This being Sunday when Christian preachers preach, here are some antidotal words of Voltaire, one of the stars of the Enlightenment:
Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world.
Christian: A good-natured, simple fellow; a true lamb of the fold, who, in the innocence of his heart, persuades himself that he firmly believes unbelievable things that his priests have told him to believe, especially those he cannot even imagine. Consequently, he is convinced that three x’s make fifteen, that God was made man, that he was hanged and rose to life again, that priests cannot lie, and that all who do not believe in priests will be damned without remission.
If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.
The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reasoning.
Every sensible man, every honest man, must hold the Christian sect in horror.
Which is more dangerous: fanaticism or atheism? Fanaticism is certainly a thousand times more deadly; for atheism inspires no bloody passion whereas fanaticism does; atheism is opposed to crime and fanaticism causes crimes to be committed.
(For source references go here.)
The United Nations is a tumor on the body politic of the world. It needs to be cut off.
As long as the rotten thing exists it will continue to do harm.
On the 14 January, 2011, the UN’s bland, feeble, smiling secretary general Ban Ki-moon held a press conference at which he promised that the old failed policies and destructive programs will be carried on this year as before – no doubt at even greater expense. More money will be spent on fruitless conferences to combat the imaginary ill-effects of “climate change”; and ever more fervent effort will be put into trying to transfer wealth from the richer countries to the poorer, to accomplish which the whole climate-change racket was contrived in the first place.
And the much vaunted “peace-keeping” exercises, none of which has ever kept any peace, will continue in the same ineffective manner.
Joseph Klein at Front Page gives some details of how this persistent failure is maintained:
For example, UN peacekeeping forces have been unable to protect civilians in the Côte d’Ivoire, or even their own personnel, from attacks incited by the incumbent president Laurent Koudou Gbagbo who refuses to step down after losing the recent presidential election to the legitimately elected president — Alassane Ouattara. In fact, the UN troops have been removing themselves from blockades set up by Gbagbo’s forces while Ouattara remains trapped in a hotel that Gbagbo’s forces have been blockading.
Ban Ki-moon announced that the Security Council is discussing his request for additional peacekeeping troops but was unable to explain how that would make any difference on the ground. As was the case in Rwanda and Bosnia, the UN appears to be helpless in carrying out its mission to stop violence against unarmed civilians. …
In the Sudan, where a referendum in South Sudan to approve secession from the north appears to have proceeded without any major disruptions, violence is still erupting along the border and in Darfur. Again the United Nations mission there has been unable to do anything to stop the violence or even protect its own humanitarian staff from kidnappings.
Moreover, the United Nations undercut the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court when … the UN Mission in Sudan transported a man who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. The purpose was to supposedly assist in negotiations to help end the violence in Abyei along the north-south border. This individual, Ahmed Harun, had been indicted for assisting nomadic tribes which are accused of the killings in Abyei. Yet the United Nations thinks he can now help end the killings that he has been involved with in the first place. The UN decided to provide this very same person with both transportation and the legitimacy that supposedly comes with being associated with a United Nations’ peacekeeping mission.
Regarding Lebanon, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was asked at his press conference about the impact of the collapse of the government led by Saad Hariri, caused by the withdrawal of Hezbollah from the governing coalition, on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. This UN-backed Tribunal has been investigating the circumstances of the assassination of Hariri’s father, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri … [See our posts, Eastern Explosions, January 16, 2011, and Indicted, January 17, 2011.]
Although this Tribunal is supposed to be an impartial international body, it depends on financing and other cooperation from the Lebanese government. However, the government of national unity collapsed when 11 cabinet ministers from Hezbollah and allied groups … fearing that some of its members would be indicted by the Tribunal for involvement in the assassination, preemptively withdrew from the Lebanese government in the hope of sabotaging the Tribunal. …
The Secretary General stressed the importance of continuing the work of the Tribunal but was unable to answer what would happen if a new government in Lebanon ceased funding the tribunal. …
Even if the Tribunal is able to continue to function and issue indictments against members of Hezbollah and others allegedly responsible for the assassination, who is going to enforce the indictments? The United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon – over 12,000 strong – has been unable to prevent Hezbollah from re-arming itself in violation of the ceasefire that ended hostilities with Israel in 2006. As a result, Hezbollah is not only better armed than the Lebanese army and police. In the words of a U.S. State Department spokesman, it is “the most technically-capable terrorist group in the world and a continued security threat to the United States.”
The UN must be destroyed.
Someone once said “God is the evil in those who believe in him.” Or if someone didn’t, someone is saying it now.
When Khalid Sheikh Mohammed hacked off the head of Daniel Pearl to the greater glory of Allah, he had a video camera record his performance. The cameraman missed the initial slashing of the victim’s throat, so KSM re-enacted that part and then went on energetically to chop and saw through flesh and arteries and bone until Daniel Pearl’s head was separated from the rest of his body.
Writing about this at Townhall, Mona Charen says that KSM “seems to have achieved a kind of religious exultation by decapitating Daniel Pearl.”
They weren’t finished with him, though. After Pearl’s head had been sawed off his neck, Mohammed and his accomplices cut the rest of the body into pieces. They then washed the bloody floor and knelt down in the same spot to pray — perhaps moved to religious ecstasy by the smell of American blood. …
Whether they were moved to religious ecstasy or not, the decapitation of their helpless victim was certainly a religious act, as were the attacks of 9/11 – also the Allah-inspired idea of this same Muslim savage.
How can justice be done to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? It cannot. But he can and must be put to death.
Mona Charen goes on:
Like the communists, who justified any crime in the name of revolution, Islamists justify any outrage if the goal is fulfilling their twisted vision of Allah’s will.
Twisted? What is the Islamic idea of “Allah’s will” when it is not “twisted”?
Where does any notion of a god’s “will” ever come from but out of human minds?
The cruelties perpetrated in the name of various Christian dogmas to carry out “God’s will” were ineffably appalling. Christians stopped burning and torturing in the name of Gentle Jesus a while back but what was done must never be forgotten or forgiven.
Islam’s cruelty is a busily on-going project. As shown in our margin, there have been up to this day 16,690 acts of murderous violence in the name of Islam since 9/11 recorded by “The Religion of Peace” – as Robert Spencer names his indispensable website in deliberate irony.
To repeal Obamacare is to resist socialism and to choose freedom.
The House of Representatives’ overwhelming vote (245-189) to repeal the health-care bill which Obama and the Democrats foisted on the nation, is an act of resistance by the new Republican majority against the Democrats’ attempt to turn America into a socialist state. That is the most important thing about it.
As John Podhoretz writes at Commentary-Contentions:
So why bother? That seems to be the general question. The Republican-controlled House can pass it, but it won’t get through the Senate, and even if it did, the president will veto it. Why cast an unnecessary vote? Why have this debate now?
Simple: Where you stand on ObamaCare is now the bright line in American politics, the single issue that defines the difference between the two major voting camps in the United States.
And the Heritage Foundation is of the same opinion:
Last night, the House of Representatives, the legislative chamber of Congress closest to American popular opinion, voted to repeal Obamacare—the increasingly unpopular law which led directly to a change in the control of Congress just three months ago.
Many will tell you that yesterday’s bipartisan vote of 245 to 189 was an exercise in futility—an empty, symbolic measure. Liberals in Congress, the White House and their echo chamber in the media all insist, as NPR has duly reported, that “this measure will go no further.”
Don’t believe this for a single minute. The vote last night was an important step in the democratic process of protecting and conserving our constitutional freedoms.
Our country, it is increasingly clear, has arrived at a pivotal moment – perhaps the pivotal moment – in its history. Together, we face a choice between two futures. One is a collectivist future where the federal government claims ever increasing shares of our income and grants itself the authority to make decisions affecting virtually every aspect of our daily lives. The other future is built upon the idea that individual freedom trumps government authority, and that in those rare cases when solving a problem requires government, the government that governs best is the one that is smallest and closest to the people. That is the future that we should seek – reaffirming our individual liberty, strengthening private markets, shrinking the size of governments, and making decisions wherever possible at the local level rather than in Washington.
No issue joins this debate more dramatically than the question of Obamacare, and what to do about it. It’s not just about health care. The law redefines our centuries-old understanding of the reach of federal authority, indeed whether there are any limits at all to the government’s ability to intrude upon individuals, families, business owners, physicians and other health providers, and state and local governments. Little or nothing will be allowed outside the new regulatory scheme – no alternative state programs, no individuals or businesses that choose not to participate, no truly private market alternatives.
The debate boils down to one big question: Shall we govern ourselves, or let unelected bureaucrats rule us?
Which is to say: Shall we be free or not?
We must make the choice now. We must choose to be free.
When their Communist tyrants began to allow a degree of economic freedom to the Chinese people, we thought – with uncharacteristic optimism and a little too much faith in the liberating power of free markets – that political freedom would soon follow. We were wrong. China is still a tyranny, and the people are still slaves. To be held in a forced collective is to be a slave. (See our post Tarnished laurels, December 7, 2010, on the imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo who called for democracy in China.)
As Hu Jintao, China’s slave-master-in-chief, enjoys a state visit to the US with all honors, we recall the evil he and his fellow tyrants did and continue to do.
Ken Blackwell helps us with this article at Townhall:
It was twenty-two years ago, in the spring of 1989, that thousands of Chinese students gathered in Beijing’s Tienanmen Square to demand democracy… They yearned to join young people in Poland, East Germany, and the then-united nation of Czechoslovakia. It was a time when it seemed the winds of hope and change might sweep away tyranny from the whole world.
It was not to be. While Gorbachev in the Kremlin refused to send in the tanks, refused to shoot down demonstrating students in Eastern Europe, Chinese Communist cadre Hu Jintao joined those in the Communist leadership in Beijing who had no such qualms. Hu would counsel deadly force rather than relax the iron grip of the Communist Party in China.
The world watched, astounded, as a single young Chinese man, wearing a white shirt and holding an innocent briefcase, stood down an entire column of tanks in Beijing. As the lead tank maneuvered to get around the man whose name we now know was Wang Wei-lin, the young man shifted ground and stood squarely in the tank’s path.
It was a dramatic moment. The world watched, awed, at the courage and the idealism of young China on vivid display. But the clash ended quietly and out of sight of Western TV cameras. China democracy advocates who later took refuge in the West testified that Wang Wei-lin was taken into a nearby hotel where, out of view, he was quietly strangled to death.
That driver of the lead tank, a young officer in the People’s Liberation Army, was also killed by state security forces, China democracy refugees tell us. After all, if he had followed his orders, he would have swiftly run over the brave young man in the white shirt. There would have been no dramatic standoff. Thousands of Chinese students would likewise be overrun by the regime’s tanks and shot down as they fled Tiananmen Square.
Their bodies were burned. China’s rulers soon washed down the bricks of their capital’s ceremonial center.
Today, Hu Jintao is president of the People’s Republic of China. …
Washington is welcoming Hu Jintao. We have to roll out a red carpet for the man and the regime that hold a trillion dollars in U.S. debt. The blood-red flag of the People’s Republic of China flies on lampposts along Washington ’s Pennsylvania Avenue. …
Among its other atrocities, the regime kills untold numbers of babies, most of them girls. Astoundingly, American tax-payers contribute money to assist the mass murder:
U.S. taxpayers must once again give millions to the UN Population Fund (UNFP). This UN group aids and abets China ’s government as it brutally enforces its one-child policy. Hundreds of millions of Chinese women have been forced to have abortions. … Female infanticide is routine in rural China …
Today the national anthem of China will be played in Washington, D.C. It’s opening words are:
Arise, ye who refuse to be slaves!
And see what happens to you.
The word “social” can have the effect of negating any other word it precedes. For example, a “social conservative” is not a conservative; “social justice” means unjustly taking money away from someone who has earned it and giving to someone who hasn’t.
Similarly, the word “environmental” can change the word it qualifies. For example, “environmental studies” means theories not derived from studying the environment but from hating human freedom.
There is also something called “environmental justice”. The phrase is doubly negating. It is not about doing justice to the environment (whatever that might entail), nor is it about making a suitable environment where justice might roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
No. It is about robbing industrious Peter to bestow a government “service” on undocumented newcomer Pablo.
Corruption Chronicles brings us this information:
A few months after launching a multi million-dollar campaign to help minorities get green, the Obama Administration is dedicating an additional $7 million to study how pollution, stress and social factors affect “poor and underserved communities.”
It’s all part of the administration’s effort to bring environmental justice to low-income populations by helping them obtain the same degree of protection from health and environmental hazards as wealthy communities. Here’s how it works; the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gives money to leftwing groups—including some dedicated to helping illegal immigrants—that teach black, Latino and indigenous folks how to recycle, reduce carbon emissions through “weatherization” and participate in “green jobs” training.
How many lessons does an illegal immigrant need before he knows how to chuck a can into the recycle bin?
Oh yes, those carbon emissions – the threat that hangs over all mankind.
But what “green jobs” would those be?
To carry out that phase of the environmental justice crusade, some 80 community organizations have received about $2 million. Among the recipients is a New Jersey group (Lazos America Unida) that advocates on behalf of the “Mexican immigrant community” and a Missouri farm workers’ group that will use the money to increase awareness about the dangers of sun and heat exposure in migrant populations.
Doesn’t everyone, wherever he is and wherever he’s from, know that sun and heat exposure can be dangerous? Has someone done one of those solemn academic studies to prove that immigrants are insufficiently aware of that universally acknowledged fact?
This is government parenting to a very high degree!
The “environmental justice” lobby has apparently noticed that poorer folk live in less leafy and spacious spots than the high rent payers do and they don’t think that’s fair.
This week the EPA announced that it’s giving scientists at several universities $7 million to study how pollution, combined with stress and other social factors, affects people in “poor and underserved communities.” The agency refers to it as cumulative human health risk assessment research and the goal is to rid underserved communities of extensive pollution-based problems.
“This ground-breaking research will focus on environments where people are exposed to multiple stressors such as chemicals, anxiety, and poor nutrition,” according to the EPA announcement. “When these stressors are combined, they can lead to a much higher risk of health issues.” The agency is committed to addressing these sorts of contributors to “disproportionate environmental health impacts,” according to a top official.
As none of us can hope to escape chemicals and anxiety, and according to the food-police we’re most of us poorly nourished, will these well-paid researchers come and break some ground in the leafier and more spacious environs of industrious Peter?
What a question! Are not his health impacts all too proportionate? Isn’t he one of those right-wingers who go in for non-social and non-environmental justice? How does he deserve to be researched?
To read a sad story of how “environmental justice” fanatics wrecked an industrial project that would have provided hundred of jobs where they were badly needed, see this article in Reason Magazine.
The popular rising in Tunisia – sweetly dubbed (by whom and why?) the “Jasmine Revolution” – is very unlikely to herald the democratization of Tunisia itself or a widespread democratizing movement in the wider Arab world as optimists in the West are quickly assuming it might do.
It is far more likely to bring Tunisia under a strict Islamic regime.
Robert Spencer is of this opinion. He writes at his website Jihad Watch:
The great unacknowledged truth about Tunisia and the rest of the Islamic world is that Islamic jihadists and pro-Sharia forces, far from being the “tiny minority of extremists” of media myth, actually enjoy broad popular support. Any genuine democratic uprising is likely to install them in power. That’s why jihadists are hailing events in Tunisia, and why all lovers of freedom should view those events with extreme reserve — for a Sharia government in Tunisia is unlikely to be any kind of friend to the United States, and if the “Jasmine Revolution” does indeed spread and other Arab and Muslim dictators are toppled, an already hostile anti-American environment could become much, much worse.
The news media in the United States are not concerning themselves much with the upheavals varying in intensity from angry demonstrations to revolution in Arab states. Young men immolating themselves in Tunisia, Egypt and Mauritania induce pensive theorizing in the West rather than close attention.
The US government doesn’t seem to believe that the turmoil has any importance for America. If so, it’s making a serious mistake. The jihad against the West will be intensified if religious parties come to power in North Africa.
Robert Spencer does not expect the administration to grasp the significance of what is happening or – therefore – to prepare for the probably grave consequences. He writes almost despairingly:
The events in Tunisia also show yet again the crying need for realistic analysis in Washington of the jihad threat, rather than the fantasy-based analysis that prevails there now. But that is even less likely than the flowering of a pluralistic, secular democracy in Tunisia.
It is not the scent of jasmine but of blood and burnt flesh that permeates the air over North Africa, more a stench than a fragrance.
With admirable persistence the Special Tribunal for Lebanon pressed on against all discouragement and today indictments have been served for the murder of the former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri.
See our post below, Eastern Explosions, for the importance of this to the political crisis in Lebanon and the possible repercussions in the region.
The indictments were submitted by the (Canadian) prosecutor, Daniel Bellemare, to the (Belgian) pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen. They reportedly name members of Hezbollah who planned and carried out the assassination, killing 22 other people in the truck-bombing.
One name is known: Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is indicted for giving the instructions to kill Hariri.
The effect this will have on the regime in Iran, and consequently throughout the Middle East and Islam, and thus the world, could be huge.
Today, on his special day of commemoration, we quote from Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. We’ve taken it from PowerLine, where there are more MLK quotations.
Though we have no sympathy with his religious beliefs, we join the acclaim for the achievements of this great humanitarian.
I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son asking in agonizing pathos: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tip-toe stance never quite knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”; then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into an abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.
The Arab world on both the Asian and the North African sides of the Red Sea, and Iran, and Pakistan, are heating up internally to the point of explosion.
On Wednesday last, January 12, 2010, the rickety “unity government” of Lebanon collapsed when the 10 Hezbollah members (out of 30 members in all) left it.
Why? Hezbollah fears the indictments soon to be issued by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, sitting at the Hague, for the murder in 2005 of then Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in a truck-bombing in Beirut, in which 22 others were also killed. The tribunal has hard evidence that Hezbollah was responsible for it.
This terrorist organization – “The Party of God” is what its name means – is backed (which is to say is manipulated; is subject to the orders of) Syria and – chiefly – Iran. President Assad of Syria may be indicted too, so he’s as frightened of the tribunal as is the Hezbollah leadership. And now there are rumors that the mighty Ayatollah Khamenei – Iran’s head of state – may also be on the indictment list.
The Hezbollah members of the government demanded that the present prime minister, Saad Hariri, the murdered Rafik’s son, should declare that his government rejected whatever the findings of the Tribunal might be, now, before the indictments are issued.
Saad Hariri refused, so the Hezbollah members walked out and the government fell.
Hezbollah is very likely to try to deflect attention from the crisis within Lebanon by attacking Israel. Israel is prepared for the onslaught if and when it comes.
In Tunisia, the explosion came this week. A popular uprising erupted – the Arabs call it an intifada – which unseated the dictator Zine al-Abideen Bin Ali. He fled the country with wife Laila Tarabulsi. The couple have been in power, luxuriating in corruption, for 24 years.
Reaction among influential Arab commentators has been enthusiastically on the side of the revolutionaries. They hope the idea of violent rebellion will spread and unseat other despots, such as those who rule over Morocco and Libya.
The despots themselves are frightened. Some moved quickly to placate their populations.
The King of Jordan, reacting to demonstrations in his own country, and spurred on by the events in Tunisia, hoped to subdue discontent by hastily setting controls on food prices.
The repressive Algerian government, experiencing the same sort of internal unrest as Jordan – but worse -, and seriously disturbed by the Tunisian upheaval, took similar measures to keep prices down. But there it may be too late; the regime may fall.
President Mubarak is ill and may die soon. There is a huge amount of political unrest in his country. He has harshly suppressed his chief opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood (action which, taken on its own, the rest of the world should probably be grateful for). Recent violent attacks on the persecuted Coptic Christians gave rise to demonstrations and have intensified the crisis. Chaos threatens.
Hamas has warned that the leadership in the West Bank – headed by Abou Abbas – should expect the same fate as Bin Ali of Tunis. But Hamas itself could soon be at war if the region is ignited by a Hezbollah attack on Israel.
On January 5, the Shia cleric Muqtada Sadr, a close ally of Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah, returned from Iran to Iraq. On the same day, the Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi arrived on an official visit to Baghdad. Civil war could break out at any time between the Shias and Sunnis of Iraq.
The Saudi regime is constantly targeted by al-Qaeda. In this conflict, two brands of Islamic fundamentalism are pitted against each other. But more than al-Qaeda, the Saudis fear a nuclear-armed Iran.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s hold on power is increasingly precarious. He is protected at present by the head of state, Ayatollah Khamenei. But as we noted under the heading of Lebanon, Khamenei’s own position may not be secure.
As Pakistan has nuclear weapons, the prospect of a take-over of power by the Taliban and al-Qaeda, both of which are constantly and violently trying to topple the government, is extremely threatening not just to the region but to the world.
What does all this instability, revolution, and threat of war mean for the United States?
Is there any chance that President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have an answer to that question?