Saturday, June 30, 2007

Live From Glasgow: It's the Itchy and Scratchy Show.

Two men rammed a burning truck into the aeroport at Glasgow in an attempt to commit mass-murder. They were Muslims. For a number of people opining on the Internet this is like watching television. They see it from a distance, an emotional and intellectual distance, and feel they should tell the rest of us the Truth of the exercise, that it's all part of a scenario begun by a grand conspiracy mastered by the secret elite of oil barons and spies from the West. People whose deepest emotions are sentimental tell us they feel the pain of others. And those same tell us they grasp the cosmic significance of the Gnostic martyrdom at play in Glasgow, that it's a protest against poverty imposed by the robber-barons of Global Capitalism. I laugh-- at this point. It leads me to wonder about what the "real truth" is.

We have to wonder what it is that possesses a number of people to grow beards and obsess over the ravings of a seventh century lunatic warlord from the end of nowhere to the point they kill others and themselves in a state of rapture. But even more bizarre is that folks in the West don't seem to be too upset about it. Letters to the editor suggest it's a conspiracy by Mossad/MI5/CIA types to make things possible for the new Brit. p.m. to further frighten voters into giving up their civil liberties so the oil companies can wring more money out of the population. And a further mystery is that the average person will listen to some arsehole like that without losing his temper and hitting the speaker as he would if one were to shout filth in a church. Isn't there any limit to the things people will endure? I guess not. Welcome to the live version of the Itchy and Scatchy Show.

"Eyewitness Jackie Kennedy, 46, described how she watched one of the occupants of the car douse himself in petrol and set himself alight.

"He had a big smirk on his face. He lifted up what appeared to be a five-litre drum, which I think had petrol in it, and set himself on fire. His clothes were melting in front of my very eyes.

"The police tried to pounce on him but he fought back and was struggling with them. It was only when a member of the public punched him in the face that the police managed to restrain him. The police were trying to spray CS gas in his face but it was not working."
Well, the beard is itchy, and the burning himself up has to be scratchy, so I'd say that's a fine headline.

Graphic from: 1. Burning Love
Summary: Itchy shoots Scratchy, who is relaxing on a hammock, with a flaming arrow.
Episode: Krusty Gets Busted (112/7G12)
DVD Location: Season 1/Disc 2 (2:48 - 3:04)


Friday, June 29, 2007

Naomi Klein, Howard Rotberg, and the fight for truth about Israel

Earlier this week, my colleague, Dag, quoted a Palestinian writer who is mightily disturbed that even those Jews who are, like him, politically to the left, may be under the impression that Jewish people have a right to exist as a somewhat compact national people in their own country, like say the Chinese, Pakistanis, or Saudis. In the writer's words:
Those on the "far left," who are [on] the brink of being classified as "self-hating Jews," including self-styled humanitarians such as Meretz MK Yossi Beilin, only serve to massage their own egos and consciences by portraying an image that they are fighting for peace. In reality, these people assign themselves to the same racist and exclusivist ideology that came into form long before the creation of the state of Israel.
Well, it might sound a bit deranged, but he's right, inasmuch as racially-bound and competing communities must have been around since the first human community split into two, some hundreds of thousands of years ago, and racial and/or cultural boundaries have always since remained a part of human life.

But the question he's really asking, while trying to appear authoratative, is this: is a utopian vision of "one-world" with no national or racial boundaries, just one big government, under the hand of, say, Islamic theocrats and/or the technocratic left, more likely to foster peace and harmony (and avoid bloody civil wars) than something like the current inter-national system where nations have a right and a responsibility to defend certain boundaries, including if they so choose (as most nations or states do), racial or religious ones?

The answer is apparent to us here at Covenant Zone, for a number of reasons we frequently discuss and won't recapitulate now. We believe that the blood on the hands of the utopian "one world" or "communist international" left reached around a 100 million in the last century alone (more or less, depending on the individual's brand of leftism - and let's not forget that Hitler was an incipiently post-national leftist), and shows no signs of stopping now with the growing alliance of the left and fundamentalist or Orthodox Islam, not to mention the left's sympathy for various third-world tyrants in the "post-colonial" era.

The horrors of the Western left in supporting angry anti-Western rhetoric, like that Dag uncovered, was again on display in the Georgia Straight last week. The Vancouver weekly reprinted an article by Naomi Klein that originally appeared in Britain's leading leftist paper, the Guardian. It is perhaps not surprising, if heart breaking, that faced with "avant-garde" Palestinian rhetoric in the arenas of "progressive" global opinion elites, rhetoric that now claims even leftist Jews are vile racists if they continue to show any support for Israel's existence as a particular nation (the only serious guarantor of the lives of half the world's Jews), we find leftist Jews, whose very lucrative careers are dependent on one-world leftist "cosmopolitanism", swinging against Israel, as Naomi Klein does.

Klein claims that Israel today has a booming economy because it can sell the world all kinds of security and military hardware and software that is tested on Palestinian "guinea pigs", leading to the implied conclusion that Israel doesn't want to stop its conflict with the Palestinians, which is of course nonsense. The vast majority of Israelis would love to live in peace, as a mostly (not exclusively) Jewish island in a reasonably friendly Arab sea. It's just that many no longer think it likely. The Palestinians, through rejecting peace accords, and enforcing orthodox Islamic opinion, have clearly revealed that they will only accept a peace in which Israel no longer exists in a land Islam claims as its own. Yet despite this, Klein paints the Jews of Israel as profiting mightily from bloodshed, instead of doing what every responsible state must do: provide its people with security, as much security as is necessary given the realistic threats against it and within it.

Klein writes:
All told in 2006, Israel exported $3.4 billion in defence products–well over $1 billion more than it received in U.S. military aid. That makes Israel the fourth-largest arms dealer in the world, overtaking Britain.
As already noted, there is no secret why Israelis have had to become highly skilled in producing high quality military equipment: their much larger neighbours keep promising to wipe them off the map. Nonetheless, and even if Klein's figures are correct (and we doubt she would low-ball them), $3.4 billion in an economy whose 2006 GDP is estimated as $170.3 billion hardly justifies the portrayal of Israel as an economy built on war and blood, quite aside from the fact that spending on national security is uniquely associated with bloodshed only by nihilists who forget that any amount of peace and security must be defended, and who think that man's growing capacity to do evil must be equated with evil (as if, in a world with nuclear weapons and nuclear power, the outcome must be total devastation of the planet in nuclear war, not cheaper energy and all the social goods that go with it).

In fact, while Israel has the military or technological capacity to wipe out all the Palestinians, they do nothing of the sort. They are usually (with occasional modest and inevitable errors) the epitome of restraint when facing an enemy that vows to wipe one's people out and that increasingly allies with rogue states that will soon have the military technology to do so.

Klein concludes her outrageous diatribe thus:
Palestinians–whether living in the West Bank or what the Israeli politicians are already calling "Hamasistan"–are no longer just targets. They are guinea pigs.

So, in a way, [Tom] Friedman is right: Israel has struck oil. But the oil isn't the imagination of its techie entrepreneurs. The oil is the war on terror, the state of constant fear that creates a bottomless global demand for devices that watch, listen, contain, and target "suspects". And fear, it turns out, is the ultimate renewable resource.
There is, of course, no mention by Klein that much of what she says about Israel can be said about the Palestinians who massively prepare for war, though in somewhat less high-Tech forms, and who are thus rightly feared:
... Hamas was not using a random hit list. Every Hamas patrol carried with it a laptop containing a list of Fatah operatives in Gaza, and an identity number and a star appeared next to each name. A red star meant the operative was to be executed and a blue one meant he was to be shot in the legs - a special, cruel tactic developed by Hamas, in which the shot is fired from the back of the knee so that the kneecap is shattered when the bullet exits the other side. A black star signaled arrest, and no star meant that the Fatah member was to be beaten and released. Hamas patrols took the list with them to hospitals, where they searched for wounded Fatah officials, some of whom they beat up and some of whom they abducted.

Aside from assassinating Fatah officials, Hamas also killed innocent Palestinians, with the intention of deterring the large clans from confronting the organization. Thus it was that 10 days ago, after an hours-long gun battle that ended with Hamas overpowering the Bakr clan from the Shati refugee camp - known as a large, well-armed and dangerous family that supports Fatah - the Hamas military wing removed all the family members from their compound and lined them up against a wall. Militants selected a 14-year-old girl, two women aged 19 and 75, and two elderly men, and shot them to death in cold blood to send a message to all the armed clans of Gaza.
If Hamas will do that to fellow Palestinians, it's outrageous to claim that Israel shouldn't be afraid and that fair-minded people shouldn't see all the Israeli investment in security as an investment in saving lives. Of course, you might choose to disbelieve the above quote, because it appeared in a leftist Israeli paper, Haaretz, which buried the shocking details at the end of the story (hat tip: Boker tov, Boulder). However, you could find similar stories recently, though not given too much attention, in many news outlets. In any case, the stories of recent weeks are quickly downplayed by writers like Klein who belittle the coinage of "Hamasistan". Boker tov Boulder (Anne Lieberman), being in contrast a morally sound kind of Jew, writes:
Politically, I'm about as anti-Palestinian-Arabs as you can get, yet I am shocked and appalled at the deafening silence from the world - yet again - in the face of the rampage by Hamas in Gaza. I am shocked and appalled that in our time people are labeled with numbers and stars, and then abused and killed. That there is not worldwide condemnation is astounding.

Where are the pro-Palestinian activists now? Where are all those bleeding hearts who want Israel to see that the poor palestinians get a state, made up of Israeli concessions? It seems they have left it to us right-wing pro-Israel bloggers to raise a voice in defense of the Palestinian Arab population of Gaza. Ironic, isn't it? But I believe that no one anywhere should ever be treated like this. Not Jews, not Arabs, not any innocent population. Because it's wrong. Whatever the scale, wherever or whenever it happens. It was wrong when the Nazis did it and it's wrong now, when Hamas is doing it. And anyone who is silent in the face of this, is complicit.
Well, I don't expect Naomi Klein (a name presently receiving more than a million Google hits, btw) to be bad mouthing Hamas anytime soon. She seems to be preparing for the release of her new book - The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, which will no doubt prove as lucrative in the capitalist marketplace as her previous efforts - by allying herself, intellectually, with those forces that are creating disasters to which capitalism, and by extension its Kleins, must respond.

I remember a period of years when Klein's book No Logo was everywhere. You couldn't walk into a Chapters Bookstore here in Vancouver and not see stacks of them on the front tables. By way of contrast, consider the fate of a much better writer and a visitor to Covenant Zone (we hope to see more of him), whose book has been
effectively banned by Chapters-Indigo (read chapters 2 and 12 of Howard Rotberg's new online book to learn why), a book retailing giant that the Canadian left denounce for its owners' supposed pro-Israel stance, a business which controls something like seventy percent of the Canadian retail book market and which can thus go far in rewarding or silencing Canadian authors.

It is not a question of quality. I have just read Howard Rotberg's first, effectively banned in Canada, book (a novel which, by telling the story of a non-fiction author and his book, provides an excellent account of Israeli-Arab history and its misrepresentations by the Judeophobic opinion of the Western media and political elites who seem hell-bent on preparing the ground for the destruction of Israel in "the Second Holocaust") and highly recommend it. It is not high-brow literary experimentation; it is an accessible and excellent primer for anyone wanting to get their heads straight on why and how the state of Israel must be defended, packaged as an entertaining novel.

When Howard saw Naomi Klein's outrageous article in the Georgia Straight, Vancouver's long-established entertainment and news weekly that mixes leftist opinion (including somewhat pro-Hamas, i.e. somewhat pro-terrorist, articles) with pages mostly devoted to big colourful expensive ads for the latest products of consumer capitalism, he wrote an excellent reply. The Straight published a slightly abridged version of Howard's letter. One thing their editor didn't like was the explicit labelling of Klein as a Jewish anti-Semite. It is perhaps unfortunate that Judeophobia - i.e. resentment of the Jews for being too successful, or creative, and too resistant to competitive attack on such; for being first in discovering/receiving monotheism and all that has gone with that much-envied mark of firstness - is, in today's commonly accepted usage, still labeled "anti-Semitism" (a term which properly applies to a form of nineteenth-century European "scientific" racism and, as such, something Klein might reasonably deny).

But there can be little informed doubt that in this article Klein positions herself in a way that is inimicable to the security of millions of Jews who face a real existential threat against which they must responsibly defend. There is no doubt that Klein's case against Israel is that it is too successful in the inter-national marketplace, because it is too strong in defending itself. In other words, she ascribes to Israel the qualities the "anti-Semite" or Judeophobe (who generally wants the Jews to convert to his faith, or to disappear) traditionally ascribes to the Jew. It takes rhetorical humbug, and ignorance, to deny, as many do, that this kind of anti-Zionism is not also a form of antisemitism or Judeophobia.

So, with Howard's permission, I am pleased to provide the full text of his letter to the editor of the Georgia Straight:
So, Naomi Klein has come up with the original theory that Israel profits mightily from its situation of being surrounded by Arabs who want to destroy it. ("Israel thrives, Gaza suffers", June 21st regarding Israeli exports of anti-terrorism equipment and expertise)

No mention that Israel turned over Gaza to the Palestinians without any quid pro quo.

No mention that Israel is a leader in all aspects of high tech, with such inventions as the computer chip and cell phone technology, and a multitude of medical technology, having been pioneered in Israel. No mention that many large companies like Intel, Motorola, IBM, Microsoft, Alcatel and 3Com all have research and development facilities in Israel. Intel and Motorola also manufacture advanced products in Israel, and many other multinationals have purchased local companies, buying their patents and acquiring their human talent.

No mention that twenty percent of the country's workforce are university graduates, the highest proportion in the world after the U.S., compared with 17% in Canada, 12% in Britain and 8% in Italy. Israel has the world's highest percentage of engineers (135 per 10,000 people compared to 85 per 10,000 in the U.S.) and, with 28,000 physicians, by far the highest number of medical doctors per capita in the world. In addition, Israeli academics publish more scientific papers in international journals (110 for every 10,000 persons) than any other country in the world.

But Klein alleges that "the chaos in Gaza …doesn't threaten the bottom line in Tel Aviv and may actually boost it." No mention of the dislocations to the Israeli economy of having to defend itself from periodic attacks, having to take reservists away from their occupations, having to periodically evacuate certain cities, as Iranian-backed terrorists lob missiles across the border. No mention of the threats from possible Iran nuclear weapons.

Why doesn't she mention any of this: Because to anti-Semites like Klein (even Jewish ones), the Israelis are the new Shylocks – driven like Shylock into a business Klein disapproves of, the Jew-Israelis are now making "profits" from the suffering (even the blood) of others. Thank you, Ms. Klein for yet another adaption of the anti-Semitic blood-libel, that Jews drink the blood of Christians/Muslims/whoever.

The "constant state of fear" which Klein alleges the Israelis to be profiting from, was the result of the actions of Islamists and their supporters in anti-Israel Europe. Israel has tried in various ways (the Oslo Process, unilateral disengagement from Gaza) to facilitate an independent Palestinian state, which is lot more than the Arabs ever did. Blaming the Jewish victims of terror for Shylock-like behaviour is despicable.

Klein's article first appeared in Britain's The Guardian. Britain is the world leader in appeasement of Islamist terrorism and intimidation. There is no need, however, for the Georgia Straight to be printing this kind of stuff in Canada. It sickens me.

Howard Rotberg

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Everyman/Person: I will go the extra mile with thee like.


Messenger: I pray you all give your audience,

And hear this matter with reverence,

By figure a moral play-

The Summoning of Everyman called it is,

That of our lives and ending shows

How transitory we be all day.

This matter is wonderous precious,

But the intent of it is more gracious,

And sweet to bear away.

The story saith,-Man, in the beginning,

Look well, and take good heed to the ending,

Be you never so gay!

Ye think sin in the beginning full sweet,

Which in the end causeth thy soul to weep,

When the body lieth in clay.

Here shall you see how Fellowship and Jollity,

Both Strength, Pleasure, and Beauty,

Will fade from thee as flower in May.

For ye shall here, how our heavenly king

Calleth Everyman to a general reckoning:

Give audience, and here what he doth say.

Everyman is late-15th-century English morality play. Called by Death, Everyman can persuade none of his friends - Beauty, Kindred, Worldly Goods - to go with him, except Good Deeds.

God: Adonai---------------------Discretion
Good-Deeds---------------------Barak Obama
Fool---------------------------------Bill Moyers
Virgin Weeping-----------------
Marian Wright Edelman
Hypocritical Friar--------------- John Thomas
Morality Play Mummer-------Lynne Redgrave
Knight Errant--------------------
John Thomas
Goliard Abbott------------------- Kevin Phillips

[The Players assemble upon the stage. Let slip the tongues of Scorn:]

Barak Obama: "Our Morality Play begins with a dramatic monologue [truncated] by Dag:

"There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright and one that feared God and eschewed evil...."

Moyers: "The Democratic Party has found out about him, and there is now an investigation underway to determine the role Bush and the oil companies are playing in his unimaginable SUFFERING. There is clear evidence that not only is Job himself suffering but that his family might well have been MURDERED. There seems to be no horror to terrible for the Republican Party to stoop to in their lust for profit, and that matters not who suffers. Barak Obama and Bill Moyers, among others, are looking into this tragedy, and we must insist they continue, regardless of the cost to the nation. It is UNFAIR what has happened to Mr. Job, an undocumented immigrant, and it is beyond evil to see such things happening to Mr. Job without trying to DO SOMETHING about it and to bring the conspirators to JUSTICE in the here and now. What, one must ask, are Christians doing about this OUTRAGE?!

Below we see an attempt by the fascist Rightwing Crusader Zionist conspiracy to smear the GOOD WORKS of Gnostic Christians. Read it and WEEP.


By Mark D. Tooley | June 27, 2007

Two hundred fifty years ago, Congregationalist pastor Jonathan Edwards, America's premier theological mind of the 18th century, helped ignite the Great Awakening. That revival, winning thousands of converts, profoundly transformed America in the wake of the American Revolution.

Rev. Edwards' spiritual descendants founded the 1 million member United Church of Christ (UCC), though few share his faith. Today, UCC leftists are trying to kick off a new American revival, with help from Senator Barak Obama, PBS commentator Bill Moyers, Congressman Barney Frank, the Children's Defense Fund's Marian Wright Edelman, and recovering former Republican analyst Kevin Phillips.

"They say your church is dying, and lame, and limp," Moyers told the UCC's General Synod over the weekend. "But it is a small, committed community of people of conscience who can turn this country around."

Forty years ago, the UCC was nearly twice its current size. But its preference for left-wing political action over spiritual renewal has helped make it one of America's fastest imploding denominations. ...

What the UCC lacks in spiritual energy it hopes to compensate for in leftist political zest.


Obama, who belongs to a UCC congregation in Chicago, commended his denomination for its long history of political "troublemaking" across two centuries, from the Boston Tea Party to the Civil Rights Movement.

"My faith teaches me that I can sit in church and pray all I want, but I won't be fulfilling God's will unless I go out and do the Lord's work," Obama told the enthusiastic crowd of up to 10,000 at the Hartford Civic Center. The "Lord's work," of course, is the agenda of the secular, political Left.

"We should close Guantanamo Bay and stop tolerating the torture of our enemies. Because it's not who we are. It's not consistent with our traditions of justice and fairness. And it offends our conscience," Obama told applauding UCC'ers. He denounced the Iraq War as "not just a security problem [but] a moral problem." He called for an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, an increased minimum wage, and for a universal health care bill.

Obama implored: "God's work must truly be our own." He lamented that faith had been "hijacked" by religious conservatives who had "determined that [their] number one priority was tax cuts for the rich." He could not imagine what Bible they were reading, but he was insistent: "Our problems are moral problems…there's a spiritual dimension to everything we do. Our conscience cannot rest."

At least Obama was politically upbeat, at least compared to the doomsday prophet Bill Moyers, who left his native Southern Baptist church for the more politically conducive UCC. According to the UCC news service, Moyers' speech was "inflamed with passion [and] anger," with at least 36 interruptions of applause, followed by a two-minute standing ovation.

"I have come to say that America's revolutionary heritage – and America's revolutionary spirit – 'life, liberty and the pursuit of justice, through government of, by, and for the people' – is under siege," he warned. "And if churches of conscience don't take the lead in their rescue and revival, we can lose our democracy!"

Moyers regretted that the original author of "life, liberty and the pursuit of justice" was a hypocrite who had had also "stroked the breasts and caressed the thighs of a slave woman named Sally Hennings. It is no secret." Forget that Thomas Jefferson wrote of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"; Moyers believes that where Jefferson failed in moral leadership, the UCC succeeded.

"You have raised a prophetic voice against the militarism, materialism, and racism that chokes America's arteries," Moyers enthused. "It's a mystery to me. Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me'...You have to wonder how this so-called Christian nation leaves so many children to suffer."

"For 30 years," Moyers fumed, "We have witnessed a class war fought from the top down against the idea and ideal of equality. It has been a drive by a radical elite to gain ascendancy over politics and to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory canons, and the intellectual and cultural frameworks that checked the excesses of private power."

For the political and economic nightmare that is America, Moyers faulted "corporate activism, intellectual propaganda, the rise of a political religion of fundamentalism deeply opposed to any civil and human right that threatens its paternalism, and a series of political decisions favoring the interests of wealthy elites who bought the political system right out from under us."

Barney Frank was almost tame compared to Moyers' searing critique of America's moral squalor. He admitted that the U.S. economy is growing. "But the average individual has gotten no benefit from it," he insisted. As usual, he pointed to a larger welfare state as the solution. "When we step in together, that's what we call government," he told the UCC'ers.

Former Republican analyst Kevin Phillips, now one of the GOP's "harshest critics," gladdened many UCC hearts with his dark theories from American Theocracy, his 2006 expose of an imaginary, sinister alliance among conservative Christians, oil interests, and neoconservative imperialists. The American empire's overreaching in the Middle East will likely doom the United States as a great power, Phillips reassured his pleased audience.

No less pleasing to the UCC'ers, Children's Defense Fund chief Marian Wright Edelman warbled mournfully about "the children," who she insisted must not become "partisan political fodder." Interrupted by applause 24 times, according to the UCC news service, she then made her usual political demands for a larger welfare state, always to benefit "the children." Edelman inveighed against America's "rampant individual greed," even as she insisted on new multibillion dollar programs.

Trying to sound prophetic, but lacking Edelman's pulpit cadence, UCC president John Thomas spoke of the "disgrace of a broken social contract," of global warming, of "foolish greed," and of the war, with "its deceit, its torture, its demoralizing death and dismemberment, its relentless march toward chaos."

In contrast to the political tirades from Thomas and others, actress Lynn Redgrave, instead of speaking about environmentalism as scheduled, told of seeking out a local UCC congregation near her Connecticut home when recovering from cancer surgery in 2003. The worship service made her "peaceful and optimistic," she recalled. Redgrave concluded her testimony with a reading from the 23rd Psalm.

Perhaps the UCC might reverse its 40-year decline by giving more of such hope and appealing to the Scriptures. Redgrave's message was received with applause and even tears. But for the UCC leadership, more focused on power than on the Spirit, the sparks and political fulminations against American greed and militarism are far more exciting than quiet appeals to a forgotten Savior who believed in rendering unto Caesar.


Good greens, you have to wonder what possesses these folks. These people are not Christians in any sense I can recognize as Christian. They are a vile version of Gnostics. If you're a Christian of some real kind rather than a Good Works Gnostic, think about sitting with us at the atrium of Vancouver Canada's Public Library on Thursday this and always from 7-9:00 p.m. for coffee and discussion. We wear blue scarves, some of us donning Israeli flags on our baseball caps. We're hard to miss. Join us.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Invasion of the Savages

Gates of Vienna: The Big Story That Isn’t: According to writer Paul Weston, a British Member of Parliament, fearing for his life and his families', fearing that he or they might end up just another brutalized corpse like that of the adolescent Briton who was rendered not even recognizably human by a mob of Pakistani Muslims, has decided to step down from politics in a land that used to pride itself for its political freedoms. Apparently, if one can believe it, it has taken the importation of Muslims, in alliance with a virtual news blackout by the dhimmi, BBC-led media, and an all-round delusional British government (whose security is less credible to an MP than the mob's threats) to achieve this startling turn of events. And this while there are still veterans of World War II alive to see the corrupted fruits of their sacrifices. Incredible.

Are we going to let something like this happen here in Canada (we've already had activists and writers threatened by Islamic fundamentalists)? Are we going to demand that the Canadian government suitably warn Canadians traveling to Britain that they are going to a country that is no longer obviously safer than your average third-world mobdom?

Time to start covenanting to build a new reality so that good people may put an end to this kind of thing before it gets totally out of control and we all end up killing millions. Time to ask seriously why civilization is crumbling and not buy into politically-correct fantasies about the joys of diversity (especially for those living in poorer neighborhoods). Join us one of these Thursdays in Vancouver, or start a pro-Western civilization group in your own city.

The Problem of Evil Christian Atheists.

I write often elsewhere recently on theodicy. Why would I, a self-admitted atheist, write about such things if not to disparage it, to claim it's all a result the efforts of the dominant capitalist narrative in the mind of the befogged? Well, I don't write Leftist critique cause I ain't fuckin stupid. Theodicy is relevant and important to the understanding of our Human life as it is, and no amount of social-working Christians is going to make it less so. In fact, apostate Christian Gnostics make the problems of theodicy all the more interesting to us who see the world's evils as essential to the rightness of life. They are evil themselves, these Christians, or... post-Christian Gnostic apostates. Even a non-believer can see in religious terms these fools for what they are.

Below we have two quotations frm the Internet on atheism and Christianity, and, I think, the problem of evil.

Mary Grabar, "The Cultural Illiteracy of the Easy Atheists."

...Consider the great works of literature written by Christian authors. Though I saw these authors mocked in graduate school, the force of their ideas prevails. Their wisdom and humanity contrasted sharply with the nonsensical nihilism put out by trendy authors.

Reading Milton led me back to the Bible. Shakespeare revealed the evil of atheism through characters like Iago. Dostoyevsky exposed the evils of pride and self-devised "justice."

How odd, then, for Hitchens to invoke literature as he does

"We are not immune to the lure of wonder and mystery and awe: we have music and art and literature, and find that the serious ethical dilemmas are better handled by Shakespeare and Tolstoy and Schiller and Dostoyevsky and George Eliot than in the mythical morality tales of the holy books."

But Hitchens must be banking on a readership that has not read Shakespeare, Tolstoy, and Dostoyevsky. These Christian authors dramatized the themes and stories of the holy book that Hitchens disparages.

Mark D. Tooley, "Christian Churches Moving Leftward Together." | June 26, 2007

"Christian Churches Together" (CCT) was to have been the new, more spiritually vibrant alterative to the decaying, chronically left-wing National Council of Churches.

'Christian Churches Together' ... as lead by Richard Hamm, at least admitted the limitations of his influence. "Politicians know that mainline church leaders and assemblies seldom reflect the thinking of most of the people in our pews," he allowed. "Most of the people in our pews have a lifetime of acculturation that causes them to see the world through the same old American eyes of arrogance."

Like countless other mainline church bureaucrats of the last 50 years, Hamm has devoted himself to "educating" conservative church members, not about the Gospel per se, but about American "arrogance" and selfishness. ...

Milton understands the post-Lapsarian life and so does Sophocles, both available to Christopher Hitchens and others, so what's the problem? How hard is it to figure out that evil in a good thing? Why the phantasies of the Left? Why the lapse from reality and Humanness?

"All is vanity."

Monday, June 25, 2007

Gnostics: You are a Religion too!

We talk a lot about Gnostics at this blog, but it's a concept not everyone is yet familiar with. So I thought I'd post this picture of an apparent Gnostic I just came across in reading the news:

The story is titled Supreme Court nixes suit over faith-based plan and we learn that:
Co-founder Annie Laurie Gaylor has helped transform the Freedom From Religion Foundation into the nation's largest group of atheists and agnostics, with a fast-rising membership and increasing legal clout.... [But]

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that ordinary taxpayers [i.e. organized atheists and agnostics] cannot challenge a White House initiative that helps religious charities get a share of federal money.

The 5-4 decision blocks a lawsuit by a group of atheists and agnostics against eight Bush administration officials including the head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

The taxpayers' group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation Inc., objected to government conferences in which administration officials encourage religious charities to apply for federal grants.
With the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, President Bush says he wants to level the playing field. Religious charities and secular charities should compete for government money on an equal footing.
Now I have no problem with constitutional arrangements that separate church and state, but taking the church out of the governing institutions does not mean taking the church out of civil society. But, I hear some people saying, having churches play a role in civil society and having the government fund this role are two very different matters. Why should taxpayers pay to support churches?

Well, the answer is that because once you have a government that takes it upon itself to levy huge taxes and have a hand in funding all manner of activities in "civil society", so that there are relatively few social or educational programs in the nation that are not in some way touched by government funding, you are left with the choice of either a totalitarian state telling everyone what to think or do, or a state that contracts with all kinds who can meet basic standards and requirements in their own way.

The alternative, of course, would be to have a society in which the state taxes and redistributes much less, and leaves people the responsibility of privately organizing, regulating, and funding civil society and commercial groups to take care of certain social needs, at least to the extent that private initiative can grow to the task (there would always have to be some state regulation). And yet, the historical reasons we don't live in such a world, while an outcome of complex events in the recent past, may be partly reduced to the idea that many of our historical forebears have not wanted to be part of a civil society in which churches played a strong role; rather, they wanted to be "secular", "modern" people who deferred to state-regulated and funded scientific "experts" to design social programs. The history of the twentieth century in North America illustrates just such a widespread development.

Historically, the outcome of wanting "freedom from religion" has been a movement towards a technocratic and somewhat totalitarian state, that is epitomized today by the European bureaucratic elites attempting to outlaw creationist ideas. But this belief in the need for a rule of experts who have the scientific knowledge to solve our social problems without recourse to traditional religious commitments, has not panned out if the goal has been to make a society relatively at peace with itself, happily reproducing itself in a strong commitment to future generations. Social science has not saved us from bad faith, and it has often made things worse.

This is because those who want "freedom from religion", i.e. freedom from something so inherently human, without asking why it is inherently human and respecting it on some level as such, are themselves trapped in an essentially religious gesture, without the benefit of knowing it and thus reflecting on it intelligently: it's analogous to the gesture of the high priest in some temple sacrifice who thinks that by casting out some scapegoat/evil (religion! go!), the community will be saved (as if the evil were not inherent in the human condition, and sure to return once the scapegoat is gone); or that of the magician/alchemist who has special knowledge which turns today's dross into some more enlightened gold.

In short, those who call for "freedom from religion" are Gnostics who believe that they have the special key that opens doors to the real truth, the real creation, that all the rest of us who are religiously sunk in some fallen human condition are too pig ignorant to appreciate. But, the truth is humans cannot really practise "freedom from religion", no more than they can practise freedom from economics or freedom from esthetics, or freedom from anything else fundamental to the anthropological nature of our partly transcendent human Being (look again at the photo above and note how the words "Freedom from Religion", not to mention the woman's body language, transcend the merely physical existence of a woman and a window). And the attempt to do so does not make one more reasonable and less indebted to ritualism or irrationality, but rather more so. It is always a choice of what kind of religion, economics, esthetics you are going to prefer. And you cannot thus escape the responsibility of asking what kind of religion and what kind of relationship between church and state, maximizes human goods like reason, freedom, and equality. To simply cry "freedom from religion" likely reveals you as an anthropologically not serious person with a rebellious adolescent personality. Unfortunately, such people largely rule the bureaucracies of today and can win four out of nine votes on the present American Supreme Court. No doubt they dominate the Canadian court.

By coincidence, Jim Kalb has a neat way of summing all this up on his blog today. He picks up a complaint of Barack Obama, the American presidential candidate:
Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart.
Kalb replies
The change is not so mysterious. In the 60s or thereabouts governing elites decisively rejected their residual connection to traditional Christianity, at bottom in the interests of a purer form of technocratic rule. The school prayer and abortion decisions mark the transition: the public order became purely secular and self-contained, and the value of human life became a matter of will, utility and technique. Once those things had happened any assertion of traditional views in public life became, from the official point of view, ipso facto heretical and schismatic (in current language, “extremist and divisive”). An average American would become an antisocial radical if he just stayed what he had always been and presented his views in public. And that’s why the divisive forces Senator Obama worries about suddenly appeared in our public life.
In other words, if we are called to attend to the culture war and the divisive politics of "religious fundamentalists", it is our duty to ask which divisive fundamentalists: the so-called "secular" Gnostics?

The secular, it turns out, is just another form of the sacred, and not necessarily a better one, just as a "foundation" may be just another word for "church".

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Left of Dead.

Supposed peace activists find solace in verbally condemning the settlement movement and the harsh conditions that emanate from occupation. Yet most aren't doing anything to actively stop it, and when moral fiber is truly urgent, as was the case during the Lebanon war or the continuing debilitating sanctions and bombardment on the Palestinian people, they remain silent. Condemnation after a war isn't moral reflection, it's cowardice. There is no difference between hawkish and dovish policy in Israel, only a divergence in the approach to implement it. Those on the "far left," who are the brink of being classified as "self-hating Jews," including self-styled humanitarians such as Meretz MK Yossi Beilin, only serve to massage their own egos and consciences by portraying an image that they are fighting for peace. In reality, these people assign themselves to the same racist and exclusivist ideology that came into form long before the creation of the state of Israel.

As I began reading this I wondered if I had a full-blown encounter here with a psychotic or with a psychopath. I wondered if the writer would explain just how far left of dead a Jew has to be to qualify as a Leftist in good standing. Then I found out I was reading, not a typical Leftist lunatic but a typical Palestinian hate-monger. These people are not simply insane, they're armed and struggling agianst all restraints to commit murder en masse. There is a time and a place for that, and we who are civilized refer to it as the battle field. Our enemies refer to it as the office or the school or the theatre or the subway train or the airport counter or just wherever one happens to be at the time.

Remi Kanazi: Professional/Personal Overview Remi Kanazi is a Palestinian-American freelance writer living in NYC. His focus is Middle East politics - specifically Palestinian/Israeli politics. Mr. Kanazi's work has been published in the Palestinian territories, Israel, and America as well as in online magazines around the world.

Well, the lines are becoming increasingly clear, and the time is coming nearer daily when we'll find out who rules and who sucks. Meanwhile, we write, we meet, we talk. Sit with us. Don't end up Left for Dead.

Hilary says: "Dem Jooos, dem damn Jooos."

Hillary Clinton denies using anti-Semitic slur in 1974 against Bill Clinton's campaign adviser
President also says author's allegation is untrue
July 16, 2000

Web posted at: 11:07 p.m. EDT (0307 GMT) CHAPPAQUA, New York (CNN) -- First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate from New York, on Sunday denied allegations contained in a new book that she used an anti-Semitic slur during a heated argument with an adviser to Bill Clinton's failed 1974 run for Congress.

And I believe her!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Prepare to Covenant with the New Dissidents: our kindred spirits must not be ignored or allowed to go silent!

From last year: Former Soviet Dissident Warns For EU Dictatorship | The Brussels Journal
I highly recommend you consider the thoughts of Vladimir Bukovsky, who sees many parallels between the current direction of the EU and the former Soviet Union. The dawning totalitarian nightmare, another product of leftist delusions and existential angst, born of a loss of faith and in search of control, will not just destroy Europe but will inevitably have grave consequences for the rest of the world. Now is the time for all free people to let their leaders know they must actively oppose the growth of the EU state:
This huge edifice of bureaucracy is going to collapse on our heads.
This is why, and I am very frank about it, the sooner we finish with the EU the better. The sooner it collapses the less damage it will have done to us and to other countries. But we have to be quick because the Eurocrats are moving very fast. It will be difficult to defeat them. Today it is still simple. If one million people march on Brussels today these guys will run away to the Bahamas. If tomorrow half of the British population refuses to pay its taxes, nothing will happen and no-one will go to jail. Today you can still do that. But I do not know what the situation will be tomorrow with a fully fledged Europol staffed by former Stasi or Securitate officers. Anything may happen.
Please read the whole thing.

From today's Brussels Journal:
Last week, a German court sentenced a 55-year old Lutheran pastor to one year in jail for “Volksverhetzung” (incitement of the people) because he compared the killing of the unborn in contemporary Germany to the holocaust. Next week, the Council of Europe is going to vote on a resolution imposing Darwinism as Europe’s official ideology. The European governments are asked to fight the expression of creationist opinions, such as young earth and intelligent design theories. According to the Council of Europe these theories are “undemocratic” and “a threat to human rights.”
next Tuesday, the Council of Europe (CoE), Europe’s main human-rights body, will vote on a proposal which advocates the fight against creationism, “young earth” and “intelligent design” in its 47 member states.

According to a report of the CoE’s Parliamentary Assembly, creationists are dangerous “religious fundamentalists” who propagate “forms of religious extremism” and “could become a threat to human rights.” The report adds that the acceptance of the science of evolutionism “is crucial to the future of our societies and our democracies.”

“Creationism, born of the denial of the evolution of species through natural selection, was for a long time an almost exclusively American phenomenon,” the report says.

“Today creationist theories are tending to find their way into Europe and their spread is affecting quite a few Council of Europe member states. […] [T]his is liable to encourage the development of all manner of fundamentalism and extremism, synonymous with attacks of utmost virulence on human rights. The total rejection of science is definitely one of the most serious threats to human rights and civic rights. […] The war on the theory of evolution and on its proponents most often originates in forms of religious extremism which are closely allied to extreme right-wing political movements. The creationist movements possess real political power. The fact of the matter, and this has been exposed on several occasions, is that the advocates of strict creationism are out to replace democracy by theocracy. [...] If we are not careful, the values that are the very essence of the Council of Europe will be under direct threat from creationist fundamentalists.”

According to the CoE report, America and Australia are already on their way towards becoming such undemocratic theocracies where human and civic rights are endangered. Creationism is “well-developed in the English-speaking countries, especially the United States and Australia,” the report states.
What the totalitarian nutcases in the EU don't seem to know, however, is that while creationism may be bad cosmology and biology, for all we know, it is often good anthropology. Judeo-Christian religion remains a far superior way of understanding the human than anything presently on evidence in the halls of the EU. Creationism remembers the likely fact, according to the very credible hypothesis of Generative Anthropology, that the human , as distinct from the animal, must have begun in an originary event, a moment of creation. This is so whether God exists or not. It is the role of religions to remember this event and they draw many humanly important conclusions from it.

If Europeans are to be allowed to think in any way compatible with human realities, the EU must be destroyed.
“I wanted to be somebody when I grew up,

I probably should have been more specific”.
Lilly Thomlin.

Friday, June 22, 2007


I would have tossed in some cartoons of cars burning in Paris but this should give an idea of what the story is over-all without me gilding the lily:

(SEPTEMBER 9-14, 2006)



Aula Magna of the University of Regensburg
Tuesday, 12 September 2006

Faith, Reason and the University
Memories and Reflections

[P]art of the dialogue carried on - perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara - by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both.[1] It was presumably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than those of his Persian interlocutor. [2] The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between - as they were called - three "Laws" or "rules of life": the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur'an. It is not my intention to discuss this question in the present lecture; here I would like to discuss only one point - itself rather marginal to the dialogue as a whole - which, in the context of the issue of "faith and reason", I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.

In the seventh conversation (διάλεξις - controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to some of the experts, this is probably one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness that we find unacceptable, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."[3] The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".[4]
The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. [5] The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality.[6] Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazm went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practise idolatry. [7]

In reaction:

"[T]he Mujahideen's Army movement in Iraq threatened to carry out a suicide attack against the Pope in revenge for his comments about Islam and jihad. [T] he Mujahideen's Army said members of the organization would 'smash the crosses in the house of the dog from Rome.' p. 1. [Said a Catholic spokesman:] "[S]ome comments made by Western Muslims were superficial and fed the circus-like criticism' of 'emotional outbursts in response to hearsay.' p. 2. The New York Times editorialized … that the pope must give a "deep and persuasive" apology for his remarks as 'the world listens carefully to the words of any pope. And it is tragic and dangerous when one sows pain, either deliberately or carelessly,' it said." George Conger, "Mujahideen's Army threatens Pope with suicide attack." Jerusalem Post: Sep. 16, 2006.

"Anjem Choudary said those who insulted Islam would be 'subject to capital punishment'. Choudary told a demonstration in London yesterday that the Pope should face execution. His remarks came during a protest outside Westminster Cathedral on a day that worldwide anger among Muslim hardliners towards Pope Benedict XVI appeared to deepen." This is, "The Pope must die, says Muslim." 18 Sept 2006.

"[Sheikh Abubukar Hassan Malin] a hardline cleric linked to Somalia's powerful Islamist movement has called for Muslims to "hunt down" and kill Pope Benedict XVI for his controversial comments about Islam." AFP, The Age. "Somali cleric calls for pope's death." September 17, 2006.

"Last night the controversy seemed to have claimed its first victims when gunmen killed a 65-year-old Italian nun and her bodyguard at the entrance to a hospital where she worked in the Somalian capital, Mogadishu.." John Hooper, The Guardian, "Pope 'deeply sorry' but Muslim protests spread." Rome: 18 Sept. 2006.

"[The Pope is a s]wine and servant of the cross, worships a monkey on a cross, hateful evil man, stoned Satan, may Allah curse him, blood-sucking vampire." Michelle Malkin , (quoting Internet poster ) "Pope Rage on the Internet; church bombings in Gaza." 16 Sept. 2006.

"Mohammed Mahdi Akef from the Muslim Brotherhood said the remarks 'threaten world peace' and "pour oil on the fire and ignite the wrath of the whole Islamic world to prove the claims of enmity of politicians and religious men in the West to whatever is Islamic.

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Anglican Church, said: 'There are elements in Islam that can be used to justify violence, just as there are in Christianity and Judaism.'

President Jacques Chirac warned against 'anything that increases tensions between peoples or religions.'

[I]n The Huffington Post weblog … author Sam Harris said, 'It is ironic that a man who has just disparaged Islam as 'evil' and 'inhuman' before 250,000 onlookers and the world press, is now talking about a 'genuine dialogue of cultures.'" [48] Mr Harris also referred to the Pope's lecture as "...a speech so boring, convoluted and oblique to the real concerns of humanity that it could well have been intended as a weapon of war. It might start a war, in fact, given that it contained a stupendously derogatory appraisal of Islam.'

In the West Bank city of Nablus, a Greek Orthodox and an Anglican Church were fire-bombed by a group called the Lions of Monotheism who said they were carried out to protest the pope's speech.[79] A Greek Orthodox church was also attacked in Gaza City. [80] Amira Hass has suggested that the attacks may have been carried out by agents provocateurs, possibly the Shin Bet. "

Palm trees, blue skies, warm weather, cheap rent, fresh food, good-looking girls; AK-47s, left-over
Soviet r.p.g.s, balaklavas, sympathetic blonde U.N. girls giving out goods to sell on the black market; a life-time of playing at Cowboys and Indians in an endless backyard without any parents ever calling you in for dinner and more homework. Oh, jihad: what a life! Easy, dude.