most interesting that, shortly before he discovered that it’s not only gun-toting, bitter, Christian, whites who hate American, Uygur inadvertently admitted that Muslims are indeed a security problem.

Uygur gave the game away right out the gate when he took umbrage that Rep. King has bemoaned the Muslim community’s failure to cooperate fully with American law enforcement.  (Let’s just ignore the fact that CAIR, the dominant Muslim political group in America, actively encourages its co-religionists not to cooperate with the FBI.)  To prove just how wrong this was, Uygur brought out the big guns — numbers!

Now let me introduce real facts here so that Congressman King can be educated.  Last month, the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security released the results of a study on homegrown terrorism since 9/11.  Quote:  “Tips from the Muslim American community provided the source of information that led to a terrorist plot being thwarted in 48 of 120 cases involving Muslim Americans.”  That includes some prominent cases like the Times Square bomber, in which key information from Muslim Americans led to their arrest.  So how’s that for cooperation?  (Emphasis is Uygur’s.)

“48 out of 120 cases!”  How’s that for cooperation?  Uygur was certainly excited about those 48 tattletales.  I, however, was more taken aback by the 120 terrorist attacks he concedes Muslim Americans were planning against their fellow American citizens.

By the way, those thwarted terrorist attacks (more than 50% of which the authorities had to discover without Muslim American help) reveal just how ludicrous it is to try to say that the 221 KKK groups in America are much more of a risk than the Muslim terrorist groups.  There’s a qualitative difference between Billy Bob, on the one hand, sitting on his couch, beer in hand, under a picture of the Confederate flag, all the while clutching his KKK membership card and muttering about blacks, and Mohamed Osman Mohamud, on the other hand, purchasing enough explosives from FBI undercover operatives to kill, he hoped, every single attendee at a Portland, Oregon Christmas tree lighting ceremony.  (Mohamud, incidentally was turned in by his family, which is a good thing.)

In terms of ugliness, the KKK and the Neo-Nazis are nasty, but they’re singularly ineffectual.  They rant and grumble, but they aren’t making headlines for trying to blow up airplanes, Christmas tree lighting ceremonies, Times Square, military bases, Jewish community centers, etc.  Radicalized Muslims in America, however, are doing precisely that.

Those law abiding Muslims among us should embrace the opportunity to have their communities purged of the radicals.  I’m sure that Mohamed Osman Mohamud’s family members, the ones who were forced to turn him in to save lives, would have been infinitely happier if he hadn’t been radicalized in the first place.

What we’re seeing here is precisely the same pattern we see with the ongoing Progressive efforts to decrease policing in black neighborhoods on the ground that such policing is “racist.”  This reflexive “racism” cry, ignores that the actual victims of these poor, ostensibly victimized thugs are also black.  In the same way, when the radicals infiltrate an American Muslim community, the first to get hurt are the Mohamuds amongst them — the disaffected kids who end up spending their lives in federal prison.  Muslim Americans should care about that, just as the rest of us in America have a vested interested in caring about those small number of radicalized Muslims who dream about blowing up big numbers of innocent Americans.

Another jihad attack, this time against the American military *UPDATED*

My condolences to the family and friends of the two airmen killed in Germany.  And my best wishes for a safe and speedy recovery for the two airmen who are seriously wounded.  And a plague and a pox on the media which tries so desperately to hide that this was not a random crazy man, but yet another assault in the Islamists’ ongoing war against the West.

The New York Times has reluctantly included in its report on the shooting a statement hinting that the shooter was a Muslim.  However, it not only buries this fact in the last paragraph, it never states it explicitly, choosing, instead, a tortuously oblique way of reporting that the shooter was dedicating his attack to Islam:

A man whose office is near the site of the shooting, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect his business, said witnesses told him that before opening fire the gunman shouted “God is great” in Arabic. Mr. Füllhardt said he could not confirm such reports.

I hate when our troops die, but I especially hate it when they are sitting ducks on the receiving end of a terrorist attacks.  These are men who are trained to fight and are committed to battle, and there is something almost insulting when they are attacked on the home bases or on buses in noncombat nations.  For a warrior to die like a civilian highlights the enemy’s evil, because it always seeks out soft targets.  I know that sounds stupid, ’cause dead is dead.  I guess this goes back to the Jewish thing of saying “never again” to the way in which civilians were meekly herded to their deaths.  It hits me viscerally.

Hat tip:  Jihad Watch

UPDATE:  The shooter’s uncle spells it out:  Devout Muslim.

If you read only one thing today….

If you read only one thing today, read this Caroline Glick article about the media’s Middle East coverage.

The old Cold War and the new Hot War have very different enemies

I’m reading a thriller written in 1987.  The bad guys are Soviet spies.  They’re really bad.  That was par for the course with Cold War thrillers.

H0w many thrillers can you name now that have radical Islamists as the bad guys? I know there are a handful, but usually the bad guys are either (a) our own government gone rogue or (b) psychopaths.

This no literary approach isn’t simply because writers hate and fear both our government and psychopaths.  It’s because, back in 1987, an author knew that writing such a thriller would not end with an enraged Russian on his or her doorstep, decapitation knife in hand.

Things are different now, in the 21st Century.  As that old movie tag line says, “This time, it’s personal.”

The Islamists, unlike the Soviets, do not wage war against nations or, at least, they do not wage war just against nations.  We’ve already noticed that they are a non-national movement.  To appreciate what this means, consider that on 9/11, which was the largest, most deadly attack ever on American soil, there wasn’t one nation or soldier involved.  Saudi Arabia hadn’t declared war against us, although it’s ideology gave birth to the attack.  Instead, the attack originated with 20 Islamists.  In past posts, I’ve referred to these people as NGA’s — Non-Governmental Armies.

Because they’re not armies, bound by borders, treaties, and the dynamics of traditional battlefields, these armies have augmented the usual wartime target list to add specific individuals.  By this, I don’t just mean that their terrorist attacks seek soft civilian targets, such as office towers, schools, coffee shops, etc.  It’s more than that.  What makes this war different from the Cold War is that, in addition to trying to kill faceless individuals, our enemies also target specific individuals who have offended their sensibilities.  Easy examples are Kurt Westergaard, Theo Van Gogh, Molly Norris, the Comedy Channel executives, etc.

This is the only war I can think of that has the popular culture too frightened to engage in the necessary propaganda (and it is propaganda) of identifying the enemy, describing its goals, and getting the general population to feel that (a) there is indeed a real, deadly enemy out there and (b) that the population can rise up to defend against that enemy.

The Jawa Report needs your help big time

One of the front line fighters in the war against the radical Islam is the Jawa Report.  One of the ways in which the bloggers there are able to keep the information flowing is to hide their identities from the jihadists who have a pattern and practice of beheading those with whom they disagree.

Right now, as part of a lawsuit against Pamela Geller, of Atlas Shrugged, and John Stemberger, an attorney, an Islamist is trying to get information about these bloggers’ real identities, something that may put their lives at risk. They’re fighting this in court, but their legal fund needs help.  You can read all about it and find out how to donate here.  If you read the whole post, you’ll see that John Stemberger could use a little help too.

Islam and rape

Your matched set for today:

Andy McCarthy writes about the elephant in the liberal living room; namely, Islamic attitudes towards rape:  Women are almost always asking for it, especially Western women, and, once having forced an innocent man to give in to his base animal nature, they deserve to be beaten, arguably to death.

That analysis, of course, must get paired with CBS’s muted and delayed reporting of the horrific rape that its reporter, Lara Logan, suffered at the hands of an Islamic mob.  CBS tries to spin it as a normal tale of a mob that’s gotten out of control, but people paying attention to the Islamic world understand that, while Western mobs attack cars and shops, Islamic mobs attack women.

I’ve mentioned before, and I’ll repeat again, that one of the smartest people I know believes that, boiled down to its essence, Islamic hostility towards the West revolves around women.  One of Islam’s primary goals is the total subjugation of its women, turning them into slaves who must provide sex on demand to their owners.  The Western world, even in its most repressive eras, provided more freedom — and respect — for women.  The one thing Islam cannot risk is for its women to gain equality.

License to kill Jews

Robert Avrech, at Seraphic Secret, nails the dirty secret underlying all the “democracy” revolutions in the Muslim world.  They’re not about individual freedom.  They’re about Jew hatred.  I saw another link that made precisely the same point and, as soon as (or, rather, if) I track it down, I’ll update this post.

Two posts I’d like you to read

I keep getting called away by real life, so let me quickly apprise you of two posts I think you’d enjoy.

The first is at Wolf Howling.  WH is inaugurating a series examining 15 battles that were turning points in history.  His first post is about the Battle of Chipyong-ni, Feb. 13-15, 1951. If you are a history buff generally, or a military history buff specifically, I cannot recommend any better writer than WH.

On a completely different topic, David French writes about the ongoing Christian genocide in the Muslim world.  The MSM doesn’t want you know, but all citizens of conscience, Christian or not, should be aware of what’s happening, and should put pressure on their home governments to make efforts to stop these crimes against humanity.

And Mussolini made the trains run on time….

When I read that the Obama administration is good with having the Muslim Brotherhood on board in Egypt, because it’s really not such a bad organization, I keep thinking of 1930’s rationalizations about Mussolini:  He made the trains run on time.  Surely our standards of decency are higher than that?

Uh, no.  I guess not.

UPDATEYet another example of the “Mussolini was efficient” attitude.

Pat Condell on Europe’s continued slow-mo suicide

The Enlightenment was born in Europe and, clearly, will die there too:

Hat tip:  Small Dead Animals

Fire across the Middle East

Assuming that this is the 1848 of the Middle East, with Tunisia having lit the spark that causes revolution throughout Muslim countries, do you believe that (a) the revolutions will result in greater freedom in the Middle East or (b) the revolutions will advance the rise of even more radical, oppressive Islam controlling countries in that region?

I incline towards (b).

Asperger’s is not a defense to jihadism

Ed Morrissey writes about yet another homegrown jihadist, this one in Pennsylvania.  The only thing that distinguishes this story about a man who wants to use his Islamic faith as a reason to commit mass murder is the defense his family is mounting:  the 21-year old has Asperger’s, they say.  I know a lot of kids with Asperger’s.  None joyfully prepare for mass murder on the basis of faith.  Unlike psychopathy and paranoid schizophrenia, mental and personality disorders that have close ties to murder, Asperger’s doesn’t.  I think it’s just plain nasty that the family is putting this one forward.

A demographic shift that keeps shocking me

Thirty years ago, I went to England through my university’s junior year abroad program.  Although I had visions of walking across Cambridge’s or Oxford’s sun-dappled lawns, I actually ended up in the north of England.  My disappointment swiftly turned to pleasure when I discovered that the north of England was much more “English” than the South.  While the South already then had a large international community, augmented by hordes of tourists, the north was still quintessentially British.

That is no longer true.  While I might have expected the north to become “internationalized,” as the South was, something different has happened:  the north has become Pakistan on the Atlantic.  I already learned this a few years ago when I met a woman from Leeds who told me that whole towns have become predominantly Pakistani.  More than that, she said, the incoming Muslims, or “Asians” as the Brits called them, targeted Jewish neighborhoods, aggressively replacing the existing population.

Despite know this, it still surprises me when I read an article highlighting the huge demographic shift in the most English part of England.  The Daily Mail has an article about the fact that, owing to Political Correctness, British law enforcement and the British political system are refusing to acknowledge that Muslim men are systematically grooming white British girls for prostitution.  It’s a shocking article overall but, ironically, the part that shook me most was this one:

Those convicted allegedly represent only a small proportion of what one detective called a ‘tidal wave’ of offending in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and the Midlands.

Are we weirdly privileged to get front-row seats for the spectacle of a culture committing suicide?  I guess so.

YouTube shuts down Palestinian Media Watch

YouTube decided to shut down the Palestinian Media Watch (“PMW”) account, because it shows heinous and disgusting videos.  The problem with YouTube’s decision is that PMW doesn’t create these heinous and disgusting videos.  Instead, they are products of the Palestinian media, and PMW makes them available so that Americans can see their tax dollars at work, and so that the world can understand the belief systems driving an enemy implacable to Israel, Jews, Christians, Americans, gays, women, etc.

In other words, PMW isn’t promoting the views in the videos, it is exposing them.  YouTube either fails to understand this significant difference or, worse, it does understand it, but doesn’t want the ugliness underlying Palestinian culture to be so openly displayed.

Right now, PMW’s emergency email shows that it doesn’t have a game plan for counteracting YouTube’s attack on its work.  It seeks input from supporters, who might suggest tactics for reestablishing the account.  As far as I’m concerned, though, writing to YouTube and explaining the difference between creating hate speech and exposing hate speech is a useful start.

I wonder how the statistics break down by religion vis a vis Sweden’s large number of rapes *UPDATED*

I have long been under the impression, thanks to Fjordman, that Muslim men see Swedish women as rape-worthy (see this or this, for example).  I wonder if that fact doesn’t explain some of the high rape numbers in Sweden, while Sweden’s political correctness and fear of offending Muslims could account, in part, for the low conviction rate.

Time Magazine, of course, which published the article to which I linked regarding Sweden’s appalling rape statistics, is way too PC ever to examine whether the culture clash between liberated Swedish women and misogynistic, violent Muslim men is a factor behind the problem.

UPDATESuek’s comment deserves to be widely read, because it clarifies that this is not just a war against women, but an out-and-out war:

It is a form of passive aggressive war.  Attack the women who cannot effectively defend themselves.  In their country, those women would then be killed – but it would be done by their own family members, truly a horrible form of war.  In a Christian land, if the men defend the women whether by physical action or legal action, then the fighting begins in earnest.  If the men do not defend the women, then the muslims continue to rape so that the women turn against their own men, and the country basically has been defeated.

Slaves have no right to deny sexual “favors”.  The muslims are basically saying “we own you and we will do whatever we want to you”.  That Sweden tolerates it is revealing.

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones

An Austrian MP has finally had enough of the way the Turkish government complains about the treatment Turks receive in Austria.  I have no idea what kind of treatment Turks receive in Austria, although if it’s like the rest of Europe, they get welfare, and they do not integrate, both because the welfare keeps them out of the workforce and because Muslims don’t to integrate.  Anyway, if you haven’t seen this yet, you’ll find it interesting:

All I can say is that this is one Austrian who’s had it up to here and beyond with political correctness.  I know some are worried that it sounds like Hitler castigating the Jews, but I don’t see it that way.  The fact that Hitler created and then destroyed a straw man, based only on shadowing conspiracy theories and paranoia, should not mean that all of us in the West are henceforth barred from speaking up against true evil:  and to the extent any Islamist, whether a Turk or a Saudi or an America, openly advocates for (and tries to act upon that advocacy) the destruction of other nations, the subjugation of women, the murder of Jews, Christians and gays, and the world’s forcible conversion to Islam and governance under sharia law, we have an obligation to speak up, and we’re not Nazis for doing so.

Are we overreacting to junk-touching?

Ace asks a question that needs to be asked, which is whether conservatives are overreacting to the TSA’s new search techniques (naked scans and intimate searches):

This has been bothering me. On one hand I’m inclined to just not like invasive pat-downs and naked body scans.

On the other hand, I can’t help but think we (especially as conservatives) are supposed to be security-conscious.

This sort of dispute is always implicit in this sort of issue — the civil libertarian side (supported by some conservatives and many left-wingers) and the security-conscious side (mostly conservatives take this side).

Although there may be some abuses, is it really the best policy to object to methods of bomb-detection which are nearly foolproof? I don’t think the body-imaging x-rays can fail to miss an object secreted on someone’s body, and even a barely-trained TSA agent can recognize a hidden object when he feels it.

Read the rest of Ace’s thoughts here, including his strong vote for including Israeli style security in the American armory.

I’m with Ace, in that I think it’s important that conservatives put their money where their mouth is when it comes to security.  I’m just dubious about whether turning the TSA’s job description into one that will attract every pervert and pedophile in America is the way to go.  Here are two major practical problems I see with the new screening:

1.  Human ingenuity will override the scans and pat-downs.  If terrorists run out of external places to hide explosives, they’ll use internal places.  We already know from prison stories about the wonderful hiding place anal and vaginal cavities, not to mention tummies, are to people determined to run something past security.  We can also count on all sorts of surgical implants.  Even a solid scar grope won’t reveal whether there’s something dangerous lurking behind that scar.  Further, considering the number of women with breast implants (and, or so I’ve heard, the increasing number of men with testicular, penile, or buttock implants), there’s no way to tell if the implant is saline or inert plastic or rubber, or if it’s something that goes boom.  This means that the humiliation and inconvenience of scans and pats aren’t necessarily going to stop anything.

2.  And then there’s the girl thing….  From puberty to menopause, once a month, women are dependent on pads and tampons.  The tampons, of course, fall into category 1, above, which is they’re internal, invisible, and potentially more lethal than just an absorbent piece of cotton.  The pads, which are external, carry with them the potential for huge embarrassment and endless inconvenience.  First, I doubt many women want every airport security person in the world to know that it’s “that time of the month.”  Second, short of escorting the woman to a restroom and having her prove that she really is having her period, how in the world can the TSA know whether the pad is legitimate or whether another panty-bomber in the making is standing there?  The same holds true for men (and women) with incontinence problems who are dependent on pads.  Once again, being humiliated isn’t going to make a difference for air safety.

The problem is that the public and the current security apparatus are stuck in a 1970s mentality, which assumes that the terrorist plans on walking away from the plane.  A terrorist who wants weapons that he can use against others, but not against himself, is going to be somewhat limited.  That’s why metal detectors, although a pain in the whatsit, were a reasonable and pretty effective response to the hijackings of the 1970s.  The new breed of terrorist, however, has no plans to survive.  If he has to turn his living tissue in a giant bomb, that’s fine with him.  (Showing that art often predicts nature, one of the classic Merrie Melodies cartoons has Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck competing in a theatrical competition for audience approval.  Daffy, in a desperate bid to win, swallows a huge variety of explosive liquids, followed by a single match.  As his ghost ascends to heaven, he regrets that his wonderful act is limited to only one performance.)

I have a friend who travels a great deal and is okay with the new security measures, because she is assuming that, despite their being so invasive, they’ll make a positive difference in air safety.   My problem is that I think they’re personally violative and they won’t make a difference.  That is, if I was reasonably convinced of their efficacy, I too might be willing to tolerate the new regs, because I find it unnerving enough to shoot through the sky in a tin can without having to worry further about the tin can taking a man-made dive.  But these searches are band aid measures.  Their very visibility makes certain that the bad guys will simply circumvent them, meaning that we’re all stripped of our sense of privacy, while the bad guys move forward into the future with exciting new ideas for death and destruction.

Real airport security — by Spartacus *UPDATED*

Sometimes, a reader leaves a comment that is too good not to elevate to post status.  This time, it was Spartacus, writing in response to my question about real ways (not stupid, embarrassing, intrusive ways) to improve airport security:

***

A childhood friend of mine got married in the Tel Aviv area in 2002. By happy coincidence, the wedding date fell squarely in the middle of my one-and-only European vacation so far, so catching one more flight over to the other end of the Med was a no-brainer. Pricewise, it made the most sense to Chunnel over to Paris and round-trip from there, where there were two options: Air France or El Al. About the same price, so toward which was I more favorably disposed, ideologically speaking? Duh. El Al it was.

Got to the airport in Paris way early, like you’re supposed to for international flights, and went to check in. The ticket agent said something about going over somewhere to answer some questions or something. Questions? OK, sure, whatever. A trim, young, friendly, and utterly charming security gal appeared from out of nowhere, led me in my confusion over to a little kiosk, and began to ask me questions. All kinds of questions, and all very enjoyably and conversationally asked. Where was I from? What did I do for a living? Why was I travelling to Israel? What did I plan to see while there? Where had I been on my vacation so far? How did I get from Point A to Point B? And from B to C? What did I see while in B? What was most enjoyable about C? Is the food good there? Oh, and how did I get from A to B again? And if I wanted to get from B to D, why did I go through C on Mode X and then switch to Mode Y when it would have been faster and cheaper just to go direct by Mode Z? (“Dang,” I thought, “I spent two months planning this vacation, and she’s right! Why didn’t I think of that?”). Oh, and how is the food in C again? Classic interrogation techniques, not unlikely learned in the IDF, and flawlessly performed by a very quick-witted security professional.

In retrospect, it all made sense. My profile: young, single, male, non-Jewish, non-Israeli, no previous flights on El Al, and travelling alone. So, yeah, they naturally wanted to talk to me. The Q&A actually lasted about 80 minutes — a fact I completely missed until looking at my watch later. Between the friendly conversational tone, the fast pace, and her crystal-blue eyes… [sigh]… it seemed like about five minutes. When we were done, she escorted me back to a security room where I could see the last stages of the examination of my backpack: 35mm film rolls were being taken out of the plastic cannisters, X-rayed, and carefully put back in; my neatly folded and rolled underwear was being neatly re-rolled exactly as it had been; and so on. No cubic centimeter of my pack had been left unexamined. But the examination of the pack was unnecessary, since by the time I got on that flight, El Al knew everything that was in my mind and in my heart.

Security-wise, the flight to Tel Aviv was uneventful until we were almost there. You know how they now ban people from lining up outside the restroom in the front? Well, I was almost all the way in the back, in between the two aisles, and a bunch of guys started gathering all around. Real Orthodox-looking types. Since we were almost there, I was beginning to wonder if they couldn’t just hold it until we landed. I was startled nearly out of my seat when they all suddenly burst out in some Hebrew song. So they weren’t really waiting for the restroom after all! I still don’t know what they were singing, but I think it was something like, “Paise be to the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Israel! We will soon aquire the localizer signal to ILS Runway 27 and begin our pre-landing checklist!” (But coming from the guy who thought they were all going to the restroom, you might want to take that with a grain of salt.) It was interesting and different, which is cool.

My friend successfully got married, and about a week later, I was back at the airport. Just for good measure, they had me spend another very enjoyable 80 minutes of Q&A with another very attractive security gal. After being released to the departure gate, I looked out the big plate-glass window. Airplanes shifted busily around the tarmac as the pinkish glow of the coming dawn enveloped the entire scene. “Beautiful,” I thought, as I pulled out my camera. About 3.6 seconds later, another very attractive security gal quietly appeared from out of nowhere (yes, this was becoming a recurrent theme) and gently informed me that no pictures were allowed in the terminal. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t know.” But it made sense. And it showed once again that they didn’t miss a thing.

Back at Heathrow a few days later, I went up to the United counter to check in for my flight back to the States. The ticket agent, who fit all of the negative stereotypes of a DMV worker, followed the United Airlines security screening procedure — she pulled out a small card, from which she read two questions: “Are you a terr… terr… terr… Oh, whatever… Do you have any bombs with you today?” Not especially looking up to register my responses to these questions, she gave me my ticket. And the security procedure which had bothered me not in the least on my way over to England now, in comparison, made me fear for my life.

I would fly El Al again almost anytime, anywhere… maybe even Point A to Point A, just for the heck of it.

UPDATE:  This is a good companion piece to Spartacus’ El Al post.

How should we improve airport security? *UPDATED*

Over at RedState, there is a post that succinctly sums up the three choices currently facing people who plan to travel to a faraway destination:

Door #1: Have nude pictures of yourself beamed to some video monitor to be viewed by a total stranger where it may or may not be stored; or,

Door #2: Allow yourself to be groped, poked, patted down, felt up, frisked, and squeezed at the hands of some police academy reject in a Smurf-blue uniform; or…

Door #3: Don’t travel.

Of course, those choices don’t arise in a vacuum.  They exist in a travel world that no one imagined prior to the 1970s, when hijackings started, and before the 21st century, when planes started being turned into bombs:  How do we protect travelers?

In the hijacking days, metal detectors made sense, as a fairly unobtrusive way to guard against guns and knives, although that approach failed miserably on 9/11.  But with the creative types at Al Qaeda using liquid explosives, putty explosives, underwear explosives, shoe explosives, etc., traditional machinery doesn’t work.  And as noted above, non-traditional approaches — nude photos and groping — are untenable to the American public.

Which leaves a question:  How do we improve airport security?  I’d love to get your answers on this one.  I hate to fly, and would prefer that my flight didn’t end with my plane exploding.  But I’m also someone who has a large zone of physical privacy, a zone that extends to my family, and I therefore find utterly repugnant the thought of nude photos and public gropes.  So what’s left in a day and age when the terrorists have gotten creative?

I’ll start the conversation with profiling, which the Israelis have used successfully for decades.  This is deep profiling.  They’re not just looking for the guy in Muslim dress.  They’re looking for profound clues about people’s background and behaviors.  I don’t know if we can get that up and running anytime soon and, given the size of our air traffic compared to the Israeli’s air traffic, I don’t know if we can spread this kind of knowledge and insight around.

Now it’s your turn….

UPDATE:  This is an appropriate companion piece to my question above airport security.

UPDATE II:  And another suggestion for non-radioactive, non-groping airport security.

British politician claims Israel is the root cause of world wide terrorism

Yes, you read that post caption correctly.  British Liberal Democrat Jenny Tonge, in a speech in the House of Lords, claims that terrorism around the world is Israel’s fault, because Israel treats the Palestinian’s badly:

On the issue of world conflict prevention, Tonge then said: “It is a disgrace to us all that problems such as Kashmir and Palestine are still alienating Muslims all over the world.

“The treatment of Palestinians by Israel is held up as an example of how the West treats Muslims,” she said, “and is at the root cause of terrorism worldwide.”

You have to check out the JPost article to get the full flavor of her delusional rant.

How does one talk to someone like this, someone who, moreover, has quite the bully pulpit to articulate her particular brand of insane poison?  It doesn’t seem to occur to her that, even if one assumes that her premise is true, and that Israel doesn’t treat Palestinians well, that’s scarcely an explanation for the Muslims’ worldwide terror spree.  If not being treated well explains worldwide terrorism, we should be on the receiving end of terrorism from Israelis, who are treated badly by the surrounding Muslims; from Kurds, who are brutalized by the Turks; from Christians, who are brutalized everywhere in the Muslim world; from expatriate Cubans, whose compadres are prisoners in their own country; from Tibetans, who are on the receiving end of totalitarian, often genocidal treatment from the Chinese; etc.

But that’s logic, and logic doesn’t work in crazy land.  This is a woman who has convinced herself that jihad has nothing to do with Islam itself, and everything to do with victim status.  Well, it’s time for the Jews to start claiming victim status, then.  Maybe that will turn around her lunacy.  Or maybe not, because what we’re really seeing here is hardcore antisemitism, of the type that knows no logic or rationality.

Intentionally misunderstanding things

There is a new website out there called Pictures of Muslims Wearing Things.  It shows pictures of Muslims in clothes other than those associated with Sharia law.  The person who started the website did so for a very specific reason:

Former NPR analyst Juan Williams, among other ignorant people, has an irrational fear of Muslims, and thinks you can identify them based on what they look like. Here I will post pictures of Muslims wearing all sorts of things in an attempt to refute that there is such a thing as “Muslim garb” or a Muslim look.

In other words, the site’s whole point is to prove that not all Muslims wear Muslim garb.  Well, duh.  Williams’ point wasn’t that he’s afraid of Muslims generally. It was that, when he sees people in traditional Muslim garb, he has a frisson of fear, because people who embrace traditional Muslim garb also seem attached to certain traditional Muslim ideas, such as violent jihad against anyone perceived as an enemy of Islam.

The website is cute, and it’s a nice reminder that a lot of Muslims around the world are assimilated and have no interesting in jihad.  But it doesn’t do anything to refute the core concern Williams was stating:  namely, that significant numbers of Muslims are committed to the overthrow of the West and the destruction of the Jews, and that there’s a strong correlation between Muslims holding those views and Muslims embracing traditional dress, if not for themselves, than for the women in their lives.

In the spirit of fairness, let me include here a very small sampling of pictures of Muslims in traditional garb who engaged in activities that might trigger rational fear:

Nidal Malik Hasan, killed 13 at Fort Hood

Khalid Shiekh Muhammad, 9/11 mastermind, 2996 dead

Anwar-al-Awlaki, Hasan's mentor & advocate of American murders

Muslim protester in London

Omar Abdel-Rahman, mastermind of the 1993 WTC bombing

I enthusiastically support those Muslims who embrace Western values, including freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of association.  Only someone who is being deliberately obtuse, however, could pretend that there isn’t a strong correlation between those Muslims who embrace traditional garb and those who do not share those Western values — and who sometimes take their estrangement from Western values to extremely bloody conclusions.

When it comes to Islam, everything old is new again

The word “assassin” comes from the name “Hassan.” Per the writings of Marco Polo, in the 11th century, al-Hassan ibn-al-Sabbah gathered around him a private army.  One story was that he fed his followers hashish to bring them in line, but others dispute that claim.  What is known, though, is that he used his army for targeted political killings.  Whether the word “assassin” is a french derivation of his name (Hassan) or the drug he was reputed to use to control his men (hashish), it’s clear that assassinations, which have been around forever, of course, live on in the English language courtesy of a Muslim killer of long ago.

Why am I waffling on?  Because of a story about Britain that I’ve been following, but that Barry Rubin brings into focus.  In the spring, a young woman attempted to murder a British politician because of his role in the Iraq war.  Although the British press desperately tries to gloss over her religion, the woman is Muslim.  Rubin has this to say about what her attempted assassination means:

Violence and murder are the main methods by which revolutionary Islamists lobby governments. Is this going to be the beginning of such attacks, which might reach the point where they have an intimidating effect? This is, of course, speculative but is worth considering.

Actually, Rubin has a lot more to say, which I urge you to read.  This is an old Muslim game that’s being brought into the 21st Century.  We need to pay attention.

A couple of AP articles that caught my eye, both for what they say and for what they don’t say *UPDATED*

I was very surprised to see an AP wire story reporting that Islamic militants (as opposed to mere “militants” or “insurgents”) were holding “Christians” (as opposed to mere “people”) hostage.  Even more surprising, the AP reported that the Islamic militants were probably affiliated with Al Qaeda in Iraq, an entity one apparently couldn’t acknowledge during the Bush years.

Just as I was thinking to myself, “Well, that AP worm has certainly turned, with this surprisingly honest report,” I read another wire story about the Chandra Levy murder trial.  You remember that story, right?  A decade ago, Rep. Gary Condit’s career was destroyed when an affair he had with Levy (which was definitely an unprincipled, immoral thing to do, since he was married), got morphed by the media into an unofficial murder charge.  Now, the probable actual murderer is on trial.

This is what the AP says about the defendant:  “Ingmar Guandique, a native of El Salvador, is on trial for the murder and attempted sexual assault of Levy nearly a decade ago.”

Now I, not having been born yesterday, verbalized yet another thought to myself:  “What are the odds that Guandique is an illegal immigrant?”  Turns out the odds are 100%.  Somehow, though, the AP just couldn’t bring itself to put that adjective out there.

Let me remind the open borders crowd that one of the virtues of having legal as opposed to illegal immigration, is that it enhances our government’s ability to weed out the killers before they cross our borders.

UPDATE:  This Philip Terzian post about the WaPo best seller list seems like an appropriate coda to a post on media bias.  I especially like the way Terzian describes the media’s inability to recognize its own bias:

One of the inherent difficulties of defining left-wing bias in the press to journalists is that it is something like describing the ocean to fish: It is so pervasive, and such a comfortable, nurturing environment, that it is hardly noticed.

Yeah — what he said.

Comparing Islamophobia to Homophobia at the NYT

I’m beginning to get a good sense of the requirements for a writing gig at the New York Times.  Their editorial and employment departments carefully cull all comers for two main traits:  an IQ that doesn’t exceed the double digits, and a complete lack of common sense and logic.  Walk into the door with those, and the ability to type, and you’re in.

The most recent cause of my renewed insight about the lunatics in charge of the Times asylum is an opinion piece trying to draw an equivalence between homophobia and Islamophobia — and then urging Americans to stop fearing Islam, just as they’ve learned to stop fearing gays.  The piece is stupid on so many levels, it’s almost hard to know where to begin.  Let me start with the fact that I always get a good belly laugh out of gays aggressively defending Islamists.  You know, these Islamists:

Gays hanged in Iran

Gay teens hanged in Iran

Gays systematically gunned down in Iraq

A word of advice to those gays who reflexively make common cause with Islamists, simply because gays hate conservatives and conservatives are wary of Islamists:  Maybe the conservatives are on to something.

Having disposed, I hope, of the foolish underpinnings of the whole “I am gay, therefore I stand with Islamists” attitude, let me examine the ridiculous moral equivalence the Times opinion piece tries to draw between people who dislike gays versus people who are scared of Islamists.

A combination of fair use laws, and a desire not to have my blog serve as a forum for stupidity, means that I’ll quote just a snippet of the Times piece, just enough to give you an idea of the direction in which its heading:

As if we needed more evidence of America’s political polarization, last week Juan Williams gave the nation a Rorschach test. Williams said he gets scared when people in “Muslim garb” board a plane he’s on, and he promptly got (a) fired by NPR and (b) rewarded by Fox News with a big contract.

Suppose Williams had said something hurtful to gay people instead of to Muslims. Suppose he had said gay men give him the creeps because he fears they’ll make sexual advances. NPR might well have fired him, but would Fox News have chosen that moment to give him a $2-million pat on the back?

[snip]

When we move from homophobia to Islamophobia, the trendline seems to be pointing in the opposite direction. This isn’t shocking, given 9/11 and the human tendency to magnify certain kinds of risk. (Note to Juan Williams: Over the past nine years about 90 million flights have taken off from American airports, and not one has been brought down by a Muslim terrorist. Even in 2001, no flights were brought down by people in “Muslim garb.”)

You can read the rest here, if you’re interested.

In deference to the last paragraph quoted, which says it’s silly to fear Muslims, because there are so many of them and most aren’t violent), let me counter with a few numbers of my own:

*Number of airplanes that members of the LGBT community have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their sexuality:  0
*Number of airplanes that practitioners of Islam have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their religion:  6 (with a death toll in excess of 3,000)

*Number of trains or subways that members of the LGBT community have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their sexuality:  0
*Number of trains or subways that practitioners of Islam have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their religion:  2 (with a death toll in excess of 2o0)

*Number of military barracks that members of the LGBT community have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their sexuality:  0
*Number of military barracks that practitioners of Islam have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their religion:  1 (killing 299 people)

*Number of schools that members of the LGBT community have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their sexuality:  0
*Number of schools that practitioners of Islam have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their religion:  1 big one (that would be Beslan, killing more than 300, most of them children), plus countless attacks on schools all over Indonesia and the Philippines

*Number of naval ships that members of the LGBT community have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their sexuality:  0
*Number of naval ships that practitioners of Islam have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their religion:  1 (killing 17 people)

*Number of embassies that members of the LGBT community have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their sexuality:  0
*Number of embassies that practitioners of Islam have successfully or unsuccessfully sought to destroy in the name of their religion:  3 (two in Africa, one in Iran, with the former resulting in hundreds of deaths and injuries, and the latter creating modern Iran)

I won’t belabor my point any further.  I’ll just note the stupidity driving the opinion piece’s snide implication that it’s irrational to fear Islam because a only small percentage of its practitioners do bad things.  That manages to obscure the real fact, which is that a large percentage of the carnage around the world — indeed, the greatest percentage of the carnage around the world — is committed by Muslims.  That therefore makes it reasonable to eye them askance in certain situations, and makes it idiotic to worry about gays in those same situations.

It’s an insult to anyone whose IQ hovers even near the 3 digits, or who exhibits logic skills greater than a small child’s, for a writer at a prestigious paper (although God alone knows why it is still held in such high esteem) to argue that American’s diminishing concerns about an individual’s sexuality should be used as a template to become less worried about Muslim violence.

I’ll tell you one thing that would go a long way to diminishing my fear of Muslims:  To hear them say, loud and clear, “I do not want sharia law in America; I condemn all acts of violence committed in the name of Islam and will do whatever I can to counter that trend amongst Muslims; I support Israel’s right to exist; and I have no intention of imposing my religious views or practices on the people in my community or country.”  This sounds remarkably simply, but you’ll find few Muslims who are willing to say that.  Instead, what you get are generic statements about love for country, but an assiduous avoidance of specific disavowals of the most ugly aspects of Islam.

The smug racism of the neo-colonialists

Clifford May wrote a very interesting article pointing out that modern liberalism means giving a complete pass to utterly offensive behavior — provided that the behavior is practiced by non-Western people:

What do you think about the niqab — sometimes also called a burqa — the veil that leaves only the eyes of a woman uncovered? Critics, not least Muslim critics such as Fadéla Amara, France’s secretary of state for urban policy, suggest that when a woman is forced to wear one it not only deprives her of individuality but is, effectively, a portable prison. France recently moved to ban the niqab, as have several other European countries.

Nevertheless, a recent New York Times review of a Yemeni restaurant in Brooklyn noted in passing that the diners are apparently segregated by sex and that next door is “Paradise Boutique, where mannequins model chic niqabs…”

This liberal pass isn’t always in the form of fawning admiration for the “other” culture.  It also involves turning a resolutely blind eye to behaviors that cannot possibly be explained away:

Psychologist Phyllis Chesler recently cited a particularly blatant example of this double standard: Fred Gottheil, a professor of economics at the University of Illinois, tracked down 675 academics who had signed a statement-petition calling for a boycott of Israel as an “apartheid regime.” He asked them also to sign a statement-petition opposing the abuse of women in the Middle East, including “honor-killing, wife-beating, female genital mutilation,” as well as the systematic “discrimination against women, gays and lesbians in the Middle East.” The result of this experiment: Ninety-five percent of those who signed the petition censuring Israel “did not sign a statement concerning discrimination against women and gays and lesbians in the Middle East.”

Forced to give a name to this bizarre phenomenon, which sees our self-styled cultural elite ostentatiously fawn before behaviors that they would never personally tolerate, May cites to Fadéla Amara, a French official, who calls it “neo-colonialism.”  I agree with Amara and May, but only up to a  point.  At that point, as I’ll discuss further below, we discover that many of the old colonialists, when compared to their modern day counterparts, actually had more rather than less decency.

It is absolutely true that the old colonialism looked down on the “brown” people in their charge.  A pithy illustration of this point can be found in Ingrid Bergman’s comedic portrayal of a simple Swedish woman in the film Murder on the Orient Express.  You need to watch only the first 40 seconds to get my point:

Bergman’s lines were meant to be a knowing 1970s wink back at a less humane time in Western culture, but they nevertheless perfectly encapsulate a certain type of colonial view:  the people under colonial control were closer to animals than to humans.

The thing about animals is that we expect much less of them than we do of ourselves.  I don’t expect my dog to dine nicely with a knife and fork.  She does perfectly well with a bowl on the floor.  Her elimination needs do not require a closed door and a flush toilet.  The back yard and street, with their singular absence of privacy, are good enough for her.  Nor am I surprised that, despite being 9 years old, she’s neither reading nor writing.  She’s an animal and her limitations are just fine with me (and with her).

Given this condescending viewpoint towards the “brown” people, if one was a bad colonial culture, being bad gave one a moral pass to treat the brown people like animals, whether that meant bringing people to be slaves abroad or, as in the Belgian Congo, turning them into slaves in their own home.  Alternatively, if one was a “good” colonial culture, one approached the “brown” people as children, who could be led to minimal standards of decent human behavior.

Under either of these approaches, though, the colonial ruler did not treat the “others” as fully fledged, responsible, moral adults.  We recognize this treatment for what it is:  classic racism, which dehumanizes people based on their race.

Modern so-called liberals, of course, would never dream of saying that the brown people of the world are less than fully human because of their race.  May’s point, however, is that, when it comes to Muslims, we still manage to treat them that way.  (I’ll add that the same holds true for the low, low standards so-called liberals establish for black people.)

Sure, we in the West treat women well, but we certainly can’t expect that level of sophistication from the brown people.  And sure, we treat gays well, but we have to understand that the brown people haven’t evolved to that point, and we should therefore just ignore their sins.  And sure, we can tolerate free speech (or, at least, if we’re a so-called liberal, we pay lip-service to the notion of free speech), but we’re big enough to recognize that the brown people haven’t matured enough as a race to handle it.

The exceptionally low standards we allow for Muslims and blacks are always phrased in terms of “respect” for the “other” culture.  “Respect,” however, is a misnomer.  True respect is impossible if we consistently assert that the “others” (who invariably have skin darker than ours) cannot hold themselves to the normative behaviors of which we’re most proud.

But I promised to tell you that the old colonialists were actually better than the neo-colonialists who inhabit our media airways and political space today.  Not all of them were, of course.  The ones who treated indigenous people with exceptional cruelty were as bad as could be.

Fortunately, though, there were other colonialists who looked at the less savory practices of the indigenous people under their rule, and said, “I don’t care the color of these people’s skin.  They are better than those grotesque practices, and I will hold them up to my standards, and not allow them to wallow down in theirs.”

The easiest illustration of this true respect for the native people trapped in the colonial web is Lord William Bentinck’s refusal to accept the common practice of suttee in India.  Suttee (or sati), for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is the old Indian practice of requiring a widow to climb onto her husband’s funeral pyre and be burned alive.

In the late 1820s, faced with this barbaric practice, William Bentinck, Governor-General of the East India company, refused to bow to cultural relativism.  Instead, he insisted that, under British rule, suttee end.  The following passage may be written in the ornate, verbose, polysyllabic style of the 19th century, but the meaning is clear — Indians are people too and it is every moral person’s obligation to steer them away from barbarism:

The first and primary object of my heart is the benefit of the Hindus. I know nothing so important to the improvement of their future condition as the establishment of a purer morality, whatever their belief, and a more just conception of the will of God. The first step to this better understanding will be dissociation of religious belief and practice from blood and murder. They will then, when no longer under this brutalizing excitement, view with more calmness acknowledged truths. They will see that there can be no inconsistency in the ways of Providence, that to the command received as divine by all races of` men, “No innocent blood shall be spilt,” there can be no exception; and when they shall have been convinced of the error of this first and most criminal of their customs, may it not be hoped that others, which stand in the way of their improvement, may likewise pass away, and that, thus emancipated from those chains and shackles upon their minds and actions, they may no longer continue, as they have done, the slaves of every foreign conqueror, but that they may assume their first places among the great families of mankind? I disown in these remarks, or in this measure, any view whatever to conversion to our own faith. I write and feel as a legislator for the Hindus, and as I believe many enlightened Hindus think and feel.

Descending from these higher considerations, it cannot be a dishonest ambition that the Government of which I form a part should have the credit of an act which is to wash out a foul stain upon British rule, and to stay the sacrifice of humanity and justice to a doubtful expediency; and finally, as a branch of the general administration of the Empire, I may be permitted to feel deeply anxious that our course shall be in accordance with the noble example set to us by the British Government at home, and that the adaptation, when practicable to the circumstances of this vast Indian population, of the same enlightened principles, may promote here as well as there the general prosperity, and may exalt the character of our nation.

Call it enlightened colonialism, if you want.  In practice, it meant that Bentinck recognized the Indians’ humanity, and demanded the elevation of their conduct.

In this regard, Bentinck was infinitely better than today’s cultural relativists who refuse to speak out for the millions of women around the world brutalized by Islam’s restrictions, whether those restrictions are the forced wearing of imprisoning clothes, the humiliation of polygamy, the limitations on movement, the imprisonment in homes, the denial of education, or the more extreme physical punishments of genital mutilation, beatings, acid burnings, nose and ear removals, stonings, torture, honor killings and hanging — all of which are routine practices against women across the Muslim world, whether meted out by Muslim governments or just by Muslim men.

Nor is Bentinck’s behavior in India the only example of colonialists trying to end barbaric practices amongst indigenous peoples.  For example, one of the things our politically correct schools don’t like to teach children is that many of the indigenous peoples in the Americas were big on human sacrifice.

Take the Aztecs (please).  They had a civilization of extraordinary sophistication, one that, in many ways, far surpassed the Europeans. Their cities were bigger, they had glorious architecture, and, unlike European cities, these metropolises were immaculate and well run. The Aztec nation boasted enormous wealth and the social structure was highly complex.

Why, then, were the Spaniards unimpressed? Two reasons. One was undoubtedly the inherent racism of the time. The other, though, was the large scale human sacrifice and cannibalism the Aztecs practiced. The Spaniards may have been warlike and had their Inquisition, but even the Spanish were disgusted by a religious structure that demanded the sacrifice of up to 80,000 people in connection with a single king’s coronation.  This made it easy for the racists among them to conclude that the Aztecs were inferior, incapable of salvation, and worthy of conquest.

Surrounding Indian tribes, whose citizens, captured in war, made up the bulk of the sacrifices, were also less than thrilled by the visual beauties of the Aztec kingdom. That’s why, contrary to lessons in public school, Cortez didn’t manage to conquer the entire Aztec nation with just his 167 Spaniards and a few horses. Instead, Cortez was swiftly able to gather many allies anxious to hasten the end of a violent, blood-soaked, totalitarian regime. That small pox jumped into the fray was an unexpected benefit from the Spanish point of view, and simply proved who had the “right” god.

While the racists among the conquistadors may have viewed the Aztecs as deserving of slavery, the more enlightened priests in the company saw them, and the other native populations, as humans who could be saved from the scourge of ritual cannibalism.  In this regard, as they pushed for Indian conversion, they acted in precisely the same way as did Bentinck when it came to suttee:  they insisted that a common humanity requires us to expect the most of people, not to use their skin color or present circumstances as an excuse to justify the least.

I don’t see any of our liberals recognizing in Muslims the common humanity that the more enlightened English and Christians saw in the East Indians or Native Americans.  Instead, our cultural relativists glory in their own superiority.  Sure, they’ll bad-mouth their own culture left, right and center, but they know that their respect for women, for gays, and for other people who have traditionally been oppressed, makes them better than other cultures that continue to oppress those same people.  In other words, cultural relativism is a fancy phrase for what is, in practice, smug racism.

Two to read *UPDATED*

Working on deadline, so I can’t blog right now.  (Anyway, I couldn’t say anything better than Danny did, in the post immediately preceding this one.)  I did, however, want to bring two posts to your attention, ’cause I think you’ll find them interesting.

The first is the Rosh Hashanah sermon from Rabbi Shal0m Lewis in Atlanta.  I’d like to believe the ideas expressed are game changers for American Jews but, so far, I’m only hearing about it from Jews who have already shifted to the conservative side.  I urge you to read it and send it to all your friends, Jewish and non-Jewish alike.

The second is a Greyhawk post about the problems in Pakistan, an unstable, dangerous, but currently necessary US ally, and the Obamaniacs’ . . . mmm, shall we say “creative” approach to that problem.

UPDATE:  Yet another liberal rabbi is figuring out there is a problem.  I wonder how long before they tug on those strings and realize that the other end is held firmly in the hands of the Progressive party, all the way up to the White House.  (h/t:  Bruce Kesler, who seems to have a nice rabbi who is open minded)

Kristof takes relativism to its logical and utterly stupid extreme *UPDATED*

I admit it — I didn’t read the whole thing, because the obscene relativism permeating Nicholas Kristof’s first couple of paragraphs so disgusted me, my brain shut down.  Anyway, because of fair use concerns, I don’t want to quote more than the first two paragraphs, which more than adequately make my point:

Many Americans have suggested that more moderate Muslims should stand up to extremists, speak out for tolerance, and apologize for sins committed by their brethren.

That’s reasonable advice, and as a moderate myself, I’m going to take it. (Throat clearing.) I hereby apologize to Muslims for the wave of bigotry and simple nuttiness that has lately been directed at you. The venom on the airwaves, equating Muslims with terrorists, should embarrass us more than you. Muslims are one of the last minorities in the United States that it is still possible to demean openly, and I apologize for the slurs.

You understand that Kristoff just equated extreme Muslim conduct with what he perceives to be extreme American conduct, right?

It’s useful to list the conduct he’s speaking about.  First, extreme Muslim conduct against Americans and other Westerners:

1.  The first World Trade Center attack, in 1993 = 6 dead; 1,042 injured.

2.  The USS Cole attack = 17 dead, 39 injured.

3.  The Fort Hood attack =13 dead, 30 injured.

4.  The 9/11 attack = 2,996 dead.

5.  The Beslan massacre = 334 dead, mostly children.

6.  The Madrid train bombing = 191 dead; 1,800 injured.

7.  The Mumbai massacre = at least 173 people dead; at least 308 injured.

8.  The U.S. Embassy bombing in Africa = 230 or so people dead; approximately 4,100 injured.

9.  The attack on the U.S. Marines in Beirut = 299 dead.

10.  The Bali night club bombing = 202 dead; 240 injured.

And that’s just the short list of Islamic attacks against civilians.  The long list is here.  Since 9/11, the total number if attacks exceeds 16,000.  That’s not dead bodies; that’s just attacks — against Americans, Europeans, Christians, Jews, Hindus, and even fellow Muslims.

And now for extreme American conduct against Muslims:

1.  Many Americans complained that it was inappropriate for a mosque to be raised at Ground Zero, considering that it was practitioners of Islam that brought down the Twin Towers killing 2,996 people.  These same Americans pointed out that the Imam’s ostensibly reconciliatory rhetoric was belied by (a) his past words dreaming of a destroyed Israel and a sharia-controlled America and (b) his threats that, if Americans didn’t comply with his peaceful mosque plan, Muslims would get violent.  Finally, these aggressive Americans suggested that the mosque would be a fine thing if it was moved a few blocks away.  Dastardly Americans!

2.  Two Americans threatened to burn the Koran, sparking national outrage . . . against the ones threatening to burn the Koran.

I don’t know about you, but my feeling is that you’d have to have an IQ in the single digits to agree with Kristof that those Americans who failed to object to the Koran burning (about 50 Americans) or side with media about the GWM’s location (about 70% of Americans), are precisely the same as those Muslims who are utterly silent, nay, complacent, in the face of two decades of blood-saturated Muslim atrocities.

UPDATEThis Austin Hill article is nicely on point.

Liberals demand Big Government, except when it comes to national security

On my personal Facebook account, I linked to a report about the cartoonist who suggested “Everyone Draw Mohammed” day.  It turns out that this little moment of satire occasioned death threats so serious that she has now been forced into a life of hiding:

An American cartoonist whose satirical work inspired the controversial “Everybody Draw Mohammed Page” on Facebook has gone into hiding, the newspaper which published her comics said Wednesday.

Molly Norris, of Seattle, Washington, has moved and changed her name following a call for her assassination by US-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, The Seattle Weekly said.

“You may have noticed that Molly Norris’ comic is not in the paper this week,” the newspaper said. “That’s because there is no more Molly.”

“The gifted artist is alive and well, thankfully. But on the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, she is, as they put it, ‘going ghost’: moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity.

“She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program — except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab,” the newspaper said.

I understand this news story to demonstrate how Islamists and jihadists are using terrorist tactics to hijack American freedoms — in this case, freedom of speech. In America, we fight speech with speech, not with swords.

My Facebook post resulted in comments several friends, two of whom (both far Left liberals) used it as a springboard to vent, not about Islamic terrorism, but about America’s security infrastructure.*  One complained that the airport security measures encourage terrorism.  Huh?  The TSA measures are definitely inconvenient band-aids, that leave the root cause of terrorism unaddressed, but I’m completely confused as to how they relate to the fact that Islamists are threatening to kill Molly Norris because she made a joke about their religion.

The other made almost precisely the same point:  He didn’t say that jihadists or Islamists are the problem.  Instead, he said that the U.S. government uses these threats (which he dismissed without comment) to justify stripping us of our civil rights and fighting two wrongful wars.  In other words, it’s not “cause and effect,” it’s “effect and cause” in his world.

Is it too much to ask of the liberals that they say “these Islamists are bad people whose theocratic world view is a fundamental threat to our Constitutional civil rights?”  Why do I ask these dumb questions.  Apparently it is too much to ask.

It’s this vast ideological chasm that explains why it’s virtually impossible to hold a civil conversation, let alone a persuasive one, with a liberal.  For one thing, they do not see Islam as a problem.  Instead, they see our government as a problem — except that they’re also the ones who want to expand our government to totalitarian levels.  They want overwhelming welfare and nanny-statism, which is the one thing the Founders didn’t want; while utterly rejecting national security, which is the lowest common denominator of effectiveness for any functioning government, and is both an implicit and explicit part of the government’s obligations under the Constitution.  Without the latter, you end up without a state.  (Just ask the Romans.)

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*Yes, I do have liberal friends, because I grew up in a liberal part of the world.  These are people I’ve known for decades.  In any event, I find their views interesting, if not always intelligible.

About that “growing” anti-Muslim sentiment

The MSM is bewildered.  How is it that nine years after 9/11, people are more hostile to Muslims than they were the day of 9/11, when 20 Muslims murdered thousands of Americans, and sought to decapitate the American government?  This article from the San Francisco Chronicle nicely presents the liberal confusion:

Anti-Muslim sentiment grows 9 years later

Nine years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, one thing remains certain: Some politicians and media types can stir the nation’s darker impulses to tar all Muslims with the same hatred most people feel toward the 19 fanatics who killed nearly 3,000 people in New York and Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon.

The experts are pretty sure that the primary reason for this is because Americans are paranoid scapegoaters:

The roots of America’s continuing “ambivalence” toward Muslims and Islam is rooted in larger forces shaping the culture, said John C. Green, a professor of political science at the University of Akron and expert on the relationship of religion and politics.

“Part of it is the continuing threat of terrorism – not just in this country but around the world,” Green said. “A lot of it has to do with the economy. There is a sense that life is unstable. The American public is under siege. So, foreign threats are magnified. In a lot of people’s minds, there is this sense that this religion is associated with violence.”

Did you get that? Sure, there’s terrorism, but the real problem is that we’re scared, so we have “this sense” that Islam is “associated” with violence.

The article hastens to assure is that this sense is, to quote the article, “faulty.” Apparently the fault lies with Glenn Beck, but I have to admit to have gotten bored with the usual anti-conservative, pro-Muslim pabulum, so I kind of stopped reading about the time Glenn’s name came up.

Here’s the deal: The majority of Americans are more than smart enough to understand that the majority of Muslims worldwide are people who have no desire to bomb buildings or decapitate people.  Like us, they just want to live their lives.  We wish them well.

But we, the American people, have learned something in the last nine years, something that, prior to 9/11, only hyper-aware people knew: There are 1.3 billion Muslims in the world. A small percentage of them are jihadists, who are actively engaged in war against the United States and against Western culture generally, and have been so, with varying degrees of success and intensity since the early Middle Ages.

Given the 1.3 billion starting point, this small percentage point adds up to well more than a million Muslims around the world who actively wish us ill.  Actively.

They fight American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, they blow up our cultural allies in Israel, England, Spain, Bali, and other places around the world.  They gleefully decapitate their perceived enemies wherever they find them, whether in the Philippines, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, or anywhere else in the world.

They are also engaged in a concerted effort to use the threat of violence to blackmail Western culture into abject capitulation.  Free speech within the boundaries of Western nations  = death threats or, if you’re Theo van Gogh, actual death.  Women appearing in public per the norms of Western culture, within the boundaries of Western nations = death threats, rape, acid attacks, etc.  Open debate about Islam = death threats.

What Americans have also figured out is that the remaining billion or so non-violent Muslims are utterly passive.  With remarkably few exceptions, beyond saying “we’re not violent,” they are doing nothing whatsoever to stop the cancer that lies at the heart of their religious affiliation.  Frankly, that’s not good enough.  Fine, I understand that they’re deathly afraid too, but they certainly cannot expect Americans to respect them unreservedly if they (a) keep repeating, contrary to available evidence, that Islam is not connected to violence; and (b) do nothing to stem the violence.

So the reason Americans are more anti-Islamic now than they were on 9/11 is that, in the ensuing nine years, they’ve learned more about Islam.  What they’ve learned is that Islam, in active mode, is indeed a violent and threatening religion; and that Islam in passive mode, despite being the majority of Muslims, is useless at stemming the tide of millions of murderous Islamists.  This has nothing to do with American ignorance, paranoia and economic fear, and everything to do with paying attention.

How jihad (violent) and Islamism (political and social) work towards the same goal

Clifford May beautifully explains the fact that Jihadis, who use violence, and Islamists, who use more subtle means, are both threats to the West — and he manages to mention, too, why reform isn’t happening:

Terrorism is not the core of the problem. It is merely the weapon of choice for some of the regimes, movements, and ideologies that are waging a war against the U.S. and other democratic societies.

The terrorists regard themselves as “jihadis” — heroic Islamic warriors and conquerors. They see their enemies as “infidels” — enemies of Allah who deserve death and would be better off dead.

Yes, the jihadis and those who support them have grievances against America, Europe, India, and, of course, Israel. But resolving policy differences is not their goal. Their goal is to humiliate, defeat, and subdue the West, and to restore to Muslims the power and glory they enjoyed in the distant past and which, they are confident, they are destined to enjoy again in the not-too-distant future.

Not all those who seek this restoration engage in acts of terrorism or even support them. There are those — call them “Islamists” — who are not militants. They believe non-violent strategies can more effectively hasten the transition from the rule of law as constructed by men to the rule of law as ordained by Allah, along with the transfer of global dominance from Judeo-Christian and secular societies to “the Muslim world.”

It should go without saying but probably does not: Most of the world’s Muslims are not participating in this struggle, are not eager for bloodshed, and do not want to live under clerical dictatorships. But if, as has been conservatively estimated, only 7 percent of the world’s Muslims support Jihadism and/or Islamism, that’s more than 80 million people — a formidable force backed by enormous Middle Eastern oil wealth. By contrast, Islamic reformers and peacemakers are isolated, targeted, and without substantial resources.

I urge you to read the whole thing.

I’ll just throw in here a conversation I had with one of my friends.  I’ve never discussed politics with her because it hasn’t come up.  I’ve assumed that she is a liberal, simply because most people in Marin are liberals.

Our conversation swung around to the military, and it turns out that she admires the military greatly for its ability to cultivate leadership skills in people.  She’s a professional consultant whose job is to teach leadership skills, and she thinks the military has that down pat.

I mentioned that my son has always wanted to join the military, because he’s fascinated by it but, as he piped up (since he was present for this conversation), “I don’t want to get killed.”  My friend and I both agreed that, during times of war, your chances of sudden death in the military are increased over that same chance in peace time.

Then my friend said something along the lines of, “I think we’re going to have active wars for a long time, because of the forces against us.”  Wow!  Did a Marinite just say something that sounded very much as if she believed America is fighting a defensive war, rather than an offensive, imperialist war?  I think so.

I added, “Yup, and these wars matter, because they’re existentialist.  It’s us versus them.”  She said, “You’re right.”

The conversation moved on then, but I was left with the very strong impression that, Democratic or Republican, conservative or liberal, this is one person in Marin who gets it.

The liberal is either at your throat or at your feet….

My post caption is mangled version of an English expression popular in the years leading up to and during WWI:  “The Hun is either at your throat or at your feet.”  It was a reference to the fact that Germany was a deeply hierarchical, undemocratic nation, with only the haziest notions of equality. England wasn’t that democratic either back around 1910, but it was still light years ahead of Germany.

What these “advanced” English realized was that the German nature, because it was so hierarchical, could never just relax into equality.  People were either above, in which case they required deference (even if grudgingly given), or below, in which case they were to be treated with the utmost contempt.  This contempt, of course, was not successfully purged from the German character, despite the rigors of WWI.  It came to full flower with the Nazis, who turned their contempt into genocide and slavery for those in the below position, whether Jews, gypsies, gays, the mentally ill, slavs, or whatever other group the German psychology needed to pigeonhole.

It occurred to me that, although the dynamic arises from a different psychology, liberals have precisely the same habit of classifying people and then, depending on the classification,treating them with abject respect or blood-chilling contempt (a contempt, fortunately, that is still limited to words).  With liberals, though, the categories aren’t above and below.  Instead, they are I dislike you or I dislike and fear you.

What sparked this thought was two news stories.  The first was an update on a story out of San Francisco, one about which I already blogged.  Briefly, a war is brewing over a gun store in the upper Mission District, a neighborhood that is part working class, part yuppie.  The gun store has been there for a long time but the former owner let the license lapse while he considered reconfiguring the store.  Now that the new owner is trying to reinstate the license, neighbors and San Francisco citizens are objecting vociferously.

In my earlier post, I posited (based on nothing more than intuition), that the same people protesting the gun store are probably completely in favor of the Ground Zero Mosque.  That is, they almost certainly support a mosque connected to a man who espouses sharia (wife beating, wife stoning, gay hanging, hand cutting, infidel killing sharia), while vocally opposing a store that is consistent with one of the oldest and most clearly stated constitutional rights in America.

The second story was the report from Hartford, Connecticut, an overwhelmingly Democratic city, announcing that the next City Council meeting would open with a Muslim invocation.  My bet is that Hartford’s Muslim population is small (I can’t find numbers on it), so this invocation is intended to be symbolic and is, no doubt, a way for the government to show its support for the Ground Zero Mosque.

Think about it, which required putting myself in the liberal brain for a minute, I can appreciate that liberals hate guns, which they see as symbols of violence and, worse, as equalizers.  However, I am incapable of imagining that these same liberals actually like sharia law.  After all, as I noted above, many of sharia’s principles are deeply inconsistent with liberals’ self-identification as the party of love, peace and harmony.

The difference, I believe, is fear.  Even though liberals fear guns, they know that gun owners are fundamentally law abiding people.  Equally well, they know that a significant percentage of committed Muslims are sharia-abiding people, who are not averse to using extreme violence against opponents.

You can, of course, always find the lone wacko in any group.  However, I challenge you to find a situation in which Jews or Christians or Hindus or Sikhs or Buddhists or any other clearly defined religious group) has recently risen up en masse to attack Americans for perceived insults against their faith.  Muslims, however, have done that.  Not all Muslims, of course, but enough Muslims.  Anywhere in the world, it is Muslims who grab the gun, sword and bomb when they perceive an insult.  The Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Atheists, and any other group I can think of refrain from the gun, the sword and the bomb when insulted.

This willingness to respond to criticism with violence is pretty much a Muslim thing.  Not all Muslims, of course, but enough.  And certainly enough to make us fearful of the group as a whole.  After all, it’s usually not until after the bomb explodes that we can separate the Muslims who embrace violence from the ones who didn’t — and, worse, most of the ones who don’t embrace it, rather than speaking out, are passive to the point of acquiescence.

But liberals, rather than being driven by principles, which would have them looking down their noses at Muslims until the day comes when world Muslim leaders explicitly disavow terrorism, tend to be driven by fear.  If you’re a liberal and you both dislike and fear someone, you’re at their feet, as with the liberal response to Islam’s ceaseless attacks on America’s sensibilities and constitutional liberties.  Of course, if you merely dislike them, then you’re at their throats, at least rhetorically.

Right now, liberals don’t like Jews, Christians, Israel and conservatives, and their rhetorical contempt is unbounded.  And right now, while they probably don’t like Muslims very much, they do fear them, and their abject groveling is equally unbounded.

I’ll going on a limb here and say that liberals have exactly the same relationship with blacks as they do with Muslims.  Liberals don’t want to live in black neighborhoods or attend black schools (and, as their hostility to vouchers shows, they don’t want blacks attending their schools).  But blacks have shown themselves to be a volatile population, more than willing to out-rhetoric the liberals, and to stand around with bully clubs, so liberals grovel there too.

Whether the liberals are groveling before Muslims or militant blacks, it’s not a very healthy situation, either for the groveler or the grovelee.  The situation, indeed, is precisely analogous to a parent who spoils a child:  The child, rather than feeling loved, feels resentful and, worse, the child’s pathologies rage uncontrolled.

And that’s what happens when liberals are either at your throat or at your feet.