Nemesis comes to Norway 13

Today the capital of Norway was bombed. As we are Islamophobic, suspicious by nature, and fairly well-informed, we leap to the conclusion that Muslims did it.

If we’re right, it’s a case of a biter being bitten.

Norway has long been cheering Islam on, because it’s a heavily leftist nation, and because most Norwegians hate Jews.

Bruce Bawer lives in Norway. He speaks authoritatively about Norway’s sentimental sympathy with Islam:

They’re overwhelmingly on the left, and intensely hostile to the West, to capitalism, to the US and to Israel. Before the fall of the USSR, an extraordinary percentage of them were Communists. They have replaced their affinity to the Soviet Union with sympathy for the great totalitarian ideology of our time: Islamism. Thus they romanticize Palestinians and despise Israel.

Part of the motivation for this anti-Semitism is the influx into Norway in recent decades of masses of Muslims from Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia and elsewhere. Multiculturalism has taught Norway’s cultural elite to take an uncritical, even obsequious, posture toward every aspect of Muslim culture and belief. When Muslim leaders rant against Israel and the Jews, the reflexive response of the multiculturalist elite is to join them in their rantings. This is called solidarity.

Norwegian history also plays a role in all this. Anti-Semitism has a long, deeply-rooted history here. This was never a cosmopolitan country – no nation in Europe was less ethnically or religiously diverse. On the contrary, Norway was a remote, rural, mountainous land of pious Lutheran farmers whose early 19th-century constitution banned Jews from its territory.

Norway was notoriously pro-Nazi. Later, after Germany was defeated –

The entrenched leftwing elite did its work through the schools, universities and media – producing a generation of Norwegians for whom being virtuous and intellectually sophisticated means, among other things, embracing the Muslim “victim,” and despising the Israeli “bully.”

On Oslo’s version of Fleet Street there is a bar, a journalists’ hangout, called Stopp Pressen (Stop the Presses). For years, there hung in its window a photograph of a smiling, beatific Yasser Arafat. From the way he was portrayed, you’d have thought he was Albert Schweizer. I walked by that picture almost every day for years. It was a good reminder of the sickness at the top ranks of this society.

How is modern anti-Semitism expressing itself in Norway?

Norwegian academics have sought to ban contacts with Israeli universities. Norwegian activists have encouraged boycotts of Israeli products. Every so often, a high-profile professor or activist, or some famous author … will write a virulent op-ed or give an angry speech denouncing Israel and insulting Jews as a people. …

Nothing … could be safer for them to say in this country; no one will seek to harm them physically or otherwise. On the contrary, their anti-Semitic drivel will only win them plaudits from their colleagues. Yet they are treated as bold, courageous, original truth-tellers. …

Well, they were safe enough from European Jews, who never hit back hard, even with mere words, more’s the pity.

But they were not safe from the very people they brown-nosed, if we’re right about who bombed them today.

How dangerous is political and radical Islam in Norway?

Terrifyingly dangerous. And what makes it dangerous is the eagerness of the cultural elite to whitewash it. Islamists are welcomed into the elite. In recent years, one high-profile Islamist has been given a coveted position as a columnist for the country’s newspaper of record, while another has become a leading member of one of the political parties, and has established himself as a powerful figure in Norwegian society.

These men are invited to parties at the US Embassy, and enjoy friendly relations with top members of the Norwegian government and with members of the royal family. It seems clear that they are being groomed for high political office …

Then there’s our resident terrorist, Mullah Krekar, and his family, who have long been the subjects of fawning newspaper and TV profiles in which they are depicted sympathetically as kind, gentle, suffering victims. (This is a man who founded the terrorist group Ansar al-Islam, and who is known to be guilty of murdering and torturing children.)

Oslo was violently attacked by Muslims two years ago when –

…  supposedly in response to Israel’s actions against Hamas, Muslims rioted in downtown Oslo, making a large area of the city look like Beirut or Sarajevo at their most violent moments in modern history. The violence was out of control, the damage extensive. Yet almost everyone got off scot-free.

Early last year, in the same Oslo Square where Quisling and his henchman once held rallies [Vidkun Quisling was the Minister-President of Norway 1942-1945 who collaborated enthusiastically with Hitler – JB], scores of radical Muslims gathered to hear a Nazi-like message of hate against Jews, gays, secular democracy, America, the West, Israel. The speeches were chilling. Yet the men who gave those speeches continue to be treated with respect by Norwegian authorities.

Will a bombing, by Muslims, of their capital city change the minds of Norwegians about Islam?

More likely they’ll cringe even lower and lick the boots of Muslims more zealously. We’ll wait and see.

Tolerating intolerance – the weakness of the West 6

Islam to the West: “You are willing to tolerate the intolerant and the intolerable. That will be your epitaph. We are intolerant of the tolerant. That will be the message of our victory.”

We quote from an article by Edward Cline at Family Security Matters.

He writes as a secularist, and praises individual freedom. A thinker after our own heart.

Twenty years before 9/11, when Saudi nationals hijacked American passenger planes and used them as suicide bombs, the West was warned by one of our main enemies of things to come. The warning was announced in an unsigned Reuters article which appeared in April, 1981, in The New York Times: “Saudis Shield Islam From ‘Alien Values.’”

The headline sums up one half of the truth. A subheading may as well have read: “Values Alien to Islam to be Liquidated.”

A page-two heading could also have paraphrased Vladimir Lenin: “Westerners will sell us the rope with which we will subjugate them.”

The physical rope is the oil-production capacity which the barbarians nationalized (pioneered by Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, which then helped to form OPEC in 1960), which the West refrained from reclaiming. The ideological rope is multiculturalism and cultural relativism. Their ultimatum was and remains: If you Westerners insist there is no difference between our cultural and politics and yours, then it can make no difference to you if we take over and set the terms of your existence.You are willing to tolerate the intolerant and the intolerable. That will be your epitaph. We are intolerant of the tolerant. That will be the message of our victory.

The Times article is a fawning puff piece about our less than benevolent extortionist, the royal kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and about its pseudo-angst over how Western values are no match for a medieval, totalitarian ideology that is insulated from any and all threats from Western civilization.

Saudi Arabia’s economic planners believe they can successfully link the West’s technology and the Islamic faith without rending society, but acknowledge they face a challenge.

The text of the country’s economic plan recognizes that there is concern in the Government and among the populace that ”alien values and the spirit of materialism” may threaten religion, adding that this is a difficult problem. …

But as Cline points out,  “Islam is safe. It faces no peril from the West.” It is the West that is threatened by Islam. And if the West is overcome by Islam, scientific and technological development will cease.

Islam is by nature a parasitical ideology which cannot allow its adherents to create, innovate, or think outside the suffocating box of blind faith. Islam cannot allow its elect or anyone else freedom of thought without sabotaging itself. It will not abide criticism ranging from cartoons of its prophet to examination of its central tenets. So, it must feed off the West, which does allow freedom of thought, and freedom of action.

It is not … Islamic society that is being rent by the conflict between Islam and the West. It is the West’s societies, in virtually every Western nation, that are being torn asunder thanks to their pragmatic, tolerant, non-judgmental, and politically correct perception of Islam as just another religion. Europe is experiencing this dissolution first hand.

What are the “alien values” that the Saudis wish to keep – and have successfully kept for decades at box-cutter’s length? The supreme value of the individual. The idea that it is the individual who is the prime mover of his own life, responsible for his own values and actions. The value of that individual to be free to act in his own self-interest. The value of the idea that his rights to exist and to act do not emanate from society, or the state, or any monarchy, but from his nature as a being of volitional consciousness beholden to no dogma or faith.

We interrupt him to applaud.

And we nod in agreement as he goes on:

The “spirit of materialism”? What is meant by that? Ostensively, an overriding concern for one’s material comfort and happiness at the expense of intangible “spiritual” or moral values

We like those quotation marks round “spiritual” – whatever does the word mean?

… which, in the case of Islam, is unquestioned submission to the theology and pseudo-ethics of Islam. However, blind, unquestioning acceptance of any morality is not a moral action. And one does not witness the sacrifice of “material values” in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Dubai, or any other oil-windfall Arab regime. Like the ancient Egyptians, the Saudis have embarked on an “economic plan” which consists of building monumental skyscrapers, housing developments, and other neo-pyramids, all of which, funded by petrodollars, are white elephants that can never earn back their enormous investment. They represent the siphoning off of genuine, productive wealth from the West into unimaginable money pits. …

Willful blindness keeps most Western politicians from seeing and acknowledging the truth that Islam is waging a war of conquest. President Obama, we observe, acts consistently to ease Islam’s path to victory (see our post Too dreadful to contemplate, July 9, 2011).

The West is on the defensive, Islam on the offensive. As communists in the past have done in pursuit of global socialist state, Islamists [we just call them Muslims – JB] are plotting the overthrow of the West and its replacement with a global caliphate …  They are quite frank about their ends and means. …

While one totalitarian system has collapsed of its own ineptness, another has sprung up to take its place. …

Journalistic and politically correct diffidence continues to this day …  [towards] death fatwas on critics and cartoonists, rising sexual assaults on non-Muslim women in Western countries, honor killings of disobedient girls and women, riots and mass car burnings in “no-go” ghettoes in major cities, a resurgence of anti-Semitism spread by Muslim clerics, brazen calls for sedition and the overthrow of Western governments in mosques, the de facto establishment of Sharia courts in contravention of civil law, the meek accommodation of Muslim “needs” such as foot baths, prayer rooms, and halal food, often paid for by non-Muslim taxpayers (yes, it is jizya, or the Islamic tax on conquered infidels), the Ground Zero mosque … and so much more, all abetted, condoned, or ignored by a liberal news media, our leftist/liberal intelligentsia, and often by our judiciary.

And by most teachers in our schools and academies, and most of our military and political leaders.

Even our technology won’t save us if we lack the will to win this war.

Whack and go 1

America’s war in Afghanistan is at long last coming to an end.

Daniel Greenfield has these thoughts on the failed campaign:

Obama has made it clear that Karzai has no future, and that means that a growing realignment is happening in Afghanistan. With two sides to choose from, one that is on the way out, and one that is on the way in, a new tide of support is flowing away from the American backed government and to the Taliban. …

Afghanistan is the Muslim world at its most elementally tribal with fewer of the mock civilized interfaces between the Westerner and the ragged edge of the frontier than are found in Pakistan or the Middle East.

The Taliban took power there in the same way that Mohammed once did in the Arabian desert, by packing together ruthless brutality and a fanatical religious ideology. Their coalition was based on naked power and terror. Ours was based on foreign aid, elections and soldiers digging wells. It’s not that we never had a shot, but that we were trying to impose order on what is really a permanent state of chaos.

Even before the choppers have begun taking off, the chaos is reclaiming the land. The Islamists will return, celebrate their victory, and fall into another civil war. Without foreign troops there to target, they will not be able to count on the same level of aid from the Muslim world. Which will move the clock back to before the American invasion.

Kabul will hold out for a while, but eventually it will fall, and all the NGO’s, the girls we taught to read, the elections and the laws will all go back under the Burqa. …

The story will play out the same way that it did in Vietnam and the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Not because it was foretold, but because we lost sight of what the mission was.

The same mission creep took hold in Afghanistan and Iraq, that has taken hold in most of our wars. We stopped fighting to destroy an enemy and began trying to win the hearts and minds of the population. No longer as a means, but as an end. …

If we had put our focus into hunting down the Taliban, wiping out any village that harbored them and leaving behind a trial of chaos and refugees, then we would have at least taught a lasting lesson.

But for what? Is it certain that 9/11 was prepared in Afghanistan, or was Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, or even perhaps Iran, when he plotted the attack?

One might think that America should have whacked the Taliban regardless of whether it had anything to do with 9/11. Perhaps another whack may be necessary one day. But America should whack and go.

Instead we believed that by exporting our system, we could implement a state of stability. Transform Afghanistan from a collection of villages and hovels run by gangs and large families into something more modern. The effort was doomed to fail. Afghanistan is not a modern state. It isn’t a state at all. Like most of the Muslim world it’s a patchwork of families and clans with borders and a flag stuck on top. To run it, is a matter of managing chaos. …

Our drive for democracy was based on a fundamental error. We had not taken into account that the difference between us and them, was not that we had voting booths, and they didn’t. But that we were civilized and they weren’t.

Is civilization rendered impotent by its own moral values when it comes to using force against savages?

When the Romans despaired of taming wild tribes they built walls to keep them at bay: the limes in Germany, Hadrian’s Wall in Britain. In our time, no wall can protect us from Islamic savages. From time to time we will need to whack them, but we should never hang about trying to tame them.

How can we possibly learn the answer, when we keep asking the wrong question. … The right question wasn’t how do we stabilize Afghanistan, it was how do we find the people who did this to us and teach them and their backers an enduring lesson.

There was a brief shining moment when we understood that this was the question. When it was “You’re either with us or against us” and “Give us Bin Laden’s head”. When politicians seemed to have reverted to the common sense approach of the man on the street. But then the experts took over. And the question became one of reconstructing Afghanistan in the name of some greater good. Now the Taliban are giving the final answer to that question.

The only true moral of war is that you shouldn’t begin one that you aren’t going to fight to win. And we didn’t fight to win. We fought for hearts and minds. And now when the troops go, we will discover how little those hearts and minds were worth all along.

No responsibility to report 1

Just how phony the claim is (put out by Obama and his henchwomen*) that the Libyan engagement is all about the “responsibility to protect” civilians, is demonstrated by this report published two days ago on July 18, 2011, by Asia News – and nowhere in the West:

Benghazi-based rebels took Brega over night. The town, which is 740 km east of Tripoli, is the country’s main oil hub. The National Transitional Council (NTC) called the fall of the city its greatest victory since the war against Gaddafi began. However, doubts remain about rebel intentions. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused them of retaliatory violence against pro-Gaddafi regime civilians. … HRW said rebels looted and torched homes in towns that had fallen under NTC control. In villages south of Tripoli, Gaddafi loyalists were beaten, their houses set on fire.

We have little respect for Human Rights Watch having observed their frequent incapacity or reluctance to tell the truth, but in this case their accusation is backed up by another source:

Tiziana Gamannossi, an Italian businesswoman in Tripoli, told AsiaNews that the rebels’ push is causing fear in the civilian population. …

In her view, NATO is funding and arming violent groups that lack any training or code of honour. …

For Gamannossi, a war that was launched to defend civilians is absurd. The latter watch powerless as their cities and country are torn down amid the silence of western media.

“These days, hundreds of thousands of people have demonstrated against NATO in Tripoli, Zliten, Ajaylat and Sabha, demanding an end to the air strikes. No newspaper has given such news much importance, calling the protests ‘ demonstrations funded by the regime’.”

Last week the 30-member contact group on Libya, including the United States, China and Russia, “formally recognised the NTC as the sole representative of the Libyan people. This will give the council access to about US$200 billion in Libyan government assets held in foreign banks to fund the rebel advance.”

What makes this contact group expect that the people leading the National Transitional Council will be any better for Libyans, or for other states to deal with, than Gaddafi has been?

The answer is, absolutely nothing. They may even be worse.

 

* Samantha Power, Senior Director of Multilateral Affairs, National Security Council;  Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN;  Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State.  See our post A siren song from hell, April 1, 2011.

 

What does eleven trillion dollars look like? 5

From PageTutor:

We’ll start with a $100 dollar bill. Currently the largest U.S. denomination in general circulation. Most everyone has seen them, slighty fewer have owned them. Guaranteed to make friends wherever they go.

$100

A packet of one hundred $100 bills is less than 1/2″ thick and contains $10,000. Fits in your pocket easily and is more than enough for week or two of shamefully decadent fun.

$10,000

Believe it or not, this next little pile is $1 million dollars (100 packets of $10,000). You could stuff that into a grocery bag and walk around with it.

$1,000,000 (one million dollars)

While a measly $1 million looked a little unimpressive, $100 million is a little more respectable. It fits neatly on a standard pallet…

$100,000,000 (one hundred million dollars)

And $1 BILLION dollars… now we’re really getting somewhere…

$1,000,000,000 (one billion dollars)

Next we’ll look at ONE TRILLION dollars. This is that number we’ve been hearing so much about. What is a trillion dollars? Well, it’s a million million. It’s a thousand billion. It’s a one followed by 12 zeros.

You ready for this?

It’s pretty surprising.

Go ahead…

Scroll down…

Ladies and gentlemen… I give you $1 trillion dollars

$1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion dollars)

Notice those pallets are double stacked.
…and remember those are $100 bills.

So the next time you hear someone toss around the phrase “trillion dollars”… that’s what they’re talking about.

After seeing What does one TRILLION dollars look like?, I’ve gotten quite a few requests to translate that into the U.S.National Debt, 11 trillion dollars as of March, 2009.

So here you go, the U.S. National Debt in $100 dollar bills…

$11 trillion dollars ($11,000,000,000,000)

NEWS:  THE OUTSTANDING NATIONAL DEBT AS OF TODAY TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2011

$14,342,942,873,692.85

Posted under Economics, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tagged with , ,

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A human right to rape and murder? 0

Years and years ago in Texas, a vicious pervert named Humberto Leal raped and murdered a sixteen year old girl named Adrea Sauceda.

From a report of the murder, and the 1995 trial and conviction of her murderer:

The tragic final hours of sixteen-year-old Adrea Sauceda’s life started at an outdoor party in San Antonio, Texas. … Humberto Leal was also at the party. At some point the intoxicated but conscious victim was placed in Leal’s car. …  Several of the party members went looking for Adria … They found her nude body lying face-up on a dirt road. They noticed Adria’s head had been bashed in and it was bleeding. Her head was flinching or jerking. These party members called the police. When the police arrived, they saw the nude victim lying on her back. There was a 30 to 40 pound asphalt rock roughly twice the size of Adria’s skull lying partially on Adria’s left arm. Blood was underneath this rock. A smaller rock with blood on it was located near Adria’s right thigh. There was a gaping hole from the corner of Adria’s right eye extending to the center of her head from which blood was oozing. Adria’s head was splattered with blood. [She had been raped with] a bloody and broken stick approximately 14 to 16 inches long with a screw at the end of it … Another 4 to 5 inch piece of the stick was lying to the left side of Adria’s skull. … Leal was arrested [and his] car was impounded. … [At leal’s trial]  Dr. DiMaio, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy, testified about Adria’s injuries and cause of death. DiMaio testified that even though Adria was intoxicated when she received her injuries, she would have been aware of what was happening to her. …  Adria’s head injuries were consistent with Adria lying on the ground with somebody standing over her striking her. DiMaio testified the large rock could have delivered the injuries to Adria’s head. Based on the injuries to Adria’s head, DiMaio testified Adria would had to have been struck with the rock two or three times. DiMaio testified Adria died from blunt force trauma injuries to the head. …  DiMaio also testified about bite marks he found on Adria’s left cheek, the right side of her neck and the left side of her chest. Another witness compared the bite marks on Adria’s chest and neck with dental impressions of Leal’s teeth. They matched. The State’s indictment charged that Leal killed Sauceda … Leal was convicted and … sentenced to death.

A just sentence.

But demands that the rapist murderer’s life be spared poured over the Governor, Rick Perry.

Who were the murderer’s supporters?

A gaggle of very important lefties from all over this lefty-contaminated planet …

scoundrels slithering about  that sink of iniquity the United Nations …

and the president of the United States, Barack Obama.

From Front Page, by Mark Tapson:

The pleas came not just from the typical capital punishment opponents but from international diplomats, judges, military officials, politicians, even the United Nations. The topper was an eleventh-hour appeal from the Obama administration itself.

What is it about Leal’s case that prompted protest from such high-powered and far-ranging corners? The argument from the White House and others was that his execution “would place the United States in irreparable breach of its international law obligation.” A “Mexican national” (he had lived illegally in the U.S. since the age of two) Leal had not been informed, after his arrest, of his right to consult the crack legal team at the Mexican consulate – an oversight which the International Court of Justice at The Hague rules is a violation of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Leal, as such, should have been notified of his right to call up his embassy and have all that rape-murder unpleasantness wiped clean as tidily as “some New Guinean ambassador’s parking tickets,” as crime reporter Tina Trent put it in a blistering blog.

Instead, Humberto Leal and his attorney Sandra Babcock were forced to insist on his innocence, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, through forty-five hearings and appeals over a period longer than the life of his young victim, before he finally confessed at his execution: “I have hurt a lot of people… I take full blame for everything. I am sorry for what I did.” This was just before he shouted – twice – his patriotic final words, “Viva Mexico!” If Senõr Leal had lived there, of course, instead of illegally in the U.S., Adrea Sauceda would still be alive. …

“A technicality doesn’t give anyone a right to come to this country and rape, torture and murder anyone,” said the victim’s mother. Sorry, Mrs. Sauceda, but President Obama and his radical colleagues have a broader agenda in mind than justice for your insignificant daughter. Tina Trent suggests that Obama’s intervention on Leal’s behalf can be traced back to a 2003 conference called Human Rights at Home: International Law in U.S. Courts, which featured the usual suspects: the ACLU, The Jimmy Carter Center, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International. Also presenting at the conference was Leal’s attorney Babcock herself and a raft of radical elements: Bernardine Dohrn, the unrepentant former terrorist/current radical academic, and the not-so-better-half of Bill Ayres (whose c.v. is the same); Van Jones, the continually self-reinventing, race-baiting Communist “truther” … and representatives from the [sarcastically named] Open Society Institute, funded by the ubiquitous puppet master of the Left, George Soros. Radical transnationalist Harold Koh, now Obama’s State Department legal adviser and one of those who pushed for Leal’s international “rights” participated as well. The conference’s official description said that one of its purposes was to “ensure U.S. accountability for violating international human rights principles” – hence the campaign for “justice” for illegal alien and rapist-murderer Humberto Leal.

Trent reports that as a professor at Northwestern University School of Law, “Ms. Babcock’s research interest is imposing international law on the American justice system, a hobby she practices with her colleague, terrorist-cum-law-professor Bernardine Dohrn.” Dohrn is the Director of Northwestern’s Children and Family Justice Center who, like Babcock, lists “International Human Rights” among her areas of expertise. It’s ironic that “Juvenile Justice” is Dohrn’s other area of expertise, since she and her transnationalist allies haven’t put any effort toward the defense of 16-year-old Adrea Sauceda’s rights.

Dohrn is a lifelong “revolutionary anti-imperialist” who co-founded the Weather Underground domestic terrorist group, which carried out bombings on American soil, and was accused of planting the bomb that killed a San Francisco police sergeant in 1970, a charge she denies. She salivated over the Manson family’s butchery of innocents (whom she referred to as “pigs”), was a principal signatory of a Declaration of War against “AmeriKKKa,” and today links arms with her Code Pink cohorts to stand with Hamas and denounce the imaginary genocide of Palestinians being waged so ineptly by Israeli oppressors. So her concept of “international human rights” seems rather limited.

Dohrn, Babcock, Koh and the other activists from that 2003 conference all share what the National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy calls Obama’s “poorly camouflaged loathing of American power, at least when used to pursue American interests.” They are united in their intent to diminish American sovereignty and superpower status, and to usher in a “post-American” world in which the United States submits itself to the judgment of transnational institutions like the United Nations and the International Court of Justice, packed with representatives who, to put it mildly, do not have America’s best interests at heart.

We are happy to say that all protests were ignored by the Governor. Leal was executed earlier this month.

Weathering such protests is nothing out of the ordinary for Perry; a strong proponent of the death penalty, he has overseen the execution of more than two hundred “dead men walking.”

In our view, that alone recommends him as a candidate for the presidency, for which – it is said – he is thinking of standing.

Okay, he’s got religion, but so have they all, all the would-be candidates as far as we know.

And God of course is on everyone’s side. After Leal had carried out his grotesque crime, he “went home, prayed on the side of his mom’s bed.” (Are you not moved?)

And after Leal’s execution, Leal’s uncle said, “There is a God who makes us all pay.”

Anyway, the law does – unless or until Obama and the United Nations abolish it.

Torturing for Christ 3

We often speak of persecutions and cruelties carried out in the name of Christianity. Multitudes of examples are to be found in the history of the medieval Papal Inquisition. Volumes have been written about that terrifying institution, and the chronicles hold an immense fund of horrors. A good case could be made that the Catholic Church is the most terrible institution ever established in human history, in that its intensely cruel and terrifying power of oppression continued for hundred of years. Nazism and Communism, no less cruel and terrifying, were comparatively short-lived in the 20th century. But Communism is still with us, and there is the possibility that it might persist  in parts of the world, or even be spread over all of it, for an unpredictable length of time. And of course Islam, an ideology of oppression and mass murder, has lasted longer than all the active Catholic inquisitions, is still with us, and is spreading at an ever accelerating pace.

But we will concentrate at present on the Roman Catholic Church’s arm of persecution.

On May 1, 2011, we posted The heretics of Languedoc, an outline of the story of the Cathars who were destroyed by the Catholic Church. As a sequel, we have selected these quotations from an essay to be found here.

The Inquisition set up in the Languedoc was not the first Inquisition set up by the Roman Church.. The Inquisition which is the subject of this page was the Medieval Inquisition, established informally by Pope Innocent III in the early thirteenth century and formalised by later popes. …

The express purpose of this original medieval Inquisition was to discover and eliminate vestiges of Cathar belief left after the Cathar Crusades. …

By the end of the fourteenth century Catharism had been virtually extirpated. Before the Crusade the Languedoc, under the Counts of Toulouse, had been the most civilised land in Europe. People here had preferred simple asceticism to venality and corruption. Learning had been highly valued. Literacy had been widespread, and popular literature had developed earlier than anywhere else in Europe. Religious tolerance had been widely practised. Jews enjoyed ordinary civil rights. The Languedoc had been the home of courtly love, poetry, romance, chivalry and the troubadours. All this was swept away by the Albigensian Crusade and Inquisition.

Procedures were developed over time, evolving from fairly amateur attempts to establish guilt to a sophisticated mechanism that would guarantee guilt. …

From contemporary documents we can trace the development of the torture techniques developed by Dominican Inquisitors. Here for example is an extract from an open letter written around 1285 by the Consuls of Carcassonne to Jean Galand, an Inquisitor at Carcassonne.

Contrary the the practice and custom of your predecessors, you have created a prison called “The Wall”, which would be better called “Hell”. In it you have constructed small cells to inflict pain and to mistreat people using various types of torture. Some cells are so dark and airless that those imprisoned there cannot tell whether it is night or day. They permanently lack air and light. In other cells the miserable prisoners remain in fetters – of either wood or metal – and are unable to move. They excrete and urinate where they are, and cannot lie down except on their backs on the cold earth … In other places in the prison they lack air and light and also food, exept the “bread of adversity, and the water of affliction” which are provided only rarely. Some are placed on the chevelet [an instrument of torture]; many of them have lost the use of their limbs because of the severity of the torture and are rendered entirely powerless … Life for them is an agony, and death a relief. Under these constraints they affirm as true what is false, prefering to die once than to be thus tortured multiple times … they accuse not only themselves but also others who are innocent, in order to escape their suffering in any way … those who so confess reveal afterwards that what they have said to the Brother Inquisitors [Dominicans] is not true, but false, and that they have confessed out of fear of the peril of the moment. To some of those [witnesses] that you cite you promise immunity so that they will more freely denounce others without fear.

From other sources we know that the bread was stale and the water fetid – a diet that often resulted in death within weeks or months. …

The procedure was that Inquisitors would announce their arrival in a town in advance. Everyone was invited to attend and confess their errors. When the Inquisitors arrived “volunteers” were interviewed. If they confessed to relatively minor misdeeds, were prepared to swear fidelity to the Catholic Church, and were willing to provide useful information about others then they were given a small penance and the matter was closed. Some of the consequences of this practice were:

It provided an opportunity for obliging Catholics to betray friends and family, and a virtual obligation for everyone to do so – failure to provide useful information was taken as lack of genuine zeal and commitment to the One True Church.

It provided a formal record of a first offence. This had a salutary effect since a second offence carried the death penalty.

It efficiently filtered out Cathar parfaits [“perfects”] and other “heretics” who were not willing to swear any oath, let alone one of fidelity to the Catholic Church. Anyone who had not volunteered was immediately suspected, and their failure to confess voluntarily was itself evidence against them.

Repentant first offenders who admitted to having been Cathar heretics, when released on licence by the Inquisition were required to:

“… carry from now on and forever two yellow crosses on all their clothes, except their shirts, and one arm shall be two palms long while the other transversal arm shall be a palm and a half long and each shall be three digits wide with one to be worn in front on the chest and the other between the shoulders.”

Victims were required to renew the crosses if they became torn or destroyed by age. These yellow crosses, like the yellow badges of a different shape that the Catholic Church required Jews to wear, were badges of infamy – warning to good Catholics to shun the wearers. These crosses were known in Occitan as “las debanadoras” – reels or winding machines. The idea seems to be that offenders could be “reeled in” by the Inquisition at any time. This was a serious concern since a second accusation meant a second conviction, and a second conviction meant death.

From its begining, the Papal Inquisition worked by ignoring all rules of natural justice. Guilt was assumed from the start. The accused had no right to see the evidence against them, or their accusers. They were not always told what the charges were against them. They had no right to legal counsel, and if exceptionally they were allowed a legal representative then the representative risked being arrested for heresy as well.

People were charged on the say-so of hostile neighbours, known enemies and professional informers who were paid on commission. False accusations, if exposed, were excused if they were the result of “zeal for the Faith”. Guilty verdicts were assured – especially since, in addition to their punishment, half of a guilty person’s property was seized by the Church. The Dominicans soon hit on the idea of digging up and trying dead people, so that they could seize property from their heirs. …

Torture became a favourite method of extracting confessions for offences both real and fabricated. Its use was explicitly sanctioned by Pope Innocent IV in 1252 in his bull ad extirpanda though it had been practiced from the earliest days. Inquisitors and their assistants were permitted to absolve one another for applying torture. Instruments of torture, like crusaders’ weapons, were routinely blessed with holy water.

Torture was applied to obtain whatever confessions were required, and sometimes just to punish people that the Church authorities did not like – people could be and were tortured even after they had confessed. …

These techniques were responsible for the first police state in Europe, where the only thoughts and actions permitted were those approved of by the Roman Church, where no-one could be trusted, and where duty to the totalitarian authority took precedence over all other duties

It is difficult to find any technique of modern totalitarianism that was not pioneered by the Medieval Inquisition

Inquisitors even charged people for the equipment used to execute members of their families

Tortures varied from time to time and place to place, but the following represent the more popular options.

Victims were stripped and bound. The cords were tied around the body and limbs in such a way that they could be tightened, by a windlass if necessary, until they acted like multiple tourniquets. By attaching the cords to a pulley the victim could be hoisted off the ground for hours, then dropped. Whether the victim was pulled up short before the weight touched the floor, or allowed to fall to the floor, the pain was acute. This was the torture of the pulley, also known as squassation and the strappado. John Howard, the prison reformer, found this still in use in Rome in the second half of the eighteenth century.

The rack was a favourite for dislocating limbs. …

The victim could be flogged, bathed in scalding water with lime, and have their eyes removed with purpose designed eye-gougers.

Fingernails were pulled out. Grésillons (thumbscrews) were applied to thumbs and big toes until the bones were crushed.

The victim was forced to sit on a spiked iron chair that could be heated by a fire underneath until it glowed red-hot.

Branding irons and red-hot pincers were also used.

The victim’s feet could be placed in a wooden frame called a boot. Wedges were then hammered in until the bones shattered, and the ‘blood and marrow spouted forth in great abundance’. Alternatively the feet could be held over an open fire, and literally roasted until the bones fell out; or they could be placed in huge leather boots into which boiling water was poured, or in metal boots into which molten lead was poured.

Since the holy proceedings were conducted for the greater glory of God the instruments of torture were sprinkled with holy water.

Whole families were accused. …

Hearings … were held in secret, generally conducted by men whose identities were concealed. In the Papal States and elsewhere, Dominicans acted as both judges and prosecutors. By papal command they were forbidden to show mercy. There was no appeal. …

No genuine defence could be sustained. For example, if a husband provided an alibi, saying that his wife had been asleep in his arms when she was alleged to have been attending a witches’ sabbat, it would be explained to him that a demon had adopted the form of his wife while she was away….

Spies were employed with the incentive of payment by results. Perjury was pardoned if it was the outcome of ‘zeal for the faith’ – i.e. supporting the prosecution. …

Those who helped the inquisitors were granted the same indulgences as pilgrims to the Holy Land. Any advocates acting for and any witnesses giving evidence on behalf of a suspect laid themselves open to charges of abetting heresy. No one was ever acquitted, a released person always being liable to re-arrest and a condemned person liable to a revised sentence with no retrial, at the discretion of the Inquisitor. … Confessions were virtually guaranteed unless the victim died under torture. Then came the sentence, and execution of the sentence.

The method of execution was most often burning at the stake.

The Church claims that it never killed its victims; it handed them over to the lay authorities to be punished. This was called “relaxing” the condemned heretic. He or she was “handed to the magistrates with a recommendation to mercy and instruction that no blood be shed. The supreme hypocrisy of this was that if the magistrate did not burn the victims on the following day, he was himself liable to be charged with abetting heresy.”

People were executed for failing to fast during Lent, for homosexuality, fornication, explaining scientific discoveries, and even for professional acting. …

The victims were forced to pay for their torture and execution:

The estates of those found guilty were forfeit, after the deduction of expenses. Expenses included the costs of the investigation, torture, trial, imprisonment and execution. The accused bore it all, including wine for the guards, meals for the judges, and travel expenses for the torturer. Victims were even charged for the ropes to bind them and them and the tar and wood to burn them. Generally, after paying these expenses, half of the balance of the estate went to the Inquisitors and half to the Pope, or a temporal lord.

Torture and murder were highly profitable to a church that preaches poverty as a virtue. Why, we ask – expecting no answer – doesn’t universal disgust, if nothing else, deprive it of all its adherents?

*

This picture illustrates a burning to death of “heretics” by the Spanish Inquisition

Victims of the Inquisition Led to Their Act of Faith

*

Footnote: It should not be imagined that Protestantism was any more merciful than Catholicism. See our post Calvin: a chapter in the terrible history of Christianity, April 25, 2010.

War over, Gaddafi victorious? 0

Is the war of the Western powers against the petty despot of Libya over?

Has the petty despot won?

According to this report at (not always reliable) DebkaFile, it is and he has:

Bar the shouting, the war in Libya virtually ended Thursday morning, July 14, when US President Barack Obama called Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to hand Moscow the lead role in negotiations with Muammar Qaddafi for ending the conflict – provided only that the Libyan ruler steps down in favor of a transitional administration.

The US president thus accepted the Russian-Libyan formula for ending the war over the heads of the NATO chiefs who rejected it when they met Russian leaders at the Black Sea resort of Sochi last week. …

By the time Obama had decided to call Medvedev, individual governments which had spearheaded the anti-Qaddafi campaign were quietly melting away. …

From Saturday, July 9 … NATO discontinued its air strikes against Libyan pro-government targets in Tripoli and other places. The halt though unannounced was nonetheless an admission that 15,000 flight missions and 6,000 bombardments of Qaddafi targets had failed to achieve their object: Col. Qaddafi, without deploying a single fighter jet, firing an anti-air missile or activating terrorist cells in Europe, had waited for NATO to run out of steam and was still in power.

In an overview of the war to British air force commanders Wednesday, July 13, British Defense Secretary Liam Fox remarked that while no one knows when it will end, British ground corps, naval and air forces do not have the means to continue the war. … [He] added that British and European military industries lack the capacity for supporting a war effort that goes beyond a few weeks.

Italy, a key player in NATO’s military effort, last week secretly withdrew its Air Force Garibaldi-551 planes from the campaign – dealing the operation another grave setback. And in the last 10 days, France has also scaled back the military assets it had invested in the fighting after despairing of the anti-Qaddafi rebels based in Benghazi ever making headway against Qaddafi’s forces. First, Paris tried to transfer its backing from Benghazi to the secessionist Berber tribes fighting Qaddafi in Western Libya. On June 30, President Nicolas Sarkozy ordered weapons to be parachuted to the tribal fighters in western Libya, contrary to UN and NATO decisions. But the Berbers preferred to use the French guns for plundering towns and villages instead of fighting government forces.

On Monday, July 11, after that experience, Defense Secretary Gerard Longuet said it was time for talks to begin between Qaddafi and the rebels. Paris, he said, had asked the two sides to begin negotiations.

This was backhanded confirmation of the claim Qaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam made to the French media that his father was engaged in contacts for ending the war through emissaries who met with President Sarkozy.

While Minister Longuet said the Libyan ruler cannot stay in power, he refrained from demanding his ouster by force or his expulsion from the country. This formula therefore came close to Qaddafi’s terms for ending the war. …

It also knocks over the international war crimes tribunal’s demand to extradite Qaddafi and his sons as war criminals.

Instead of sitting in the dock of the world court, they will now take their seats at the negotiating table for a deal one of whose objects will be to rescue NATO from the humiliation of defeat at war.

In an article at Front Page, Stephen Brown confirms that NATO is stopping the air strikes and seeking to negotiate an end to the war :

In a major shift in its position on the war in Libya, France has announced it wants the rebels to begin direct negotiations with representatives of Muammar Gaddafi. NATO has been trying for more than three months to depose the Libyan leader in an air campaign, led by France, which has cost tens of millions of dollars and caused fractures in the alliance.

In a strong indication of mounting frustration over NATO’s lack of success from the air and the rebels’ slow progress on the ground, France’s defence minister, Gerard Longuet, said last Sunday on French television that NATO had “stopped the hand that was striking” against the insurgents and “now was the time to sit down at the negotiating table.

“We have asked them to speak to each other,” said Longuet, whose government was the most ardent supporter of military action three months ago and was the first to launch air strikes.

But the biggest surprise in Longuet’s television appearance came when he said the bombs would stop falling as soon as negotiations begin, indicating NATO will cease all military operations. Which means that Gaddafi, against all expectations, will survive. Forcing Gaddafi to leave had always been a main goal of the military campaign Great Britain and France have been spearheading.

“We will stop the bombing as soon as the Libyans start talking to one another and the military on both sides go back to their bases,” said Longuet. “They can talk to each other because we’ve shown there is no solution through force.”

Which is another way of saying, ‘We’ve lost, he’s won”.

Up until now, the rebels have refused to negotiate with the Libyan government until Gaddafi stepped down. France says it still wants Gaddafi out but obviously now believes NATO’s bombing campaign will not achieve this goal and is too expensive to maintain, so a diplomatic solution is now necessary. …

Gaddafi, Longuet said … could “remain in Libya ‘in another room of the palace, with another title’.”

France’s two main NATO allies, Great Britain and America, were both quick to respond to Longuet’s announcement, indicating their displeasure as well as a possible breach opening up in the alliance.

But this Washington Post report paints a somewhat different picture, of the rebels preparing for the aftermath of their victory, and the US already recognizing their leaders as the legitimate “governing authority” of Libya – though conceding that Gaddafi is still in power:

The United States granted Libyan rebel leaders full diplomatic recognition as the governing authority of Libya on Friday, a move that could give the cash-strapped rebels access to more than $30 billion in frozen assets that once belonged to Moammar Gaddafi. …

The U.S. announcement was accompanied by an agreement among all of the countries taking part in a meeting of 30 Western and Arab nations to similarly recognize the rebel council after five months of fighting that has failed to oust Gaddafi. …

A meeting at which, it seems, Hillary Clinton was thoroughly taken in by the rebels (no surprise):

The rebels’ Transitional National Council “has offered important assurances today, including the promise to pursue a process of democratic reform that is inclusive both geographically and politically,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in an explanation of the decision to other foreign ministers. …

For weeks, U.S. officials have stopped short of official diplomatic recognition because of concerns about whether a post-Gaddafi government set up by rebel leaders would be truly inclusive politically and geographically.

The United States and other foreign powers have worried that the oil-rich country could become embroiled in tribal conflicts or ethnic tensions once Gaddafi is no longer in power.

The United States changed its position after hearing a presentation in Turkey by Mahmoud Jibril, the transitional council’s foreign affairs representative, who described the rebels’ plans for governing a post-Gaddafi Libya.

According to Libyan council members, the plan includes having the rebels, now based in the eastern city of Benghazi, reach out …

Ah, “reach out” –  favorite expression of the Obama administration …

to other regions of Libya not currently represented on the council. Together, they would form an interim government to rule in Gaddafi’s place and then guide the country through democratic reforms and, ultimately, the election of a new government.

Oh, yeah. Who can doubt that’s what they’ll do? The Berbers will promise never again to plunder those towns and villages. Scout’s honor.

But if the reports by DebkFile and Stephen Brown are right, the rebellion is over, and the rebels may as well give up.

We’ll soon know. If Gaddafi has the last laugh, the world will hear it.

What Americans should be taught about America 12

American children must be taught the values America traditionally stands for, and why they are the highest and the best.

They must be taught that the United States of America was founded as a realization of the idea of liberty.

They must be taught that only in freedom are individuals able to achieve the best they are capable of.

They must be taught that the conditions necessary for a good life  – prosperity, physical and mental well-being, the pursuit of individual aims  – exist reliably only in a free society.

They must be taught that only the rule of law, not rule by a person or group of potentates, assures liberty.

Generations of American children have not been taught any of this. It is no exaggeration to say that for decades now the schools and academies have been teaching Americans to be ashamed of themselves. So millions of Americans believe that they are justly hated by other nations, and their country should change to become more like other countries. (See our post Zinn writes histories, December 11, 2009.)

William Damon, professor of education at Stanford University and a senior fellow of the admirable Hoover Institution, writes in a recent essay:

In our leading intellectual and educational circles, the entire notion of national devotion is now in dispute. For example, in a book about the future of citizenship, a law professor recently wrote: “Longstanding notions of democratic citizenship are becoming obsolete … American identity is unsustainable in the face of globalization.” As a replacement for commitment to a nation-state, the author wrote, “loyalties…are moving to transnational communities defined by many different ways: by race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, and sexual orientation.” In similar fashion, many influential educators are turning to “cosmopolitanism” and “global citizenship” as the proper aim of civics instruction, de-emphasizing the attachment to any particular country such as the United States. As global citizens, it is argued, our primary identification should be with the humanity of the world, and our primary obligation should be to the universal ideals of human rights and justice. Devotion to one’s own nation state, commonly referred to as patriotism, is suspect because it may turn into a militant chauvinism or a dangerous “my country right or wrong” perspective. …

By “justice” the unnamed law professor probably means “social justice’ – the idea that wealth should be taken away from those who have earned it and given to others who have not. “Social justice” is Orwellian Newspeak for injustice.

William Damon points out:

Discouraging young Americans from identifying with their country — and, indeed, from celebrating the traditional American quest for liberty and equal rights — is a sure way to remove their most powerful source of motivation to learn about U. S. citizenship. Why would a student exert any effort to master the rules of a system that the student has no respect for and no interest in being part of? To acquire civic knowledge as well as civic virtue, students need to care about their country.

It is especially odd to see schools with large immigrant populations neglect teaching students about American identity and the American tradition. Educational critic Diane Ravitch observed this phenomenon when visiting a New York City school whose principal proudly spoke of the school’s efforts to celebrate the cultures of all the immigrant students. Ravitch writes, “I asked him whether the school did anything to encourage students to appreciate American culture, and he admitted with embarrassment that it did not.”

At least he was embarrassed.

These and other American students are being urged to identify with, on the one hand, customs from the native lands they have departed and, on the other hand, with the abstract ideals of an amorphous global culture. Lost in between these romantic affiliations is an identification with the nation where these students actually will practice citizenship. Adding to the dysfunction of this educational choice, as Ravitch writes, is the absurdity of teaching “a student whose family fled to this country from a tyrannical regime or from dire poverty to identify with that nation rather than with the one that gave the family refuge.”

We are not “citizens of the world.” We do not pay taxes to the world; we do not vote for a world president or senator.

Professor Damon wants civics taught in the schools, and taught well.

How can we do better? Of course we need to teach students the Constitution, along with its essential underlying principles such as separation of powers, representative government, and Federalism. Excellent programs for such teaching now exist. But these programs are not widely used amidst today’s single-minded focus on basic skills. Compounding this neglect, the school assessments that drive the priorities of teachers infrequently test for civic knowledge. To preserve the American heritage of liberty and democracy for future generations, citizenship instruction must be placed front and center in U. S. classrooms rather than relegated to the margins. …

And he issues a warning:

There is a looming crisis … the very real possibility that our democracy will be left in the hands of a citizenry unprepared to govern it and unwilling the make the sacrifices needed to preserve it. A free society requires an informed and virtuous citizenry. Failing this, as Ben Franklin long ago warned, despotism lies just around the corner.

The citizenry should also be informed what life is like in other countries. Most people in the world are ruled over by despots or despotic regimes. Most democracies, like the European nations, are welfare states rapidly becoming poorer as a result of their socialist economic systems. A proper understanding of capitalist economics  – “the natural order of liberty” as Adam Smith called it –  should be taught in America as well as civics and truthful history.

Walter Williams writes at Front Page:

A recent Superman comic book has the hero saying, “I am renouncing my U.S. citizenship” because “truth, justice, and the American way — it’s not enough anymore.” …

The ignorance about our country is staggering. According to one survey, only 28 percent of students could identify the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. Only 26 percent of students knew that the first 10 amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. Fewer than one-quarter of students knew that George Washington was the first president of the United States. …

Ignorance and possibly contempt for American values, civics and history might help explain how someone like Barack Obama could become president of the United States. At no other time in our history could a person with longtime associations with people who hate our country become president. Obama spent 20 years attending the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s hate-filled sermons, which preached that “white folks’ greed runs a world in need,” called our country the “US of KKK-A” and asked God to “damn America.” Obama’s other America-hating associates include Weather Underground Pentagon bomber William Ayers and Ayers’ wife, Bernardine Dohrn.

The fact that Obama became president and brought openly Marxist people into his administration doesn’t say so much about him as it says about the effects of decades of brainwashing of the American people by the education establishment, media and the intellectual elite.

Actually, though we don’t disagree with the point Walter Williams is making, we think it does say quite as much about  Obama. He epitomizes the sort of America-hating ideologue that the decades of debauched education have bred.

Straining credulity 0

An Austrian has won the right to be photographed wearing a pasta strainer for his driving licence on grounds of religious freedom.

Niko Alm’s driving licence Photo: EPA

 

Fun for atheists.

From My Fox:

An Austrian man was Thursday driving around with a new official license that shows him wearing an upturned pasta strainer on his head.

Niko Alm applied for the license three years ago, sending in a picture of himself with the colander on his head and explaining that it was a necessary part of his “Pastafarian” beliefs.

He was apparently furious that officials had allowed Muslim women to wear head scarves when posing for their driving license, the Austrian Independent reported.

The entrepreneur told the Austria Press Agency he had the idea for the colander when he discovered that headgear was allowed in official pictures for “confessional” reasons.

After applying, Alm was asked to visit a doctor to check that he was mentally fit to drive but has now finally got his official license — complete with kitchen utensil headwear.

The atheist belongs to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster … a light-hearted “faith” whose members call themselves Pastafarians and whose “only dogma … is the rejection of dogma,” according to its website.

Alm now wants to apply for Pastafarianism, which was created in the US several years ago, to become an officially recognized faith in Austria.

The religion reportedly believes the world was created by the “Flying Spaghetti Monster,” but, owing to the monster being inebriated at the time of creation, it has a flawed design.

A theology that strains our credulity no more than any other does.

The Telegraph reports:

The spaghetti church was founded in 2005 in opposition to pressure on the Kansas school board in the United States to teach the theory of intelligent design in biology class as an alternative to evolution, and since then it has engaged in a light-hearted campaign against religion.

Light-hearted the campaign may be, but its aim is seriously desirable.

Posted under Commentary, Humor, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Thursday, July 14, 2011

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