Uncommon courage 161

A surprising interview. Hasan Afzal, a Briton of Palestinian origin, objects to the vicious world-wide movement to delegitimize the State of Israel.

Hasan tells The Atheist Conservative this about himself:

At present I’m on a leave of absence from the University of Birmingham where I’m studying Political Economy.

I come from a secular Muslim family. Religion was often a private experience with the family only ever becoming overtly religious during Ramadan and the two Eid festivals. Other than that, there were no boundaries on what we could talk about so I had complete academic freedom to talk/think/debate with whatever I liked.

The Israel/Palestine issue was never talked about at home, not out of censorship but it never really came up. When I was at University, I was forced to think about it. I guess I’ve been rather influenced by democratic peace theorists and liberal interventionists (aka Neocons – cough!). Sadly, university degrees are too easy to commit one’s mind too, so I spent most of my time reading around the subject. I read Strauss, Hobbes, Locke.

I began to ask: How could this little democracy, Israel, be all the evils that the hate-preachers say it is? I did my own research, and I found out it wasn’t. I got involved in anti-Islamism and discovered the Israel delegitimisation network.  Since then I have had an almost instinctive sympathy for Israel and sadness for the short-sighted leadership of Palestinians. It’s equally a pragmatic support as well as a little ideological. When I see how skewed the debate has become about Israel/Palestine, it is the Israelis I feel are the victims of a sophisticated delegitimisation network.

In the course of his researches, he met Sam Westrop, our British editor. Together they founded the organization British Muslims for Israel, which is beginning to attract media attention.

Sam and I set up British Muslims for Israel. When something happens in the Middle East – the Jerusalem bomb was a perfect example – we come out and make our point clear and provocative. The hope is that Muslims who are hesitant or unsure of their support for Israel will one day put one and one together and see who their real enemies are.

Undhimmi features the video and comments:

It is not before time that a voice of reason from the Muslim community was heard – particularly in Britain – which is fast gaining a reputation as an anti-Semite’s paradise. The cacophany of uninformed and biased, agenda-driven noise (for that it what it is), emanating from the British media and the Islamo-Left coalition – who are dedicated to dehumanising Israelis and falsely presenting the ‘Palestinians’ as perpetual victims – goes virtually unchallenged here [in the US], Britain and the West [in general].

And Melanie Phillips writes in her column at the Spectator:

A warm welcome to a new and very brave kid on the block – British Muslims for Israel. As I have often said, where someone stands on Israel is for me the litmus test of whether they are a decent and rational human being or pose a threat not merely to Jewish interests but to civilised values. Unfortunately, even among those many Muslims who are opposed to the jihad and support western democracy, animosity towards Israel often runs horrifyingly deep. Any Muslim who speaks up in defence of Israel runs significant personal risks. So those behind British Muslims for Israel, which has emerged from the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy*, merit a huge amount of praise and support. They also offer a ray of hope for the future. They show that there are Muslims who pass that key civilisational litmus test with flying colours.

Listen here to their spokesman Hasan Afzal, explaining that the group was set up to counter the dangerous notion which is gaining ground that Israel should cease to exist at all; that Muslims get a better deal if they live in Israel rather than Saudi Arabia; and even that he would happily volunteer to be involved [in Israeli public relations] in the face of the ‘sophisticated internet campaign to delegitimise Israel’.

We applaud Hasan’s efforts and will continue to cheer him on.

*Sam was also one of the founders of The Institute for Middle East Democracy.

China growing … and growing … 26

From Australia’s SBS Dateline, an amazing documentary about China’s ghost cities.

64 million vacant properties.

Shopping malls 99% empty.

Meanwhile, people living in overcrowded slums. One man who is interviewed lives with his wife in a room at the end of a narrow alley, had to send his daughter to live with grandparents so he sees her only once a year, shares one sink and a toilet with all his neighbors in the alley, and wants the government to provide everyone with a home as “a human right”.

But of course, as a Western observer points out in the video, the entire absurd situation is a result of a centrally planned economy.

One two-bedroom apartment houses 9 people including a married couple and a government property developer who has to share a bed. He tells the interviewer that he cannot comment as he’d get into trouble for saying what he thinks.

A sociologist  fears that the communist government’s policy is creating such dangerous social division that “poor people may come out and start a revolution”.

Posted under China, Commentary, communism, Economics by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tagged with ,

This post has 26 comments.


The Church of Christ Sadist (2) 213

Another sadistic Christian sect (see our post immediately below, The Church of Christ Sadist) lets children die in agony. It calls itself the Church of Christ Scientist (an oxymoron).

No date is given for the report we quote from here. These horrors were allowed to happen decades ago. Has legal action stopped them from ever happening again?

Authorities in four states are prosecuting Chris­tian Science parents on manslaughter, murder, or child abuse charges for refusing medical care to their dying chil­dren.

The cases — six of them in all, including three in California — represent the largest assault in history against Christian Science reliance on prayer instead of medical treatment to cure dis­ease

Christian Science began in 1875 with the publication of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health. About the same time the organization of “Chris­tian Scientists,” an association of Mrs. Eddy’s students, formed to learn the finer points of her mind cure techniques. In 1879 the organization incorporated under its official name — The Church of Christ, Scientist.

Although 44 states have enacted laws to prevent prose­cution of Christian Scientists on the basis of religious beliefs, a growing number of prosecutors are going after parents on the basis of child abuse statutes. Child abuse is not directly allud­ed to in most of the statutes pro­tecting Christian Scientists.

The Massachusetts law pro­tecting Christian Scientists passed by the state legislature in 1971 is similar to that of other states. Prosecutors argue that although it shields parents from charges of child neglect, it does not deal with child abuse.

A child is not deemed to have been abused if prevented by parents from being medically treated:

It reads:A child shall not be deemed to be neglected or lack proper physical care for the sole reason that he is being provided remedial treatment by spiritual means alone.”

These cases are cited:

Robin Twitchell, 2, died on April 3, 1986, after suffering for five days from a congenital bowel obstruction. [Painful beyond description – JB]

Mr. Twitchell said he blamed him­self for his son’s death, not for failing to seek a doctor, but because he “failed” in his “belief”. He said he prayed over his baby every night. …

William and Christine Her­manson of Sarasota, Florida, are accused of killing their dia­betic daughter [Amy, 7] by denying her insulin injections. …

The door for the above and other cases to be prosecuted was opened by a recent ruling by the California Supreme Court involving … three active cases in its jurisdiction. The same ruling also opened the door for potential legal action generally against religious groups accused of child abuse. That recent ruling stated that Christian Science parents who attempt spiritual healing and fail to the loss of life can be tried for manslaughter. In all three cases the children involved died of the same ailment — bacterial meningitis; and the parents were all charged with felony child endangerment and invol­untary manslaughter. [All too voluntary in reality – JB.]

The parents charged includ­ed Laurie Walker of Sacramen­to, whose four-year-old daugh­ter Shauntay died in March 1984; Elliot and Lisa Glaser of Santa Monica, whose 16-month son Seth died in March 1984; and Mark and Susan Rippberger of Santa Rosa, whose 8-year-old daughter Natalie died in December 1964.

The most recent case to be publicized is perhaps the most gruesome. Elizabeth Ashley King died of bone cancer near Phoenix, Arizona, on June 5, 1988. At the time of her death, the 12-year-old girl, who had been out of school for seven months, had a 42-inch-round tumor on her leg that had eaten through her bones and genital area.

Elizabeth’s parents, John and Katherine King, were charged with child abuse for let­ting her die. Prosecutor K. C. Scull said he recommended that manslaughter charges also be filed against the Kings, but the county Grand Jury would not go along with it after hear­ing tearful testimony from them.

How mysterious that the merciful God, for all the praying, did not save the children.

Any explanations?

The Church of Christ Sadist 101

CNN’s religious blog “belief” carries this report:

The Society of Jesus‘ Pacific Northwest unit and its insurers have agreed to pay a record $166.1 million to about 470 people who were sexually and psychologically abused as children by Jesuit priests from the 1940s to the 1990s, the victims’ attorneys said Friday.

Blaine Tamaki, an attorney in Yakima, Washington, described the payment as “the largest settlement between a religious order and abuse victims in the history of the United States.”

The Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus is now in federal bankruptcy court in Portland, Oregon

“The $166.1 million is the largest settlement by a religious order in the history of the world,” Tamaki said. “Over 450 Native American children … were sexually abused repeatedly, from rape to sodomy, for decades

Jesuits are the world’s largest order of Catholic priests and are considered the most educated in the priesthood … [They] number about 19,000 worldwide, according to the Society of Jesus in the United States. …

The abuse primarily took place in Jesuit-operated mission schools and boarding schools on Indian reservations in Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Oregon …

Most of the abuse occurred in the 1960s, so many of the alleged victims are now in their late 40s and early 50s, Tamaki said.

None of the 57 Jesuit priests accused of sexual abuse by the victims has been charged with any crimes, Tamika said. …

Forty-nine of the almost 100 victims represented by Tamaki were sexually abused when they were 8 years old or younger, he said. The remaining victims were ages 9 to 14 during the abuse, he said.

One of the victims, now dead, “was in third grade when the molestation began allegedly by a priest and a nun who worked with the Jesuit missionaries.”

Before he died, Lawrence provided a statement for Friday’s press conference: “The nun or one of the brothers would send me to the rectory to see (the priest). He would give me candy or call me special – and then he would molest me. They all did at various times,” his statement said.

Asked why he never told anyone outside the order about it, he replied “we were scared that if we uttered even one word, we would go to hell.”

With its doctrine of hell, Christianity is still a cruel religion.

(Thanks to our commenter Macnvettes for the link.)

Light v darkness in 38 IA 116

Remember what a difference electricity makes to the lives of country-dwellers in that vast book Atlas Shrugged?

Here the case for having it in never-failing abundance is made briefly but well by Professor Ross McKitrick writing against the nonsensical fad of “Earth Hour”.

From the Vancouver Sun:

I abhor EarthHour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferationof inexpensive and reliable electricity. Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.

Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water. Many of the world’s poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases. Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that’s how the west developed.

The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity. People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there too.

The Greens would if they could. To them the human race is a disease of the planet, which can only be saved (for what?) if it is cured of us.

Professor McKitrick goes on:

I don’t want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in “nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.

Here in Ontario, through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply. If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations. No thanks. I like visiting nature but I don’t want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization with all its tradeoffs is something to be ashamed of.

Tradeoffs? What tradeoffs?

In addition to everything else that runs on electricity, there’s the glorious internet. It has so transformed our lives that we think there should be a new calendar marking the difference – Before the Internet Age, BIA,  and the Internet Age, IA. If we date the start of the Internet Age from 1973 of Our Common Era, when the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) started something called “the Inter netting project”, we are now in IA year 38.

Let’s have extravagant supplies of energy from coal (clean or filthy), gas, oil, and nuclear reactors.

And hope that the last Greens to leave their senses will be kept from switching off the lights.

Matters of courtesy 112

We found this happy snap of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shaking hands in 2009 with one of Colonel Gadhafi’s sons, Mutassim, at Creeping Sharia. Also through them we found the following story about another of the Libyan dictator’s sons, Khamis, coming recently to the US as an intern with AECOM:

From the Daily Caller:

A son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi toured U.S. ports and military facilities just weeks before he helped lead deadly attacks on rebels protesting his father’s authoritarian regime.

Khamis Gadhafi, 27, spent four weeks in the U.S. as part of an internship with AECOM, a global infrastructure company with deep business interests in Libya, according to Paul Gennaro, AECOM’s Senior Vice President for Global Communications. The trip was to include visits to the Port of Houston, Air Force Academy, National War College and West Point, Gennaro said. The West Point visit was canceled on Feb. 17, when the trip was cut short and Gadhafi returned to Libya … The uprising there began with a series of protests on Feb. 15….

Gennaro said the U.S. State Department approved of the trip, and considered Gadhafi a reformer. He said the government signed off on the itinerary, at times offering advice that affected the company’s plans for Gadhafi.

State department officials denied any role in planning, advising or paying for the trip. “We did greet him at the airport. That is standard courtesy for the son of the leader of a country,” said State Department spokesman Mark Toner. Toner said the government was aware of Gadhafi’s itinerary, but “did not sign off on it.” …

One or the other is lying. Our guess, it’s the State Department.

So the State Department regularly greets the children of all national leaders when they arrive at a US airport? Even if the national leader is a dictator responsible for the deaths of American servicemen in a Berlin discotheque and hundreds of civilians in the Pan Am plane he had blown up in the air?

Gennaro was one of the AECOM executives who met with Gadhafi during the trip, to educate him on U.S. corporate practices. He said Gadhafi was “very, very interested in the planning, design, how do you advance large infrastructure projects. That was the nature and the tenor of this internship” …

Khamis Gadhafi was [reported] killed earlier this week after a disaffected Libyan air force pilot crash-landed his jet in the ruling family’s headquarters … [He had] led the Khamis Brigade, one of several professional military units that are loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi. …

U.S. diplomats in leaked memos have called it “the most well-trained and well-equipped force in the Libyan military.”

In one brutal attack, his forces surrounded Zawiya while rebels in the city celebrated their victory and cared for the injured. The Khamis Brigade then unleashed an all-out assault from three sides, unloading their weapons and artillery as they stormed the city.

Maybe some of those rebels are among the “thousands of lives” that Hillary Clinton “knows” were saved by US intervention.

If Gadhafi ends up deposed or dead, he’ll possibly be replaced by one of the rebel leaders who fought against Americans in Iraq or was trained by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. He too, and his close relations, would of course be welcome in America and treated with the State Department’s standard courtesy.

“Obama is awesome” 65

Posted under Humor, Libya, satire, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tagged with

This post has 65 comments.


The ugly consequences of a beautiful gesture 371

Now we can see what happens when sentimental leftist ideology dictates American action in world politics.

Three women – no, let’s call them girls – in the Obama administration: Samantha Power, Director of Multilateral Affairs; Susan Rice, Ambassador to the UN; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have wangled the use of America’s military power to support an insurrectionist Arab mob in Libya, on the grounds that “civilians” needed to be protected.

Never mind that they have not the least idea of how such a thing can be done. They want to make a beautiful moral gesture.

And, as they are ideologically pacifist and don’t really want to be sullied by the nasty business of war, they persuaded 27 of the 28 nations in NATO – all except Turkey* – to take as much of the blame for the martial intervention as possible.

And again, as they fear to offend Arab potentates, they cajoled a couple of small Arab states – Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – to send a few aircraft to fly about in the theatre of conflict to make it seem that they too approve of the beautiful gesture.

From RedState:

Apparently mobs of US supported rebels are happily slaughtering Africans living in cities under their control.

About the time the Obama administration was making nervous noises about military intervention, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was reporting:

“Yesterday a UNHCR team at the Egypt border interviewed a group of Sudanese who arrived from eastern Libya who said that armed Libyans were going door to door, forcing sub-Saharan Africans to leave. In one instance a 12-year-old Sudanese girl was said to have been raped … many people had their documents confiscated or destroyed.

“We heard similar accounts from a group of Chadians who fled Benghazi, Al Bayda and Brega in the past few days”

These atrocities were not being carried out by an evil dictator, rather they were the work product of the people with whom the world’s greatest democracy has aligned itself. …

Rebel forces are detaining anyone suspected of serving or assisting the Kadafi regime, locking them up in the same prisons once used to detain and torture Kadafi’s opponents.

For a month, gangs of young gunmen have [been] rousting Libyan blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa from their homes and holding them for interrogation as suspected mercenaries or government spies.

These pogroms directed against Africans living in Libya have started a deluge of refugees [fleeing]  into Niger, a country uniquely unready to accept them. …

Now we do know something about the people we are helping. They are brutal. They practice systematic rape and oppression as a means of expelling blacks from Libya – one of the many charming things about the Arab world.

They are supported by al Qaeda.

In fact, they are demonstrably worse than the man we’re struggling to depose.

Don’t put your daughter on the stage of world politics, Mrs America!

* An error here. Germany refused to participate in the war.

Colossus 49

Obama does not make war. Definitely not. So what’s the US doing firing Tomahawk subsonic cruise missiles at Libyan targets?

According to official spokesmen, it is taking “kinetic military action”. And that only to protect civilians.

Let us, in this stifling atmosphere of pacifism and sentimentality, consider some information (from Wikipedia) that raises questions in an enquiring mind:

The numbers of US military personnel in foreign lands “as of March 31, 2008”, though it must be remembered that  numbers change due to the recall and deployment of units, show that there are more US military personnel in Germany, 52,440, than in Iraq, 50,000.

Why are they in Germany?

9,660 in Italy and 9,015 in Britain.

What for?

28,500 in South Korea (good);  71,000 in Afghanistan (we know what for) and about half as many, 35,688, in Japan.

Why are they in Japan?

Altogether, 77,917 military personnel are located in Europe [more than in Afghanistan], 141 in the former Soviet Union …

What are the 141 doing in “the former Soviet union”?

47,236 in East Asia and the Pacific,  3,362 in North Africa, the Near East, and South Asia, 1,355 are in sub-Saharan Africa with 1,941 in the Western Hemisphere excepting the United States itself …

Within the United States, including U.S. territories and ships afloat within territorial waters –

As of 31 December 2009, a total of 1,137,568 personnel are on active duty within the United States and its territories (including 84,461 afloat). The vast majority, 941,629 of them, were stationed at various bases within the Contiguous United States [the 48 U.S. states on the continent of North America that are south of Canada, plus the District of Columbia, not the states of Alaska and Hawaii, or off-shore U.S. territories and possessions, such as Puerto Rico]. There were an additional 37,245 in Hawaii and 20,450 in Alaska. 84,461 were at sea, 2,972 in Guam, and 179 in Puerto Rico.

What of the US navy?

The United States Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S. Navy also has the world’s largest carrier fleet, with 11 in service, three under construction, and one in reserve. The service had 328,516 personnel on active duty and 101,689 in the Navy Reserve in January 2011. It operates 286 ships in active service and more than 3,700 aircraft.

The 21st century United States Navy maintains a sizable global presence, deploying in such areas as East Asia, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. It is a blue-water navy with the ability to project force onto the littoral regions of the world, engage in forward areas during peacetime, and rapidly respond to regional crises, making it an active player in U.S. foreign and defense policy.

See a list of US Navy ships here.

The air force?

As of 2009 the USAF operates 5,573 manned aircraft in service (3,990 USAF; 1,213 Air National Guard; and 370 Air Force Reserve); approximately 180 unmanned combat air vehicles, 2,130 air-launched cruise missiles, and 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles. The USAF has 330,159 personnel on active duty, 68,872 in the Selected and Individual Ready Reserves, and 94,753 in the Air National Guard as of September 2008. In addition, the USAF employs 151,360 civilian personnel, and has over 60,000 auxiliary members in the Civil Air Patrol,making it the largest air force in the world.

See the list and the pictures of the military aircraft here.

Weaponry – here. And a quotation:

We have achieved a level of technology in military weapons and equipment that no other nation on earth comes close to.

What of US nuclear armament? The US maintains an arsenal of 5,113 warheads.

Space dominance? The question of weapons in space has been much discussed and is not settled. Not wanted by Obama.

What conclusions can be drawn from these facts and figures?

The Cold War is not over?

China is a menace?

The US is still the Watch of the World? Patrolling, protecting, ready to defend? Defend what, specifically?

One thing is certain. The United States of America is a military colossus.

Its military might is a hard – and surely very comforting – fact.

The fact alone should be enough to deter impudent adventurer states, like Russia and Iran, and make tyrannical chieftains who think of plotting massacre, like Gaddafi, think again – unless a silly leader like Obama announces that America will not go to war.

America must not be humble. Far better that it be feared than loved.

America must remain strong. Its ineluctable duty is to awe the world.

The danger of R2P 151

R2P is the doctrine according to which Obama has authorized US military intervention in the Libyan civil war.

Its name in full is “the responsibility to protect”.  The UN. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, referring to it as a justification for the use of military force against Gaddafi’s regime in Libya,  said that it sets an “international security and human rights norm to address the international community’s failure to prevent and stop genocides, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”’

One of its most enthusiastic proponents is Samantha Power, adviser to Obama in the role of Senior Director of Multilateral Affairs [sic] at the National Security Council.

It seems that she and Hillary Clinton (once bitter enemies, now allies) persuaded a hesitant Obama to go to war against Gaddafi in the name of R2P.

Power may be sincerely keen on protecting civilians in Libya. Obama may be too. But there is reason to believe that for Power the attack on Libya in the name of R2P will serve a purpose nearer to her heart. It will provide a precedent for a military intervention she has been advocating for at least eight years.

In an article at Front Page, Chris Queen tells us more about her:

Much of the motivation behind Obama’s Libya policy stems from from the ideology of Samantha Power, the Irish-American, hard-Left humanitarian activist who has been the president’s Director for Multilateral Affairs at the National Security Council since 2009 (and, incidentally, the wife of Obama’s “Regulatory Czar” Cass Sunstein). Power is the woman behind the curtain in terms of Obama’s policy on Libya, but a look at what she advocates reveals a troubling agenda.

Power has advocated a foreign policy that can easily be described as …  “humanitarian interventionist.” Power and other activists like her seek to build American foreign policy around merely stepping into situations in the name of preventing genocide and other humanitarian aims. This type of foreign policy relies heavily on international law and multilateralism. …

While this type of foreign policy agenda might in some small way make sense to some people in a situation like the one in Libya, it is absolutely dangerous as the basis for an entire foreign policy. You see, Samantha Power and her supporters have Israel in their sights as a target for American military intervention on humanitarian grounds.

He posts a video clip here of Samantha Power declaring that the US should use military force against Israel to protect the Palestinians from Israel.

And he notes:

In another interview five years later, Power stated that we in the United States brought terrorist attacks on ourselves because of our relationship with Israel.

We don’t know what arguments she used to Obama, but we think it likely that if she pointed out to him how an attack now on Libya would be useful for future action against Israel, that may have been the very one that persuaded him.

Read more about this here and here and here.

Older Posts »